Tag: community discussion

Café Discovery: Tar Pit Environs

My (almost) last batch of photos were taken in Debbie’s brother’s neighborhood.  I had an hour or so on our last day in Los Angeles before we returned to the desert.  So I took a walk through the neighborhood.  And I took a camera with me.

Jim’s house is two blocks from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which I wrote about before.  And it’s also two blocks from the La Brea Tar Pits.  Photos were not allowed inside LACMA…or I would be displaying one of a painting of The Death of Buddha.

But I did walk down to the grounds of the tar pits and got some shots.  And I took more photos on the way back.

Warning:  23 photos inside

Café Discovery: money

Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters, ladies and gentleman, from 1953.  This was their first hit.  You may be more familiar with the cover versions by either Eddie Cochran (1959) or what’s his name…Elvis Presley (1956).

Life once again is dominated by, as Terry Pratchett called it, the “reflected-sound-of-underground-spirits”, aka echo-gnomics.  It always distresses me when life becomes all about the money.  But I live here and I live now.  And there is next to no market in the political arena for knowledge, justice, stewardship of the planet and other things that would interest me more.  Or any.  

Money-grubbing sucks.  Accumulation of money sucks the joy out of life.  But that’s just my opinion.

Eymology Online is my friend, but don’t blame them for my rewrites.

Café Discovery: colors

From San Diego we returned to the desert for a few days before heading for LA to visit with Debbie’s brother and his wife…though we didn’t see much of her because of “family concerns.”  We arrived on the evening of the opening of the Olympic Games.  It was a colorful production.

On Saturday we walked a couple of blocks to LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), which shares a park with the LA Brea Tar Pits (coming up later).  We saw The Age of Imagination, which closes today.  Here is some of it for you.

The colors were mostly so subtle, while at the same time being so exquisitely laid down.  It am astounded that these paintings were all painted in only one layer.

On Sunday we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

Ooooooh!  Ahhhhhh!  The colors.

Café Discovery: storm riding

Random thoughts coagulate around a not-so-random natural event named Gustav.

Jim Morrison’s last song:

For some reason it popped into my head this morning.  Let’s hope the next few days are not also New Orleans’ last song…or swan song.

We delve into the Online Etymology dictionary:


An Old English word from the proto-Germanic *swanaz (cf. Old Saxon swan, Old Norse svanr, Middle Dutch swane, which became the Dutch zwaan; Old High German swan became the German Schwan), probably literally “the singing bird,” from the proto-Indo-European base *swon-/*swen- “to sing, make sound” (see sound (n.1)); thus related to the Old English geswin “melody, song” and swinsian “to make melody.”

Intermission:  Geswin…Gershwin…melody song.  Louis and Ella…on the inside.

Café Discovery: Hope and Despair

While I was writing last Friday’s piece, I decided to do a bit of follow up today.  I’m always interested in words and thought I would drag some along behind me.

    Please note: These words are about the subject of that other essay, Despondency. They have nothing to do with my present state of mind. Suggestions that I need anti-depressants just might be inconsistent with what that essay said and with my current state of mind, although people commenting in my essays without seeming to have actually read them is a bit depressing in and of itself.

Hope and Despair

The closest word at the Online Etymological Dictionary (quoted liberally here) to despondency is despondence, a word dating from 1676.  It derives from the Latin despondere:

“to give up, lose, lose heart, resign” (especially in the phrase animam despondere, literally “to give up one’s soul”), from the sense of a promise to give something away, from de- “away” + spondere “to promise” (see spondee [we shall return to this]).  A step above despair.

So, okay.  How about despair?

Café Discovery: On the Thickness of Skin

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

The Storyteller took a deep breath and cast back for another memory, another story to tell.  The Listener was patient, but did require the occasional feeding.  The Storyteller chuckled at the observation.  The Engineer glanced backward and nodded.  And the Train switched to another happentrack.  

The Storyteller began to sing.  The Listener leaned forward.  The passenger turned over, but otherwise remained sleeping.

One day Sun found a new canyon.

It hid for miles and ran far away,

then it went under a mountain.  Now Sun

goes over but knows it is there.  And that

is why sun shines–it is always looking.

Be like the sun.

–William Stafford

Δ  Δ  Δ  Δ  Δ Δ

Pine was at it again, hectoring all of creation.  Canyon rolled its eyes as Sun passed overhead.  Canyon preferred peace.

Café Discovery: Feelings

The other night Debbie asked me to tell her when were the happy times in my life.  Was I ever happy?

I told her that, contrary to any outward appearances or to what other people have believed about me, I spend most of my time happy–in my understanding of the word–because I continue to hold out hope that the world will get better and that I have tried to do what I can to help in that process.  But I also told her that I get disappointed a lot about the fact that the happiness I have felt has seemed to end up misplaced, that the world has not usually become a better place, no matter what efforts I may make.  

That brings me sadness and I don’t like being sad.  In the past I have looked for what I can change to eliminate that sadness.  What can I do to regain that happiness, even if it has a false face?

Admitting to myself that what I have been doing has failed, that it hasn’t resulted in what I have desired, even if it is valued by others, is the usual first step.

I don’t like being a failure at what I endeavor, but an honest evaluation of my life would display that I have consistently been one.  

Café Discovery

Treatise (or Treacle) on Insanity

I am intensely interested in how words have come to mean what they do.  Since words are all I have to argue for my inclusion into human society, how could I not need to be interested in those long forgotten thought processes.

With help from the Online Etymological Dictionary and its many contributors, I do the research so you don’t have to.

Insanity – 1432, (referring to health of body, or rather lack thereof), deriving from Latin sanus (health)

Interesting question:

Why insane?  Why not unsane?  Nonsane?  Presane or postsane?  Protosane?

insane – 1560, mad, outrageous, excessive, extravagant

sanity – 1602

sane – 1721 (back created from sanity, which was back-created from insanity.)

When you wish upon a star

Makes no difference who you are

But when you wish upon a gum wrapper, it makes a whole lot of difference.  If you are not rich, you are going to be labeled something.  Even if you are rich, you may do.  See below.

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