So many questions.


A painting by Tamara de Lempicka

The Young Ladies, 1927

Poison sweets report, with a new work and a cover song by Patti Smith

Nurse loved White Rabbit candies as a child, with their cool art deco style wrapper and edible rice paper covering, and hadn't seen them for sale anywhere until just yesterday. Turns out they were officially banned a few years back due to melamine and in some cases formaldehyde content. Melamine, you ask?

Sweet Sorrow, 2011

A painting by Emile Aubry

La Voix de Pan, 1936

Underused word corner: AVUNCULAR

1. of or relating to an uncle
2. suggestive of an uncle especially in kindliness or geniality 

The word is derived, unsurprisingly, from the latin avunculus, meaning maternal uncle. While we're sort of on the topic, why not read the wiki page about the origin of the expression 'Bob's your uncle?' Lord knows if any of it is accurate, but it might interest you for a few minutes, and that's really what the point is around here anyway.


An excerpt from Shakespeare's Coriolanus, with a painting by Tiepolo


    There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd,
    As enemy to the people and his country:
    It shall be so.


    It shall be so, it shall be so.


    You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
    As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
    As the dead carcasses of unburied men
    That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
    And here remain with your uncertainty!
    Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
    Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
    Fan you into despair! Have the power still
    To banish your defenders; till at length
    Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
    Making not reservation of yourselves,
    Still your own foes, deliver you as most
    Abated captives to some nation
    That won you without blows! Despising,
    For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
    There is a world elsewhere. 

Coriolanus at the gates of Rome, 1730

Another splendid illustration by Georges Barbier from 1920.


Rosa Ponselle sings Habanera from Carmen

Another passage from The Naked Civil Servant by Quentin Crisp

'Art, by which the people who used the word always meant painting, was in those days sacred. It had not yet fallen into disrepute by becoming a game that any number could play. It was not a profession by which a great deal of money could be made. It was still a divine madness which caused the possessed to grow their hair long and lead lives of unalleviated poverty. Once, when I fainted in an Express Dairy, the manageress almost carried me downstairs to a part of the restaurant that was not used in the evenings. There she fed me with her own hand as if I were  pigeon: only rarer. 'You're an artist, I expect,' she murmured. 'You don't always remember to have regular meals.'
... This deference to art often saved my skin. As I stood pressed against the railings of some dim London square with a stranger's hand at my throat or crutch or both, another member of the gang would whisper 'But he's an artist. I seen him in Chelsea.' Immediately the grip on my person would loosen, and, in a shaken voice, my aggressor would say 'I didn't know.'
The art that I practiced at the time consisted of rearranging the position of the words 'Sea View' on the letterhead of some boarding house in Brighton. This it did not seem necessary to mention."


Thievery Corporation - The Outernationalist

The Language of Flowers A-B

From the Wiki:
"The language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, was a Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. This language was most commonly communicated through Tussie-Mussies, an art which has a following today."

Great book illustrator Kate Greenaway did a book about the whole thing, which you can read online here:

Acacia Secret love
Acanthus Art
Aconite Misanthropy
Agrimony Thankfulness
Aloe Grief
Almond Promise
Amaranth (Globe) Immortal love
Amaryllis Pride
Ambrosia Love is reciprocated
Anemone Forsaken, sickness, unfading love
Angrec Royalty
Apple blossom Preference
Arborvitae Everlasting friendship
Arbutus "You're the only one I love"
Arum Ardor
Asparagus Fascination
Asphodel My regrets follow you to the grave
Aster Symbol of love, daintiness, talisman of love
Azalea Take Care, temperance, fragile, passion, Chinese symbols of womanhood
Baby's breath Innocence, pure of heart
Bachelor button Single blessedness, celibacy
Balm Social intercourse or sympathy
Balsam Ardent love
Balsamine Impatience
Bay wreath Glory
Bumblebee Orchid Industry
Begonia Beware, a fanciful nature
Bellflower "Thinking of you"
Bells of Ireland Luck
Bird's-foot Trefoil Revenge
Box Constancy
Broom Humility
Bulrush Docility
Buttercup Riches

Acanthus mollis


Tom Waits reads Charles Bukowski


Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Mecca

A poem by Alden Nowlan, with a painting by Gustave Moreau

Like Ray Milland

Like Ray Milland knocked off his feet
in the fog by a lorry bound for Manchester,
I am playing the part of a man who is
suddenly cured of his amnesia
and can now tell his girl friend, played
by Jennifer Jones, his real name
and where he came from. Except that
life is absurd where
a 1940's film is not. (One distinguishes
a documentary by its tangents:
a young soldier mortally
wounded doesn't pray but recites
the lifetime batting averages
of the ten best hitters
in the National League, and
the last words of a priest
I once knew were, "A hobo sandwich
consists of a bum
between two boxcars."
When the husband tells the wife
he is leaving her, she may ask him
does he want green
or yellow beans with his dinner.)
The worst art possesses
a perfection beyond anything
life has to offer, is so rational
it becomes ridiculous.
So here I recall that  you, too,
have forgotten who you are,
that we are victims of the same
affliction. I give you your name
as well as my own. We are
Hansel and Gretel, gone
in search of wild berries, escaped
from the child-eating witch, but still
lost in the forest, running--
and it is so dark we could never
hope to find one another
again if even for a moment
I ceased to hold your hand.

Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1864


Great Dance Routine: James Cagney and Bob Hope

A poem by Louise Gluck, with a photo by Anonymous

The Queen Of Carthage

Brutal to love,
 more brutal to die.
 And brutal beyond the reaches of justice
 to die of love.

 In the end, Dido
 summoned her ladies in waiting
 that they might see
 the harsh destiny inscribed for her by the Fates.

 She said, “Aeneas
 came to me over the shimmering water;
 I asked the Fates
 to permit him to return my passion,
 even for a short time. What difference
 between that and a lifetime: in truth, in such moments,
 they are the same, they are both eternity.

 I was given a great gift
 which I attempted to increase, to prolong.
 Aeneas came to me over the water: the beginning
 blinded me.

 Now the Queen of Carthage
 will accept suffering as she accepted favor:
 to be noticed by the Fates
 is some distinction after all.

 Or should one say, to have honored hunger,
 since the Fates go by that name also.

Vita Nova (The Ecco Press, 1999)

Grand Central Station, Morning, 1934

Edmund Dulac, Illustrator (1882-1953)

Birth of the Pearl, 1920

underused word corner: NOMENCLATURE, with a delightful image from the google search


[noh-muhn-kley-cher, noh-men-kluh-cher, -choor]
a set or system of names or terms, as those used in a particular science or art, by an individual or community, etc.
the names or terms comprising a set or system.
It is from the Latin. In ancient Rome, Nomenclator was what they called a steward/serf whose main role was to announce visitors. Calling out names, if you will.
Nomenclatorial is a marvelous adjective, as well. It's always fun to use words that even spellcheck won't recognize, no? The spellcheck people need to step it up, probably. Or else.

Massive Attack - Paradise Circus, with an installation update