Friday, August 31, 2012

New England Steam and Wireless Museum

The New England Steam and Wireless Museum in East Greenwich RI is an amazing place to visit. The annual Steam Up will be held at the museum Saturday, Oct 8, 2012.
View pix here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cara Hoffman

Here too.

Dennis Wholey

Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.
-Dennis Wholey

I Dreamed

Bill and I were in my childhood home racing outside to meet the dairy truck that sells eggnog in winter. We planned to make eggnog ice cream using fresh snow. My friend Jeff was there sitting on the hood of a car parked in the driveway, eating snow off of a plate using a knife and fork. I woke up from the dream with the bedroom fan blowing in very cold air.

Jason Isaacs

How did you get into acting?

Oh bloody hell. I don't know. I think I was probably always a liar; I just get paid for it now. I went to university and I was a bit out of my depth, socially. I was surrounded by a lot of very posh people. They all sounded like Hugh Grant and I didn't. In the first week I auditioned for a play, drunk, in the day I was joining all the clubs, I was joining the wine and cheese and parachuting club as well. I just loved it, I just loved everything about the group of people you were suddenly very intense with and how you were unpicking what made human beings tick, together, and there was a place to go to every night, as opposed to the bar. I haven't ever really fallen out of love with that process, researching who people are, what they do and why they do it and telling stories.

How do you feel when you're performing?

In the moment of acting you don't feel like anything, you feel like the person, as much as you can. It's all a trick of the imagination. As far as I can, as much as I can force myself to or allow myself to, I feel like Jackson Brodie when I'm being Jackson. I feel as much like the character as I can allow myself to relax into, so I feel angry, upset, driven, curious, whatever the hell it is. I feel like them. I mean that's the game of it. It's a game, it's all play. It's not something you put on, it's something hopefully you allow out.

full PBS interview here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

University Radio

I poked around and found a great new radio station today 91.9 FM WUMB University of Massachusetts, Boston. Try it!

E.B. White

The Making of E. B. White
Click here.

Quotes of the Day

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.
-African proverb

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
-Samuel Beckett

It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.
-Agnes Repplier

There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.
-Hindu proverb

Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.
-Ed Cunningham

Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.
-Janis Joplin

Ralph Waldo Emerson

A friend is a person before whom I may think aloud.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Two Pennies

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.
-Chinese proverb

Loaves of Love

Give a man a loaf of bread and he eats for a day. Teach a man to bake, and his village eats for a lifetime.
Seven Loaves Project.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Sammy cat is looking out the window at the birds, the markings on his back resemble a Rorschach pattern of a big orange clown face smiling back at us.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Leonard Cohen Interview

Most of us are not open most of the time, we pretend that we are open, but mostly you’re running your own dramatic event of which you are the hero or the heroine. Usually that’s what we are doing most of the time.

I never had much inspiration. I like the activity of work, and I always feel that I’m working at the bottom of the barrel. I wish I were inspired. I don’t know what it is – if I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often. I don’t know how it works. I’m inspired by the idea of making something good. That has always inspired me, rather than… I’ve never had much to say, things have come out that have some meaning for some people, and even some meaning for me. But I don’t start with those ideas, they arise out of the work itself.

I just keep working until something arises that is better than me. Better than my thought. Better than my conception. It arises out of the work itself, just growing out of the activity. But it’s always better than me, and it always surprises me. So it’s always the appetite for work that I have that hasn’t left me. So out of that work things have raised that I wouldn’t say delight me, because I don’t think they’re that good, but they surprise me that they have any significance.

Interviewer: But you have some themes….

You know, those themes have got me rather than I’ve got those themes. Somehow they are in the air, and they are looking for expressions themselves, and you become a receptor for those ideas. If you’re Einstein…, if you’re Mozart…but if you’re Leonard Cohen they come up as little songs. I always have known where I stand in the figures of the pop world, I know, I don’t have any illusions. I’m a good songwriter. Sometimes the songs are really good, sometimes they are ok, I hope. I pray that I can continue to serve these themes that are not my own. They’re not terribly important, but they’re the ones that hover around me. Things in the air that scratch me and itch me so that I can do something with them.


Interview with Leonard Cohen
by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005

(Unedited interview for the Norwegian Radio)

Leonard Cohen

Roshi [his Zen Buddhist teacher] said something nice to me one time. He said that the older you get, the lonelier you become, and the deeper the love you need. Which means that this hero that you’re trying to maintain as the central figure in the drama of your life— this hero is not enjoying the life of a hero. You’re exerting a tremendous maintenance to keep this heroic stance available to you, and the hero is suffering defeat after defeat. And they’re not heroic defeats; they’re ignoble defeats. Finally, one day you say, ‘Let him die— I can’t invest any more in this heroic position.’ From there, you just live your life as if it’s real— as if you have to make decisions even though you have absolutely no guarantee of any of the consequences of your decisions.
-Leonard Cohen, Spin interview (2002)

Domino Effect

We were expecting a big check while
our beloved mailman was on vacation for a week.
The temp guy mistakenly delivered the mail
to our neighbor who gave it to us finally
but it was a tax bill, not the $1500 check.
Now 4 payments have bounced,
including the mortgage,
and the check to the orchard
for apples and peaches.
I am pacing with anger, threatening
murder, or suicide,
while eating a juicy-ripe summer peach
and a crisp Paula Red apple
in my fan-cooled home
trying to be brave.

Trevor Young

I love this new Trevor Young painting called Man in Box.
View here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Remy Charlip

His most successful book, “Fortunately” (1964), is about a boy’s journey to happiness through a series of mishaps — he is fortunately invited to a party, which unfortunately is scheduled far away; fortunately given an airplane, which unfortunately crashes, hurling him fortunately toward a haystack, which unfortunately has an upside-down pitchfork sticking out of it, and so on. It is perennially popular with toddlers.

The book was in print continuously for more than 30 years. Mr. Charlip called it “a rambunctious dance” through space, about a boy “flying, falling in space, diving in water, swimming, running, digging” to reach a destination despite all obstacles.

“I really don’t know where it all comes from,” Mr. Charlip said in the Library of Congress interview. “I’m in another world — and I’m very lucky.”


Universal Lines

I dreamed I was in a play. I wrote down my lines in red marker on a square pillow that I kept on my lap while performing on stage. On the night of the show the stage lights were red and green and I was unable to see my writing on the pillow. I decided I would blurt things out that were unplanned but presumably could fit. "Of course Mr. Barclay has money," I said. I considered these universal lines and decided this meant they could apply to any play at any moment. Perhaps I have been listening to too many politicians lately.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dusty Paper

I need to write about dusty paper. I have piles and boxes of letters, sketches, books, and notes-to-self scraps all over my studio. Why, I ask myself, do I keep everything? Why can't I throw away 17-year-old paper? Going through my avalanche-prone piles would be agony because I feel pangs of regret throwing anything out. I am so sentimental. It would take years. But I can imagine how lovely it would be to clear this stuff out and have space for my current paintings. Most of my paper is from my previous career as a book, magazine, and newspaper illustrator. My office is now just a dust factory.

Twisted Finger

A week ago I opened the side door to our yard with Lily on her leash and there was a black cat right there. Lily bolted after the cat and the leash tightened around my pinky and fourth finger, twisting them at an angle they were not designed for. I let go of the leash realizing that I would cause more damage if I held on. We have a fenced yard, after all. I brought Lily back inside. My two fingers are slightly swollen at the top knuckles and occasionally throb, but they work fine, considering. The ligaments will take a while (weeks or months) to completely heal. Nonetheless I have been obsessing over them, wondering if my pinky will look deformed from this day forth, proving that I am an old lady.

Extinction Burst

While extinction, when implemented consistently over time, results in the eventual decrease of the undesired behavior, in the short-term the subject might exhibit what is called an extinction burst. An extinction burst will often occur when the extinction procedure has just begun. This consists of a sudden and temporary increase in the response's frequency, followed by the eventual decline and extinction of the behavior targeted for elimination.

Take, as an example, a pigeon that has been reinforced to peck an electronic button. During its training history, every time the pigeon pecked the button, it will have received a small amount of bird seed as a reinforcer. So, whenever the bird is hungry, it will peck the button to receive food. However, if the button were to be turned off, the hungry pigeon will first try pecking the button just as it has in the past. When no food is forthcoming, the bird will likely try again ... and again, and again. After a period of frantic activity, in which their pecking behavior yields no result, the pigeon's pecking will decrease in frequency.

Although not explained by reinforcement theory, the extinction burst can be understood using control theory. In perceptual control theory, the degree of output involved in any action is proportional to the discrepancy between the reference value (desired rate of reward in the operant paradigm) and the current input. Thus, when reward is removed, the discrepancy increases, and the output is increased. In the long term, 'reorganisation', the learning algorithm of control theory, would adapt the control system such that output is reduced.

The evolutionary advantage of this extinction burst is clear. In a natural environment, an animal that persists in a learned behavior, despite not resulting in immediate reinforcement, might still have a chance of producing reinforcing consequences if the animal tries again. This animal would be at an advantage over another animal that gives up too easily.

Despite the name, however, not every explosive reaction to adverse stimuli subsides to extinction. Indeed a small minority of individuals persist in their reaction indefinitely.


Inherited Memories


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Madeline Levine

While doing things for your child unnecessarily or prematurely can reduce motivation and increase dependency, it is the inability to maintain parental boundaries that most damages child development. When we do things for our children out of our own needs rather than theirs, it forces them to circumvent the most critical task of childhood: to develop a robust sense of self.
-Madeline Levine