Monday, October 27, 2014

Back to the Art Table

Spotted a 60's film poster(Shirley McClaine in Woman Times Seven) hanging as wall decor in a later film called The Beginners. Done by a wonderful polish artist Andre Krajewski, and I just had to play with it. The original is huge and incomparable.

But inspirational and fun as a kickoff to opening the paint jars again.

My version (only 14 x 20"):

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Orphan Master's Son (Pulitzer Prize for Literature 2012)

The Orphan Master's SonThe Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I must be the only person on the planet who thought this Pulitzer Prize winning tome was a comedy! It read like Batman or Superman exploits
with lots of violence and lots of bizarre and nearly unbelievable events....but just close enough to what we've heard about the crazies who actually run North Korea to be true.

The characters have no ownership of self; everything and everyone belongs to the State, so it makes for this very difficult story about a main character for whom you can feel almost nothing, inasmuch as he is numbed by the life he leads, as are most of those around them. No attachments except in the dutiful adoration of The Dear Leader. Metaphorically speaking, they are all zombies and not alive at all, thus torture and cruelty is just part of the Main Tent attraction, because it can't hurt. These poor people can't feel! I did NOT get invested emotionally in any part of this book. It was similar to reading Moby Dick, in many ways. Just a keen fascination with the workings of the North Korean government slash dictorship slash cartoon-land.

The brilliance of the book is Johnson's ability to IMAGINE what goes on there, and the amazing research he must have done. His humor rises like steam off the stinking pool of terror and torture. One can't take it seriously--so if you're an adult, you can only laugh, shake your head, and admit that this is a novel that most talented writers could not have concocted, thus it's likely very deserving of a prize. Not for its impact on the reader, but for the difficult 'reality' Johnson managed to create that is utterly insane and probably true.

The most terrifying thing after I stopped laughing is the realization that this world we live in, IS just about this nuts.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sonnet XLI by Edna St. Vincent Millay


I said in the beginning, did I not?--
Prophetic of the end, though unaware
How light you took me, ignorant that you thought
I spoke to see my breath upon the air:
If you walk east at daybreak from the town
To the cliff's foot, by climbing steadily
You cling at noon whence there is no way down
But to go toppling backward to the sea.
And not for birds nor birds'-eggs, so they say,
But for a flower that in these fissures grows,
Forms have been seen to move throughout the day
Skyward; but what its name is no one knows.
'Tis said you find beside them on the sand
This flower, relinquished by the broken hand.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

72nd Anniversary of the Demise of the Big Bitch

In 1942 my father's B-17 was shot down over farm land in Brittany as they were trying to return to their UK base from a bombing mission in Lorient, France.

Today is the 72nd anniversary of his death, and the death of his crewmates (all but two who are both now dead too in old age). I lift a glass to honor them. His story is written in the Loose Fish Chronicles and can be read HERE.

Today is being remembered by our French friends in the village of San Vougay, where the plane went down. They have built a shrine and honor the memory of the heroes who ultimately saved them from a Nazi fate.

In Memory of my father, Andrew Lexington Jackson.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Mama on the Yurok Reservation (poem)

At the casino, the lights flash
in fits of colors, staccato
and strobe off the ceilings,
light up the faces of slot machines
that talk in helium-voices,
cartoon lisps or computer monotones,
overlaid with elevator music
interrupted by microphoned
“Will Mrs. (whoever) please come
to the Winner’s booth. Repeat, Mrs.…”
while hot crowds, cooled to alertness
by imported polar air, mill
about the tables, push their money
into slots, hands, and plastic pails,
like robots programmed to disappear cash.

She perches on her stool,
tiny face squinted against the odds,
her manicured nail poking a button
that says “Bet nine” as her nickel count
on the screen diminishes.
Her hair, a curly cap of silver floss,
barely hides her scalp. Her back
is bent, as if she’s watching
the years of her life spin past in flurries
of cherries and bells, BARS, and birds.
She turns, with ruminative eyes,
as her counter runs empty, and says
“I’ll bet you that the Indians
are too smart to play these things.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Open House!

Not the open house of holiday fame...not the drop in and have a canape and mill about with eggnog in your hand.

No, this is the newly air conditioned lanai (see earlier posts) being opened up into the house proper. That was accomplished by keeping the door to the lanai open, AND removing the two windows in the living room that used to look out on the lanai. (Acually curtained and looked out at nothing). The lanai is now my dining area at the front and my art studio at the rear.

I now have 200 sq. feet added to my 600 sq. ft. home, and I wanted to open it up and make the narrow little living room feel open and larger.

Original living room with windows and door to lanai on the right, when I moved in:

Living room today with windows removed; valance over opened up space overlooking the art studio. It's a little hard to capture in a photos, but it's open space, like a pass through. The vase of flowers is in the dining area:

And if you were sitting at my art table, you would be looking into my living room (that's Spice sitting on the couch inside):

The dogs are still confused by the whole arrangement and prefer to stick to the sofa for now:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

My House (poem)

There is no lake, no wading birds,
No alligator waiting just beneath the calm
for my old cat to heave his body to the porch.

It’s just a singlewide from the seventies,
painted white under the Florida scorch
surrounded by weedy grass and neighbors’ palms.

The splendor of it all resides inside the box
like a diamond hidden in a crust of year-old bread.
And so it’s always been -- my life -- an inside job.

Excuse me. I just thought of Mrs….oh, I almost
had her name. That teacher in eleventh grade
who said I could do anything I wanted in the world.

She wasn’t right, but ah! Sustained me through
so many nights of utter failure’s heavy weight.
One person’s words can build a house to live in.

No longer do I have the ice machine, dishwasher,
nor the skylights of the penthouse suite. No longer
do I wait for poverty to hurricane away my life.

I sit upon a golden chair atop an oriental carpet,
live orchestras play softly behind the heavy drape
You do not see, you never have, nor can you hear

The sounds that are such precious home for me.
The wind is gentle on my aged face. The cup
of tea is the right temperature, finally.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Loose Fish and her Fast Fish Mama (circa 1980) Los Angeles, CA

(For Loose and Fast Fish definitions: Clicky)

Still finding old photos, as I sort through the drawers. Trying to preserve by scanning to the computer.

Mama died in Feb/. 2006, while living with me in Oceanside, California. (If old age and COPD doesn't get you, living with me could!)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Secret Love (poem)

The memory of him
is liquid, seeps to the surface
like a secret spring burbles
through pavement,
the avenue cracks open,
trickles his words, his
scent, his form.

A minute tendril climbs
through this fissure of time,
like the tongue of a tiger lily
reaches for sunshine.
It twists and winds, grows
fatter and fuller, drinks in
the bouquet of her pain.

Someday people will say
she disappeared into the sky
lifted high on the arms
of a gargantuan tree, grown
with time, watered with tears.
Its blooms will fall to earth
in perfumed petals of her love.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Spice likes doing his yoga in the new air conditioned space. Downward Dog never felt better!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

33% More House!

I've waited a couple of days, wondering if something horrible might go wrong, but it appears that my lanai is finally:

Air Conditioned !!

600 sq. ft. became 800 sq. ft. by connecting a duct from the main A/C to the lanai.

This means that I now have a dining room that is usable; an art studio that is usable; and the door and windows to the lanai can be thrown open and kept open as the lanai is now really and truly part of the house proper. Space!

Dining Room

art Studio

And What Could Be More Deer?

And to further enhance my joy, I got a gift from a friend who lives in the woods of Oregon. She grows her food and hunts her meat. On a visit here, to see her parents, she came to dinner. When she saw the cow skulls I had in my art studio (pre air conditioning) I told her I loved those old bones (a la O'Keefe) and she sent me three mule deer skulls which she found in forests. She thinks they were winter-killed or possibly coyotes got 'em (she didn't shoot them). They are beautiful. A larger 4 prong stag and two smaller 2 prong stags.