“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life.” ~ Richard Dawkins, from Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

“There is no frontier between being and appearing.” ~ Albert Camus, from “The Myth of Sisyphus”

Tuesday late. No idea what the weather is outside . . .

Dentist appointment today. The kind of appointment that leaves half of your mouth numb, thereby ensuring that you will dribble liquids down the side of your face for all the world to see . . . Anyway, thought I’d share something with you that showed up on my tumblr dash a few days ago:

Peter Chinn, producer of National Geographic’s “In The Womb: Extreme Animals” series, makes incredible use of 3D ultrasound scans, computer graphics, and nano cameras to create breathtaking images of unborn animals. Click here to see more.

10. Bats

Bats

11. Horse

Horse

8. Cheetah

Cheetah

“The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable. It is a deep aesthetic passion to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver. It is truly one of the things that make life worth living”

~ Richard Dawkins, from Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

kindness

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James

Saturday afternoon. Rainy and windy, 55 degrees.

Oh I feel terrible. I missed my mother-in-law’s birthday on Tuesday, and that is a true misgiving on my part because she is the kindest woman I have ever known. I’ve been saving the video below just for her, and then because of the craziness that is my life, I forgot.

Mea culpa.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Joyce! I hope you had a lovely one.


 

Starry Nights time-lapse video by Jan Hattenbach:

StarryNights is a collection of astronomical time-lapse videos recorded of the last three years.

                   

A November Sunrise

Wild geese are flocking and calling in pure golden air,
Glory like that which painters long ago
Spread as a background for some little hermit
Beside his cave, giving his cloak away,
Or for some martyr stretching out
On her expected rack.
A few black cedars grow nearby
And there’s a donkey grazing.

Small craftsmen, steeped in anonymity like bees,
Gilded their wooden panels, leaving fame to chance,
Like the maker of this wing-flooded golden sky,
Who forgives all our ignorance
Both of his nature and of his very name,
Freely accepting our one heedless glance.

~ Anne Porter

Sunday afternoon . . .

“My brother once showed me a piece of quartz that contained, he said, some trapped water older than all the seas in our world. He held it up to my ear. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘life and no escape.’” ~ Anne Carson, from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry

Sunday afternoon. Drizzly and cool, 64 degrees.

Corey is outside with the chipper shredder processing all of the trees and shrubs that he and Mike cut down yesterday. It was a massive undertaking, but one that had to be done.

The pain from my trigger point injections on Friday is finally receding, which is a good thing because I have so many things that I need to do. We’ll see how much I’m able to accomplish. I have to say, though, that I’ll be really glad when that noise is over. Two days of really loud equipment going all out right outside my bedroom window is really hard on the head.

But then again, what isn’t?

Here. Have something pretty . . .

More later. Peace.

                   

Reblogged from All That is Odd:
source
Five Fascinating Beaches Around the World
Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, California

Fort Bragg residents used to throw their garbage (including glass bottles) over a cliff onto the beach before it was outlawed in 1967. Over the decades the waves and sand have broken down the glass into smooth, rounded pieces.
(Photo: mlhradio/Flickr)

Jokulsarlon Lake – Iceland

The glacial lake is located in the Vatnajokull National Park, and the shore is filled with huge pieces of ice resting on black volcanic sand. But what really makes this beach unique is that during the winter, it is the perfect place to see the breathtaking northern lights.
(Photo: Ingo Meironke/Flickr)

Bowling Ball Beach – Schooner Gulch, California

The rocks at the Schooner Gulch State Beach are almost perfectly round due to a natural process called concretion.
(Photo: John K/Flickr)

Shell Beach – Shark Bay, Australia

This beach is home to billions of coquina bivalve shells instead of fine grains of sand. The water has a high salt concentration that attracts the shelled creatures.
(Photo: Stefan L/Flickr)

Maldives Beach – Republic of the Maldives

This beach in the Maldives lights up at night, thanks to microscopic organisms called bioluminescent phytoplankton. The organisms respond to changes in the water. Any movement will leave an impressive trail of bluish lights.
(Photo: Exilism/Flickr)

                   

Music by Sleeping at Last, “Ruby Blue”

“We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory. Like the images the photographer plunges into a golden bath, our sentiments take on color; and only then, after that recoil and that transfiguration, do we understand their real meaning and enjoy them in all their tranquil splendor.” ~ Georges Duhamel, from The Heart’s Domain

“La petite fille aux feuilles mortes” (Paris, 1947)
by Édouard Boubat

“Poetry does not exist: it must be made, endlessly searched for.”
~ Édouard Boubat, from The Monograph

Two for Tuesday: Celebrating National Poetry Day: October 2 (a bit late)

Tuesday afternoon. Partly cloudy and muggy, 76 degrees.

It shouldn’t be muggy, but then again, I should not be surprised that it is so. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 80′s. Is it any wonder that my body just doesn’t know what to do with itself?

Perhaps one day I shall live somewhere where the ushering in of autumn means actual consecutive days of cooler temperatures, a prelude to the cold weather of winter. Perhaps.

Anyway, I missed National Poetry Day, which is actually acknowledged in Britain, but hey. Poetry, right? This year’s theme is remember, or remembrance, or memory, or what have you. The Forward Arts Foundation site has more information on the day and the celebrations.

Here are a few of the remember poems listed on the site:

I remember, I remember by Thomas Hood
Do you remember an inn, Miranda? by Hilaire Belloc
Remember me when I am gone away by Christina Rossetti

I’ve chosen two of my favorites below. And to highlight the poetic theme, I thought that I’d use images by a photographer/photojournalist whose work was always described as being poetic: Édouard Boubat. I’ve always loved how his Lella images (taken when they were in their 20s) seemed to reflect her as being in the midst of deep contemplation.

                    

Lella,_Edouard_Boubat,_Bretagne,_1947

“Lella” (1947)
by Édouard Boubat

 What the Heart Cannot Forget

Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.

~ Joyce Sutphen

                   

Édouard Boubat Untitled 1948 Paris

Untitled (1948, Paris)
by Édouard Boubat

The Word

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

~ Tony Hoagland

All images are by French photographer Edouard Boubat (1923-1999).

                   

Music by Radical Face, “The Guilded Hand”

The Once Wonderful Wonderland Club of Elkmont, TN

Reblogged from All That is Odd (formerly Curious History):

Hiker Discovers Abandoned Town in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

“About a mile up an unnamed gravel road inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the back way into an abandoned neighborhood and hotel, some of which was originally constructed more than 100 years ago.”

In a film titled Tennessee Wonderland (click here for link), Liles explores the town and houses of this long forgotten but newly discovered ghost town. 

From the Website of Jordan Liles

source 1, 2, 3

And here is the video:


So I did just a minimal amount of digging, and apparently, this “discovery” wasn’t really a discovery. Elkmont is well known to anyone who is familiar with that area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Here is another article, and here is the wiki. Here is a bit more history. And here is another video that delves into more of the history of Elkmont.

Just one more thing: The Wonderland Club is not the same as The Wonderland Club, which was an international online pedophile ring . . .

                   

Music by The Oh Hellos, “Hello My Old Heart”

Sunday afternoon . . .

Sunday afternoon. Sunny and lovely, 70 degrees.

So I’m still in the midst of one of the most intense migraines of my life, which means that sitting in front of a computer screen is not in the cards, hence, the dearth of posts.

So anyway, here, have something interesting that I came across in my interwebs travels, a truly remarkable cultural study by journalist Esther Honig:

Before and After

In the U.S. Photoshop has become a symbol of our society’s unobtainable standards for beauty. My project, Before & After, examines how these standards vary across cultures on a global level.

Freelancing platforms, like Fiverr, have allowed me to contract nearly 40 individuals, from more than 25 countries such as Sri Lanka, Ukraine, The Philippines, and Kenya. Some are experts in their field, others are purely amateur.

With a cost ranging from five to thirty dollars, and the hope that each designer will pull from their personal and cultural constructs of beauty to enhance my unaltered image, all I request is that they ‘make me beautiful’.

Below is a selection from the resulting images thus far. They are intriguing and insightful in their own right; each one is a reflection of both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that pertain to their creator.

Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive.

Follow up: On June 24th, 2014 Before & After went viral. The original publication on Buzzfeed recieved more than 2.5 million views and it was reported on in more than 30 countiries around the world. Included in more than two dozen wellknown publications, Before & After was featured by TIMEThe Atlantic, Vice Magazine and The Chicago Tribune. Honig appeared on CNN Internatinoal, Al Jazerra, Good Morning America, The Today Show and CTV. 

Here is the before and the after picture from Argentina. Click here to see the rest of the after pictures and how they reflect the amazing ways in which countries interpret beauty:

<span style="font-size:medium;"><strong>Argentina (left), Original Photo (right)</strong></span><br>

I was amazed by what was changed, added, deleted, refined: eye color, makeup, skin lightening, clothes, backgrounds, eyelashes, even stray hairs. But the one that weirded me out the most was India in which Honig’s clavicles were erased. Bone structure? Really?

More later (with any luck). Peace.

“Doesn’t it make you shiver? | There’s a fearlessness I envy | In the simple soft wavering dark.” ~ Alicia Ostriker, from “Ohio Evening”

Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum, Cincinnati by David Ohmer FCC

Johnny Appleseed Statue, Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum, Cincinnati by David Ohmer (FCC)


 

These things float around in my head
Like a boat that cuts its motor
In the middle of a lake,
Where under a full moon and no wind
The singing of the crickets far away
Goes up and up like a curtain of beads.” ~ Alicia Ostriker, from “Ohio Evening”

Monday afternoon. Cloudy and humid, 73 degrees.

Cooler temperatures have me longing for fall—red and orange foliage, mountain trails, the smell of loam and cold spring water, crisp apples straight from the orchard, wildflower honey. Ah me. I don’t know if I’ll make it through a real post today, so I’ll just start musing and see where it takes me, okay?

So Corey heard from the landowner, and it doesn’t look promising. The owner wants to sell outright, no lease to buy, and that’s perfectly understandable; also,  the other family that is very interested in the property told him that they can have the financing by March of next year. So if we want this property, we need to sell one of these houses so that, we hope, we can secure a new mortgage for the property before March 2015.

Did you get all of that?

Tofukuji Temple, Japan by Ari Helminen FCC

Tofukuji Temple, Japan by Ari Helminen FCC
Even though this image has a copyright symbol on it, it was listed on the photographer’s site as being creative commons

In essence, unless we sell something, we’re not going to get my dream property. And the bummer is that we just cannot put our house on the market without doing some work on it. I refuse to take a loss on this house, which might seem stubborn, but it would seem too much like a failure.

Here’s what we need to do to put it on the market:

  • Rip up the old carpet and make the floors look presentable
  • Install a new back door
  • Replace all of the windows
  • Gut the kitchen and install new cabinetry and tile
  • Paint everything
  • Replace a couple of interior doors
  • Have central ac installed
  • Replace three ceiling fans and install new lighting in the kitchen
  • Finish the bathroom

“And you are left in the end with all that pain cannot take from you.” ~ Carole Maso, from Beauty is Convulsive: The Passion of Frida Kahlo

It actually isn’t a whole lot, and we can do everything except for the AC, and if we do the work, I think that we can get everything done for between 20 and 30K.

I mean, the boys and I can work on the painting while Corey is out. If we’re not staying here, then we don’t need to install the expensive door that I had picked out, and we can save on the kitchen cabinetry as well. Doing a kitchen is not nearly as hard as doing a bathroom; I know this because I’ve done the kitchen in this house before (my ex and I). Installing cabinetry takes a level and two people to handle the cabinets.

Oregan Trail in Autumn by Ian Sane FCC

Oregon Trail in Autumn by Ian Sane (FCC)

Corey has said that he never wants to take on another renovation project himself, having been almost defeated by the bathroom gut and reno; he says that he would rather hire someone to do it, but I think if it means the difference between getting and not getting this property while we wait for funds to do the work, he may see it my way. At least I’m hoping he will. This is one of those situations in which it would be nice if his brothers lived closer so that they could chip in a day or two of help, especially his brother Chad, who is incredibly handy and seems to just know how to do anything.

Anyway, if we start on this work next month, I honestly think that we could be finished by December, and then we could put the house on the market.

Am I not being realistic? Maybe. But this means too much to me to just sit back and accept that we cannot do it.

“A thousand dreams within me softly burn.
From time to time my heart is like some oak
whose blood runs golden where a branch is torn.” ~ Arthur Rimbaud, from “Evening Prayer,” trans. Wyatt Mason

As far as putting the house on the market, I have no idea what the market is like in this area at the moment. I haven’t been in touch with any of my realty contacts in years, so I don’t know if the market is a buyer’s or a seller’s or no one’s. I know that the market has rebounded since the crash of 2007, and I know that it isn’t inflated like it was in 2004-05. Other than that, I have no idea if we can even sell this stupid house.

GE Eastman House, NY by Lisa Cook fcc

GE Eastman House, NY by Lisa Cook (FCC)

I really don’t want to think about it any more at the moment. Let’s see, in other news . . .

I’ve been eating everything in sight for the past few days. No idea where that’s coming from unless it’s stress. It’s stress . . . it’s always stress . . . I throw up . . . it’s stress . . . I eat too much . . . it’s stress . . . I can’t sleep . . . it’s stress . . . I sleep too much . . . it’s stress.

Sheesh. Whatever.

Later this afternoon I’m picking up Olivia, and she’ll stay with me until tomorrow. At least I have that to look forward to. A few hours with le bébé, and almost always it puts me right as rain, even though it leaves me exhausted . . . it’s stress . . .

More later. Peace.

Music by Luke Sital, “Nearly Morning”

                   

So Much of the World

So much of the world exists
without us

the mountain in its own steepness

the deer sliding
into the trees becoming
a darkness
in the woods’ darkness.

So much of an open field
lies somewhere between the grass
and the dragonfly’s drive and thrum

the seed and seedling,
the earth within.

But so much of it lies in someone
standing alone at the edge of a field
with a life apart

feeling for a moment
the plover’s cry
on the tongue

the curve and plumb
of the apple bough
in limb and bone.

So much of it between
one thing and another,

days of invitation,
then of release and return.

~ Gregory Djanikian