Category Archives: Jean’s Schemes

A Capitol Christmas…

Friday morning, Paul and I, at the urging of a well-meaning friend, descended on our state’s Capitol for what was meant to be a book signing in the legislative gift shop.  It was a slow day for book sales, I fear, though we watched dozens of Washington State calendars selling hotter than hotcakes, and were mildly dispirited by the disinterested yawns (“Washington Then and Now?” the handful of power brokers who wandered past seemed to exclaim, “Been there, done that.”).

There were, as always, pearls of conversation and gentle conversators, but for the most part, we stared blankly at each other and wrestled over a single New York Times.  Much amusement was provided when I found a life-sized ad for HBO’s “Saddam, BMOC” and we took turns shooting pix of each other.

Then we each in turns wandered up into the Rotunda, where we discovered an unfolding scandal.  While Christmas had reached its merry tendrils into nearly every nook and cranny….

(as always, click to enlarge photos)

…there were serpents in that Yuletide tree (note the state patrolman patrolling with care).  But first, let’s visit the capitol’s own creche, a simple stable amongst the marble columns.

Not 30 feet to the left, ATHEISTS had insisted upon their 1st Amendment rights (damn them), and placed a sign reading, in part, “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

FOX news, namely Bill O’Reilly, had taken up the cause a few days ago, encouraging his viewers to express their outrage to the Guv. Hundreds of calls and emails poured in hourly.  Christmas under siege, Santa held for ransom, myrrh stolen from Christ child.  Protesting churchgoers were up in arms.  Some added their own signs (see more state patrolmen patrolling beyond the tree).

Then, between 7 and 7:30 in the morning, someone stole the atheists’ sign. Dan Barker, co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation proclaimed the act, “unfriendly.”  Later in the day, someone turned the sign in to Country KMPS’s Ichabod Caine.  The State Patrol is investigating.

Below, see the brightly colored placard on the left; also in place of the original anti-religious sign is a terse gold-colored reminder from the Foundation: “Church/State – Keep them separate”.  George Washington – not a foe of religion, although perhaps of religious partisanship – has positioned his enormous head between opposing sides (his bust here was, Paul informs me, given to the Capitol Building by the Daughters of the American Revolution).

Meanwhile, downstairs in the basement gift shop, Paul and I thanked the staff for putting up with us and left the marble corridors of power, heading once again for our own cluttered basements, which make up in padding what they lack in grandeur.  Outside, Paul paused once more to glance at the Times.

In wearing this mask, Paul wrote me earlier this evening, we were doubly posturing, acting the part of an actor acting the part of Saddam, who spent decades rehearsing his own execution by practising it on others.

Is there some significance here? A cradle of hypocracy liberally perfumed with Frankincense?  Heavens to Murgatroyd, I’m reluctant to bring up old lessons, but aren’t we all, to some extent, reaping those whirlwinds?

Up the Chimney with Dorpat/Sherrard

It’s a Christmas cracker!  Paul and I will be reading tales of the season in a couple venues around town. The first is on Saturday the 13th at the Haller Lake Community Center at 7 PM. The second is at the Good Shepherd Center Chapel performance space on Monday the 22nd, starting at 7:30.

We’ll be reading classics – Paul’s soulful version of ‘Gift of the Magi’, plus, donning Santa cap and bells, his sonorous and heartfelt ‘Night before Christmas’.  Jean will finish off with the hilarious Jean Shepherd saga ‘Red Ryder meets the Cleveland Street Kid’, from which the movie ‘A Christmas Story’ was adapted.

We can’t decide whether to call these evenings Up the Chimney or Down the Chimney with Jean & Paul.  Votes?

Join us!

More of 'Ashes to Ashes'

My apologies for not having gotten these up sooner. They should have accompanied Sally Anderson’s fine review, but better late than never, I always say (in fact, I never say that, but it seemed appropriate for this remarkable show).

(click twice on thumbnails to see full size)

(Incidentally, the mysterious final photo of the series was taken peering through the newspaper coffin to obtain a view, not of eyes, but of the negative-corpse-space’s leg holes.)

Photos we won't be using

Yesterday, I made a few stops around town picking up Now and Then shots for Paul’s column. Those below are extras.

First, I stopped at the 41st and Aurora pedestrian overpass and met historian/preservationist Heather McAuliffe and her daughter’s grade school class and teachers from BF Day for a repeat of a 1936 photo. The original was taken below the overpass looking up.

Then I headed downtown to meet Ron Edge, a photo collector and history sleuth, who’s been helping Paul unravel mysteries. We were trying to repeat a pic of an old tin shop at the corner of what is now 1st and Yesler. Here’s Ron, braving traffic:

Later that afternoon, I met baseball historian Dave Eskenazi and we climbed up on top of a vast rooftop (a windowless storage building for King County Elections) looking for signs of Dugdale Park, an ancient baseball field.  This eerie white expanse, which covers the footprint of the old park, is just around the corner from Washington Hall at 14th and Fir.

As always, click on the pix to see them full size.

Joe Max Emminger!

A remarkable show from Joe, one of our especial favorites around DorpatSherrardLomont. His luminous paintings, at once raucous and restrained, deliriously primitive and utterly civilized, really knock our socks off.  Joe’s work is the stuff of dreams, found on cave walls and along alleys, quaysides and memory palaces; signposts for the soulful.

In French, window shopping is leche-vitrines (literally, licking windows). Passing Joe’s bright canvases, I had the nearly irresistible urge to leche-tableaux.

A view from the galleries into the gallery.

Joe with his program writer and designer.

Admirers and fellow leche-tableauxists:

After, outside in the damp, the world seemed refreshed. I found Paul with Renko and Stu Dempster standing in the middle of the street like amazed children.

Don’t miss this show! At Grover/Thurston Gallery, 309 Occidental Ave. S., through December 13th.


Right through these doors…

…in Washington State, for the last time in person. Henceforth, all ballots will be mail-in. Which saddens me to no small degree. For many years, I’ve voted alongside my neighbors in a small but significant gesture of civilization and community. But there was something precious in the walk of several blocks to St. Andrews Church. Something comforting in the (mostly) retirees who manned the precinct tables. Here then is a snap of a few of them, volunteering one more time in King County to help oversee this final bout of neighborhood voting. The good folks from 47-1313.

And immediately upon my return home, I saw an email (“Le moment est venu”) from BB containing the following image from Paris.

Along with her best wishes:

Mes chéris,
All our best french thoughts for you and the elections… We have good hope !
Je vous embrasse très fort. BB

Tiger Mountain picked clean…

…of chantrelles. I know this has been happening across the NW, but it’s alarming to wander a favorite mushroom haunt and find only two (that’s right, TWO) chantrelles where a few years back we could be assured of finding several baskets worth. Commercial pickers have taken all.

A lovely spot, though, dense with second growth.

Young Alyce, ever hopeful, helped us search with her parents, my cousin Kristin Sherrard and husband Ed Munro, both biologists. Alas, the forest floor was scoured of edible fungi.

Paul's 70th birthday bash

Two days before the actual event, we threw Paul a party.

Planning began only two weeks ago, initially with the thought that this might bring together a couple dozen of Paul’s nearest and dearest. Of course, that was naive thinking on my part. There are so many that Paul considers his nearest and dearest that the list of invitees kept growing until the day itself. We had well over a hundred for cake and bubbly, and for those that missed it, blame it on Jean. I didn’t have access to all of Paul’s lists and time was too too short.

Here, however, are a few images from the event itself. If I missed folks, my bad; I was juggling. Jef Jaisun was also snapping; perhaps we’ll see a few of his to fill in the gaps.

Thanks to all for making this such a marvelous event. Paul was, as is his wont and most appropriately, happy as a clam!

(click once to enlarge thumbnails, then again for full size)