Saturday, April 22, 2006

Picasso's Blue Noode

I know how to spell N-ude but I don't want to get blog searched on it...

Quite a painting....

Pablo Picasso Painted “The Blue Noode” in 1902 in Barcelona. He was already established as a talent and an early prodigy. The Blue noode is part of his blue period.

Hans Jaffe in “Picasso” describes it this way. At the end of 1901, when Picasso returned to Barcelona, a deep and significant change took place in his painting. This change strikes us first of all in his choice of colors: the variable range of brilliant tones yields to a single dark and oppressive blue. But this transformation in his painting - the first in a long series - was more than a mere change in color, more than the adoption of a new tone. It was above all the result of a new attitude toward people. Instead of observing them ruthlessly and satirically, he now treated his models with sympathy, with melancholic tenderness. His subjects changed, too. Instead of painting café scenes, Parisian interiors with women in big hats seated at tables and drinking, he began to represent, to imagine enigmatic, emaciated figures standing rigid and silent against a vague or empty background. In this period he painted beggars, street girls, alcoholics, old and sick people, despairing lovers, and mothers and children all fitting the despondent mood of the period

This all fits the painting… vulnerable, blue, certainly not refined and elegant. Ask yourself do you see this as sexual or do you feel like this is a person to shelter and care for? I think it’s the latter. Maybe that’s the change for Picasso..

A lesser talent would have been satisfied with what had been achieved so far and would have continued turning out art that spelled success with the public. Picasso went a little more personal, less arrogant … he went blue….

The painting is interesting... the woman the colours, the style... I like it.... How about you?

Thursday, April 20, 2006


This week I went for a road trip to Southern Saskatchewan. The flat bread basket of Canada. It makes you feel that if you were just a foot taller or you stood on the bumper of the car you could see from Regina to Estevan 130 miles away.

Its empty, bereft of people. Towns are miles apart and you see few people. I passed four cars going from Regina to Stoddard (90 miles) and no one passed me. To be fair it was not a bright sunny day, there were periods of light snow and rain and it was no day for a farmer to be on his field. I liked it. the emptiness and the geometry.

I was driving a Hyundai Sonata and it will go at least 115 miles per hour. I passed a guy and wondered (like when I was 17) I wonder how fast it will go... I probably haven't done that since I was 17 but it will go at least 115. The road is flat but not smooth and to be fair its not the same exhilarating feeling as when you have your mom's Pontiac astre floored and you are praying for a wind and a hill to get you to 110 mph. But still the "yeah baby" overrides the fear and disgust of the 1000$ plus fine it would be if our beloved mounties were out and about.

The town of Olathe is on the route and it has seen better days. To be fair these were interesting buildings and there were newer ones but clearly the glory days of

Olathe and this once fine building are just a memory. The farm land itself looks relatively rich and well tilled but the economics have changed and the populace now buys emergency milk and smokes in town and the rest at the Costco, Walmart, Home depot triumvirate in Regina 35 miles away.

I am not pastoral minded or wishing for the good old days on the farm. I am a city boy through and through, allergic to hay and scared of places without cable internet access and TSN. I did wonder what a quarter section would go for and did the woeful farmers lament signal a time to buy land for a long term investment. I wondered about that. I would like that... "yeah I bought a couple of quarters on spec in southern sask last year.... " I would like to own land no matter how unfarmerly I am.

Driving like that gets you thinking... makes you relax... you turn the radio on and they announce that the play by play of the junior hockey playoff game between the Calgary Hitmen and the Moose Jaw Warriors will start in an hour... in the meantime sportsfans we have our bible inspirational hour.

Next week it will be back to the corporate wars and the open empty prairies forgotten...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Ah the Mysterious mountain...How was it formed? long ago?..shrouded in clouds- what secrets does it hold... ? Prabably none-- it is part of a big ski resort in Banff but it makes you wonder

I went skiing yesterday. Today my legs hurt, its two advil to move and my face is burning. This is the evidence of a great ski day. It snowed lightly all day. At the top you could barely see and the snow was whipped against your face. The "why am I here" type stinging... then as you descended the wind slowed and the light snow turned to pleasure as you float over it. You could ski, double black..the snow made it easy... I was temepted to go to the delerium dive...way way beyond my ability but you couldn't see at all up there and if I am going to risk life and limb I want pictures to remember it by... to say nothing of skiing off a cliff kind of thing.

Skiing to me is the best when you are on the edge... scared..but exilerated ...tired yet happy. I fell three times and got face whipped by a tree but they were just part of the fun...

I had been tempted to write about Easter and faith today but maybe I am still basking in the glory of God and the ski hill

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Book Meme

I was reading Travellor One's blog today and she had a book Meme. I always wonder what other people read. I didn't do too badly but I stay away from the fantastic or supernatural so that let me out of a few....

I am currently reading Swallowing Stones by Lisa St. Aubin de Teran... (with a name like that how could it be bad?) it is a fictionalized account of Oswaldo Barreto Miliani who was an advisor to Castro, Allende, and other revolutions...I will tell you what I think when I am done...

Meme instructions: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around (or strike through) the ones you've never even heard of.

The Meme......

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown --I think I Rosemarie and I are the last to read this book…
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger-- Classic thanks to ..Mark David Chapman
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
(The Time Traveler's Wife) - Audrey Niffenegger
(His Dark Materials) - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel--- Fantastic…really a wonderful book
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell -- Social Studies standard fare
Catch -22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon----I love this book
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez ---The most complicated book in the entire known universe.
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden.
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini A boy book… all of our fears… Most personally enjoyable book on the page
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold UGH….
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
(The Secret History) - Donna Tartt
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides Now here is book that is interesting
(Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell)
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Atonement - Ian McEwan = I hate this guy..I just read Amsterdamn which won the 98 booker… I would run over him with my car if he was in my driveway
(The Shadow Of The Wind) - Carlos Ruiz Zafon =
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway.
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood. You don’t say hey…. I’ll read Margaret Atwood…you have to go into concentration training exercises for a couple of weeks…
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

so tell me....whats your favorite book on the list

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Spring is Here

Spring is here. Its time to shake off the winter , get over hockey and get out and about.

Yes Blog fans I went to try a little tennis today. Of course I had no one to play with but I did go play against that big wood wall and I whipped it...
I hit for about 45 minutes and it felt great.

The funny thing about exercise is that when you are sitting at home... watching tv or goofing off.. you think..naw..I'll stay here and then when you actually will yourself out and about and it invigorates you and you want more.. feed me.. Come on you passing car..see me playing alone jump out and offer to play. Never happens but still after 45 minutes two things happen. I decide I am completely out of shape and second I think wow this was great --I have to do this more because it was great.

I make resolutions every year to exercise daily but it never works out. I need to get out more. I know I do. Our brains are funny things- sometimes you can actually believe that there are two tiny people in there- one saying..Hockeyman..stay here ----you are warm and content if you have to get up...get a cookie... ---- the other saying come on...get out...lets get a game... you need it you fat boy...come on...

its complicated but I need the energetic one to win... ... Poor says play and one says eat...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Corporate life

I have lived my whole life to live in the corporate world. Sorted out how to behave, how to dress(although clearly I still need work) , how to talk to the big boys and how to survive for 20 plus years..

But some things shake you. They punted one of the guys I work with today after 25 years with the company. I thought he was the MVP of our group, knew his stuff, helpful, tough when he needed to be, and smart. The word is he was not liked at the very senior part of the company. What the heck does that mean? I work with him all the time. What did they see that I didn't?

I think their impressions are wrong but no one ever gets to court to really prove their point. Yes he got a good settlement and he is relatively Ok with it but why him? Am I next? I am reminded of that poem that says when they came for me there was no one left to speak up for me.

People are loyal to companies-but companies by their very nature cannot be loyal to people

It just makes me mad.... I need to either go play some hockey or find an interesting painting...

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I was in Chicago this week. I love Chicago. For those readers who have not been there --it is not at all like ( at least we Canadians) perceive it as. I am sure there are bad parts, rugged parts like all large cities but downtown is fabulous. The architecture is striking. It seems that most building from early in the century were built to be striking. The restaurants, the buzz..the is a destination.

In the early 1800's Chicago was smaller than St. Louis and it looked like St.. Louis would be the gateway to the west. Today downtown St. Louis is no comparison. Lots of plywood boarding up places, the striking architecture present but not nearly as plentiful. Chicago brought the worlds fair in 1933 to celebrate 100 years as a city. The remnants are striking today.

But it was not architecture and fine dining that struck me this trip- it was this personal dilema that asks if our society is too decadent.

The picture above is a five bedroom brownstone just north of downtown. Its 106 years old. On the market for 4.8 million. On the realtor listing it says that the payments would be 24000$ a month. In this area there are 38 properties on the market for between 4 and 5 million US$.

Who has this money? Across from here there are 1 bedroom condos that sell for 1 million. I asked the doorman ----who pays a million for a one bedroom. He said most are for downtown business people who have their real place in the suburbs but want a downtown place if they have to work late or the weathers bad.

Do the rich make too much? is it time for there to be more sharing? Those who know me would probably put we as a conservative-- but enough is enough. I believe that hard work and skill should be rewarded but enough is enough. We need more sharing.

I believe that those who take risks create work for others should be richly rewarded, but I think it is a fine line that balances hope and opportunity for poorer people and an overabundance of rewards for the rich.

Maybe we should fight the decadence and send a few bucks to people like this ( thanks Traveller one...)