"Are you up? You awake? You up? Huh?"
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Mexican immigration is an oxymoron. Mexicans are indigenous. So, in a strange way, I’m pleased that the racist folks of Arizona have officially declared, in banning me alongside Urrea, Baca, and Castillo, that their anti-immigration laws are also anti-Indian. I’m also strangely pleased that the folks of Arizona have officially announced their fear of an educated underclass. You give those brown kids some books about brown folks and what happens? Those brown kids change the world. In the effort to vanish our books, Arizona has actually given them enormous power. Arizona has made our books sacred documents now.

Sherman Alexie is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and filmmaker. His book “The Lone Ranger and Tonto’s Fist Fight in Heaven,” was on the banned curriculum of the Mexican American Studies Program.

I've seen this man speak twice and consider both times to be incredibly illuminating, heart wrenching and hilarious. 


Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I've repeatedly said that for people as little in common as Joanne and myself, we have an uncommonly good marriage. We are actors. We make pictures and that's about all we have in common. Maybe that's enough. Wives shouldn`t feel obligated to accompany their husbands to a ball game, husbands do look a bit silly attending morning coffee breaks with the neighborhood wives when most men are out at work. Husbands and wives should have separate interests, cultivate different sets of friends and not impose on the other…You can't spend a lifetime breathing down each other's necks."

Paul Newman


"Seat thyself sultanically among the moons of Saturn, and take high abstracted man alone; and he seems a wonder, a grandeur, and a woe."

— Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, chapter 107


Mr E wrote a lovely, sad, wonderful book about his life that, if you like this song, you may well want to read. THINGS THE GRANDCHILDREN SHOULD KNOW -


Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. ~T'ien Yiheng

Fucking Tea. Do not attempt to keep us apart.*
 Tea...is a religion of the art of life.  ~Okakura

It is not a new or cool thing, my obsession with tea. An entire cupboard is dedicated to various kinds, many bought by the ounce (oh, green metal tea, I adore you).

It goes beyond plopping a bag into a mug. But I am not quite as obsessed as to have a ceremony dictated by all tea repasts past.

Any tea lover can tell you there are many different kinds one can have with mood and purpose in mind.

For pure flavor, sure, stick to the Earl Grey or Oolong (monkey picked?), Pekoe, Ceylon, chai (which means, simply, tea) or black tea.

Go ahead, smother it with sugar or honey or milk. It's malleable and welcomes variety. Though once a you find your fix, that's it. Tori Amos was pressed to drop an ardent suitor because a boy should remember what a girl takes in her tea.

 "So, I had to get this song together in about 2 hours. And this boy really pissed me off, because I had a crush on him, right...and he'd been making tea for me for nine months. And so, the whole thing is...he would sit there and ask me... Now if you're making tea for a girl, right, for 9 months don't you think, guys. I mean help me out here. Your noodle, it can hold a lot of information, right? But don't you think, you can remember how many sugars a girl takes in her tea after 9 months!" [Tori Amos, US Hey Jupiter single, intro to song]

Green tea for those of a healthy bend leads one to make a choice from a plethora of greens. It would be easy to grab a box of Lipton. But tea whores like me like their greens in a bag with a number self inscribed, weighed and top rolled.

Greens are so popular that their flavors are infused into chocolate, cake, soups, Kit Kat bars, Pepsi, ice cream and Starbucks frappes.

The smell is heavenly and is often played against jasmine or sandalwood in scents for the earthy girl.

But then we dip into teas for health. For stamina (usually with ginseng, in which case herbs and fruits are aided so you don't have to taste that awful bitterness on its own), dieting (questionable ingredients I often can't pronounce), sleeping (chamomile is a classic ingredient as is Valerian, another stinky, awful tasting herb in need of peppermint to make it palatable), detoxing (the Yogi Detox tea is actually incredibly tasty - as for it's claims, not the bittiest clue), teas for pregnancy, teas for an upset tummy (peppermint will always do you right), etc.

My taste buds, ocular needs and odoriferous love is most often met with TAZO tea's Passion blend.
The hibiscus flowers, passion fruit, mango, orange peel, licorice root, cinnamon, rose hips (a touch tart), and lemongrass make this tea gorgeous on every level. Just the tiniest addition of honey make it sublime. Um, I really like it.

Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.  ~Catherine Douzel

Most grocery stores and mega-stores end up with a shelf devoted to Celestial Seasonings tea. It is well deserved. They have straight forward teas like green, cranberry, red zinger, and peppermint (which I mix with many other kinds that need a gentle nudge toward tasting good) but their herbal mixes are well known. They have echinancea and vitamin c laden wellness tea, a detox blend, the classic Sleepytime tea and my favorite, Tension Tamer.

This has been a main stay in my household since I was in high school. The promise made by the art on the box was enough for a first buy. The taste and the fact that, by gosh and by golly, I really do feel like a could ride a dragon after a cup (a small dragon - a bug cup) keeps it in constant rotation in the tea cupboard.

The Republic of Tea makes my all time favorite brand. For those who don't partake in alcohol, Rainforest Tea has been imbibed with great effect sans the complete lose of control. Pau D'arco is a tremendous mood enhancer but the addition of allspice, star anise, vanilla bean, rooibos, and cinnamon with exotic spices makes it taste like your on vacation.

They make a fantastic mate,  a lovely and subtle rose petal black tea, so many kinds of oolongs that I haven't been able to try them all, a classic chai, as well as some wonderful wellness teas.

We haven't even gotten into the joys of buying bulk teas! Or flowering teas! Or the teapots themselves. But this is a fine start.

And certainly a great insight into some of the contents of my kitchen.

* you can get the Fucking Tea mug here.

This is not my beautiful house.

This is not my beautiful wife.

Man On The Verge

M. and Mme. Édouard Manet, 1869. By Edgar Degas
"So, I was thinking we could stop by the Snodwell's. She'll soon have the baby and Gretchen says that..." 

"Yes, dear."

Jen Readies Herself For Actual Thought

I've been moved to praise some books of late. And move to "throw one against the wall." But the worst kind of book is one I lay aside after reading it with a shrug. I shall expound on this further as thoughts flood my brain. And I will share the books I loved. Maybe even share the book I read that had me thinking, "All this writer wanted to do was get this book sold as a movie." If you want to write a screenplay, prose still with covers on either side with the word "thriller" assigned to it by your publisher is certain one way of doing it.

More to come...


This is what happens when brain is engaged before engines are revved.

“I have scars on my hands from touching certain people…Certain heads, certain colours and textures of human hair leave permanent marks on me.”
― J.D. Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction

If I had my way we’d sleep every night all wrapped around each other like hibernating rattlesnakes.

— William S. Burroughs
Her Beasts - Christer Karlstad


he Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch
Because skating always has been, and always will be, serious business.


Henry Raeburn

“And she danced; she danced with the music and with the rhythm of earth’s circles; she turned with the earth turning, like a disk, turning all faces to light and to darkness evenly, dancing towards daylight.”

—Anaïs Nin.
Head of a Walrus ~ Albrecht Dürer, 1521

Most mundane

A fence post

My current wallpaper.

Enthralled with the silky texture of the smoke. No idea who took the photo.

By any other name...

"I saw this outside a house near where my girlfriend used to live, I had to take a picture of it! 20 minutes later, having saw me take the photo, the owner of the house came out and stomped all the weeds/plants flat. Some people can't see beauty even if its growing on their property."

Emmet Dwyer (he has a good eye and a fantastic photostream at Flickr)


From Above


...an Indian man waits patiently for his pants.

NYT, Pictures of the Day

From a two-pint pot

A mind for ever
Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, 
-William Wordsworth describing Sir Isaac Newton

Many of our greatest men and women began two steps back and kept sliding until force of will took over for fate. From his own memoirs Newton was said to be so small that he could fit into a two-pint pot. His father died four months before his birth and his step-father was as wicked as any fairy tale could provide despite being a Reverend. He hated the man and resented his mother. "Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them."

Sent to his grandmother's (Margery Ayscough) to live, he lived instead in his own world. A world that revolved around invention and experiment. It was said that all he wanted to do was study. His way. His love of Descartes, Copernicus and Galileo was outside of Trinity College, Cambridge's curriculum. It is amazing to think he, on his own, discovered the laws of gravity and motion. If he'd been a sociable man, this may never have happened. If his mother had had her way, the world would have been gifted with another farmer instead of a scientific genius

Newton made strides in mechanics, mathematics, thermodynamics, astronomy, optics and acoustics that changed the world.

Principia Mathematica (1687) is thought to be the single most important book in the history of science.

His quarrel with German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz regarding calculus is renowned. Newton accused Leibniz of plagiarism*. This was no small charge. At the time, Leibniz was was a political adviser to the Duke of Hanover, was consider the first true geologist and was both a logician and a metaphysician. The Royal Society was called in to moderate. Strangely, they never called on Leibniz to give his side of the story. They eventually reported that, indeed, Leibniz was a fraud and Newton was the true inventor of the Calculus. That Newton wrote the report himself may have had something to do with the outcome.

He was an unparalleled genius, had a bad temper, and was an introvert. Some think introverted to the point of his having autism. Towards the end of his life, his studies in alchemy and mysticism had his contemporaries think he may have been mad. Perhaps he still knew more than they, or we, do.

"I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people."
 - Isaac Newton

My reading of him began with the QI Book of the Dead. And will expand to James Gleick's book called, simply, Isaac Newton. A fascinating and complex man. And more is being discovered about him every day.

Hideous shoe named after him.

The Ten Brightest Stars

Rigil Kentaurus, Toliman

Note: The apparent brightness of a star depends on both its inherent (absolute) luminosity and its proximity to the observer.

* Leibniz had managed to came up with calculus independently. When Leibniz published his paper on calculus in 1684, he didn't feel the need to mention Newton.

Kalmakoff: A Russian in Paris

Angel of the Abyss


And the artist died alone and poor with a vivid body of work left behind him. Disturbing and steeped deeply in mythology, the most beautiful are self portraits (#1 and #2 here).


“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”

- Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934
Scott and Zelda posing for Hearst’s International Magazine, May 1923. Zelda called it her “Elizabeth Arden face” and pasted it in her scrapbook.

Nobody knew whose party it was. It had been going on for weeks. When you felt you couldn’t survive another night, you went home and slept and when you got back, a new set of people had consecrated themselves to keeping it alive. Zelda Fitzgerald, Save Me The Waltz

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Dyed Siberian Horse” (And Twelve Other Descriptions of Things and Atmosphere) by Biblioklept

143. Days of this February were white and magical, the nights were starry and crystalline. The town lay under a cold glory.

144. Dyed Siberian horse.

145. As thin as a repeated dream.

146. The sea was coming up in little intimidating rushes.

147. The island floated, a boat becalmed, upon the almost perceptible curve of the world.

148. Lost in the immensity of surfaceless blue sky like air piled on air.

151. On the great swell of the Blue Danube, the summer ball rocked into motion.

152. A circus ring for ponies in country houses.

153. The tense, sunny room seemed romantic to Becky, with its odor of esoteric gases, the faint perfumes of future knowledge, the low electric sizz in the glass cells.

154. A rambling frame structure that had been a residence in the 80’s, the country poorhouse in the 1900’s, and now was a residence again.

155. The groans of moribund plumbing.

156. The silvery “Hey!” of a telephone.

161. Whining, tinkling hoochie-coochie show.

From the angels wanna wear my red shoes and Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald


Windows, #21 Enlisted men's barracks, The Badlands

"I often see through things right to the apparition itself."

~ Grace Paley (December 11, 1922 - )