What’s Wrong With this Picture?

In Ohio Kucinich was defeated in the primary, and will leave the House. Joe, the Plumber, was elected. In the country teacher job security and satisfaction are plummeting… And we will still be waking up to pictures of Mitt & Rick & Newt & Ron.

On the other hand, spring is less than 2 weeks away, and the time change is this weekend. 50 degrees in Portland today, and 60, tomorrow. And Obama is still leading in the matchups…

Murkowski, Collins, Snowe: “moderates” until the chips are down

I keep seeing stories about the tragic loss of the “center” in the Senate, with Snowe’s retirement.  I will say that the Maine Twins sometimes DID vote for a bit of sanity here and there, but I’ve written enough angry letters to both Snowe and Collins to remember that, time after time, when the chips were down, and the Republiclown leadership jerked on the leash, they caved.  You get the merit badge for Republican Moderate only if you vote, uh,…moderate.  Latest  evidence: the Blunt amendment vote, which Murkowski now regrets. Here’s Joan McCarter’s take on it. (Snowe voted against it, to her credit, but the leash is off: she’s retiring.)  I wonder if Collins sleeps well this week…

A Different Way of Photo-Synthesizing

My huge photocollages (link > thataway) strive for what I hope is an uncanny verisimilitude–classic three dimensional objects in perspective space.  But  a photographer (Idris Kahn), featured in the  NY Times magazine last Sunday works in quite a different way.  Like me, he uses hundreds of (mostly found) photos, and combines them using transparency and layers in Photoshop.  (Examples here.) But his work hovers in some multi-dimensional  space, and his use of transparency goes towards creation of what I’d call impressionist essentialism–an attempt to reveal an essence almost like a memory or archetype.  You get something with a feel rather like Monet: the solidity of things dissolving into an IDEA of the subject matter.

Fran’s Still Lifes

This is an enthusiastic invitation for you to go see ma femme’s lovely photography–mostly very large-scale still lifes (usually printed 32″ x 24″) on her website. Her new work, probably eight pieces, will be featured in a 2-person show at Addison Woolley Gallery here in Portland, ME. Runs through the month of May, 2012. Meanwhile, go see her online images. It will be time well-spent!

Sailing Wonders (and Woes), Circa 2002

Given the touching and lively response to my post about sailing yesterday, I decided to provide a link here to some longer texts about sailing that I posted in a blog “lightandvariable” that I was doing a decade ago. It includes links to three “sailing journals” of our ill-fated attempt to “go South” again for a months’ long cruise from Maine to the Bahamas or the Gulf or the Keys…or somewhere in the sun. This was our middle boat–a C&C Landfall 35, 4 feet longer than the Southern Cross 31 that we sailed successfully south a decade before the attempt recorded in these old blog entries. Spoiler: after every sort of discouraging development, we jibed a quick U-turn in Rhode Island and zoomed back to Maine to take a slow 8,000 mile road trip to the West Coast. As Falstaff said in defense of his cowardice: “The better part of valor is discretion”…

Spring? Birds, boats, and Po-Boys…

We just saw 5-6 robins in our yard, our plum tree, and a cherry tree. There was a woodpecker on one of the feeders, and an unusual fawn-colored small brown bird, as well, maybe a warbler. The 13″ of snow that fell two days ago is 3/4 gone, and there’s talk of temperatures near 60 towards the end of the coming week. We had dinner with old friends at Caiola’s in Portland’s West Side last evening, and my hanger steak and scalloped potatoes were absolutely wonderful, with good French wines. F. had a fried oyster salad appetizer that reminded me that we have not yet been to Po-Boys and Pickles sandwich shop just a few blocks from us: just moved to my lunch schedule for the coming week.

In short, the signs of coming Spring abound, even here in the frozen north. It is the time of year that for a couple decades signaled almost daily trips to the boatyard to start prepping for the summer sailing season: lubing the seacocks, painting the bottom, knocking down the winter cover, touching up the brightwork, changing out the oil and water filters, inspecting the sails, waxing the topsides, topping up the batteries, and, in general tackling the 101 jobs required to ensure a safe season on the mooring in upper Casco Bay. Alas, those days seem to be over. We sold our wonderful old Hallberg-Rassy 35 a few years ago, as my advancing age chipped away at my stamina and agility (I am 76). But I will never have a spring without the rising expectation of time to spend messing about with our boat, whether or not I ever have another one. Our boats, Thalia, Dalliance, and Chantey provided us more pleasure and adventure and wonder than any other possessions shared in our quarter-century together, and they live in my personal mythos in a way usually reserved to major relationships to people, pets, and favored places. Maine is wonderful, and is waking up once again. Perhaps, me, too.