I just love this image of Jimmy Stewart. He's sitting with his Oscar (the Academy Award for his performance in The Philadelphia Story) and a clutter of coffee cups and water glasses. He isn't draped by gorgeous women or glad-handing other tuxedoed glitterati; he looks so relaxed, just taking it all in.
"One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter."
"One side of what? The other side of what?" thought Alice to herself.
"Of the the mushroom," said the caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud; and in another moment was out of sight.
—Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Who Stole the Tarts? by Salvador Dali
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has been analyzed and interpreted for hidden meanings and symbols for decades. One common theme is the subliminal reference to drugs, specifically hallucinogens that alter perception.
In 1969, surrealist Salvador Dali illustrated his version of the classic children's book. His wild images seem to reiterate what the Cheshire Cat told Alice:
It's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
Marilyn Monroe, by Roy Schatt, 1955
According to writer/photographic preservationist David Wills, there are more books about Marilyn Monroe than any other woman in history. Undeterred, Wills has curated a collection of photographs and poignant quotations from Norma Jean and her circle in a new hardcover coffee table book; Marilyn Monroe: Metamorphosis.
The story I heard over dinner: S. notices that the young man in front of her has dropped his wallet. She stops to pick it up, but now the traffic swells, the man has crossed the street and she must wait for cars to pass. With his wallet in hand, she hurries to catch up. The man is walking so quickly, she begins to run. Finally, she follows him into a doorway and calls out. He is surprised and grateful. The end. It could easily have been a great beginning to a much bigger story. I was disappointed the story didn't continue, didn't grow more detailed and colorful and complex. I'm fascinated by the role of randomness in our lives.
I've just started reading the magical work of Haruki Murakami. His ability to graft randomness (often surreal) into his work is addictive.
Below, four excerpts from separate short stories in the collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami.
He had a really nicely shaped ear. It was on the small side, but the earlobe was all puffy, like a freshly baked madeleine.
A friend of mine has a habit of going to the zoo whenever there's a typhoon.
Thinking about spaghetti that boils eternally but is never done is a sad, sad thing.
The two of us simply held each other in the darkness, sharing that enormous ice, inside of which the world's past, millions of years' worth, was preserved.
The man who moves a mountain, begins by carrying away small stones.
When a sculptor works with stone, he studies the different elements of the rock, its veins and graininess, before taking a first blow with his chisel. Gutzon Borglum thought bigger. On horseback, he scouted the area of Harney Peak in South Dakota, looking for a mountain big enough to support the figures of the sculpture he envisioned.
When he saw the granite peaks of Mount Rushmore, the tallest mountain in the region, with the sun hitting it just so, it was love. His mindset was that his portraits of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln (each six stories tall), like American history itself, would be magnificent and endure.
Construction began in 1927, and was completed in 1941, the year of Borglum's death. 400 workers cleared 800 million pounds of rock over the course of 14 years, fulfilling a preposterous idea by
one impassioned dreamer.
Before and after
The original design was more fully rendered.
Lack of funding determined the completion date.
Ninety percent of the monument was created using dynamite.