Stealth Art # 6

Artist Anita strikes again. To fully tell this tale to those uninitiated in abstract Canadian Art, one should first have a little bit of background. It is duly supplied below:

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Voice Of Fire is an abstract painting of acrylic on canvas made in 1967 by Barnett Newman. The painting is made up of three vertical lines that are all the same size. The stripes on the outside of the painting are blue and the one in the middle is red. It was created as a commission for Expo 67 in Montreal. Voice of Fire is 18 foot long when measured vertically and was shown alongside other paintings that represented American progress, which was the intention of the painting.

voice_of_fire_photo-croppedVoice of Fire

It was loaned to the National Gallery of Canada in 1987. It became a a permanent part of the gallery in 1989 when the purchase of Voice of Fire cost the gallery $1.8 million. This acquisition of the painting caused a lot of controversy geared mostly by the doubts of the artwork being seen as genuine art. The artwork increased in value, going up to a staggering $40 million. Controversy ensued once more a few years later in 1992 when Voice of Fire had been discovered as being hung upside down after it had been loaned and then bought. Despite this controversy, the painting remains in ownership of the gallery.

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One morning this winter, Artist Anita was sitting at home sipping a cup of coffee and she was suddenly struck by a bolt of inspiration. She recalled a Canadian art controversy from years ago and, unwilling to let controversy dampen her art in any way, she confined herself in her attic to create another masterpiece. After minutes of artistic work she produced her latest creation.

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Fire of the Voice

This is clearly not an ersatz replication of the Voice of Fire. The stripe goes in a completely different direction and notice the title and it’s simplistic addition of the word ‘the’ and the movement of the words ‘fire’ and ‘voice’. This evolution represents the movement of an endemic society filtering our united diversity and turning it on it’s head, or rather, it’s side. The trek was made to McMaster Innovation Park where there is already hanging some mighty fine art. Artist Anita found a nice little corner for her creative work. Avoiding any chance at further controversy, Artist Anita has made ‘fur darn sure’ that the Fire of the Voice has not been hung upside down. 

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It might not be displayed there for long. It seems a cleaning lady was eyeing Artist Anita’s art with amazement (or maybe suspicion). 

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Artist Anita proudly awaits the accolades that are sure to come, until then she will be relegated to wait for inspiration to strike once more. 

A Mouse in the House

Last fall we had a mouse find its way into our house and it was certainly not by invitation. Martin saw one dart around in the entrance room off of the garage and set out some poison. We wish we didn’t have to kill the critters but they simply do not get to live in the same house as us. Nope. Not happenin’. No matter how cute some people think mice are.

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After a few days of setting out the poison we noticed a smell. It was not a nice smell and so we went hunting for a carcass of a recently deceased mouse. When I say we went hunting I mean that I made Martin hunt and hunt he did. He poked and prodded and pulled away furniture and I asked him to check the shoe rack. Nope, he said, nothing. We guessed that it might have crawled in between the walls and perished there. Hot soapy water was liberally applied to the floor and after a couple of days the smell was gone and our lives carried on as usual.

Now I told you that story, so I could tell you this story. Last Sunday morning we were getting ready for church and I had to get out my good winter boots due to the couple of inches of freshly fallen snow that had appeared overnight. Martin was already waiting in the car when I went to pull on my Sunday boots. I was wearing thicker socks and wondered if they would make pulling the boots on difficult. I put the right boot on and it was a little snug but on it went. I pulled on the left boot and it seemed to be a little more crowded so I pushed my foot rather enthusiastically to the bottom of the boot. At first I wondered if one of the grandkids had left something in my boot. I took it off and peered inside.

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There at the bottom of my boot was the stiff body of a deceased mouse that had very recently been flattened. You can imagine that I might have calmly put the boot down – but I did not. With a loud squeal I tossed the boot across the room and madly looked for something else to wear.

I finally got into the car and Martin said, “What took you so long, I thought you were ready to go?”

“I had been ready to go,” I calmly replied, “Oh, and by the way, I thought you checked the shoes and boots when you were looking for the dead mouse.”

“I did,” and there was a pause after which he admitted, “well, I might not have checked ALL of them.”

It was a good thing we were going to church.

One of us was going to be needing to repent and the other one was going to need to start working on forgiving.

New Years Resolution – January 2020

Continuing with The Great New Years Resolution of 2019 Jeff and I plan to continue to meet once a month to watch a movie together. We alternated choices and I got to choose a movie after Jeff’s choice. Typically I tried to have something about my choice correspond to something about Jeff’s choice. This year I got to start us off.

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I chose Chariots of Fire. I had never seen it but I knew it had won an Oscar and so I deemed it prudent to watch it at least once. It was based on a real story and apparently followed real life fairly accurately. It was a good movie but I am afraid that I can’t say that I deem it a great movie and the only reason was because our conversation rambled during our viewing.

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I knew that the movie had not completely and utterly captured my attention when about one third of the way in we were playing too much of ‘where have I seen that actor before?’ The movie seemed to stretch on longer than it needed to in some parts. I had not read any reviews before hand but I enjoy seeing what reviewers think of it after I’ve seen it.

Roger Ebert is a favourite reviewer. I always appreciate his point of view. Some of his comments are as follows:

  This is strange. I have no interest in running and am not a partisan in the British class system. Then why should I have been so deeply moved by “Chariots of Fire,” a British film that has running and class as its subjects? I’ve toyed with that question since I first saw this remarkable film in May 1981 at the Cannes Film Festival, and I believe the answer is rather simple: Like many great films, “Chariots of Fire” takes its nominal subjects as occasions for much larger statements about human nature. This is a movie that has a great many running scenes. It is also a movie about British class distinctions in the years after World War I, years in which the establishment was trying to piece itself back together after the carnage in France. It is about two outsiders, a Scot who is the son of missionaries in China, and a Jew whose father is an immigrant from Lithuania. And it is about how both of them use running as a means of asserting their dignity. But it is about more than them, and a lot of this film’s greatness is hard to put into words.
  Both men are essentially proving themselves, their worth, their beliefs, on the track. But “Chariots of Fire” takes an unexpected approach to many of its running scenes. It does not, until near the film’s end, stage them as contests to wring cheers from the audience. Instead, it sees them as efforts, as endeavors by individual runners — it tries to capture the exhilaration of running as a celebration of the spirit.
  The nostalgia is an important aspect of the film, which opens with a 1979 memorial service for one of the men, Harold Abrahams, and then flashes back sixty years to his first day at Cambridge University. We are soon introduced to the film’s other central character, the Scotsman Eric Liddell. The film’s underlying point of view is a poignant one: These men were once young and fast and strong, and they won glory on the sports field, but now they are dead and we see them as figures from long ago.

February will be Jeff’s choice and I am looking forward to seeing what theme he will choose to follow (even though he threatened to make the connection between the two movies so remote and obscure that I won’t be able to figure it out). We will see, we will see.

 

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 26

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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So I have been filling out a HSR transit map to keep track of this walking project of mine. There have been a few maps that I have worn out and I have a little bit of tape holding the latest version together. It is fun to see the progress.

20160101_100258January 2016

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20170718_123137July 2017

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20180115_115816_HDR-1January 2018

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20181231_132406_1cropJanuary 2019

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20200102_125911January 2020

So far all of the streets of Hamilton and Stoney Creek are finished. I confess that I am working on an additional map that covers some of the rural roads of Ancaster that I have walked but those roads are not shown on the above map. The winter and bad weather does slow me down but I still try to get out there. The last couple of weeks I have been exploring Dundas – what a quaint community. We will see how far I will be able to walk this year. Looking forward to it.

Books Read in 2019

While I am not as voracious a reader as my daughter Laura, I did manage to read 44 books in 2019. A good number of them being re-reads helped increase the total. Laura managed to read 131 so I was wayyy behind.

Here are my 2019 books read list:

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a sequel that was worthy of the first book
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got these two from Barry – I really enjoyed them and hunted the others in the series down at the library to finish reading the series – they were about a man and his walking mission – something I kind of identified with

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a cute fun read

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the rest of the walking series – will likely want to read them again one day so will have to put them on the “books to hunt for” list

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an Oprah Book Club pick –
I know it is touted as brilliant but I mostly found it hard to follow
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read it years ago and picked it up again – I am a fan of almost anything that Maya thinks is important enough to write down

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a Readers Digest Condensed Book – enjoyed all four – two of them I would not have picked up in the uncondensed format but I did enjoy those two as well

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met the author when she spoke at a Women’s Brunch at church – inspirational

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another re-read of a Catherine Cookson favourite – the first Cookson novel I ever read
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my younger self read The Great Brain Series as well. I started out reading them to E&M but kept going even when they lost interest

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always a favourite – these were a great re-read …

that put me on a Laura Ingalls Wilder kick for the summer

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my friend Trish gave me this book – she thought I would like it – and I did
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a Canadian book written by the early settlers – there were a number of pages just missing in this printing but the stories were well told by the people who experienced them

20190806_111447pretty sure I read this one before – it was pretty enchanting

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another Catherine Cookson book
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my first digital downloaded book from the library – don’t remember how long I had it for but read it in two days – it was part of a city library-wide promotion – very good read

these two books finally showed up in my mailbox courtesy of Amazon – they are both written by my fellow writers of the Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Guild – my story about street walking is in Volume 3 – proud to be among some pretty good stories

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another Oprah Book Club pick – another highly regarded book that I just could not get into

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another Oprah Book Club – I enjoyed this one

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supporting two local authors:
the Lance and Mikolaj book is delightful
I got to know Laura Furster when she interviewed me for the Spectator
and here she dabbles in poetry

enjoy Malcolm Gladwell – he always makes interesting observations and points

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the last Oprah Book Club of the year – boy was it a hard read
very well written but so depressing
Will see what kind of reading 2020 brings…

New Years Resolution – December

It’s not very often that I’ll make a New Years Resolution and even less often that I will keep a New Years Resolution. 2019 was different. My brother Jeff and I made a New Years Resolution to watch a movie together each month for the whole year. We took turns choosing and the game that I worked into the whole process was that the movie that I choose would have to be connected, somehow, to the one that Jeff had previously chosen. November’s choice starred Shirley MacLaine and so December’s choice was going to do the same thing.

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I chose The Apartment because of the Shirley MacLaine connection but I also enjoy watching Jack Lemmon do just about anything. I am sure that I had watched it before as it was a favourite of Laura’s and I am sure we watched it together when she was a teenager. But that was many years ago so I wondered how much I would recall.

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Found on  IMDB: Bud Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is shrewd when it comes to advancing his career. While he might not have any exemplary skills, he does possess one thing that can give him an edge toward a promotion: an Upper West Side apartment. Because it’s far away from the suburbs and close enough to their work, some of the managers at Bud’s job have been giving him glowing recommendations for the shared use of the apartment to conduct their extra-marital affairs. When Bud’s boss learns of this, he wants in on the action, putting Bud out of his apartment for the night but compensating him for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, Bud’s date for the evening stands him up, which is made all the more surprising when he goes home and finds her unconscious in his apartment. Being the gentleman he is, Bud nurses the woman to health, spurring them both to fall in love with each other, despite the gossip at work.Benjamin M. Weilert

The Apartment was cleverly done but it was a tad depressing that, even though it was set in the late 1950s,  you would be hard-pressed to find someone who was not having extra-marital affairs. Pretty much all of the main characters were, except for the Bud Baxter, who everyone thought was messing around but wasn’t.  There were a few moral and difficult topics – the obligation to keep secrets, adultery, and suicide. But in the end, love prevailed and there was a happily ever after.

I think we plan to keep doing this movie watching. We will see if the parameters change at all for 2020. Stay tuned.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 25

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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I was walking in Dundas a couple of days ago and thought I would take you along. You can tell that I do not walk fast.

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I started by parking at University Plaza. I had forgotten to eat breakfast and so thought I would try out the bagel place that I parked close to. They were open early and I ordered an egg salad bagel.

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It was yummy but even more delightful was the conversation that I had with the gentleman behind the counter. I told him about my walking project and he asked me why I was doing it. I replied that I guessed that it was a promise that I made myself and that it’s good to keep promises. He replied that we sometimes will keep promises when we make them to others but not always when we make them to ourselves. He said that it was good that I am keeping a promise that I made to myself. It was such an encouraging conversation. Because my walk was so long I confess that I went back for lunch and had a BLT bagel. Yummy.

There were a number of interesting things that I saw on that chilly and occasionally flurryish Thursday morning. Here are some of them.

20191205_085316Another friendly feline that I confess that I wanted to scoop up and take home.

20191205_112756There has to be another like it somewhere.

20191205_113539Loved this bench. It was just at the corner. Not at a bus stop. Just a bench at the corner.

20191205_105722_HDREspecially liked the elf legs sticking out of the back of the car in the driveway.
Chatted with the neighbour. Seems to me that nice folks live in Dundas.

20191205_112908Someone who lived there said that people always stop to take pictures.
Love this work of art.

20191205_113609_HDRAnother lovely lumpy tree.

I am enjoying Dundas very much. Thanks for coming along.