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ISSUE #174

The impressive sculpture park at the Pt Leo Estate has more to offer than a view
Mike's Pith & Wind - Laura
 I have a ritual when I’m looking blankly at a blank Word page with no idea what I’m going to write about in this month’s P&W. It rarely helps by the way, but in any event I go to the New Yorker website and consume as many cartoons as I can get for free, desperately looking for some cartoonish inspiration.
This time round I notice there’re even more anti-Trump cartoons, which is probably about a 50/50 ratio with the regulation off-the-wall New Yorker-style cartoons of which I’m particularly fond, and I’m disappointed with this Trump fetish because the Donald is intrinsically such an easy target. I’m inclined to believe the New Yorker is aligned with some of the other conservative American press in their incessant railing against Trump, principally because they all so comprehensively failed to see it coming.
Anyway, while casting about for some more cartoons I caught sight of a picture of a monument in an article about the Provincetown (Massachusetts) Aids Memorial, which is one of quite a few recently dedicated around the States apparently. I’m not sure there are any such memorials in Australia, but the subject matter wasn’t what caught my attention.
It was a picture heading the article of a skillfully hewn giant stone slab in memorial of the many Aids victims who gravitated to the town during the crisis years in the ‘80s and where many of whom subsequently died.
The top of the slab looks like the surface of a lake or sea, indeed the stone’s inscription reads ‘a unique moment in the living ocean.’ Because the nature of stone is so opposite to the fluidity of water it caught my attention, but on reflection I suppose it’s no different to the classical tradition of lifelike renderings of flesh and bone from marble, first practised by Greek artists from 500 BC and perhaps perfected by Michelangelo and his contemporaries in the Renaissance.
Maria and I visited the Rodin exhibition while we were in Paris. Having never seen any work by Rodin previously I was astonished at his ability to transform inert stone into flesh and bone, adding character and movement to the equation. Anyway, it’s not often I have cause to admire the sheer craftsmanship in a sculpture these days – I’m much more likely to be simply unmoved or even slightly annoyed.
If you check July’s A Separate Reality page you’ll see that M and I visited the Sculpture Park at the Pt Leo Estate (that the Apple Maps’ woman on the GPS insisted was the P T Leo Estate) – but in fact we visited it twice within a couple of weeks! The second visit wasn’t entirely duplication – the first time around the sculpture park the wind was howling and it was very cold and we took some short cuts, meaning that on our second visit we discovered we’d missed a good third of the sculptures).
As you know, Maria is very artistically inclined and very well.. read more
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CORRESPONDENCE..............................Letters to the editor
Dick's Toolbox - Grandparenting
I was looking back through the photographs of my grandson wondering when you could first see the transition from pure ‘feed-me-change-me-burp-me!’ diminutive pink blob to the start of the two year old charmer he has become. I would put the date at about five months of age, or in his case, just in time for Christmas. The identifiable grin, the enthusiastic exploration, general happiness and misdirected limbs are firmly evident in the photographs.
Being a grandparent has one major advantage over being a parent and that is it is a part-time occupation. You can reflect back to the time of your own first baby and you cannot imagine how anybody ever survived the stress, the lack of sleep and the demands. But all the stages which blurred into one another with your own child are now discrete developmental stages when you only visit for duty around once a week. You can see almost see the neurons and synapses joining up, reality merging from an undifferentiated mass of colour, light, noise and music. A person emerging.
Of course despite my best efforts I am rather besotted by the youngster. I didn’t realise that kids could develop a sense of humour at such an early age, and given that words and sentences are still an adventure the humour is physical. Once he had mastered walking he experimented with silly walks which would have given John Cleese a run for his money, and his skill on a trike shows the ability of a young Mick Doohan. And he likes books which mean that the genetic inheritance is running true to form.
The bad thing about being a grandparent is that your grandchild will probably have the same apprehension of you as you had of your grandparents which is, firstly, old. And grey. And wrinkly. I may think of myself as forever young but there is no way that young Lachlan will. And that is probably a good thing as one should acknowledge the truth just once in a while.
But only once in a while.
There has been only one failure and that is the fact that his first words were not ‘retractable undercarriage’ which would have earned his parents a bottle of French champagne. Of course if Lachlan had said ‘Einziehbares Fahrwerk ‘ (which as you know is retractable undercarriage in German), they would have just have been gifted a bottle of Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg spätlese trocken from Karthäuserhof in the Mosel. Perhaps I should have asked for ‘chariot rétractable’ just to be linguistically correct?
There has been only one failure and that is the fact that his first words were not ‘retractable undercarriage’ which would have earned his parents a bottle of French champagne. Of course if Lachlan had said ‘Einziehbares Fahrwerk ‘ (which as you know is retractable undercarriage.. read more
Wazza's Trans-Tasman Tales - How to make €100,000…
Astute readers will have noted that our esteemed editor tends to update these pages according to his needs for promoting imminent/eminent gigs, so the call for a new column that came on Friday evening (today being Monday) was a tad unexpected as recent columns have commonly been called for a little later thereby offering a more relaxed timeframe within which to conceive/create/draft/revise/proof/polish etc etc and, as we’ve been experiencing a spell of unseasonably pleasant weather recently, my duties as garden labourer have been in high demand, which I’m pleased to relate have seen several fruit trees added to the grounds along with a new raised garden bed for vegetables, not to mention the securement and spreading of two trailer loads of excellent compost from a local supplier, whom we visit quite regularly because they also are our main source of free-range fresh eggs, even though the hens have been off laying the past few weeks, which has resulted in more breakfasts comprising porridge or fruit, muesli and yoghurt; by the way, if you’re wondering about this ever lengthening sentence, it’s not about competing with The Editor, who has taken lately to introducing his own monthly postings with lengthy strings of words, it’s a nod to one Mike McCormack whose novel Solar Bones has joined what I’ve discovered is actually a ‘genre’ known as One-Paragraph and/or One-Sentence Books which, according to the article, is producing quite “An Ongoing List” and joining this list with his one sentence spread over 270 odd pages contribution, earned McCormack a cool €100,000 so I’m hoping that by dragging out this pretty average recounting of the goings-on of yours truly over recent days I might, at least, get some credit from The Editor for delivering on his SMS missive for me to ‘prepare to be published this coming Monday’, but then again he may well find that the entire enterprise is just a load of old b******s, spike it and send me a ‘reject slip’ with a demand for a more appropriate contribution and the likelihood of meeting that will be in strong competition with more pressing demands on my time/efforts for my highly sought after labouring capabilities from an employer I am much more obliged to serve than The Editor (as he well knows, being himself similarly obligated when it comes to gardening duties) also, I would like to add here that as the missive I received from The Ed was an all-correspondents alert that went to our other fine columnist, Dick of Toolbox fame, I did note that Dick’s immediate retort read “I have reached for the whisky” and, as I swore off the demon drink some quarter century ago, I don’t have the benefit (if that’s the word for it) of the amber liquid’s effect for improving creative lubricity, so if you’re finding this tale a trifle/terribly tedious and trying I can only hope that Dick’s imbibiously (sic) assisted contribution goes some way towards ameliorating your dissatisfaction, furthermore I do have a few other topics waiting in the wings for future editions (if I’m still on the books and can overcome the creative friction brought on by short-notice deadlines) such as: the deepening rift in trans-Tasman governmental relations (mind you the way things are looking over your side lately the incumbents mightn’t be there much longer for me to whinge about); the media’s new-found fascination with male parenting as a consequence of the popularity of Aotearoa-New Zealand’s First Child Neve Te Aroha Ardern-Gayford (“or Neve Gayford for short” – the Patriarchy still reigns then!), and; the disappearance of academics from higher education given that most now doing the job are students themselves working part-time to subsist while they pay outrageous fees to micro-management and macro-marketing sodden administrations to be ‘taught’ by students themselves working part-time to subsist while they pay outrageous fees to micro-management and macro-marketing sodden administrations to be ‘taught’ by…(to be continued)
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M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D