Category Archives: Art

Unquote” Eduardo Galeano

In defense of the word

One writes out of a need to communicate and to commune with others, to denounce that which gives pain and to share that which gives happiness. One writes against solitude and against the solitude of others. One assumes that literature transmits knowledge and affects the behavior and language of those who read…One writes, in reality, for the people whose luck or misfortune one identifies with — the hungry, the sleepless, the rebels, and the wretched of this earth — and the majority of them are illiterate.

…How can those of us who want to work for literature that helps to make audible the voice of the voiceless function in the context of this reality? Can we make ourselves heard in the midst of a deaf-mute culture? The small freedom conceded to writers, is it not at times a proof of our failure? How far can we go? Whom can we reach?

…To awaken consciousness, to reveal identity — can literature claim a better function in these times? … in these lands?

…Our own fate as Latin American writers is linked to a need for profound social transformations. To narrate is to give oneself: it seems obvious that literature, as an effort to communicate fully, will continue to be blocked…so long as misery and illiteracy exist, and so long as the possessors of power continue to carry on with impunity their policy of collective imbecilization through…the mass media.

…Great changes, deep structural changes, will be necessary in our countries if we writers are to go beyond…the elites, if we are to express ourselves…In an incarcerated society, free literature can exist only as denunciation and hope.

…We are what we do, especially what we do to change what we are…

In this respect a “revolutionary” literature written for the convinced is just as much an abandonment as is a conservative literature devoted to the … contemplation of one’s own navel…

Our effectiveness depends on our capacity to be audacious and astute, clear and appealing. I would hope that we can create a language more fearless and beautiful than that used by conformist writers to greet the twilight.

…In Latin America a literature is taking shape and acquiring strength, a literature…that does not propose to bury our dead, but to immortalize them; that refused to stir the ashes but rather attempts to light the fire…perhaps it may help preserve for the generations to come…”the true name of all things.”

translation by Bobbye Ortiz




Don’t look kids

“Hey, Suzzie, do you see Minnie Mouse! … And, Bobby, over there is Goofy!” says an energetic Dad to his impressionable young children.

“Oh, no,” Suzzie howls. “Who is that man in the orange suit and black mask?”

Bansky Disney Gitmo

In a stroke of utmost juxtaposition, Banksy, a one-of-a-kind artist, put this figure of a Guantanamo inmate near a Disneyland ride.

Now, picking back up the story:

The startled Dad stammers for a few seconds and mumbles, “Oh, that is just one of the bad guys.”

[But Dad should have said, “Oh, that’s an in-your-face reminder of how the U.S. government purports freedom only to hold hundreds of men for years in Cuba without any charges against them.”]


Unquote” Sinclair

“The great corporations which employed you lied to you, and lied to the whole country — from top to bottom it was nothing but one gigantic lie.”

Upton SinclairA quote from Upton Sinclair’s book “The Jungle.” Sinclair’s muckraking showed the trials of immigrants and how big business ceaselessly took advantage of them.

The book is famous for the action President Roosevelt took to correct the corruption in the food industry, and after 100 pages, I see why it had such grand impact. 



The Tank wants to become vegetarian.



My (very) amateur photography skills from Madeline Island on Lake Superior, in downtown Duluth and at the State Fair in St. Paul:

The lagoon on the north side of the island.

The lagoon on the north side of the island.

Sarah stands atop a rock ledge overlooking Lake Superior

Sarah stands atop a rock ledge overlooking Lake SuperiorAs the sun set, a sailboat glides between Bayfield, Wis., and Madeline Island.

Sunflowers dominate planters in downtown Duluth.

Sunflowers dominate planters in downtown Duluth.

The likely century-old police headquarters in downtown Duluth.

The likely century-old police headquarters in downtown Duluth.

An August sunrise -- yep, you read that right, sunrise -- with a thin layer of fog near Pine City.

An August sunrise -- yep, you read that right, sunrise -- with a thin layer of fog near Pine City.

The State Fair's swinging chairs ride at dusk.

The State Fair's swinging chairs ride at dusk.

The blury skyline of St. Paul seen from the Space Tower at the State Fair.

The blury skyline of St. Paul seen from the Space Tower at the State Fair.

Cancer? Pssst.

Nike doesn’t do mundane. It’s latest TV ad featuring Lance Armstrong inspires. Just do it, indeed.


I’ve watched this one three straight times and Pete Carroll and Brandon Roy continue to crack me up.


Unquote” West

The Tank became a fan of social commentator and author Cornel West after reading an article on the former Black Panther and campaign advisor to President Obama in a recent issue of “Rolling Stone.”

Here is an excerpt by journalist Jeff Sharlet:

Cornel West“The future, [West] says — the democracy he dreams of, the democracy we have yet to achieve — demands prophecy, piety ‘and the poetic. And by poetic I don’t mean a person who writes verses.’ He draws the word out like an English don. ‘I mean all those who exercise imagination and get us outside of our egocentric predicament! Give us a sense of awe and wonder! So we become concerned about something outside of our own little bubbles, our own little slices of reality, our own little professional managerial spots‘ — West makes that sound like a filthy word, then pulls up in a hard pause, hunches down to the edge of the stage and whispers slowly: ‘our own little iron cages.’ He stands. ‘There’s a lot of material toys in the cages. But you’re still in prison. And poets allow us to shatter those bars.’ ”


Unquote” Updike

After award-winning author John Updike died in January, the Tank wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

After reading Updike’s prudent prose in his classic novel “Rabbit, Run,” the Tank will now add to the fuss. “Rabbit Run” is the first of three books on Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom in which Updike brilliantly wrote about the innermost feelings and doubts of the fictional Rabbit.

As a young father with unrealized dreams, Rabbit felt lost and left his pregnant wife and son to find what was missing. We pick it up when Rabbit returns after his wife, Janice, has given birth to their daughter at the hospital. Harry, mired in the waiting room, is asking Dr. Crowe if he can leave see his wife.

“‘Harry asks, “Can I see her?”


Who? That “her” is a forked word now startles him. The world is thickening. “My, my wife.”

“Of course, surely.” Crowe seems in his mild way puzzled that Harry asks for permission. He must know the facts, yet seems unaware of the gap of guilt between Harry and humanity. “I thought you might mean the baby. I’d rather you waited until visiting hours tomorrow for that; there’s not a nurse to show her right now. But your wife is conscious, as I say. We’ve given her some Equanil. That’s just a tranquillizer. Meprobamate. “Tell me” — he moves closer gently, pink skin and clean cloth — “is it all right if her mother sees her for a moment? She’s been on our necks all night.” He’s asking him, him, the runner, the fornicator, the monster. He must be blind. Or maybe just being a father makes everyone forgive you, because after all it’s the only sure thing we’re here for.

“Sure. She can go in.”

Updike makes you hate Rabbit for the way he ditched his family, but Updike also has you love Rabbit for his vulnerability, his raw self loathing.

John Updike in 1995.

John Updike in 1995.

We continue at the beginning of the book where Rabbit, a former high school basketball star, comes across six kids playing hoops as he makes his way home from the office.

“The ball, rocketing off the crotch of the rim, leaps over the heads of the six and lands at at the feet of the one. He catches it on the short bounce with a quickness that startles them. As they stare hushed he sights squinting through the blue clouds of weed smoke, a suddenly dark silhouette like a smokestack against the afternoon spring sky, setting his feet with care, wiggling the ball with nervousness in front of his chest, one widespread white hand on top of the ball and the other underneath, jiggling it patiently to get some adjustment in the air itself. The cuticle moons on his fingernails are big. Then the ball seems to ride up the right lapel of his coat and comes off his shoulder as his knees dip down, and it appears the ball will miss because though he shot from an angle the ball is not going toward the backboard. It was not aimed there. It drops into the circle of the rim, whipping the net with a ladylike whisper.

“Hey!” he shouts in pride.

“Luck,” one of the kids says.

“Skill,” he answers, and asks “Hey. O.K. if I play?”

Updike then weaves in Rabbit’s smooth style on the hardwood court of years past. Rabbit now 26 has a wife, job, son and another kid on the way. You want to scream, “Rabbit, grow up!” Yet Updike has you cheering for the lost man as he navigates tragedy — some self-inflicted, some his own doing. He cannot make up his mind and irrevocably damages relationships. It’s like a vicious car wreck that you can’t take your eyes off, in part, because it’s so eloquently written.