Rain, rain, rain today…

Video by Michel Gondry…full lyrics here (separate window)…

Been a difficult week. After spending most of it parsing data and creating a detailed worksheet, found out yesterday afternoon that the information that I had been fed was wrong.

I thought of this line, “The best laid plans…”

When I repeated it to someone, they didn’t understand. Then I realized, that although I knew this fragment, I didn’t really know where it came from other than it was an old poem.

So I looked…and found Robert Burns’ To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough (Scot’s Tae a Moose).

Here are the last two stanzas (original and modern translation):


It’s Friday…keep moving…

mouse-and-grapesMouse and Grapes
Ding Yanyong
ink and wash painting


From American Arts Quarterly:

“Conservation illuminates the ingenuity of paint handling—be it a deceptively simple brushstroke, a dexterous fleck of paint from a fingertip or even the judicious tilt of a puddle of colored water to a composition’s ideal location. When art history is conducted with no connection to the messy, ineffable, alchemical process of art, then it becomes, in James Elkins’s eloquent phrase, “a meager reading of pictures.” Instead, it must grapple with the substance of art. It must understand that: “To a painter, [oil paint] is the life’s blood: a substance so utterly entrancing, infuriating, and ravishingly beautiful that it makes it worthwhile to go back into the studio every morning, year after year, for an entire lifetime.”

– excerpted from Techniques of the American Artist: From Experimental Chemistry to Representing Paint

brooklyn-bridge-in-winter_hassamBrooklyn Bridge in Winter
Childe Hassam, 1904




via My Modern Met:

As the autumn leaves change color, nature provides us with other reminders that fall is on the way. The trees shower us with acorns—another symbol of the changing season. Online shop Bullseye Beads pays homage to the hearty nut with handmade pendants made of glass.


To form the translucent pieces, artisan Beth Ruth uses Italian and German soda lime glass and a table torch. The pods are shaped one at a time and annealed—heated and slowly cooled—overnight in a digitally-controlled kiln. Afterwards, Ruth tops each of the orbs with a real acorn cap that was sealed in museum wax.


Many of the pendants boast rich fall browns and oranges, but the pieces are available in a variety of colors—some even have tiny objects encased within them.


Just one more…


You know someone who would absolutely love this…c’mon…spring for it…er…fall for it…

Bullseye Bead shop…some are very limited editions…



faulkner_nobel-speech– from William Faulkner’s speech upon acceptance
of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950

divider separator

faulkner_posterAn early PR photo of Faulkner, ca. 1939




[via Incidental Comics…]

…let’s get started…

maira-kalmanillustration by Maira Kalman
from Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

…time not to get to work…

[From The New Yorker…of course…]

…and looking forward to the weekend…

outsideOlentangy River Trail by Derrick Lin

Go see more of Derrick’s stuff

From The Mysterious Ancient Origins of the Book:

Rome in the 1st Century CE was awash with the written word…and the libraries of the wealthy were stocked with books on history, philosophy and the arts. But these were not books as we know them – they were scrolls, made from sheets of Egyptian papyrus pasted into rolls anywhere from 4.5 to 16 metres (14.76ft to 52.49ft) in length.

…it took both hands to read a scroll properly…the only way to read a scroll was to unwind it carefully from the right hand and, passing it to the left, to roll it up again. Writers and copyists usually wrote in columns a few inches wide, so that the bulk of the fragile papyrus in the scroll could be kept safely rolled up.

Papyrus will also crack and tear if it is folded too often, leading naturally to the gently curved shape of the scroll itself – and so to the fact that most scrolls carried writing only on one side. Only if the text on the front of a scroll was no longer needed would its owner flip it over and use the other side; a double-sided scroll was just too difficult to read otherwise.

Sometime in or before the First Century CE a new kind of book appeared that promised to address the scroll’s shortcomings. The evidence is sparse but telling: archaeologists have discovered a few key scraps of papyrus whose text unexpectedly continues from the front to the back, and whose neat margins one might expect to find in a paged book. And that is exactly what these fragments are: they are leaves from the first paged books the world had ever seen. We know that the Romans called this new kind of book the codex…

Codices leant themselves to being bound between covers of wood or ‘pasteboard’ (pasted-together sheets of waste papyrus or parchment), which protected them from careless readers. Their pages were easy to riffle through and, with the addition of page numbers, paved the way for indices and tables of contents. They were space-efficient too, holding more information than papyrus scrolls of a comparable size:…Robust, efficient and accessible, the codex was literally the shape of things to come.

codex_vi_opened_at_the_center_of_the_quireNag Hammadi Codex VI opened at the center of the quire*
The Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient codices
containing over fifty texts, was discovered in upper Egypt in 1945.

model codesA model of a ‘Nag Hammadi’ codex, made in the style of a cache of 4th Century books
found in Egypt in 1945 (Credit: Irina Gorstein (book model), Adam Kellie (photography)

*Note – a “quire” can mean either 24 folded leaves, or any collection of leaves,  one within another and stitched together in a manuscript or book. The center of the quire is essentially the center of the opened book.

[Special thanks to friend Jos who’s always sending me bits of bookishness..]




© Bill Israel

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