Light/dark, tall/short, happy/sad —  WP blogger Michelle says share a photo that captures a contrast.

CIMG3512London Bridge Topiary.  An Attraction?  You betcha.

Everyone has an opinion regarding topiary. The cheeky collection of garden gossip, Yew and Non-Yew, Gardening for Horticultural Climbers, by James Bartholomew tracks the fashion frenzy of this venerable horticultural art.

The title of his book comes from the British terms ‘U’ and ‘non-U’ ~ terms used to define upper-class and non-upper-class behavior. Bartholomew calls the yew tree the ultimate ‘U’ plant.  He says: “Not all types of topiary are Yew. A tall pyramid or standard is certainly Yew. . . . A peacock or chicken is borderline. . . . A teapot, space rocket, car or telephone . . . is non-Yew.”

Then there’s this guy.  What do Yew think?



Toni 6/27/14





CIMG0313Outside the Palazzo Grassi, I shot this photo of Very Hungry God, a giant skull rendered in stainless steel pans, utensils and tiffin pots ~ the stackable stainless steel containers Indians use to store food.  This sculpture by Indian artist Subodh Gupta, afloat on the Grand Canal, was quite the hit of the Venice Biennale

I wondered, why kitchenware? Gupta explains:

“I made the work in response to the stories I read in the news about how soup kitchens in Paris were serving food with pork so that Muslims would not eat it. It was a strange and twisted form of charity that did not continue for long but raised conflicting ideas of giving and the way we have become now.”


Gupta exposed a harsh and subtle truth.

A work of Art.



Toni 5/17/14




It’s National Poetry Month.

Thanks, WP blogger Ben, for this monumental opportunity to introduce…


“If Goethe had had to prepare supper, salt the dumplings;

If Schiller had had to wash the dishes;

If Heine had had to mend what he had torn, to clean the rooms, kill the bugs –

Oh, the menfolk, none of them would have become great poets.”  

  ~Eremenz Meier

I saw this bronze on the bank of the Danube in the city of

Passau ~

 Eremenz Mierer , innkeeper’s daughter and poet.



Emerenz Meier was born in Schiefweg, a town in the Bavarian Forest. She became well-known through her stories and poems of village life. Meier rebelled against tradition and convention to become a successful writer in spite of difficult economic conditions. The family emigrated to America to make a fresh start in Chicago. There, Meier wrote mainly for her enjoyment, but she also waged verbal war against political, economic and social conditions in Europe and America. 


In today’s Sunday Review, op-ed columnist Frank Bruni reminds us in his singular style (almost as poetically as Eremenz Meier) that the conversation isn’t over yet.



Toni  4/13/14