and the rains came

Folded up the sun umbrella and the lounge chairs and brought them inside.
It is raining, really raining, thanks to Isaac. Flash flood warnings—the lot. More inches expected. The Eleven Point should be running good by Sunday.


od'd on the gop

Yes, the Democrats in southern Missouri now have their very own hq where they can hang out with like-minded people in the area—all ten of them. Recent polls have Romney up by 16 points in the state, and judging by what I hear from the neighbors, I wouldn't doubt it.
Even us Dems were captivated by the spectacle of the Republican convention. Here's Franks's take:
        Romney and Ryan, the pair,
        are laying their platform bare.
        What the men share most
        of which they can boast 
        are two heads of remarkable hair. 
However, we are now sick of them and just hope (if we were religious like them, we'd pray) that we don't have to see them for four more years. Maybe I should register in Missouri.


more art, blurry

The collection of contem- porary art at Crystal Bridges was thin, but what there was the kids really liked. I liked the two paintings.



Hannah took this picture of her grandparents a few days ago, when everyone realized that soon Shirley, 95, was going to leave Walter, 100, to carry on alone. Now that has come to pass. She died at home as she had wished, surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and with her husband of some 75 years. "I'm not afraid any more," she confided towards the end. "Just very, very tired."



The water in the swimming hole is still deep, but the river has shrunk so that lots of fish have taken to hanging out there, mainly bass less than a foot long. The current is lackadaisical, and algae is growing along the shore. At this moment it looks as if Wannabe Hurricane Isaac is headed thisaway but will drop its rain in northern Arkansas just shy of us. I'm sorry for the folks in the gulf, but we could sure use some serious precip in these parts. Like to see that river running swift and clear again.



At the end of the day, Dianne moves the cattle from one dusty field to another.


outdoor sculpture

The architect of the Crystal Bridges museum, Moshe Safdie, used a natural spring to fill reflecting pools under and around the museum. Outdoor sculpture dots the walking and biking trails in the wooded area around the museum. One of the best known is a version of Robert Indiana's "Love."
And speaking of outdoor sculpture, how about this puppy! The seven-story Christ of the Ozarks. No, it's not on the museum grounds, but in Eureka Springs, Ark., about 40 miles away. No you can't go inside.


ozark home

"Rural sounds exhilarate the spirits and restore the tone of languid nature," said Cowper,  or so I believe. But what with the cattle bellowing, the coyotes howling and the damned cockerels crowing all night, I'm not sure how the tone is meant to be restored.
  In other rural news, road kill is primarily armadillos and possums, the turtles are once again crossing the roads, and, along with gun racks, Rep. Akin's antiabortion views remain mainstream. You people on the coasts who are shocked—shocked!—apparently have no understanding of rural America.


kindred spirits

 You can see the effect of viewing the Hudson River School paintings in my picture of the Civil War battleground at Pea Ridge, Ark., (above). At left is the much mourned former property of the New York Public Library, Asher Brown Durand's "Kindred Spirits," which they sold to Alice Walton for $35 million. In her museum you can walk right up to the paintings and photograph them.
  My photo would be better if the doe and her two fawns that Frank caught au naturel on the battlefield (below) were visible in my frame. preferably on the precipice. Or maybe a mountain goat. . .



 When I walked into James Turrell's commissioned sculpture, "The Way of Color," I literally staggered. Dianne was behind me, and she saw me lose my balance. It's basically a round space with a hole in the top, promising "a different experience" for every viewer depending on the light and time of day. My experience was different, all right. Vertigo persisted after I had left the space, and Dianne said she felt it too. Yes, we ate different things for lunch!


my new favorite painter

The whole reason I went to Walmartland in the first place was to go to the Walmart heiress's museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (though I cannot recommend their website whatsoever). The collection is wide ranging but spotty. Famous people with mediocre work, not-so-famous people with beautiful work, and some very famous people with very great work.
  I'm no critic, but I know what I like. Well, actually I am a critic, a critic without much of an eye or many credentials or really much knowledge.
   But I loved the museum. And this was my favorite painting, done by a painter I knew little about, Marsden Hartley. Yes, I am not stupid and I can see that he was influenced by others of the period. But, hey, I don't care—I have a whole new oeuvre to discover! And I do love this painting, which does not strike me as derivative at all.
  Upcoming: More art posts! I know y'all can't wait. . .


house that sam built

Five and dime, downtown Bentonville, Ark.

Walmart on the strip outside Bentonville
There is much—oh much—to say about our visit to the world hq of Walmart, but I can't really get started until I look at the hundreds of pictures I made of American art. So here's  a scene setter. Check out the weaponry, the  town square—and know that you are in the deep red heart of America.
   PS I don't personally boycott Walmart, but I sure know people who do. Most of them send their wives. . .


fried pies

I don't know how local this phenomenon is, all I know is that I had never had a fried pie until I moved to Thomasville. And I never had a fried pie until I got one from Babycakes, which by the way, posts available kinds of pies every day on  facebook/babycakesfriedpies  from the peach, which I tested, to strawberry-rhubarb and even chocolate. So next time you're in Mountain Home, Ark., don't pass it up. Heh, heh.


no regrets

. . .not yet, anyway.

In other news, our own Chien-Chi Chang was named one of Asia's 20 most influential photographers. He probably wouldn't care for the qualifier, but yes he has. . .


old ride

Because in the Ozarks, everyone needs a junk car in the yard.


more gardening

They laughed—nay, scoffed!—when they saw my hedge. And, ok, yeah, I mistook spirea for privet when I was transplanting from here and there around the yard, so it is a little funky. But the whole place is funky! And look, the hedge blocks the road. Some of it is like eight foot tall now. So laugh away as I continue to create privacy.
 Hey, alla you kids, get outa my yard!

PS When I was digging yesterday, I dug up an 1890 Indian head penny!


the sister gardens

Have I mentioned that my sister is the President of the Garden Club? Well, maybe it's genetic or something because here I am, working with substandard tools borrowed from Bear, actually gardening. Now the PotGC would say that now was not the appropriate time to plant crape myrtle (catawba) nor much of anything else, and she would be right. But if it is to take at all, it must be while I can water it. Downside, if it takes you will no longer see the goose; upside, same thing. So here we go. . .



This is Jack Woods, 70, who sits with his dog in front of his Ozark gas station/junk pile all the live-long day. Lest I be misled by appearances, he informed me that he and his wife have two million dollars. Plus a whole heck of a lot of stuff.


post election

 The lone election sign in the streetlight has already been changed out. On Wednesday I saw the teams out putting up the new signs for November. Yes, that's when Sen. Claire will be running against the Tea Party candidate in Missouri.
  And speaking of the Tea Party, one member tweeted that if Obama won, he would just go on the dole, because why fight it. (I must say that, judging by what I've seen around here, he's probably already on the dole, but whatever.)
    The following hilarious rant was posted in response. And while I agree with the political sentiments, as an honorary redneck I feel insulted for my friends and neighbors here who, while wrongheaded, at least have their hearts in the right place. As opposed to those, ahem, arrogant fucks on the Coasts! See original post and the following



Today my mother has a reading of her poetry at the literary sala in San Miguel.
And Jessica Rath, a friend originally of the Ozarks and now of California, has an opening in Tribecca.
Author, author!
Artist, artist!


the new shed

I know you have all been eagerly awaiting news of  improvements to the Goose. Well this is it: Bear built a new house for the well and pump, and as a side benefit I get something my heart has always desired in each and every place I live—a place to put my tiki torches!


you can't make this up

Ah, Arkansas, where the holy trinity is Father, Son and Harley.
In case you'd like to find out about services at the Biker Church. . .



The thunder-storms have been fierce around here. Night before last it wasn't too peaceful in Peace Valley.
   After one big jolt,

Dianne said, "Hope it doesn't get any of our animals."
   "My thoughts exactly," said Frank.
    But in the morning, SP, a young gelding out of a world champion stallion, was dead of a lightening bolt. For the rest of the day, Dianne talked to insurance companies and waited for a backhoe. You don't want to wait long in this weather.


summer fruit

The red ones are Marianne's Peace, then there are green zebras and a golden I don't know the name of. Stll to test taste, the pineapple tomato and the Lincoln. The boxcar, a smallish red tomato, was delish, and the two-pound Brandywine I ate for dinner last night was, as usual, heaven and so ripe it looked like stewed tomatoes on the plate. Eat your hearts out, New York City locavores.


on the way to town

I saw a bluebird, three deer and a kingfisher. And when I got there—oh, the tomatoes!

I sometimes read Byliner, a collection of long articles and fiction by well known writers. I had no idea I had a piece on the site until I saw this oldie but goodie about MIT.

OK, off to town again.