From Here To Eternity (Fred Zinneman, 1953).
Isn’t that just the way of it?
But, my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.
(Alan Watts, The Nature of Consciousness.)
“Lady Writing a Letter With Her Maid.” Jan Vermeer, 1677.
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position;
how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
“A Youth Making a Face.” Adriaen Brouwer, 1635.
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
“Landscape With the Fall of Icarus”. Pieter Brueghel*, 1558.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure;
the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
(W.H. Auden, “Musee des Beaux Artes.” 1938).
*It has been discovered through radiocarbon dating that Landscape With the Fall of Icarus is not by Brueghel the Elder, though it is thought to be based on a lost painting of his, and that association lead to the centuries-long misattribution of the painting’s provenance.
“Ritual Dance” by Aëla Labbé.
Alone, alone, about the dreadful wood
Of conscious evil runs a lost mankind,
Dreading to find its Father.
(W.H. Auden, For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio. 1941-2.)
Photographed by bagnino on the da.
This great society is going smash;
They cannot fool us with how fast they go,
How much they cost each other and the gods.
A culture is no better than its woods.
(W.H. Auden, Bucolics II: “Woods.” 1952. 51-54)
So, it’s still in the 80′s in my little pocket of the universe— that’s around 30 to you metric friendohs — and I say that calls for one last Girl of Summer. (Don’t call it an Indian Summer; call it Global Warming’s Brief and Only Benefit.)
The lovely and talented Heather Ryan was Playboy‘s Miss July 1967. She is an all-around smashing girl and I’m super-psyched to finally finish the write-up on her. Whatch’all know about unusal pets? Cause this strawberry blonde here’s ’bout to change the game.
Not so sure it’s the ocelot they’re double-taking on.
[Heather] currently resides at her family’s Glendale home, on the brink of the canyon: “It’s pretty desolate out there, but we’re lucky that we have no close neighbors, because the ocelot often screams at night.”
No couch potatoes looking for a BJ and a Blockbuster night need apply:
“I am,” she says, “fascinated by adventure, and I suppose it pervades most of my tastes. I like actors like Paul Newman, Charlton Heston and Steve McQueen, because they usually portray men who are as untamed as my ocelot.”
Attagirl. Speaking of which, the most terrible Mustang experience befell me this week.
I was running a bit late on my way to work. I headed on to the freeway with a newish Mustang ahead of me. The guy crawled down the ramp and inched his way through the merge, then continued to torture me by poking around in the middle lane, keeping me from getting in to the leftmost, fastest lane.
I was totally shocked. You’re in a Mustang, man! You do not drive a Mustang in the middle lane! Somewhere in Germany, the Cappy just felt a pang in his heart and shook his head, and he didn’t know why: now you know, brother. A guy was driving a Mustang in the middle lane at about 60 mph. I know. It was a scandal.
But she was not much in to the hippie scene, particularly the men –
Totally agree. I don’t like long hair on men … sorry long-haired friends, it’s just a personal preference. No long hair, no skinny jeans. Spread the word.
As for Ms. Ryan’s dislike of the “unnaturalness” of women, who can argue with that? Besides girdles and foam butts, there was already plastic surgery and ubiquitous hairpieces. Of course, the problem has only gotten worse. I can only imagine what Ms. Ryan thinks of some of today’s Playboy centerfolds.
Ms. Ryan did not fulfill those ambitions …
…Because she totally exceeded them. Get it, girl! A wildlife biologist, Ms. Ryan is a published author and has lead all-female eco-tours. Taxidermy is her hobby. In the Playboy article, she mentions enjoying hunting quail and rabbit, so it’s kind of a natural progression.
Ms. Ryan also mentions, when asked what she thinks is a great read, Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury’s little masterpiece is one of my top favoritest books of all time, too. I just re-read it last weekend, as I like to read it every year around Halloween. Synchronicity! One of these years when I’ve sufficiently expiated my sins of ignorance to Mr. Auden, I will have to have a “Something Wicked” October.
There are many books I read at special times of year, but Something Wicked is one which I never fail to get toe-curling excited about in my anticipation. The descriptions are gorgeous, the writing crackles and terrifies and moves you — I adore all Bradbury, but I put Something Wicked in the most special, highest place.
Click above to scope the original Playboy article scans; there are pictures included in the spread that are not in this post, so give those a spin!
Cover model Venita Wolfe was photographed by Mario Casilli, who shot the following month’s centerfold: the lovely and talented sweetheart DeDe Lind.
This post originally appeared on at October 27, 2010 at 8:45 a.m.
Photographed by Mieke Willems.
Prohibit sharply the rehearsed response
And gradually correct the coward’s stance. …
Harrow the house of the dead; look shining at
New styles of architecture, a change of heart.
(W.H. Auden, “Petition.”)
Like that bird, for instance — do you think he woke up knowing he’d get to perch on a pert ass today? I expect not: I expect he thought it would be just another day, the same as all the others he has lived.
I guess what I’m suggesting is that, as Auden petitions, it is worthwhile to defy the lessons of experience, throw caution to the wind, and look with a hopeful heart for the unexpected and unpredictable new. How to completely go about doing that I am less certain of, but I know that it must be worth trying.
Schulz had a long association with ice sports, and both figure skating and ice hockey featured prominently in his cartoons. In Santa Rosa, he was the owner of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which opened in 1969 and featured a snack bar called “The Warm Puppy”.
Ice-skating is the only sport other than baseball at which I’ve ever instantly demonstrated amazing prowess on the first try. For this reason, I try to talk it up big to everyone I know, but, in a region of California that seldom ever sees temperatures dip below 25 degrees, fahrenheit, it’s an uphill battle.
All photographs by Andre de Dienes.
The date in the poem’s title refers, of course, to the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s Wehrmacht … or does it refer with remarkably prescient precedence to my birthday?
No. It refers to the other thing.
So the big news of the world from the NY Comic-Con is this whole Avengers movie dealie. (Because, you know, The Dark Knight Rises is so passe).
photograph by brainybrimstone on the flickr.
Aw, geez, man. Here’s the thing: I don’t like the Avengers. I haven’t seen a single one of their setup movies. Not even the Iron Man flicks, and that’s in direct violation of a personal blood oath I made to Robert Downey, Jr. in the 1990s. (Chances Are, Heart and Souls, Only You? — totally irrestible.) I can’t help it: I just don’t care about the danged Avengers. On the plus side, I can finally see the viewpoint of all those good but non-dorky friends whose sphincters clench when I start in on Batman.
The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.
I’ve been mourning the loss of a very close childhood friend. She was very literally the first friend I ever had. Because we moved quite far apart, in the last several years, our contact has been social networking and phone calls on each other’s birthdays (my lucky number, 22, is owing to her birthday of February 22nd). I do have to give her a wry thumbs-up because it was very clever to die of breast cancer in October so that we’d all remember every year to donate and walk and light candles and the like, but I can’t say I have been much of a fan of the actual passing.
My friend had time to say goodbye to her sons, her husband, her sister and her parents, and to all of the rest of us who loved her. But what I have been struggling with is the loss of that world inside her: a world whose first gasps I was lucky enough to share with her, a world whose confident, feet-found orbit was still only just beginning. I feel so bitter and helpless about it. I didn’t realize how badly I’d been repressing it until I went to her funeral at our old church several hours away (alone, which was a terrible mistake). I didn’t weep or make a spectacle, but I didn’t stop crying. It was like I couldn’t.
Afterward, a very nice, very short woman came up and began gently asking me about my friend, and I explained that we’d known each other since we were very, very young, and had even gone to school together off and on. Turns out the woman was one of my kindergarten teachers. The nice one. Still nice, after all these years. I’ll explain that another day.
The point is — horrible. Bitterness. Anger. Grief. But not so much anger that I wish to assuage it by some sort of strike back; that would not at all comfort me, because I’m not down to facts just yet. I’m not ready to slap on a pink-ribboned tank top and run any marathons to make things better for others, because I don’t give a shit about all that yet. That is for sure.
I feel like a lost and selfish monster, surrounded by all this breast cancer awareness promotional material and not even up to the point of resentment of the disease; ergo, mystified by the idea of embracing that activism to trump my grief. I don’t like to feel that way. And I like to do all kinds of charity malarkey. I really do. I’ve donated this month already in the name of another friend’s mother, who beat it two years ago.
But this new thing — I am just not ready to even think of my friend’s death in terms of what killed her. That seems objective to the point of frightening. But I should strive for it? Right? How do you get to there?
It’s important to get hands-on with arithmetic lessons.
So besides going back to school for some masochistic post-grad-work (I couldn’t stay away forever), I’ve also been teaching mathematics to below-level fourth and fifth graders. I really like it. But it’s kept me busy. These are students who dislike math and need new ways to connect with their material: I’m trying to use a lot of concrete examples.
Anyone had a disconnect with math in their youth and recall lessons which resonated more strongly than the ol’ drill and kill? I’ve got ideas of my own but, with these scamps, I can’t have enough.