Book Report: Sudan Slaughter The Executioner #128 (1989)

Book coverWell, this book reverts to the mean of Bolan book quality after War Born.

In it, Bolan is told to go to Sudan to rescue some journalists being held by a Libyan puppet government only recently installed via coup. Bolan accompanies a retired general who is going to be an unofficial liason with pro-American rebels seeking to depose the current government. When presented with evidence of a Libyan-sponsored chemical weapons program, Bolan decides to destroy the program and coordinates the rebels’ attack on the existing government in the process.

I mean, it’s got some twisty plot stuff, but it’s handled less than adeptly. The retired general character is just an appendage, a savior in a couple of situations and a wounded person Bolan has to take care of in others. Bolan and the general are inserted by air drop, but the amount of equipment that Bolan comes out with (two different crossbows? Really?) makes one wonder if he has a Bag of Holding. I can’t help wonder if the book was influenced by Ikari Warriors as Bolan hops into a number of piece of Soviet equipment, including an armored human resources carrier and a tank, and operates them immediately.

The book did not encourage me to immediately read another in the series, but it wasn’t bad enough to make me swear them off forever (which is a good thing, as I still have 32 ever-thickening titles in the Executioner series alone remaining on my bookshelves).

Parenting Is All About Making The Obvious Explicit

For some reason, my ten-year-old son decided to bid on some gold-painted near-filigree Christmas decorations in a silent auction last week.

Which he won. He’s giving one to his grandmother, but he’s got the other in his bedroom.

Of course, I had to state clearly, “Do not sleep with the Christmas decoration.”

Because just about everything ends up in their beds, and they routinely sleep on books, radios, flashlights, decorations, radios, electronic devices, and, well, anything that they can bring or sneak into their room.

Of course, my clear statement of the rule does not mean that they will not sleep with the Christmas decoration at some point or another. But I try.

Also, you are correct in noting that the decoration is covered in glitter. I had almost run out the stray glitter clock on the Christmas cards–although just last week I picked up a speck from the pile of papers on my desk that predates Christmas last year, the sightings were fewer. But the church bundled the Christmas decorations with other auction wins, and one of them is on my desk atop the aforementioned pile of papers, and it is shedding bits of gold glitter that I’ll wear for month to come.

A Difference Of Fifty Years

I was digging through a box of old photos looking for something, and I came across an old black and white photo of my maternal grandmother.

In this photo, she’s got to be in her thirties or forties.

And I couldn’t help contrast it with this photo from last year of my paternal grandmother:

My grandmother is 93 years old, and clearly she’s very vital. When I too infrequently talk to her, she laments that she can only mow her lawn or work in the garden for a couple of hours without needing to take a break.

But she does not look fifty-some years older than my other grandmother in the first photo.

What accounts for this? A dated hairstyle and glasses, a prim smile of the capital-A Adult from the middle of the last century (the smile itself a relative innovation, at least as far as photos are concerned) contrasted with color and a more modern hair style? Good genetics? Healthy living?

I don’t know, but I do know that I’m hoping to channel my Nana more than my Grandma, as the latter died like so many of her line at age 60 after a long battle with cancer.

The Boys Are Learning What It Was Like To Go To School At Carleton (Not Really)

In Springfield, a second shooting in the last three months occurred within blocks of my children’s school: Springfield police shoots, kills armed suspect at apartment building.

The previous one was in December and involved drugs, of course: Springfield man charged in connection with shooting at Essex Place apartments

We were headed to school for a Christmas program when we encountered the police cordoning off the neighborhood as they sought the fleeing suspects. It wasn’t clear at the time whether the gunman was the one on the loose (he wasn’t), but we ended up having dinner at a restaurant whose slow service pushed us past the program’s start time. So we missed the program, and it turns out the gunman wasn’t on the loose.

Well, children didn’t get walked home by Bea, the seemingly elderly (which probably meant 40) crossing guard after the estranged father of our friends two doors down shot his wife in the alley behind our apartment building and then shot himself in the bedroom two doors down. And their friends in fourth grade had not already been arrested for possession. So it’s not exactly the same.

But one of the reasons we moved to the Springfield area was for the safety of a smaller city. Headlines like these make it seem like the area is getting more dangerous, but most likely no worse than anywhere else.

And my kids just ride through the neighborhood for the most part.

So it’s not like it at all.

Haunted By A Melody, Briefly

So last evening as I folded some laundry, I was humming a bit of a song that I remembered from my youth. I didn’t know much of it, but I repeated a motif of it over and over again.

I wondered if I could find it on the Internet. I was not sanguine; I was not even sure if the lyrics I remembered were correct, and, besides, I’m used to liking a song and not knowing anything about it for years.

But I typed “is everything alright i just called” into Bing, and it started auto-suggesting the next words, and the song is obviously (to the computers of the Internet) “Hearts” by Marty Balin:

Sometimes, this worldwide computer amazes me.

The song is from 1981, the year my parents’ marriage broke up. In my unreliable memory, we heard this song in heavy rotation on the way to and while at my grandfather’s cabin in the upper peninsula of Michigan not far from the Wisconsin state line. I relate a couple of different songs to that venue because the cabin had an old cathedral radio in it, and on rainy days we didn’t have much to do but listen to it and the hiss of rain outside. If I remember correctly, this must have been in the summer before the bottom dropped out.

The song sort of fits my mood. As some of you know, I just celebrated a birthday, and, if I make it to next January, I will have lived longer than my father did. So I’m ruminating and marinating in a blend of nostalgia and melancholia. The song and melody fit right in.

John Keats Defends Hoarding

The first lines of Endymion:

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Clearly, I feel the same way about things, which explains, partially, the neglected Personal Relics category here.

Also, initial impressions of Endymion: It’s “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” but stretched into three or four Netflix seasons.

Good Album Hunting, February 18, 2019: Relics Antique Mall

Because President’s Day was a holiday for only some of us, I took the boys out for the day so my beautiful wife could work in peace. We went bowling and to the (relatively) new Wonders of Wildlife museum and aquarium where I basically paid $50 to see a museum of things I try not to hit with my car.

To cap the day, we stopped at Relics Antique Mall to extend her worktime by another forty minutes or so.

I found the end cap where I’d spotted an unpriced Phoebe Snow album last year no longer had any albums, so I just picked through a couple bins on the middle row.

I spent less than $20 and got:

  • City Kids by Spyro Gyra. Now that I know they’re Buckwheat Zydeco, I’m picking their stuff up here and there.
  • Hero by Clarence Clemons, the E Street Band saxophonist. Apparently, the first song, “You’re a Friend of Mine” with Jackson Browne, was a hit, but I don’t remember it.
  • Quincy Jones Plays Hip Hits
  • Swing Along With Jonah Jones; he’s a jazz trumpeter who sounds like he might be trying to imitate Louis Armstrong a bit too strongly to stand out on his own. Still, it’s cool jazz. I saw another of his albums that I did not pick up this time, but I’ll look for it next time.
  • She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer. So now that we’re almost to forty years past disco and thirty some years past the Eighties Sound, apparently I think they’re old enough to buy on vinyl.
  • Hall of Fame featuring The McGuire Sisters and the De John Sisters.

It’s enough to keep my burgeoning record collection accumulation from seeming stale. For a couple of weeks.

Book Report: The Raven Steals the Light by Bill Reid and Robert Bring hurst (1996)

Book coverI read this book in a single day in a little over an hour of sustained reading time. It is 150 pages of roughly 5″ by 5″ paper containing 9 Native American myths/tales, many of which feature Raven, the trickster god (?).

The stories are whimsical, and the flavor of the Native American/American Indian myths differs from those of the classical Greek myths. They’re more Hiawatha and Brothers Grimm, at least in the fantastic elements but not as bloody.

You could probably read these to your kids without fear of harming their sensibilities, and Disney could probably make them into films without too many changes. So they’ve got that going for them.

Every Generation Gets The Bruce Campbell Hero It Needs

To men (mostly) of a certain age, Ash from Evil Dead from the 1980s:

For slightly younger persons, there’s Brisco County, Jr., from 1993:

A younger generation gets Bubba Ho-Tep from 2002:

Today’s kids might get Sam Axe from Burn Notice:

My kids, of course, are getting things out of order as we watch The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. on DVD. My beautiful wife knows him from Burn Notice. I know him as Ash even though I’ve only seen The Evil Dead and relatively recently.

But I’m pretty sure most universities would be better with a Bruce Campbell Studies Department.

“I bought myself the cutest little swim dress today,” I said

on Facebook regarding my recent purchase of a triathlon suit.

I will compete in my third Y Not Tri indoor triathlon in April, and it will be my sixth overall triathlon. Up until now, I’ve done the triathlons in swim trunks which has been a little uncomfortable at times.

But in the class I’m taking at the YMCA ahead of the Y Not Tri is going to feature swimming every night, so the coach encouraged us to wear triathlon suits so we could go right from the swim at the beginning to biking or running drills without losing too much time in between.

So since I had a couple of gift cards to a local bike shop that is clearing out its triathlon gear, I picked up a triathlon suit. An XXL, by the way–although the sizes said I should fit into an XL, I did not, which explains why I already have a triathlon suit I do not fit into in my drawer. Well, that, and the fact that I twice ordered sizes too small through another local bike shop and only returned it once. Come to think of it, I only got that one because my beautiful wife had gotten me a gift card before my first triathlon so I could pick up a suit.

At any rate, as I completed the transaction, I quipped that the next big step would be to wear the thing in public.

“Everyone has one,” he said, and he was right: When I go to triathlons, I have been one of the few not in sleek bits of moisture wicking fabric, much less sharkskin apparatus.

But it’s still weird to me on two levels.

First, it’s odd to put on a different uniform of some sort. I remember when I started my first job as a grocery store bagger whose uniform included a blue vest (and a dress shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes–it was quite a different era). That was odd. And I remember when I became a produce clerk and wore an apron. That felt weird. Looking down, it looked like a dress, and it kind of bound up the long strides I normally take.

When I stepped out onto a martial arts mat for the first time in a gi, I was really self conscious as well–even though everyone else was wearing a gi, I was not used to seeing myself in one. It passed, of course, and now I’m about the only one on the mat in a full gi as the school has started allowing people to shed the jacket and train in one of the school’s t-shirts. Come to think of it, I was the last bagger to wear the blue vest, too, when the store lightened up and let the utility clerks get by with just a shirt and tie.

Second, I guess it means I’m serious about it, and I have to stop thinking of myself as a lucky amateur, a walk-on that’s doing better than the extras in the film of my life should expect. My first try at martial arts, I didn’t buy a gi–I was a poor English major working at a little above minimum wage and could only sort-of afford bujitsu classes without the official uniform. It only lasted a couple of months, and I wore the black sweat pants I bought for nights at the Missouri Bujinikan Dojo to bed for decades after. But the gi and the triathlon suit represent an investment, emotional as well as financial, in hobbies that I’ve avoided for most of my adult life.

But I’m pretty sure that it’s because I think I look silly in them until I’ve worn them a couple of times in public.

Was I self-conscious about my hat back in 1994? Perhaps.

And in conclusion, I have no conclusion. Thank you, and try the veal.

The Source Of That Thing Daddy Always Says (VII)

When my boys boast or plan hyperbolic things, which they often do, being boys and all, I’ve often acknowledged their projected prowess or accomplishments, often set to arrive in the future, by saying they’ll be a big man on Mulberry Street.

Which, like so many things I say, comes from the Billy Joel:

You know, I didn’t like or listen to The Bridge that much, but this song stuck with me.

And probably influences the way I live more than I would like to admit.

At any rate, WSIE, ostensibly a jazz station, played this song yesterday, which made me think of it.

Book Report: Modern Electronics by Wayne J. LeBlanc and Alden R. Carter (1986)

Book coverPerhaps the theme of this year’s reading will be “Clearing out thin books from the shelves and side tables.” This particular volume is an old “juvenile” book about electronics as you can see from the cover. I say “juvenile” in quotes because books don’t really get classed as “juvenile” any more, do they? It’s “young adult” now. I suspect it’s more to avoid the criminal association that developed from “juvenile” or to make juveniles feel better about themselves (young adults, so let us vote!) than because people using the word in conversation were getting juvenile confused with Juvenal.

But enough about me. About this book.

It’s a bit of an anachronism by now, surely, with its references to Radio Shack or your local electronics store (or to juveniles who might be interested in engineering) and a bit of optimistic wonder about what the future could bring since about forty years of integrated circuits brought us small radios, personal computers, and more (the answer, almost forty years on, is Web sites that exacerbate tensions between political factions and devices that listen in on you to help you with simple things and to better determine your psychology for tech companies’ benefit).

It might also tip a little bit to why the study of electronics might have fallen off a cliff. The basic progression of the book is:

  1. Basic chemistry: Electrons and atoms.
  2. Power source/circuits.
  3. AC/DC.
  4. Basic electronic parts: resistors, capacitors, diodes. Complete with diagrams and experiments.
  5. Chips and circuit boards with no real diagrams.
  6. Magic.

It doesn’t talk much about chip architecture or how electronic devices (even in those days) have a lot of chips that you can’t really do anything with. Well, I guess you can with chip programming things, but tinkering has gotten so much more complicated these days.

Still, I got something out of the book. A reminder about different electronic components, including an explanation of diodes and capacitors that made sense to me. So there’s something to be said about reading children’s books in fields you’re not studied in.

I have many fields in which I wish I had time to dedicate more study (one of the other being music), but, getting and spending, I’ve laid waste my powers. Books like this make me wonder why I didn’t spend more of my youth studying these pursuits since they really are rather simple at the foundational level. I suppose it’s half because my recognition of how much I had to learn in these fields overwhelmed me and made them seem more inscrutible than they are and half because I’m lazy and like to read books.

Book Report: Monuments: Masterpieces of Architecture by Laura Brooks (1997)

Book coverThis book is a little different from some of the coffee table tourism books I’ve read before that focus on a state or city. Instead this book focuses on monuments around the world, from the pyramids in Egypt to the memorials in Washington D.C. The images within it are big and color, generally just one of the mentioned monuments. The text, though, is kinda of bland and vanilla, kinda just talking very generally about monuments and not offering a whole lot of insight into the individual monuments or their construction.

I flagged some items, though.

The Monument to the Third International is another ambitious symbol of national idealism, but, unlike the Statue of Liberty, it was, unfortunately, never realized. The Soviet architect Vladmir Evgrafovic Tatlin (1885-1953) planned the monument in between 1919 and 1920 to house th legislative offices of th new revolutionary government in Leningrad. Tatlin conceived of a gigantic spiral of wood, iron, and glass that would reach the almost inconceivable height of 1,300 feet (396 meters). It was to span the Neva River, and encompass three glass-walled buildings that would revolve at different speeds–one would take a day to complete a turn, one a month, and one a year–while ligh beams projected skyward from the roof. The Monument to the Third International presented a vision of the technological utopia and reshaping of society that Communism promised. Its unprecendented form suggested a break from history and a ne architectural and social order. Had it been achieved, it would have combined the elements of time, movement, energy, and scale in a way never before realized in one monument.

For some reason, the book spends as much time on this incomplete but promised to be glorious Soviet Statue of Totalitarianism as the Statue of Liberty. And since this is a 1997 book, the Statue of Liberty, shot from the harbor, has the World Trade Center towers in the background.

In addition to memorials to soldiers, memorials to war victims are found throughout the world.

The book lists two such memorials: Peace Park in Hiroshima and the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. So saying “throughout the world” is quite a bit of a stretch here. I don’t expect you’d find many such monuments in Saudi Arabia or Iran, but I could be mistaken.

We think of monuments as enduring, everlasting, and permanent–as indeed they are meant to be. But many of the world’s greatest monuments are in peril. During the last fifty years, pollution has devastated the world’s monuments.

You know what has devastated monuments since the book was published? Groups destroying the monuments of the disfavored, whether it’s the Taliban destroying ancient Buddhist statues or American leftists pulling down statues of historical figures who were not 21st century Woke.

So it was a relatively quick browse, a couple nights/hours. I have a large number of coffee table or set picture books like this. Perhaps I’ll focus on them a little more this year to clear some of them out and to bolster my annual numbers.

When You’re Tired Of Backspacing

Sometimes, I have to type a word, backspace over some possible misspelling, and then type it two different ways a couple of times until I’m sure it’s right, which is often after I look it up.

Like devestated devastated.

Well, I’m not going to play that particular game any more.

From now on, it’s devostated in my writing.

I’m pretty sure those of us of a certain age will get the point even without embedding a music video every time it appears.

On Sailing The Wine Dark Sea by Thomas Cahill (2003)

Book coverTechnically, this is not a book report, as I listened to the abridged form of this book on tape. No, really, on tape. I procured it sometime in the misty past and saved it for such a time as I would sit down around an old cassette deck to listen to these things. Fortunately, though, instead of waiting for that time, I bought a user vehicle with a cassette deck in it, and I got to listen to this audiobook, which I had filed with our Teaching Company Great Courses.

Which is not; whereas those are taught by professors with some experience in making material interesting, this is a book read. So the language is more book language than spoken language, and it sounds like it. Olympia Dukakis reads it pretty flat.

So: Why do the Greeks matter? I guess the book makes the case that Ancient Greece is the font of all Western thought, especially when blended with the Judeo-Christian tradition coming out of Israel in the early A.D.

The book recounts tales from Greek mythology and turns its attention in turn from story-tellers, poets, philosophers, and statesmen with a little bit about the military history, but it’s not the focus. It’s a high level summary, with plenty of time spent on pederasty and glowing reviews of the statues of young men. This, combined with the infrequent use of casual vulgarity for no other reason than signal the author’s authenticity and twenty-first century sensibilities, led me to stop listening to the course when my children were in the car.

Oh, and it does get a little left towards the end with a bit of misdichotomization between the Classical Greek and the Christian worldviews, and I didn’t have to see the date of the book’s publication to know what strutting, smirking simpleton contrasted unfavorably with Pericles and Kennedy. To be fair, Kennedy doesn’t measure up to Pericles as a stateman for the ages, either. Also, I’m not sure how you say the classical Greeks were more into “social justice” than the Christians, but I’m well-educated enough to perhaps write a counter-argument were I needing to publish or perish or convinced that anyone at all would read, much less be convinced, by my effort.

So at best, you can revisit some things you should probably already know about Greek history (although perhaps the book’s target audience, possibly those educated in the latter half of the twentieth century, wouldn’t).

It’s a pretty good indicator, again, of why I should really travel a little further afield of classical history when I’m picking out things to listen to in the truck. I remember more when I start out knowing less, and that seems a better use of my time.

Book Report: Mount Vernon: An Illustrated Handbook by The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union (1974)

Book coverThis book is one of those books sold at a historic site to tell you about said historic site, but it’s pretty detailed–flat spine and 114 pages which includes numerous photographs and drawings, of course, but enough text that make this more than a football game browser.

It’s also more like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello than Death Valley Scotty or House on the Rock in that it details a place of historical significance, not just a tourist attraction or curiousity turned into a tourist attraction.

The book also includes the story of how Mount Vernon came to be preserved–in the middle of the eighteenth century, the last owner from Washington’s line wanted to give it to the Federal government or the state of Virginia, but neither took the offer (remember limited government? Ah, what an old notion!). So a group of women formed a society, raised money, and took it on (remember voluntary association for the common good? Ah, what an old notion!).

How’s that working out? All right.

We are proud that Mount Vernon does not accept government funding. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and rely solely upon patriotic individuals, foundations, and corporations to help preserve George Washington’s home and to educate visitors from all over the world.

What an anachronism.

At any rate, the book reminds me how little I really know about the revolutionary war and the late eighteenth century in general. However, the book goes through the building room by room with color photographs, and I realize that the whole thing reminds me of a stage set: You see all the props, but the action and narrative are often missing. I kind of get that, too, when I visit places like the Ray House at the Wilsons Creek National Battlefield or the Hawken House, the center of the Webster Groves Historical Society (of which I am still a member, ten years on). Showing me the things only fills in the gaps when I already know the story. I guess interactive programs and re-enactments have their merit.

So the book not only makes me want to visit Mount Vernon, but I also want to read a biography of George Washington. I think I have one around here somewhere. Only time will tell if my urge to read such a volume intersects with my finding such a book on my bookshelves before my urge to read it ebbs.

So I’m getting pretty close to having completed the books that languished on my sofa side table for years, although I have found on my to-read bookshelves books that I know where also on the side table for several football seasons, so I must have cleared it off without reading the books a year or so ago. Ah, well, perhaps I exaggerate for effect when I said how long these particular books had been there, but blowing through them is making for a healthy annual book count as I continue to trudge through The Count of Monte Cristo and the complete works of Keats and (P.B.) Shelley, not to mention the complete works of Shakespeare that I started last year and set aside a couple plays later.

Inviting The Pests

When we bought Nogglestead, one of the outlets in the corner of the lower level had a Bell Howard Ultrasonic Pest Repeller plugged into it. It was out of the way, so we just left it there. For a very long time. Seven or eight years.

However, we have professional pest control services for bugs and quadrapeds for mice, lizards, and snakes. So about a year ago, when I was plugging or unplugging something from behind the chairs or perhaps doing one of our decennial vacuumings behind the reading chairs, I unplugged it and set it on the bar behind the coffee pot and electric tea kettle.

So how long has it sat on the bar back there? Months, if not a year or so. It’s behind the coffee pot, so when I’m at the bar making coffee or feeding/watering the cats, it’s not immediately in sight. And the reading chair (as depicted here, but the pots and the pest repeller are tastefully cropped from the mess) is in such a position as I don’t see the counter from it. So it can rest there comfortably there forever.

I doubted that it served its claimed purpose; the only mouse intrusion we’ve had was when one got in from the garage when we stored the cat food underneath the bar sink–right next to the repeller. The mouse didn’t have to cross any cat-patrolled ground for a snack, and I’ve not seen any other evidence of mice in the house since we’ve moved the cat food to a different cabinet. Nor did it keep out the various snakes, frogs, and lizards that the cats used to find (but they haven’t found in a while, which must mean the new cats are lazier than their predecessors, or the reptiles and amphibians are more cagey).

And I have not seen an uptick since I unplugged it.

So I’m finally trashing it. I’m not sure if this falls under depackratification (probably not, since it was not mine to begin with) or deRooneyfication (probably not, since simply discarding something is not a project). More likely it’s but another example of how, like my sainted mother, I don’t like to rush into anything. Or vacuum behind furniture.

But I hope the rodentia of Greene County do not read this and come over now that the ultrasonic pest repellent is gone. I’d hate to think they’re posting it on Rattit and commenting right now.

Book Report: Pop Art by Michael Compton (1970)

Book coverThis book is part of the Movements of Modern Art series, so I expect they’re designed to be textbooks. It was not a good book for browsing during football games, as the text to image ratio is quite high. Chapters cover the origins of pop art, subject matter, formal qualities of pop, English pop artists, American pop artists, European artists, and post-pop art, complete with miniature biographies of major artists along with samples of their work. The book also includes little excerpts from magazines and books about pop art from the time when it was new. Which is not all that long before this book appeared.

So what is pop?

Rubbish is what it is.

The book explains that it’s a response to abstract expressionism, which is Jackson Pollack and all that other, earlier rubbish. The pop artists wanted to paint real things, and they often did, except that, instead of painting things as things, they made paintings as things themselves, whereupon the thing depicted was not the point. I would say, “And suddenly, we’re way off into never-neverland” or some such dismissal, but it wasn’t sudden. Blast, what my beloved Impressionists did to art by removing the straight lines.

Were I bothered, I would try to build pop art into a further example of how artists/”elites” in the 20th century fought for the common man by doing their damnedest to ensure that their books/poems/paintings did not speak to people, but instead spoke self-consciously to themselves and fawning critics looking for the newest fad to become an academic expert in. Which means they’re all chasing fads and making fads instead of making something pleasant to look at that tells a story or scene or causes a viewer to actually have an emotional response other than smug reassurance that he’s better than the hoi polloi.

I did flag one bit from one of those reviews I mentioned. It’s from Art News in 1964 by James Rosenquist:

I’m amazed and excited and fascinated about the way things are thrust at us, the way this invisible screen that’s a couple of feet in front of our mind and senses is attacked by radio and television and visual communications, through things larger than life, the impact of things thrown at us, at such a speed and with such a force that painting and the attitudes toward painting and communication throught dowing a painting now seems very old fashioned….

Just wait about fifty years and see where we are. It’s no surprise, then, that a number of the “artists” in the book flirted with other media, including films and “novels” and, earlier, environments and “Happenings.” Because they were chasing acclaim and fads.

The other thing I flagged was a precursor to tentacle porn called Il Visitatore del Mattino by Dino Buzzati. Which is supposed to be art. I couldn’t find it on the Internet with my first search, but apparently that’s because the artist’s name was misspelled in the book or on the Internet. The image is on Pinterest here along with other items in the vein. It might not be safe for work, especially if you work somewhere where you’d have to try to explain the importance of Buzzati/Buzzatti in later European pop art (and fail).

You know, I prefer painted treasures like these; anything I would like from the 20th or 21st centuries is probably kitsch by Real Artists circa 2019, but the more I see in books like this and in art museums run by Serious Art Apprecianatos, the more I’m fine with that. I’ve got three H. Hargroves on my walls and prefer Bob Ross or Thomas Kinkade to Warhol, Lichtenstein, or the other parade of forgotten pop artists in this book.

So, let me tell you how I really feel.