It’s raining, play ball

A sidewalk is covered with white and pink flower petals.
Carpet of flower petals
The rains have come for the weekend, knocking all of the nice flowers off the trees. There is a carpet of flower petals on the walkway outside our building. Walking over them makes me feel like royalty.

While it was raining here, it was sunny in Anaheim, and since FOX was broadcasting it, I got to watch my first Yankees game of the season. It was a nice, crisp win for the Yankees over the Angels featuring excellent pitching, fielding, and hitting. It was the kind of game you watch and wonder how they ever lose.

Joyfully I discovered that Tim McCarver (“Is he that old guy you hate?” Lore asked) was absent from the broadcast booth. I don’t know where he was&#151perhaps quietly reflecting on a career of horribleness&#151but I hope he stays there.

City of lit

As an “International City of Literature” I guess Iowa City feels like it has to mobilize its army of citizen-writers. Some fun things go with that, like the city’s annual Poetry in Public contest. The winners have their poems displayed on posters in public buildings and on city buses.

Another literary outlet which does much less for my morale is the newspaper, the Press-Citizen. It has a corps of local minor-league columnists who write for the opinion page. To qualify for this group, you need only to be functionally literate and have a point of view about anything. It’s like a sincere version of The Onion.

For example, yesterday’s contribution was a vapid piece about the horrors of inflation which read like a seventh-grader’s report on the topic. It was the sort of amateurish, self-serving drivel better suited to a personal blog, but it’s pretty much a daily occurrence in the Press-Citizen.

I don’t think cities have as much to do with literary output as UNESCO thinks they do and I’m not sure what makes Iowa City (or any city) more literary than, say, New York or Oxford, Mississippi. What does not make a city literary is enlisting some random hometown character to fill up space on the op-ed page.

The Muppet Show

The Iowa City Public Library has everything, including a complete collection of “The Muppet Show” on DVDs. We borrowed one. I haven’t seen “The Muppet Show” in years and had forgotten:

  1. How a kid could think the Muppets were real.
  2. What an innovative and gutsy show it was.
  3. How Kermit goes into a full body spasm when introducing “Mister Fozzie Bear!

Art

My cousin Jeanie recently posted about her trip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Titled “Artsy-Fartsy” she described her puzzlement at abstract art.

We visited the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art last weekend, where there is a heavy dose of conceptual art on display. I share Jeanie’s puzzlement, but have concluded that I don’t need to feel intimidated into liking or understanding it. My interpretations of a piece are as valid as the artist’s intentions. In fact I find it liberating to not worry about what the artist was trying to do or say. If I can relate to it, that’s great; if I think it’s a childish piece of pretentious garbage, then that’s okay too. The same could go for films, music even—heaven forbid—blog posts.

As for art more tangible, I have some more drawings from the figure study group I occasionally attend with Lore. Today I picked up a piece of charcoal with the intention of drawing with it for the first time in almost twenty years.

Graphite drawing of a supine nude woman.
Drawing the blanket was even more challenging.
Graphite drawing of a reclining nude woman.
She really did have nice, broad shoulders, but I drew her head too small.
Charcoal drawing of a seated nude man.
My first attempt at a charcoal drawing in about twenty years.

Snack bus theme

Instead of writing I’ve been updating the site’s appearance. The solemn “Capuchinos” theme is no more.

Screen capture of website based on soft colors of stone cathedral columns.
The Capuchinos themes was based on a church I like in Argentina.

The new theme, “Snack Bus” is based on my photo from Maui. I like it because it is cheerful and has lots of colors to play with. I still have a punch-list of corrections to make but most of basic changes are out of the way.

One of the bigger functional changes I want to make is uncluttering the sidebar by making the menus collapsible. This will allow me to add more menu choices without forcing the reader to scroll all the way down. I also hope to incorporate the content from my remaining static pages (“About” and “Contact”) into the sidebar somehow, and eliminate the site map.

I’ve also given up on a photo gallery page for now. WordPress just isn’t cut out for it. Follow the “Photos” tag to find posts with photographs.