Ken and Canaletto

Ken Small, 84, who lives near Darlington in County Durham, worked as a mechanic until he retired aged 65, at which point he realized his true calling was painting.Ken Small.jpg
Here is Ken Small proudly posing next to his own life-size version of ‘Venice’ by 18th Century Italian artist Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697 – 1768), better known as Canaletto.

Ken Small Canaletto

Ken or Canaletto?

Couldn’t resist the article about talented Ken.

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Women Of The World And Kurt Vonnegut’s Wife

This post was previously published on March 8, 2013. Today is year another March 8th, International Women’s Day…

Although barely noticed in the good old US of A, March 8th is celebrated around the world as the International Women’s Day. Good old Google, bless its loopy heart, celebrates International Women’s Day with a doodle of women from around the world, have you noticed?

Millions of Russian women – as far as I remember back when I used to be one – celebrate this day as it were yet another Valentine’s Day, invented exclusively for women – mothers, wives, lovers, friends. Flowers, attention and token gifts are expected from husbands, sons, boyfriends, classmates, coworkers and, generally, all those who – for one reason or another — sometimes, without any reason whatsoever — consider themselves MEN of at least 5 years of age with no upper limit. Women’s working conditions, struggle for equal pay, and nearly everything else that this day was designated to become since early 1900’s, gets often forgotten or relinquished to the effort of activists.

All pretty flowers and Umberto Tozzi crooning something sweet with the refrain “Te Amo” – the heart-melting words of love…

vonnegut lettersNow then, what Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., one of my favorite writers, has to do with any of it? Well, it might seem rather far-fetched, tenuous  connection at best, but at certain time of his life, Kurt Vonnegut behaved like your ordinary Russian husband on March 8th…

3 days ago, a book Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, edited by Dan Wakefield, came out. In it, very early on, because it is dated January 26, 1947, there is a hilarious document… Take a look. If your sense of humor is comparable to that of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut and, well, mine, then you’d get a kick out of it too. Very fittingly, I’ve got the book today, March the 8th, on the International Woman’s Day. The text below is a courtesy of the Harper’s Magazine — the excerpt from the book was published in October of last year.

Kurt_Vonnegut

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v3And purely for fun, I’ll throw in another Women’s Day Russian clip, featuring Russian men in various stages of dishabille, wishing women everywhere Happy Women’s Day and hoping to impress them with tastefully (or not) decorated areas below their waists. The lyrics  of the song… is unimaginative at best. Turn off the sound if it annoys you.

Please be warned that flowers and various props notwithstanding, a few male bare bottoms with no adornment whatsoever might be observed.

World Writers Day

Paper_Sculptures_Jeff_Nishinaka1.jpgThe World Writers Day is celebrated annually on March 3 since 1986. It was established by the International Congress of PEN Club.

The International PEN Club is a worldwide association of writers founded in London in 1921, in order to promote friendship and intellectual support among writers from all the corners of the world. The name for the organization was created from the first letters of the words “Poets, Essayists and Novelists,” but indeed it includes writers of all the forms of literature, including journalists and historians.

The idea to create such organization belongs to the English writer Catherine Amy Dawson Scott and its first president was John Galsworthy. Nowadays the International PEN Club has its centers in over 130 countries. The International PEN Club is the oldest global literary organization that emphasizes the role of literature in the development of the world culture, fighting for the liberty of expression.