Words: Rosario Ferré

I write because I am poorly adjusted to reality; because the deep disillusionment within me has given rise to a need to re-create life, to replace it with a more compassionate, tolerable reality. I carry within me a utopian person, a utopian world.

— from the essay The Writer’s Kitchen, Feminist Studies 12, no. 2 (Summer 1986), translated from the Spanish by Diana L. Velez

A minute ago, self decided to google Ferré and learned she had passed away, 18 February 2016. She was 77.

Noooooooo!

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The View Across the Street From the Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino, 21 April 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog writers. Stay tuned.

Maureen Dowd: Ivanka and Vodka, on the Rocks

“Donald Trump is the meanest man I have ever met.”

— former top Trump administration official, quoted by Maureen Dowd

So happy to be reading Maureen Dowd again. It’s been too long. In her piece in the Sunday, 24 June 2018 New York Times, she dissects the First Daughter.

It turns out Ivanka really does just want to please Daddy, which reflects the panic she felt when Trump left Ivanka’s mother for Marla Maples. Ivanka “called him constantly.”

When she became a model, her father “suggested to friends that breast implants might help her along. One friend recalled getting a frantic call from Maryanne Trump, Donald’s sister, urging him to talk Donald out of letting her get plastic surgery that young. It’ll ruin her, she said into the phone. When his friend confronted him about it, he denied that she was getting implants. At the end of the call, he asked, Why not, though?”

The poor girl. The poor, poor girl. She’s mastered the art of being Trump’s daughter so well, and now she’s nothing but a prop. A prop who can’t think on her own.

This prop is having a hard time controlling “the ultimate wild child. An authentic jerk trumps an inauthentic brand ambassador.”

Trump is “the all-consuming maw . . . an infinite pit of need,” according to Emily Fox, author of the just published Born Trump. He’s “a time-sucking vampire who fed off those around him to sustain his own vanity.”

“Nobody,” writes Dowd, “is buying her blond savior routine any more.” Rest assured, however, that she has inherited her father’s “preternatural ability to self-promote.” She can still make money, just not from touting her association with Daddy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

New Books for the Reading List

Stanford professors, the editors of Stanford University Press and Bing Overseas Study Program staff were asked to recommend books for summer reading and they came up with some interesting titles:

Books To Shift Your Perspective

  • An Act of Terror, by André Brink
  • Sometimes a Great Notion, by Ken Kesey
  • The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
  • Hadji Murad, by Leo Tolstoy
  • Stoner, by John Williams
  • The Removes, by Tatjana Soli
  • Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta, by Michael Copperman
  • Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, by Bruce Handy

Books on Globality and Migration

  • Brother, I’m Dying, by Edwidge Danticat
  • Signs Preceding the End of the World, by Yuri Herrera

Books for Travelers to:

Australia

  • In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson and Ellen Titlebaum

China

  • Age of Ambitions: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China, by Evan Osnos

Germany

  • Memories of a Nation, by Neil MacGregor
  • The Reluctant Meister: How Germany’s Past is Shaping Its European Future, by Stephen Green

Italy

  • The Italians, by John Hooper

Japan

  • A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Animé, Zen and the Tea Ceremony, by Hector Garcia

Cape Town, South Africa

  • Keeper of the Kumm, by Sylvia Vollenhoven

Spain

  • The New Spaniards, by John Hooper

Things About the Magritte at the San Francisco MOMA

Self has seen it three times.

The Magritte-themed food in the fifth floor café is so much fun:

In the adjoining sculpture garden, you can pose in front of this sign and you will look fabulous and so ‘San Francisco’:

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Andrew and Jennie, 14 July 2018

There is a great, really great interactive portion at the end: Raise your arms, and YOU’RE the Magritte!

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More later. Stay tuned!

Want To Like This Book

The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 307:

What a miracle he has wrought — he, so recently an effete idler in straitened circumstances — now master of this vast farm with its quaint brown workers moving amongst the lavender like field mice.

— William Rackham, heir to the Rackham lavender farms and perfumeries

Style Guide, The Daily Stormer

The Daily Stormer is a relatively popular neo-Nazi blog, although it’s impossible to know exactly how popular. (From the style guide: “The site continues to grow month by month, indicating that there is no ceiling on this.” Also from the guide: “We should always claim we are winning, and should celebrate any wins with exteme exaggeration.”)

— Andrew Marantz, in a piece from The New Yorker’s Talk of the Town, 15 January 2018

Apparently, a HuffPost reporter, Ashley Feinberg, got sent a style guide, which is seventeen pages long. Excerpts:

  • Links must not “stretch into the spacing between words.”
  • Images must be exactly three hundred and twenty pixels wide, to avoid anything “aesthetically problematic.”
  • Each post “should be filled with as much visual stimulation as possible,” in order to “appeal to the ADHD culture.”
  • Passages from mainstream sources must be unaltered, so that “we can never be accused of ‘fake news’ —  or delisted by Facebook as such.”
  • There is NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH HYPERBOLE: “Even when a person can say to themselves ‘this is ridiculous,’ they are still affected by it on an emotional level. Refer to teenagers who get arrested for racist Twitter posts as ‘eternally noble warriors bravely fighting for divine war to protect the blood heritage of our sacred ancestors’ . . . You and anyone reading can say omg corny lol. But it just doesn’t matter to the primitive part of the brain.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Week 2 Photo (Blue, Pop Art, Vivid Color)

Self’s entry for Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenge this week (She invites us to derive what inspiration we can from a new photo every week — quite an interesting challenge!)

You can see the photo for Week 2 here. It’s a vivid picture: a wall mural in bright colors, a vintage truck with a raised hood.

Self chose to focus on the colors. And, as luck would have it, she doesn’t have to search for very long before she stumbles on just the right pictures.

Last Saturday, son and his wife flew up from Orange County and we spent a day in the City. SO. MUCH. FUUUUN! Self had been raving about the Magritte exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art since forever. So that became our first stop.

We stopped for refreshments at the 5th floor café, and posed for pictures in the sculpture garden:

 

 

Here’s one last: Andrew and Jennie having fun at the interactive portion of the exhibit. The screen they’re staring at is bright blue, son is wearing a black sweater, and Jennie’s wearing a blue hoodie. So that’s an acceptable interpretation of the photo challenge, right? Not to mention: the cords for the audio guide are orange!

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 14 July 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Letter to the Editor, New York Times, 24 June 2018

This letter was published weeks before the Trump-Putin Summit. Every word could have been published today.

Wake up, America! Our democratic institutions are under attack — from within.

To the Editor:

Many of us watch these developments in international relations with a mix of sadness, anxiety and extreme anger. It’s almost as if President Trump were saying to us, well, the system that enormously benefited me and my generation for the last 70 years was wonderful, but you don’t need it and can’t have it.

Most infuriating, many of the people now rapidly trying to destroy what took generations to build and maintain won’t be around to see the aftermath. But we will, and so will our children. We need to start voting all these people out in November and begin the hard work of repairing the damage.

D.P.D., Seattle

Stay tuned.

 

London Walks: Hyde Park

The first time self read The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michael Faber, was over a decade ago. She hadn’t much experience of London. Now, however, she knows London, knows its general geography, and enjoys passages like the following:

  • Since moving to the West End, Sugar has taken to crossing Hyde Park, over the Serpentine into Knightsbridge, and paying frequent visits to the two Georgian houses in Trevor Square, which may look like high-class brothels, but are in fact a public library.

The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 35

  • Follow Sugar now into the great open space, the grandiose vacancy of Regent Street — admire those overtowering honeycombs of palatial buildings stretching into the fog of artificial infinity, those thousands of identically shaped windows tier upon tier; the glassy expanse of roadway swept clear of snow; all of it is a statement of intent: a declaration that in the bright future to come, places like St. Giles and Soho, with their narrow labyrinths and tilting hovels and clammy, crumbling nooks infested with human flotsam, will be swept away, to be replaced by a new London that looks entirely like Regent Street, airy, regular and clean.

The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 43

Her last trip to London was at the tail-end of October 2017. She dropped by Hyde Park and saw:

1) the Serpentine

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2) a fabulous Pavilion

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The 2017 Serpentine Pavilion designed by architect Francis Kéré

and 3) the Prince Albert Memorial:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Friday: C. P. Kavafy

from “Gray” (1917)

Those gray eyes will have lost their charm — if he’s still alive;
that lovely face will have spoiled.

Memory: keep them the way they were.
And, memory, whatever you can bring back of that love,
whatever you can, bring back tonight.

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