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Monday, November 30, 2020


Cartoon by Danny Shanahan from the book "Everyone's a Critic."

n its Page Turner section, New Yorker magazine recently published “The Tennessee Solution to Disappearing Book Reviews,” by Casey Sep, who profiled how Chapter 16, one of a few nonprofit media outlets in the country dedicated to coverage of the arts, goes about its business of books and book reviews. 

Ms. Cep, a one woman crowd in literary book review circles, points out newspapers across the nation have cut back or cancelled book review sections to the point authors are finding it difficult to have their works reviewed. And, she writes how Chapter 16 organizers in Nashville. Have stepped up to fill an ever expanding void. “...Chapter 16 is part-digital, part-print publication that covers literature and literary life in the state by doing what almost any other outlet would—running reviews, profiles and essays,” wrote Ms. Cep. 

For the entire article click here.  

Meanwhile, here’s a brief excerpt from Ms. Cep’s New Yorker article: 

"...Tim Henderson, the executive director of Humanities Tennessee, the state’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, remembers noticing fewer book reviews and fewer publications, but also talking with struggling local arts and culture writers. 

“When we saw the disappearance of arts coverage across the state, it was obvious we should respond,” Henderson said, “but not how.” Humanities Tennessee eventually created something called Chapter 16: a part-digital, part-print publication that covers literature and literary life in the state by doing what almost any other outlet would—running reviews, profiles, interviews, and essays—but also by doing what almost no other outlet could afford to do: giving away its content for free, not only to readers but to any publication of any kind that wants to reproduce it. 

“We knew there was an audience for this, and we serve readers, not a bottom line, so we wanted to find a way to provide this free of charge,” Henderson said. That is why, every week, as many as half a million people read something from Chapter 16, and it is why, although the outlet calls itself “a community of Tennessee writers, readers, and passersby,” it offers what might be a model of sustainable arts coverage for the rest of the country. From the beginning, Henderson and his colleagues hoped that Chapter 16 would become a template for other states and regions where arts coverage is disappearing but grants, donations, and, above all, readers still exist. “This is a model people should really be looking at,” Serenity Gerbman, a program director at Humanities Tennessee, said. “We really think it’s the future of local journalism.” 

Writer Casey Cep has written for Pacific Standard, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Times and the New Republic. 

For a menu of articles by Ms. Cep click here.

Drawing by Pacific Standard.

Sunday, November 29, 2020


Top: Eugene Atget, Lower, Mauricio Lima, New York Times

Comparing old images with new ones is not an original photographic technique—unless the subject happens to be Paris. 

Eugene Atget’s early photographs of “Paris, 100 years later” is the title of a remarkable 2020 photo essay in the New York Times. 

The Times commissioned photographer Mauricio Lima to recapture the sepia-esque mood of Atget’s early work by following up with new images of the same location a century or he new images were easier to photograph because the 21st century Covid-19 pandemic made the streets of Paris virtually empty. 

 It fit the style of Atget’s (1857-1927) because the pioneer photographer preferred to capture the real city devoid of as many humans as possible. Atget was not a hermit albeit he was a loner and the reason he woke up early to photograph his native city was so he could better compose still life scenes. 

Eugene Atget, 1927
by Berenice Abbott

Though his modest purpose when making photographs was to create documents for other artists and craftsmen to use for their art—the sign outside of his studio read, “Documents pour artistes” (“Documents for artists”)—the cache of photographs he left behind testify to his own artistic talent. 

So often historical photos, especially pre-world war II by early photographers, often produced straight forward uninspired images with little regard for composition. Thanks to Atget the world has a irreplaceable universe of more than 8,500 expertly composed images of Beaux-Artes Paris and its surroundings before modernization replaced so many of the structures. 

“...For more than 20 years I have been working alone and of my own initiative in all the old streets of Old Paris to make a collection of 18 × 24cm photographic negatives: artistic documents of beautiful urban architecture from the 16th to the 19th centuries…today this enormous artistic and documentary collection is finished; I can say that I possess all of Old Paris...” — Eugène Atget, Atget, E. Letter to Paul Léon, Ministre des Beaux-Arts, November 12, 1920. 

Wikipedia has a solid bio of Eugene Atget, including many of the photographer’s best work in WikiCommons: Click here.

For the New York Times photo essay: Click here. 

After Atget’s death in 1927, a young American photographer, who became a huge fan of Atget’s collected as much of his work as she could afford and/or obtain. She brought that work to America, where over the next 50 years Berenice Abbott championed Eugene Atget by presenting his work to galleries and museums in America and Europe. 

London gallery Huxley-Parlour offered the following liner notes from a modern day exhibition of Atget’s work, including the contributions to his legacy by Bernice Abbott and others: 

From Huxley-Parlour: Man Ray played an important role in Berenice Abbott’s early development as a photographer by introducing her to the work of Eugène Atget. The reclusive photographer refused to acknowledge that his work was art, or even photography, preferring to call his images of Paris streets and gardens ‘documents pour artistes’. 

Atget had become something of a legend amongst the Man Ray’s circle, being adopted as a proto-Surrealist and a figurehead for the movement. Abbott visited Atget and convinced him to come to her studio to have his portrait taken. The resulting photographs show the elderly photographer to be world-weary, his back stooped and his gaze distant. 

Having made prints of the photographs, Abbott went to Atget’s studio several days later to show him but discovered that he had died. Fearing that Atget’s colossal collection of prints and glass plates might be lost, Abbott set about trying to acquire them with the financial support of friends. 

She resultantly became the sole owner of the Atget collection and would toil tirelessly to garner Atget the recognition she knew him to deserve. Abbott returned to New York in 1929, telling her friends in Paris that she was going for a six-week visit in order to find a publisher for the Atget collection. She found New York in the midst of its second great building boom and bought a small, hand-held camera to take photographs of the city streets which she planned to take back to Paris to show magazine editors. Seeing the massive artistic potential in New York, Abbott returned briefly to Paris and sold all her belongings apart from the Atget collection which she took back to New York. 

Berenice Abbott
Abbott’s friends thought she was mad to leave her successful business and burgeoning fame in Paris, but she was determined to find a publisher for Atget’s photographs and was eager to return to New York. In October 1929 the stock market crashed and the United States began to spiral into the Great Depression. 

Having left her profitable business in Paris, Abbott was forced to sell a share of the Atget collection to art dealer, Julian Levy, who intended to exhibit and sell the prints. Levy found the market uninterested in Atget’s work, however, and was unable to sell it. He quickly resumed selling paintings. The Museum of Modern Art would acquire the Atget Collection from Abbott and Levy in 1968. It was the largest single acquisition in the history of the museum’s photography department. 

Pont Marie

Parc St. Cloud


Cafe,  Avenue de la Grande Armee, 1924

Rue de la Montagne- St. Genevieve

Rue de Seine

Atget's Salon

Eugene Atget, 1890, age 33.

Saturday, November 28, 2020


architecture and design web page just published a wonderful article on a new coffee house in the Xuhui district of Shanghai, China. Design by Beijing based Blue Architecture Studio. For the deZeen article click here. 

Shanghai's % Arabica coffee house in Shanghai from deZeen magazine


WEEKLY COFFEE QUIZ--Where in the world is this coffee establishment? Answer next Saturday in Coffee Beans & Beings post.


LAST WEEK'S WHERE IN THE WORLD COFFEE HOUSE: Here’s the coffee deck of the hotel Ona Havstuer, where the fresh air is unbelievable and the views are terrific. This tiny but touristy island is located in the North Atlantic off the west coast of Norway. If Ona looks familiar you’ve probably seen it star in a current Allstate Insurance TV commercial.

Friday, November 27, 2020


Harvesting cranberries in New Jersey, 1938

--You may have noticed that in recent years almost every healthy food product that you come across boasts about their “high antioxidant levels”. This post will help you understand why antioxidants help your body in plenty of different ways, especially after feasting at the Thanksgiving table. 

What are Antioxidants? 

If we are to know about antioxidants, we must first know what free radicals are. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that are naturally formed when you exercise and when your body converts food into energy. 

Your body can also be exposed to free radicals from a variety of environmental sources, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and sunlight. Free radicals can cause “oxidative stress,” a process that can trigger cell damage. Oxidative stress is thought to play a role in a variety of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.” 

Antioxidants are any substances that inhibit free radicals (unstable molecules that damage healthy molecules by stealing their electrons). Free radicals are also thought to contribute to aging and many other degenerative diseases such as cancer, although laboratories have not formed a full result on this. Antioxidants supply free radicals with an electron and stop the chain reaction of the free radical stealing elections from healthy molecules. 

Which Antioxidants are the best? 

It has been debated over time on which Antioxidant has the most potential as a free radical neutralizer, so below we have compiled the top ten in no particular order. 


Cranberries are a popular fruit around the holidays and a great antioxidant. They treat urinary tract infections, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and because they are an antioxidant, reduce the risk of cancer. Nutrients in cranberries include (100g): Vitamin C 22% of the DV Dietary fiber 4.6 g 18% of the DV Vitamin B-6 5% of the DV 


Blueberries are extremely popular berries that serve as an amazing antioxidant. According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, blueberries are believed to have the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables. (100 g) of blueberries provides just some of the following nutrients: Calories: 57 Fiber: 2.4 grams Vitamin C: 16% of the DV Vitamin B-6: 5% of the DV Potassium: 2% of the DV 

Dark Chocolate 

Everyone loves chocolate. According to Healthline, Dark chocolate may improve blood pressure and has tons of antioxidants, even more than blueberries. Healthline notes that dark chocolate is best consumed in moderation as dark chocolate also has 600 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 g). (Which is way more than you should eat regularly.) 100 g (3.5 ounces) comes with these nutrients and more: Iron: 11.9 m Magnesium: 228 mg Potassium: 715 mg Protein: 7.79 g Fat: 42.63 g Zinc: 3.31 mg  


It is said that raspberries are one of natures superfruits. They aid in heart health, digestion, detoxing, keeping eyes healthy, and, of course, as an antioxidant. They also taste exceptional. Some nutrients in raspberries (100 g): Potassium 151 mg Vitamin C 43% of the DV Magnesium 5% of the DV Protein 1.2 g 2% of DV 


Strawberries are of the most popular berries inside the United States. They prevent stroke, heart disease, constipation, blood pressure, diabetes, are a great fruit to eat during pregnancy, and serve as a phenomenal antioxidant; according to Medical News Today. Nutrients from 100 g include: Magnesium 3% of the DV Fiber 2g 8% of the DV and are rich in folic acid. 


Spinach is the first vegetable on our list for being a top antioxidant. It helps to lower blood pressure, cancer prevention, bone health, healthy skin/hair and is rich in many vitamins. Some vitamins it has (100g): Protein: 2.9 g (per 100 g) Iron: 2.71 mg (per 100 g) Potassium: 558 mg (per 100 g) Calcium: 99 mg (per 100 g) 


Oranges are a great citrus fruit antioxidant and an amazing source of vitamin C. Oranges prevent stroke, help lower blood pressure, heart health, and help lower glucose levels for those with type 1 diabetes(according to Medical News Today). Nutrients include (100g): Vitamin C 88% of the DV Fiber 2.4g 9% of the DV Potassium 181mg 5% of the DV Vitamin B-6 5%  DV 


Beans are the most diverse antioxidant. There are lima beans, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, green beans, and so many other types. While they all vary in shape, taste, and color, they mostly keep the same nutrients. Beans are a good protein source, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve stomach health, prevent liver diseases, and have many more health benefits. According to Medical News Today, it is important to note that some people are allergic to beans and legumes and some beans are harmful to eat raw (always cook beans for over 10 minutes.) Nutrients include (Pinto beans, 100g): Protein 21 g 42% of the DV Magnesium 44% of the DV Potassium 1393mg 39% of the DV Calcium 11% of the DV 


Blackberries originated in Europe but are now being grown in America. They are delicious and are full of antioxidants. Scientists are still determining the full benefits of blackberries on one’s health, but they definitely are a good antioxidant. Some are allergic to blackberries, some consult a doctor before consuming. Nutrients include(100g): Vitamin C 35% of the DV Dietary fiber 5 g 20% of the DV 


Kale is a type of cabbage that is rich in vitamins and is a great antioxidant. Kale is sometimes used in smoothies and salads. Kale prevents cancer, promotes bone health, and since it contains vitamin C, is a great vegetable to promote healthy skin/hair. Kale should be taken in moderation, as consuming too much potassium can be fatal for those whose kidneys are not functioning fully, according to the Medical News Today. Nutrients from 100 grams of kale include: Vitamin C 200% of the DV Potassium 491 mg 14% of the DV Magnesium 11% of the DV Vitamin A 199% of the DV 

WHO IS OVERCOMERS? Overcomers is a breast cancer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a sisterhood for breast cancer survivors. Our mission is to be real in sharing our needs, build strong foundational relationships, and walk out our journey in victory serving others in our circle of influence. Together we can rebuild lives one piece at a time. We offer a 9-week faith centered workshop for breast cancer survivors in the spring and fall every year, one-day workshops for the spouses of breast cancer survivors, annual retreats for breast cancer survivors, and adopting breast cancer families during the holidays. These classes focus weekly on different topics and address many of the concerns that face breast cancer survivors following active treatment. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020


n 1978, Christopher Koch penned the novel “The Year of Living Dangerously,” a romantic drama set in Indonesia during a government revolt. 

 In 2020, we all lived dangerously as a pandemic swept the world. Gone was Halloween and Thanksgiving holiday today in the States is not the same. 

But, thanks to others we survived. 

We made the best of it. And, we will endure with the memories of loved ones alive and those lost. 

Looking behind and afar. Mr. Hubbell’s telescope has starkly informed us we are alone in our neighboring universe, yet here at home we are one. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could truly get along and enjoy this amazing gift to be human on this oasis in space? 

 Happy Thanksgiving Day  from the Staff of 


PostScript: 1: 

Be Truly Thankful. This is also the year we are no longer selfish—open our eyes to details large and small that we ignore just to hear ourselves talk. Pay attention to the others around the Thanksgiving table or on Zoom that make your life fantastic. Look for the enriching details. Comment on the menu on the dinner table. Read it with care. Someone who loves you spent time putting it together—for you! This Thanksgiving heap extra praise and thanks on others. Life is so much better when we care. 

PostScript: 2: 

The Ones You Love.  From MSNBC: TV anchor Rachel Maddow made an impassioned plea on air recently live from her home after announcing her partner of 21 years, Susan Mikula, had fallen ill with the coronavirus. Calling Mikula the "center" of her life, the TV personality said her partner had been sick for the past few weeks, "and at one point, we really thought there was a possibility that it might kill her." 

Mikula, Maddow in healthier times**

"She’s gotten sicker and sicker, while I tried to care for her while still staying physically apart from her," Maddow said, explaining her absence from the airwaves. 

"And the bottom line is that she’s going to be fine, she’s recovering, she’s still sick but she’s going to be OK." 

Maddow said she had continued to test negative for COVID-19 since Mikula's diagnosis. She added that she'd stayed up all night, "freaking out" and calling doctors, "trying to figure out how to keep (Mikula) breathing and out of the hospital." 

She implored people to stay home for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, citing her own experience as a cautionary tale. "Whatever you have calculated into your life as acceptable risk, as inevitable risk, something you’re willing to go through in terms of this virus because statistically ... probably it’ll be fine for you and your loved ones, I’m just here to tell you to recalibrate that," she said. 

"What you need to know is that whoever is the most important person in your life — whoever you most love and most care for and most cherish in the world — that’s the person who you may lose." 

She added Thanksgiving "is going to suck" but it will "suck so much less than you or somebody in your family getting this and getting sick. Trust me." "I’m guessing that you might be willing to risk yourself. Especially after all these months and all this time, it’s so frustrating," she said. "I would’ve done anything, I would’ve moved mountains for it to have been me who was sick these past couple of weeks instead of Susan. I still would. But this thing does not give you that choice." 

"It won’t necessarily be you, it’ll be the person you most care about in the world, and all you can do to stop that is move heaven and earth to not get it and to not transmit it." 

PS: 3: 

For later tonight: The film “Year of Living Dangerously”(directed by Peter Weir) is worth a look. Made in 1982, here’s a brief peek: When journalist Guy Hamilton (Mel Gibson) arrives in Jakarta, Indonesia, he has difficulty making contacts. He forms a friendship with dwarf photographer Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt), through whom he meets British diplomat Jill Bryant (Sigourney Weaver). Bryant falls for Hamilton, and she gives him key information about an approaching Communist uprising. As the city becomes more dangerous, Hamilton stays to pursue the story. However, he faces more threats as he gets closer to the government. 

Credits: **Photography by Nancy Palmieri from a Internet screensnap.


"Yeah, you and what army?"

GUEST BLOG / By CNN’s Wellness Reporter Sandee LaMotte
--Ask yourself: Why am I doing this? "In terms of deciding whether or not you want to have a conversation with somebody across political lines, it is important to be aware of what your own motivations are," said Tania Israel, author of "Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide: Skills and Strategies for Conversations That Work." 

"If your goal is to change the other person's mind in one conversation, you're going to be really disappointed, because you're not likely to be that effective," cautioned Vaile Wright, American Psychological Association's senior director of health care innovation. 

You're not nuts. This really is a crazy time. Here are a dozen ways to cope: 

 Click here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


As only the outstanding design website dezeen can do, the Brit-based webmag featured 30 dramatic contemporary kitchens from its cache of editorial and photo archives. Pretty smooth. 

Click here. 

Monday, November 23, 2020


My work was driven by a desire to understand the mysteries of the universe. Then I faced loss that defied understanding. Illustration by Shuhua Xiong, The New Yorker magazine. 

GUEST BLOG / A personal history by Sarah Stewart Johnson. 

On a leaden afternoon at the end of last August, six months before the pandemic took hold of the country, I found myself in an I.C.U. near Washington, D.C., breathing by way of a ventilator. I was fully conscious, having lost too much blood to risk sedation. I remember gripping the button on the morphine drip. When a nurse changed the position of my bed, my neck wrenched to the side, and saliva began to pool in my throat. 

With my index finger, I spelled “C-H-O-K-I-N-G” over and over again on my husband’s hand, until the nurse returned with a suction bulb. For that terror-filled night and into the next day, the machine drew my breaths in and out. 

Sarah Stewart Johnson

Sunday, November 22, 2020


 “From “Why Won’t Emily Murphy Just Do Her Job?” published in The Atlantic Magazine. 

In delaying the transition, the General Services Administration chief is acting like an ideologue. 

GUEST SHARE / By Anne Applebaum, staff writer at The Atlantic Magazine--I don’t know for certain that Emily Murphy gets up in the morning, looks in the mirror and says to herself, “You are a good person.” 

But I am willing to bet that she does. Most people in her position—most people who are undermining the rules of their group, destroying their institution, harming their society—are doing so because they have become convinced that they are good people, virtuous people, brave people, dedicated people. 

Nothing suggests that Murphy is an exception. 

 Murphy is the head of the General Services Administration, the unglamorous bit of the federal government that actually runs the federal government. Part of her job—a part that no one has ever before considered controversial or even noteworthy—is to “ascertain” who has won the U.S. presidential election, and then to release the congressionally mandated funds that allow the winner to begin his transition. 

Usually, that process also unlocks cooperation between incoming and outgoing officials. Before leaving office in 2017, aides to Barack Obama had prepared elaborate explanations of the state of the world, including a 69-page playbook for how to manage a pandemic. They handed the documents over to Donald Trump’s transition team, which ignored them. 

For the complete article in The Atlantic: click here. 


 LIFE withheld the gruesome frame No. 313 (above)—a picture that became influential by its absence. That one, where the bullet exploded the side of Kennedy’s head, is still shocking when seen today, a reminder of the seeming suddenness of death.
It is the most famous home movie ever, and the most carefully studied image, an 8-millimeter film that captured the death of a President. The movie is just as well known for what many say it does or does not reveal, and its existence has fostered countless conspiracy theories about that day in Dallas.

But no one would argue that what it shows is not utterly heartbreaking, the last moments of life of the youthful and charismatic John Fitzgerald Kennedy as he rode with his wife Jackie through Dealey Plaza. Amateur photographer Abraham Zapruder had eagerly set out with his Bell & Howell camera on the morning of November 22, 1963, to record the arrival of his hero.

Yet as Zapruder filmed, one bullet struck Kennedy in the back, and as the President’s car passed in front of Zapruder, a second one hit him in the head. LIFE correspondent Richard Stolley bought the film the following day, and the magazine ran 31 of the 486 frames—which meant that the first public viewing of Zapruder’s famous film was as a series of still images. At the time, LIFE withheld the gruesome frame No. 313—a picture that became influential by its absence. That one, where the bullet exploded the side of Kennedy’s head, is still shocking when seen today, a reminder of the seeming suddenness of death.

What Zapruder captured that sunny day would haunt him for the rest of his life. It is something that unsettles America, a dark dream that hovers at the back of our collective psyche, an image from a wisp of 26.5 seconds of film whose gut-wrenching impact reminds us how everything can change in a fraction of a moment.

SOURCE: LIFE Magazine.

Saturday, November 21, 2020



Image by Edwin Loekemeija, Amsterdam 

 Image by Marc Koetse image

Panta Rhei & Café Dias, Bratislava, Slovak Republic.


West Hastings Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, via Sandra O’Connell. 



LAST WEEK’S COFFEE QUIZ ANSWEROne of the first Starbucks Reserves in the U.S. opened in 2017 in Palm Springs, CA. The Reserve bars are designed for the coffee connoisseur, to give patrons with discriminating palates a special taste of premium coffee brews. Special lounge areas are available as a coffee bar for 12, where patrons can watch Clover brewed, pour-over, cold brew, nitro cold brew, coffee press, chemex and siphon drinks being made.


WEEKLY COFFEE QUIZ--Where in the world is this coffee establishment? Answer next Saturday in Coffee Beans & Beings post.