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Showing posts from April, 2015

Flying A Kite Over The Beach

P hotographs Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. Glorious fun flying a beautiful kite that a complete stranger gave to Hudson, Paradise and their best friends. He also gave them an intricate kite shaped like a ship with sails. Hopefully pictures of that to follow in future - it's more difficult to fly! P hotograph Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart.

Nina Simone - Baltimore (music video)

One of my all-time favorite songs from Nina Simone, written by Randy Newman: Baltimore. This video features great photographs of the city from 1969 by Ty Waller, who says: "Baltimore through my lens around 1969. The photos of the police on E. Chase Street were taken the day after MLK's assassination. They were sent to protect us from us. Of course this was long before the riverfront revitilization. That is why you see a few pictures of drunks and beggars. don't think that exists..." Respect to everyone in Baltimore today working toward peace!

Baltimore and the LA Riots

Sad that today is the 23rd anniversary of the beginning of the LA riots . Earlier, I watched video of the Rodney King beating, and what was truly alarming was that, terrible as it was, it didn't look as aggressive as some recent footage of police beatings that I have seen. The situation in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in a police van , and police violence and racism across America in general, suggest that little has improved since 1991, when King's beating occurred, or 1992, when his police assailants were  unexpectedly cleared by a jury, and the LA riots began in response. It’s by no means one-sided. I have driven with police officers in the most dangerous parts of Miami, and witnessed the aftermath of a man shot in the head on a Friday night - a civilian shot by another civilian. My main memory was that a young female police officer on the scene felt nauseous because she had never seen a man dying before. But the seemingly endless incidents of v

Charlie Chaplin - Peter Ackroyd's remarkable book

I was sad to finish Peter Ackroyd's brief biography of Charlie Chaplin , for a whole variety of reasons, some quite personal, others simply that the book left me even more intrigued about one of the world's - and certainly cinema's - most famous men than when I started reading it.  I could not, in the end, decide whether Ackroyd actually liked Chaplin or not, and neither perhaps could he.  Chaplin's origins in south London were so harsh that it is hard not to feel sympathy, indeed empathy, for him and to forgive, to a large (though decreasing, as his life progressed) degree the way he responded to the world.  He was entirely his own man - Ackroyd says at one point that he never liked to wear a watch or know what time it was (neither do I), nor even what day of the week it was (I suspect that might be a slight exaggeration, but I share that wish, too). He created, over a period of years, the best know

new media

Please follow me on Instagram - Keith Haring chair

P hotograph Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. Please follow me @tranquilbuddha on Instagram: This is my latest photo, of a Keith Haring chair we love and have had since the original Pop Shop in SoHo sadly closed in 2005. It has a matching blue partner!  The chairs always make me smile - except when we catch our feet on the unusually wide chair "feet" at the bottom! I've just found out that there is now an online Keith Haring Pop Shop store - and they still sell the chair in different colors at:

The 100 Acre Wood

P hotograph Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. Paradise and Hudson today in our own beloved 100 Acre Wood.  Time to play Pooh sticks!

Happy Earth Day! Let's Protect The Planet Together!

We've destroyed 90% of the world's giant redwoods. Let's not destroy the planet.  P hotograph Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. We need to protect the Earth's incredible biodiversity and threatened creatures such as the Weedy Sea Dragon.   P hotograph Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. Sea anemones are part of the ocean's natural beauty. We must respect and love all marine life!  P hotograph Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. Let's keep the oceans as clean and unexploited as possible. We are guardians of the planet!  P hotograph Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. Anyone who messes with Planet Earth will have to deal with Crazy Alex!  P hotograph Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. Today is Earth Day. Let's all work together to protect this beautiful planet, of which we are guardians not owners, for the astonishing multitude of species it supports - and for our children and grandchildren to enjo

Wong Kar-Wai Compares In The Mood For Love to Hitchcock's Vertigo

Wong Kar-Wai's In The Mood For Love. Wong Kar-Wai's In The Mood For Love is an incomparable film, beautiful in the way music is beautiful. You can enjoy it for its narrative or you can enjoy favorite passages, over and over again. It is one of my go-to films, for reflection, meditation and sheer pleasure. The quote below, provided by youmightfindyourself on Tumblr , is a fascinating allusion from Wong Kar-Wai, comparing In The Mood For Love to Vertigo. They are both unforgettable films. Wong Kar-Wai states he was very influenced by Hitchcock’s Vertigo while making this film, and compares Tony Leung’s film character to James Stewart’s: “The role of Tony in the film reminds me of Jimmy Stewart’s in Vertigo. There is a dark side to this character.  I think it’s very interesting that most of the audience prefers to think that this is a very innocent relationship.  These are the good guys, because their spouses are the first ones to be unfait

The Common Core Tests - Is Pearson Engaged In PSYOPS?

Just two of the Common Core English Language Arts questions from 2014. As a lifelong writer, I do not feel that any of the sentences in Part B support Part A with any great degree of logic. There is a growing and well justified rebellion around the nation at the oh so mellifluously named Common Core standardized tests inflicted on children either last week or this. The Washington Post just ran an excellent article by Valerie Strauss , titled Educators alarmed by some questions on N.Y. Common Core tests. It details, quite eloquently, the despair - I think that is the appropriate word - of many educators tasked with preparing children for the tests, and just as importantly, consoling them afterwards - not because of the results necessarily, but simply the vastly unpleasant, confusing, often age-inappropriate and ridiculously epic nature of the tests themselves. Valerie quotes the principal of "a well regarded elementary school in an affluent 'gold-coast' distr

Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky - Always On My Mind

I have written several times about the influence on me of Paul Bowles' remarkable novel, The Sheltering Sky. This post perhaps explains best my fascination with the book. Tonight I am thinking of two of my favorite passages, which I have quoted before. The first is this, which upon reading the first time, literally changed the way I thought about life: "Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It's that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more

Opera San Jose - The Magic Flute

P hotograph Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. Our whole family hugely enjoyed the dress rehearsal today of Opera San Jose’s production of Mozart’s sublime The Magic Flute , opening this Saturday.   Hudson and Paradise had never seen an opera before, and this homeschool-only full dress rehearsal was a wonderful opportunity for them to enjoy their introduction both to the drama and magic of The Magic Flute (read this  fascinating entry at Wikipedia  about its history), and to the beauty of its music and voices.  The production was a great mix of classical and contemporary, totally engaging, and attracting prolonged applause and whistles from its young audience at its conclusion. It was definitely less radical than the Peter Sellars Magic Flute , set in LA with skateboards, that I saw (and enjoyed) at Glyndebourne some years back. P hotograph Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. We also loved the historic California Theater , which originally opened in

Happiness On The Beach

P hotographs Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. P hotographs Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart.

Paradise's Story About Whitey The Mouse

P hotographs Copyright  ©  2015 A lexander Chow-Stuart. Our six year old daughter Paradise had a big day this week. On Tuesday morning, she wrote (or dictated) four stories in a row, each one quite magical. In the afternoon, she learned to balance on her bike - and rode for two or three miles with us a couple of days later. Of her stories, my favorite was this one, about Whitey, her pet mouse, who sadly died recently...but who lives on in this beautiful tale of her ocean adventure in a coconut and her friendship with Whistle the Dolphin. Paradise and I actually found a coconut washed up on the beach last year, and imagined that it might have sailed across the great Pacific from Hawaii or some South Seas island. Perhaps it's the very one that Whitey the Mouse traveled here in! P hotograph Copyright  ©  2014 A lexander Chow-Stuart P hotograph Copyright  ©  2014 A lexander Chow-Stuart