One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Exorcist/Tubular Bells/Bassie en Adriaan

Don't know if I ever sat through the whole movie before (but, except for a few ups and downs, I did last night -- after convincing the wife it wasn't too scary), but how could you forget that themesong.

The movie was so-so. Very slow by modern standards. Hokey special effects. That said, I don't think Max von Sydow can ever be bad (i.e., I'm always impressed). 

L E N S C R A T C H: Susan Swihart

L E N S C R A T C H: Susan Swihart: Los Angeles photographer Susan Swihart has a front row seat as she observes the phenomenon of identical twins.  She has begun a long-term p...


Didn't know her (do now, a little). Found her because of her name.

Brecht Poem on Los Angeles

Christa Wolf quotes from a Brecht poem on Los Angeles (in translation here of course):

Reflecting, so I hear, on
My brother Shelley
found it to be a place

Much like the city of
London. I
Who live not in London
but in Los Angeles
Find, reflecting on hell,
that it must be
Even more like Los

Brecht Haus (Santa Monica)

brecht haus ii by mrlange
brecht haus ii, a photo by mrlange on Flickr.
Bertolt Brecht's house in Santa Monica. Another place I could easily get to (though it was easier when I was at UCLA) but haven't.

Villa Aurora

Villa Aurora by NH567
Villa Aurora, a photo by NH567 on Flickr.
Lion Feuchtwanger's house in Pacific Palisades

Lion Feuchtwanger (1884 - 1958)

Though I've heard of him, I've never read him (another name for the "list"). Apparently a major German writer in the "Weimar under the palms."


Lion Feuchtwanger (7 July 1884 – 21 December 1958) was a German-Jewish novelist and playwright. A prominent figure in the literary world of Weimar Germany, he influenced contemporaries including playwright Bertolt Brecht.

Feuchtwanger's fierce criticism of the Nazi Party—years before it assumed power—ensured that he would be a target of government-sponsored persecution after Adolf Hitler's appointment as chancellor of Germany in January 1933. Following a brief period of internment in France, and a harrowing escape from Continental Europe, he sought asylum in the United States, where he died in 1958.

Feuchtwanger is often praised for his efforts to expose the brutality of the Nazis and occasionally criticized for his failure to acknowledge the brutality of the rule of Joseph Stalin.[

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Few More Portraits (Colorado Lagoon)

One of my favorite trees:

A very patient but private fellow:

Ode to the Parrots of Belmont Shore/Heights

I'd say more Shore than Heights, but what do I know. Used to hear them all the time, mostly toward evening, when we lived across from the pier. They gathered in the palms outside Vons.

Rarely hear their ruckus above us now.

Anyway, seems like every "public box" is a canvas these days. This one's for the noisy but beautiful parrots (saw the artist painting it last weekend).


Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Also mentioned in Wolf's City of Angels:

It was morning. You heard on the radio that Ethel and Julius Rosenberg had been put to death in the electric chair that night in the USA. You cried. You stroked your small daughter's little head. I can still feel today, in my fingertips, how soft and fragile it was. I still remember that you thought: I will never forget this day. And I never did forget it.


Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg (September 25, 1915[1] – June 19, 1953) and Julius Rosenberg (May 12, 1918 – June 19, 1953) were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage during a time of war and executed on June 19, 1953. Their charges were related to the passing of information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. This has been the only case in the history of the United States in which those accused of espionage were executed as a result.[2]

In 1995, the U.S. government released a series of decoded Soviet cables, codenamed VENONA, which confirmed that Julius acted as a courier and recruiter for the Soviets but which were ambiguous about Ethel's involvement.[3][4] The other atomic spies who were caught by the FBI offered confessions and were not executed, including Ethel's brother, David Greenglass, who supplied documents to Julius from Los Alamos and served 10 years of his 15-year sentence. Harry Gold, who identified Greenglass and served 15 years in Federal prison as the courier for Greenglass; and a German scientist, Klaus Fuchs.[5][6] Morton Sobell, who was tried with the Rosenbergs, served 17 years and 9 months of a 30-year sentence.[7] In 2008, Sobell admitted he was a spy and confirmed Julius Rosenberg was "in a conspiracy that delivered to the Soviets classified military and industrial information and what the American government described as the secret to the atomic bomb."[8]

[From Wikipedia:]

Serenus Zeitblom (from Mann's Doctor Faustus)

I would've recognized the name Adrian Leverkühn (it's been years since I've read Doctor Faustus and I need to give it a "reread" eventually), but I didn't recognize Serenus Zeitblom.


Doctor Faustus (in German, Doktor Faustus) is a German novel written by Thomas Mann, begun in 1943 and published in 1947 as Doktor Faustus. Das Leben des deutschen Tonsetzers Adrian Leverkühn, erzählt von einem Freunde ("Doctor Faustus. The Life of the German composer Adrian Leverkühn, told by a friend").

The story is narrated by Leverkühn's childhood friend Serenus Zeitblom. Much like Settembrini and Naphta in “The Magic Mountain” the “serene” humanist Zeitblom and the tragical Leverkühn represent the dualism of the German character, its Apollonian (reason, democracy, progress) and Dionysian (passion, tragedy, fate) aspects. Writing in Germany between 1943 and 1946, Zeitblom describes the rise and downfall of Nazi Germany in parallel with his account of Leverkühn's life. Clearly Leverkühn's pact with the devil symbolizes Germany's "selling of its soul" to Hitler, and vice versa.

[From Wikipedia:]

Thomas Mann Haus: 1550 San Remo Drive, Pacific Palisades

thomas mann haus by mrlange
thomas mann haus, a photo by mrlange on Flickr.
1550 San Remo Drive, Pacific Palisades. Have always intended on seeing it, but never have.

Christa Wolf visited Mann's house and in City of Angels she quotes a bit from Mann's Diaries. As you can see, I couldn't find a good photo on Flickr that gets beyond the front gate (some day). On the Net I also saw that the house (apparently very different from when Mann lived there) rents for $15,500 per month. Pocket change.


Wolf, quoting from Mann's Diaries:

Pacific Palisades, Saturday, 10/15/49:... Letter to a German man who sent me a note declaring his love for Serenus Zeitblom ... It does me good to see that there are still people  in Germany who find something to love in the work of my old age, in my work at all -- not just something to carp about. When it comes right down to it, it's a stupid German trait always to have to tear down and belittle the best they have, anything that represents them nobly and well to the  world. No other nations do that.


Ran across an online article in the New York Times re Germans on the West Coast: "When Weimar Luminaries Went West Coast."

Monday, February 18, 2013


Haggis by onecreativesource
Haggis, a photo by onecreativesource on Flickr.

Haggis and Neeps

Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours. Most modern commercial haggis is prepared in a sausage casing rather than an actual stomach.

As the 2001 English edition of the Larousse Gastronomique puts it, "Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour".[1]

Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, considered the national dish of Scotland as a result of Robert Burns' poem Address to a Haggis of 1787. Haggis is traditionally served with "neeps and tatties" (Scots: turnip and potato), boiled and mashed separately and a dram (a glass of Scotch whisky), especially as the main course of a Burns supper. However it is also often eaten with other accompaniments.

[From Wikipedia:]

Scots Fest 2013 (Long Beach, CA)

Beautiful day, even if you're not a Scot. The Queen Mary as a backdrop, shortbread, big guys throwing big rocks and telephone poles, beer tasting (I was too "under the weather" for that), a little haggis and neeps. Eventually the sun got too bright and the shrill bagpipes got to my already aching head, and we departed. Alas, . . .


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kurt Barthel (1914 - 1967)

Got this from the German Wiki: translated.

Kurt Barthel (also spelled Kurt Bartel), pseudonym of Cuba (* June 8 1914 in Garnsdorf in Chemnitz , † 12 November 1967 in Frankfurt am Main ) was a German writer , poet , dramatist and playwright .

[From Wikipedia:]


In City of Angels, Wolf quotes from one of his poems:
People will say about
     our times:
They had old iron and
     little courage
since they had little
     strength left after
     their defeat.
People will say about
     our times:
Their hearts were full of
     bitter blood.
And their life ran on
     worn-out tracks,
they will say --
and they will stand on
     their glass terraces --
And point to the
     bridges --
gardens --
And they will see the
     new city lying at their

Friday, February 15, 2013

Christa Wolf (1929 - 2011)

Read most of her major works years ago: some of it I liked, some of it was so-so. Hadn't thought much of her work lately (didn't even know she died) and I was e-fingering through Amazon (can't remember exactly how I got to her) and stumbled on her last work, City of Angels.  Seeing how the backdrop was LA--her fictional self is staying in Santa Monica--I couldn't resist.

So far so good . . .


Christa Wolf (née Ihlenfeld; 18 March 1929, Landsberg an der Warthe – 1 December 2011, Berlin) was a German literary critic, novelist, and essayist.[1][2] She was one of the best-known writers to have emerged from the former East Germany.[3][4]


Wolf was born in Landsberg an der Warthe in the Province of Brandenburg;[3] the city is now Gorzów Wielkopolski, Poland. After World War II, Wolf and her family, being Germans, were expelled from their home on what had become Polish territory. They crossed the new Oder-Neisse border in 1945 and settled in Mecklenburg, in what would become the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. She studied literature at the University of Jena and the University of Leipzig. After her graduation, she worked for the German Writers' Union and became an editor for a publishing company.

She joined the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) in 1949 and left it in June 1989. She was a candidate member of the Central Committee of the SED from 1963 to 1967. Stasi records found in 1993 showed that she worked as an informant (Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter) during the years 1959–61.[4] The Stasi officers criticized what they called her "reticence", and they lost interest in her cooperation. She was herself then closely watched for nearly 30 years. During the Cold War, Wolf was openly critical of the leadership of the GDR, but she maintained a loyalty to the values of socialism and opposed German reunification.[1]

Wolf's breakthrough as a writer came in 1963 with the publication of Der geteilte Himmel (Divided Heaven).[2] Her subsequent works included Nachdenken über Christa T. (The Quest for Christa T.) (1968), Kindheitsmuster (Patterns of Childhood) (1976), Kein Ort. Nirgends (1979), Kassandra (Cassandra) (1983), Störfall (Accident) (1987), Medea (1996), Auf dem Weg nach Tabou (On the Way to Taboo) (1994), and Stadt der Engel oder The Overcoat of Dr. Freud (2010) (City of Angels or The Overcoat of Dr. Freud). Christa T was a work that—while briefly touching on a disconnection from one's family's ancestral home—was concerned with a woman's experiencing overwhelming societal pressure to conform.

Kassandra is perhaps Wolf's most important book, re-interpreting the battle of Troy as a war for economic power and a shift from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. Was bleibt (What Remains), described her life under Stasi surveillance, was written in 1979, but not published until 1990. Auf dem Weg nach Tabou (1995; translated as Parting from Phantoms) gathered essays, speeches, and letters written during the four years following the reunification of Germany. Leibhaftig (2002) describes a woman struggling with life and death in 1980s East-German hospital, while awaiting medicine from the West. Central themes in her work are German fascism, humanity, feminism, and self-discovery.
Wolf died 1 December 2011 in Berlin, where she lived with her husband, Gerhard Wolf.[5] She was buried on 13 December 2011 in Berlin's Dorotheenstadt cemetery.[6]

[From Wikipedia:]

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Missing half of Courbet’s ‘Origin of the World’ found: claim | euronews, world news

Missing half of Courbet’s ‘Origin of the World’ found: claim | euronews, world news

Oh, leave her in "piece."

Heinrich Boll (1917 - 1985)

Finally finished Broch's Sleepwalkers (enjoyed but IMHO a bit "overkill" re the writing). Have moved from WWI to WWII re milieu in switching from Broch to Boll (started reading his voluminous  short stories via my phone's Kindle App).


Heinrich Theodor Böll (December 21, 1917 – July 16, 1985) was one of Germany's foremost post-World War II writers. Böll was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize in 1967 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972.[1]


Böll was born in Cologne, Germany, to a Catholic, pacifist family that later opposed the rise of Nazism. He refused to join the Hitler Youth during the 1930s.[2] He was apprenticed to a bookseller before studying German at the University of Cologne. Conscripted into the Wehrmacht, he served in France, Romania, Hungary and the Soviet Union, and was wounded four times before being captured by Americans in April 1945 and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.[3]

Böll became a full-time writer at the age of 30. His first novel, Der Zug war pünktlich (The Train Was on Time), was published in 1949. Many other novels, short stories, radio plays and essay collections followed, and in 1972 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was the first German-born author to receive this award since Nelly Sachs in 1966.

Böll was President of PEN International, the worldwide association of writers and the oldest human rights organisation, between 1972-1973.

[From Wikipedia:]

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Breakfast in Seal Beach [2/9/13]

Got there a little early so I walked out on the pier and down toward the library. Was sorry to see that Ruby's had closed (sign said it'd been there for 25 years).

#1: Three views back to Long Beach (two before and one after breakfast):

#2: The Pier:
#3: The Seal:
#4: More Seals:
#5: Lifeguard houses (wintering):
#6: The Red Car Museum (Hoodied):


Friday, February 8, 2013

Where's Waldo Now?

Photo #1: I think it's the Hotel de Ville. Hardly the best photo, but the sun was out and turned it a white white. I'm on my way home (tgif).

Photo #2: Much harder to figure out (not a famous landmark), but I'm close to home now. Hard to get a good photo because the light is green.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blair Gordon Newell = Gordon Newell?

From my cursory search, it would seem so: birthdate and death seem to coincide (though I saw conflicting places of birth/death), both sculptors, both apprenticed under Ralph Stackpole, other matching bio details.

If so, then Gordon Newell was married to the actress Gloria Stuart for a short while (1930's).

From the Berkeley Daily Gazette (June 20, 1930):


LA in Fog (2/5/2013)

Bit foggy this morning. Gives everything a mysterious sheen. The Times (as if they're the only Times); Metro train on the First Street bridge.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Post Office 91340 (San Fernando, California)

Another wood-relief by Gordon Newell and Sherry Peticolas.

The Power of Water

Power of Water by Tim McGarry
Power of Water, a photo by Tim McGarry on Flickr.

Jason Herron (1900 - 1984)

Jason Herron's name is on the bottom of the "buff" b-baller sculpture at Belmont HS (see my earlier photos of the sculpture). On the other side (also along the bottom) is something about the Federal Art Project (FAP) and a date (must be 1937).

Apparently (but I could be wrong) Jason Herron = Jason (Jessie) Herron and the artist/sculptor was a female not a male. She is listed--along with Henry Lion and Sherry Peticolas--as the "artistic team" responsible for design and construction of "The Power of Water" (sculpture now in Lafayette Park in LA).

Post Office 90028 (Hollywood, California)

"Horseman" by George Newell. More than one online source suggests this piece was made by George Newell and Sherry Peticolas.

Gordon B. Newell (1905 - 1998)

I looked at the woodcut (bas relief) in the main office (Belmont HS) again this morning and the artist's signature (not easy to read) was Gordon Newell. Turns out he was a relatively big artist around LA in the 1930's (a bio I run across said he taught at the Chouinard Art School and Occidental). He died near Carmel in 1998.

His "The Horseman" is apparently in the Hollywood Post Office:

The United States Post Office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, also known as Hollywood Station, is an active U.S. post office located at 1615 Wilcox. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.


In 1937, renowned Art Deco architect Claud Beelman, a partner at Curlett + Beelman, was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to design the Hollywood Post Office Building. A wooden bas-relief inside, titled "The Horseman", was carved by artist Gordon Newell as a WPA commission and still stands above a door.

The ground breaking was tilled by the infamous censor Will B. Hayes by steam shovel. The post office is one of the few governmental and historical structures left unscathed in Hollywood.
Claud Beelman was a self-trained draftsman turned "moderne" architect in the early 20th century. He designed the Los Angeles County Fair Gallery, also commissioned by the WPA in 1937.

[From Wikipedia:,_California)]

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Few Belmont "Treasures"

Been hanging out at Belmont HS (downtown LA) this year (teaching a little math, "enjoying the ride"). I've seen these artworks for some while (two of the woodcuts stare at me when I sign in) without fully understanding their genesis.

On Friday, as I was taking a few photos, the ex-dean (now an ESL teacher) told me they were found in the "basement" (or some such dusty niche for castaways) and returned to semi-prominence. He says they're WPA. Two of the pieces (a woodcut and the sculpture) have names on them, but I haven't been able to "dig up" the artists (though the sculptor: *Mason Herron is possibly listed in the Los Angeles 1940 Census).

*It's not Mason Herron but Jason Herron. The other "readable" signature was Gordon Newell's (took me a long time to decipher his last name).

by Gordon Newell (1905 - 1984) 
by Jason Herron (1900 - 1984)

Works Progress Administration (WPA)

The Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects,[1] including the construction of public buildings and roads. In much smaller but more famous projects the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.[1]

Almost every community in the United States had a new park, bridge or school constructed by the agency. The WPA's initial appropriation in 1935 was for $4.9 billion (about 6.7 percent of the 1935 GDP), and in total it spent $13.4 billion.[2]

At its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men (and some women), as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States. Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost eight million jobs.[3] Full employment, which emerged as a national goal around 1944, was not the WPA goal. It tried to provide one paid job for all families in which the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment.[4]

The WPA was a national program that operated its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments, which provided 10%-30% of the costs. WPA sometimes took over state and local relief programs that had originated in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) or Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) programs.[5]

Liquidated on June 30, 1943, as a result of low unemployment due to the worker shortage of World War II, the WPA provided millions of Americans with jobs for 8 years.[6] Most people who needed a job were eligible for at least some of its positions.[7] Hourly wages were typically set to the prevailing wages in each area.[8] But, workers could not be paid for more than 30 hours a week. Before 1940, to meet the objections of the labor unions, the programs provided very little training to teach new skills to workers.

[From Wikipedia:]

I Guess I'm a Collector

My reading of lagoon and sky this a.m. seems to be in agreement with Punxsutawney Phil's.