Help! There are too many themes…

I cannot be the only blogger here who is having difficulty deciding which WordPress theme best suits my blog. They say that choice is good, but, to be honest, there are simply too many to review and pick from.

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I have spent quite some time going through myriad styles that are offered me, some look good, others just don’t work the way I want them to. It is all so time consuming and tedious after a while. I would like to get a great theme and just stick with it – I am told having a “recognizable identity” is the thing to do on social media if I am to make anything useful from it. Given the rambling nature of my this blog, then at least I should try to have a consistent ”feel” to the page. Underlying all this though remains the point that this was really set up to try to promote my art for sale, so I do need to make sure that there some good images placed in prominent positions on the posts, without compromising page load speed.

So, that being said, you are now looking at the current iteration as of 24-Apr-2017. I would appreciate any feedback on the current blog layout (called Baskerville 2) – is it appealing or appalling? Is easy to use, or a pain to stroll though? Is it fast enough or does it drag when loading?

Please let me know.

~Richard

St. George’s Day and a lesson from the French?

Last year I wrote this post relating to the patron saint of England, St. George. One year on and as Britain is stumbling forward through its self-inflicted exit from the European Union, I see little change in the mood of Little Britain, at least from what I read in the media.

Today, on the “other side of the channel” as we tend to call it, we saw the potential for a change in Europe as Emmanuel Macron finally gave Marine Le Pen a good run for her money and established that the center left candidate may actually stand a chance to win in a two-horse race for the Presidency for La Republique. Perhaps we will see a tide change and just maybe this will have a knock-on effect on the results of the snap election that Prime Minister Theresa May has called back in the UK. After all it may not be so much about St. George killing the dragon anymore but rather that the slumbering dragon, in the form of the disenfranchised populace who weren’t motivated to cast their democratic vote last time, will actually see that their opinions do count and turn up at the polling stations to make their mark.

Perhaps it is time for the dragon to roar…

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~Richard

A Story – Keyhole Figures

It was only a brief vision, but it left him stone cold nonetheless. They had said that early in the morning, when the place was quiet that strange things happened near that door. He had been doing his regular rounds but was a little delayed when he passed the space. Maybe only ten minutes but it made all the difference. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and and a deadening silence as he passed. Glancing over his left shoulder as he walked down the incline he saw the figures quite clearly. A young woman in a shawl and a small boy. They just stared at him as if they were expecting him to be someone else. Their gazes bored into him with longing. He blinked and they were gone, but he shivered and quickened his pace. He made up the ten minutes by the time he reached the end of his rounds. He would definitely not be late again…

170422_KeyholeDoorStory

~Richard

SATOR Square Magic

It has been a few days since my last post, mainly due to the beautiful weather we are having and the fact that I have spent so much time outside in the garden planting, weeding and fixing things. By the time I get inside and grab a beer I really haven’t had the mental resilience to sit down at the keyboard and compose anything.

Today, though, I finished my self-imposed “chores” early and managed to get some time to create a new art piece. It is based on the SATOR square and follows on from several ceramic works I made earlier in the year. I thought I had written about those pieces earlier, but it would appear that I had not.

So, I’ll start off with a brief history of the SATOR square (aka ROTAS square). This is a unique five-line text in Latin and is the ONLY palindromic sentence that can be read in any direction: left to right,right to left, down to up, up to down, and even in serpentine fashion line by line, and still have the same meaning. It is a feature of Latin that allows this word order to be acceptable.

170418_SATOR_WoodSticks

Now, the sentence itself is a bit trite and has been assigned the meaning “The farmer, Arepo, uses a plough for his work” but the point is that it is a meaningful statement. Now to the he fun part. Back in the olden days it was thought that the devil could be confounded by palindromes since he would be unable to corrupt them by saying them backwards. The SATOR square, being palindromic in so many ways, was thought to be very strong magic and was often used as a protective symbol.

170418_SATOR_Ceramic

And couldn’t we all do with a  little protective magic these days?

~Richard

Haiku: Late to NaPoWriMo

~ Late to NaPoWriMo ~

Every year National Poetry Month creeps up on me and I don’t notice it. Finally, a chance for a haiku today…

 

April, halfway through

Before I see the verses

It’s NaPoWriMo!

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~Richard 

Decadence and Elegance

I have been re-listening to the Kraftwerk album, Trans Europe Express, that I first heard back in the late 70’s and was inspired by the lyrics “elegance and decadence” from the track Europa Endloss (Europe Endless) to create a variation of one of my art photographs.

Ironically though it was the much more widely known track Hotel California, by The Eagles which ended up directing how I modified the image. It’s funny how things turn out.

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~Richard

 

One Way Forward

The rise of the self-drive vehicle (SDV) is inevitable and I, for one, and quite happy with this. Having spent the last couple of weeks commuting back and forth along the I-76 beside the Schuylkill River in and out of Philadelphia I am quite sick to death of the pointlessly aggressive driving habits of the average driver. The sooner we have computer controlled cars that communicate with each other the better. However, in conversations over the last few months, my own view  to be quite the opposite of just about everyone I know. I seem to be the only one (at least in my circle) who sees that a networked set of vehicles will reduce traffic congestion, reduce environmental impact, be more efficient in getting us where we want to go, reduce stress and, in the end, be safer.

I also think we aren’t thinking big enough. For example, this technology could, if we have the foresight, result in redesigned vehicles with, say, rearward facing seats for safety. It could even finally dispense with the need for personally owned vehicles.

Imagine the efficiency on a national level if whenever we needed a  vehicle we just called it up from the local “hive” of automatic cars, trucks, and minivans and our specialized vehicle came along in a few minutes, took us and our passengers and cargo to where we wanted to go and then went back to the collection of available vehicles for immediate re-use. There would be fewer vehicles on the road and even fewer parked up rusting unused for 22+ hours a day on driveways and full parking lots. That has to be a better world for everyone.

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My vision is summed up by this wonderful Philly street sign I saw earlier in the week – we have one way to go logically – a sort of “super Uber.”

But, unlike many drivers I have seen just this week, will we adhere to the road sign…?

~Richard

#r2bcheerful17 – Porridge Oats

I don’t know that porridge (aka oatmeal in US parlance) would necessarily be one of my top 65 reasons to be cheerful. It’s not that I don’t enjoy this healthy breakfast staple, it’s just that it’s a bit “meh,” as the kids would say.

Recently, my daughter was in hospital and this formed part of the standard institutional breakfast.  Perhaps being served this is an indication of recovery, who knows? Either way, Ian and the Blockheads thought sufficiently highly of this ancient grain to include it in the list and who am I to argue, especially as it has cholesterol lowering properties too!

170405_r2bCheerful-17PorridgeOats

~Richard

Banksy or Pranksy?

Some care to identify the World’s highest paid living artist, others don’t. I like what s/he does, as an anonymous artist either way. (See what I did there?)

This article came to my attention today. Am I the only one to notice that it occurred around April 1st?  Time will tell…

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~Richard

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