Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Daughter Nancy sent the most beautiful bouquet of flowers for her Mother's birthday which comes later this week... enough beauty for a day, for a week, for a month, for this year. Tomorrow when I read again what the President is doing, I'll think about these flowers and be glad there is something beautiful here, and I'll remind myself that the Trump presidency won't last forever.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The first sculpture was created by Ruth Asawa, a San Francisco artist who lived from 1926 until 2013.  The work is in the museum in North-Western Arkansas called Crystal Bridges.  The museum was founded by Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton.  It is appropriate that this fine museum of American art in Arkansas has this piece by Asawa.  The artist spent some time in Arkansas during World War II as a Japanese American kept in detention for no other reason than she was Japanese.  The work is typical of Ruth Asawa’s twisted wire sculptures.  In this Blog post the other piece of art is Homage to the Square by Joseph Albers.  Asawa studied art at Black Mountain College School of Art while Albers was head of the painting  program there.  He later left Black Mountain and became the head of the department of design at Yale.  

I think including these two artists’ work in today’s BLOG post is appropriate considering the situation in Washington, D.C.  What we see lacking in the Trump administration’s beginning as head of the U.S.A. is order and sensibility.  Chaos seems to be the main characteristic of President Trump's administration. Very little that is happening makes sense.  Today Trump fired the acting Attorney General because she said she couldn’t agree with the immigration orders of the President. Rather than go into my reasons for agreeing with Sally Yates, the fired attorney, I am hoping this BLOG post simply states my fear that the new administration is chaotic and dangerous to the American way of life and the American way of government.  We will get through this difficult period just as world got through the difficult period of war that we know as World War II.  Joseph Albers, was a German who became an important American artist, He was born in Germany in 1888 and died in America in 1976.  He came to America in 1933 when Hitler restricted expression in Germany, including the work of artists.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

 Margaret and I went to the San Diego Symphony this afternoon... another concert built around, as other concerts this month have been, American music.  The title of today's program was American Riffs and Rhapsodies.  The first composer was Henry Cowell and the piece by Cowell was "Hymn" from Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 2 for String Orchestra.  I didn't know Cowell, but the short piece composed by him was a very good way to begin a good program.  The other composers were more familiar: Steven Stucky, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Morton Gould, and Duke Ellington.  I don't think I have ever heard the orchestra sound better. The guest conductor was James Gaffigan, very animated, very good.

The Barber piece was Symphony No. 1.  Leonard Bernstein's piece was Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, for Solo Clarinet & Jazz Orchestra.  Sheryl Renk was clarinetist.  Wow! I hadn't thought of Morton Gould for a long time and his piece was Tap Dance Concerto and a guest tap dancer, Cartier Williams,  accompanied the orchestra...  again Wow!  The audience was enthusiastic about the Duke Ellington, Harlem...  Again Wow!  Wow!  Wow!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Canada's Prime Minister, JustinTrudeau said in a tweet: "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada." 

I got the picture on the grounds of Crystal Bridges Museum in Northwestern Arkansas a couple of years ago.  It was summer in a time before Donald Trump became president of the United States.  Things will get better, but we must be pay attention to what the new administration is doing and respond appropriately to our members of Congress.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

I went through my picture file and found a photograph that I hadn't used because I somehow think I need permission to show somebody's face in a picture I'm passing around.  I got the picture below several years ago. I'm hoping the gentleman lying on the ground in Balboa Park, if he is recognized by someone or if he sees himself that those who see him and he himself will be proud to be associated in thought with the  poem by Emma Lazarus.

I have hoped in the week since Donald J. Trump was inaugurated into the top job in America that I had been wrong, that the office would change the man, that the person who seemed self-centered, narcissistic would be humbled by the great office, by the great responsibility.  Now I am frightened by what he has done already and by the prospect of what he may do in the weeks ahead. 

I have always been proud to be a citizen of the United States of America.  I have believed what Emma Lazarus said...for all of us. The 120 day suspension of the immigration process for all applicants for citizenship to the U.S.A. is an affront to me personally.  Over the years I have come to believe that I am a citizen of the world.  The President has put me out of the country I love.  He shames me.  He makes me ashamed of what America will seem to be, of what I will seem to be, if the larger world believes this man who is president is thought to be who we are. 

                             Emma Lazarus, quote on the Statue of liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

What is the record, I wonder, for the least sensible, most perplexing, most terrifying first week after inauguration of an American president?  Has there ever been a week after the inauguration like this one?  Is anybody really comfortable, in either political party, with the person who has been elected to the office that is the seat of the  most powerful individual in the world?  What can members of his family be thinking?  Does he really understand what he has been elected to do?  Does he care that he doesn't understand?

I go to bed every night wondering what tomorrow will bring from him.  I wonder every night what his tweets tomorrow will say. For the first time in my lifetime I wonder if the country that I have always been glad to be part of can manage to get to the end of a president's administration with its moral and political base intact.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Balboa Park Rainbow Eucalyptus:  Sometimes beauty is right there on the trunk of a tree.  It just requires a slower pace, a closer attention, a willingness to see something that isn't immediately obvious.  I'm afraid to say where in the park this tree is growing and where on the tree I aimed my camera (actually my cell phone camera).  Vandals have already found the other side of this tree, and they have already done the "kilroy was here" defacing that a few people seem not to be able to control in themselves... perhaps because they don't go more slowly, pay attention more carefully to the beauty that is there, and are unwilling to see the extraordinary natural beauty that is right before them. If they should pay attention to the details of the common plants near the tree, they would want, I hope, to protect and keep the natural mystery of the thing itself.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

This afternoon Margaret and I took a walk around our part of National City.  The clouds had broken into fluffy patches.  A rainbow had settled itself over the Eastern sky.  Rain had retreated and unless something comes up in the late afternoon, the six days of rain have come to an end, and we are back to San Diego's usual winter weather.  This is truly a beautiful place.  Some people say the climate here is the most perfect in the world.  I believe it.  Perhaps believing is too easy.  Perhaps that's why the guy who is now the President of the United States feels free to make up numbers and events because he knows we are a nation of easy believers... but I don't believe his statement this morning that in the last election we had three million people voting illegally.  He implied that they voted for the other candidate, and if there had been no voter fraud he would have won the popular election as well as the Electoral College election.  The guy makes up stories.The next four years will be interesting...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

In Balboa Park a man was making bubbles... between rain squalls... and children with their parents were entertained... they were fascinated, mystified and entertained.  Life is good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

These little buds will give way in the next couple of "wet" days in National City to beautiful, fiery pink-red flowers.  Life is good.  The place where we live is all decked out today for "us old" folks for lunch in a sock hop setting, complete with servers wearing sock-hop costumes of that age back before they were born when females wore poodle skirt and males wore pretty much what males wear today only in those days their blue jeans were rolled up.  We had chili with cheese for lunch.  Some of us had chocolate milk shakes for desert.  An Elvis in Red costume strolled among us with a big red guitar.  I was going to say life is good but decided instead on life is sometimes strange.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ms. Betsy DeVos for Secretary or Education…  If there is any single thing which Donald Trump is proposing which shows his inadequacy more than any other thing for the high office of President of the United States it his appointment to this critical office of a person who has shown for her entire life a distain for public education and for the people who keep trying year after year to make public schools work for all students who are assigned to them. 

The questions asked by members of the Senate were reasonable… and predictable.  Those Senators who are in the party of the nominating President-Elect asked questions that were at least weak and perhaps should have been seen as embarrassingly inadequate by everybody who heard them. The answers by Ms. DeVos to those questions were inadequate and provided little insight into her understanding of either learning and education or to management of a great program which should be designed to get young students ready to be adults, fully prepared to be citizens of a great country.  Ms. DeVos is obviously a very wealthy person who has always had all the advantages of wealth as she was growing up.  She fails to understand what school and schooling can be for the children of poor families who are trapped in poverty. 

There are plenty of people, many of them having grown up in middle or upper income families who have education and experience that has given them insights needed to make an education program work for all people.  Senator Sanders’ questions were the best.  He wanted to know if Ms. DeVos would be in favor of working to make post high school education free for all students.  She dodged the question by responding that nothing is free.  Senator Sanders answered by saying that the question wasn’t about the cost of education but whether it should be free for all students.  Ms. DeVos smiled and said something to the effect that somebody has to pay… and she dodged the question.  

Poverty is THE problem.  The children who grow up in families who live in comfortable, well-furnished homes, homes that are furnished with everything needed to make every member of the family comfortable, expect to be successful.  That expectation makes a tremendous difference in the child’s education.  In building and maintaining appropriate educational programs and facilities for children, the expectation factor must be taken into consideration.  I have worked in both environments.  Some of the most capable youngsters I have seen, in the schools where I have worked have grown to be successful adults.  I have watched capable students at all grade levels who have come from financially stressed families grow at home and at school into successful adults.  I have watched less capable students at all grade levels who have come from financially secure families manage to grow also into successful adults. The expectation factor was very important.  The Secretary of Education must be a person who knows the importance of making all schools places where all students will learn to expect to become successful… with the definition of success being understood by all students.

Mary Kusler, the Senior Director of the National Education Association Center for Advocacy, sent the following advice:

“As a lobbyist and political donor, Betsy DeVos has a decades-long track record of working to undermine public education and privatize our public schools, harming students in the process. 
She favors schemes like vouchers to divert taxpayer dollars from public schools to private schools. 
DeVos has pushed for-profit charter schools which allow corporations to profit off of taxpayers, with no real accountability.
In Michigan, she fought for a tax cut to benefit wealthy families, even though it would result in enormous budget cuts for public schools.

We need a secretary of education who will support and strengthen public schools, fulfilling the promise of a great public school for every student, regardless of their ZIP code. Someone who wakes up every morning dedicated to students and public education.”

Monday, January 16, 2017

David and David are neighbors to beautiful, energetic young Jayla.  We sat together at the Birthday celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King.  Jayla likes Blue Berries...

The Birthday celebration was the 29th All Peoples Breakfast in Balboa Park.  The Keynote speaker, Dr. William Barber who is president of North Carolina NAACP and pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, is a man of great courage and great talent. I came away from the celebration more determined than ever to find a way to get the message to the President Elect that America in this age is a different place from the one in which he grew up.  We definitely don't need to go back in time to find the greatness of America and of Americans.I will try to find a way to bring Jayla's energy to my political rhetoric.  I hope to have the courage to challenge the President and always stand up for justice for all people.  These are strange times.  The program today was exactly right.  It set the appropriate tone for the four year challenge which begins this Friday when the President-elect becomes the President indeed.  Maya Salameh, a San Diego high school student who has been named  a 2016 National Youth Poet, read her poem "Change in the Feminine." The bkSOUL &SD City College Dancers presented a dance they called "Conqueror."  This was a good morning and a reminder that America is a great place with great citizens.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Today was my friend Jim's 92nd BIRTHDAY.  WOW!  Jim is a lively, good man.  The birthday party happened at his son's house.  The two "new" dogs in that family stole the show.  Both dogs are "rescue" dogs.  The bigger one has been blind from birth.  The pictures are of him, "Toff."  The smaller dog "Baker" is also a rescue dog.  The pictures were taken of Toff.  He finds his way around by smelling the ankles of people.  He stays close to the smell he likes.  He likes the smell of my ankles... and he also stayed close to Jim.  "Baker" stayed close to Javier,

Saturday, January 14, 2017

DETAILS:  I took another look today at the murals in buildings where I live… and at a fountain in the reception area.  The dogs in the Coronado mural and the birds in the jungle mural are worth stopping to look. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Today is Friday the Thirteenth, and although I am not a superstitious person, a person who fears what may happen because of a broken mirror or dreads whatever hides in the dark shadows may be planning for us if we don't cross ourselves or ... well, I don't have to go on... I am going to ignore the calendar facts and NOT explain what I decided not to show my friends in my BLOG.  Instead, I took a picture of the section of the mural in the Sky Bridge where I live and invite you to guess (I don't know) what is going on in the picture on the left.  A guy is bent over, and a girl behind him is doing what?  ... and that stuff on the ground, what is it?

In another section of the Sky Bridge, a section I think of as the jungle, I wonder what has got the birds attention.  They can't see the Coronado section of the Bridge...  I like the murals.  They give me something to do, to think about, when I walk by them.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Today is Thursday, my volunteer day at the Museum of Photographic Arts.  I parked the car on the east side of Balboa Park, and thought I'd better get at least one photograph before the rain started, so I used my cell phone to get a picture of the curb.  I've always liked curbs.  There is something about the abstract expressionistic sense of the darker pavement of the street separated from the lighter color of the sidewalk by the curb, painted red now gone to pink from age. My intention was to have only one photograph for the day, and this was it; but in a couple of minutes I came upon a Eucalyptus that had been knocked over... The gentle rain yesterday and last night and the wind had brought the tree down. I knew the faded red strip would be joined in the BLOG by the amazing tree, flattened by the storm.  California has been in a deep dry spell for three years.  Southern California especially has suffered.  Trees and grass and shrubs have needed the rain we've been getting this December and January.  Today I am celebrating the end of the drought.