Friday, December 31, 2010

A new year

A photo of a London library after the Blitz; a 57 day period of intense, incessant bombing that occurred both day and night in 1940. The figures peruse books amid the rubble: the image captures (for me) the bittersweet quality of New Year's Day. Yes, terrible things happen--there will always be intentional acts of cruelty, pointless destruction, and unavoidable disappointment. But with that, for most of us, an indefatigable will to continue and remain hopeful.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Before lycra

Among the most popular New Year's resolutions:
losing weight and exercising.

Photos from Exercise Proper.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On closer inspection...

...just as beautiful.

Snowflake under an electron microscope, from Wired Science.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Everything is a miracle.
It is a miracle that one does not dissolve
in one's bath like a lump of sugar.

--Pablo Picasso

Nude in the Bath, Pierre Bonnard

Death of Marat, Jacques-Louis David

The Bathers, William Bouguereau

Either you prefer showers or baths. Linda Nochlin explores the painterly obsession with the ritual of bathing in her book, Bathers, Bodies, Beauty.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ghost Lake


...and now.

The Salton Sea in California's border region continues to be a subject of
controversy, and fascination.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

10 List: Annoying characters

"Hee Haw!"

Intentional or not, these characters are painfully memorable
(in no particular order).

Jar Jar Binks, Star Wars

Fabienne, Pulp Fiction

Prissy, Gone With the Wind

Mary Corleone, The Godfather Part III

Sam Wainwright, It's a Wonderful Life

Carrie, Four Weddings and a Funeral

Wendy Torrance, The Shining

Charlie Bodell, Peggy Sue Got Married

Alyssa Jones, Chasing Amy

Neo, The Matrix

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Miss Snowflake

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Saint Michael and the Dragon 1505, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino

The Annunciation 1490, Sandro Botticelli

Saint Francis of Assisi 1595, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dinner guest

Life is a horizontal fall.

--Jean Cocteau

During a recent interview I was asked the old college application question, "If you could have dinner with 3 people from any time in history, who would you invite and why?" It's a goofy cliché; the answer is supposed to reveal your personality, but inevitably becomes something self-conscious and overbearing.

Being shy around strangers, I'd be poor company--but I imagine Jean Cocteau would be a brilliant guest: artistic, energetic, and elegant, no doubt amazing the other two guests pulled from history and puzzled to be at my table.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Thin Man

Nick and Nora Charles were introduced to the world in Dashiell Hammett's 1934 detective novel, The Thin Man. It was his last novel, but the successful screen pairing of William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora continued through six films. Nick + Nora = fun couple!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Road trip

In 1977, photographer Eric Meola took a road trip with Bruce Springsteen in a convertible 65' Ford Galaxie. I love the unusual lighting in this series: sunlight veiled by storm clouds, harsh neon at night, muted daylight of a car interior--the photos have great texture and communicate a spontaneous adventure.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Sol LeWitt

Eva Hesse

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mo Willems

After meeting many of Cat the Cat’s friends, someone new is introduced.
“Cat the Cat, who is THAT?”

“Eep! I have NO idea!” replies Cat the Cat.

“Blarggie! Blarggie!” says the new character.

Mo Willems makes me laugh.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The tendency in 'good design' is towards a visible balance: one lamp and one table on either side of a sofa, uniformly placed photographs down the length of a hallway or stairwell etc. I love the treatment of this map of Italy, cut up and displayed as a broad slash against the wall. It's the most interesting aspect of an otherwise plain room.

Friday, December 17, 2010


I worked for years at a place that hosted children's parties. The parties generally had themes (pirate island, Harry Potter, fairy castle etc.) and the staff would dress in costume and design the decorations and kiddie swag accordingly. K. was the ultimate hostess, leading the children in games and telling stories as a lovely witch or fairy queen or Hogwart's professor. Occasionally, she'd enlist her boyfriend to help out, but over time we realized any man who'd willingly wear the tights and ballet slippers as Prince Charming was doomed: a break-up was imminent.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

László Moholy-Nagy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Rare cutaway models from Germany that illustrate how an engine works. The models are circa 1950, made from metal with bakelite pedestals. Fantastic!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

True Grit

Christmas came early for me this year, I saw an advance screening of the new Coen brothers film, True Grit.

You expect exacting attention to costume and production design for any period film, but it is the writing; the measured, straightforward language of Joel and Ethan Coen's screenplay that transports the audience to the harsh and bleak terrain of post-civil war Arkansas during reconstruction. The dialogue between the characters is uncompromisingly direct, so deliciously sharp, it distinguishes itself immediately from the 1969 film version that starred John Wayne. Of course the earlier True Grit is a classic, but a horse of a different color.

14-year old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) commissions hard-bitten U.S. Marshall Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to capture the hired hand that murdered her father. There's nothing cute about their journey, and nothing glossy in the telling. The title refers to the challenges we endure defining our 'grit.' Whether motivated by greed, revenge or redemption, the underlying message is that the end experience, the defining realization, is always different than expected.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Know How to Cook

Ginette Mathiot

For his birthday celebration, S. asked her father which treat he preferred: Boston cream pie, German chocolate cake or cream puffs. It's nice to have a choice, don't you agree? The thing is, she was offering to make the confection, not purchase it from a store. Although I was hoping for German chocolate cake (because there aren't enough dishes that use coconut), he chose Boston cream was delicious! Even if you know how to cook, a nicely illustrated cookbook is a delight for the senses.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ho ho ha!

Come on up on Santa's lap, here's a wet one. And what's your name little boy? And what do you want for Christmas, Billy? A toy truck? Get him off of my lap and get me a towel!
Ho ho ho.

--Jeff Gillen as Santa Claus in A Christmas Story

Favorite Santa. Because grouchy is funnier than generous and kind.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Truth is beautiful, no matter how ugly.

--John Baldessari

Friday, December 10, 2010

Leo Fuchs

PowerHouse Books has just released a new collection of Leo Fuchs' photographs. He captured the elusive cool.

Paul Newman

Robert Mitchum

Frank Sinatra

Gena Rowlands