Saturday, June 28

Color: a Side Trip

See this wonderful blogpost from showing transportation maps of the world. If you love the MBTA map or the NY City system (which I have on a mug,) you'll love this.

Here's my mug again, and a couple of other things around the house:

Friday, June 27


Quick: Whaddya think of FIRST when you think of cowboys?

. . .

[tick tick tick tick tick tick . . . ]

. . .

Now =

****Here's the text, in case the link doesn't work, but it won't have the special effects:

"What is Sass?

he Single Action Shooting Society is an international organization created to preserve and promote the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting™. SASS endorses

regional matches conducted by affiliated clubs, stages END of TRAIL The World Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting, promulgates rules and procedures to ensure safety and consistency in Cowboy Action Shooting matches, and seeks to protect its members' 2nd Amendment rights. SASS members share a common interest in preserving the history of the Old West and competitive shooting.
Click here to
learn more about SASS Mounted Shooting. Click here for a brief history.


I think about cowboys every now and then, when I see a horse and a saddle or hear a pistol or see a boy of crayons . .

So I was surprised and not surprised to get this link (above) today in an email from a friend who moved out west. He's in a cowboy group, pictured somewhere at the link. I'm so glad that Ted is doing this! We'd never agree on who to vote for, but we get along just great, and I'm glad he likes playing cowboy, It's certainly a long time fantasy life of mine. But I have to email him and ask all the rest of the cowboy dream questions: do you sleep out under the stars, do you sing to the dogies, do you even ride horses????? I think that politics aside, we as being of different genders, have a differnt idea of cowboys.

Coming up: Wilson Wakes Up!

Also, Horse Encounters in Fairview

Crayola Factory


Clearly, there's more to find out. Until then, I have crayons and colored pencils, but I don't have the right coloring book. Ahhhl I DO have a Dover Indians of North American coloring book. Lemme go check it out. Get yourself something to drink and make yourself comfortable. I'll be back.

Wednesday, June 25

64 Different Brilliant Colors

When I was a child I colored. I also painted and cut paper and glued and pasted and sometimes taped it together into creations. They were ephemerals, and I've always been since those days the fan but never the artist. I love crayons and colors and hues and intensities and color names and blending and the tactile nature of doing it on paper or whatever -- experiment!. The smell of Crayola crayons is important to my childhood, right up there with pine needles and beach air and low tide and fish parts drying on docks and wood fires. And it's still there, folks. Some visitor asked during my recent visit to the Crayola Factory (which see further on), "Uhh, where does the smell come from?" And the guy said brightly, "Paraffin wax and pigment!" and most of the people were satisfied and went on the the next question. I still don't know where the smell comes from (or maybe how).

I could write every day about crayons. I could have entries for at least a month. They would be alt of fun for me to write, and they would quickly get very boring for my faithful reader(s). But I'll do it anyway, because I like to. Better formatting than handwriting.

The song "64 Different Brilliant Colors" is a brilliant and colorful song with shades and shadows, performed by a pair of young women a decade or two ago. My copy of the original album is on tape.

If you feel like coloring and have a printer nearby, here's a real gem. It gives me a frisson from my childhood, when we could buy a coloring book and if we wanted to duplicate a picture we could trace it with tracing paper (probably produced by Crayola, oh yeah!).

Tuesday, June 24

Old Tater's Almanac

June 24

Nativity of St. John the Baptist~~Midsummer Day

For one week now the length of the days has been 14 hrs. 24 mins., the longest days of 2008. But the sun will continue to set at its latest until July 6, so Tater says, Stretch, breathe, watch the bees and enjoy midsummer.

From William Cullen Bryant:

Go forth under the open sky/And list to nature's teachings.

Or observe from your back porch. Tater's Quick Quiz: What do you see in both of these pictures? Look closely.

Jupiter is appearing earlier at night, and the hot humid weather of earlier in the month have gone away, and the days are sunny and showery and nights are cool.

"Perhaps you have felt [the truth of your essential goodness] on some rare day in early summer, when you have been alone in a wood on a blue-bell carpet, and your eyes, wandering to the hedge-wall, have seen it white with may; all around you there has been a silence--a silence that strikes like a blow; and suddenly it ceases to be silence for the birds are singing, and you wonder how long that music has been there without your noticing it. You are right away from the world...."

Ernest Raymond, Through Literature to Life: an Enthusiasm and an Anthology, 1928

Tater will work on his crossword puzzle now, while Star Cat watches for jays.

Friday, June 20

Summer Books

Summer's the great time for reading, at least until those early evenings of winter which my friend Steve Cooper likes, because then you can settle into your chair by 8 or so and read. I decided it was silly to have a separate reading blog and will just note things here. Here are highlights from May and June:

Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers: The divine Mrs. W. at her most lyrical. I first saw parts of the TV adaptation, then read the book. The period is fascinating to me, as are the glimpses of society life in America and Europe, young lads and lasses on the make. Will the girl get the right guy? Will the cad win her heart? Not a dull moment here, and of course the lovely scenes of Newport and life in its summer "cottages." I went to college with Beryl Slocum, whose family owned one of the houses on Ocean Drive, and I once toured Rosecliff with Kate and Zack when they were little. Rosecliff was used for parts of the movie of The Great Gatsby, while, jarringly to a native, Long Island Sound was substituted for the lively Atlantic coast.

Daniel Pink's The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: the Last Career Guide You've Ever Need. Doug Johnson of the Blue Skunk Blog says that every high school library needs a copy of this book by Pink, the author of A Whole new Mind, a book already in my school library. So I bought it and then was delighted to find that our new academic dean was giving each of us a copy of WNM for our summer reading. i thought I'd start with johnny, as it's a quick, graphic novel study of pink's six rules. It's a little late in the game for me, but as I continue to work and think about my work and as the school and library continue to evolve in interesting ways, I'm glad to have these tools.

Tuesday, June 17


In Oregon salmon are everywhere. At the Bonneville Dam and the zoo and the airport, in murals and polished granite floor mosaics, bronze fish leap and live salmon swim up ladders and rivers. Children and adults in Portland and the region are reminded in public spaces by murals, mosaics, sculpture, viewing places, friendly interpreters of the natural world in which we humans still live despite our sometime attempts to pave it all over or rush by.

Oregon seems to invest a lot more of its resources than usual to projects which connect people to nature. From the Bonneville Dam to the Oregon Zoo, in the railway station and on the waterfront you can walk on images of the rivers and trace their courses on walls and imagine the journey of the salmon from the ocean to breeding places where the eggs hatch into young salmon that then return to the ocean.
I don't know enough to know whether the balance of protection of wildlife and use of the river to generate power is an ideal one, but I liked the Bonneville Dam, where the salmon ladder and the hydroelectric generators are both on display, and where if you are lucky and go on a quiet day you might get invited into the fish counting room, to see the fish pass the window, and then you might be entertained who volunteers at the dam information desk by "MacPherson's Retreat" or Dave Mallett's "Inch by Inch [The Garden Song]" and you can sing along if you like.

Finale: Eating Salmon. Right past this counter at Pike's Place in Seattle I picked out a piece of smoked salmon for my cat-sitter, but I don't have a picture of the fish nor of the poached salmon a couple of weeks later at Jacob's Bar Mitzvah in Allentown, Pa.

Wednesday, June 11

Bird Cloud, Oregon Dunes

I have many images from my trip to the Pacific Northwest, but in cleaning up my library today I found a scrap of yellow paper on which I'd written this, and it will suffice for tonight:
Nature is a mutable cloud, which is always and never the same.
-- R.W. Emerson
The picture doesn't quite capture the birdness of this cloud over the Oregon Dunes, but the real thing made me think of Lionel Feininger's "Bird Cloud," one of my favorite paintings when I was in college and discovering paintings.
I'm frustrated by the temporary loss of a second set of pictures and hope to find them soon, to show the prevalence of the idea of Salmon in the Pacific Northwest.
This is a shard.