Thursday, May 27, 2010

Still plugging away

Still plugging away a chapter a day on War & Peace. The other day, there was just a beautiful moment that made me catch my breath. And the chapter after, too. Really, really gorgeous. I don't think I do it justice, but read the book.

"As soon as he opened the shutters, moonlight, as if it had been watching at the window for a long time waiting for that, burst into the room. He opened the window. The night was fresh and stilly bright. Just under his window was a row of rimmed trees, black on one side and silvery bright on the other. Under the trees was some juicy, wet, curly growth with touches of silver on its leaves and stems. Further beyond the black trees was some rood glistening with dew, to the right a big, curly tree with a bright white trunk and branches, and above it a nearly full moon against the light, nearly starless spring sky."

How beautiful is that? Spring is moist and bursting, juicy, silver, eager. And right at the moment he leans out the window, he hears voices above him, talking. It's two girls, Natasha and Sonya. Natasha can't sleep. She wants to play a game again. And Sonya is obviously tired.

"You sleep, I can't" Natasha says, and must be close, as he can hear her dress rustle and her breathing above him. He's afraid to move. Then she tells Sonya how she may spring up and fly. Sonya annoys her by telling her it's after one o'clock. She sits for a while in the window, still, with an occasional sigh, and finally says suddenly "Ah, my God, my God! what on earth is it! If it's sleep, it's sleep!" and slams the window.

What can Andrei think? He's confused, and unable to even comprehend what he is feeling - that she doesn't care about him, or even know who he is, and he is filled with "unexpected tangle of youthful thoughts and hopes, contradictory to his whole life."

Read the whole post here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm late!

I've been so wanting to write lately, but the above is how I'm feeling! Oh, well. Maybe this weekend for Memorial Day I'll give myself the gift of a little time....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Music

Some days, you just need some happy music. This is my happy song lately.

That's all at the moment...

I did see the Jung exhibit on Sunday. Much, much to think about.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


This looks so great. There's a little piece about these 37 figures of mourning in the New York Times today, and it looks incredible. The room in the picture above, with choir screen, is my favorite room in the Met. It's where the put the Christmas tree, and all the Gothic and Medieval art that's not at the Cloisters is. Such a great place.

But, lucky for us, this is coming to LA, next year, about the same time. Very exciting.

And it will be in St. Louis, which makes me want to take a trip out there to see that museum that I've only ever gone to with my Grandmother. I have a feeling she'd love these.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Cold, and some other thoughts..

I had a cold this weekend, which occasioned my calling in sick to work. Yuck. And sitting in front of the TV, which again became apparent, is not my favorite pasttime. And, as I think about canceling my tv/dvr combo for the umpteenth time (not the least reason being that when my DVR cut off programs I had to watch them online anyway), I was thinking about the first Howards End quote below. And then the second, since I love it. I searched in my blog, and thought I had posted them, but it looks like I haven't. So here they are. I do love this book. A lot. Maybe time for a reread.

"As for theatres and discussion societies, they attracted her less and less. She began to "miss" new movements, and to spend her spare time re-reading or thinking, rather to the concern of her Chelsea friends. They attributed the change to her marriage, and perhaps some deep instinct did warn her not to travel further from her husband than was inevitable. Yet the main cause lay deeper still; she had outgrown stimulants, and was passing from words to things. It was doubtless a pity not to keep up with Wedekind or John, but some closing of the gates is inevitable after thirty, if the mind itself is to become a creative power."

"Looking back on the past six months, Margaret realised the chaotic nature of our daily life, and its difference from the orderly sequence that has been fabricated by historians. Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere. With infinite effort we nerve ourselves for a crisis that never comes. The most successful career must show a waste of strength that might have removed mountains, and the most unsuccessful is not that of the man who is taken unprepared, but of him who has prepared and is never taken. On a tragedy of that kind our national morality is duly silent. It assumes that preparation against danger is in itself a good, and that men, like nations, are the better for staggering through life fully armed. The tragedy of preparedness has scarcely been handled, save by the Greeks. Life is indeed dangerous, but not in the way morality would have us believe. It is indeed unmanageable, but the essence of it is not a battle. It is unmanageable because it is a romance, and its essence is romantic beauty. Margaret hoped that for the future she would be less cautious, not more cautious, than she had been in the past."

Friday, May 07, 2010


I happened across this great little article in the NY Times about a man trying to find the original occupants of his apartment on the Upper West Side. I'm a sucker for New York history, for some reason. That city is a treasure trove.

To be honest, I'm a sucker for the history of almost anyplace I've lived. Seattle had a fascinating history, as does LA. And in Vermont I actually dated the youngest member of the White River Junction historical society. Youngest by like 35 years.

But this, in conjunction with the discovery of this truly annoying website called Spokeo, which culls marketing data and pictures from the web to give inaccurate information to the world about you, made me wonder if this kind of mystery is a thing of the past. Or if the glut of information makes the mystery now figuring out the real truth, rather than just finding out what the truth may have been.

We leave so much information now, much of it true, but much of it not. The website had my correct address, phone number, and age range, but incorrect information about owning my home, pictures with my name of different people, and assumptions about my preferences. I don't know why it angered me so. It seems like people only about 5-10 years younger have a completely different understanding of privacy. Most of them think it's cool or just inevitable - the cost of doing business. And think about how much incorrect information, addresses, phone numbers, names, people give because they have to join something and don't want to give out correct information. The mind boggles.

I'm too much of a twentieth century guy, I guess. I have some expectation of privacy. Now, with empoloyers checking faceboook and not hiring people because of who their friends might be and how they act, we are in a different game. I'm thinking that though we won't have the fun of poring through endless pieces of paper to find those one or two pertinent clues, the future may be a whole host of answers and our job will be to figure out which one's correct.

I still come down on the side of loving the mystery. I was thinking about Jeanne Eagels for some reason this morning, who supposedly rocked the entire country in her stage performance of Rain, and then went on to star in the original version of The Letter, which is impossible to find - I think only a few prints exist. That just wouldn't happen today. We'll have record of everything. It's good, I suppose, but I'm a little sad for the death of the mystery.