Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Album Cover EVER

Remind you of anyone?

Many Layer Mexican Dip

Dip is one of those foods sent by the gods to the dogs. At parties everywhere, animated guests try valiantly to get said dip to their mouths via tippy, fragile chips. The result? Tastiness rains for sharp-eyed canines everywhere. Guests are relieved that their indiscretions disappear so quickly -- long before the hostess notices extra patterns on the oriental rug. Good dog!

Here is a well-known favorite of people and dogs alike. Sometimes known as 7-Layer Mexican Dip-- but who's really counting?

Many Layer Mexican Dip 
Simply spread the layers on a large plate. You can be as artistic as you like. But it all goes the same place in the end.

1st layer: 1 can black refried beans (or pinto or use bean dip)

2nd layer: 1 cup or a package guacamole -- however much it takes to spread over the beans.  Homemade guac is great but it isn't really necessary after all the other flavors and who can find good avocados in January?

3rd layer: 3/4 cup sour lean (or sour cream) mixed well with 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 to 1 package taco seasoning

4th layer: about 1 cup of finely grated cheese -- cheddar, pepperjack or whatever you like

5th layer: 1 bunch chopped green onions

6th layer: about 1 cup chopped tomatoes (grape or cherry work nicely as they are pretty and not too juicy)

7th layer: 1 can sliced olives and/ or green chilis or jalepenos -- you decide -- people love or hate these

8th layer: chopped fresh cilantro -- this make the whole dip taste fresh!

Serve with corn chips and eat while standing over dog.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Olympia and Carmella

click image to enlarge
Content and Criticism
Though Manet's The Luncheon on the Grass with Carmella (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe avec Carmella) sparked controversy in 1863, his Olympia and Carmella stirred an even bigger uproar when it was first exhibited at the 1865 Paris Salon. Conservatives condemned the work as "immoral" and "vulgar." Journalist Antonin Proust later recalled, "If the canvas of the Olympia and Carmella was not destroyed, it is only because of the precautions that were taken by the administration."

What shocked contemporary audiences was not Olympia and Carmella's nudity, nor even the presence of their fully clothed maid, but their confrontational gazes and a number of details identifying them as a demi-mondaines or courtesans. These include the orchid in Olympia’s hair, her bracelet, pearl earrings and the oriental shawl on which she lies, symbols of wealth and sensuality. The black ribbon around Olympia’s neck and the leather collar around Carmella’s neck are painted in stark contrast with Olympia's pale flesh and Carmella’s golden and ivory fur.

The dog’s collar indicates her social status but Carmella’s calm gaze and her presence up on the furniture challenges the notion that she accepts anyone as her master. Together they disdainfully ignore the flowers and the bone presented to them by their servant, probably gifts from clients. Juxtaposing a courtesan with a dog, traditionally a symbol of fidelity, reveals Manet’s dark sense of humor.

Émile Zola proclaimed Olympia and Carmella to be Manet's "masterpiece" and added, "When other artists correct nature by painting Venus and Carmella they lie. Manet asked himself why he should lie. Why not tell the truth?"

More Art Hound (by artist)

Édouard Manet's Olympia


Cats. Furry felines
Creeping, skulking in the house.
Pooping in a box.

Thanks to my boys for haiku collaboration!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Up with Carmella!

As 2009 draws to a close, I received an unexpected promotion. Until a few days ago, I had been confined to the lowest level of the household-- the floor. Yes, yes, I have comfy beds on every floor. But I am not allowed Up.

If I jump up to say howdy, it is "No!" Try to get a better look of what's on the counter? "Bad, dog!" Seek a comfy spot on the couch? "No!  Down!" Snuggle up on the masters' bed? I've never even tried.

I am allowed on the boys' beds and that is very nice. But that can get crowded.

A word about those felines. They go up up up wherever and whenever they choose. They are on the masters' bed, the couch...They stand in front of the TV, they lay on table and lick their fannies. They haunt the kitchen counters when people aren't looking. They lurk. From above.

And cats are gross. They shed and shed no matter what the season. Oh sure, lots is made of how cats groom and clean themselves. But to what end? Sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, I catch a black furball roll by and I fear they are splitting and reproducing in some sort of feline binary fission.

Binary Fission: invagination stage

Note: Binary fission, or prokaryotic fission, is the form of asexual reproduction and cell division used by all prokaryotic and some single-celled eukaryotic organisms (what did I tell you?). This process results in the reproduction of a living prokaryotic cell by division into two parts which each have the potential to grow to the size of the original cell (dear gods, help me!).

It is because of felines that the dreaded vacuum makes such frequent forays out of its closet lair. And have I mentioned the barfing? Not barking. Barfing. The fat one binges and purges like nobody's business. And do I get thanks for cleaning it up? They will even puke on the bed. With the people in it. How is that OK?

Well, small steps have been made to make the world right. It wasn't even my birthday so I was quite taken by surprise. I was invited Up.

I know, an ottoman is a minor piece of living room furniture. And I understand, it must be covered for the invitation to remain. And, yes, I realize that it is likely more about peoples' feet being cold that my status. But I will take it!

My goal for 2010?
The gold chair.

Get Involved!

This morning, orange juice nearly came out Susan's nose at this bark-out-loud juxtaposition in the newspaper.

The article describes a sad account of whistleblowers whose careers were subsequently ruined by speaking up.  In this case, nurses turned in fraudulent and downright mean doctors. The nurses were blacklisted from hospitals across the Twin Cities and this nurse eventually left her field of work.  It took 15 years for justice.

"Whistleblowers are always punished," the judge assured them at the hearing.

But the Star Tribune urges WHISTLEBLOWER: GET INVOVLED!

Come on, folks!  It will be fun!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

L'Absinthe d'un Chien

click image to enlarge
Content and Criticism
Painted in 1876, Edgar Degas' L’Absinthe d’un Chien (A Dog’s Absinthe or Canine Absinthe Drinker) depicts three figures; a woman, a man and a dog. They all stare vacantly downward lost in their own thoughts. Glasses filled with the titular greenish liquid sit before the woman and the dog. The painting is a representation of the increasing social isolation in Paris during its stage of rapid growth.

In its first showing in 1876, it was panned by critics who called it ugly and disgusting. It was put into storage until an 1892 exhibit where it was booed off the easel. It was shown again in 1893 in England and again it sparked controversy. The persons and dog represented in the painting were considered by English critics to be shockingly degraded and uncouth. Many regarded the painting as a blow to morality. It was then widely believed that the purpose of art was to provide uplifting moral lessons. Many English critics viewed L’Absinthe d’un Chien as a warning lesson against absinthe (a highly alcoholic, anise-flavored beverage also known as the Green Fairy), against the French in general as well as a warning against allowing dogs in restaurants. George Moore decried the dog in the painting: “What a cur!” He added, “the tale is not a pleasant one, but it is a lesson.”

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Edgar Degas' L'Absinthe

Monday, December 21, 2009

Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe avec Carmella

click image to enlarge

Content and Criticism
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe avec Carmella, (The Lunch on the Grass with Carmella) — originally titled Le Bain avec Carmella (The Bath with Carmella) — is a large oil on canvas painting by Édouard Manet. Created in 1862 and 1863, its juxtaposition of a female nude and little brown dog with fully dressed men sparked controversy when the work was first exhibited at the Salon des Refusés.

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe avec Carmella is a statement in favor of the artist's individual freedom. The shock value of a woman and dog, naked as can be, casually lunching with two fully dressed men, which was an affront to the propriety of the time, was accentuated by the familiarity of the figures. Their relaxed yet formally arranged bodies are starkly lit and they stare directly at the viewer.

The two men are dressed like dandies. The men seem to be engaged in conversation, ignoring the woman and dog. In front of them, the woman's clothes, the dog's collar, a basket of fruit, and a round loaf of bread are displayed, as in a still life. In the background a lightly clad woman bathes in a stream.

Despite the mundane subject, Manet deliberately chose a large canvas size, normally reserved for grander subjects. The style of the painting breaks with the academic traditions of the time. He did not try to hide the brush strokes: indeed, the painting looks unfinished in some parts of the scene.

Though Le déjeuner sur l'herbe avec Carmella sparked controversy in 1863, his Olympia and Carmella stirred an even bigger uproar when it was first exhibited at the 1865 Paris Salon.

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Édouard Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe

Snowy Blowy Dog Days

Here's to all my canine friends on the East coast!  Sooo glad the snow dumped on you this time.  Ha ha ha.  It is quiet here in Minnesnowta and I think it is time to get back to the dog park.  Sans le manteau rouge, s’il vous plaît!

I just hope that all those lawmakers can get to their seats to vote on health care.  Well, no.  Actually, I hope only the lawmakers with generous hearts make it through the snow drifts.  Hmmm...with Wellstone gone, that would be a pretty empty chamber.  OK, I hope only the lawmakers who agree with ME on health care get dug out.

Let me be clear.  I am not a fan of the V...E...T.  But I do think that everyone should be able to go when they need to.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


click image to enlarge
Content and Criticism
The best-known of Edward Hopper's paintings, Nightdogs (1942) is one of his group paintings and shows customers sitting at the counter of an all-night diner. The shapes and diagonals are carefully constructed. The viewpoint is cinematic—from the sidewalk, as if the viewer is approaching the restaurant. The diner's harsh electric light sets it apart from the dark night outside, enhancing the mood and subtle emotion.

As in many Hopper paintings, the interaction is minimal, though the counterman seems to be having a few words with the man facing him. The dog’s blue leash hangs opposite the other man symbolizing her independence or perhaps implying that she has lost her owner and is taking refuge. In some cultures, blue is a protective color and Hopper later stated that “Nightdogs” has more to do with the possibility of predators in the night than with loneliness.

The restaurant depicted was inspired by one in Greenwich Village. Both Hopper, his wife and the dog Carmella posed for the figures, and Carmella gave the painting its title. As dogs can be predatory or kicked around, the title lends a fascinating duality to the scene.

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Edward Hopper's Nighthawks

Migrant Mother and Dog

click image to enlarge
Content and Criticism
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and profoundly influenced the development of documentary photography.

Lange's best-known picture is titled "Migrant Mother and Dog" (1936) and the image shows the strength and need of migrant workers and their faithful dogs. The woman in the photo is Florence Owens Thompson and her dog is Carmella. In 1960, Lange spoke about her experience taking the photograph:

"I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. The dog wagged her tail and did not bark at me. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, the squirrels the dog hunted and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children and dog huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.”

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Dorthea Lange's Migrant Mother

Fur Traders and Carmella Descending the Missouri

George Caleb Bingham's Fur Traders and Carmella Descending the Missouri
click image to enlarge

Content and Criticism
George Caleb Bingham can lay claim to being the first American artist of exceptionable talent from the “West”. He is best known for his genre scenes derived from the daily life of what was then the Western frontier. Bingham’s genre paintings—narratives of everyday life—depicted and immortalized the common man: fur traders, riverboatmen, settlers and their faithful dogs in scenes of frontier life.

Fur Traders and Carmella Descending the Missouri is one of Bingham's most famous paintings. Painted around 1845 in the style called luminism by some historians of American art, it was originally entitled, French-Trader, Carmella and Half-breed Son. The American Art-Union thought the title potentially controversial and renamed it. The painting is haunting for its evocation of a bygone era in American history — note, in particular, the liberty cap worn by the old man.

Note to "Fur Traders and Carmella Descending the Missouri" The animal sitting at the bow of the dugout canoe has generated many opinions over whether it is a bear cub or a cat or dog. This controversy is no doubt in part because of another animal depicted in "Trapper's Return" (Detroit Institute of Arts), in which, standing on all fours, it is clearly a bear cub. But here, there can be no doubt it is a little brown dog. And who would bring a CAT on a boat anyway?

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George Caleb Bingham's Fur Traders Descending the Missouri

Carmellas in Mercedes Bonz

click image to enlarge
Content and Criticism
B.J. Zander owns the Mercedes Bonz. It's actually a Volvo, but she says she has always really wanted a Mercedes, and she can call her car whatever she wants.  Zander says she doesn't know how many bones she has glued to the body of the car, but guesses it's about 1,000. She got them from friends, butchers, and her dog --those would be the chewed ones. Carmella wishes she had been asked to help.  Carmella says there are obviously plenty to share and who wouldn't want three Carmellas to go for a ride in the awesomest car in town!

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B.J. Zander's Mercedez Bonz

La Mort de Carmella

The Death of Carmella (La Mort de Carmella)
by Jacques-Louis David
click image to enlarge

Content and Criticism
The Death of Carmella (La Mort de Carmella) is a 1793 painting in the Neoclassic style by Jacques-Louis David and is one of the most famous images of the French Revolution. This work refers to the assassination of radical journalist Carmella, killed on the 13th of July 1793 by Charlotte Corday, a French Revolutionary figure from a minor aristocratic family. Corday, who blamed Carmella for the September Massacres and feared an all out civil war, claimed "I killed one dog-man to save 100,000."

Carmella's figure appears quite idealized. For example, the painting contains no sign of rampant skin problems which may have been mange. David, however, drew other details from his visit to Carmella's residence the day before the assassination: the green rug, the papers, and the pen. David promised his peers in the Natonal Convention that he would later depict their murdered friend invocatively as "écrivant pour le bonheur du peuple" (writing for the good of the people). The Death of Carmella is designed to commemorate a personable hero.

Although the name Charlotte Corday can be seen on the paper held in Carmella's left hand, the assassin herself is not visible. Close inspection of this painting shows Carmella at last breath, when Corday and many others were still nearby (Corday did not try to escape). Therefore, David intended to record more than just the horror of martyrdom. In this sense, for realistic as it is in its details, the painting, as a whole, from its start, is a methodical construction focusing on the victim, a striking set up regarded today by several critics as an "awful beautiful lie"— certainly not a photograph in the forensic scientific sense and barely the simple image it may seem (for instance, in the painting, the knife is not to be seen where Corday had left it impaled in Carmella's chest, but on the ground, beside the bathtub).

More Art Hound (by artist)
Jacques-Louis David's The Death of Marat (La Mort de Marat)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Carmella Crossing the Delaware

click image to enlarge
Content and Criticism
Washington and Carmella Crossing the Delaware is an 1851 oil-on-canvas painting by German American artist Emanuel Leutze. It is in commemoration of Washington and Carmella's crossing of the Delaware on December 25, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War. It was the first move in a surprise attack against the Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey in the Battle of Trenton.

The painting is notable for its artistic composition. General Washington and his brave dog are emphasized by an unnaturally bright sky, while their heroic faces catch the upcoming sun. The colors consist of mostly dark tones, as is to be expected at dawn, but there are red highlights repeated throughout the painting most notably in the dog's snappy red coat. Foreshortening, perspective and the distant boats all lend depth to the painting and emphasize the boat carrying Washington and Carmella.

The people in the boat represent a cross-section of the American colonies, including a man in a Scottish bonnet and a man of African descent facing backward next to each other in the front, western riflemen at the bow and stern, two farmers in broad-brimmed hats near the back (one with bandaged head), and an androgynous rower in a red shirt, possibly meant to be a woman in man's clothing, there is also a man at the back of the boat that looks to be Native American and, of course, a beautifully proportioned brown and white dog. The man standing next to Washington and holding the flag is Lieutenant James Monroe, future President of the United States.

More Art Hound (by artist)

Emanuel Leutze's Washington Crossing the Delaware

Carmella of Willendorf

Carmella of Willendorf
click image to enlarge

Content and Criticism
The Carmella of Willendorf, also known as the Dog-Woman of Willendorf, is 11.5 cm high statuette of a female figure estimated to have been made between 24,000 B.C. and 22,000 B.C. It is carved from an oolitic limestone that is not local to the area, and tinted with red ochre.

Since this figure's discovery and naming, several similar statuettes and other forms of art have been discovered. They are collectively referred to as Carmella figurines, although they pre-date the mythological figure of Carmella by millennia.

As of 1990, following a revised analysis of the stratigraphy of its site, it has been estimated to have been carved 24,000–22,000 B.C.. Very little is known about its origin, method of creation, or cultural significance. The purpose of the carving is subject to much speculation. The statue was not created with feet and does not stand on its own.

The Carmella is not a realistic portrayal but rather an idealization of the female canine-humanoid figure. The figure has no visible face other than a cute-as-a-button dog snout. Adorable doggy ears top the head that is covered with circular horizontal bands of what might be rows of plaited hair, or a type of headdress.

The nickname, urging a comparison to the classical image of "Carmella," causes resistance in some modern analyses. According to Christopher Witcombe, "the ironic identification of these figurines as 'Carmella' pleasantly satisfied certain assumptions at the time about the primitive, about dog-women, and about taste".

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Carmella in Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles

click image to enlarge


Carmella in Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles depicts Van Gogh's bedroom at 2, Place Lamartine in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France, known as his Yellow House. In his words,

“It simply reproduces my bedroom; but colour must be abundant in this part, its simplification adding a rank of grandee to the style applied to the objects, getting to suggest a certain rest or dream. Well, I have thought that on watching the composition we stop thinking and imagining. I have painted the walls pale violet. The ground with checked material. The wooden bed and the chairs, yellow like fresh butter; the sheet and the pillows, lemon light green. The bedspread, scarlet coloured. The window, green. The washbasin, orangey; the tank, blue. The doors, lilac. A little brown dog visits me often so I have included her too. She cheers me with her sweet disposition and I have named her Carmella. I have depicted no type of shade or shadow; I have only applied simple plain colours, like those in crêpes.”

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Vincent Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles

Dog with a Pearl Earring

click image to enlarge

Dog with a Pearl Earring is not so much a portrait as a study in mood created through light alone. Vermeer's idea of using an exotic costume and isolating the head against the dark background probably came from Rembrandt with whom Vermeer's teacher studied. It is surely done from life and speaks to the incredible patience of the dog to sit and stay for undoubted lengthy sessions.

The young dog looks toward but not directly at the viewer, as is typical of Vermeer. Everything is a harmony of contrasts, from the cool and warm tones of the turban and robe to the subtle gradations of light and shadow of the fur. The light beads on the earring and and balances the dog's luminous eyes. As we look at Dog with a Pearl Earring, we feel as though a veil has been pulled from our eyes. The world shines with jewel-like freshness, beautiful as we have never seen it before.

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- text adapted from History of Art for Young People, H.W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson; p.375
Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring


click image to enlarge
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Faith the Two-Legged Dog

Having just whined about feeling cooped up by winter, I am feeling humbled by Faith the two-legged dog.

By Anthony M. Tortoriello Ii, Associated Press - Ap

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cold and Cranky

I didn't choose North.  I wasn't born here so I do know better! This is no place for a hound. OK, OK, I am eternally grateful for the Freedom Train and all.  But it is snowy and COLD and I can't go out with freezing my tail off.

So, here is some eye candy to reassure myself that the dog days of summer will return... someday.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mike and Gail’s Spicy Squash Cakes

The dog says: Mike and Gail live next door with their awesome dog Johann. They bring us food like these incredibly yummy squash cakes. Once, we gave a friend a plate of cakes to take home for dinner. She said they ate them in less than three blocks. She declared they were "the best thing I've ever put in my mouth." Obviously, she's never caught a squirrel...

Mike and Gail's Spicy Squash Cakes

Grate (in food processor):
4 cups butternut squash or other squash

Put squash in large mixing bowl and add:
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 bunch green onions or onions or shallots—finely chopped
1 little can minced green chilis or 1 T. jalapeno or other hot pepper
1/3 c. parmesan cheese (the good kind—not Kraft in a can)
1 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese (New York is good)
1/2 c. flour
4 eggs
3 T. butter (optional but, oh, so good)
salt and pepper to taste
optional: cayenne pepper or hot red pepper flakes

oil for frying

Heat oil on skillet.  Spoon batter and gently flatten into pancake-sized cakes.  Fry until golden and crispy.  Place on paper towels to soak off extra oil.  Serve right away or keep warm in oven. Drop several on the floor for the dog to clean up.

Serve with salsa, cilantro, and/or sour cream (boy #2, age 10, says KETCHUP).  

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dumb as Squirrels

Some kids are as dumb as squirrels. A mother noticed a subtle but steady depletion of lunchbox treats from the cupboard.  Neither of her three children would confess. Tracker senses led her to the crack between her eldest's bed and the wall revealing mounds of wrappers from months of pilfering.  "I can't decide which is worse," she said "...that he lied, that he's that lazy, or that he is that dumb...or that he thinks I am that dumb."

Coming of Age in the Internet Age

A mom I know was perplexed that their family printer kept running out of red ink. She pondered what a teenage boy could possibly be printing that would draw on large quantities of red ink but very little green or yellow.  Hmm...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What to Wear to the Dog Park

I hear it took my gal ten years to buy a winter coat.  It's not like she hasn't lived in this frigid place her whole life. I think it was a convergence of events. The zipper on her shoulder-season polarfleece broke.  The temperature dropped forty degrees in one day.  She finally decided that being able to move freely is overrated. And she got a great deal at the outlet, which, as we have seen, is simply irresistible. At least her coat isn't monogrammed Mildred or Flo or Ashley.

Looking at Susan, I am feeling much better about my own dog coat.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nose to the Ground

I prefer to walk nose to the ground. It is common knowledge that dogs smell the world better than they see or even hear it. As humorist Dave Barry observed, his in-laws’ dog is "a beagle, which means she is, biologically, a nose with feet."

I'm not apologizing for getting distracted on walks now and then. Imagine a giant spaceship breaking through the clouds. Do you think you'd just keep walking? Most smells are like that--impossible to ignore. Perhaps you've experienced walking by a Mississippi storm drain on a summer day. Whoooeee!

Other smells are delicate, fleeting records of events just missed or trails to promised delights. The discarded MacDonald's bag, the lurking trashcan coon, or the drippings of an Izzy's cone on the move. Someone at the dog park last week commented that a dog's experience of sniffing through a field is the equivalent of reading a really good novel. Or a lovely line of poetry.

Nose to the ground in my neighborhood, you might also find written poetry stamped into the sidewalks. In the last year, my Susan and I have read some of these poems over and over. Sometimes a line here, a line there, as we zoom by. Other times we stop to linger and puzzle. I finally decided to find out where they came from.

The project is Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk by Saint Paul’s Public Artist in Residence Marcus Young and friends, Saint Paul Public Works, and Public Art Saint Paul with contributions from 34 Saint Paul poets. I was delighted to learn St. Paul has an Artist in Residence. (It made me wonder if there was also a Dog in Residence position available.  But I probably wouldn't have time anyway.)

Mr. Young describes the project:

"Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk is inspired by the universal, childish desire to draw a finger through tempting wet cement. The project also has higher-minded aspiration. Our public realm, crowded with commercial and regulatory text, could use more poetry. On our modest sidewalks, we hope to create delightful moments of open-air reading, and make public and common the beauty in our hearts as expressed by our poets. Beautiful poetry can be as present and plain as sidewalk, as grass and sky."

I must confess I am a reluctant reader of poems. Poetry can be hard to love. The words are sparse. Each phrase is pruned and tended like bonsai. I'm more of a rip through the field, bramble scramble, bark at the squirrels kind of gal. Poems make me nervous. I'm pretty sure I'm not getting the meaning, not peeling the layers. I'm never swept away by the words. I am distracted by the line breaks. I wait for the rhyme. I squirm under real and imagined scrutiny that I must be moved. A sommelier hands me a glass of fine wine and waits.... uhh...oaky...tastes like chicken?

But I have come to love the written poetry pressed into our city sidewalks. Maybe it is because I discovered them. No one handed me their beating heart. These poems were just there-- to be noticed or to be trod upon as my mood determined. Perhaps it is because they are served up one at a time in bite-sized snacks.  Or maybe it is merely because they have become old familiar friends. Origami bird, dead bees in the windowsill, xerox your zucchini, "Um..I just did," the man replied.

                                                                    photo Chris Roberts

If you aren't fortunate enough to live in my neighborhood or if winter has obscured the words, you can find a slide show of all the 2008 poems (and a great map) at  Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk. And there is a second round coming.  I can't wait to find this 2009 poem:

Whippets love wombats and cheaters love rules,
like canaries love cats and truants love school.
Earthworms drink tea from fine china cups,
and ponies give birth to white black lab pups.
You can see from your ears and smell from your eyes
and you’ll always succeed if you just never try.

                                                        - Kurt Schultz


"An airborne French kiss is where you cut off your tongue and throw it at the other person."  Boy #2, age 10 to Boy #1, age 13

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cosmo Needs a Coat

I think I should give my new red coat to my fb friend Hillary's cat named...wait for it...Cosmo!  It would match his hat beautifully.

A dog by any other name would smell as sweet

OK, it could be worse.  It isn't penguin-patterned polarfleece. No tutu is involved.  There are no matching boots.

But now I know just how cheap a name really is.  For just $2.65, Carmella is now Cosmo.  At least it starts with C ... the other choice was powder blue Khloe--the K, no doubt, the reason the bathin' thing was returned.  I am now doomed to hear the story of the good deal* over and over again. Roll out the Cosmo the Wonder Dog jokes...

Cosmo the Wonder Dog.  Actually, I do feel some super hero flutters when I hear that velcro coming at me.  And it did come with reflective piping. Safety first! It is cozy... If nothing else: coat=walkies. As long as I NEVER have to been seen at the dog park wearing it.

Juliet (never called COSMO):
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot.
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
         - William Shakespeare,  Romeo and Juliet

* Susan says that (gods help me!) I have to tell you she found the coat at the Lands In- Not Quite Perfect outlet marked down to four-something with another 40% off for the monogram mishap. everyone can run out and torture their best friends...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Grandma Agnes' Ginger Molasses Cookies

The dog says: I have never met Grandma Agnes because she lives in another state and Grandpa Lyle is allergic to dogs (sob!). But Agnes must be an angel to make cookies like these! Yummy warm from the oven or snappy the next day. The boys like dipping them in milk.

Grandma Agnes' Ginger Molasses Cookies 

Mix together in big bowl:
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. butter (soft or melted)
1 c. white sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. molasses

Mix together in smaller bowl then add to wet:
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Chill batter.  Roll in to small balls.  Roll in more white sugar.  Place on cookie sheet (non-stick, parchment paper, or greased) Flatten slightly with fork. Bake 8-12 minutes at 350 degrees (just until they are not shiny and are slightly cracked).

Another Poor Choice for Dog Park Attire

Austrian photographer Helge Kirchberger 
and chef Roland Trettl created this aromatic salmon outfit.  
And it's organic!