LEARNING WRIT LARGE
Three major interests of Jean Shepherd span his grammar school and high school days and remain essential throughout his life: reading, ham radio, and music. Libraries and books occupied his mind on broadcasts many times. The prestige associated with the written word may have been a cause for him to have agreed to have his short spoken stories transcribed, augmented by himself, and published in print. On one occasion, he included these thoughts:
“…reading should be introduced to somebody as a thing that gives infinite pleasure. And it does, there’s no question about it. Reading is one of the great un-celebrated human pleasures. And nobody says much about it.”
Shep’s next kid stories involve his passion for reading.
SITES TO BE SEEN 1 of 2
I like to get as close as possible to my favorite artworks–authentic stuff I’ve read about and seen in pictures. So I much enjoyed traveling around Europe in 1966 and Peru in 1980 seeing the unencumbered real things.
I was lucky—I got to see some stuff before later visitors had much lesser experiences. Here, in this and a second artsy, is a partial gallery of some of those lesser experiences, replete with fences, bullet-proof glass, stanchions, and damnable gluts of tourists that art lovers, nowadays, are forced to endure. (I hope that at least a small percentage of those tourists will be inspired to appreciate some fine art. Yet, years ago, someone I know made her first trip to Florence, Italy to visit family. I asked her how she’d liked the great Italian Renaissance masterpieces in the Uffitzi Gallery. She said that she had not gone there, but while in Florence she’d gotten some great buys in leather handbags.)
(15,000 years ago and older)
Formerly one could walk up to the entrance and be escorted into the authentic caves.
Now, for conservation reasons, one can only see replicas at Altamira and Munich,
of the caves at Madrid’s Anthropology Museum.
(about 2,000 B. C.)
Formerly one could walk among the stones and touch them,
but now, bring binoculars.
As close as you can now get.
(See frustrated tourists along the pathway below.)
MACHU PICCHU’S INTIHUATANA (SUNDIAL STONE)
(Inca era, about 1500)
One could not only approach it but caress it when I was there in 1980.
One worshiper sat sun-bathing on it for hours.
Some years later a film crew, making a beer commercial, dropped a piece of equipment on it and broke off a bit of the top. Now one sees it from a slight distance—too far away to touch it.
Closest view now available.
Having the necessary rope barrier
is a travesty, undermining the intimate connection between
the site, the stone, and the surrounding environment.