Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lady Liberty Rubber Ducky

Rubber Ducky Mark 1 ****************** ****************** Above: Rubber Ducky Mark 1 purchased 1994. Below, Rubber Ducky Lady Liberty, 2011 Rubber Ducky Liberty Rubber Ducky Liberty 1 Rubber Ducky Liberty 2 Rubber Ducky Liberty 2a Rubber Ducky Liberty 3 A few years ago, back in 1994 when I had to have an operation for a slipped disc and the neurosurgeon told me to take hot baths for my back, Donna bought be a rubber ducky, which I have kept ever since. Donna and her girlfriends were just up in New York and she brought me back a Lady Liberty Rubber Ducky. Unfortunately when I placed the new Lady Liberty Rubber Ducky in the bathwater this evening, in preparation for us going out to a New Year's Eve meal at Gertrude's Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art, where we have been on New Year's Eve previous years and always enjoyed, the poor Lady Liberty Rubber Ducky went down headfirst in the bathwater which made me laugh... I had to call Donna in to see. Maybe that's why Lady Liberty Rubber Ducky has that startled look on her face! ******************  Below are a few sunset pictures of Baltimore taken yesterday in the waning hours of 2011. Baltimore Sunset 1 Baltimore Sunset 2 Baltimore Sunset 3 Baltimore Sunset 8 Baltimore Sunset 6 Baltimore Sunset 7 Baltimore Sunset 9

Dimly seen in several of the photos is a Geico Insurance billboard. The Geico "Gecko" looking down with the words "Want to Save Money?" Like the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg in The Great Gatsby in the Valley of the Ashes. The photograph below is an artsy rendering of a photograph taken at the same time.

Soft Focus Baltimore

It's how you see it --
this place you call home,
the scrag end of another year

as the cars whiz by
years stream by too.

You can't get a hold on
anything. . . can't find
a solution to the problems.

Christopher T. George

Soft Focus Baltimore

Soft Focus Baltimore, photograph by Christopher T. George

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thoughts at Christmas 2012

D.C. Christmas Wreath 1

Christmas Wreath at Union Station, Washington, D.C.
on a recent evening.

Cold and chilly

Midwinter in the Palm House

Outside, it is snowing; a lone robin grubs
for millet seeds on the cement path.
Inside, it's steamy, banana plant fronds
stretch to the roof, platforms for monkeys.

Water blinks like an eye in a purple bromeliad;
bee buzzes trapped in nectar of a pitcher plant.
We explore musty forest of mosses and ferns,
hidden niches with white catleya orchids, throated

with speckled saffon. The snow melts on glass
above us, but in here it is eternal summer.
My hand presses yours; your thumb traces
a hieroglyph on my palm.

Christopher T. George

Donna and I went to Joey Chiu's Greenspring Inn last evening for Christmas Eve dinner where we exchanged gifts. They sat us overlooking a gentle stream and the lights came on in the shrubbery on the stream bank as we looked out. As we were leaving we remembered we had been there after I broke my left ankle. In fact, I had begun down the steps of our apartment house and slipped on the black ice. See link through the title for some thoughts and photographs on that episode. Happily, I have made a complete recovery, something to thankful for on this Christmas and as we go into 2012.

I actually made it into work in Washington D.C. on that morning but, as you might expect, in pain, and after talking to my boss, Sterling Williams, M.D., he advised me to contact my doctor, which I did. I was referred to PatientFirst where Donna and I drove after I arrived back in Baltimore by train. It so happens that the branch of PatientFirst is near the Greenspring Inn so after they x-rayed me and put me in a walking cast with crutches it was natural that we would go there for a meal and for me to have a gin and tonic (strictly against doctor's orders). They sat us by the window, overlooking a gentle stream. . .

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Loch Raven Review Literary Extravaganza: Review and Comments

Loch Raven Review Reading December 16 2011 mark 2

First a review of last night's event by Dave Eberhardt

Last night's Loch Raven Review literary extravanganza emceed by Chris George was an amazing success-with 30 + in attendance-a good number for a reading- many glittering personalities in the audience-

Many PIB (Poetry in Baltimore) members were represented, not just those published in the Review- which is, perhaps, Baltimore's classiest.

Mike North- the Bardmaster-channeling Johnny Cash in attire- raw, corruscating power

Danuta E Kosk-Kosicka- a poem read in Polish? a very dignified and noble presentation- must be descended from Polish nobility...look at that name!

Michael Salcman- serene, Olympian, classicism- most polished- Michael is a show stealer.

Alan Reese- most entertaining- with a lit up nose and poetry to match- Alan stole the show; when is he going to get that med mix right?.

Dino Pantazonis from Ohio- quirky, down home, highly accomplished work- appearance by his beloved Kiwi- definitely stole the show.

David Eberhardt- raw, corruscating power

Caryn Coyle- at once, pathos and sex represented in fiction- rock and roll- troggish

Charles Rammelkamp- a hilarious prose excerpt, a product garanteed to make you more youthful

Mike Monroe- a geek that turns into a Hell's Angel poet

Chris George- wonderful poetry about Mum- usual Liverpudlian brilliance; this reading was Chris's idea and Dave E helped with the organizing. Thanks to Neil and Jim of B & N. An added feature- Chris gave a bit of history about Johns Hopkins, who stared down upon us imperiously from a highly placed banner. He also described the Loch Raven Review and introduced fellow editors present.

Dan Cuddy- Dan's usual Carneyan brilliance....bounty from the county.

Julie Fisher- PIB mother dominatrix- her usual warm, quirky wit.

The reading went from 7- 8: 30 at the Barnes and Noble at 33rd and St./ Paul on 12/16. Mark Sanders could not make it- being under the weather. His poster with a sexy black haired Santress much admired.

Thanks, Dave.

In regard to merchant Johns Hopkins, whose money provided the endowment for the university and the hospital that bear his name -- I note that those institutions don't dare name it M&T University or anything like that, as with the way of things these days -- he was born in Anne Arundel County in 1795. At that time, his Quaker family owned slaves but along with a number of other Quaker families, the Hopkinses gave up their slaves, setting them free, showing some enlightenment. Of course some Quakers, notably flour miller Elisha Tyson (1749–1824), openly helped former African American slaves to escape in the Underground Railroad.

Johns Hopkins -- the name "Johns" is a family surname not a first name -- never married. He made his fortune in railroads at the time of the Civil War. The man was arguably a carpetbagger or war profiteer. When he died in 1873, he left his money to found the university and hospital, but before the will was read no one knew that his fortune would be used for that. During his lifetime, he had told nobody about his intentions. For all anyone knew, he had died an old miser.

One other Bit O' Trivia:

If you travel west on 33rd Street past the Bookstore, the street deadends onto North Charles Street, and you are facing the monumental head of Johns Hopkins mounted on a plinth. That monument used to be in the center of Charles Street and the traffic going both ways had to go around it. In 1954, there was a major traffic accident when two fire trucks collided when they were responding to a report of a fire at one of the student dormitories at the university. Two firemen were killed in the collision. It was after that tragedy that the statue was moved to the side of the road.

Johns Hopkins Statue