Otter in watercolor by Kyra Mills
Turning the otter cheek.

A talented friend sent this image on my birthday. I think it’s otterly beautiful.

When you turn sixty, the dad-jokes shift to otter nonsense.


Cover photo, A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles
A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles

First Paragraph:

At half past six on the twenty-first of June 1922, when Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov was escorted through the gates of the Kremlin onto Red Square, it was glorious and cool. Drawing his shoulders back without breaking stride, the Count inhaled the air like one fresh from a swim. The sky was the very blue that the cupolas of St. Basil’s had been painted for. Their pinks, greens, and golds shimmered as if it were the sole purpose of a religion to cheer its Divinity. Even the Bolshevik girls conversing before the windows of the State Department Store seemed dressed to celebrate the last days of spring.

—Amor Towles. “A Gentleman in Moscow.” 2016

Mom & Dad & Me & Stephen

Today is my mom and dad’s 61st wedding anniversary. Two years since mom passed.

Dad, Mom, Me and my little brother Stephen.

Sweet Relief

Emmy Raver-Lampman & Tom Hopper

Being home by myself a lot, I’ve been watching (too much) TV on my computer. I gravitate toward the science-fiction shows pretty immediately when presented with all the choices.

Most of the shows I’ve been watching this last year have … the rest “Sweet Relief”


Autobiography

Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan
Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan
Photo by Marek Okon.

As a way to live a life and leave it, one could do worse.

Autobiography

Born of a humble & poor family,
Received minimum education,
Learnt how to live by himself at fourteen,
Survived storms, one after another:
Bullets, starvation … the rest “Autobiography”


Cartoon by The Gentleman’s Armchair.

The virtues and vices are all put in motion by interest.

—Francois de La Rochefoucauld

I blame my reading habit on a variety of the most insistent pushers and pimps.

New arrivals. From left to right, joy and laughter, literary gravitas, trepidation.


Forgot to check the mail yesterday, and this morning a nice surprise.

Break the Mirror: The Poems of Nanao Sakaki, 1986. I ordered another volume, Let’s Eat Stars, which will hopefully arrive on Monday. How to Live on the Planet Earth: Collected Poems is probably next.

The poems date from 1966 and they are translated into English by the author.

Some people like their books to be in pristine condition but I have become less picky over the years. There is an inscription in this book that puts a smile on my face.

“To Another World Citizen…”

—Chris Iverson, Clara Dugan, Shannon & Meghan

I posted the untitled first poem from this collection the other day. I repeat it again here.

If you have time to chatter
Read books
If you have time to read
Walk into mountain, desert and ocean
If you have time to walk
sing songs and dance
If you have time to dance
Sit quietly, you Happy Lucky Idiot

And a random selection:

Sharpening a Knife

Nanao, keep your knife clean
Nanao, keep your mind clean

Sea breeze is bad for a knife they say
Sea breeze is good for a m mind they say

Sea Breeze not bad for a knife
Sharpen your knife, that’s all

Sea breeze neither bad nor good
The ocean a whetstone for mind

A clean knife mind
A clean mind ocean
Nanao, sleep well tonight
Blossoming crinum lily as a shelter
The coral sand beach as a bed
The Southern Cross as a pillow.

—Iriomote, Japan, Under the Tropic of Cancer, February 1976

Line three of Sharpening a Knife is typed here as it appears in the print version but I suspect a possible editing mistake. Perhaps it should read “Sea breeze is good for the mind they say.”

By the way, I ordered this book from AbeBooks which I recommend if you are looking for something out of print.


Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.

∽ Gustave Mahler (1860-1911)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district.

This woman should be the President of the United States.

If we survive the malice and incompetence of Donald Trump and the Republican party, one day she will be.

This is not new, and that is the problem. Mr. Yoho

the rest “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”

Freshly painted vegetables always taste better than store-bought.

Kyra Mills, Garden Color, 2020
Kyra Mills, Garden Color, 2020

Manhatta (1921) |  

Still capture from Manhatta (1921)
Still capture from Manhatta (1921)

Walt Whitman’s poetry frames scenes from 1920s New York in this film classic.

Billed as ‘a study of the modern Babylon-on-the-Hudson’, the short film Manhatta (1921) captures the rapidly developing cityscape of New York in the early 1920s. Made in … the rest “Manhatta (1921)”