Robert L. Peters

19 August 2009



Banff National Park, Alberta

Well… there’s a good chance I’ll make it out to the Rockies this summer after all. Stan the Van-Man is currently massaging Bettie a little (old Dames do like that so, don’t they), and with any luck I’ll find myself out in my favorite vertical playground within the week…

Photo: Castle Mountain (aka Eisenhower Tower) as photographed on 24 June 1884 by geologist and explorer A. P. Coleman. His ascent of Castle was one of the first significant climbs in Canada.

18 August 2009

Peer Pressure



Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

Evelin Richter’s sculpture ‘Peer Pressure’ has been selected as one of 20 pieces of art to be shown in the Manitoba Crafts Council 2009 Juried Exhibition. The show vernissage is 17 September at 19:30 at the Outworks Gallery, 290 McDermot Avenue in Winnipeg—then continuing on display until 29 September. From 1-29 October, the exhibition travels to the Viscount Cultural Centre in Neepawa.

‘Peer Pressure’ is a slab-built stoneware piece with low-fire glaze and assemblage (an antique bottle capper) on a waxed wooden base, 395mm x 200mm x 520mm. It’s a social commentary of sorts re: the failure of corporatism and the workaholics who drive themselves down along with sinking enterprise.

In her artist’s statement, Ev (my talented girlfriend) writes:

“I love creating with clay, making “something” from “nothing.” I love clay because of its sensuous pliability. My favorite tools are my hands—I experience and learn so much through the sense of touch. Figurative sculptures are particularly satisfying—I enjoy meeting new characters as they emerge out of the clay. I begin by visualizing, then wait for the shape to materialize through my hands. I know my work is going well when I lose track of time. I know a work is completed when it matches the image in my head, and when I can think of nothing else to add.”

See more of Ev’s work here.

A salute: Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)


Vienna, Austria

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian-British philosopher, considered by many to be the greatest philosopher of the 20th century (and described by Bertrand Russell as “the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived, passionate, profound, intense, and dominating.”)

Wittegenstein’s influence has been felt in nearly every field of the humanities and social sciences. Here are some of my favorite “quotables” of his…

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Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness,
but come down into the green valleys of silliness.

If people never did silly things
nothing intelligent would ever get done.

A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.

Philosophy is like trying to open a safe with a combination lock: each little adjustment of the dials seems to achieve nothing, only when everything is in place does the door open.

I sit astride life like a bad rider on a horse. I only owe it to the horse’s good nature that I am not thrown off at this very moment.

Like everything metaphysical the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language.

If we spoke a different language, we would perceive
a somewhat different world.

If a lion could talk, we would not hear him.

A new word is like a fresh seed
sown on the ground of the discussion.

Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.

At the end of reasons comes persuasion.

The face is the soul of the body.

A picture is a fact.

16 August 2009






Munich, Germany

Simplicissimus was a satirical German weekly magazine started by Albert Langen in April 1896 and published through 1967, with a hiatus from 1944-1954. It took its name from the protagonist of Grimmelshausen’s 1668 novel Der Abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch.

Combining brash and politically daring content with a bright, immediate, and surprisingly modern graphic style, Simplicissimus published the work of writers such as Thomas Mann and Rainer Maria Rilke. Its most reliable targets for caricature were stiff Prussian military figures, and rigid German social and class distinctions as seen from the more relaxed, liberal atmosphere of Munich. Contributors included Hermann Hesse, Gustav Meyrink, Fanny zu Reventlow, Jakob Wassermann, Frank Wedekind, Heinrich Kley, Alfred Kubin, Otto Nückel, Robert Walser, Heinrich Zille, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Heinrich Mann and Erich Kästner.

A remarkable group of artists contributed to the publication over the years, including George Grosz, Käthe Kollwitz, John Heartfield, Thomas Theodor Heine, Olaf Gulbransson, Edward Thöny, Bruno Paul, Josef Benedikt Engl, Rudolf Wilke, Ferdinand von Reznicek, and Karl Arnold.

Images: a sampling of century-old illustrations from a rich online Simplicissimus collection here. These remind me more than a little of work by the Beggarstaffs.

15 August 2009



White Lake, New York

This weekend marks 40 years since the Woodstock Music & Art Fair held at Max Yasgur’s 600 acre dairy farm. Thirty-two acts performed during a rainy weekend in front of nearly half a million concertgoers—little did they know at the time that ‘Woodstock’ would come to be regarded as both the height of the peaceful counterculture revolution as well as one of the greatest moments in popular music history (the three top acts of the 1960s, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan had all declined to appear at the festival). Later that year Joni Mitchell wrote a hit song commemorating the event—performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The song’s lyrics:

Well, I came upon a child of God

He was walking along the road

And I asked him, Tell me, where are you going?

This he told me

Said, I’m going down to Yasgur’s Farm,

Gonna join in a rock and roll band.

Got to get back to the land and set my soul free.

We are stardust, we are golden,

We are billion year old carbon,

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Well, then can I roam beside you?

I have come to lose the smog,

And I feel myself a cog in somethin’ turning.

And maybe it’s the time of year,

Yes and maybe it’s the time of man.

And I don’t know who I am,

But life is for learning.

We are stardust, we are golden,

We are billion year old carbon,

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

We are stardust, we are golden,

We are billion year old carbon,

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By the time we got to Woodstock,

We were half a million strong

And everywhere was a song and a celebration.

And I dreamed I saw the bomber death planes

Riding shotgun in the sky,

Turning into butterflies

Above our nation.

We are stardust, we are golden,

We are caught in the devil’s bargain,

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden. 

14 August 2009

Ricardo Cassin | 1909-2009


Resinelli, Italy

Mountaineering legend Ricardo Cassin reached his ultimate earthly summit a week ago today… read a fitting tribute here. (I had posted on the occasion of his hundredth birthday earlier this year, here).

Climb on…

Political Science (flashback)


Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

So… it’s after a relaxing Friday-night dinner, and a nice bottle of wine, and my Sweetie and I are discussing geo-politics and classical rhetoric (of course :-) and we start reminiscing, and I bring up influential voices from the past (the past we didn’t share)… and we start Googling and YouTubing and somehow we end up with social critic and songster extraordinaire Randy Newman.

Seems not very much has changed since the 1970s, eh?  Here’s a performance to an appreciative European audience a full 34 years later.

13 August 2009

A salute: Thomas Mann (1875-1955)


Kilchberg, Switzerland

Paul Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. His analysis and critique of the European and German soul used modernized German and Biblical stories, as well as the ideas of Goethe, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer.

His writing career began with a gig for the great satirical German weekly magazine Simplicissimus (just after it was launched in 1896). As I’m a fan of quotations, here are some I’ve gleaned from Mann… for the record:

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War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.

A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth.

Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject.

An art whose medium is language will always show a high degree of critical creativeness, for speech is itself a critique of life: it names, it characterizes, it passes judgment, in that it creates.

Every reasonable human being should be a moderate Socialist.

Has the world ever been changed by anything save the thought and its magic vehicle the Word?

I don’t think anyone is thinking long-term now.

If you are possessed by an idea, you find it expressed everywhere,
you even smell it.

Speech is civilization itself.

Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.

What a wonderful phenomenon it is, carefully considered, when the human eye, that jewel of organic structures, concentrates its moist brilliance on another human creature!


12 August 2009


11 August 2009

More sign fun: Witz





Street art fun…

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