Originally posted on Sheep & Monkey Poems:
A self-proclaimed, devout conservationist
Long in the longleaf pines
Dredging Kerouac’s alluvial thoughts
Just adding on and adding on
Not stopping ever
Till the cows come home and the lips crack
And the racks set on the spit
Burn to a crisp
An offering to the very best of gods
William Carlos Williams and Wordsworth
Looking in the alleys
For Rastafarian saints and intellectual allies
For some leader of the Confederacy to put faith in
“I’m down in your beaver hole, Ma” He writes
“Ripping the walls apart”
“No ideas but in things” He says
And sings at the Berkeley Poetry Conference 1965
Making everyone cry and realize the predicament of being
Einstein at Naropa and recordings of Trungpa
Praising the hippies and sipping the yippies
Longing for something more than a convertible Camero or plastic Jesus
And in the long hallways under fluorescent lights
Children learn to harbor deep…
View original 77 more words
Ginsberg in the 50s
Ginsberg’s stay in the mental ward was not intended to help him realize his desire for life to be a “sweet humane surprise.” Ginsberg tried to conform, returned after several months to Paterson, dated women, and found a job. He was miserable until he moved to California in 1954 and began seeing a $1 an hour psychiatrist at the university in Berkeley. In San Francisco Ginsberg saw another psychiatrist, Philip Hicks, who asked him what he would like to do. “Doctor,” as Ginsberg recalls his answer, “I don’t think you’re going to find this very healthy and clear,”
but I really would like to stop working forever–never work again, never do anything like the kind of work I’m doing now–and do nothing but write poetry and have leisure to spend the day outdoors and go to museums and see friends. And I’d like to keep living with someone — maybe even a man — and explore relationships that way. And cultivate my perceptions, cultivate the visionary thing in me. Just a literary and quiet city-hermit existence. Then he said “Well, why don’t you?” I asked him what the American Psychoanalytic Association would say about that, and he said . . . if that is what you really feel would please you, what in the world is stopping you from doing it?
Nastasi is the mind behind Artists and Their Cats, an aptly named compilation of photographs illustrating the historic partnership of, well, cat and artist. From Pablo Picasso to Frida Kahlo to Salvador Dali, the book reveals the felines behind some of the biggest painters and sculptors in the business. Because there’s nothing more enchanting than the friendships forged between achingly creative icons and the four-legged creatures that probably kept them sane.
Salvador Dali and his ocelot. World Telegram & Sun photo by Roger Higgins; image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
As Nastasi points out, cats tend to co-exist with their owners, generally demanding less attention than a dog — the more dependent of the domestic pets. “I think that’s necessary for an artist, whose focus is usually on what’s happening in the studio,” she added. “There’s a mutual respect or symbiosis … Working in the studio can be isolating sometimes. Cats bring life to a space that still provides an artist with the necessary alone time to thrive.”
The idea for the book started at Flavorwire, where Nastasi works as a weekend editor. After reading an article about Tracey Emin and her beloved cat Docket, Nastasi — whose own cat had just died — wrote a simple listicle for the website about artists and their whiskered sidekicks. Chronicle Books spotted the round-up and voila! A project was born. Nastasi sourced from libraries, photo archives and artist families to create her “family album” of sorts, featuring tender moments between animal and man.
Many of the artist-cat duos featured in Nastasi’s book predate Internet culture’s feline obsession. Not that the author has a problem with the contemporary phenomenon. “I think it’s fantastic,” she said. “Internet culture’s cat obsession has helped bring attention to various animal rescue organizations and special-needs animals that might have been previously ignored. Animal celebs like Lil BUB and Grumpy Cat help spread awareness about adoption and spaying/neutering, and have donated to various charities.”
For more on Agnès Varda and her cat Zgougou, Henri Matisse and his Minouche and Coussi, or Patti Smith and her furry guardian, check out Artists and Their Cats in its entirety. Meanwhile, here’s a preview of the compilation.
Ann & Nancy Wilson (Heart) Stairway To Heaven Live HD
Dennis Hopper, drunk and stoned with six sticks of dynamite—what could possibly go wrong?
Dennis Hopper, at one with the shock wave, was thrown headlong in a halo of fire. For a single, timeless instant he looked like Wile E. Coyote, frazzled and splayed by his own petard. Then billowing smoke hid the scene. We all rushed forward, past the police, into the expanding cloud of smoke, excited, apprehensive, and no less expectant than we had been before the explosion. Were we looking for Hopper or pieces we could take home as souvenirs? Later Hopper would say blowing himself up was one of the craziest things he has ever done, and that it was weeks before he could hear again. At the moment, though, none of that mattered. He had been through the thunder, the light, and the heat, and he was still in one piece. And when Dennis Hopper staggered out of that cloud of smoke his eyes were glazed with the thrill of victory and spinout.
Dynamite Death Chair Act
Three years later Hopper went on to an equally explosive performance playing one of the most diabolical bad guys in the history of cinema: Blue Velvet‘s Frank Booth.
Norman Mailer could throw some serious shade.
. Jack Kerouac
“None of these people [in the Beat Generation] have anything interesting to say, and none of them can write, not even Mr. Kerouac. It’s not writing, it’s typing.” — Truman Capote
“His rhythms are erratic, his sense of character is nil, and he is as pretentious as a rich whore, sentimental as a lollypop.” — Norman Mailer
“He’s a full-fledged housewife from Kansas with all the prejudices.” — Gore Vidal
“[It’s] not that there were no ideas in Herzog to be pondered, but rather that these ideas were not Bellow’s own theses, but rather ideas he had picked up in his reading. His mind is very intelligent, very cultured, very cultivated. He’s read a million books and remembered them, but he is not an original thinker..” — Norman Mailer
“[A] hack writer who would not have been considered fourth rate in Europe, who tricked out a few of the old proven ‘sure fire’ literary skeletons with sufficient local color to intrigue the superficial and the lazy.” — William Faulkner
“I read him for the first time in the early Forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it.” — Vladimir Nabokov
“People always think that the reason he’s easy to read is that he is concise. He isn’t. I hate conciseness — it’s too difficult. The reason Hemingway is easy to read is that he repeats himself all the time, using ‘and’ for padding.” — Tom Wolfe
“No courage. Never been known to use a word that might send the reader to a dictionary.” — William Faulkner, as recounted by A.E. Hotchner
“His style has the desperate jauntiness of an orchestra fiddling away for dear life on a sinking ship.” — Edmund Wilson
“I am reading Proust for the first time. Very poor stuff. I think he was mentally defective.” — Evelyn Waugh
”[Howard’s End] is not good enough. E.M. Forster never gets any further than warming the teapot. He’s a rare fine hand at that. Feel this teapot. Is it not beautifully warm? Yes, but there ain’t going to be no tea.” — Katherine Mansfield
”[Ulysses] is a revolting record of a disgusting phase of civilisation; but it is a truthful one; and I should like to put a cordon around Dublin; round up every male person in it between the ages of 15 and 30; force them to read it; and ask them whether on reflection they could see anything amusing in all that foul mouthed, foul minded derision and obscenity.” — George Bernard Shaw
“[Ulysses is] the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.” — Virginia Woolf
“[To take Poe] with more than a certain degree of seriousness is to lack seriousness one’s self. An enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection.” — Henry James
“The intensity of my impatience with him occasionally reaches such a pitch, that it would positively be a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him, knowing as I do how incapable he and his worshippers are of understanding any less obvious form of indignity.” — George Bernard Shaw
“I am at a loss to understand why people hold Miss Austen’s novels at so high a rate, which seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in their wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched and narrow. The one problem in the mind of the writer … is marriageableness.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” — Mark Twain
“I cannot abide Conrad’s souvenir shop style and bottled ships and shell necklaces of romanticist clichés.” — Vladimir Nabokov
“There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.” — Oscar Wilde
“A village explainer. Excellent if you were a village, but if you were not, not.” — Gertrude Stein
“How to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Why, very quickly, to begin with,
perhaps also to make an end. Why read it? Presumably, if you cannot be persuaded to read anything better, Rowling will have to do.” — Harold Bloom
“My moral complaint was that Updike had tremendous, Nabokov-level talent and was wasting it, because he was too charmed by his daily dumps and too afraid of irregularity to take the kind of big literary risks that might have blocked him for a year or two. …Updike was exquisitely preoccupied with his own literary digestive processes, and his virtuosity in clocking and rendering the minutiae of daily life was undeniably unparalleled, but his lack of interest in the bigger postwar, postmodern, socio-technological picture marked him, in my mind, as a classic self-absorbed sixties-style narcissist.” — Jonathan Franzen
“Maybe the only thing the reader ends up appreciating about [Toward the End of Time protagonist] Ben Turnbull is that he’s such a broad caricature of an Updike protagonist that he helps us figure out what’s been so unpleasant and frustrating about this gifted author’s recent characters. It’s not that Turnbull is stupid… It’s that he persists in the bizarre adolescent idea that getting to have sex with whomever one wants whenever one wants is a cure for ontological despair. And so, it appears, does Mr. Updike…” — David Foster Wallace
“Reading Don Quixote can be compared to an indefinite visit from your most impossible senior relative, with all his pranks, dirty habits, unstoppable reminiscences, and terrible cronies.” — Martin Amis
“He could not blow his nose without moralising on the state of the handkerchief industry.” — Cyril Connolly
“What a man Balzac would have been if he had known how to write.” — Gustave Flaubert
“He was imperfect, unfinished, inartistic; he was worse than provincial — he was parochial.” — Henry James
“Virginia Woolf’s writing is no more than glamorous knitting. I believe she must have a pattern somewhere.” — Dame Edith Sitwell
“Like a large shaggy dog, just unchained, scouring the beaches of the world and baying at the moon.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
“If I knew that by grinding Mr. Eliot into a fine dry powder and sprinkling that powder over [Joseph] Conrad’s grave Mr. Conrad would shortly appear…. I would leave for London tomorrow morning with a sausage grinder.” — Ernest Hemingway
“Personally I would rather have written Winnie-the-Pooh than the collected works of Brecht.” — Tom Stoppard
”[American Psycho] panders shamelessly to the audience’s sadism for a while, but by the end it’s clear that the sadism’s real object is the reader herself […] In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what’s human and magical that still live and glow despite the times’ darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. You can defend Psycho as being a sort of performative digest of late-eighties social problems, but it’s no more than that.” — David Foster Wallace
“Saint David Foster Wallace: a generation trying to read him feels smart about themselves which is part of the whole bullshit package.” — Bret Easton Ellis
“To say that Agatha Christie’s characters are cardboard cut-outs is an insult to cardboard cut-outs.” — Ruth Rendell
“I seem to be alone in finding him no more than the greatest mind ever to stay in prep school.” — Norman Mailer
“It took me days to go through [Catcher in the Rye], gingerly, a page at a time, and blushing with embarrassment for him every ridiculous sentence of the way. How can they let him do it?” — Elizabeth Bishop
“[Franny and Zooey] suffers from this terrible sort of metropolitan sentimentality and it’s so narcissistic … so false, so calculated. Combining the plain man with an absolutely megalomaniac egotism. I simply can’t stand it.” — (Mary McCarthy
Animal welfare officers were called in to deal with a donkey who was allegedly being neglected recently.
However when they arrived to deal with the poor animal they discovered exactly why it had been standing outside in the rain for several weeks.
It was a life-size model.
Like a scene from a bad 90s sitcom, the fake donkey was actually a nativity scene prop and is kept in the garden of Reverend Georgie Baxendale when not performing.
The Scottish SPCA say they don’t know if the call was made as a prank or by a well-meaning but short-sighted walker.
Senior inspector Bill Little said: ‘When I arrived, the owner asked me if I wanted a laugh and when she showed me the ornamental donkey it certainly gave me a chuckle.
‘The donkey is made of fibreglass and goes by the name Joshua.’
The confusion didn’t bother Rev Baxendale, who called it the ‘funniest thing I’ve ever heard in my life’.
‘I used to have two donkeys and bought Joshua as a reminder,’ she added.
Despite the mix up, Mr Little said it is always ‘better to be safe than sorry and we’d encourage anyone with concerns about an animal to call our helpline on 03000 999 999′.
This isn’t the first time the Scottish SPCA have been fooled by model animals.
An officer in Aberdeen was called to a report of owl neglect a couple of years ago, but when he arrived he discovered the distressed bird was in fact a plastic garden water feature.
The Brooklyn Bridge looms majestically over New York City’s East River, linking the two boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Since 1883, its granite towers and steel cables have offered a safe and scenic passage to millions of commuters and tourists, trains and bicycles, pushcarts and cars. The bridge’s construction took 14 years, involved 600 workers and cost $15 million (more than $320 million in today’s dollars). At least two dozen people died in the process, including its original designer. Now more than 125 years old, this iconic feature of the New York City skyline still carries roughly 150,000 vehicles and pedestrians every day.
John Augustus Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge’s creator, was a great pioneer in the design of steel suspension bridges. Born in Germany in 1806, he studied industrial engineering in Berlin and at the age of 25 immigrated to western Pennsylvania, where he attempted, unsuccessfully, to make his living as a farmer. He later moved to the state capital in Harrisburg, where he found work as a civil engineer. He promoted the use of wire cable and established a successful wire-cable factory.
Meanwhile, he earned a reputation as a designer of suspension bridges, which at the time were widely used but known to fail under strong winds or heavy loads. Roebling is credited with a major breakthrough in suspension-bridge technology: a web truss added to either side of the bridge roadway that greatly stabilized the structure. Using this model, Roebling successfully bridged the Niagara Gorge at Niagara Falls, New York, and the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In 1867, on the basis of these achievements, New York legislators approved Roebling’s plan for a suspension bridge over the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn. It would be the very first steel suspension bridge, boasting the longest span in the world: 1,600 feet from tower to tower.
Just before construction began in 1869, Roebling was fatally injured while taking a few final compass readings across the East River. A boat smashed the toes on one of his feet, and three weeks later he died of tetanus. His 32-year-old son, Washington A. Roebling, took over as chief engineer. Roebling had worked with his father on several bridges and had helped design the Brooklyn Bridge.
To achieve a solid foundation for the bridge, workers excavated the riverbed in massive wooden boxes called caissons. These airtight chambers were pinned to the river’s floor by enormous granite blocks; pressurized air was pumped in to keep water and debris out.
Workers known as “sandhogs”—many of them immigrants earning about $2 a day—used shovels and dynamite to clear away the mud and boulders at the bottom of the river. Each week, the caissons inched closer to the bedrock. When they reached a sufficient depth—44 feet on the Brooklyn side and 78 feet on the Manhattan side—they began laying granite, working their way back up to the surface.
Underwater, the workers in the caisson were uncomfortable—the hot, dense air gave them blinding headaches, itchy skin, bloody noses and slowed heartbeats—but relatively safe. The journey to and from the depths of the East River, however, could be deadly. To get down into the caissons, the sandhogs rode in small iron containers called airlocks. As the airlock descended into the river, it filled with compressed air. This air made it possible to breathe in the caisson and kept the water from seeping in, but it also dissolved a dangerous amount of gas into the workers’ bloodstreams. When the workers resurfaced, the dissolved gases in their blood were quickly released.
This often caused a constellation of painful symptoms known as “caisson disease” or “the bends”: excruciating joint pain, paralysis, convulsions, numbness, speech impediments and, in some cases, death. More than 100 workers suffered from the disease, including Washington Roebling himself, who remained partially paralyzed for the rest of his life. He was forced to watch with a telescope while his wife Emily took charge of the bridge’s construction. Over the years, the bends claimed the lives of several sandhogs, while others died as a result of more conventional construction accidents, such as collapses, fires and explosions.
By the early 20th century, scientists had figured out that if the airlocks traveled to the river’s surface more gradually, slowing the workers’ decompression, the bends could be prevented altogether. In 1909, New York’s legislature passed the nation’s first caisson-safety laws to protect sandhogs digging railway tunnels under the Hudson and East rivers.
On May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River opened, connecting the great cities of New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. Thousands of residents of Brooklyn and Manhattan Island turned out to witness the dedication ceremony, which was presided over by President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland. Emily Roebling was given the first ride over the completed bridge, with a rooster, a symbol of victory, in her lap. Within 24 hours, an estimated 250,000 people walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, using a broad promenade above the roadway that John Roebling designed solely for the enjoyment of pedestrians.
With its unprecedented length and two stately towers, the Brooklyn Bridge was dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world.” For several years after its construction, it remained the tallest structure in the Western hemisphere. The connection it provided between the massive population centers of Brooklyn and Manhattan changed the course of New York City forever. In 1898, the city of Brooklyn formally merged with New York City, Staten Island and a few farm towns, forming Greater New York.
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