Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Bookstores Can Survive By Being Creative   1 comment

fitzsimmons1David Fitzsimmons,Tucso Arizona Daily Star — Source: CagleCartoon.com

Recently, Joy received a Bookmans gift card. Bookmans is more than just a bookstore, it’s an entertainment exchange with a commitment to the people and communities they have served for over forty years. While there, I selected three books: Epitaph for a Desert Anarchist — The Life and Legacy of Edward Abbey by James Bishop; The River of Doubt by Candie Millard; Spanish Essentials for Dummies, the last two in preparation for my August trip to the Amazon in northern Bolivia. — kenne

“I’m alright. It’s the world that is dysfunctioning.”

— from The Fool’s Progress by Edward Abbey

Street Magic   2 comments

Street Magic-2-72Street Magic In Las Vegas — Image by kenne

Everywhere you look
Vegas is an illusion
Running from the truth.

— kenne

Study Bookshelf — “I cannot live without books.”   2 comments

Book Shelf-2-art-blog.jpgStudy Bookshelf — “I cannot live with books.” Photo-Artistry by kenne

Son of a reader
I grew up a non-reader
Just a “slow bloomer.”

A high achiever
Branded as low potential
In school early on.

As a survivor
Libraries became my home
Learning about self.

— kenne

What Price Human Dignity   4 comments

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

— Bertrand Russell

This Old Porch Lincoln (1 of 1)-3 b-w blog“This Old Porch” — Image by kenne

At What Price Human Dignity

Our world is complex and confusing, actually, it’s a crazy world out there. Part of the craziness is the tendency to label and patronize groups in ways lacking of human dignity.  Such acts toward others deprive them of their dignity, the one thing that belongs to us.

“When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of men we are. It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in totally nonviolent struggle for justice. To be a man is to suffer for others. God help us to be men!” Ceasar Chaves at the end of a fast and a Mass of Thanksgiving

Being a child of rural Alabama in the 1940’s, I was nurtured by a southern environment still recovering from the Great Depression.  To this day I possess images of poor working people who own little more than their dignity, each day a struggle not to lose.

Later, in my twenties, I saw some photos of tenant farmer families and immediately identified with the people in the images.  Walker Evans, who alone with James Agee were assigned by Fortune magazine in 1936 to document the lives of tenant farmers in Alabama, took the photos.   When Fortune declined to publish their work, Agee and Evens published a book entitled “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” in 1941.  Although the original edition only sold about 600 copies, today it is considered a classic in American art and many credit their work, alone with Roosevelt’s New Deal, for helping  address the depression era issues of social responsibility and human dignity.  Like so much art, especially that which affectively captures life’s anguish, this recognition came only after death.

“Conversation” — Image by kenne

Agee and Evans tried to distinguish between what was real and what was actual by avoiding judgment by a commitment to interaction — doing as they would be done by. 

It’s not always easy to make sense of what we may see while trying to learn what we believe and where our ethical concerns might require us to go. In doing so, we are drawn not to an explanation, but to the profound compliment dependence and use.

“Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired.”

— Erik H. Erikson

kenne

Alabama2006-11-13-25Lincoln b-w blog“Rural Alabama” — Image by kenne

(First Posted October 8, 2008)

 

Western Smoke BBQ   1 comment

Western Smoke BBQ, Tucson, Arizona — B&W Image with Some Color Masked Through by kenne

“We shall not cease from exploration, . . . “   2 comments

Ventanna Canyon  (1 of 1) blogVentana Canyon Panorama — Image by kenne

We shall not cease from exploration,

and the end of all our exploring

will be to arrive where we started

and know the place for the first time.

— T. S. Eliot

— will affect me like music   Leave a comment

Sunset Table (1 of 1)_art blog

“Tell me what you think Art is” — Image by kenne

Tell me what you think Art is — of you can

— ask a lot of people — and see if anybody knows . . .

You asked me about music — I like it better than anything

in the world — I like it better than anything

in the world — Color gives me the same thrill once in

a long long time — I can almost remember and count the times

— it is usually just the outdoors or the flowers — or a person —

sometimes a story — or something that will call a picture

to my mind — will affect me like music — 

Georgia O’Keeffe — Words/Works

Capturing The Moment — Stagecoach Driver   3 comments

Tombstone & Bisbee May 18 2012Stagecoach Driver — Image by kenne

Westward the wagon jolted
along the ruts and trails,
along the interminable course of empire,
while the sun took a long time going down in the fields.

The earth was slow and hard
and there was nothing to see but land:
it was not a country at all
but the sketch of a country,
the material out of which countries are made.

— from “Nebraska, 1883,” by Edward Hirsch

The dust of travel still clings to his body,
and particles of sunlight fade on his skin.
What has happened to the eternal presences?

— from “The Renunciation of Poetry,” by Edward Hirsch

 

Capturing The Moment — Zydeco Dots   Leave a comment

Zydeco2006-09-24-13 B-W blogThe Zydeco Dots at The Continental Club, Houston, Texas — (09/24/06)

Roger Wood  and James Fraher

Roger Wood and James Fraher

Roger Wood writes in the Introduction to his 2006 book, Texas Zydeco:

“No matter where you may have lived or traveled or what your tastes in music might be, somewhere along the way you have likely encountered the uncanny sound of zydeco. For many people it is but a fleeting moment of exposure, leaving them slightly confused but somehow enthused by their sudden involuntary foot-tapping. For certain others it is an even more visceral awakening, the start of an ongoing relationship with a potent force. For some, there is no memory of their first encounter, for they have known it all their lives — the phrase ‘Texas zydeco’ is not an oxymoron but a cultural fact.”

kenne

Zydeco2006-09-24-29 B-W blogBar at Houston’s Continental Club — Images by kenne

Capturing The Moment — Wolfgang, Peter And The Navajo Woman   6 comments

Wolfgang P. TheissWhen Wolfgang and I first met by the pool two years ago, we would talk about philosophy and share other common interest topics. Often, conversations would begin on whatever book he was reading by the pool.

Two years ago, Wolfgang spent about three weeks here in southern Arizona, enjoying the hot summer sun. It was not his first time visiting Tom in Tucson, and he indicated he would be visiting again next year. But, that didn’t happen – I didn’t ask why, distracted by the pleasure of seeing him again.

Since Joy and I had just returned from vacation, I assumed he had just arrived. However, he had arrived while we were gone, during which time he and Tom did a road-trip to northern Arizona and southern Utah, and was now in his last week here in the states. 

Wolfgang was anxious to share the time they spent in the Navajo Nation territory taking in some of its natural beauty. However, his most memorable moment was that of a conversation he had with a Navajo woman, whom he greeted in Navajo. Although his Navajo vocabulary is limited, she seemed to be impressed. Upon departing, she told him that when he comes back he will be able to speak in Navajo. 

“No I won’t,” Wolfgang said.

“That’s the right answer,” she replied.

Now Wolfgang has a kindred spirit in the Navajo Nation. 

As in the past, I was curious as to what Wolfgang’s poolside reading was. As the title was in German, I only know the author’s name; Peter Sloterdijk. I now plan on reading some of Sloterdijk’s work, especially learning more about his theory of the human as a practicing, training being, which may give me additional insight on why “ becoming is superior to being,” and the process of becoming (improving) as individuals and groups can result in a more convivial society.

Related to this thought, I shared a poem I first heard in the late ‘50s from my high school English teacher: 

“Good, better, best,

Never let it rest,

Till your good is better,

And your better is best.” 

This little poem has been my life’s anthem.

(Until recently, the author of the poem was unknown, but a recent Google search gives credit to professional basketball player, Tim Duncan. Look at what media exposure can do for you!)

We also talked about the concept and philosophy of “feathering,” which I will post on at a later time.

Keep on feathering, my friend.

kenne

Wolfgang P. TheissWolfgang P. Theiss — Images by kenne

Not so the evening primroses . . .   2 comments

Kickback Rock 07-30-12Cutleaf Evening Primrose — Image by kenne

Full
by Wendy Barker

Light splotches on the bed,
mesmerizing the morning.
Why rise from this dazzle?

But outside the kitchen door,
the first time in years, flickering
in the pittosporum’s froth, a dozen

dozen Monarch butterflies ignite
the green, their white freckled patches
shifting, rapid as a blink, and gone.

Not so the evening primroses
that open as the light is leaving
and remains even as the moon lifts

from the trees, even as you sit
steady above your book, until
you rise, and bring me your hands.

(Windy Barker is a poet and critic, and teaches literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Windy has been involved in several “Writer’s In Performance” events over the years.)

Capturing The Moment — Little Snow-Covered Tree: “Noel Noel”   3 comments

Little Tree In Snow blogMt. Lemmon, December 22, 2011 — Image by Kenne

New snow-covered tree

Dressed white in forest shadows

Stood bent before me.

kenne

little tree

BY E. E. CUMMINGS

little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest

and were you very sorry to come away?

see i will comfort you

because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark

and hug you safe and tight

just as your mother would,

only don’t be afraid

look the spangles

that sleep all the year in a dark box

dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,

the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms

and i’ll give them all to you to hold

every finger shall have its ring

and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you’re quite dressed

you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see

and how they’ll stare!

oh but you’ll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands

and looking up at our beautiful tree

we’ll dance and sing

“Noel Noel”

4th Avenue Street Fair Fall 2012 109 blogImage by kenne

 

Flowers On The Oracle Ridge Trail — Lack Of, That Is!   5 comments

Blue Flax — Images by kenne

Yesterday’s SCVN Mt. Lemmon hike was on the Oracle Ridge Trail. The trailhead is on the north side of Mt. Lemmon, just off the Control Rd. and includes part of the area that was in the 2003 Aspen Wildfire. This trail is usually a great trail for observing wildflowers in the summer on Mt. Lemmon, but we were probably too early since there were very few flowers along the trail. One that was spotted at about 7,000 feet was one that Karen, Maribeth and I were not able to identify. (In my case that’s to be expected.) However, since the three of us were riding in the same car and Maribeth had a copy of the Frank Rose book,  Mountain Wildflowers of Southern Arizona, we knew we would name it during our return trip to Tucson. It turned out not to be as easy an identification as we thought. Although the flower looked like a Blue Flax, the plant had so few flowers and leaves, making it difficult to decide. It did, however make for a very interesting discussion. (More to come on the Oracle Trail hike.)

kenne

We Received A Holiday Card Today, The Old Fashion Way   1 comment


We received this card today from our dear friends, Kuyk and Dianne Logan in The Woodlands, Texas — the old fashion way! Not only did it come through the postal service, but the card was printed on Kuyk’s 1902 Chandler & Price letterpress printer. Some people collect stamps, he collects printing supplies. Kuyk, retired Houston Post managing editor, loves spending time in his workshop, which he calls “Prints Charming Ink.”

Tucked in this year’s card was a bookmark, Letterpress Bookmark* — the asterisk notes: “Not compatible with e-reader formats.”

The Dickenson reference on the card is to the annual Emily Dickenson birthday celebration organized by the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council (MCLAC), which Joy and I have missed the last couple of years since we moved to Tucson. We hope to get together with Kuyk and Dianne the next time we are in the Houston area. We miss all out MCLAC friends.

kenne

Standing At The Altar of Nature — Part II: Nature Attitude   3 comments

Sabino Canyon — Image by kenne

A short time after posting “Standing at the Altar of Nature”, I received and email from Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) member, Walt Tornow, saying that my poem  “. . . captures beautifully my feelings about being in the mountains.” Walt and I understand how really rich we are, being able to embrace the great American treasure possessed by every citizen of our country. Walt is representative of people who love nature, want to experience as much of it as possible, and want to preserve and  share it. His feelings are expressed in the following, which he shared in his email and gave permission to post. 

GOD, GRACE, AND GRATITUDE

Finding God in the wilderness …

  • The majesty of our mountains, the magnificence of views/ vistas they afford, and the splendor and munificence of the many gifts that nature has to offer
  • The awe and humility that comes from being witness to the grandeur of it all, juxtaposed with realizing the relative smallness and fleetingness of  our existence
  • Never feeling or being alone … lots of company by nature’s creatures, and taking in the beauty of nature’s show
  • Feeling vulnerable, yet trusting, being in the wilderness — potential prey to wildlife, and exposed to the elements
  • Experiencing awe, joy and inspiration by being here
  • Feeling connected … becoming one with myself, with nature, and the universe
  • Finding peace, serenity, and sense of holiness … my place of worship and meditation

 

Here for the grace of God am I …

Grateful to be, to be here, and be given the opportunity and capacity to enjoy the many gifts/ blessings around me.

— Walt Tornow

It’s common to find many in southeast Arizona who love the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Americans, in general, love their National Parks. But, as Nicholas D. Kristof shared in Sunday’s (9/11/11) NY Times op-ed piece, “The National Park Service reports that the number of recreational visits to our national parks was lower in 2010 than a decade earlier — lower even than in 1987 and 1988. There were 35 percent more backcountry campers in the national parks in 1979 than in 2010.”

The Outdoor Foundation concluded in a “special report on youth” that “Fewer and fewer youth are heading outdoors each year.” It added that “the American childhood has rapidly moved indoors, leading to epidemic levels of childhood obesity and inactivity.”

Richard Louv, author of the bestselling book, Last Child in the Woodswrites of the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, which he calls, “nature-deficit.” 

“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”—Richard Louv

This trend is sad, but the SCVN organization is doing something to turn the trend around. In the words of William Wordsworth, “Let Nature be your teacher,” the SCVN promotes awareness and appreciation of nature “through activities and programs for children and adults.” Nature “reminds us that we are part of a larger universe, stewards rather than masters of our world.”

In today’s world, a common thread is “stress.” The best break from stress is Nature, and as David Biello reports in Scientific American, “A growing body of research suggests nature walks may be more restorative than traditional stimulants like caffeine.” For me, I’ll take both! What is your Nature attitude?

The SCVN organization is one of the best examples of Margaret Mead’s belief that “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Again, I share the words of William Wordsworth on Nature:


These beauteous forms,

Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration: — feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened: — that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on, —
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.

— William Wordsworth, from the poem, “Tintern Abby” 

kenne

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