Lee Lytton III & Friendly & Warm Ghosts
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
|Lee Lytton III HS Class of 1961 in Sarita Texas|
My Argentine first cousin and godmother, Inesita O’Reilly Kuker,
92 fell and broke her hip a few weeks ago. Her family is waiting for her heart
to give out or for her to stop breathing. I am extremely sad as our trip (my
Rosemary and my 14 year-old granddaughter Lauren) to Buenos Aires in March will
not have Inesita meeting Lauren.
I have been thinking of the losses of my older friends in
that last few years. What I miss most about them is that they were from a
generation of outgoing and warm people. I miss human warmth in Vancouver of
cold rainy winters and people that I
would once compared to the very cold city tap water.
I look forward to my trip to Austin, Texas and to meeting up
with the few friends of my generation who are left.
I plant to attend Brother Rommard Barthel’s memorial service
in spite of the fact he was never my teacher. We conversed long hours in my
multiple stays at St. Joseph Hall, invited by that other beacon of warmth,
Brother Edwin Reggio, CSC.
I single out Mike O’Connell (a definite undersclassman from
my perspective of being from the HS Class of 1961) as a person who has shown me
the warmth I so miss now. He will up the ante on heat this Thursday night at Ruby's
And there is another gentleman who will be in attendance, Lee Lytton III who four
years ago hosted us at his Sarita hometown and gave my wife and two
granddaughters a taste of real Texas hospitality.
This reunion, which may be my last ( Lytton says he plans
to attend the 6th
) will make me forget the rain and I will be
pleasantly haunted by ghosts in the Old Main whom I know are all smiling
A ghost at La Parra,Texas
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
It wasn’t until I was 15 that I first used a phone. In my
boyhood Argentina (a third world country even then) by 195,1 when I was 9, my
mother bought a refrigerator from a departing American. I remember that the
fridge had the compressor on the top. It was with that fridge that I made my
first Lime Jell-O. Before that the “hielero”
would come once a week and he would place a large block of ice in our icebox.
In 1953 I was invited to the house of the daughter
(her name was Susan Stone) of the CEO for General Motors in Argentina. That's where I
saw my first TV. She sent her father’s Cadillac to pick me up at our humble
It was not until the early 70s that globalization began to
affect the holidays of other countries. I remember some kids in the street in
Mexico City wanting me to give them money,”Danos
But it was in 1957 when I was in the 8th grade of
a small one room school house in Nueva Rosita when I discovered San Valentín.
The school was were the children of the engineers of the American Smelting and
Refining Company learned an American curriculum. My mother was the teacher.
I hoped against all hope that the lovely Anna María Ramos
who was in the 7th grade would send me a valentine card. She did but
I was too shy to acknowledge it!
Valentine’s was special even in my high school at St. Ed’s
in Austin. It was a boy’s school but I never received a card from the cute and
very short Judy Reyes who was a cheerleader. From my vantage point of the
school band, where I played the alto saxophone I would sigh when she would jump
at football games and reveal her underwear.
Now Valentine’s day has little meaning for me. This morning
I brought breakfast in bed for my Rosemary but since we do this every day it
was not in any way special.
Thinking on how I would illustrate this I immediately knew I
would find the picture of Salem holding her heart-shaped pillow.
I have a memory of my grandmother complaining about a
friend she had when we were in Argentina. It seems her friend was a miser and
pushy, too. She was called Valentina Perez.
From Simple To Complex
Sunday, February 12, 2017
|Pierre Teilhard de Chardin - Photograph Philippe Halsman|
Facebook -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's Noosphere - Not
Today Sunday, February 12, 2017 marks the passing of exactly
4000 blogs since I started in January 2006. When I wrote those early blogs I
had no idea what a blog was or why I was doing it. I have written a few blogs
on why I blog
and now today looking back, what comes to mind is one of the most
influential books I have ever read. It was Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man
. I bought it in the late 60s in Buenos Aires.
In hindsight some folks believe Chardin predicted the world
wide web with his concept of a Noosphere which would envelop the world in pure
thought. Chardin was an avid believer of evolution. But within his idea he
championed the idea that organisms evolved from simplicity to complexity. While
Chardin, a Jesuit, was prohibited from publishing his books were alive, in the
photographs of him taken by Philippe Halsman I gaze on the face of an extremely
intelligent man who is looking at a rose future. I am not sure
Against the background
of the modern evolutionary world view, Teilhard de Chardin depicted the cosmos
as a process of ascent, a series of unions. From very simple beginnings the
path leads to ever greater and more complex unities, in which multiplicity is not
abolished but merged into a growing synthesis, leading to the “Noosphere”, in
which spirit and its understanding embrace the whole and are blended into a
kind of living organism.
Of late as I am plagued by en ever more complex world I do
not see that Chardin rosy future.
My old computer (a PC) has a 14 year-old Photoshop that
works beautifully for my needs. I calibrate my cathode ray tube monitor for
colour by matching it to the gray background of my web page and blog.
Today when I finally was able to figure out how to download
from my PC to my brand new Microsoft Surface laptop/tablet the colour was
accurate and whites were whites and grays were grays.
But I cannot transfer my old Photoshop. I have to (and I
will not) buy a subscription and then download it. I cannot transfer my
perfectly serviceable Word for the same reason. I had to pay $50 for a year’s
Tell me is things are better. Tell me if this is an
While I do not hark back to land lines (I have one) with
dialing black phones, it seems that the improvements are just a case of making
stuff more complex just to make it more complex.
I was not able to download the new Microsoft Office product
to my Surface today. I was with a computer expert (Powersonic on Bridgeport
Road). I was told xx, whatever. So I called the tech number for help:
1. The number was answered immediately. Odd?
2. I mentioned what a pleasure it was not to have to wait.
Silence on the other side.
3. I explained the problem. I was told that he was going to
talk to a supervisor.
4. He came back to tell me that he had to get into my
5. I said, “Oh, you want to hack into my computer!”
6. The man said, “I am pissed.”
7. I asked him to repeat that. He did.
8. I hung up.
I went to the folks at Best-Buy who told me the Microsoft
website that I had gone to was one they had never seen before.
Tell me that things are better just because they are more
By the way my Microsoft Surface does not come with an
operating manual. They say it is far more convenient to go for the information
Leaning Towards Irrelevancy
Saturday, February 11, 2017
|Essay by Richard Thompson Ford|
For some 18 years now, my Rosemary and I have enjoyed a
daily breakfast in bed. We have a nice wicker tray we purchased at Eaton’s. Our
breakfast fare is different but now 18 years later we have a couple of little
dishes with our countless pills that reflect that we are old.
But the pleasure of reading our newspapers is the high point
of the day. We have subscriptions to the NY Times and the Vancouver Sun. The
protocol is that she starts with the NY Times while I immediately go to Rex
Morgan in my Vancouver Sun.
Saturday is the day with the thinnest NY Times and the
thickest Vancouver Sun. The NY Times compensates with the fact that we get the
heavy Sunday edition on Saturday night. The usual conundrum, “Do we start it on
Saturday night (in bed) or leave it to Sunday?”
Today it became patently obvious that our Vancouver Sun
is steadily moving in the direction of irrelevancy. At 9AM there was no paper
on the doorstep. Rosemary and I shared the thin NY Times. She started the first
section with the scrumptious editorials, and me with the business and arts
By the time I got to the editorial I found this fabulously
illustrated essay on the Trump tie. Strangely the on-line version does not
reproduce it and opts for a photograph of Trump with his trademark long red
tie. The essay itself is a sartorial delight.
As my life fades into the irrelevancy of old age, I wonder
who is going to go first? Will it be me
or my Vancouver Sun?
El Reloj de Arena - The Hour Glass - Jorge Luís Borges
Thursday, February 09, 2017
|Rosemary Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward - 1968|
One day after our 49th wedding anniversary - Un día después de nuestro aniversario de bodas
The Hourglass, by Jorge Luis Borges (la poesía de Borges en castellano a continuación)
It is appropriate that time be measured
by the stark shadow cast by a stake in summer
or by the flow of water in the river
where Heraclitus saw time’s ironies
since, seen as time and fate, they are alike:
the movement of the mindless daytime shadow
and the irrevocable running on
of river water following its flow.
Just so, but time discovered in the deserts
another substance, smooth and of some weight,
that seemed to have been specifically imagined
for measuring out the ages of the dead.
And so appears this instrument of legend
in the engravings in the dictionary,
an object graying antiquarians
will banish to a dusty underworld
of things— a single chessman, a broadsword,
now lifeless, and a clouded telescope,
sandalwood worn away by opium,
a world of dust, of chance, of nothingness.
Who has not hesitated, seeing that hourglass,
severe and sombre, in the god’s right hand,
accompanying the scythe he also handles,
the image Dürer copied in his drawing?
Through a top opening, the inverted cone
slowly lets fall the wary grains of sand,
a gradual gold that, loosening, fills up
the concave crystal of its universe.
Pleasure there is in watching how the sand
slowly slithers up and makes a slope
then, just about to fall, piles up again
with an insistence that appears quite human.
The sand of every cycle is the same
and infinite is the history of sand;
so, underlying your fortunes and your sorrows,
yawns an invulnerable eternity.
It never stops, the spilling of the sand.
I am the one who weakens, not the glass.
The rite of the falling sand is infinite
and, with the sand, our lives are leaving us.
In the timing of the sand, I seem to feel
a cosmic time: all the long history
that memory keeps sealed up in its mirrors
or that has been dissolved by magic Lethe.
All these: the pillar of smoke, the pillar of fire,
Carthage, Rome, and their constricting wars,
Simon Magus, the seven feet of earth
the Saxon offers the Norwegian King—
all are obliterated, all brought down
by the tireless trickle of the endless sand.
I do not have to save myself— I too
am a whim of time, that shifty element.
bien que se mida con la dura
que una columna en el estío
con el agua de aquel río
Heráclito vio nuestra locura
tiempo, ya que al tiempo y al destino
parecen los dos: la imponderable
diurna y el curso irrevocable
que prosigue su camino.
bien, pero el tiempo en los desiertos
substancia halló, suave y pesada,
parece haber sido imaginada
medir el tiempo de los muertos.
así el alegórico instrumento
grabados de los diccionarios,
que los grises anticuarios
al mundo ceniciento
alfil desparejo, de la espada
del borroso telescopio,
sándalo mordido por el opio
polvo, del azar y de la nada.
no se ha demorado ante el severo
tétrico instrumento que acompaña
diestra del dios a la guadaña
líneas repitió Durero?
ápice abierto el cono inverso
caer la cautelosa arena,
gradual que se desprende y llena
cóncavo cristal de su universo.
agrado en observar la arcana
que resbala y que declina
punto de caer, se arremolina
prisa que es del todo humana.
de los ciclos es la misma
infinita es la historia de la arena;
bajo tus dichas o tu pena,
invulnerable eternidad se abisma.
detiene nunca la caída
desangro, no el cristal. El rito
decantar la arena es infinito
Y con la
arena se nos va la vida.
minutos de la arena creo
el tiempo cósmico: la historia
encierra en sus espejos la memoria
O que ha
disuelto el mágico Leteo.
de humo y el pilar de fuego,
y Roma y su apretada guerra,
Mago, los siete pies de tierra
rey sajón ofrece al rey noruego,
arrastra y pierde este incansable
de arena numerosa.
No he de
salvarme yo, fortuita cosa
tiempo, que es materia deleznable.