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Bricolage of History

1 min read

In The Savage Mind (1962), the French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss used the word bricolage to describe the characteristic patterns of mythological thought. Bricolage is the skill of using whatever is at hand and recombining them to create something new. [link]

After the earthquake of 1755 rubble from the destroyed building was used as infill, the engineers and architech's developed a technique they named Pamblaino after the ‘Marquês de Pombal’ [link]

Matisse In Tangier

1 min read

Fenêtre à Tanger, Matisse 1912

Photo by Bernard Moutin 

The photo above was taken by French photographer Bernard Moutin from the sameroom and window that Henri Matisse  occupied when he painted the WIndow at Tangier.

Via: Wikipedia

Window at Tangier by Henri Matisse (1912 - The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow); also referred to as La Fenêtre à Tanger, Paysage vu d'une fenêtre, and Landscape viewed from a window, Tangiers.

An example of Matisse's paintings after the colorful revolution of his Fauvism period. After several trips outside France Matisse became interested in the Islamic art of North Africa. He visited Morocco in 1912 and 1913. Window in Tangier, with its bold color and flat perspective reflects a Moroccan influence in Matisse's work.

This was among several works acquired directly from Matisse in Paris by the Russian collector Ivan Morozov. After the Russian Revolution the Morozov collection was confiscated and eventually by 1948 the collection was donated to the public along with the Sergei Shchukin collection, at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow and the Hermitage in St Petersburg.


From: The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction

1 min read

Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, is now one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as aesthetic pleasure of the first order....... Walter Benjamin

Time Out Market Lisbon

1 min read

Time Out Market Lisbon

At dinner time; location

Traveler, your footprints

1 min read

Traveler, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.
Traveler, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.
As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.
Traveler, there is no road;
only a ship's wake on the sea

From Le Voyage by Charles Baudelaire

1 min read

But the true voyagers are only those who leave 
Just to be leaving; hearts light, like balloons, 
They never turn aside from their fatality 
And without knowing why they always say: "Let's go!"



Photos of the Past

1 min read

Recent house cleaning and downsizing preparations have un earthed some images from my past that are worth sharing. 

 Honolulu 1971

 Honolulu 1970, Richard Nixon was President and the times were dark.

This was a lonely time, my parents came to visit while I stationed at Schofield Barracks, a US Army installation. I was twenty. I spent one and a half years in Hawaii, a beautiful place.

The Power of the Dog

1 min read


Just Finished Reading

The Power of the Dog 

·         Paperback: 560 pages

·         Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (May 9, 2006)

·         Language: English

The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow published in 2005. The plot concerns the "Mexican Trampoline", this was when Columbian Drug Lords use Mexican smugglers to move cocaine across the US Mexican border. 


 I expected this book to cover more of the cocaine trade through Central America to the west coast of the United States, it was more a character study of Mexican Cartel Patrons and an assortment of underworld figures and obsessed federal law enforcement agents. The story is compelling and keeps your interest but if you’re looking for hard boiled action  and prose to match I recommend  James Ellroy and his Underworld USA Trilogy.

Liberalism Unmasked

1 min read

Taken from   the review   The Sound of Cracking by Pankaj Mishra

Homo economicus, who seeks to replace all other human values and interests with cost-benefit calculations, rampages across the globe: in personal relations as well as the workplace, higher education and political institutions. Pulverising the welfarist state, and even a sense of community, and contemptuous of history and tradition, he sentences hundreds of millions to economic and psychological insecurity and isolation in an opaque and hostile world. This scorched-earth universalism incites, as Santayana warned, ‘a lava-wave of primitive blindness and violence’. Many putative Augie Marches, whether in India, Russia, Japan or Israel, seem keen to surrender their onerous individuality to demagogues and to be used by them. Elsewhere, those excluded from a degraded world of man, or condemned to join its burgeoning precariat, are prone to embrace the god of destruction rather than of inner peace. The thin sound of cracking is heard from many more parts of the world as exhausted authority surrenders to nihilism.

Concerning a Trip to Pluto

1 min read

Via: The 94th Element  at The LRB Blog

Pu-238 can be used to generate electricity safely. One of the first applications designed at Los Alamos was for use in pacemakers. The latest application is in the batteries powering the New Horizons space probe which is now passing by Pluto. The batteries were designed at the Idaho National Laboratory and are said to have cost a hundred million dollars. They contain about 10.9 kilograms of Pu-238 oxide pellets. This is a large fraction of what was available. Pu-238 is a rare commodity. The United States stopped making it in 1988 and was buying it from the Russians until they ran out. There is now a project to make more Pu-238 in the US, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, by the neutron irradiation of element 95, americium, which is produced in small amounts in nuclear reactors. Nasa does not have much left. A good deal of what they had is now heading for outer space. There is something fitting about this. Plutonium, which does not exist naturally, is created from uranium, which came to us in the first place from the collapsing of stars.

From: No Speedlimit by Steven Shaviro

1 min read

Writing about our social life being subsumed by capitalism and treated as a form of labor from No Speed Limits

Pg. 28

This process of real subsumption is the key to our globalized network society. Everything without exception is subordinated to an economic logic, an economic rationality. Everything must be measured, and made commensurable, through the mediation of some sort of “universal equivalent ”: money or information. Real subsumption is facilitated by— but also provides the impetus for— the revolutionization of computing and communication technologies over the course of the past several decades. Today we live in a digital world, a world of financial derivatives and big data. Virtual reality supplements and enhances physical, “face-to-face” reality, rather than being, as we used to naively think, opposed to it. Neoliberalism is not just the ideology or belief system of this form of capitalism. It is also, more importantly, the concrete way in which the system works. It is an actual set of practices and institutions. It provides both a calculus for judging human actions and a mechanism for inciting and directing those actions.

Small Public Outdoor Spaces

2 min read

At the intersection  of Pike, Madision and 15th is a small park  with a concrete ping pong table. Busy traffic moves by and passengers rarely notice the park. This is  McGilvra Place Park.


According to the City of Seattle "McGilvra Place was created in 1901. The small triangle of land is named after John J. McGilvra, whose homesite was on Lake Washington at the end of a road the would became E Madison Street."  The park is a private / public partnership with the Bullet Foundation and the  City of Seattle. Because it sits adjacent the Bullet Center, it should be well maintained over time. 

The trees are century old Plane&nbsp(Sycamores?). The short street on the east side of the park was removed to make the median a little larger and to make a friendlier pedestrian space.

The median strip before renovation:

Photo courtiesy of Berger Architects.

Spots like McGilvra Place help humnaize a busy neighborhood, having old trees on the site give it a gravity and history. There was one man sitting in the park the day I visited (saturday) maybe during the week there is more foot traffic.