When Death Comes, by Mary Oliver

•January 17, 2019 • Leave a Comment

mary oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.


by Mary Oliver


Cover Release for The Colonel’s Wife

•January 17, 2019 • Leave a Comment

My translation of The Colonel’s Wife by Rosa Liksom, coming out in fall of 2019, now has a cover!

the colonel's wife

Designed by Kimberly Glyder, who also did the cover for Compartment No 6.

I’ll put up some links to this intense book as publication date approaches.

More posts about books

Bryan Northup’s Plastic Sculptures

•January 12, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Bryan Northup builds beautiful sushi-like sculptures made of the single-use plastics that choke our oceans.

screen shot 2019-01-12 at 10.14.34 am


screen shot 2019-01-12 at 10.15.40 am


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Northup says, “My intent is to stage an intervention about modern society’s craving for convenience and dependence on this toxic material.”

They remind me of millefiori candies.

More of these colorful, inedible artworks at Artaxis and on Bryan Northup’s website.

Photos by the artist.

More art.



Trump Prophecy on 1950’s TV Show

•January 12, 2019 • 1 Comment

It was all foreseen by Robert Culp.

Tune in to Trackdown!

Our Year at the Movies

•January 5, 2019 • Leave a Comment


As we do every year, Rick and I saved up our ticket stubs and looked through them on New Year’s Day to reminisce about the fun movies, plays, exhibitions, and other tickety things we did over the past year.

And in that same tradition, here is a brief rundown of the best movies we saw in 2018.

It was an unusually good year for women in our moviegoing. Among the films many readers will have already heard of, we particularly enjoyed director Greta Gerwig’s  Lady Bird, Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? and the girl realism of Eighth Grade.

A great girl-centered movie that you might not have heard of was Supa Modo, the first feature-length film by Kenyan director Likarion Wainaina, about a sick little girl who dreams of being a superhero. The low-budget magic of this movie reminded me of the excellent international films I watched on the CBS Children’s Film Festival when I was a kid.

A movie that got less attention then I think it deserved was Puzzle, with a riveting performance by Kelly Macdonald, and Irrfan Khan wielding the tossed-off charisma of an old-fashioned movie star. Take a script for a rather formulaic, vaguely pop-feminist romantic comedy, then film it as a quiet drama with thoughtful direction and really interesting performances, and you get Puzzle.

The Icelandic film Under the Tree was one of our favorites from SIFF this year. A dark, dark comedy that I watched nearly to the end before realizing that it was basically an Icelandic revenge story in the tradition of the sagas, only funnier.

I am a fan of Spike Lee. Rick, not so much. But we both loved BlacKkKlansman. Great, based-on-a-true story, fantastic music, powerful message. And a bonus for Finnophiles in the creditable and creepy performance of Jasper Pääkkönen.

The Florida Project is all about innocent childhood fun and resilience. Until it’s suddenly about America. A great mix of professional and non-professional child and adult actors, and one of the saddest, most beautiful film endings I’ve ever seen.

We lucked out this year with two films by our favorite director, Hirozaku Kore-eda. Both combine dire deeds with the deep family emotion he captures like no one else can, and both were brilliant. If you haven’t seen all his films, then get on it.

The Third Murder


Do you have any movies to recommend?

Our Years at the Movies past


The Global Detective Agency

•January 5, 2019 • 1 Comment

I’ve been receiving some mysterious correspondence from Toronto that I’m not really at liberty to discuss, but I can say that it led to my joining the Global Detective Agency. The agency sent me a badge, which I duly signed & laminated.

detective badge

I’ve gotten the occasional notice that tells me I am in 1940’s Los Angeles, that the city council is no doubt corrupt, the police force is tainted with mob money, and the mayor is running for re-election. The agency will send me my first case in February.

What brings me to the Chawed Rosin is where I’ll be working: 304 South Broadway Street. This is the Bradbury Building, and you might look at it using google’s street view. If you do, you will find a truly beautiful interior, and these two elevator operators:

Please look closely:

Despite this being found on google, I can’t help but think these two work for the Global Detective Agency, and that I may be interacting with them come Feb. I find the whole thing mysterious, and I confess I don’t know what to make of it.

Animation: ball & stick

•January 4, 2019 • Leave a Comment

One so rarely gets such a sweet, pure dose of unadulterated weirdness.

A smooth and consumable creation of Bill Wurtz.

(Thanks for the link, Miss Cellania!)

More animation

Another Year of Chawing Rosin

•January 1, 2019 • 4 Comments

It was a banner year for the old Chawed Rosin blob, which welcomed its 2 millionth visitor at some point a couple of months back.lady-with-a-squirrel-and-starling

In other stats, the most popular posting made this year was a link to Isaiah Sheffer’s wonderful reading of Ian Frazer’s Lamentations of the Father.

But the post with the most visits during the year was Bread and Roses, by James Oppenheim, posted ten years ago. That is no doubt because the Chawed Rosin now has the distinction of being cited in the article on that topic on Wikipedia. Cool.

The most frequent search term leading to the Chawed Rosin was “uncle arthur bedtime stories“. Other interesting search terms were “how to knit rug with yarn of old t shits” [sp?], the very practical “can lysol on sex toy cause vaginal itch“, and the mysterious “meg giggs“, which a little research reveals to be the name of Hans Holbein‘s lady with the squirrel.

The most frequently accessed image on the site was, not surprisingly, the perky snood.

Here’s wishing you all a banner 2019.

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