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MenInBlackPhotograph: Stephen Wise


DoTheRightThingDoTheRightThing2President Obama anticipated the response in Ferguson, even referring to it as “good television,” in his address to the nation after the grand jury’s decision was announced.

It’s hard for young people to grow up in America, especially when ‘adults’ conflate doing the wrong thing with the right thing.

Faulkner-Hamlet (2)The United States continues to be a place where new things need to look old, and old things (and people) need to look new.

For example, this 2003 copy of Thomas Jefferson—Basic Writings has a dust jacket made to look old (see brown spots). It sits next to a 1940 first edition copy of William Faulkner’s The Hamlet, considered by many to be an important work in American literature—but with a dust jacket that one ABAA book dealer recently wrote was “too ruff…to be able to resell.”

What would Faulkner say about that? Perhaps: “I told you so; blame the Snopeses, with their snap-on bow ties, acting like Sartorises!”

One shouldn’t disregard shabby volumes. In his introduction to “Nostromo” (Doubleday, 1924), Joseph Conrad writes that his inspiration for the work came from “a shabby volume picked up outside a second hand bookshop.”

Sotheby's-RothkoMrsPaulMellonThe 43 Masterworks from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon (1910-2014) were all sold at Sotheby’s last evening. Two paintings by Mark Rothko were featured in the Collection, including Yellow, Orange, Yellow Light Orange (1955) which sold for $36.5 million.

In 2012, another Rothko painting Orange, Red, Yellow (1961) sold for $87 million at a Christie’s auction (the addition of Red was worth an extra $50 million).

Given that American Abstract Expressionist Art has long been used by the CIA and U.S. State Department, as a tool (weapon) in U.S. foreign policy, it’s fitting that this post falls on Veterans Day. Mr. Rothko took his own life in 1970.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

CarNYC-Mustang2014USMC2014United States Marine Corps Birthday — November 10, 1775.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

Progress-SorelToday New Yorkers are faced with voting for the incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) or his Republican challenger, Rob Astorino. Both are proud of their Italian heritage as is the Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn and Queens, Nicolas Dimarzio, who commented on the election in his recent Tablet column saying that his grandfather, who wanted to give him a voting lesson, said “Go into the booth, when you see an Italian name pull down on the lever.”

For voters who seek leaders guided by truth and the common good, rather than ideology and special interests, this election is especially problematic. Governor Cuomo has said that New Yorkers who oppose abortion and same-sex marriage ought to move out of the state. And, if elected, Rob Astorino said he would support fracking.

In his column, the Bishop suggested that corruption in government is directly attributable to low voter turn-out — and therefore encouraged Catholics to vote.

The Bishop failed to address the fact that the candidates in this election, with misguided views on progress, are both Catholic, and perhaps symptomatic of the failure of the Catholic hierarchy in the U.S. over the years to properly form their flock for true progress.

‘Progress’ Artwork: Edward Sorel, 1976


Halloween2014cPhotograph: Stephen Wise


Americans2014“We’re #1!” (“I am King!”) is not the key to sustainability, nor a good legacy. Better to let the Lord be The One.


IndianOn October 12, 1492 Admiral Christopher Columbus, leading a squadron of three Spanish ships, anchored off an island (in the Bahamas) which he later named San Salvador.

After 522 years of ‘progress’ in the Americas, some are realizing that the best hope for humankind is a return to some of the Old World ways.

WeRoll“That’s how we roll.” President Obama

Photograph: Stephen Wise



Stephen B. Wise


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