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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rome: Spagna: Our Street

Rome: Another Horned Moses

Rome: Column of the Immaculate Conception

Column of the Immaculate Conception

The Column of the Immaculate Conception or la Colonna della Immacolata, is a nineteenth-century monument in central Rome depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary, located in what is called Piazza Mignanelli, towards the south east extension of Piazza di Spagna. It was placed aptly in front of the offices of the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide (offices for promulgating the faith), now renamed the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The Marian monument was designed by the architect Luigi Poletti and commissioned by Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies. In part, he wanted to put closure to the dispute between Naples and the Papal States that had developed in the last century, when Naples abolished the Chinea, a yearly tribute offered to the Pope as ultimate sovereign of Naples.

[From Wikipedia:,_Rome]

Rome: Steps and Our Place

Woke to it every morning, so I figured it was worth a shot. I take the impressionistic floral blur on the steps for crowds of people (what else -- flowers?). What do you think?

A typical touristy, bedroom-waller.


Rome: More Steps and Another "Next Time"

Have been in or around the Spanish Steps at least three times. This time: multiple times, as we stayed just a block away. You should always leave something for "next time." For me it will be many things, but at least one of those will be the Keats-Shelley House.




Monday, June 29, 2015

Rome: Leskov, T.S. Eliot, and Uncle Ezra

Eliot and Ezra are of course connected in Eternity. But Leskov -- how is he connected to the other two? Answer: all three kept me company in Italy. Leskov (whether he knows it or not) was my exclusive companion in Rome. In Venice I broke with Leskov (temporarily) to read (reread?) Eliot's "Ezra Pound: His Metric and Poetry."


A few quotes from Eliot's salute to Pound:

"Ezra Pound has been fathered with vers libre in English, with all its vices and virtues. The term is a loose one -- any verse is called "free" by people whose ears are not accustomed to it -- in the second place, Pound's use of this medium has shown the temperance of the artist, and his belief in it as a vehicle is not that of the fanatic. He has said himself that when one has the proper material for a sonnet, one should use the sonnet form; but that it happens very rarely to any poet to find himself in possession of just the block of stuff which can perfectly be modelled into the sonnet."
"Any work of art is a compound of freedom and order."
"Art is departure from fixed positions; felicitous departure from a norm...."
"Beauty is a very valuable thing; perhaps it is the most valuable thing in life; but the power to express emotion so that it shall communicate itself intact and exactly is almost more valuable."


Another example of a "humorous hook" of an intro from Leskov's "The Pearl Necklace" (I'm thinking Flaubert would agree with Pisemesky):

In a certain cultivated family, some friends were sitting over tea and talking about literature -- about invention, plot. They regretted that with us all this was getting poorer and paler. I remembered and recounted a characteristic observation of the late Pisemesky, who said that the perceived impoverishment of literature was connected first of all with the multiplication of railroads, which are very useful for commerce, but harmful for artistic literature.  

Rome: Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps (Italian: Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti) are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.

The monumental stairway of 135 steps (the slightly elevated drainage system is often mistaken for the first step) was built with French diplomat Étienne Gueffier’s bequeathed funds of 20,000 scudi, in 1723–1725, linking the Bourbon Spanish Embassy, and the Trinità dei Monti church that was under the patronage of the Bourbon kings of France, both located above — to the Holy See in Palazzo Monaldeschi located below. The stairway was designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi.

[From Wikipedia:]

Ristorante 34

This was our 3rd time at Ristorante 34. Discovered it years ago. One of the hardest working waiters in the world works here. The itinerant accordion player is also ubiquitous. The girl just happened to be in the way.



Rome: Spanish Steps (Night)

We walked from the train station in Rome to our hotel near the Spanish Steps. These pics are from our first night.






Quattro Fontane

The Quattro Fontane (the Four Fountains) is an ensemble of four Late Renaissance fountains located at the intersection of Via delle Quattro Fontane and Via del Quirinale in Rome. They were commissioned by Pope Sixtus V and built at the direction of Muzio Mattei, and were installed between 1588 and 1593. The figure of one fountain is said to represent the River Tiber, in front of an oak-tree; a she-wolf, the symbol of Rome, was a later addition. A second fountain represents the River Aniene, a tributary of the Tiber, called Anio in ancient Rome, which provided most Roman aqueducts with water. Pope Sixtus proposed to build a canal to bring the water of the Aniene to Rome. The other two fountains feature female figures believed to represent the Goddess Diana; the symbol of Chastity; and the Goddess Juno, the symbol of Strength, but it is possible that they may also represent rivers. The fountains of the Aniene, Tiber, and Juno are the work of Domenico Fontana. The fountain of Diana was designed by the painter and architect Pietro da Cortona.

The later Baroque church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, by Francesco Borromini, is located near the fountains, and takes its name from them. Until 1964 the Via Quattro Fontane was home to the Pontifical Scots College.

[From Wikipedia:]

Rome: Four Fountains




Rome: Red Mopeds all in a Row

Dribble dribble. A whirlwind visit (revisit) to Rome and Venice. Next time I'd stay away from Rome in the Summer (I miss our love affairs in the winter months); with Venice I'm a bit like Gustav von Aschenbach: I don't want to leave.


Friday, June 19, 2015

My Daily Dose of Leskov (He's Quite Funny IMHO)

From the beginning of "Deathless Golovan":

He himself is almost a myth, and his story a legend. To tell about him, one should be French, because only the people of that nation manage to explain to others what they don't understand themselves. I say all this with the aim of begging my reader's indulgence beforehand for the overall imperfection of my story of a person whose portrayal is worth the efforts of a far better master than I. But Golovan is worthy of attention, and though I did not know him well enough to be able to draw his full portrait, I will select and present some features of this mortal man of no high rank who was reputed to be deathless.

"People Escaping from the Indian Massacre of 1862 in Minnesota, at Dinner on a Prairie"

[From Wikipedia Commons: Photo thought to be taken by Adrian Ebel:

Adrian J Ebell (1840 - 1877)

Adrian John Ebell (b. 1840-09-20; d. 1877), was born in Jaffnapatam on the Island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the son of Henry T. and Mary (Palm) Ebell, of English and Dutch ancestry. When about ten years of age, he was sent to the United States with an older sister to be educated. After preparatory school he entered Yale University in 1858. He then taught music in New Haven, Connecticut, and in Chicago, and then moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota, and took some noted photographs. He served for a short time in the Indian war in Minnesota with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He wrote an article in June 1863 in Harper's Magazine titled "The Indian Massacres and War of 1862",[1] which included the famous photograph "People escaping from the Indian massacre of 1862 in Minnesota, at dinner on a prairie". He then returned to Yale and graduated at the Scientific School in 1866 with a PhD.

He afterwards studied medicine at the Albany Medical College, graduating M.D. in 1869. In the meantime he had begun to lecture before schools and lyceums on natural science. In 1871 he established himself in New York City as director of “The International Academy of Natural Science”, which comprised a plan of travel and study in Europe for annually organized classes of young ladies. He was married in September, 1874, to Oriana L., daughter of Dr. A.J. Steele, of New York. He embarked from New York, on one of these study tours, late in March, 1877 and died en route at age 37.

He made a visit to California in 1876, and while here he organized a class in Oakland. After his death the name "Ebell" was taken by the Oakland chapter or "Club". Other chapters, including Ebell of Los Angeles and Ebell Club of Santa Paula, founded later used the same Ebell name.

[From Wikipedia:]

The Ebell (Long Beach, CA)

This is the ex-theater entrance (apparently this space has been turned into condos/lofts). A young lady rushed out as we were admiring the exterior, but we were too shy to ask for a peek. We did see the other entrance (a large space used for large gatherings and voting): it's getting a makeover.



Passion Flowers 1 & 2


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Back to Leskov

I suppose we've come a long way. Or have we?

Either way, here's a nice slice of Leskov's "Singlemind":

Conjugal life cost him no more than bachelorhood; on the contrary, now it became even more profitable for him, because, having brought home a wife, he immediately dismissed the hired woman he had paid no less than a copper rouble a month. From then on the copper rouble remained in his pocket, and the house was better kept; his wife's strong hands were never idle: she spun and wove, and also turned out to be good at knitting stockings and growing vegetables. In short, his wife was a simple, capable peasant woman, faithful and submissive, with whom the biblical eccentric could live in a biblical way, and apart from what has been said, there is nothing to say about her.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rosie of Rosie's Beach

Scapegoat Mechanism

Literary critic and philosopher Kenneth Burke first coined and described the expression "scapegoat mechanism" in his books Permanence and Change (1935), and A Grammar of Motives (1945). These works influenced some philosophical anthropologists, such as Ernest Becker and René Girard.

Girard developed the concept much more extensively as an interpretation of human culture. In Girard's view, it is humankind, not God, who has need for various forms of atoning violence. Humans are driven by desire for that which another has or wants (mimetic desire). This causes a triangulation of desire and results in conflict between the desiring parties. This mimetic contagion increases to a point where society is at risk; it is at this point that the scapegoat mechanism[9] is triggered. This is the point where one person is singled out as the cause of the trouble and is expelled or killed by the group. This person is the scapegoat. Social order is restored as people are contented that they have solved the cause of their problems by removing the scapegoated individual, and the cycle begins again. The keyword here is "content". Scapegoating serves as a psychological relief for a group of people. Girard contends that this is what happened in the narrative of Jesus of Nazareth, the central figure in Christianity. The difference between the scapegoating of Jesus and others, Girard believes, is that in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, he is shown to be an innocent victim; humanity is thus made aware of its violent tendencies and the cycle is broken. Thus Girard's work is significant as a re-construction of the Christus Victor atonement theory.

[From Wikipedia:]

Rene Girard

René Noël Théophile Girard (/ʒiˈrɑrd/; French: [ʒiʁaʁ]; born December 25, 1923) is a Franco-American historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science whose work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy. Girard is the author of nearly thirty books (see below), with his writings spanning many academic domains. Although the reception of his work is different in each of these areas, there is a growing body of secondary literature on his work and his influence on disciplines such as literary criticism, critical theory, anthropology, theology, psychology, mythology, sociology, economics, cultural studies, and philosophy.

Girard's fundamental ideas, which he has developed throughout his career and provide the foundation for his thinking, are that desire is mimetic (all of our desires are borrowed from other people), that all conflict originates in mimetic desire (mimetic rivalry), that the scapegoat mechanism is the origin of sacrifice and the foundation of human culture, and religion was necessary in human evolution to control the violence that can come from mimetic rivalry, and that the Bible reveals these ideas and denounces the scapegoat mechanism.

[From Wikipedia:]

Christa Wolf's "Medea" & Rene Girard

Dragging through Wolf's Medea (loved her City of Angels, the last book I read by her, but this one is so-so), but I thought I'd see what she had to say before I dipped into Euripides' version.

Anyway, each chapter is a "voice," and each chapter/voice has an epigraph. This is where I first ran into the name of Rene Girard (both quotes are from his text: Violence and the Sacred).

From Chapter Seven: Leukon:

People want to convince themselves that their misfortunes come from one single responsible person who can easily be got rid of.

From Chapter Eight: Medea:

The festival has lost all of its ritual characteristics, and it ends badly insofar as it finds its way back to its violent beginnings. It is no longer a hindrance to the forces of evil, but their ally.

Practicing Panoramas (6.15.15)

Guess I knew I had the app, just never thought to toy with it much. Now I'm practicing for Rome & Venice. I'll run up every other campanile and snap a pan.




Saturday, June 13, 2015

Leonid Pasternak (1862 - 1945)

Leonid Osipovich Pasternak (born Yitzhok-Leib, or Isaak Iosifovich, Pasternak; Russian: Леони́д О́сипович Пастерна́к, 3 April 1862 N.S. – 31 May 1945) was a Russian post-impressionist painter. He was the father of the poet and novelist Boris Pasternak.


Leonid Pasternak was born in Odessa to an Orthodox Jewish family on 4 April 1862. The family claimed to be distantly descended, in one line, from Isaac Abrabanel, the famous 15th-century Jewish philosopher and treasurer of Portugal, although no independent evidence of this exists.[1] Leonid's father made an income by renting out a guest house. The courtyard of the guest house, with its adjoining coach-house, first awakened Leonid's artistic imagination. He was the youngest of the six children in the family. He started to draw very early, but his family tried to discourage him, as they feared that his drawing would interfere with his studies. His first sponsor was the local street cleaner who began buying Pasternak's art when Leonid was seven years old. During 1879-1881 Leonid Pasternak was a graduate of the Grekov Odessa Art school. From 1881 to 1885, Leonid studied at Moscow University, first in the Department of Medicine, then at the Department of Law. Eventually he decided to devote his life to art and entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich from which he graduated in 1887. He returned to Russia, served the compulsory two years in the Imperial Russian Army (artillery regiment) and in 1889 started a career as a full-time painter.

The start of his career was very successful. His first exhibited painting was bought by Pavel Tretyakov, the most important art sponsor in Russia of the time. He soon became a popular painter, a member of the so-called Polenov circle, that included Valentin Serov, Isaac Levitan, Mikhail Nesterov, Konstantin Korovin. In 1889 he married the pianist Rosa Isidorovna Kaufman, the daughter of Isidor Kaufman, a well to do Jewish manufacturer — and not of his famous namesake, the painter Isidor Kaufman, as many err to think. The newlyweds settled in Moscow and in (1890) the first of the couple's four children was born — the famous author and poet Boris Pasternak.

Leonid Pasternak was one of the first Russian painters who labeled himself an Impressionist. In Russia in the 1880s and 1890s such a proclamation was novel enough to draw attention to an artist. Leonid also was a member of the Peredvizhniki and Union of Russian Artists movements. He was a friend of Leo Tolstoy, for months lived in Yasnaya Polyana, and painted many portraits of the great writer, also illustrating his novels War and Peace and Resurrection.

According to his son Boris,

"It was from the... kitchen that my father's remarkable illustrations to Tolstoy's Resurrection were dispatched. After its final revision, the novel was serialized in the journal Niva by the Petersburg publisher Fyodor Marx. The work was feverish. I remember how pressed for time father was. The issues of the journal came out regularly without delay. One had to be in time for each issue. Tolstoy kept back the proofs, revising them again and again. There was the risk that the illustrations would be at variance with the corrections subsequently introduced into it. But my father's sketches came from the same source whence the author obtained his observations, the courtroom, the transit prison, the country, the railway. It was the reservoir of living details, the identical realistic presentation of ideas, that saved him from the danger of digressing from the spirit of the original. In view of the urgency of the matter, special precautions were taken to prevent any delay in the sending of the illustrations. The services of the conductors of the express trains at the NIkolayevsky railway were enlisted. My childish imagination was struck by the sight of a train conductor in his formal railway uniform, standing waiting at the door of the kitchen as if he were standing on a railway platform at the door of a compartment that was just about to leave the station. Joiner's glue was boiling on the stove. The illustrations were hurriedly wiped dry, fixed, glued on pieces of cardboard, rolled up, tied up. The parcels, once ready, were sealed up with sealing wax and handed to the conductor."[2]

He was awarded a medal at the World Fair in Paris (1900) for his illustrations of Tolstoy's novels.

Pasternak was elected a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1905), and also taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

In 1921 Pasternak needed an eye surgery, which was scheduled to be performed in Berlin. He traveled there with his wife and two daughters, Lydia and Josephine, leaving his sons Boris and Alexander in Russia. After the surgery he decided not to return to Russia, remaining in Berlin until 1938 when he took refuge from the Nazis in Great Britain. He died at Oxford on 31 May 1945.

[From Wikipedia:]

As Close as I Got to Duino...

Traveled to Trieste just for Duino (it's still a school, I believe -- I met a young man near a seaside grotto who attended the school). Walked miles in the pouring rain. Loved every minute of it. Swear I heard an angel or two myself.



From Rilke's Tenth Elegy

Last two strophes of the Tenth Elegy (German/English):


Aber erweckten sie uns, die unendlich Toten, ein Gleichnis,

siehe, sie zeigten vielleicht auf die Kätzchen der leeren

Hasel, die hängenden, oder

meinten den Regen, der fallt auf dunkles Erdreich im Frühjahr. –


Und wir, die an steigendes Glück

denken, empfänden die Rührung,

die uns beinah bestürzt,

wenn ein Glückliches fällt.




But if the endlessly dead woke a symbol in us,

see, they would point perhaps to the catkins,

hanging from bare hazels, or

they would intend the rain, falling on dark soil in Spring-time. –


And we, who think of ascending

joy, would feel the emotion,

that almost dismays us,

when a joyful thing falls.


[Translation by A. S. Kline]


Sketch of Rilke by Leonid Pasternak


Duino Elegies

The Duino Elegies (German: Duineser Elegien) are a collection of ten elegies written by the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926). Rilke, who is "widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets,"[1] began writing the elegies in 1912 while a guest of Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis (1855–1934) at Duino Castle, near Trieste on the Adriatic Sea. The poems, 859 lines long in total,[2] were dedicated to the Princess upon their publication in 1923. During this ten-year period, the elegies languished incomplete for long stretches of time as Rilke suffered frequently from severe depression—some of which was caused by the events of World War I and being conscripted into military service. Aside from brief episodes of writing in 1913 and 1915, Rilke did not return to the work until a few years after the war ended. With a sudden, renewed inspiration—writing in a frantic pace he described as a "boundless storm, a hurricane of the spirit"[3]—he completed the collection in February 1922 while staying at Château de Muzot in Veyras, in Switzerland's Rhone Valley. After their publication in 1923 and Rilke's death in 1926, the Duino Elegies were quickly recognized by critics and scholars as his most important work.[4][5]

The Duino Elegies are intensely religious, mystical poems that weigh beauty and existential suffering.[6] The poems employ a rich symbolism of angels and salvation but not in keeping with typical Christian interpretations. Rilke begins the first elegy in an invocation of philosophical despair, asking: "Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the hierarchies of angels?" (Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel Ordnungen?)[7] and later declares that "every angel is terrifying" (Jeder Engel ist schrecklich).[8] While labelling of these poems as "elegies" would typically imply melancholy and lamentation, many passages are marked by their positive energy and "unrestrained enthusiasm."[4] Together, the Duino Elegies are described as a metamorphosis of Rilke's "ontological torment" and an "impassioned monologue about coming to terms with human existence" discussing themes of "the limitations and insufficiency of the human condition and fractured human consciousness ... man's loneliness, the perfection of the angels, life and death, love and lovers, and the task of the poet."[9]

Rilke's poetry, and the Duino Elegies in particular, influenced many of the poets and writers of the twentieth century. In popular culture, his work is frequently quoted on the subject of love or of angels and referenced in television programs, motion pictures, music and other artistic works, in New Age philosophy and theology, and in self-help books.

[From Wikipedia:]

Friday, June 12, 2015

Harmony CA

Harmony is an unincorporated community located in San Luis Obispo County, California. It lies north of Cayucos and south of Cambria on SR 1, near the junction with SR 46. The ZIP Code is 93435. The community is inside area code 805.


The town of Harmony began as a dairy settlement in the late 19th century started by Swiss immigrants living near the Italian border—the same background as many of San Luis Obispo County's founders, including the Madonna Family, owners of the Madonna Inn located in San Luis Obispo, California.

Harmony was founded in 1869 around several dairy ranches and a creamery. The operation changed hands repeatedly because of rivalries that led to a killing. In 1907, owners and ranchers agreed to call off their feud and called the town by its present name as a symbol of their truce.

The Harmony Valley Dairy Co-op was founded in 1901, and the town grew, soon hosting a dairy management office, dormitories for employees, a livery stable, blacksmith and later a gas station. Shortly, a school was built and a feed store and post office gave Harmony official status as a community. At its peak, the creamery employed 10 workers, producing high quality dairy products, including butter and cheese that gave Harmony name recognition statewide. The creamery purified butter by cooking it in the traditional Swiss way, clarifying and giving it a golden color; old-world dairymen claimed butter produced by this method never turned rancid. Tourists traveling Hwy 1 often stopped for fresh buttermilk and a famed publisher William Randolph Hearst stopped often in Harmony on his way to his opulent home in San Simeon, 12 miles northwest, as did many of the Hollywood celebrities who were frequent guests of Hearst.

Increased grazing land fees and dairy industry consolidation led to the closure of Harmony's creamery around 1955. The town, which still has a part-time post office, lost population until the 1970s when it was rediscovered by California's young counter-culture population, many of whom were looking for a rural lifestyle where they could practice traditional crafts away from the pressures and technology of urban life. Many of the town's historic landmarks, including the main creamery, were restored and reopened as restaurants and shops.

[From Wikipedia:,_California]

Harmony CA


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Old Venice Pics

If we get to Rome (standby), more than likely we'll take the night train to Venice. That's the plan. Thus the old Venice pics.






Old Rome Pics

Planning to get there again: end of June. I thought this would be a good spot to insert some Rome pics from the past.