Haiku: Pac-Man

Yesterday Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Namco, died aged 91. His company was responsible for Pac-Man and launching the video game revolution. Living by the British seaside as a teenager at the time, I recall this bring installed in the arcades in 1980 and it, along with the subsequent arcade games, played a significant role in alleviating the boredom the early 80s. By way of tribute to the “Grandfather of Pac-Man”, I offer my haiku:

~ Pac-Man ~

Chasing through the maze

Blinky, Pinky, Inky, Clyde

Always got their man



Haiku: Fire Rooster

Today is the Chinese New Year. It seems fitting to celebrate with a haiku:

~ Fire Rooster ~

The Fire Rooster crows

A shrill warning for the world

Hot summer ahead



#r2bcheerful24 – Going on forty

Ian was born in 1942, so when he and the Blockheads wrote this song in 1979, he was the grand old age of 37 years old. Given he was at the height of his musical career at this point, after a fairly late start, I would think it fairly obvious that “going on forty” was a reason to be cheerful for him.

It’s been a long time since I was 40, but I was on a number hunt over the last couple of weeks for my photo site and did happen upon this great 40lb dumbbell in the gym which I offer as an interpretive image.


What you feel, or why a painting is like a pizza

This is the first time I have composed a book review for this blog (I have reviewed hundreds of items on Amazon, but that’s another story), however, I felt compelled to mention this particular book simply because of the effect it has had on me, which has been little short of transformational.

I have been a photographer for several years and I maintain that the simple act of using a camera viewfinder and considering the composition of a shot has literally and figuratively opened my eyes on how I see the world. As someone with little formal art background and a career in a scientific world this subjective area of my life has always played “second-fiddle,” so to speak, to the practicalities of successfully raising a family in an ever-changing world.  

Recently we visited MoMA in New York and I was amazed by much of the artwork and confused by much of the more abstract works too. I was fortunate to visit another gallery the following day (The Frick Collection) with an extremely knowledgeable friend and, importantly, I listened as he explained the nuances of many of the historical art pieces on display.

This outing spurred me on to visit my local library and the selection of the book, Why a painting is like a pizza, by Nancy Heller so that I may get to grips with contemporary art. I am so glad I did.


Heller’s introduction and simple comparison to real-world examples at the start of this relatively compact book suddenly made everything click into place. Working through the concise chapters and the color and monochrome plates I was drawn into the world of contemporary art through abstractionism and abstract art forms. I now have a much clearer understanding of these highly complex pieces of art and appreciate the why monochrome works and minimalist pieces can evoke responses in critics which appeared often insane to me, but a few short weeks ago!

To be honest, reading this single book, timed as it was with my gallery visits and friendly guidance, has been like an epiphany to me. Needless to say, I have now ordered a copy and I am sure I will keep coming back to it again and again. Heller’s work is by no means comprehensive, nor does it profess to be. It does however extend from painting to sculpture and installation art forms, and has certainly whet my appetite to explore more. I cannot wait to get back to MoMA and other art museums…

To paraphrase what I have learned from this small book:

“art is not what you see, but what you feel



A short story?

I wrote this originally as a six sentence story in March, 2016. Perhaps I was having a Nostrodamus moment…

It had started off as a boast, born from a late-night party with his friends, and had somehow mutated into an unstoppable train. At some point he was bound to be derailed; at least that’s what the pundits had opined month after month. But now he had arrived; admittedly by the skin of his teeth, but a win was a win nonetheless. His offensive rhetoric and inconsistent fomenting had made no difference, or had it? He had played a dangerous game and was quite surprised by how far he had been able to rally people’s rage to achieve his aim.

He felt exhilarated as the director called one last time, “We’re ready for your address, Mr. President,” tears welling in her eyes.



#r2bcheerful53 – Something nice to study

I don’t know about you, but I love learning new things, even as I get older. There’s something fulfilling about adding to my knowledge and skill set and it keeps my mind and body healthy.

Although I am quite happy using the laptop to scour the web for useful pieces of information I must admit that I do love a good, old-fashioned book to leaf through once in a while. There’s something fundamental about the tactile nature of the interaction and also the randomness of flicking through the pages of textbooks, or browsing whole collections in a library, or (even better) a secondhand bookstore with the added element of surprise around every corner…

As far as I am concerned having something nice to study is a great reason to be cheerful!



#r2bcheerful8 – Jump back in the alley

This may seem an odd reason to be cheerful but I have had a few years to think about this and here’s my theory: When Ian and the Blockheads were writing the song back in Italy following the cancelled gig they were probably bouncing ideas off each other. The fourth reason to be cheerful they chose was the phrase “good golly Miss Molly” from the Little Richard song of the same name. It seems quite logical to me that “jump back in the alley” is another reference to Little Richard’s song, “Long Tall Sally”. In this case the phrase could mean listening to the song, or perhaps the fun that Uncle John is having in the original song!

Either way, they are both a good reason to be cheerful!



Haiku: Last Moonwalker

~ Last Moonwalker ~


Commander Cernan

Final lunar explorer

Leaves terra firma…

By NASA / Harrison H. Schmitt (NASA Images at the Internet Archive (image link)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dedicated to Eugene “Gene” Cernan March 14, 1934 – Jan 16,2017, the last person to walk on the moon in December, 1972.


#r2bcheerful58 – Coming out of chokey

If you are sane enough to be naughty (see #r2bcheerful23) you may end up enjoying some time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in the chokey (prison). Getting out of chokey would then be a real Reason to be Cheerful!

This image is of one of the spur corridors at the now disused Easter State Penitentiary in the heart of Philadelphia. This is indeed a cold, grim place and one that any inmate would have been glad to get out of prior to its final closure in 1971…



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