Look Up — Afternoon Sun in Memorial Church


Memorial Church, Stanford University, 2016

It’s intermission, the sun is streaming into Stanford’s Memorial Church and the iPhones are out.


Don’t forget to Look Up now and then.

Cheers, Carto


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Partners — Brexit 1776, Hamilton (the musical)


Say No To This, Maria & Hamilton (duet), Hamilton: The Revolution, pp. 178-179 (click to enlarge photo)

A slow recovery from pneumonia is more pleasant if you take a good book from your library and play some music — I’ve been listening to Hamilton (the original cast recording) and reading along in Hamilton—The Revolution. Two hours of glorious, Tony award-winning music that is also a dramatic, history lesson. The story has fighting, sex, scandal, intrigue, and, of course, there is a duel or two.


Act I, “I’m a stranger in this country…”, , Hamilton: The Revolution, pp. 12-13. (click to enlarge photo)

Act I. This is a story in which the black first president is in an awful pickle: the war with England is not going well. In fact Washington is about to lose all his marbles in the battle for New York. But, an impoverished immigrant from the Caribbean steps up to win a great battle. The home team goes on to win the war and exits from the British Empire; that’s Brexit 1776, and that’s Act I, which is just one hour of the music. There is more to come after the intermission.


Act II, “Am I more of an American than [the native born]”, , Hamilton: The Revolution, pp. 146-147. (click to enlarge photo)

Act II, the President and his cabinet must now govern the rag-tag collection of unruly states that were the USA. Money is a problem so Treasury Secretary Hamilton creates a national bank by making an unusual partnership with slave owners Jefferson and Madison. Then, at the peak of his power, Hamilton has a messy affair that leads to blackmail and bribery, but “no laws are broken”. The scandal is covered up, but emotions run high, the suspense is unbearable. I’m going to listen to Act II again.

Our relationship with England sunk pretty low during the rule of King George III, but has warmed over the years and today we are allies on the world stage. Yesterday, our friends on the other side of the Atlantic decided by a simple majority to exit (Brexit) from the European Union. They decided to go it alone, and things may be difficult for them. I wish them well and expect that they will do fine. I could suggest that they, too, listen to the musical Hamilton. That may cheer them up and steady them for the times ahead.


To check out what other bloggers are writing on the theme of ‘partners’ follow this link: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:Partners.

Posted in History, Music, Theater | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Curve — American Buckaroo in Action


Buckaroo Working a Roundup, 96 Ranch, Paradise Valley, NV (photo: 96 Ranch Web Site).

This buckaroo is all business. The loop of her lasso curves through the air, and that calf is sure to be branded (or marked) before returning to the herd. The scene is the Stewart’s 96 ranch in Paradise Valley, NV. Paradise Valley is in the remote north of Nevada, far from the lights of Las Vegas, and, make no mistake, the 96 is a working cattle ranch.

For 20 years from 1945 to 1965, Leslie Stewart (owner of the Ninety-Six Ranch) allowed ethnographers to photograph and document the workings of the ranch. This study, known as the Paradise Valley and Folklife Project, now resides in the Library of Congress, and much of the work is available on-line in the digital collection: Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada.

Wire Gate in a Barbed Wire fence, Suzi Jones, 1976, Buckaroos in Paradise, Library of Congress.

Buckaroo and His Gear (detail), R.E. Ahlborn, 1978, Paradise Valley Folklife Project Collection, LOC

Buckaroo and His Gear (detail), Carl Fleischhauer, 1980, Paradise Valley Folklife Project Collection, LOC

When you can’t get out to take your own pictures, it’s nice to have the internet and the Library of Congress. Follow the link to see the full photo of the Buckaroo.

Cheers, Carto

To see where other bloggers found curves, follow this link to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Curve.

Posted in History, Photography | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Face — A Self Portrait


Self Reflection: Snapshot of an interactive Video Mosaic, MOPA, San Diego, 2016

That’s me standing in front of the Self Reflection video mosaic, one of the exhibits in the interactive digital gallery at the Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego (MOPA). My image is blended interactively onto a background mosaic of mug shots from the “7 Billion Others” project. The exhibit works like those concave silly mirrors in the Fun House; it’s irresistible.


Some of the “7 Billion Others”, (Detail from above photo), MOPA, 2016

Seven billion and counting; that’s how many humans are sharing the planet. The“7 Billion Others” project was photographer Yann Arthus-Bertran’s attempt to better understand the inhabitants of the planet, starting with the African country of Mali.

MOPA is in beautiful Balboa Park in the Casa de Balboa building, along with the Model Railroad Museum and the San Diego History Center. The current exhibit at MOPA is Trilogy: Black and White photographic prints by Mexican photographer Flor Garduño: Bestiaries, Fantastic Women and Silent Natures.

Enjoy yourself in the Interactive Digital Gallery, and then take a reflective tour of Ms. Garduño’s photographs—they are stunning, and beautifully mounted.

Here is a link to a short video of Self Reflection.

Cheers, Carto

Follow this link to read the many entries in WordPress Photo Challenge: Face.


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Earth — Oaks in the Watershed


Taking in the View of the Watershed, iPhone6, 2016

California oaks from a viewpoint overlooking the Peninsula Watershed off Interstate 280 in San Mateo County between Palo Alto and San Francisco.


California Oaks, Ralph H. Percival Viewpoint, Interstate 280, San Mateo, CA

Percival was a California Highway patrolman killed in the line of duty.


To see other views of Earth visit the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

Posted in Other, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Admiration — Libraries and Antiquarians


Red Hoop and the Bing Wing of Green Library after a Spring Rain, Stanford, 2016

Admiration: I like a big sprawling library with open stacks, and Green Library is one of my favorites. Thousands and thousands of books on shelves to pull out and browse. There is a light on in the stacks; maybe someone is browsing.

Today I’m reading Anne Carson’s long poem/play red doc > . Reading this strangely titled book is like solving a hard puzzle. I bought it 2 or 3 years ago and am about half-way through.  Ms. Carson said in an interview that she worked 7 years, or so on this book. Perhaps, slow reader and slow writer make a good match.


Sweet Hall is visible from Red Hoop Fountain across Meyer Lawn (former site of Meyer Library)

Red Doc > is about Geryon, who is a red-winged monster. In his youth, Geryon herds magical musk-oxen on a Greek Island that is about to be attacked by that terrible despoiler Herakles. But, Geryon survives the attack and changes his name to G. He fast-forwards in time to the present, goes to war in the mid-east, falls in love with a man very like Herakles, and, ultimately,is heart-broken. Sadly, this poem appears headed towards a tragic ending. Maybe that is a reason for my slow progress in reading.

Rescuing a play from antiquity is a job for a McArthur genius or a mad-woman. Not many would labor so many years to create  a new poem from a fragment of a lost work by an obscure Greek named Stesichoros.

I admire persistence and genius and Anne Carson has both. I recommend her poems, and hope you read faster than I do.

Cheers, Carto

The theme is Admiration — check out this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

Posted in Classics, Poetry, Translation | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Dinnertime — Lemon Tart at the Museum

Lemon Tart and a view, Lunch at the De Young Museum, SF, iPhone6 composite.

Lemon Tart and a view, Lunch at the De Young Museum, SF, iPhone6 composite.

Lunch is Lemon Tart with a coffee chaser. Across the Music Concourse, the California Academy’s roof garden is green and beautiful in the brilliant spring sun. I’m having a snack while I wait to visit the Oscar de la Renta Retrospective at the De Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

I can report that the show is beautifully staged, and even the guys (one in a 2016 Warriors basketball shirt) were having fun. It was a cell phone extravaganza because photos were allowed throughout the exhibition.

The show is a must see, if you are in San Francisco on or before May 30..

Cheers, Carto.

Here is a link to Dinnertime at WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge..

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