The Oregon Coast

20 September 2015

PG and Mrs. PG spent their short vacation on the Oregon coast, a beautiful place and a great location for relaxation. During this visit, they were mostly in the Seaside and Cannon Beach area.

PG hasn’t had a chance to get through with all his photos (he took a lot), but here are a few early ones.

Seascape 1


Small Rock


Tidal River



Fluffy kitty picture

18 September 2015

I am not PG, but I think this blog could use a completely uncontroversial post. If you hate cats, well, send me a puppy picture and I’ll post that, too. Her name is Meimei.


Posted by guest blogger Meryl Yourish

Desert Solitaire: An Uncommonly Beautiful Love Letter to Solitude and the Spiritual Rewards of Getting Lost

28 June 2015

From Brain Pickings:

“As the desert offers no tangible riches, as there is nothing to see or hear in the desert,” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in his exquisite memoir of what the Sahara Desert taught him about the meaning of life, “one is compelled to acknowledge, since the inner life, far from falling asleep, is fortified, that man is first animated by invisible solicitations.” No one captures this invisible animation of inner life more bewitchingly than Edward Abbey in Desert Solitaire — a miraculously beautiful book, originally published in 1968.

. . . .

In the late 1950s, Abbey took a job as a seasonal park ranger at Arches National Monument in Utah’s Moab desert. “Why I went there no longer matters; what I found there is the subject of this book,” he writes. Between April and September, between the canyons and the pages of his journal, he found a great many of the things we spend our lives looking for — a Thoreau of the desert, mapping the maze of the interior landscape as he wanders the expanse of the exterior.

. . . .

Abbey writes:

The time passed extremely slowly, as time should pass, with the days lingering and long, spacious and free as the summers of childhood. There was time enough for once to do nothing, or next to nothing, and most of the substance of this book is drawn, sometimes direct and unchanged, from the pages of the journals I kept and filled through the undivided, seamless days of those marvelous summers. The remainder of the book consists of digressions and excursions into ideas and places that border in varied ways upon that central season in the canyonlands…

Abbey’s digressions, to be sure, are oases of meaning — he writes about the ideas that animate his spirit with unsentimental sincerity and deep respect for the aliveness of language itself:

In recording my impressions of the natural scene I have striven above all for accuracy, since I believe that there is a kind of poetry, even a kind of truth, in simple fact… Language makes a mighty loose net with which to go fishing for simple facts, when facts are infinite… Since you cannot get the desert into a book any more than a fisherman can haul up the sea with his nets, I have tried to cecate a world of words in which the desert figures more as medium than as material.

He begins with what is possibly the most charming, disarming disclaimer in all of literature:

I quite agree that much of the book will seem coarse, rude, bad-tempered, violently prejudiced, unconstructive — even frankly antisocial in its point of view. Serious critics, serious librarians, serious associate professors of English will if they read this work dislike it intensely;. at least I hope so. To others I can only say that if the book has virtues they cannot be disentangled from the faults; that there is a way of being wrong which is also sometimes necessarily right.

Link to the rest at Brain Pickings

Here’s a link to Desert Solitaire

And here are a couple of photos that PG took a few years ago at Arches, formerly a National Monument, now a National Park.

End of Park Avenue

The Courthouse
And here’s a photo of the Delicate Arch, photo courtesy of The National Park Service:

Old Town

25 June 2015

PG, Mrs. PG and some of the PG offspring recently took a short vacation to San Diego and its environs.

If you haven’t been there, it’s a lovely place. PG checked the weather forecast prior to leaving and all week, the highs were in the low 70’s and the lows in the low 60’s.

Old Town in San Diego is the location of the first European settlement on the West Coast of the United States, begun in 1769. It includes historic adobe houses, huge Eucalyptus trees and some great outdoor Mexican restaurants.

Following is an iPhone photo of one of the restaurants after anointing by Madame Photoshop.


Restaurant - Pallette Knife

Library of Congress Ebooks Allow for Historical Documents on Tablets

17 June 2015

From Education World:

New efforts from the Library of Congress have made sources such as scrapbooks from women suffrage activists, political cartoons, and photos from throughout American history available in ebooks for tablets via Student Discovery Sets.

The Library of Congress have released three new interactive ebooks and “will bring together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents on a wide range of topics, from history and science to literature. Interactive tools let students zoom in for close examination, draw to highlight interesting details and make notes about what they discover,” according to the press release.

The ebooks are currently available for download free of charge through iBooks and are in addition to nine already published ebooks that focus “on the U.S. Constitution, Symbols of the United States, Immigration, the Dust Bowl, the Harlem Renaissance, Understanding the Cosmos, the Industrial Revolution, Jim Crow and Segregation, and Children’s Lives at the Turn of the 20th Century,” the release said.

. . . .

The books are completely interactive, meaning students are immersed in the content through primary sources that come alive with “maps, songs, posters, pieces of sheet music and iconic images.”

Link to the rest at Education World

As PG was posting this, he was reminded that the Library of Congress provides both access to and copies of many portions of its visual arts collections. You can download a copy of an image at no charge or you can have the Library of Congress make a high-quality print of photographs or a high-quality copy of other items for a very reasonable fee.

While the description of each photo provides warnings about potential copyright issues, the photos, including some terrific Depression-era works, that were created by photographers under contracts from various government agencies, are generally in the public domain. For images that were not created under government contract, it is likely that asking for a copy for your personal use would fall under fair use.

The following iconic Depression photo of the wife of a migrant worker in California was taken by Dorothea Lange for the U.S. Farm Security Administration:


Here’s a link to more information about this and other prints and photographs available at The Library of Congress


My Book Order Arrived Today

8 June 2015


Link to the rest at Pinterest

Why We Love Vacation Novels

13 May 2015

From Flavorwire:

“Something tells me we’re not going to like this place,” declares Rosemary Hoyt’s mother in the first spoken words of Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night. “I want to go home anyway,” Rosemary replies. It’s a moment of exquisite irony, considering Fitzgerald has just spent 500 words describing the perfect isolation of the Hoyts’ French Riviera environs, where “the pink and cream of old fortifications, the purple Alp that bounded Italy, were cast across the water and lay quavering in the ripples and rings sent up by sea plants through the clear shallows.” It’s a traveler’s utopia, with all the romance of an undiscovered paradise and none of the touristic trappings — yet Rosemary, a follower in all things, doesn’t immediately see it that way. But with her unexpected introduction to Dick and Nicole Diver, models of cool elegance and social surety, Rosemary feels the sense of possibility she longed for in her travels open up. With one chance encounter, the promise of the trips unfurls itself. Dick’s voice “promised that he would take care of her, and that little later he would open up whole new worlds for her, unroll an endless succession of magnificent possibilities.”

Possibility is, of course, the raison d’etre of the vacation novel: the narrative is a respite from the tiresome repetition and banality of daily life. It’s a crisp Mediterranean breeze floating through our hunched-over-turkey-sandwich-at-our-desk lunch break, a rustle of forest leaves instead of the shuffle of files. And that could be enough: the power to transport and entertain is a worthy goal for the novel to pursue.

. . . .

E.M. Forster’s A Room With a View immediately establishes what its characters are seeking on their Italian holiday. While Charlotte Bartlett is immediately concerned with the disregarded promise of “south rooms with a view close together,” Lucy Honeychurch cannot move past the very Englishness of their hotel. “And a Cockney, besides!” she exclaims, “It might be London.” The two women talk past one another, both dissatisfied with the Italian hotel, but for very different reasons. Miss Bartlett’s frustration is practical: the two ladies were not given the rooms they were promised, and the quality of their stay will certainly be suppressed by this fact. But Lucy’s irritation stems from a feeling that she has not truly slipped away from the stifled, close collar of English society. Even on this holiday, she fears, her posture must be ramrod and her moral compass must point her north.

Link to the rest at Flavorwire

Since Room With a View is set in Florence, one of PG’s favorite cities, he decided a couple of photos were in order. (Click for Larger Versions)

Duomo View

This photo was taken from Piazzale Michelangelo and features Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly known as the Duomo (Italian for dome).


Heracles beating the Centaur Nessus, sculpted in 1599 by Giambologna (who is better known for The Rape of the Sabine Women) and located in the Loggia dei Lanzi on the Piazza della Signoria. The statue undoubtedly caused Lucy to have thoughts.

St. Dunstan’s Basilica

22 April 2015

PG drifted into a photo mood for a few moments.

Following is St. Dunstan’s Basilica in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. PG fell in love with what the light was doing up high. (Click for a larger version)


St. Dunstan's Basilica - Charlottetown


10 February 2015

Mrs. PG and PG recently spent a long weekend in Southern Utah. While there, they visited Zion National Park.

PG hadn’t seen Zion in thousands of years (an eyeblink in geological time) and had forgotten how astounding and otherworldly it can appear. Photos don’t really capture the enormous scale of the mountains and cliffs nor do they adequately represent the lovely and subtle variations in color and texture that one encounters in this amazing place.

You can click on the horizontal photos to see larger versions.










Two Photos

14 January 2015

Casa PG is experiencing winter. Some time ago, PG spent most of winter in Florida.

A couple of contrasting photos seem in order. One was taken yesterday at Casa PG. The other wasn’t.

Up the hill


Sunset with Blue Variation-Unsharp

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