Watson And The Shark (1778), John Singleton CopleyPosted: May 31, 2012 Filed under: adventures, heroes, MFA Boston, museum Leave a comment
At his death, Watson bequeathed the 1778 painting to Christ’s Hospital, with the hope that it would prove “a most usefull Lesson to Youth”.
Little did I know that the MFA version, which proved so useful to me in my own youth, was “a replica Copley made for himself.”
Not to worry, Brook Watson survived the attack depicted, and grew into this happy fellow:
Says the great Wiki article:
A verse penned by one of Watson’s political enemies poked fun at his ordeal (and perhaps at his abilities):
- Oh! Had the monster, who for breakfast ate
- That luckless limb, his noblest noddle met,
- The best of workmen, nor the best of wood,
- Had scarce supply’d him with a head so good.
Now, what does this have to do with the previous post? :
Three years later [Watson] was sent to supervise the expulsion of the Acadians from the Baie Verte area.
That’s in Havana harbor, btw.
Feufollet – Au Fond du LacPosted: May 21, 2012 Filed under: Louisiana, music, Vivien Kent, writing Leave a comment
In the Cajun people of Louisiana writers find what writers always find in the remote peoples of the world: pride of race, a healthy love of pleasure, a gift for spinning sorrow into beauty, ruddy confidence, a balance and a rhythm of life that seems enviable to the alienated wanderer. I have gone to their parishes myself on several auto trips.
In the wrong mood I find their men crude and ribald. But their women are at every age attractive. A girl of 13 or 14 from the Acadian parishes can be almost impossible to look at in her beauty and passion. Look her in the eye and it can stop you cold. You will think on her for days. Many of the older women spend the rest of their lives in the consequences of their first sexual blossoming.
Of their men I will say this: in a tight situation they are heroic. None can argue they bleed life.
But above all it is this, you can feel it in their humor, in their food, in their music, in their religion, in their stories: they don’t treat life as though it’s too damned important. Sad, beautiful, sorrowful, happy: it’s something, good and bad, take it as it comes, do your damnest.
– Vivien Kent, How To Travel (1947)
[HT our Virginia Beach office via Garden & Gun magazine. As of last reading, all the comments on this video were perfectly nice (“she was my substitute teacher in 4th grade!”)]
The former king of LoPosted: May 20, 2012 Filed under: adventures Leave a comment
from The Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog collection on the Nepalese region/former kingdom of Mustang.
Earl SweatshirtPosted: May 19, 2012 Filed under: celebrity, TV 1 Comment
Not my beat, but I just read the NY Times article about him:
In Samoa he was taking courses and speaking with therapists. He swam with whales and earned a scuba diving license, watched every episode of “The Mentalist” on DVD, put his classmates onto Lil B, began learning how to play piano. He read Manning Marable’s Malcolm X biography and Richard Fariña’s counterculture fiction.
Interesting article about fame, being a good person, mothers, etc.
Blind, 1916, Paul StrandPosted: May 18, 2012 Filed under: Met, museum, photography, pictures Leave a comment
That one’s not on display over at the Met. Gotta find his photos of the Outer Hebrides online.
How to talk to children?Posted: May 17, 2012 Filed under: children, Steinbeck, writing Leave a comment
At The Hairpin they have an interview with John Steinbeck’s son, re: a letter the dad sent the son that was at Letters of Note recently. Here’s an excerpt:
One of the things my father had going for himself is he talked to children like he talked to adults. Kids loved my father, because he didn’t talk down to them. They asked him a question, he gave a serious answer, he treated them as serious human beings.
My mom did the same thing, when I was young. She used to talk to me, even before I could talk, like I was an adult. I think that’s the right way to go about it.
I think so, too, especially if you expect your children to talk like adults. It’s really quite amazing what children will absorb if you give them the benefit of the doubt to understand that the intelligence is there. They may not be able to verbalize themselves completely, but comprehension is there.
And if you feel that someone is taking your question seriously, you’ll take the answer seriously, even if you don’t quite understand it all.
I’ve been really appreciating the lively conversation all 12,000-odd of you have been generating in the comments. If you know how to talk to children please discuss.
Bear in mind, though, Thom Steinbeck’s final warning:
Well what do you think it is about this letter that resonated with so many people, though? I mean, it was all across the internet, everyone was passing it along.
You can’t trust the internet for that, they’d pass along a car accident if they thought it was amusing!
(photo: “[Girl next to barn with chicken]” from the Library of Congress.)
“Cupid,” Sam Cooke, 1963Posted: May 15, 2012 Filed under: music Leave a comment
Like Sam Cooke ever needed Cupid’s help. ht SDB a long time ago.
Sitting Bull Part 2Posted: May 11, 2012 Filed under: books, Custer, Fate, from wikipedia, history, Indians, photography, pictures, the American West, writing Leave a comment
That detail about the meadowlark is from Nathaniel Philbrick, The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and The Battle of The Little Bighorn. At best the second-best book about the Little Bighorn battle, first of course being:
but that image is amazing. Good on Philbrick.
What is amazing about “Son Of The Morning Star” is Connell doesn’t just tell the story, he follows the meandering lines that lead to it and out of it, and the people who traced them. He demonstrates that as soon as you focus on any particular incident, you can keep finding new dimensions of weirdness in it.
Take, for example, this meadowlark warning Sitting Bull. Philbrick cites that detail as coming from the recollections of One Bull, Sitting Bull’s nephew, found in box 104, folder 21 of the Walter Campbell collection. Walter Campbell was born in Severy, Kansas in 1887. He was the first Rhodes Scholar from the state of Oklahoma. He wrote under the name Stanley Vestal. Why? I don’t know. According to the University of Oklahoma, where his collection is kept, he was adopted by Sitting Bull’s family, and “was named Makes-Room or Make-Room-For-Him (Kiyukanpi) and His Name Is Everywhere (Ocastonka). Kiyukanpi was the name of Joseph White Bull’s father, and Ocastonka is a reference to the Chief’s great fame.”
Here’s a picture from the Walter Campbell collection:
That’s Young Man Afraid Of His Horses. Here’s another:
Regrettably OU won’t let me make that any bigger. Campbell/Vestal/His-Name-Is-Everywhere died of a heart attack on Christmas Day, 1957.
There’s also a Walter CAMP who is very important in Bighorniana. Camp worked for the railroad, and so could travel all over. An unsourced detail from Indiana University’s Camp collection is that this is how he “spent his summers,” finding lost battlefields and interviewing old Indians and soldiers. Here is a picture from Camp’s collection:
As for One Bull, here he is. This is a photograph by William Cross (which I found here):
On wikipedia’s page for One Bull, however, they illustrate him with a picture of his spoon:
This spoon is now in the Spurlock Museum, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaigne, where they also have collections of Japanese wood carvings, Arctic artifacts, and Babylonian clay tablets.
Sitting BullPosted: May 10, 2012 Filed under: Custer, from wikipedia, history, Indians, museum, mysticism, people, photography, pictures, the American West 2 Comments
In August of 1890, Sitting Bull left his home to check on his ponies. After walking more than three miles, he climbed to the top of a hill, where he heard a voice. A meadowlark was speaking to him from a nearby knoll. “Lakotas will kill you,” the little bird said.
from the Paris Review interview with J. P. DonleavyPosted: May 9, 2012 Filed under: New York, writing Leave a comment
How did you motivate yourself?
That was easy. It was simply money and fame. I was aware as anyone is, that in this world you can just be swept away. I’m aware of this just as much now. New York is a great place to be reminded of it. You arrive here, and Good Lord, you find out in ten seconds that nothing whatever matters, especially your own small life. So I knew I had to write a book that would be the best work in the world. It was that simple.
rest here. FYI The Ginger Man is not the best work in the world. Some writers are better at playing writer than writing. There is a sentence or two in The Ginger Man that I think about lots, though.
Hills around the Bay of Moulin Huet, Guernsey (Renoir, 1883)Posted: May 9, 2012 Filed under: art, painting, pictures, Renoir 1 Comment
Met Artwork of the Day nails it again. This might be in a similar spot, anyway the closest photo I can find on Google streetview.
DebtPosted: May 9, 2012 Filed under: business, Nigeria Leave a comment
Helen DeWitt pulls a great thing from this interview with David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years.
David Graeber: An anthropologist who studied people in central Nigeria showed us how we were completely clueless. She doesn’t really speak the language and she gets a house, and immediately women start showing up from the neighborhood and dropping off little baskets of stuff: somebody bringing some okra, somebody bringing some fish. And she doesn’t know what to do so she takes out her little notebook and eventually somebody takes pity on her and starts explaining how things work. The person says, “Well, you know, you give something back to these people. But the key is you have to figure out exactly what it’s worth, and then give them either something slightly more valuable, or slightly less valuable. So if it’s worth twelve shillings, you give them something worth eleven or thirteen, never give twelve. Because if you give twelve, that’s like saying, ‘go to hell, I don’t ever have to see you again.’” So everyone has to be a little bit beholden.
Peter Thiel on pitchingPosted: May 8, 2012 Filed under: advice, business, screenwriting 1 Comment
Definite crossover with movie/TV pitching:
One of the most important things to understand is that, like all people, VCs are different people at different times of day. It helps to pitch as early as possible in the day. This is not a throwaway point. Disregard it at your peril. A study of judges in Israel doing parole hearings showed prisoners had a two-thirds chance of getting parole if their hearing was early in the day. Those odds decreased with time. There was a brief uptick after lunch—presumably because the judges were happily rested. By the end of the day people had virtually no chance of being paroled. Like everyone, VCs make poorer decisions as they get tired. Come afternoon, all they want to do is go home. It does indeed suck to have to wake up early to go pitch. But that is what you must do. Insist that you get on the calendar early.
A related point: It’s also important not to provide too much choice. Contrary to the standard microeconomics literature which extols the virtues of choice, empirical studies show people are actually made unhappy by a lot of choice. Too many choices makes for Costco Syndrome and mental encumbrance. By the end of the day, the VCs have had a lot of choices. So in addition to getting to them early in the day (before they’ve had to make a lot of choices), you should keep your proposition simple. When you make your ask, don’t give them tons of different financing options or packages or other attempts at optimization. That will burden them with a cognitive load that will make them unhappy. Keep it simple.
Whole thing is interesting. HT Tyler Cowen.
Nuns at Tatsang, 1931Posted: May 7, 2012 Filed under: adventures, mountains, photography, pictures, Tibet, travel Leave a comment
Wish I had a larger version of this. The photographer is Frank Smythe, who went on the 1938 Shipton-Tilman Everest expedition. My source is the Royal Geographic Society.
In 1949, in Delhi, [Smythe] was taken ill with food poisoning; then a succession of malaria attacks took their toll and he died on June 27, 1949 two weeks before his 49th birthday.
Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, by George ChinneryPosted: May 6, 2012 Filed under: art, George Chinnery, painting, pictures Leave a comment
And here’s Chinnery himself, done by himself:
Let me tell you some quick facts about William JardinePosted: May 5, 2012 Filed under: business, family, from wikipedia, history, Hong Kong Leave a comment
He became a surgeon’s mate on a ship at age 18
His lifelong friend was named Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy
An early business partner was named Hollingworth Magniac
His rival was named Lancelot Dent
He started a business in Hong Kong importing, among other things, opium to China. His partner was James Matheson:
William C. Hunter, a contemporary of Jardine who worked for the American firm Russell & Co., wrote of him, “He was a gentleman of great strength of character and of unbounded generosity.” Hunter’s description of Matheson was, “He was a gentleman of great suavity of manner and the impersonation of benevolence.”
“He was nicknamed by the locals “The Iron-headed Old Rat” after being hit on the head by a club in Guangzhou.”
When the Chinese tried to ban the importation of opium, he gave the foreign secretary a detailed plan on how to attack China, which the British went ahead and did.
His farewell dinner when he left Hong Kong was legendary. FDR’s grandfather was there.
A bachelor, when he died he left his fortune to his nephews and siblings.
Jardine Matheson Group, still run by members of his family, is today – all of this is according to wikipedia – the second-largest employer in Hong Kong.
Medusa, Caravaggio, 1597Posted: May 4, 2012 Filed under: art, painting, pictures 1 Comment
One more Jack DelanoPosted: May 3, 2012 Filed under: adventures, photography, pictures Leave a comment
Born in the Ukraine in 1923, “he travelled to Puerto Rico in 1941 as a part of the FSA project. This trip had such a profound influence on him that he settled there permanently in 1946.” Died 1997.
More Jack DelanoPosted: May 2, 2012 Filed under: Chicago, machines, photography Leave a comment
Chicago Railyards, 1942
Poster for a side show at the Vermont State Fair, Rutland, 1941 by Jack DelanoPosted: May 2, 2012 Filed under: New England, photography, Vermont Leave a comment