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…time to make some choices…

this or this_2

[h/t to thisisnthappiness…of course…]

For the bookish in us…all available…and more… at the Out of Print shop:

out of print clothing arrayclockwise from top left:
Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintanance t-shirt,
Edgar Allan Poe socks, Moby Dick t-shirt, Library Card scarf,
The Little Prince socks

Best get there soon…lots of stuff selling out…

StuckInABookIncidental Comics
Words and Pictures by Grant Snider
[more here]

McDermott quote 3

Alice Mcdermott

From The Guardian:

Bindings made between the 15th and 18th centuries often contain hidden manuscript fragments that can be much older. Bookbinders used to cut up and recycle handwritten books from the middle ages, which had become old-fashioned following the invention of printing. These fragments, described by Kwakkel as “stowaways from a distant past”, are within as many as one in five early modern age printed books.

Access to such “hidden libraries” has been made possible by macro x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (MA-XRF), which allows pages to be read without removing the bookbinding.

(Dr Erik) Kwakkel added: “Much of what we’re finding is 15th or 14th century, but it would be really nice to have Carolingian material, so from the ninth century or even older. It would be great to find a fragment of a very old copy of a Bible, the most important text in the middle ages. Every library has thousands of these bindings, especially the larger collections. If you go to the British Library or the Bodleian [in Oxford], they will have thousands of these bindings. So you can see how that adds up to a huge potential.”

12th century manuscript in bindingFragments of 12th-century manuscripts used to construct
a 16th-century bookbinding in Leiden University Library.
Photograph: Erik Kwakkel

Full story: X-rays reveal 1,300-year-old writings inside later bookbindings

Physicist and astronaut Ron McNair, who perished in 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated seconds after launch, was the second African-American person to fly into space. He is remembered by his brother Carl in a short film, Eyes on the Stars, and how the power of a young boy’s curiosity can overcome cultural stereotypes about race, law enforcement and even librarians:

We knew from an early age that my brother Ron was different. When he was nine years old, Ron decided to take a mile walk from our home down to the library — which was, of course, a public library, but not so public for black folks, when you’re talking about 1959 in segregated South Carolina.

So as he was walking through the library, all these folks were staring at him, because it was white folk only, and they were looking at him and saying, you know, “Who is this Negro?”

He found some books, and he politely positioned himself in line to check out. Well, this old librarian says, “This library is not for coloreds.” He said, “I would like to check out these books.” She says, “Young man, if you don’t leave this library right now, I’m going to call the police!” He just propped himself up on the counter and sat there and said, “I’ll wait.”

So she called the police and subsequently called my mother. The police came down, two burly guys, and say, “Well, where’s the disturbance?” She pointed to the nine-year-old boy sitting up on the counter. One of the policemen says, “Ma’am, what’s the problem?”

So my mother, in the meanwhile, she comes down there, and she’s praying the whole way: “Lordy, Jesus, please don’t let them put my child in jail!” My mother asked the librarian, “What’s the problem?” The librarian said, “He wanted to check out the books. You know that your son shouldn’t be down here.”

The police officer said, “Why don’t you just give the kid the books?” And my mother said, “He’ll take good care of them.” Reluctantly, the librarian gave Ron the books, and my mother said, “What do you say?” He said, “Thank you, ma’am.”

[Above via Brain Pickings and the essay, Eyes on the Stars…]

From The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program of the University of Buffalo:

Dr. McNair was the first in his family to graduate from college, as well as to earn a PhD. His academic and subsequent career successes, dimmed only by his untimely death, serve as a beacon to the current generation of college students who, for many reasons, may feel that graduate education, and particularly, the doctoral degree, are inaccessible.


Artist and author Chris Van Allsburg is interviewed by NASA about Zathura, his children’s space adventure book, and keeping his own sense of wonder:

Sometimes when your children are very young, you can see the world through their eyes and have that child-like sense of wonder…I think a little bit of the sense of wonder is a desire to escape the present, or the real world. That fantasy is actually a way to see the world how you’d like it to be, rather than seeing the way it is, and that’s a bit of an inspiration. It’s also the whole idea of believing in things that are not quite possible.

I like that kids are less inclined to discount things because they can’t be done. They have an imagination that thinks that maybe things can be done. So certainly it is useful as an adult, possibly as an adult scientist as well as an artist, to think about things that might not happen and then wonder how they might.


Full interview here

Added note:

The Writer’s Almanac (June 18, 2016) reveals Van Allsburg’s interview for admission into a school for art & design:

He wanted to study art in college, but he hadn’t taken any art classes in high school, so he lied and told the admissions officer he was so advanced that he was given private lessons on the weekends. The officer was impressed, but not convinced, and he asked Van Allsburg what he thought of Norman Rockwell. Van Allsburg didn’t really have an opinion, but he guessed that the admissions officer probably liked Rockwell, so he said: “I believe Norman Rockwell is unfairly criticized for being sentimental. I think he is a wonderful painter who captures America’s longings, America’s dreams, and presents American life with the drama and sensitivity of a great playwright.” The admissions officer approved him then and there, and he became an official art student at the University of Michigan.

Sometimes fantasy is a good thing…sometimes often…


tolstoy quote

– from Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

the-veteran-in-a-new-fieldThe Veteran In A New Field
Winslow Homer, 1865
oil on canvas

[h/t to the essay, The Russian Peasant’s Workout,  by Jeremy Hastings,
NY Times, Sunday 6/12/2016]

Herman Hesse on the written word:

hesse quote– from the 1930 essay, The Magic of Books

portrait-of-rodo-readingPortrait of Rodo Reading
Camille Pissarro, 1893
oil on canvas

[h/t to Brain Pickings for the lead-in…]

Simon Felice is invoking our surroundings: the foothills of Overlook Mountain, a place sacred to Algonquins centuries before it became a destination and settlement for artists and craftspeople and bohemians of the early twentieth century. He is also a child of Woodstock’s musical history, the thirty-seven-year-old son of a carpenter who came to the Catskills for the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair and never left.

As he switches from strummed acoustic to a very unfancy drum kit, the handsome man with the Terence Stamp eyes morphs for a minute into the Band’s late drummer Levon Helm, with the same sparse beard and curling hair, the same shapes thrown on the drum stools. “This is a song,” he announces, “about falling madly in love with a hooker on heroin.” And thus, in an instant, do we get the dark flipside to Woodstock’s bucolic rock idyll. For as Felice also knows, this small town, housing as it did so many maverick talents, fostered a scene of damage and dysfunction that endures to this day. It pulled in all manner of wannabes and hangers-on, alcoholic philanderers, dealers in heroin and cocaine, and left at least one generation of messed up children with no direction home.

– from the prologue to Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix & Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock by Barney Hoskyns

I’m still in the openings to this book. An incredible history that goes back to the 18th century when Woodstock – the town – was formed. Inhabited mostly by Dutch settlers, and struggling after the close of the revolutionary war, it grew around farming, hunting, lumbering, apple orchards and cider mills. Then in the mid-19th century, it’s growth as a destination for artists and writers, and the establishment of it’s first art colony known as Byrdcliffe that still continues to foster the development of writers, composers, and artists.

On our trips up to Troy NY to visit family, the Brunette and I have recently been stopping in at both Woodstock and Saugerties, a smaller and quieter town to the east filled more with antique shops than tourists. But getting off the thruway and driving down the two lane road that connects both towns, you can only agree with the rock icon photographer Elliot Landy who said, “When you come up Route 375 and you see these mountains, something changes in you.”

Worth reading and worth visiting…

cafe espressoMason Hoffenberg, John Sebastian, Bob Dylan
at Cafe Espresso, Woodstock, NY
photo © Douglas R. Gilbert

Additional Gilbert photos here

© Bill Israel

What I'm reading now...

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