Monthly Archives: September, 2014

Lawrence Durrell’s ‘Alexandria Quartet’ | Flashback | OZY

Lust, Obsession + Intrigue in an Enduring Midwar Masterpiece

Lawrence Durrell Desk


When novelist Lawrence Durrell was up for consideration for the 1962 Nobel Prize in literature for his four-novel series, The Alexandria Quartet, a curious thing happened.

On his way to losing — as he did that year, to John Steinbeck — Durrell was judged by the Nobel Committee to be more of a wait-and-see kind of candidate. Which, under normal circumstances, when the best of the best are being weighed in the balance, is not that unusual.

Hothouse soap operatics aside, the Quartet details difficult adult issues …

Not unusual at all, until you get to why the committee felt that way. The quartet of novels — 1957’s Justine, then 1958’s Balthazar, followed that same year by Mountolive and ending in 1960 with Clea — had been examined the year before, when the committee ruled Durrell out on the grounds that he gave off “a dubious aftertaste.”

Due in large part to … ? His “monomaniacal preoccupation with erotic complications.”


via Lawrence Durrell’s ‘Alexandria Quartet’ | Flashback | OZY.


Signs Your Wife is Trying to Kill You

Vintage Postcard Humor: Biggest Show

Welcome to an old College Friend: Bill Davidson

Although many of you are not in the Boston area, I wanted to update you to what’s been happening with my photography. It’s been a very busy summer. There are several shows that I am participating in and a website.

First of all, there is a newly revised – and almost completed – website at Please browse at your convenience. It will now be updated regularly as portfolios and series are added or expanded. (Some detailed information will be added but I didn’t want to wait any longer.)
2014 Tom Kavanaugh-Final
Tom and His Painting (above)

Who I Am…

I have a solo show currently at the Bedford Public Library that runs through 12 November. It includes (17) portraits from the “Who I Am…” series that I have been working on for the past 3-4 years with Advocates, a social services agency headquartered in Framingham, MA. All of the images are relatively large format including (4) 20×24 inch images, (3) of which are sepia-toned gelatin silver prints. The rest are 16×20 pigment prints.
If you are in the area, please join me at the reception on Sunday, 21 September, from 5-6PM at the Bedford Public Library. I’d love to show you the results so far.
2014 BlueVasesMoon-Final--Molding
Semblance and Affinity

In addition, I have (6) images from a new and on-going portfolio, “Semblance and Affinity”, at the Griffin Museum of Photography in the 20th Atelier Show. (One of my images has been added into the Griffin homepage banner on the homepage.) The show runs through October 5th.


In addition, I have an image, also from the “Semblance and Affinity” series, in the RODDY show at the Concord Art Association, a juried group show that runs through 17 October 2014.
And finally, there is another photo, an abstract infrared piece, in the Members’ Show at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton starting on 25 October 2014 and running through 15 February 2015.

Please contact me with any questions. I hope I see you all soon, and some of you at the reception.

All the best.  b

Whoever Saves a Life — Matter — Medium

In a war with many villains, these are the good guys. Seven days inside the life-and-death world of Syria’s first responders — the last hope for civilians caught in the chaos.

By Matthieu Aikins
Photographs and video by Sebastiano Tomada

Aleppo City, June 18, 2014.

The dawn found them sprawled like corpses around the cramped station room, atop a collection of soiled floor mats and a metal bunk that listed heavily to one side. They lay close together, some still wearing their uniforms from the night before. On a typical day in Aleppo, they would soon be woken by the sound of helicopters and jets roaring in to drop the first bombs on the rebel-held side of the city, which the regime has sought to pound to dust. But it was quiet this morning, and so they slept.

Standing outside his office next door, Khaled Hajjo, leader of the Hanano Civil Defense team, dragged on the first of many Gitanes and surveyed his small domain. The one-story, cinderblock station house was set in the corner of a large concrete lot the size of a soccer pitch, its perimeter hemmed by a 12-foot stone wall. At the far end of the lot was a mass of stacked old tires and a broken-down lifting crane. It had once been a car impound, but like so many buildings in Aleppo it had been repurposed for the war.

Whoever Saves a Life — Matter — Medium.

Libretto | Expression of Thought through Words Welcome to a new/old friend Ann Johnson Murphree

Cotton Cover Pic

The following is an excerpt from a short story about a young man from Atlanta. His first job after graduation from high school was with the Greater Atlantic Life Insurance Company. It was 1940 and jobs were scarce the pay poor; he would get to keep one-dollar for every policy he sold. His territory…the Appalachian Mountains. He did not know that the daughter of a potential buyer would be the wildest thing he would ever encounter in his life. It is a work of fiction based on real people and circumstances.


Andrew Pritchett walked two miles to reach the run-down shacks in the Tennessee foothills that edged the Georgia state line; he sold burial insurance. He knocked hard on the rough pine boards of the door, scrapped his knuckles, wiped the blood on his pants leg, stepped back and looked at the rotting porch, barrels for sitting, a can for tobacco spitting and a mangy dog swarmed by tiny black flies.  Suddenly a gigantic body filled the opening of the doorway. Moody Cahill wiped his mouth; relocated tobacco scum to the front of his patched overalls and returned his hand to the barrel of a shotgun.

Mr. Cahill,” Andrew stuck out a trembling hand as he choked back the smell and disgust at the sight of the man he desperately wanted to sell something.


Your neighbor down the hill, a Mr. Ragsdale said that you might be interested in some burial insurance.”


More via Libretto | Expression of Thought through Words.

Vintage Postcard Humor: Blind Date

The 33 Things to Do Before Climate Change Ruins Everything — Matter — Medium

Illustrations by Kurt McRobert
Photo-illustrations by Rich Petrucci

You’re the kind of person who likes his boardwalks above water. You don’t have allergies. You like winter. You want your champagne to come from the Champagne region of France—not some unromantic corner of England hundreds of miles to the north. You like cherry pie. You like oysters. You eat fish. You don’t eat jellyfish. You’re the kind of person, then, who needs the Matter handbook to a burning planet, a compendium of real scientific findings that look at how the globe may change over the next fifty years and beyond. Think of it as your guide to the good life before climate change melts it away.


Joshua Trees

Was it a bad idea to name a national park after a tree that can’t handle the heat? In retrospect, yes. The Joshua trees of Joshua Tree National Park need periods of cold temperatures before they can flower. Young trees are now rare in the park. Older trees are beginning to sag. Suggested rebranding for 2065: “Death Valley Annex.”


A Urologist

Um, this is awkward to talk about, but the coming decades promise a stunning expansion of America’s “kidney stone belt,” a band of southerly states where the prevalence of dehydration—and thus kidney stones—is markedly higher. (Yes, the belt exists. Yes, they call it that. Yes, that’s also awkward.) Today the belt covers roughly 40 percent of the U.S. population. Research suggests the number will be 56 percent by 2050, 70 percent by 2095. With more pollen in the air due to climate change, everyone is worried about allergies. But focus your attention where it really counts. Common sense suggests the best time to lock up a world-class urologist is now.


The 33 Things to Do Before Climate Change Ruins Everything — Matter — Medium.

How Filipinos became heroes during the Holocaust | Inquirer Global Nation


It’s a little known piece of history – a side story on how a young nation halfway around the world saved thousands of lives deemed lost during the dark days of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

It is for this reason that it is a story worth telling, a story that also deserves a film like Schindler’s List, said Barbara Sasser, a descendant of the Frieder brothers who were key players in the rescue of around 1,200 Jews.

The film was eventually produced and screened at Malacanang Palace on August 7.

Titled “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust,” the one-hour documentary tells the story of how a family of tobacco-makers, former President Manuel Quezon, US high commissioner to the Philippines Paul McNutt and then Army Colonel Dwight Eisenhower put their neck on the line to bring Jewish refugees to the Philippines.

While many countries closed their doors on Jews who were persecuted by the Nazis, the Philippines became one of the few places they were able to escape to.

How Filipinos became heroes during the Holocaust | Inquirer Global Nation.

Special to the Big Thrill: Top Ten Firearms Mistakes in Fiction by Chris Grall | THE BIG THRILL

There is nothing I love more than a good story. I’ve been a voracious reader since the second grade, when I cut my teeth on just about every Hardy Boys book ever written. As I grew older and left Frank and Joe behind, my taste evolved to more complex fare. Growing up also meant a career, which for me happened to cultivate an expertise in firearms and tactics.


Put those two things together and you have an avid reader who recognizes weapon errors in fiction. If it were just firearms instructors who notice these mistakes, I wouldn’t worry too much about them. However, with between 270 to 310 million firearms in the United States* it’s a good bet that simple errors could distract many of your readers. Here are ten of the most common firearms mistakes that I’ve encountered, and some advice/tips on how to avoid them.


1. Clips and magazines (The most common mistake in fiction!)


mauserWhile the term “clip” may seem interchangeable with the term “magazine,” they are completely different items.


Analogy: belt and suspenders… What’s the difference, they both hold up pants, right? Not necessarily.


A “clip” is a small metal device that bullets slide into. The clip is used to load a magazine that is internal to the weapon. The clip is discarded after the bullets have been loaded into the magazine. The M1 Garand is a WWII rifle that uses this loading system. Handguns mainly use a glockdetachable, or an ejecting, box “magazine.”

All modern pistols use this system. In fact, the only pistol reloaded by a clip, that I’m aware of, is the Mauser C96. The C96 is one of the classic handguns German officers brandish in WWII movies—not exactly a common handgun on today’s streets. So, use “magazine” or the slang/lingo “mag,” when referring to loading and reloading handguns.

Special to the Big Thrill: Top Ten Firearms Mistakes in Fiction by Chris Grall | THE BIG THRILL.

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