• A to Z: Paris Is…

    Through silhouettes in the Musée d’Orsay, looking out across La Seine to the right bank—we sense ambiguities, yearnings, drama. Paris fascinates. For its history, its architecture, its art, its...

    • Cure for Classics Amnesia: A walk through Rue Maître Albert

      At the Latin Quarter in Paris I came across a street called Rue Maître Albert. Maître Albert (Master Albert)? Who could that be? Could it be Albert, the great,...

      • Arab Art in Paris: Undulating forms that speak to us

        Undulating forms are beautiful, sensuous, and seductive. They appeal to an aesthetic sense in all of us. Artists have known this for a long time: that sinuous S-curve worms...

        • Paris Mon Amour

          I decided, for my last full day in Paris, to offer this first chapter of the book, Mindful Journeys: Paris and Other Illusions:   Illusion is the first of...

          • Our October Winter in Paris

            We woke up to some sunshine this Saturday morning. Sunshine and smiles—for me, they go together. In the afternoon, we went out, hoping the sun would hold. It didn’t...

              • Art and the Free Spirit

                From Oppression….. Picasso painted Guernica in 1937 for the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair. Although he had planned on the familiar theme of a painter and his...

                • Random Thoughts: Sounds and Tastes of Ile Saint Louis

                  Sounds We live directly across from L’Eglise Saint Louis. Right next to it is a grade school. We’re constantly reminded of these neighbors by sounds. Sounds that, to some,...

                  • Bohemian Paris

                    How do you imagine Paris? For many of us, it is a Bohemian Paris we conjure up and even yearn for, if you’re an artist. It is, thus, reassuring...

Polish movies: Ida meets Pan Tadeusz

Polonais, Pan Tadeusz

We saw two Polish movies recently, both on Netflix. Ida The movie Ida one reviewer says is the best movie of 2014. Ida the movie regularly appears on the...

Limerick, With Impunity

I often get this urge to literally clean up my life a little bit at the end of the year. So, I rummage through things and throw those I...

The devil in Art: Me and Kokoschka

Back to the art studio, a place where passions run deep, usually unseen, undetected, until a provoking moment brings forth a torrent of intensity. I tried to copy a...

A Dropout at the Easel

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I’m a dropout at the easel. I abandoned my painting classes. Perhaps because I could not paint realist pictures. Perhaps because I tend to drop out of things. Perhaps...

Polacks are exciting

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When I was young the Slavic languages, and the Eastern European peoples, particularly the Polish, were looked down on in the United States. The American melting pot in those days,...

Edgy Polish art: Cartoon as Political Art

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I have, in my sporadic contacts with Polish arts, found them to be much more with it, much more experimental than the corresponding arts of Americans. I saw this...

A Thing of Beauty

Silver Sugar bowl from a New York restaurant, probably 1930s

Poet John Keats penned two famous passages of poetry related to beauty. The first Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all sparked a debate that started in the early...

“The coldest winter is a summer … ” San Francisco’s Non-Debt to Mark Twain

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Gloomy again this morning; foggy and cold. Some sun would be wonderful—they wake up to it just a few miles east of here. Why not us? It’s summer, after...

Adventurous Foodie: Inventing recipes

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I buy a lot of carrots, the organic ones. I assume that since plants get much of their life out of the soil, roots absorb more of whatever the...

Excuse me, but I’m having a refractory period

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I haven’t written a post in more than six weeks and I feel guilty about it. I have a couple of excuses, though. One, the April A to Z...

A to Z: The Zen Way

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.” Zenrin Kushû (The Way of Zen 134, 222) “Entering the forest he moves not the grass; Entering...

A to Z: Yearning Is….

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. Lucy van Pelt A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever...

A to Z: Xenophobia

Uncertainty and fear and ignorance about immigrants, about people who are different, has a history as old as our Nation. Luis Gutierrez This quote has no x words in...

A to Z: Words Are…

Words are loaded pistols. Jean-Paul Sartre Three haikus on words Words wash over us Like raindrops on fallow fields Soaking, sowing seeds. Words, like daggers, piercing Like wounds, pestering...

A to Z: Voyage

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust We all have to struggle if we want to be different...

A to Z: Understanding

Understanding does not cure evil, but it is a definite help, inasmuch as one can cope with a comprehensible darkness. Carl Jung See no evil, hear no evil would...

A to Z: Time Is…

The time at our disposal each day is elastic; the passions we feel dilate it, those that inspire us shrink it, and habit fills it. Marcel Proust Time. One...

A to Z: Scents

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. Diane Ackerman...

A to Z: Repetition Is…

Repetition is based on body rhythms, so we identify with the heartbeat, or with walking, or with breathing. Karlheinz Stockhausen Karlheinz Stockhausen, a composer and musical theorist, was obviously...

A to Z: Quest

To write a novel is to embark on a quest that is very romantic. People have visions, and the next step is to execute them. That’s a very romantic...