Wednesday, August 26, 2015

signing off

 I love all the hand painted signs in San Francisco, especially ones with images.  The beautiful combinations of fonts, layouts, and palettes make unique works of art that are more likely to catch your eye, entice you to come inside a shop, and make you remember its name. Scott at New Bohemia Signs kindly let me take these photos and answered my questions about how his interesting shop works.  See his website and Flikr pages for more excellent examples.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

what matters in the world

 Maria Popova puts out a weekly newsletter of thought provoking articles called Brain Pickings, "a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why."  It is fantastic reading, and here are just a few juicy snippets from this week's interesting stories.

In Praise of Missing Out: Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips 
on the Paradoxical Value of Our Unlived Lives
"Phillips...examines the paradoxical relationship between frustration and satisfaction, exploring how our unlived lives illuminate the priorities, values, and desires undergirding the lives we do live....[He writes,] "The unexamined life is surely worth living, but is the unlived life worth examining? It seems a strange question until one realizes how much of our so-called mental life is about the lives we are not living, the lives we are missing out on, the lives we could be leading but for some reason are not. What we fantasize about, what we long for, are the experiences, the things and the people that are absent. It is the absence of what we need that makes us think, that makes us cross and sad. We have to be aware of what is missing in our lives – even if this often obscures both what we already have and what is actually available – because we can survive only if our appetites more or less work for us. Indeed, we have to survive our appetites by making people cooperate with our wanting.""

Simone Weil on Attention and Grace
"...another enchantress of the human spirit – the French philosopher Simone Weil (February 3, 1909–August 24, 1943), a mind of unparalleled intellectual elegance and a sort of modern saint whom Albert Camus described as "the only great spirit of our times" – wrote beautifully of attention as contemplative practice through which we reap the deepest rewards of our humanity...[She writes,] "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.  Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love.  Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.  If we turn our mind toward the good, it is impossible that little by little the whole soul will not be attracted thereto in spite of itself.""

The Rabbit Box: Unusual Vintage Children's Book for Grownups 
Celebrates the Mystery of Life and the Magic of Falling in Love
"In 1970, poet, playwright, and former priest Joseph Pintauro teamed up with artist Norman Lalibert√© on a marvelous limited-edition boxed set titled The Rainbow Box, containing four children's books for grownups, each dedicated to a season and full of playful and poignant fragmentary meditations on love, loss, war, peace, loneliness, communion – in other words, the emotional kaleidoscope of life itself. Dedicated to spring was The Rabbit Box (public library)– a most unusual lens on themes both of the time (the dawn of the environmental movement, the anti-war movement) and timeless (love, peace, the meaning of the human experience), equal parts strange and spectacular.  What emerges is a poem, a love letter, an elegy for Mother Earth, an incantation against war, and above all a vibrant invitation to aliveness."


Friday, August 7, 2015

children's books 84

J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh have teamed up many times to write fun kids' books.  Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride is another silly story in which Mr. Lunch the dog gets invited to be on a tv show for his bird-chasing abilities.  He takes Ambrose the bird on his trip, and while everything seems to go wrong in the baggage hold, everything turns out fine on the show.  I love the quirky illustration style of J. Otto Seibold and his busy pages with so many details that can delight children and adults.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

some people are brave

Aerial photograph of Curtiss JN-4 aircraft C187, with Lt. Ned Ballough walking on the wing, ca. 1917

twenty sparrows

Sparrow heads, featured in Novitates Zoologicae, Vol. XVIII from 1911