Birthdays Today

Brain Pickings BY MARIA POPOVA has another fine article about Edward Gorey’s work. He was born on this date (February 22, 1925–April 15, 2000). I’ve just ordered The Gashly Crumb Tinies from Amazon. It’s one of my all-time favorites and I can’t believe I don’t own it. It’s an alphabet book of manic and magical proportions, unbelievably anti-normal.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (BTD in 1892)

Sand Wash Basin Stallions

This is from a new site that I am following, even when depressed it seems. From Friends of Picasso—Grand Wild Stallion of Sand Wash Basin. SWB is in Colorado. Meg Frederick Photography is a frequent contributor and displays the best photos. She also has her own separate page.

Meg Frederick Photography· 4 hrs ·  Tango (above) is a gorgeous and much loved stallion in Sand Wash Basin. He is the son of Picasso and Mingo.


Above is our hero himself. A close watch is being held in the hope that he mades it through the treacherous winter, as in the end—like the rest of us—he winters alone.

The Art of Book Covers (1820–1914)

The Public Domain Review   
Founded in 2011, The Public Domain Review is an online journal and
not-for-profit project dedicated to the exploration of curious and
compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas.

A Masque of Days Charles Lamb. A Masque of Days. London- Cassell and Co., 1901 — Source. Cover design by Walter CraSuch a delightful surprise to find a new site that offers a magazine which will delight the bibliophile. Shared here are a few samples of the Book Covers that have been displayed on the site. All credits and any explanation needed are given beneath the displayed covers. And very delightful these creations are. Enjoy!
Lord Dunsany. The Book of Wonder. London- William Heinemann, 1912

If you would like to explore further, click on the “online” in the first paragraph above, and go directly to The Public Domain Review.

TheArtOfBkCvsIgnatius Donnelly. Ragnarok- The Age of Fire and Gravel. New York, D. Appleton and Company, 1883Too Curious Edward J. Goodman. Too Curious. London; Guildford- Bentley & Son, 1888Max Wolf. Die Milchstrasse. Leipzig - Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1908Dress and Care of the Feet John Lord Peck. Dress and Care of the Feet. New York- Fowler & Wells, 1871Felix Schloemp. Das unheimliche Buch. Munich- Georg Mueller, 1914Friedrich Christian Accum. A Treatise on Adulteration of Food and Culinary Poisons. London, Longman, 1822Walter Crane. A Floral Fantasy in an Old English Garden. London- Harper, 1899Montague Browne. Practical Taxidermy. London- “The Bazaar” Office, 1878W. T. Horton. A Book of Images. London- The Unicorn Press, 1898Ten Time One is Ten Frederic Ingham. Ten Time One is Ten. Boston- Roberts Brothers, 1871Evelyn Sharp. Wymps. New York & London- John Lane, 1897Richard Bowdler Sharpe. Sketch-Book of British Birds. London- Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,1898

James Baldwin

THE LAST DAYS OF JAMES BALDWIN’S HOUSE                                                                            IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE

From an article in Literary Hub by Magdalena J. Zaborowska, taken from the book, Me and My HouseLit Hub Article

The house and James were visited by the likes of Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder and more. This from back in the day when artists gathered for informal salons not called anything but visits. As was it the same when Gertrude Stein held court in the rooms of her home, and Alice B served the company.

The article is well written, as are most all of the Lit Hub publications. Zaborowska writes well and includes enough tantalizing information to make us search out the book. (It has been immediately added to my wish list.) Make no mistake, though, it is not about literature or the oeuvre of Baldwin. It is about the architecture, and its destruction, and its loss. PLACE looms large for both the writer (Baldwin) and visitors.   OK - 4/28/17

Inside the house—Chez Baldwin, in  the south of France. 

The ceiling in 2000 and 2014. Photos by Magdalena J. Zaborowska.

Magdalena J. Zaborowska Me and My House

From Me and My House: James Baldwin’s Last Decade in FranceDuke University Press. Copyright © 2018 by Magdalena J. Zaborowska

I first encountered the writing of Baldwin in Giovanni’s Room, several years ago. As has often been the case for me, it was an accident. One of those: it looks interesting, oh what the heck, might as well buy it. At that point I had not heard of the man, or anything he was about. He was well known in literary circles, but not close to any circles of mine. I soon became a fan and began the read of what was already out, and the books, essays and social commentary that followed.

James Arthur Baldwin was born in Harlem, New York city, in 1924. He died of stomach cancer in 1987, at Saint Paul de Vence, France. He is now considered of major importance in the voice of racial, sexual, and class distinctions, and a major writer of the 20th century.

The English Patient

We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.


Posted by Lit Hub

The English Patient at 25


 The LitHub has a lovely article about the book. It’s direct quotes from the original reviews and worth a look. It has made me want to read it, and I missed it the first time around. Actually that happens with me a lot. Somewhere inside of me lies hidden the critic who says, “Let’s just wait a while and see how this holds up.” Especially if there’s a movie associated with it. Never trust the movie, I say!

Musical Fun


A Direct Lift From Classic FM—Algorithm by Clarallel and Kai Konishi-Dukes

This genius algorithm turns your name into an awesome musical cipher

Ever wondered what your name would sound like as a musical motif? You can now find out using Clarallel, an algorithm that reveals your musical cipher.

Musical ciphers (which are means of transforming text, usually a name, into a musical motif using logical relations between letters and pitches) have been used by Western composers for centuries. Even though Western musical notation uses letters for pitch names, this only works for the letters A to G. Therefore, in the past composers have struggled to find a logical method for the other letters.

For example, in one piece, the composer Robert Schumann created a melody out of his wife Clara’s name. The letters C-l-a-r-a became C(#)BAG(#)A. For the letters c and a, Schumann used the logical pitches C(#) and A. For the letters l and r, he simply assigned the pitches B and G(#), as they make melodic sense of the surrounding pitches.

Kai Konishi-Dukes has developed an algorithm building upon the above method which turns your name, or anything else you write in the box, into a little musical ditty. He’s called it Clarallel.

Above is C-l-a-s-s-i-c-F-M in a minor key, then in a major key. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

The algorithm is powerful, but at this stage it can only transform letters into a short melody. However, when you couple Clarallel with the human hand and ear, you can create an extended composition:

What does your name sound like? Give it a go here. 

By Amy MacKenzie

Johann’s Birthday


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(1749 – 1832)—Reprinted from Lapham’s Quarterly

Having returned to Frankfurt from Leipzig University in 1768, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe began studying the alchemical writings of Paracelsus and Basil Valentine and performing experiments in his own laboratory. The poet, statesman, playwright, novelist, and scientist began his masterwork Faust around 1771, publishing Faust: A Fragment in 1790 and Faust: Part One eighteen years after that.

We have a book of Goethe’s poetry here. It’s in the TBR pile, where it is likely to remain for the rest of my life at the least. Although I do reference it upon occasion, flipping through it to find something of interest. That is done in an easy frame of mind. Not the mad passionate one of the search for the perfect—in a book where you know it will be.