Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bubbles and puddles and Eastertide!

At times I find early spring photos to be dull and dirty. But the lighting and lack of colour in some of these, I think, tap into some of the advantages of black and white photography. Happy Easter to all and to all a good night!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Anne Fadiman through the tulips

I recently borrowed Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader from a friend and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have lifted a few excerpts and placed them here the better to remember it by. I am sorry for the lack of context which would add even more richness to many of the quotes but will have only to recommend that you find and read the book in its entirety. I have entwined the quotes with pictures of last year's tulips because flowers and renewal cannot come soon enough to the darkness of this tired and dirty world. "After five years of marriage and a child, George and I finally resolved that we were ready for the more profound intimacy of library consolidation." "Americans admire success. Englishmen admire heroic failure." "My sonnets looked like poems. They quacked like poems. But at seventeen, when I got to college and my critical faculties suddenly kicked in, I had to admit that they weren't really poems. I had mistaken for lyric genius what was in fact merely the genetic facility for verbal problem-solving that enabled everyone in my family to excel at crossword puzzles, anagrams, and Scrabble." "During the next thirty years I came to realize that just as there is more than one way to love a person, so is there more than one way to love a book." "To us, a book's words were holy, but the paper, cloth, cardboard, glue, thread, and ink that contained them were a mere vessel, and it was no sacrilege to treat them as wantonly as desire and pragmatism dictated. Hard use was a sign not of disrespect but of intimacy." "On the sanguinary fields of gender politics, Ms. has scored a clear victory. I wish I could say the same of, say, the United Church of Christ's new 'inclusive' hymnal, in which "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" has been replaced by "Dear God, Embracing Humankind." The end is estimable; it's the means that chafe. I'm not sure I want to be embraced by an Almighty with so little feeling for poetry. Yet, having heard the new version, I can't say I feel entirely happy with the old one either. As is all too often the case these days, I find my peace as a reader and writer rent by a war between two opposing semantic selves, one feminist and one reactionary." "I believe that although my father and E. B. White were not misogynists, they didn't really see women, and their language reflected and reinforced that blind spot." "What I am saying here is very simple: Changing our language to make men and women equal has a cost. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. High prices are attached to many things that are on the whole worth doing. It does mean that the loss of our heedless grace should be mourned, and then accepted with all the civility we can muster, by every writer worth his'er salt." "Our father, who often boasted that he had never actually done anything except think, was still the same person he had been when he started collecting books in the early 1920s. He and his library had never diverged. Our mother, on the other hand, had once led a life of action. And why had she stopped? Because she had had children. Her books, which seemed the property of a woman I had never met, defined the size of the sacrifice my brother and I had exacted." "Other people's walls looked naked to me. Ours weren't flat white backdrops for pictures. They were works of art themselves, floor-to-ceiling mosaics whose vividly pigmented tiles were all tall skinny rectangles, pleasant to the touch and even, if one liked the dusty fragrance of old paper, to the sniff." "Now you know why I married my husband. In my view, nineteen pounds of old books are at least nineteen times as delicious as one pound of fresh caviar." "In a secondhand bookstore, each volume is one-of-a-kind, neither replaceable from a publisher's warehouse nor visually identical to its original siblings, which have accreted individuality with every change of ownership. If I don't buy the book now, I may never have another chance. And therefore, like Beecher, who believed the temptations of drink were paltry compared with the temptations of books, I am weak." " "It was only when I saw his bookshelves--James Bond paperbacks cheek by jowl with nineteenth-century parliamentary proceedings--that I got a sense of who Clive really was. His intellectual furnishings explained him in a way his lectures hadn't. "Dispersing his library was like cremating a body and scattering it to the winds. I felt sad. And I realized that books get their value from the way the coexist with the other books a person owns, and that when they lose their context, the lose their meaning." "

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 07, 2014

Bobcat boys

It's finally warm! But the beautiful weather also means that the bobcats are leaving the premises since (hopefully) there won't be any more need to plow snow this season. So the boys took a fond farewell before their dad drove the bobcats to another location. It's a little sad but I'm sure they'll still have opportunities to see the machines over the summer, too.