A Red Pear & a Calesita
Saturday, October 05, 2019
|The red pair (a buc)|
And., Arg., Bol., Ec., Par. y Ur. tiovivo.
de la Real Academia Espñola (RAE)
Often in my blogs I write that perhaps the most human
characteristic that we might not share with most animals is our ability to
associate. Sometimes I think that our memory is what helps us associate a present
with a past.
Consider this large red pear that my daughter Ale bought
last week when she was visiting us from her home in Lillooet BC. When I looked
at it I associated with another pear, pear in Spanish, pera.
But I was not thinking of the fruit. I was thinking of
carousels that as a child I would ride in the Argentina of my youth. I quickly outgrew
the thrill of riding one but fond memories remain. In Spain these
childhood contraptions are called tiovivos
(the live uncle) in my place of birth
they are called calesitas.
These calesitas would suddenly spring up in our neighbourhoods
in much the same way as small circuses (where I can boast of seeing a live kangaroo
box with a human).
A particularly Argentine feature of the calesita is that
the operator would hold a pera (pair-shaped and wooden) that was hanging from a
pole near the carousel. He would playfully get it close to the children who
would attempt to remove a metal device called a sortija. I am almost certain
that the man made it difficult for older children and probably did the opposite
for the younger ones.
And if you did manage to pull the sortija from the pera, you were given a free ride.
Hosta tardiflora - Late to the Party
Friday, October 04, 2019
|Hosta tardiflora 4 October 2019|
Hostas are known as shade tolerant (no plant is shade
loving) perennial that has a myriad of versions with variegated leaves.
Hosta tardiflora is a laid back, unvariegated species hosta that in
October has nice, elgantly narrow and shiny green leaves and just happens to flower when most other
hostas have long flowered in June/July/August. Many of those hostas in my
garden have leaves that are getting fall colours and a fall wilt. Not so,
tardiflora which may be late to the party but I would assert that it was worth
The chances of finding this plant in any Vancouver nursery
are exactly 0. Who would want an unvariegated, small hosta that flowers now?
The Lone Ranger in Fishnets
Thursday, October 03, 2019
The Lone Ranger in Spanish is El Llanero Solitario
. When I
was 6 somehow since we had a small house in Buenos Aires, my parents kept me in
a big crib in their bedroom. By then I was crazy for comic books. I loved El Pato Donald
but my fave was El
Llanero Solitario. By that age I liked to copy the covers of comic books. I was
obsessed with El Llanero’s mask and to this day I call these black cover-ups Lone
Ranger Masks. I use them a lot for my photo sessions with lovely women.
This particular lovely woman happened to combine a Lone
Ranger mask with that other love-obsession of mine which is the fishnet
Who is she? William will not tell all.
On Tinas, Bañaderas & Bañeras
Wednesday, October 02, 2019
“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure,
but I don't know many of them. Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die, or so nervous
I can't sleep, or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump
down just so far and then I say: "I'll go take a hot bath.”
Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar
In Mexico a tub is a tina, in Argentina it is a bañadera and in Spain a bañera.
One of my earliest memories when I was perhaps 6 is of a
Buenos Aires bathroom with an old tub and the always present bidet. I have
memories of being in that tub while my mother (so I thought) would remove her
eye with a green coloured cup so as to wash it. There is no little boy who has
not wondered what bidets are for and not opened a tap to suddenly get a strong
stream of water shoot to the ceiling.
In this century folks eschew tub baths for being dirty and
opt for that shower. The only shower I ever liked was the horrific one in
In my memory (a more recent one) is a colour photograph of
Kim Novak in her tub and with a large window on the side of it showing a
seascape with rolling waves.
No Argentine my age will not know that Jorge Luís Borges
pondered on the reality of his dreams while in a hot tub. Or that many of his
stories were finished while submerged.
My grandmother would laugh at my thought that a hot tub is
one’s return to the womb. She would say to me, “Alex you have a medical degree
from F.W. Woolworths’s & Company.”
|In our Kits tub|
Our present little Kits home has a very nice bathtub and
both my Rosemary and I succumb to it at least twice a day. We have all sorts of
bubble baths and scented (lavender or eucalyptus) bath salts. My youngest
daughter Hilary gave me a special rack last Christmas that rests on the side of
the tub so I can read books or the NY Times without fear of water damage.
The only negative feature of the tub is its narrow lip. In
our Kerrisdale home our cats all found refuge on the tub and accompanied us. In
our bathroom now, both Niño and Niña being unable to do that, linger close
or sprawl on the wicker clothes basket in the corner.
La Asimetría Rige y Mi Dislexia
Tuesday, October 01, 2019
Pam McCartney entró a mi estudio, me sorprendió inicialmente, sentimiento
seguido por una alegría al ver su perfecta asimetría. Pam es un deleite
sensual. Parece que nos sentimos cómodos con la familiaridad de la simetría sin
darnos cuenta que más allá de ella yace lo normal. Desde el nautilo hasta
nuestras mismas caras la asimetría rige. Pero a pesar de todo exigimos autos
que sean iguales en un costado como en el otro. El famoso diseñador
estadounidense, Raymond Loewy, recalcaba que con el volante a un lado el auto
ya es asimétrico. Al venir a
Vancouver de México en 1975 supe que yo era disléxico al ver un programa en la
televisión sobre esa enfermedad. ¡Nunca tuve problema hasta no saber que lo
Como fotógrafo de revistas a veces me confundo cuando un diseñador me
advierte que deje espacio a la derecha (o a la izquierda) de un retrato. En mi
estudio me cuesta decir (y lo digo lentamente), “"Mueva por favor su brazo izquierdo."
Con Pam, es fácil.
Le digo que mueva el brazo. Por mi
dislexia, una de mis pinturas favoritas es Right
and Left del pintor Winslow Homer. He
viajado varias veces a verla en la National Gallery de Washington DC. En la
obra dos patos parecen estar tambaleándose en vuelo. Al acercarme puedo notar
un cazador en un bote disparando los dos cañones de su escopeta. Nunca sé si la
obra se llama Right and Left o al revés.
Con Pam he tomado una serie de fotos donde me río de mi dislexia y juego
con mi confusión al imprimir algunas de las fotos al revés. ¿Le falta el brazo
izquierdo o el derecho? El cuerpo
asimétrico de Pam continúa con unas anchas caderas en la cual una es mas baja
que la otra. Las caderas de Pam lucen anchas, gracias a su angosta cintura y
unos senos pequeños. Para mí hay un paralelo con las esculturas y relieves en
las paredes de los templos de Tel-Amarna, cede del faraón Akhenaten (Amenophis
IV o Amenhotep IV) de la 18a. dinastía. No se sabe si este faraón monoteísta
padecía de alguna enfermedad o simplemente su cuerpo era una manifestación
perfecta del estilo de su reino. Para colmo (tendrá que ser mi siguiente
proyecto con Pam) cuando Pam se levanta el pelo su perfil, con su largo cuello,
es similar al de Nefertiti, la mujer de Akhenaton
|Obra de Winslow Homer y mi nieta Rebecca en la National Gallery en Washington DC|
Hello & Goodbye
Monday, September 30, 2019
|Rosa 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' & Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha' 30 September 2019|
Because I have written 4873 blogs to date it taxes my memory and when I look back some come as a complete surprise.
happens with the scans (many) of the plants of my garden. Today I noticed that
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ayesha’ which blooms in the summer and now all of its
flowers are brown had one bloom that was brand new. Was the plant as confused
as I am? Then I noticed that the English Rose, Rosa ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’
had a brilliant flower of a similar colour to the hydrangea. I thought the idea
of scanning these two would be original. This was not to be as when I was
storing my original Tiff another Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ayesha’ with Rosa ‘Princesss
Alexandra of Kent’ appeared and it seems I scanned them this past July.
|15 July 2019|
My guess is
that the first image represents a “hello” and today’s a “goodbye for the season”.