Monday, July 17, 2017

Basel lion and the strange drifting refrains

Basel, Switzerland


Lion guarding the nave of the 700 year-old Basel Münster (cathedral)


They say life is what you make of it. Yes, it's an irritatingly simplistic saying, an elitist platitude but, even at that, there is something to it otherwise we are dupes only, powerless to shape or influence our reality. So what do I make of life? A favorite view of mine is the surreal. I enjoy dark, ironic, absurdist and/or stupid humor and thrive on life's strange details hidden in plain sight. No wonder then, when I heard creepy organ music wafting from the nave of the 700 year-old built and rebuilt Münster (cathedral) in Basel I had to stop, listen and watch.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Firewords and another cemetery


4th of July Fireworks  -  Los Angeles

On the 4th of July flew from LA to London where we've been for the last few days, back in our old Finsbury Park neighborhood. This time we're much closer to our favorite halva place, Kofali Hot Nuts. The first day we bought a 2 lb block and have been working on it since. Also since arriving in London we've taken some good walks.

Sunny day in a London cemetery
Lovely day in a London cemetery

For our first outing, needing a good walk to survive the stupor of  jet lag, we went to Kensal Green Cemetery. Nice place to visit. It's a charming mix of history, ruin and repair. Along with some 65,000 others, some English notables are laid to rest there including Charles Babbage, often referred to as the "father of the computer" and playwright and Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter.

Kensal Green Cemetery
Road's end

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Rosie or As the Century Rolls On


The Bird Park has changed in the months we've been away. It's full of cats  . . . and a skunk with a fabulous long flowing tail whom I call Rosie. In the brief time we were back, I put food out as always and good old Maggie Magpie, who ever keeps an eye on the place, showed up for breakfast as always, but she was one of the very few birds daring enough to do so.



Of course, predators have hunted here before but never stayed. Until now, the Bird Park was a relatively peaceful world just for birds. No more and I'm sad about that. I suspect these cats live in the house just over the back fence so they have the place for now. The black one spent most of her time staking out the squirrel hole and all four came and went at will. At various times I chased them away but it won't matter. I'm already gone again for months. Perhaps this is the end of an era.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Summer Solstice

First day of summer. All the mysticism and high holy aspirations aside . . .  do yourself a favor. Pause. Yes. Take a moment or two today to breathe, look around, start fresh. Pass it on.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

On the eve of Comey's testimony . . .

. . .  life goes on . . .

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Why tick tock, zig zag, ding dong, King Kong?

If you're a word geek, there's a delightful article at the BBC by Mark Forsyth I think you'll enjoy. Check it out. "The language we know but don't know we know."

The big bad wolf ie the rule of ablaut reduplication

“Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out.” - Mark Forsyth, BBC

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Freedom, sweet freedom!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Desperate Trump fires Comey

Trump just fired James Comey, the man who was leading the FBI's ongoing investigation of his campaign ties to Russia during the hacked 2016 Presidential election. The Golden Boy's hubris is staggering. He actually does think he's above the law. The truth is he's a brazen, dirty, greedy, smug incompetent.




He might as well have written "GUILTY of TREASON" on his forehead in that crazy scroll of his. The New York Time's calls Trump’s Firing of James Comey as Echoes of Watergate. 

Trump's firing of Comey "echoes of Watergate". - NYT

The NY Times posted a link to the letter Trump sent to the FBI announcing the news of his dismissal of Comey. Fox Fake News ran a different story, of course, claiming Comey resigned until finally it was impossible to deny.

Naturally Fox News initially lied claiming Comey "resigned".

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sally Yates - Jeff Session then and now

Watch Sally Yates kick some swampass then and now. Thanks Parker.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Crows like Ol' Roy

I don't know how good it is for them but clearly the crows at the Bird Park prefer Ol' Roy puppy chow to other brands. Magpies too. In fact, I tried Pedigree puppy chow and the squirrel was the only one willing to finish it up. And just to be clear, I am not doing a commercial here. I'm noting it in case someone happens upon this post who likes feeding birds and the occasional squirrel. Nothing more. And no. Don't feed birds cat chow. Too rich. Another reason to feed puppy chow is that the bits are smaller therefore easier to swallow. That is all.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Swami and Flat Eric

Rockin' out here tonight . . .



. . . with Swami, his cousin, Flat Eric . . .



. . and Mr. Oizo.







Monday, April 17, 2017

Studio notes: Degas and Henri Roché pastels

Seems that flu I had over the weekend is finally winding down. I spent this morning in my studio and did a couple of quick pencil/pastel drawings. When we're traveling, I put the studio out of mind but being in it is like being in the middle of the world. Now, M. Lee is planning another big trip. The question always is how to the studio with me when we're on the move.


Interview with Isabelle Roché at La Maison du Pastel

Speaking of pastels, when we were in LA last week we saw some of the later pastel works by Degas at The Getty. Also we saw one of Degas's personal cases of (used) pastelsHenri Roché's, handmade in Paris at La Maison du Pastel. I've never work with that brand. My pastels are made either by Pentle, Reeves, or Artist's Loft. They are all cheap and sold in many places. Henri Roché pastels are not. A quick web search put to rest any notion I might switch to them. A single, full-size stick costs 20 Euros, currently that's just over $21 US.

Complete set of Henri Roché pastels
1201 colors
$17,550.00


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Meanwhile, in America . . .

Don Jung Un

 The neighbor is rockin' the country tunes. That means he's outside in his hot tub. Trump rages on. He and Kim Jung Un are in a dick measuring contest. This in Trumpie's first 80 days. We knew that was going to happen. These guys are twins. As for me, I'm sick . . .food poisoning, flu or whatever. Whatever it is, I haven't felt this bad in a long time. I must be getting better though. I've managed a glass a water and this. Now on to the tea.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What time is it anyway?

The Pacific ocean at dawn and a lone boat far below on the sea.

We checked out of our room in Bangkok in the morning. Our flight left at 2 AM the next morning. We arrived in LA 20 hours later or four hours later by the clock. It's now nearly 10 PM or noon tomorrow according to my body. I haven't slept since Bangkok but I'm not sleepy. Jet lag is brutal.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Equinox 2017

It's morning in America, 06:33 AM PST when I started this post and the first day of Spring. For Pearl, a flickr friend in Australia, today is the long awaited first day of fall. As the sun returns to our hemisphere I hope she and her beloved companions Ms. Pips and Ms. Woolly and their world finally get relief from what has been a summer of grueling heat.

Bangkok - Spring Equinox night
Spring Equinox night in Bangkok

It's the end of the day here in Bangkok. The high was 34° Celsius (93.2° Fahrenheit). Like I said, I didn't know it was the equinox when I woke up but the morning light gave me pause, something about how it illuminated the leaves of the trees below my window. They glowed primavera green. They called to me, drew me in, reminded me . . . even in this blade runner city . . . earth lives . . . will prevail. That area is dark now, the left third of this photo I took tonight. A lot of Thai people live in that section, under long, shared tin roofs. I don't think there is much in the way of walls between them. The trees grow wild there. They have been hacked down numerous times but grow back again, as they are now.

Happy first day of Spring and Roy, thank you for reminding me.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Swami and the Moon over Bangkok


Swami & the moon tonight- Bangkok
Swami and the moon tonight
Bangkok

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Publishing and republishing

Besides publishing a current list of literary magazines accepting reprints, the blog Published to Death includes a link to poetry publishers accepting unagented manuscripts. And it's not just for poetry. There are listings for all genres, including visual, and their markets and includes cool links such as . . . calls for submissions by the month, paying markets etc. Yes, there are similar sites, but this is a good one.


Of course, Duotrope is, at least in my limited experience, the best of the best when it comes to offering an "extensive, searchable database of current fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art markets, a calendar of upcoming deadlines, a personal submissions tracker, and useful statistics compiled from the millions of data points". Yes, that's their description but it is what they do and they do it well. I was a subscriber until they erected a paywall. After that I couldn't justify the expense. I seldom followed through and actually submitted anything.


I did a poetry blog instead. I just want to make my work available. It is, better or worse, about the only work I have to offer. However, that means if I want to publish something elsewhere, you might say in a "real" publication, I must find publishers who accept reprints.  Annasadhorse may be one of the the least visited sites in the universe but most publishers automatically refuse anything unless they get first rights. I know. Cry me a river.

Beware the Six Month Rule

Back in Bangkok after an ill-fated trip to Singapore. We were planning to stay there for five days and then slowly travel north though Malaysia working our way back to Bangkok. Unfortunately, at customs Lee ran up against the Six Month Rule and we had to cancel our plans. In fact, only after a prolonged interview with the head of customs at the Singapore airport was he allowed into the country.

The Six Month Rule requires that, to enter the country, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates. A list of countries that have this requirement here. Lee's passport expires in April. We picked up six month tourist visas for Thailand before leaving the US, so we didn't learn about the rule until Singapore. They could have turned him away right there but, after showing return travel arrangements, he was permitted entry. Plus it probably helped that his passport was already full of stamps from other countries, some proof anyway of our nomadic life-style. We felt very lucky, especially after learning that Singapore is very strict about it. So, beware the Six Month Travel rule or you might find yourself on day one of a trip headed back home on the next available flight whatever the cost, whether you can afford it or not.

But we did stay five days in Singapore. More about that later.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Pattaya

Morning in Pattaya
Morning in Pattaya

Some call Pattaya the wild west of Thailand. We were there for a conference so, other than streets thronging with nearly naked bar girls and fat, grubby sexpats with girlfriends younger than their granddaughters, we saw none of it.

Sunset in Pattaya
Evening in Pattaya

A friend at the conference did mention however that, while on the lunch break, a ladyboy grabbed  him by the crotch and tried pulling him in for a drink. I'm not sure Trump would like Pattaya. He likes to do the grabbing.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

It was inevitable




Mysteries on Sukhumvit

Four more or less identical mirrors hang above the sidewalk on the front of a strange shop along Sukhumvit, one of Bangkok's busiest streets. They are too high up to use as mirrors so why they are there, as ornaments, protection from spirits or whatever, I do not know. Whenever I pass by, the door is locked and the shade pulled, thus it remains a mystery.


To be continued . . .

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Silent Majority aka The Deplorables



Silence is compliance . . . PERIOD

Here is the very long list of Republicans who have remained silent on Trump's refugee ban. Time to dump the spineless, compliant Republican Party!

THE DEPLORABLE GOP
The Deplorable Republican Silent Majority
source: Vox

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lunar New Year 2017



Tis the year of the Fire Rooster according to the Chinese lunar calendar, so Happy New Year. Here's wishing you all the best in the coming year. They say if you encounter a dragon on the lunar new year, give him money. We did so we did. Dragon was moving fast so Swami had to follow him into a girlie bar to put money in his mouth.

Swami & the Dragon - Bangkok - Lunar New Year Celebrations
Swami and the Dragon
Bar on Sukhumvit soi 22

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Americans protest Trump nationwide

The Big News today, the gigantic event that took place today . . .

The numbers speak for themselves

. . . is that millions of Americans protested the swearing in of the most vile, sexist, racist, liar, the most corrupt, the most compromised, toxic, hate-spewing, stupid, impulse driven creep to ever darken the door the White House ... Traitor Donald Jackass Trump.

Trump is nothing more than a statistical anomaly from the twilight zone. He lost the popular vote by a greater margin than any President in the history of the United States. It is only because of the outdated "electoral college" that he now wields immeasurable power but . . .  We are stronger. This loser didn't even have the balls to attend his first press conference.


Trump's inaugural parade

Squirrel Appreciation Day



It's Squirrel Appreciation Day.
Make a squirrel's day.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ringling Circus dreams

This spring the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is emptying its cages and folding up its big tent forever.

When I was in my early twenties I nearly joined Ringling Bros. circus. A job was waiting. Well, a job was waiting for Billy Grummel but we both knew Joey, the "one time with a dime" guy who ran a ring toss game on the midway and our mutual lover. Billy could work on the midway. I dreamed of taking care of the elephants. But all that's another story. My point is, I too once loved the circus but today I celebrate its demise.

I didn't know then what I know now. I didn't realize that elephants who, in the wild, might enjoy a 100 mile stroll before breakfast, are tortured until their spirit breaks then sold into a life of slavery. Except for when they perform, give rides to tourists, haul logs, beg on the street or at a temple etc. they live in chains.

So good. Ringling Bros. circus is closing. It only took 36 years of petitions, protests, legal wrangling but finally, finally it's closing. Thank you to all who wrote letters, signed online petitions, sent in a few bucks, explained to the kids why "we aren't going to the circus", joined a street protest when the circus came to town, talked to a friend about it, blogged about it ... whatever ... cared. The voice of compassion has been heard although, of course, it was the loss of revenue that carried it to the ears. It's all good.

And now . . . .

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Where I hang my hat

After 38 hours of travel we're, well, "home" or back in Bangkok. They tell me missing December here means missing the best weather of the year but, IMO, the weather is still nice, that is ... overcast and "cool" . . . 28° C or 82.4 F. That's "winter" temps in Thailand. I'm not being facetious. Bangkok malls are all carrying winter clothes ... poly jackets, heavy coats, sweaters, hats, gloves and just yesterday a friend, a westerner, even complained it was cold. Having just left Oregon where winter cold froze the dog poop in my daughter's backyard, allowing for a speeding, aroma-free removal and a giant snow storm left my mother-in-law and her cat, Alley, stranded at home surviving on dwindling rations, 28° C is not cold. Oh well. Reality is relative.

Ok. Gotta go. Meeting a friend in an hour.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Day One, 2017

Happy New Year.

Is this idea of a "new" year merely a stupid fantasy? Oh well. Who cares? As Heraclitus said, change is the only constant. In that light, painful though it may be, here's hoping changes in this new year led to new, better beginnings.

Also, in keeping with the season, I published a new poem on AnnaSadhorse, Horary for the Third Millennium CE.