Monday, March 27, 2006

Art? Art Who?

Metamorphosis of Narcissus by Salvador Dali in 1937

Its a famous work by Salvador Dali -an artist of a time when Spain was gripped in the romatacism of fascism and revolution.

I know the faithful readers out there are stepping back and thinking Magnificent, spectacular-- it talks to me!!!!, I want it...

Others are thinking -what the hell is it? I agree -- I was intrigued. Is this really a classic.. or some opium haze induced mishmash of colours - the seinfeld painting of the thirties -- about nothing.

Au contraire mes amis... this is an art style called "Paranoiac-Critical Method" created by Dali in 1929. that clears it up...

"It was in 1929 that Salvador Dali brought his attention to bear on the internal mechanism of paranoiac phenomena and envisaged the possibility of an experimental method based on the sudden power of the systematic associations proper to paranoia; this method afterwards became the delirio-critical synthesis which bears the name "paranoiac-critical activity." Paranoia: delirium of interpretive association bearing a systematic structure. Paranoiac-critical activity: spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the interpretive critical association of delirious phenomena.
The primary function of the paranoiac-critical method is to produce images of a startling and authentically unknown nature. The paranoiac mind perceives alternate meanings of individual signs, and interpretations displace one another almost instantaneously. Whether these new relationships are created or merely noticed by the paranoiac is irrelevant. As Dali explained, "It is enough that the delirium of interpretation should have linked together the implications of the images of the different pictures covering a wall for the real existence of this link to be no longer deniable."

Basically the painting is a collection of signs that is designed to stimulate our psyche and and cause our minds to think...

But delirium is difficult for me to grasp. Maybe I am too unschooled or the picture is not detailed enough or I am too unclever to decode it but it looks like nothing to me.. a collage of colours... a C in art at best...

Salvador Dali...I will stick to hockey...

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Today I packed up the ready to go skiing... a solitary day on the slopes.. My Saturday!!!!!...

It started snowing as soon as I got 20 minutes outside the city. Near Bragg creek I slid to a stop . Just past Cochrane I skidded a little on the highway. I decided that the winter storm warning for later in the day was upon me. I bailed wimped out.. poofed out ---went home.

Yes Blog readers a sad sad state of affairs-- when I was in my thirties I would have had Meatloaf on in the tape machine and I would have not thought a thing about it until I arrived there. All the way back I beat myself up.

The bad part is that the less you have to live for the more you wimp out. When I was thirty I had two little money, mortgages etc etc.... now I have a little money, kids are grown or close enough, I have had enough fun to last me.... yet I was a more of a strap me in and let it rip kind of guy fifteen years ago.

I feel like turning around again and baring the weather. Instead I went for an urban hike down the creek. It was nice.. me and the rest of the old geezers in the neighbourhood were out.

Okay I need therapy. I shall beat this back.. I shall not get older... I will go pump a little iron or play a little hockey and take my skirt off. I hate getting old.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Playing it safe at the NCAA

I know you think that its just hockey. The Hockeyman forever. And yes I did play this morning. I was dismal. I've been as sick as a dog all week and so I was just weak today. Not only did I not score I was never even close. Top that all off we had the shooter tutor at one end which does not make for much of a game. (I will explain later)

And really this is not about sports- its more about the idea of sport. I love basketball. This week started the NCAA men's tournament and I entered the tournament challenge on ESPN to go through a process to pick the tournament winner. The tournament starts with 64 teams and you pick each round. I made two entries... first I picked the teams I thought would win... then I picked one where the favorite would win in each case. so If a number 7 seed played a 10 seed the 7 seed always wins.. On my knowledged based entry I an in the 61 percentile of entries.. and on the pick the favorite I am in the 87th percentile. There are about 4 million entries.

The point of this is that I would have been a lot better off to pick the favorite in any case. But will I do that next year? Never, nada... I will never think that the easy way is the best way. Is this arrogance? ignorance? or the human spirit that wants to play. It s like deciding the other team is better so not playing the game. No matter whether you lose 3 of just makes that 1 of 4 much more sweeter.

I think its the human spirit. I want to compete. I know I will probably lose but I don't want to not play. Maybe its the romantic nature of being the underdog. Taking the favorites no matter how calculating, or easy - is just not rewarding.

Maybe this is the innate human characteristic that causes people to be warriors. I want to win. I want to mix it up... The war gene link- makes it good to have sports. The losers who rank in the 61st percentile live to play again next year. Maybe if Khaddahar had a team in the tournament the local Inman would have a little less power. Maybe George should have played a little more hockey or basketball.

I love the NCAA tournament. It is fun. The low ranked teams rise up. You have one game to win..thats all....and then you are on to the next round or out the door.

The shooter tutor is used when one damn goalie sleeps in and does not show up. rather than put some poor sap in net or shoot at an empty net, you hook up this tarp with holes in the corners and right in the middle--- over the goalie net opening. If you shoot through a hole, its counted as a goal. Its made so kids can practice their shooting... "shooter tutor"

Friday, March 17, 2006

Saint Patricks Day

Ah St. Paddy's day... When we all want to be Irish... and we eat corned beef and cabbage and we drink green beer till we are happy and Irish....

Thats the myth. It just never seems to happen for me. I can't think of one good event that I ever went to or any fun that I have ever had on St. Patricks day. No I am not Irish. But I am Catholic so I could fake it in a heartbeat. Its the national event day driven by the green dye manufacturer association of America. After all why else would anyone wear green? Green food dye, green beer... Green green green

I have gone to Irish pubs on St. Patricks day... You can't move inside them but they never seem that raucous or fun loving. I have tried corned beef and cabbage in Irish pubs and come away thinking good God now I know why they only celebrate once a year.

Maybe Canada is just too reserved for a proper celebration. I yearn for it. I drink..Ok not like I used too...and only socially but I can fake it.... I don't guzzle anymore but hey I would cheer you on if thats what it took to celebrate. When I went to university I tried to never miss a party - but I never remember a good St. Paddy's day one.

Is it just me... In my 46 St. Patrick days have I just dodged the party? Have I been too busy to go to the parade..? feared of wearing green as being too much of a weenie colour? Statistically I have had at least 14 St Patricks days that were on either Friday or Saturday night....

Come on-- is it just me?

Sunday, March 12, 2006


I personally am always embarrassed by how little I know of the world. The picture attached is the Potala Palace on Bhudda's mountain in Tibet.

I have lots of education, at least 6 years of university study, read books all of the time and yet I don't think I have ever talked to a Tibetan nor learned of the "renaissance period" of Tibet. Obviously this is an impressive extravagant structure implying a superior level of learning back in the 1600's.

I know so little... About people and places and history...

The reason this picture struck me is that from the picture and the news of Tibet today-- Tibet has probably regressed significantly as a society in the last 300 years. The regression occurred largely at the hands of foreign invaders and subsequent loss of political and economic power. Maybe the same things are happening today in Afghanistan or Africa or America. I wonder how wonderful the world would be if there were not these invasion type destruction of intellect and progress.

Would cancer be cured? Would there be no starvation in Africa?

The Potala Palace, perched high above Lhasa on the Marpori (red mountain), is a place of spiritual pilgrimage and a mammoth tribute to Tibetan architectural skills. The name Potala derives from the Sanskrit 'Bodala' meaning Buddha's Mountain.
In the 7th century King Songtsen Gampo first built a small meditation pavilion on this site which was followed later by a palace. During the 9th century these buildings were destroyed after lightning set them on fire. On the orders of the 5th Dalai Lama construction was started in 1645, but he died before the Red Palace was started. However, before dying he asked his Prime Minister (Regent) to conceal his death lest construction work be discontinued. The Prime Minister found a monk who resembled the deceased and thus was able to conceal the death and all 13 storeys were completed. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama onwards, the Potala became the official winter residence of the successive Dalai Lamas.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Perfect Friday .........

Sometimes, like today, I like to ski alone...To just chat with the odd person on the lift and that enjoy the solitude. Maybe there is an element of factual appreciation as really I had no one to ski with but none the less I always look forward to it.. I wonder-would I have enjoyed it more with company?

The air was cold -12 C (11 F) but there was no wind and bright sunshine. Glorious day. You were fine on the lift and the cold air would sting you if I went too fast on the way down.

The stinging in the face is all part of the appeal. Three things draw me too it... First is the danger- its like a drug -I never do really crazy stuff but I never really consider it a good day unless I have been scared or had a big wipeout. Second is the scenery. I would go just for that. The picture is from the top of the mountain looking north east up the Kannanaskis valley... Finally its the physical nature of it. I want my face stung and to be hot after as I feel the sun. I want my legs to burn and start to chatter as I cruise from the top to the bottom without stopping. I love that feeling. I love staggering to the car at the end of the day- my legs spent. I almost never stop once I start. I never go in to get warm or to stop for a coffee or lunch... I just go because I want to feel it.

and yes... The hockeyman finished the day by playing hockey. Needless to say his legs spent once during the day, it was no where near his finest performance.

Glorious glorious Friday.

ok...come ski with me

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Nicole and Chloe and Suzanne

There an amazing number of requests from commentary hungry for a little more art discussion... Here we have Nicole and Chloe painted by Itzhak Tarkay (I wonder if his real name was Sam Miller and he needed a little juice to sell paintings.. ) and yes I lied I had no commentary on my last foray into Art appreciation.

Okay..Here is what strikes me. How they are entwined together. Is that mean to be the bond that women have of the same age and proportion? Are they sisters and normally sit touching one another? Are they holding hands? I love the colours. I love the one in the orange with the low cleavage and low hanging bosom . Two things strike me as out of place... Two refined women with huge -"I will crush you if I have a whim to do so forearms" and second I can't figure out what that black purple cloak type thing is on the right of Chloe. But none the less a beautiful picture..

Here is a little about the artist.

Itzchak Tarkay was born in 1935 in Subotica on the Yugoslav-Hung- arian border. When he was only nine years old, Tarkay was sent to Mathausen concentration camp by the Nazis. After the war, he returned home and developed an interest in art. While still at school in Subotica, he won a prize for excellence in painting.
In 1949 he and his family immigrated to Israel and were sent to a transit camp for new arrivals at Beer Ya'akov. Their next two years were spent in a Kibbutz. In 1951, Tarkay received a scholarship to the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem, where he studied for a year before having to leave due to difficult financial circumstances at home. In order to continue his scholarship, he was allowed to study under the artist Schwartzman until his mobilization to the Israeli army. After returning to the familiar environment of Tel Aviv, Tarkay enrolled in the Avni Institute of Art, which he graduated in 1956. His teachers there were Mokady, Schtreichman, Janco and Stematsky

This second picture is called "Suzzanne" and it reminds me someone... hmmm

Saturday, March 04, 2006

My trip to The South

I was through Georgia and South Carolina this week. and a few things struck me. This is a gorgeous time of the year.. The blossoms are coming out, the humidity is gone, the temperature nudges 70 and just walking around is a sheer joy.

Maybe it was me or maybe it was circumstances but prices seemed lower than much of the US. I took the guys to a family restaurant and the bill for four of us was 27$. I saw gas at least two places for 1.99$/ Gal. I stopped at the Ralph Lauren outlet mall and got work shirts for 35$.

In spite of the bumper sticker attached I think people are less supportive of President Bush than ever. Two guys I talked to said they had voted for George twice but had made a mistake. The war goes badly. The reason for war is unclear and we have quite the mess on our hands ollie. "Huge waste of money."

The land of enormous portions wreaked havoc with my diet. Like always I tried to immerse myself in the land so at lunch I had catfish, okra, blackeyed peas and coleslaw. It reverberates to this day but the catfish was delicious... I smiled when I saw the hostesses name was "cookie..." She had a winsome smile. The lunch crowd looked like the fashion norm for fortiesh working men is to have long stringy hair, a moustache, a black t shirt like extra's in the lynard Skynard videos of bygone eras.

You can tell the economy rocks. Atlanta traffic is fearsome. The quality of person at the hotel desk or the rental car place or the security office is very poor leading one to believe that the better and brighter are fully employed in better jobs. Construction everywhere.

I like trips like that, meeting people, talking about life, hearing the passion they have for Georgia Tech basketball or Steve Spurrier gamecock football. humming showtunes