Upper Manhattan Jaunt

January 7, 2018

I revisited one of my favorite buildings in Manhattan; the multi-storey sub-basement of an old apartment building in Washington Heights, amidst the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Complex.

Upper Lower Dungeon

It really does seem like a dungeon to me.

Let me out

It’s barely visible from this perspective amidst the hospital behemoths that recall to my mind the fantasies of Saint Elia.



Manhattan Schist, so it’s called, is prominent up here, and from such soil, great structures grow.


Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, we had barely two seasons:  I love the winter!love winter II

After all this gawking at icy splendor, I retreated to The Cloisters.


Son of Clovis?


Saint Lawrence Being Roasted:  The story goes that after grilling for a while, he declared, “I’m well-done, turn me over!”  Thus, he is the patron saint of cooks.



Taste Sensation

January 5, 2018


…but the coffee merits special mention.

Limpid it was, scented and wondrous hot; but above all, it was served, not in those degenerate vessels which they dare, on the banks of the Seine to call cups, but in fair, deep bowls wherein the worthy fathers plunged their thick lips with a will, and sucked up the life-giving liquid with a noise that would have done credit to two sperm whales fleeing before a storm.

from The Physiology of Taste by Brillat-Savarin


December 30, 2017


Painted by the artist known as Duccio about seven hundred years ago, this could be considered the “Ur image” of Renaissance art: Vasari recognized it as such centuries later. I always visit it when I go to the Met.

I rather like this snap of the picture; very meta 🤓.  Picture of a picture that initiated the Western preoccupation with illusionary pictorial space. The parapet at the bottom edge is key, nicely heightened here, strangely, by the photograph’s flattening of the whole image.  Other pictures intrude into the picture of the picture.

The original frame is burned along the bottom by generations of devotional candles.


Iguana Physics

December 29, 2017

IguanaFall bb

What goes up must come down.  Full image here.

Englewood Brookside Cemetery

December 23, 2017

Englewood Temple_ab

Low, raking winter light in a local cemetery with a variety of pinhole cameras, from coffee can to small circular tin, giving a rondel image.  The name on the tomb below is Rathbone, but I don’t know if it has any connection to Basil.  Englewood, NJ was home to many actors when it was at the center of the silent film industry in the USA in the early 20th century.

Englewood Rathbone_aEnglewood Pigeon_ab


Facts Matter..?

December 12, 2017


I like to flatter myself that I am an independent thinker, i.e, I think for myself.  One of the problems with that tendency is that I sometimes find myself in disagreement with people with whom I agree most of the time.  This slogan, in the button above, is one of those instances.  I dislike it intensely.

The first reason I dislike it is that everyone knows that facts matter – even Trumpy and Roy Moore.  Even Kelly Anne Conway, she of “alternative facts” fame.  The disagreement is over what is, and what is not a fact, and how important some facts are compared to others.  Science and history have their methods for resolving these questions, techniques in which our present administration is uninterested because they pose inconvenient questions, but the importance of facts is not really at issue.

One of the unpleasant aspects of being a dissenter is that you are opened up to condemnation when you disagree with the prevailing view, what Flaubert called “received wisdom.”  I may agree with my friends 95% of the time, but when that 5% comes up, out comes the “Facts Matter” button!

The other reason I don’t like this slogan is that it presumes that the speaker has all the facts, i.e. THE FACTS.  Much of the time, these days, the slogan is deployed regarding Trumpy’s lying and misstatements about politics,  history, economics…well just about anything, and the newspapers, e.g. the NYTimes, are held up as proof that he is wrong.  Well, I like the NYTimes and read it daily, but memory is short.  About fifteen years ago, it was telling us breathless stories about the vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction hidden in Iraq by Saddam Hussein, remember him?  There were no WMDs.  I knew it then, and so did lots of other people.  The paper did apologize, years later, but why assume that they have the facts simply because they happen to be in the right all the time about Trumpy?

It’s a lot of work to cross check sources, read up on issues, track the positions of people to see if they lie about their past statements, and so on, but hey, you want a democracy, that’s what you have to do.  You want knowledge, you have to work for it. Relying on Breitbart or the NYTimes as the oracle of The Truth is the lazy way to ignorance, though of the two, naturally you’ll do better, most of the time, with the NYTimes.  That’s based on my personal research.  🙂

And just FYI, the NYTimes still maintains the same low standards of journalism they displayed in their coverage of the WMDs in Iraq when they “report” on climate science.  Facts matter, but you’ll look long and hard for them in their coverage.  Just sayin’.  🙂



Larvatus prodeo

December 7, 2017

Masked IIa.jpg

Full image here.