Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Robert Jahns

If you haven't seen the work of Robert Jahns, you might want to join the 350,000 followers of his Instagram page. Truly some brilliant photographic art.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The End of History Illusion

  “What we never seem to realize is that our future selves will look back and think the very same thing about us. At every age we think we’re having the last laugh, and at every age we’re wrong.” -Daniel Gilbert

The end-of-history illusion is a complex psychological postulation in which humans from teenage years through old age believe they have consistently experienced significant personal growth and changes in both likes and dislikes until the present, but will somehow not continue to mature in the future. Despite knowing how much we have changed in the last decade or more, we believe that ten years from now, they will think and feel the same as we do today.

There is a simple explanation for this phenomenon. In the past we are quite easily able to observe who we once were and then assess the changes we have made. Change that has already happened is personal history. Predicting or anticipating change in the future is much more difficult. Life will enfold in ways we cannot presently conceive and therefore we find it difficult to predict the processes of growth and change we will experience.

However, now that we know about the End of History Illusion; one might think we would at the very least alter conscious projections about our own future and anticipate the seemingly inevitable potential for change and personal growth. Now that you are aware of this illusion, you certainly will change your attitude towards your own future, won't you?

Which leads us to the question: What changes will you make in your life and how will those changes reflect in the person you will be in 2014?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Last Dance at Two Oaks

In 1991 I moved to San Francisco to attend grad school. Shortly after my arrival I met a man who has been my close friend to this day. He had just moved from the City up to a ranch in Sonoma County. I've trekked up to the ranch scores of time. Many, many changes have taken place there over these many years, the old rundown property littered with rusting machinery and overgrown fields has been transformed. Permanent structures have replaced decrepit ones, a new now decades mature pond was added. A garden and fruit trees have been planted, parts of the land have been returned to nature. But what always stood as the anchor to the scenery were two massive oak trees.

We've partied and dined under those trees; meditated and mediated. Stories have been told, philosophers have been derided. Several relationships have bloomed and a few have faded. But always the two sentinels stood watching.

Just two days ago we had a small gathering at the ranch. A delicious slab of salmon was grilled on the same hearth where beef and pork, chicken and turkey have crisped over the years. We spoke of how the space had once been canopied by the two surviving walnut trees, one now gone and other refusing to leaf out this spring in what will be its final season.

But always the pair of giant oaks towered above it all.

When they were last trimmed by the arborist, he said the far oak, the one that had lost the huge section about ten years ago, it was weak. It might last another hundred years in that condition. It did not.

I got a call only hours after I had returned to the City. A great crash in the night had claimed the towering beauty. The ranch and all inhabitants survived, there will be more gatherings in the future; but going forward they will be under a single oak.

Art: Landscape with Two Oaks by Jan van Goyen

Friday, April 18, 2014

Game of Thrones

"The best thing on television" is not an oxymoron. Despite the vast wasteland of the glass teat, I do believe there is gold in them thar flat screens. Furthermore, I have no issue with your personal selection being Downton Abbey or Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo. To each her or his own, however watching certain shows will severely limit your chances of receiving a highly sought after invite to my dinner parties. But all of that aside, I declare Game of Thrones to be the current ultimate prize of the visual airways.

I have just completed a most enjoyable reviewing of the thirty episodes of the first three years of GoT, as I prepare for a deliciously indulgent weekend of the first several segments of year four. What I most look forward to is not more naked sex or creatures from beyond 'The Wall.' Although those are titillating and cringe-worthy, I hold my breath in scrumptious an-ti-ci (say it! say it!) -pation of three grown dragons.

Kudos all around to the author of the original books, George R.R. Martin and several if not many of the actors, including high on most viewers lists: Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen). Five stars all around.

But what high praise and fawning appreciation would be complete without a singular criticism. In my case that falls to the producers/writers/directors who participate in the Inside the Episode pieces attached to the DVR offerings. There exists a golden rule of writing - 'Show Don't Tell' which strongly and rightly suggests you allow your reader/viewer to dwell in the story and create their own context. Yet in the post-production pieces the men behind the scenes direct the viewer as to how they should see, think and feel about the story and the characters. Bad form gentleman, fiction shall remain fiction; your invasive gleeful posturing is unnecessary and even detrimental to the engaging, creative world of Game of Thrones.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Postal Rorschach

I buy postage stamps about once every two years. I just don't send much mail. Only when online banking and email won't suffice do I need to resort to USPS. So when I do purchase stamps I go to usps.gov and buy a book or a sheet of the current Forever stamps. I can't keep up with what a first class letter costs and I was honestly surprised yesterday that the going rate is now 49 cents.

More interesting were the two art choices for stamps these days. Do you think the postal service is doing some psychological testing with these two options?

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Apparently the term has been around for a dozen years or so. Anthropocene refers to the 'Age of the Earth' where humankind will eventually be geologically discernible in the fossil record.

Now given that we are in the very, very, very, extremely early beginning of that period, I don't quite see the rational for the debate about whether it began at the advent of the industrial age or maybe the first 'Out of Africa' migration or perhaps August 6, 1945. The assumed fact is that somewhere far in the future, we're talking tens of millions of years; but somewhere out there, a species, probably not us, will be able to discern, imply and/or speculate about our time on this planet by looking at the geological record probably in rock that now lies as accumulating sediment on the ocean floor.

I suppose this discovery could be made by our own progeny, assuming the next extinction event is not 100% lethal. Then factoring in a dark age following the ELE and the old "history becomes legend, legend becomes myth" mists of time; then perhaps our far distant ancestors might be trying to figure us out by looking at the rocks of the future.

Want to learn more?

Graphic Representations of the Anthropocene Age

Did we really do that tomorrow?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

We're Back to Pictures Again

Whilst I ponder in which direction to take this here blog. There are always images I have gleaned from my ramblings about the web. No most browsers you can click to enlarge.


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Writers & Detroit

Struggling poet, novelist, essayist, writer of any genre. You can lease a newly refurbished home in Detroit and after two years residency you are granted the deed to the property.

You will still be in Detroit but perhaps that is grist for your artistic mill.

This blog post offers information only and should not be construed as a personal or artistic recommendation for the housing program or the city of my birth.

LINK to details

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

This or That Old House

I was at a small gathering a few weeks back when the topic of residences came up. In particular - how many residences had we each had in our lifetime. We quickly determined that some rules had to be agreed upon accounting for various aspects of life and living. For instance, we decided that the minimum time of residence in order for an address to count would be six months.

Someone suggested that transient places of residence could be valid only if one received mail at the address. College and dormitories was an issue quickly settled by assigning each college and/or university a residential value of one. No matter how many dorms or apartments one occupied, each institution of higher learning counted as only one. Unless you had significant breaks in your attendance.

Military service had to qualify under the same six month rule but it was felt that unlike a college or university, Vandenberg Air Force base in California and Ramstein in Germany should count separately provided the six month limit was reached.

I finish a distant second with 21 legal residences. The winner was a true vagabond who may have some issues with law enforcement in several jurisdictions. The next day I wondered about how my 66 years divided up among those houses, homes, apartments and dormitories. As of today, I have:

32 years in Michigan (9 residences)*
 1 year in Massachusetts (1)
 3 years in Nevada (2)
30 years and counting in California (9)

*my parents home where they moved when I was a year old, accounts for a full sixteen of the thirty-two years I have accumulated in the Wolverine state.

I wonder how many of these Bob has penciled into his address book?