Miskatonic University Press

Delacroix and Marcus

art quotes stoicism

I’m reading The Journal of Eugene Delacroix (it should be Eugène, but that’s how it’s written; edited by Hubert Wellington, translated by Lucy Norton, first published by Phaidon in 1951, but, as I noted a couple of years ago, now out of print) and am surprised and pleased to discover Delacroix knew the Stoics well. I don’t know if he considered himself one, so I’ll have to check some biographies.

From 20 February 1847:

Moralists and philosophers (I mean true philosophers, like Marcus Aurelius and Jesus Christ) never talked politics, they considered their subject only from the human standpoint. Equal rights and other such vain imaginings were not their concern; all they enjoined upon mankind was resignation to fate, not the unknown fatum of the ancient world, but to the constant need to submit to the harsh decrees of nature—a need which no one can deny and no philanthropist can overcome. They asked nothing more of the sage than that he conform to the laws of nature and play his part in his appointed place amidst a general harmony. Illness, death, poverty, spiritual suffering, these are with us always and will torment us under any form of government; democracy or monarchy, it makes no odds.

Here’s his 1844 painting Last Words of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius:

Last Words of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (1844)
Last Words of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (1844)

This line from 24 June 1849 is very wise:

As we grow older we are forced to realize that almost everything wears a mask, but we gradually become less resentful of deceptive appearances and grow accustomed to making the best of what we see.

Ethel in the library

archie libraries

“To Chill or Not to Chill” is a long four-part story that first appeared in Archie and Friends 78 (February 2004). The local paper is having a contest: they’ve hidden a green plastic donut somewhere, and the first person to find it wins $5,000.

In the fourth part, Ethel decides to go to the library.

Ethel decides to go to the library.
Ethel decides to go to the library.

Of course, a library is the perfect place to sit down, relax, and sort things out.

On the next page, Dilton and Nancy are talking and he gets the idea to go into the library to look for the donut there. He mentions, “This library is also the bigger of our two branches!” When they enter, we get a reverse shot of the panel with Ethel.

Dilton and Nancy enter the library.
Dilton and Nancy enter the library.

Notice Dilton’s speech bubble is in dotted lines, indicating he’s whispering.

This is the first time I’ve seen a street address for any branch of the library, as far as I can remember. In a later panel a grey-haired librarian (a woman, of course) angrily tells Ethel to be quiet.

I read “To Chill or Not to Chill” in Archie and Me (Jumbo) Comics Digest 14 (March 2019). It was written by George Gladir, pencilled by Rex Lindsey, inked by Rich Koslowski, lettered by Vickie Williams and coloured by Barry Grossman. It is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

Time-travelling Jughead in the library

archie libraries

Jughead’s Time Police was a six-issue series where Archie’s friend Jughead travels through time with Archie’s distant descendant January McAndrews, who works for the Time Police. “Will the Real Colonel Pickens Please Stand Up?” appears in Jughead’s Time Police 5 (March 1991), and on the opening page Jug is in the library researching the American Civil War.

Jughead researching in the library
Jughead researching in the library

Of course he’s not actually “pouring” over the books, which is a terrible thing to do in a library. He’s poring.

In one of the books he sees a daguerreotype (also misspelled, but helpfully defined in a footnote in the comic) taken in the war that he appears in, and the adventure begins.

“Will the Real Colonel Pickens Please Stand Up?” was written by Rich Margopoulos, pencilled by Gene Colan, inked by Rudy Lapick, lettered by Bill Yoshida and coloured by Barry Grossman. I read it in the collected edition Jughead’s Time Police (ISBN 978-1-68255-913-0), published in 2018. It is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

Mapping Acid Mothers Temple tours

emacs geo music r

I just posted Mapping Acid Mothers Temple tours with Org, R and Geonames, which shows how I use Org mode, R and Geonames to go from data printed on the back of a concert t-shirt, like this:

2016 concert shirt
2016 concert shirt

To a map of the band’s recent North American tours:

Map of North American tours
Map of North American tours

Some people like RStudio or Jupyter notebooks to work through a problem, but for me it’s Org in Emacs.

Forest 404

field.recordings podcasts

Forest 404, a nine-part BBC Radio 4 drama available as a podcast, is well worth a listen.

Forest 404 logo
Forest 404 logo

It’s all about sounds. The field recordings are delightful, the sound design is remarkable, and the voices are memorable.

Mapping the Indian Residential School Locations Dataset

code4lib geo r york

My colleague Rosa Orlandini’s Residential School Locations Project was used in a workshop today as an example of best practices in making data openly available. It is one result of her sabbatical work last year, which I couldn’t hope to summarize properly, but the metadata explains more about it, the Wikipedia article Canadian Indian residential school system gives background, and you can email her for more.

When I looked at the data and saw Indian Residential School Locations Dataset (CSV Format) I loaded it up into R and made a quick map. (If you try to get the data by hand it makes you agree to terms and conditions even though it’s CC-BY, which I’ll report, but I found that if you link directly to the CSV there’s no problem.)

library(tidyverse)
library(maps)
ca_map <- map_data(map = "world") %>% filter(region == "Canada")

read_csv("https://dataverse.scholarsportal.info/api/access/datafile/75625?format=original&gbrecs=true") %>%
   ggplot() +
   geom_polygon(data = ca_map,
     aes(x = long, y = lat, group = group),
	 fill = NA, colour = "black") +
   coord_map(projection = "gilbert") +
   geom_point(data = irs_locations, aes(x = Longitude, y = Latitude)) +
   labs(title = "Indian Residential Schools Location Dataset",
        subtitle = "Data provided by Rosa Orlandini (https://doi.org/10.5683/SP2/RIYEMU) (CC-BY)",
        caption = "William Denton (CC-BY)",
        x = "", y = "")
Map of Indian Residential Schools
Map of Indian Residential Schools

It’s hard to see some of the dots, and there are factors in the data that would be useful to show, like religious affiliations of the schools, but as a first look it’s a decent start.

Mr Lodge's library

archie libraries

Mr. Lodge’s personal library appears in the Archie comics story “The Chess Master,” which I read in Betty and Veronica (Jumbo Comics) Double Digest 272 (June 2019). Mr. Lodge having chess game number 305 with his old chess friend Mr. Bishop, who in good Archie comics fashion appears only once to fulfill a narrative need. They’re even at 152 games each and this is the big tie-breaker. Of course Archie messes it up.

Mr. Lodge ponders a chess move
Mr. Lodge ponders a chess move

I don’t think the board layout makes sense as a real game.

“The Chess Master” first appeared in Everything’s Archie 113 (January 1988). It was written by Jim Ruth, pencilled by Nate Butler, inked by Jon D’Agostino and lettered by Bill Yoshida. No colourist is listed, but the Grand Comics Database says it was Barry Grossman.

Room X

vagaries

I did my undergrad at Trinity College at the University of Toronto. I graduated in 1989, so it’s my thirtieth reunion this year. (Actually, I graduated in 1990, because I took five years to get a three-year degree. But at Trinity I’m 8T9.)

Because I’m a Trinity alumnus, I get the alum magazine, and the latest issue has a question and answer with Craig Kielburger, who is 0T7. (If you’re unfamiliar with Kielburger’s work, check out his Wikipedia entry or this CANADALAND podcast episode about his charity).

This is the picture that ran with the interview. I assume it’s from 2006–2007.

Copyright and attribution not known.
Copyright and attribution not known.

I thought: I know that room. That’s X! That’s my old room.

Here’s me in early 1989 in Room X in Angel’s Roost, so called because it’s the highest part of the Trinity student residence.

Copyright and attribution not known.
Copyright and attribution not known.

I’m lighting a Camel (I quit in 1998) and for some reason have dark pink paper in my Underwood manual typewriter, which I still own but haven’t used in years. The large oil painting behind me is by my grandfather, and it’s hanging on my wall at home today. The framed letter and old print in the top left are also hung. That copy of Game Theory is still on my bookshelves (and it’s in print from Dover if you want a newer edition). The Oxford World’s Classics paperback on my desk is The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, and I guess I was writing an essay about it. I don’t own it any more, but maybe I should reread it.

My desk is aligned differently than Kielburger had his—I didn’t want my back to the door—as was my bed: the TV and alarm clock in the lower left of the photo were at its foot. We both have stacks of books on our desks and photos taped to the walls. My fridge was by the door, to the right of where the photographers were standing.

I’d like to attend a reunion of people who lived in X over the years.

Art conservation by Michaela Bosworth

art

My grandfather, Frank Denton, was a painter. I have a couple of dozen of his works; six or eight are complete paintings (up to 30” high or wide), and the the rest are small, usually 10” maximum, oil on board, that he did en plein air, on site, as sketches that he would take home and perhaps work up in his studio.

One of those small ones is “The Gothic Arch, Near Lafontaine, Ontario” (undated). It looked awful: a sludgy mess of light browns and dark yellows. I could tell it was dirt and discoloured varnish that was doing that: I could see big splotches of brown where the varnish had gone bad.

As it happened, I had a piece that needed some conservation done (someone had used masking tape to attach a chalk sketch on paper to a mat … in the seventies), so I decided to also take my grandfather’s painting along to the conservator to see what she could do.

My conservator is Michaela Bosworth. She’s an expert, and she’s great. If you’re in Toronto, or nearby, I highly recommend her. Everything I’ve seen her do, both for me and the Arts and Letters Club, is top notch. She gets large batches of work for insurance jobs (smoke or water damage, that kind of thing) but she’s happy to do small pieces like mine, and brings all her training and experience to them just the same.

Here’s a quick snap she sent me when she was half-way through my grandfather’s painting:

Photo © Michaela Bosworth (2019).
Photo © Michaela Bosworth (2019).

Now, the painting is no masterpiece, and not a great test of her skills, but that’s not the point. Look how dingy and dull it is on the left, and how on the right there are blues and greys and whites! (The light circle on the lower centre left is where she showed me, when I took it in, what a bit of cleaning could do.)

I have the cleaned painting back now and I’m going to get it framed and hung. For years I’d grimace when I looked at it, but now I’m happy I can see it like my grandfather saw it when he made it.

Speaking of restoration, I recommend listening to The Many Deaths of a Painting, a March episode of the podcast 99% Invisible. It’s about the damage done by a maniac’s attack on Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III by Barnett Newman and the subsequent botched repair work done by an incompetent conservator. I’m not a fan of 99% Invisible’s style, but the subject and interviews are definitely worth hearing.

The artist index to Listening to Art shows how highly I regard Newman, especially Voice of Fire.

Minimum CO₂ per month at Mauna Loa

climate.change r

> library(tidyverse)
> library(lubridate)
> library(ggplot2)
> read_csv("https://raw.githubusercontent.com/wdenton/noa2co2/master/mauna-loa.csv", col_names = c("date", "co2")) %>%
   mutate(month = floor_date(date, unit = "month")) %>%
   group_by(month) %>%
   slice(which.min(co2)) %>%
   ggplot(aes(x = month, y = co2)) +
   geom_step() +
   labs(title = "Minimum monthly CO₂ at Mauna Loa",
     x = "Month",
	 y = "CO₂ PPM",
	 subtitle = "Data from https://github.com/wdenton/noa2co2",
	 caption = "CC-BY William Denton") +
   theme_minimal() +
   theme(axis.title.y = element_text(angle = 0),
         axis.title.x = element_text(hjust = 0))
Chart of minimum monthly CO₂ at Mauna Loa
Chart of minimum monthly CO₂ at Mauna Loa

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