Category Archives: Art

marilyn monroe poster

Imperfection and Concoction

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than boring. Marilyn Monroe

L’imperfection est la beauté, la folie est le génie.

In the fall of 1946 Marilyn Monroe was granted a divorce from her first husband, Jim Dougherty, … later saying, “My marriage didn’t make me sad, but it didn’t make me happy either. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn’t because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom.”
marilyn monroe poster

Unfortunately, the first quote attributed to the beautifully imperfect Marilyn is a fairy tale concoction that is all made up. The quote about her husband is true.

There were brains behind the beauty and Marilyn had many great quotes, including:

We should all start to live before it is too late.


je t’écoute

je t’écoute ~
quand tu ne dis rien du tout ~
j’entends tout

pas mon idée

peut-être je ne que suis romantique, pour dans un grand, grand amour, il y a une inévitable éclatement, une profonde tristesse que personne ne peut surmonter.

maybe I’m the romantic, in a great, great love there, there is an inevitable break up, a great unhappiness that neither one ever gets over it.

Nothing could be further from the truth

It is a fact, strange and universal, that each of us believes that everyone should think and feel as one, but nothing could be further from the truth.

C’est un fait étrange et universelle, que nous croyons que tout le monde devrait penser et se sentir comme un, mais rien ne serait être plus éloigné de la vérité.

Ihr sagt, “Jeder als Einer denken und fühlen sollte, aber nichts ist weiter von die Wahrheit.”


The act of translation proves the impossibility of becoming one with either the author or the reader. Still, we try. The search for truth draws us near, but never quite there.

Jamais la vérité, mais près.

Faith should not conquer, it should console.

Simple Gifts


‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come ’round right


C’est un don d’être simple, c’est le don d’être libre

C’est le don de descendre là où nous devrions être,

Et la traduction n’est jamais juste,  ni facile

Ni ce qui, que je veux qu’il soit

Tour, tour sera notre joie,

Tour, tour, tant que on vient à droite

White on blue

A trip to Flathead Lake in Montana (the largest lake west of the Mississippi) inspires many thoughts. The season is ending, the tourists are going home, the kids to school, and all too soon, I am back to work.

sailboat on Flathead Lake, Montana

White on blue
Standing on the shore of Flathead Lake,
I spy a solitary sailboat
Spreading her white sails to the breeze and the water
Oh, my heart aches to be there,
I long to be gone
A speck of white
Where the blue of the lake meets the blue of the sky
Long do I gaze while the boat disappears
When the cold wind kicks up, and
With a sharp tug on my pants
My sons says to me,
Why are we here?

Un grain de blanc en bleu

Au bord de la rive de Flathead Lake
Je regarde un bateau à voile
Diffuser ses voiles blanches à la brise et à l’eau
Oh, mon cœur a mal à être là,
J’aimerais être parti
Un point de blanc
Où le bleu du lac rencontre le bleu du ciel
Long je regarde pendant que le bateau disparaît
Lorsque le vent froid se lance, et
Il y a un pistolet sur mon pantalon
Pourquoi sommes-nous ici, me dit-il mon fils?

1 flathead lake boat_close

Je ne comprends pas

I am not one to wish for much, money have I not, I dream of simple things, good books, quiet summer days, being alone, or with somebody who understands these things, and finding none, I scream.

Je ne souhaite pas beaucoup, l’argent n’ai-je pas, je rêve de choses simples, de bons livres, de tranquilles journées d’été, d’être seul ou avec quelqu’un qui comprend ces choses, et en ne trouvant personne, je crie.

Edvard Munch, The scream

Funny is the thought that had I money, louder would I scream.

Ich bin ein kleines Kind und Geld habe ich nicht. Darum, ich bin nicht einer um viel zu wünschen, ich träume von einfachen Dingen, ruhigen Sommertagen, Bäume zu klettern, um die Welt zu sehen, allein oder mit jemandem, der diese Dinge versteht und keine findet, schreie ich.

April’s sweet showers


Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer: Modern English, French, and original Middle English,


Modern English

English did not become modern until William Shakespeare and the King James translation of the Bible, a fact that will surprise many “modern” high school English students.

When April with its sweet showers
Hath pierced the drought of March to its root,
And bathed every vein in such liquor
By which virtue engenders the flower;

When the West Wind also with his sweet breath,
Has inspired In every woodland and field
The tender crops, and the young sun
Has half its course within the sign of Aries run,

And small fowls make melody,
That sleep all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them in their hearts),
Then folk long to go on pilgrimages,

And pilgrims to seek strange shores,
To distant shrines, known in sundry lands;
And specially from every shire’s end
Of England to Canterbury wind their way,
The holy blessed martyr to seek
Who helped them when they were sick.

Language Barriers

When I was a little boy the joke was told,
Q: Why did Peter throw the butter out the window?
A: To see the butterfly.

It is a joke that works in English but not in French, since butterfly in French is papillon.

Language barriers are large but none so great as that observed by the Welsh and English cleric Matthew Henry, There are none so deaf and none so blind, as they who refuse to see and will not listen.


Quand avril avec ses douces douches
La sécheresse de mars à sa racine a percé ,
Et a baigné toutes les veines dans une telle liqueur
Par quoi la vertu engendre la fleur;

Quand le Vent de l’Ouest aussi avec son doux souffle,
A inspiré dans tous les bois et champs
Les plantes tendres et le jeune soleil
A couru la moitié du cours en Bélier,

Et les petites volailles chante la mélodie,
Qui dormir toute la nuit avec l’œil ouvert
(Donc la nature les pique dans leurs coeurs),
Ensuite, les gens souhaitaient faire des pèlerinages,

Et les pèlerins cherchent des rivages étranges,
Aux sanctuaires lointains, connus dans les terres diverses;
Et surtout depuis la fin de chaque cours
De l’Angleterre à Canterbury se promène,
Le saint béni martyr à chercher
Qui les a aidés quand ils étaient malades.

Middle English

Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 – 25 October 1400) is the grand daddy of English literature. Thank God he wrote in the vernacular and not in Latin as had been the custom. English is the most polyglot of languages and one may observe in Chaucer’s English bits of French, German, and Latin sprinkled throughout.

If one looks at the words of Chaucer and then listens to the sound, much of the meaning will become clear.

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour,

Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,

And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

Lost in Translation

Even the most literal of translations can be deceiving. That is a good thing for it means that Google Translate will forever require human intervention to determine the meaning of the words.

Listen is an active verb and if you don’t know what that means you haven’t been listening.

We do not know from a casual reading of The Prologue that the “ram” refers to Aries and the sign of the Zodiac that coincides with spring. Zephirius (Zepher) is the West Wind personified. The word priketh (prick) is a double entendre. Palmeres are those who carry the palm, a custom Roman Catholics continue to observe on Palm Sunday.

Otherwise, I try to stay true to the path Chaucer has taken. There are other translations. Mine is as literally as possible. Better to listen and learn.


Living color




Language is nuanced. Can you spot the differences and would you suggest others?

The valley is green, the hills are blue, the sun is a bright, bright yellow.
Here I stand, camera in hand saying to everyone and no one, hello.

La vallée est verte, les collines sont bleues, le soleil est un brillant, jaune vif.
Ici je me tiens, la caméra en main disant à tout le monde et personne, comment allez-vous?

Das Tal ist grün, die Hügel sind blau, die Sonne ist hell, hellgelb.
Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht anders, die Kamera in Hand, für jedem und niemandem, Wer sagt hallo?

Ves más allá?
El valle es verde, las colinas son azules, el sol es un amarillo brillante, brillante..

Aquí estoy, la cámara en la mano diciendo a nadie y todo el mundo, hola.




The woods are not quiet. It seems still and quiet because the sounds are different from the noise of the city. Listen and you will hear the rambling creek as it chatters with the stones, the birds up above darting in and out the branches, the squirrels in the leaves, all talking about the strange being:

Who shouldn’t be where he is but is.

1-path-2There is no reason
I stopped
My car to walk
Down a shady path
Do I need a reason to walk?
Underneath the trees
And talk to the babbling brook
It could be spring or fall
It matters not at all
But to get away
And look and listen
For nothing at all
And everything
For birds that sing
For squirrels that scamper
And announce the coming
Of a strange being
Who doesn’t belong
Out in the woods

Look at the beauty
Of a path in the woods
Meandering left and right
Lit by the light of the sun
Through the towering trees
On a dusty old path of memories
Like my scatterbrained thoughts
That go nowhere
But straight to my heart


Alors pourquoi les Français aiment-ils à dire, “On ne change pas”?


“Le monde déteste le changement, mais c’est la seule chose qui a apporté des progrès.”Charles Kettering.

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that [brings] progress.” Moreover, the only thing we can’t change is change itself, for it is inevitable in the progress of life. And what is this thing we call change? It is not something we can touch, though it can be felt. It can not be seen with the naked eye, but must be sensed. Change is the process of moving from moment to moment and then measuring the difference.