Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 31, 2010

Image ... Headlight, 1949 Plymouth coupe.

Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010

Image ... Bruno. The Fenway, Boston.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

August 29, 2010

Image ... Brenda's Flower and Gift Shop. Dorchester, Mass.

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 27, 2010

Quote of the Day
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt

Image ... Swanboats. Boston Public Garden.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dr. King in Boston . 4

Contiued from Dr. King in Boston . 3.

Martin had explained his choice of Boston University (not his first, but Yale Divinity School had rejected him despite being at the top of his class at Crozer) this way in his application to the School of Theology.

For a number of years I have been desirous of teaching in a college or a school of religion. Realizing the necessity for scholastic attainment in the teaching profession, I feel that graduate work would give me a better grasp of my field. At present I have a general knowledge of my field, but I have not done the adequate research to meet the scholarly issues with which I will be confronted in thie area. It is my candid opinion that the teaching of theology should be as scientific, as thorough, and as realistic as any other discipline. In a word, scholarship is my goal. For this reason I am desirous of doing graduate work. I feel that a few years of intensified study in a graduate school will give me a thorough grasp of knowledge in my field.

My particular interest in Boston University can be summed up in two statements. First my thinking in philosophical areas has been greatly influenced by some of the faculty members there, particularly Dr. Brightman. For this reason I have longed for the possibility of studying under him. Secondly, one of my present professors is a graduate of Boston University, and his great influence over me has turned my eyes toward his former school. From him I have gotten some valuable information about Boston University, and I have been convinced that there are definite advantages there for me. 2
Edgar S. Brightman was an influential philosopher and Christian theologian who had many followers among the Crozer faculty including King's adviser at the seminary. For decades while teaching at B.U., from 1919 to 1953, Brightman was a leader of the theological movement called Personalism or more particularly since he, B.U. and other Boston intellectuals were such a force in the development and spread of this school of thought, Boston Personalism.

Personalism posits that the person is central, both the starting and end point, for understanding the world, indeed the universe. It believes that all moral truth begins with the absolute value of the person, the sacredness of the individual's being, consciousness and personality. Personalism is a philosophy which, applied to theology as it is in the Boston school, strongly affirms the existence and importance of the soul in each human and sentient being and reaffirms the existence and essense of God in a rather complex, nuanced and unique relationship with each person. It also is quite critical of impersonalistic theories and thought - social Darwinism, Communism, etc. Martin explained Personalism this way.

I studied philosophy and theology at Boston University under Edgar S. Brightman and L. Harold DeWolf. ... It was mainly under these teachers that I studied Personalistic philosophy - the theory that the clue to the meaning of ultimate reality is found in personality. This personal idealism remains today my basic philosophical position. Personalism's insistence that only personality - finite and infinite - is ultimately real strengthened me in two convictions: it gave me metaphysical and philosophical grounding for the idea of a personal God, and it gave me a metaphysical basis for the dignity and worth of all human personality. 3
A key to understanding King is that he was a philosopher, by far the most important of the 20th century, a philosopher who shook society to its core and changed the world. Dr. King was professionaly trained, over many years, in philosophy. As a child he was immersed in the Baptist fundamentalism of his father's church. But in his teens he developed deep doubts and began studying philosophy as an undergraduate at Morehouse College, then continued at Crozer, University of Pennsylvania, Boston University and Harvard. His life and actions were animated by a deep love, understanding and use of philosophy. King's six books mention many philosophers and philosophical concepts. In fact his first book, Stride Toward Freedom (1958) sites 18 different philosophers just in telling the story of the 381 day Montgomery Bus Boycott sparked by Rosa Parks.

Continued at Dr. King in Boston . 5.

August 26, 2010

Quote of the Day
The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.
Pierre Corneille

Image ... Genzyme (new building). Cambridge, Mass.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

Serge Chaloff | Bongo in Squaresville . 15

These tunes are primarily taken from Boston Blow-up by The Serge Chaloff Sextet ... Serge Chaloff, baritone sax. Boots Musulli, alto sax. Herb Pomeroy, trumpet. Ray Santisi, piano. Everett Evans, bass. Jimmy Zitano, drums. Recorded April 1955 in New York City for the Stan Kenton Presents imprint on Columbia. Other cuts are from Blue Serge. Enjoy this set - and Bongo in Squaresville, devoted to Boston's jazz music, every Wednesday evening - on Radio Roofscape.

Thanks for the Memories
Bob the Robin
What's New
All the Things You Are
Susie's Blues
Body and Soul
A Handful of Stars
Stairway to the Stars
Serge Chaloff, born just a few years before Miles, in Boston on November 24, 1923, died at half his age and missed a good shot at earning the mantle of one of the most significant modern jazz masters. But the evidence is preserved in two recordings made leading his own groups during the 50's - Boston Blow-up and Blue Serge.

Chaloff parents were renowned pianists and piano teachers. His father Julius played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and his mother, known as Madame Chaloff, was an important teacher whose students included Keith Jarrett, Kenny Werner, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Steve Kuhn. And, of course, young Serge.

Image ... Serge Chaloff (lower left) in recording session.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dr. King in Boston . 3

Continued from Dr. King in Boston . 2.

The black South End was refulgent with style. The jazz musicians and dancers were fashion plates and their patrons followed suit. There were numerous barber shops and beauty parlors. The Pullmen porters wore immaculate uniforms. And after syling on Saturday night, a snappy Sunday Best was the required dress to attend any of the neighborhood's churches, as numerous as the clubs.

Martin fit right in, always stepping out on the street in a tailored suit, often tweed, with a white shirt, crisply knotted tie, fedora, shined shoes, briefcase and meticulously groomed with a thin mustache and closely cropped hair.

He'd been a sharp dresser, a dandy even, since grade school when his friends - Shag, Rooster, Sack and Mole among them - nicknamed him Tweedie for the tweed suits he favored wearing to school (often with a violin under his arm) and church. But he pulled it off with such panache that he never suffered ridicule for his finery and slipped easily into Levis for playing football in the backyard with his crew.

Martin also worked to develop the affectations befitting an intellectual, smoking and gesturing with a pipe as a constant prop, like many other students. His long love of big words and flowery, ornate phrases also peaked in, and mercifully moderated after, graduate school. He practiced flourishing signatures on the back of notebooks to embellish the important documents he would soon be signing. A distant philosophical gaze, as glimpsed years later in the photograph on the first page of this article, and a detached, reserved manner of speaking completed the picture of a worldly urban intellectual of the times grasping with the big questions.

Boston University was, and is, one of the country's largest private universities. It was founded as a theological school in 1839, at the Bromfield Street Church in downtown Boston by abolitionist Methodist ministers, to provide equal, integrated education for both races and sexes, a very unusual stance at that time and for long thereafter. Bromfield was also the church of David Walker, the fiery black abolitionist activist and author of the radical 1829 Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World advocating immediate, worldwide black emancipation via violent insurrection and killing if necessary.

At B.U., King exchanged the cozy, collegial atmosphere of Crozer, a small seminary in a quiet suburb, for the anonymous hustle and bustle of a big urban research university in a major American city. Among the tens of thousands enrolled at B.U. were two dozen or so black graduate students. King and Lenud started an informal club for them soon after setting up house, the Dialectical Society, open to anyone interested in philosophical and/or theological ideas and issues.

Dialectics is a logical conversation, ranging from informal dialogue to formal debate, between two or more people wanting to convince the other(s) of their positions, with perhaps the possibility of achieving a synthesis of the their various viewpoints. This was the method popularized by Plato's Socratic Dialogues and used throughout the history of philosophy.

Martin believed that this struggle, rather than dogma, was essential to religion. As a teenager he'd developed deep doubts about the fundamentalism of his father, but religion he began to think is only alive at the edges. It may be important to have the courage of one's convictions, but it's also essential to have the courage of one's doubts.

July 23, 1954 - Boston


... I am doing quite well, and studying hard as usual. I have plenty of privacy here and nobody to bother me.

We had our Philosophy Club Monday night and it was well attended. Brother Satterwhite did the paper. ...

Your Darling,
Martin 1
Letter to Coretta at the Dexter Avenue church pasonage written while Martin was away on one of his regular trips back in Boston to work on his doctoral thesis.

The Philosophy Club, as it was also known, gathered one evening a week in King's living room for fellowship, food and conversation "to solve the problems of the world." A dozen or so black students, men and women, shared a potluck supper, sipped coffee and chatted. One of the members would present a formal paper that they'd written for one of their classes. Then pipe smoke and lofty technical jargon swirled together in the air as the others jumped in to oppose or defend the writer's conclusions. Afterwards, with the dialectics done, the night owls remaining would settle into a late night bull session.

The club lasted throughout Martin's three student years in Boston, growing in popularity and eventually attracting both white students and local college professors. Professor DeWolf himself, Martin's thesis advisor, dropped in once and read the paper for discussion on "the meaning of the kingdom and how it will come."

Continued at Dr. King in Boston . 4.

Image ... Tire Jumping. Allan Rohan Crite.

Triple-deckers . 1 | Funk Shui

Triple-decker houses are as indigenous to Boston as tenements are to New York, row houses to Baltimore, townhouses to Philadelphia, shotgun shacks to New Orleans or little houses to the prarie.

Triple-deckers are the characteristic residential building style in working class neighborhoods throughout the city, but particularly in the sprawling city within a city of Dorchester, itself composed of 18 neighborhoods. In Dot, as the residents refer to it, the triple dominates the cityscape that, until after the Civil War, was a rural landscape of small villages, farms and orchards supplying the needs of Boston.

The characteristics of triple-deckers are fairly simple to describe, yet they neatly solved some complex problems in domestic design and family finances that hadn't been addressed until their introduction. Qualities which remain relevant today.

Image ... Triple-deckers. St. Mark's Road, Dorchester.

To be continued ...

August 25, 2010

Nor'easter, pouring rain day four. Walked to Fields earlier and got soaked. Kicked back in bed - my office, interior office anyway - with a warm laptop and curled up cat. He'd sleep on my chest full time if I let him, face to face and ass on keyboard. He'll even purr to try to pull this off and he's not a purry-type puss.

Researching and writing the triple-decker article - in our beautiful triple.

Quote of the Day
They succeed, because they think they can.

Image ... Salt and Pepper. D2D, Dorchester.

Dr. King in Boston . 2

Continued from Dr. King in Boston . 1

The South End was the center of black middle class life and culture throughout the first half of the 20th century, beginning after 1900 when African Americans moved there from their historic home on the backside, or black-side, of Beacon Hill behind the State House. By 1950, they also shared the densely populated neighborhood with 39 other ethnic groups, many of them recent immigrants to the country: Syrian, Lebanese, Armenian and Chinese.

Martin might have preferred to be closer to campus but racial prejudice prevailed, as we've seen, and he chose a place just over the tracks of the northeast rail lines, on the very dividing line between black and white Boston. This block at the corner of Mass. and Columbus Avenues anchored one of America's great jazz meccas, home to over a dozen different clubs offering every sort of America's own music. Two blocks away, in the white Back Bay, Symphony Hall and the conservatories programmed and studied European classical music.

Boston had always been, and in the postwar years still was, racially segregated, as was most of the country. Unlike the South, segregation wasn't on the books or legislated, but the de facto lines were clearly drawn in black and white and well understood by both races. Blacks weren't allowed to live in most neighborhoods, stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, work in many jobs, sometimes simply walk the streets and most of all mingle with whites.

The one area where these racial rules were relaxed was on this dividing line in the South End where the jazz clubs catered to both races. Here blacks and whites, audiences and musicians, freely met, mingled, dug the music, jammed and romanced.

Continued at Dr. King in Boston . 3.

Image ... 397 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston.

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 24, 2010

The hawks are back after being away for months. I heard that unmistakable shriek the other day and looked up to see one hunting overhead. Then, yesterday, I was walking through the Fens in the rain and saw one lunching on a fence post. Bloody guts were flying around like red rubber bands. It was gross. The tail end of his prey is pinioned under his talons.

I took four flash pictures without disturbing his dining. When done he lazily flapped off to perch in the big pine and patiently await the next course. I'm glad they're back. Besides being magnificent creatures that are a wonder to watch, they keep the vermin down.

Quote of the Day
It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance.
Thomas Huxley

Image ... Red-tailed hawk. Fenway Victory Gardens, Boston.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

August 23, 2010

Quote of the Day
Patience is the companion of wisdom.
Saint Augustine

Image ... Sign above the Seven50 Grill. Uphams Corner, Dorchester.

August 22, 2010

More Whispers for my favorite girl. Just the way they walk!

Check out the article in today's Globe Tough-skinned pear a symbol of Dorchester's agrarian past. Who knew that Dot had its very own wine?

Twitpic now offers an embedded portfolio widget which can show up to 20 images. It will inspire me to edit our account and keep it current. At the moment it's just a miscellaneous mess with good and bad mixed in.

Showers, light rain. Feels like it will go all day. Staying home. Dealing with folders of new photos and editing images. A proposal to work out. Planning for the week. The house is was buzzing, 2 guests plus the 3 of us. They all just left for brunch. Quiet. Perfect for washing the floors.

Quote of the Day
A single question can be more influential than a thousand statements.
Bo Bennett

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

August 20, 2010

Quote of the Day
Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.
Niccolo Machiavelli

Image ... Hookahs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 18, 2010

Quote of the Day
Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
Henry A. Kissinger

Image ... Graffiti chair.

Monday, August 16, 2010

August 16, 2010

Quote of the Day
There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.

Image ... Sketch for painting Cape Cod Evening. Edward Hopper.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

9 | Number Detective . 5

Hey there! I'm Chychy.
Welcome to Number Detective.

My beat is the city streets. The job is to bring you the best numbers we can find out there. Then share all sorts of cool stuff about them with you.

9 is an odd number. Not like the weird sort of odd, but just plain odd. See numbers come in two types - odd and even.

Even numbers are evenly divisible by 2 - that is they can be divided by 2 without a remainder. For example 24 / 2 = 12. But 25 / 2 = 12.5. The .5 (or 1/2) is the remainder, and shows that 25 is an odd number.

Friday, August 13, 2010

August 13, 2010

Quote of the Day
At times I think and at times I am.
Paul Valery

Image ... Birches. Charles River, Cambridge.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 12, 2010

Freddie biked by the garden, with Pete in tow, in the late afternoon just as I was watering and getting ready to leave. She gave me two zucchinis and an eggplant.

Weeding, mowing and pruning CC's garden. Cut the pool out from the tangle of grape vines formed by making an arbor over it earlier this summer. Now it's framed in a green grotto.

Quote of the Day
We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life.
William Osler

Image ... Kayaks. Charles River, Christian Herter Park, Brighton.

St. Francis | Dot Virgins . 3

My Catholic iconography and hagiography are very vague. But I think this is St. Francis because a bird is perched on his hand (not seen here).

Image ... St. Francis. St. Mark's Church, Dorchester.

August 11, 2010

I was remembering hanging out with Sly Stone in Hollywood and didn't realize how rare this is. Sly is apparently very reclusive and private.

Jo and I arrived in LA and were waiting to book into our hotel off Sunset when he gestures to a cat striding across the lobby and says, "man I think that's Sly." I roll my eyes, five minutes in Hollywood and we meet the coke king. Jo knows Sly through George Clinton, who always said, "I ain't doin' nothing but what Sly invented." They arrange to hook up later. I'm very worried. Jo and coke are really good, extremely fucked up friends. Trouble.

Later we visit Sly's room. He's sitting up in bed flanked by two bad bitches, one chocolate, the other vanilla, a mirror on the covers heaped with white powder. I split. There's nothing more boring than people doing blow, I don't care who they are.

... More later.

Quote of the Day
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke

Image ... Genzyme. Allston, Mass. This is the new building on Storrow Drive (next to the old 'cathedral'). Notice the helix stairway.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10, 2010

Edward Hopper met his wife, Josephine Nivison, during a painting trip to Gloucester. She later remarked about her reclusive husband ...
Sometimes talking to Eddie is just like dropping a stone in a well, except that it doesn’t thump when it hits bottom.
Woth her help the watercolors he made in Gloucester became the turning point in his career in 1928 when he was in his early 40's.

Hopper later remarked about his central passion in painting ...
Maybe I am not very human - what I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.
Clearly he's done that here, along with sunlight on sails and over the city. His self-assessment is probably accurate from what I've heard.

Late night sounds. Crickets. Gun shots. Baseline hum of the city. Motorcycles. Distant voices. Two more gunshots, closer by. Far off siren. Cat sex. Jet sweep. Passing car. Crickets. Late city sounds.

Look out girl the saints are coming through
. Tap of rain on the tree leaves. Email from a friend. Shadows on the wall. The dark sacred night, as Louis says. And he knows.

Quote of the Day
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Dalai Lama

Image ... Gloucester Harbor. Edward Hopper.
Click on image for a larger view.

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010

This is one of the few photos I've seen that seems to have every possible color in it. At least one that works.

Bought a 1-1/2 ton pallet of field stone at T.H. McVey in Watertown. Beautiful stuff. It made sense, price-wise, to purchase a whole pallet. Somehow we'll work out how to use it all.

Bikeback all day. Fields Corner to the Fenway. Fenway to Watertown (T.H. McVey) via the Charles, making pictures. Watertown to Brighton (Mahoneys). Brighton to Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill to the Fenway (loaded down with lattice and tools). Fenway to Fields Corner.

Quote of the Day
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
Carl Sagan

Image ... Sign on Queensberry Street.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 8, 2010

An at home day. Resting up for a big week, making a real push on the Yarmouth Street garden. Cleaning up the house for a guest, a friend of A's, arriving tomorrow. Writing and slipping the chores in between, which breaks things up nicely. No one wants to write full time any more than they want to mop floors constantly. Well, OK, maybe that's just me. But that is me.

The photograph above was made looking through the windows of an abandoned restaurant on Dudley Street in Dorchester. Attached to the restaurant is a beautiful glass greenhouse or conservatory. The image combines both the interior view and the view from outdoors reflected in the glass, both planes overlapping and melding. A few filters were applied, of course, but not as much as you might think. Some scenes naturally tend towards abstraction and this is one of them. But then, what I actually did I can't recall, I seldom do. Editing images, like making them, occurs in a trance, no thought required or possible.

Programmed a poetry / spoken word set on Radio Roofscape. I've been getting little or no reaction recently, but with this the emails came flying in. One comment, "Glad to know someone else likes poetry on Sunday." Good point. Poetry it is now on Sundays. I've done this gospel thing for a year now and taken it as far as I can, much as I love it. We'll call it The Poet's Corner.

S and I got the house all shiny and brand new for A's anticipated guest. I actually did my whole toDo list. This may be a first. Went shopping. The neighborhood stores suck. Shelves of sugar cereals and cat food, but try to find a loaf of bread without the word Wonder on it, if that. Same for the supermarket in Fields, all fluff.

Quote of the Day
Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
Stanislaw Lec

Image ... Seven50 Grill. Uphams Corner, Dorchester.
Click on image to view full size.

Stomp! | Sunday Gospel Set . 56

Join us in praise on Radio Roofscape. Here's today's set list ...

Kiel Franklin with God's Property - Stomp
Sounds of Blackness - I Believe
Yolanda Adams - Step Aside (live)
Valdemar - What Can I Do For You? (Dylan)
BeBe and CeCe Winans - Grace (live)
D.O.C. (Disciples of Christ) - Deeper
Kierra 'Kiki' Sheard - Yes
Donnie McClurkin - We Fall Down (live)
Mary Mary - God in Me

Our featured video is Stomp by Kirk Franklin with God's Property and Salt (Cheryl Wray) from Salt-'n-Pepa shaking her thang.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

August 7, 2010

Quote of the Day
You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.
Indira Gandhi

Hence the dap (dignity and pride), or fist bump, of the Obama era.

Image ... Lemonade Girl. The Minuteman Bikeway, Lexington, Mass.

Ins and outs of love | Radio Roofscape

Join us on Radio Roofscape for some ins and outs of love ...
Sade - Sweetest Taboo
Bob Marley - Is This Love?
Aretha Franklin - Who's Zoomin' Who?
Bobby King & Terry Evans - Dark End of the Street
Prince & The Revolution - Erotic City
Mary Jane Girls - All Night Long
The I-Tones - Walk on By
Stevie Wonder - Part Time Lover
Janet Jackson - Together Again
The Whispers - Keep On Lovin' Me
... featuring a video of Sade live in performance and shakin' that booty.

Friday, August 6, 2010

August 6, 2010

Click on the image to see it full size. It will open in the same window, so use the Back button to return here.

Finished the Beacon Hill garden job. Forgot to take photos I was so anxious to get out of there. A Zen attention to detail which, fine at first, by day four had gotten quite wearing. Anyway, it looks great and the client is well pleased. A clean, elegant simplicity was created.

Needs a few choice pieces of art on the brick walls though. Nice stuff like we used in the Bailey's Italian roof garden. I'll keep my eyes open. Shopping at McVey and Mahoneys this weekend for the Yarmouth Street job. Will look around.

Quote of the Day
Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge.
Abraham Joshua Heschel

Image ... Pocket Park. Roxbury, Mass.

Pleaant Street | Dot Virgins . 2

I bike by this particular virgin every day. In the morning an Asian family is having their coffee in front of the shrine and in the evening they're drinking beer. This is the most elaborate adoration of the virgin I've come across so far.

Image ... Virgin of Pleasant Street, Dorchester.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August 5, 2010

Tomato season is here! The tomatoes above that Jimmy's proudly showing off are large September late season tomatoes of course. But we're finally getting a taste of fully ripe tomatoes, especially the smaller, earlier varieties, in our gardens.

Thunderstorms spiraling through the city. One short and sweet, then sun, so walked downtown. Boomers soon broke out directly overhead unleashing torrents from the sky. Had my umbrella, so stayed reasonably dry. Walked unconcerned, knowing somehow that it wasn't my to die. I have been in a few storms where the opposite seemed certain. But was somehow spared for the hangman, jealous husband or another inevitable horrible fate.

Quote of the Day
Life is like a trumpet - if you don't put anything into it, you don't get anything out of it.
W.C. Handy

Image ... Jimmy with Tomatoes. Photograph by Lois Johnson.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 4, 2010

I only recently discovered this Hopper painting. It's certainly never shown as one of his canonical works - which snyway I think are the weakest, or maybe over-familiarity breeds blindness - but it may be one of my favorites. Nice and simple, suggestive. You can project on it as you will, make it your own. The modern method. Maximal minimalism.
Well, I've always been interested in approaching a big city in a train, and I can't exactly describe the sensations, but they're entirely human and perhaps have nothing to do with aesthetics.
No northern lights last night. Overcast sky. Not sure we'd see them over city lights anyway. I haven't seen them since I was a kid, but I do remember the time. And the Milky Way, I can't even recall. Venus has been blazing bright recently, seeming to pull the moon across the sky.

Hot and humid, in the 90's, SW wind. Biked back and forth and worked outdoors all day though and felt fine. On Beacon Hill again renovating a backyard garden.

Visited mine in the early morning, read and watered. Things have gone wild, as they often do at this time of year. Many tomatoes. Collards have all filled back in after their recent scalping. The grapes can now be popped between two fingers. Cicadas chorusing.

In the evening a low, revealing, lemon colored light. Complex shadows flickering on the wall mapped on a fine grid cast by the window screen. Wind chimes playing their pleasant aleatory melodies together - tubular metal, bamboo and sea shells.

Quote of the Day
The less you know, the more you believe.

Approaching a City. Edward Hopper, 1946.

August 3, 2010

Worked for a client on Beacon Hill restoring the brick work on patio and walls in backyard garden (which I planted out in May). My secret for patios - sweep then scrub brush with dish detergent and Clorox diluted in warm water. Do a manageable section, rinse a few times with plain water using a sponge, then do another. Let dry thoroughly. Apply one coat of Val Oil with a paint brush (it flows on like water. This will make Indian stone, flagstone, brick, etc. look like a million dollars.

Image ... Vietnamese Flower Shop.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yarmouth Street Garden . 2 | Garden Gates

Continued from Yarmouth Street Garden . 1

Here we are standing on the stoop. You'll notice that the completed excavation has uncovered a second ledge below the one which we could see a section of before we began. There's no fighting this fact, so somehow it will have to be incorporated into the design.

At this point I surveyed the garden and did at 1/2" scale sketch (reduced here) using EazyDraw, software for Mac OSX. The overall dimensions are 8'6" wide and 11' deep into the far left corner, the bowfront curves out to about 8' from the front fence. I've sketched in some of the features that we know we want - the planter, birdbath (which we're recycling) and a bench (to be built or purchased).

To work with the ledges, I think we'll build a stone wall along the line of the top ledge resting on the one below. This will make a raised bed which could then be filled with either stones, to form a rock garden, or soil from the excavation which could be planted with a shallow-rooted ground cover such as lamium or ivy.

The large ceramic planter will fill in the left rear corner between the stoop and the bowfront. This will be planted out with something tall since the stoop is very high, and hopefully a plant with year-around interest. To the right is the bird bath, removed from its pedestal and raised up on some stones, next to the water spigot.

To suggest what this might look like I laid out some stones that were on hand and added some cobblestones to show the path to the bench.

Sketch in hand, we're ready to select some stone. The place for stone in Boston is the T.H. McVey Stone Company near the Arsenal Mall, at 662 Arsenal Street, in Watertown. They're old school and don't have a website, but the phone is (617) 923-8866 and they're very pleasant to deal with. Plus they'll deliver once you've selected what you want.

McVey has every sort of landscaping and architectural stone all arranged in piles or on pallets in their huge yard near the banks of the Charles. They also have a really good selection of cobblestones, which are hard to find nowadays, and interesting boulders. It's like going to a museum of stone.

Image ... Yarmouth Street garden.

To be continued.

August 2, 2010

Here's my outside office. It's off in the west corner of the garden under a grape arbor. That's one of the vines in the middle of the picture. There's a big blue patio umbrella above which says Samuel Adams, a local patriot and brewer. I'm working on a drawing and reading Albert Murray, who I just don't get. My camera bag is in the background. The view (to the right) looks across the river, over the reeds and through the trees to the towers of Back Bay. Such a poetic, peaceful place.

Photographed a Vietnamese wedding party in front of St. Kevin's yesterday. There were two photographers, a videographer (I guess you call them), someone taking pictures with a small digital and me. For like four people. I was cracking up so hard I just snapped a single frame of the whole funny scene and split fast.

3:00 AM. My favorite time. Crickets and cats own the night, both singing their sex songs. And something distant that I can't quite place. The restless hum of civilization? Moon sailing through cloudy skies, pulled westward by a bright planet. Email from Fred, such a love.

Quote of the Day
Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend.

Image ... Outside office.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

7 | Number Detective . 4

Hey there! I'm Chychy.
Welcome to Number Detective.

My beat is the city streets. The job is to bring you the best numbers we can find out there. Then share all sorts of cool stuff about them with you.

7 is a big number. Not big like large, but you know big like important. 7 days in a week, 7 seas, the 7th inning stretch at a Sox game (hotdog!) and of course 7th grade where I'm at now. I found this 7 in Paisley Park, a really cool street near Fields Corner in Dorchester.

7 always brings a smile to my face. Maybe because it's a happy number. Do you remember about happy numbers from when we found the number 44? You square each digit in the number (multiply it by itself) - for 7 there's just a single digit of course - add them together and repeat the process. In a few steps happy number will soon reduce to 1. An unhappy number will just keep like running around in circles chasing its tail but never reaching 1. Here's how it goes for 7 - and it doesn't even take 7 steps!
49 - 7 2 (7x7 = 49)
97 - 4 2 + 9 2 (4x4 + 9x9 = 97)
130 - 9 2 + 7 2 (9x9 + 7x7 = 130)
10 - 1 2 + 3 2 (1x1 + 3x3 = 10)
1 - 1 2 + 0 2 (1x1 + 0x0 = 1)
7 is also a prime number. A prime is any number that can only be evenly divided (with no remainder) by 1 and itself. The first 7 primes are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 and 17. 1 - because 1 and 'itself' are the same - is not considered a prime. So 7 is a prime because it can only be evenly divided by 1 and 7. This is unlike, say 12, which can be divided by 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12. 12 is like way divisible. No one has ever figured out any pattern in the occurrence of prime numbers. It's a big mystery. But the Number Detective is on it and will get back to you.

Image ... The number 7. Dorchester, Mass.

August 1, 2010

The more I study physics, the deeper I fall into its grip and the bigger the questions become. If I were a scientist I would be a physicist like my father. Physics, in all its phases, on all scales, is on the brink of some amazing discoveries.

In education, I firmly believe in Physics First. Not that I really believe in education. I don't think it's possible. The only educatiom is self-education. To that end all education must point, and the sooner the better.

If I designed a curriculum for kids it would include - physics, nature studies (trees, rocks, plants, etc.), writing (which requires reading), personal finance (as necessary as basic literacy) and drawing (which involves design). That's it, that's enough. Kids will figure out the rest all on their own with no help needed. For example - you need to teach a kid to use a computer these days? Obviously not.

I might include music, but no one should be the least encouraged to become a musician (or worse yet, an actor). That's just more trouble that they can figure out on their own. I see the swarms outside the Berklee College of Music every day.

Speaking of which, I just noticed that I did a Nile Rodgers set on Radio Roofscape. Sometimes these things slip by me. I can take a break from string theory by programming Chic or watching Quiet Desperation and remember nothing. In the case of Quiet D, much as I love it, that's a blessing of course. I'm a huge fan of Nile's B Movie Matinee. The guitar work is beyond crazy. Both hugely guilty pleasures.

Speaking of which, Lady Gaga is on Twitpic. Generally looking like her slutish self. Now that girl cries out to be on Quiet Desperation. Or maybe she is and I just didn't recognize her in that rolling freak show. What makes that girl tick I couldn't even begin to guess. But whatever it is it must be very tightly wound. I read the Rolling Stone interview and she's surprisingly intelligent (as she says, "you seem surprised"). What did come across is that loyalty to and the support of her friends (the Haus) was one of the most important things in her life. Well, that can carry you far. And it's good to see.

I've never lived in a place with so many crows. I haven't yet seen a single hawk, but the crows are all over. And noisy, kicking up a ruckus like a haunted house of rusty hinges.

Sunday morning. Kicked back in bed, iBook in lap, writing. Resting up for a big busy week. Thinking my thoughts. Thinking things over. And here's one of them. I have a huge decision to make.

But the hell with that. I just discovered a dozen pictures from yesterday that I hadn't even downloaded from the camera. Everything drops for photography. It's not even funny. The world stops. Image of Our Lady of the Streets, taken at St. Kevin's. She has a very large, and rather happy looking or maybe just leering, serpent snaking around her feet with various offerings of dead flowers, burned out candles and rosaries down below. That and more virgins.

Here's the decision. I have to figure out whether to keep Roofscape Magazine going or shut it down and just focus on the Roofscape Journal (which you're reading now), using Google as the platform for all future work. The magazine has been abandoned for awhile now, since I moved, but Journal is constantly being updated. At the least there's a new image every day.

Finished programming the Nile Rodger's set. He's such a musical genius. Wiki says that he has an autobiography coming out this year or next. Now that should be an interesting read. This is a man who's known and worked with everybody. He started out touring with the Sesame Street band then worked in the house band at the Apollo Theatre. What an education! I've read interviews with him and some crazy shit went down in his long career, as you might imagine. I'm a total freak (Le Freak) for musician biographies. Keith is supposed to be dropping soon too. Now talk about interesting. Plus it will be a chance to tell my Keith story. Here's a cut from B-Movie Matinee (1985).

This is such a great video too. When it ends, check out State Your Mind, perhaps an even more slammin' track from B-Movie.

OK, I'm going to tell my Keith Richards story. I've got nothing else to write about at the moment (well there is string theory, but I've currently lost the thread on that) and I feel like writing to avoid the dire necessity of doing any actual work. It is Sunday after all.

It was New Year's Eve. Josiah (One Take, Jo, Teddy, Theodore) Kinlock and I were in New York City. Jo's buddy Gwen Guthrie, the great R&B, soul and disco singer-songwriter (Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But the Rent) picked us up in a white stretch limo that could probably have swallowed about a dozen Smart Cars without burping. I hadn't a clue where we were headed and couldn't care.

Jo, of course, is being crazy, doing a rastaman routine, and keeping everyone convulsed. Sitting up front while I'm in back between Gwen and her equally ample backup singer. As Jo cracks them up I'm getting crushed. But enjoying it.

We head to the upper East Side and pull up in front of a building decorated like an Egyptian, or maybe Etruscan, tomb. For a party at Jellybean Benitez's (all of Madonna's first big hits, Whitney Houston, etc.). I'm sitting next to this really attractive blond who's being hustled on the left by a gorgeous boy toy and on the right by some music biz slimeball. And she's into #2. I'm laughing my head off hearing his stupid shit. When I catch up with Jo he tells me that was Debby Harry (Blondie).

We head downtown. Gwen's scheduled to do a track date at World, I think it was called, a club in the meat packing district (although my New York savvy is sort of shaky). On the way go into a building along Broadway.

We get in the elevator. A voice calls out, "hold the lift there mate", and Keith Richards steps in with the biggest bottle of Moet-Chandon that I've ever seen before or since.

I'm struck absolutely dumb, but my friend Jo doesn't miss a beat and begins chatting Keith up while his eyes take a stroll over Gwen's ample physique. 'Cause you know Keith likes him some large black girl singers (Sarah Dash from LaBelle). So he figures we're heading to the same party and as the door opens says, "let's go". And believe me, when Keith says to you let's go - you go. Wherever. Hell and back.

... More later.

Quote of the Day
We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.
Stewart Udall

Image ... Blue Shed. Dorchester.