Midnight Porch

Burst

Red Monarch

Xmas Tree

Record Store Day

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Sights of 2009

Pondering Lake Michigan

Chicago with Speedboat

Big Sur Hills

Big Sur Inclined

Boston is Burning

Cal, Cal, Cow-ly Coast

The Autumn Lights of Lafayette

Santa Cruz Morning

Ponder Rosa

Ground Zero Progressions – NYC

Doin’ the CT-15 Blur

Golden Gate Golden State

Pacific Contemplation

Pacific Crash

The Holland Tunnel Express

Whoop, Whoop

Burning Blur Outside of Boston

Strange Fruit

Flips and Redwood Chips

Nahant Mass

Niece and Nephew

We Are All Made of Stars

Indiana Marsh-ians

Nor Cal Gull

I wish I was…

…Ocean Size

Sunset on My Back Yard

Blossoms and the Sky Blue Sky

Blossoms mixing with leaves outside my house yesterday under the Sky Blue Sky.

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Ode to Beautiful Jugendstil Darmstadt

Or at least what’s left of it. Much of it was unfortunately destroyed by Allied bombing in World War II, the worst of which was on September 11, 1944. But there are still traces of beauty that endure. Since I spent five of the most wonderful years of my life there, I want to share these pictures and brief comments:

marktplatz_darmstadt_um_1900

This is the beautiful Schloß Marktplatz circa 1900 where they hold the yearly Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). This area was spared the bombing and still looks exactly now as it did back then.

luisenplatz

Just across the way from the Marktplatz is the main square of town, the Luisenplatz, where every strata of life mixes from the businesswoman changing trains to loitering beer-swilling punk rockers with green-spiked hair.

rosenhohe-gate

rosenhohe-engel

rosenhohe-dome

rosenhohe-roses

rosenhohe-banken

These last five images are of the Rosenhöhe (Rose Hill) upon whose benches I first fell in love. Smiles to you Angi Zimmer, wherever you are.

mathildenhohe-clouds

This wonderful place is Ground Zero for the Jugendstil movement (German variant of Art Nouveau). It was founded by Hesse-Darmstadt Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig in 1899 as an artist colony where the people of his duchy could contemplate all of the possibilities of life. It thankfully also survived the bombing.

orangerie-sun

orangerie

These two pictures are of the Orangerie, the beautiful Baroque garden I used bike through everyday on my way to work. I used to pick really tart kumquats off of trees lining this path when the mood would strike.

hundertwasser-house1

waldspirale

hundertwasser-clouds

And finally it’s nice to know there will be more than just nostalgia when I go back to visit Darmstadt. This is one of Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s final creations, Waldspirale (Wooded Spiral). I’ve never seen it in the flesh because it was finished in 2000, two years after I moved and a year after Hundertwasser died. And yes, this is a real residential apartment house with real people living in it. Hmmm, might I one day be one of them???

Myron Echoes Love Home

Thinking of the Ohio homeland on this Thanksgiving Eve. Which brings to mind one of Ohio’s finest bands, Guided By Voices. Here’s Echos Myron from the wonderful Bee Thousand Album:

“Echos Myron”

Tower to the skies
An academy of lies
And what goes up
Surely must come down
And we felt the mighty blow-up
With the walls coming down
Or something like that

Most of us are quite pleased
With the same old song
And all of a sudden I’m relatively sane
With everything to lose and nothing to gain
Or something like that

Men of wisdom and men of compromise
Men of weak flesh in an armored disguise
All fall down

“If it’s right you can tell,” echos Myron like a siren
With endurance like a liberty bell
And he tells you of the dreamers
But he’s cracked up like the road
And he’d like to lift us up, but we’re a very heavy load

And we’re finally here and shit yeah it’s cool
And shouldn’t it be? – or something like that

One More Cup of Coffee

The White Stripes making Dylan their own:

Race for the Prize

I wish all of you were with me right here and now. The trees in my backyard are being visited by flocks of birds—hundreds of dark squawking birds, moving in through the dusky sky, landing in my trees, and resting a bit. They’re so quiet until one calls out an “awk-awk-awk” and they rustle themselves up, shaking a buckeye rain loose as they fly away in swooping patterns.

Awestruck wonder! Very similar to one of the most joyous moments of my life: being drowned in confetti as this beautiful song raged on all around me. On three separate occasions.

Instinct, drive, and the “Race for the Prize” by The Flaming Lips:

Time to Go Fishin’

I guess taking one Pierre Silber at bedtime does fly one back to Kansas, or in my case Ohio. Being a water sign (Pisces) from a water town (Port Clinton, OH), it’s sometimes hard living here in landlocked Lafayette. Thank God for the muddy brown Wabash. In case of emergency I can always take it down to the Ohio, which bleeds into the Mississippi, which bleeds into the Gulf, which bleeds into the World.

Fishing is a friendship zen kinda thing for me; it’s all company and calm, filled with bursts of intensity. Or not. Here’s Fishin’ with John, Episode 2. John Lurie with Tom Waits:

And some pics from the old hometown:

This here is Perry’s Monument and International Peace Memorial on South Bass Island in the village of Put-in-Bay, Puddin’ Bay in the local parlance. It was built to commemorate the whoopin’ Oliver Hazard Perry gave to the British during the War of 1812. You know, We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop. On a clear day you can see over to the Canadian waters a few dozen miles away and the Canuck isle known as Pelee.

See the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant at the back? I cut my teeth two miles east of there–about where the sun is going down–from the fifth grade to the final family fight. More later on that dangerous contraption and the somewhat reconciled, somewhat nuclear, family.

If You Don’t Know Tower Grove Park, You Don’t Know St. Louis

This was the core of my world for nearly a decade. Beautiful St. Louis. One of the most floral of cities. Tower Grove Park alone contains 7,500 trees, of over 325 varieties, as well as innumerable plants and flowers in an elongated rectangle that ripples on in waves for two miles. The legend is that Henry Shaw imported every single species of tree and flower that could grow in St. Louis’ deciduous soil and planted them in the 289 acres of Tower Grove Park and on his estate, the now world-famous Missouri Botanical Garden. I miss living a mere four blocks from all of this beauty. I miss it so much.