Robert L. Peters

20 May 2010

A nod… to Dorothy Parker.


Long Branch, New Jersey

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) was a left-leaning American writer best known for her wit, wisecracks, and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, she rose to considerable acclaim—both for her literary output and as a critic in such venues as The New Yorker, Vogue, and Vanity Fair, and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table.

Her pointed witticisms and satirical aphorisms live on…

+  +  +

The first thing I do in the morning
is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.

You can’t teach an old dogma new tricks.

Women and elephants never forget.

Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.

If you want to know what God thinks of money,
just look at the people he gave it to.

The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.

I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.

After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.

I’d rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy.

You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.
(when asked to use “horticulture” in a sentence)

The best way to keep children at home
is to make the home atmosphere pleasant,

and let the air out of the tires.

Brevity is the soul of lingerie.

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.

They sicken of the calm, who know the storm.

Constant use had not worn ragged the fabric of their friendship.

Her big heart did not, as is so sadly often the case, inhabit a big bosom.

Salary is no object: I want only enough to keep body and soul apart.

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.

19 May 2010

Design = the application of intent.


18 May 2010

All we are saying…


…is give peace a chance.

(just step back… or move to the side)

17 May 2010



Winnipeg, Canada

Some friends of mine were trying to remember what I looked like with a beard (I used to grow one each winter and then shave it off for the summer)—so here you go… get your chuckles.

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth,
and he that hath no beard is less than a man.”

—William Shakespeare

16 May 2010


15 May 2010

R.I.P…. Thomas


Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

Hey, little buddy… it was hard to let you go today—but we’re relieved to know you’re breathing easier somewhere off in those (mythical?) happy hunting grounds. Just in case you’ve somehow got cyberspace access up there, following are a few nice words about you (somewhat maudlin, yes, but also cathartic for those you’ve left behind).

You and your non-identical sextuplet siblings were seemingly abandoned mere days after being born six years ago (in that neglected shack in the woods that will some day be turned back into a summer-kitchen behind Jen and Derek’s place on Hwy. #9). Cute as you were, it was inevitable that you’d be adopted right off the hop (together with your photo-grey brother Franklin) and you spent the next few years in the care of Nicki, Jay, and wee Jayden (who had named you after an animated toy train)… before ending up back here in Winnipeg Beach at Ev’s place. In the ensuing years you were literally the life of the party, offering us times of great hilarity (at your antics and odd quirks), lots of quiet companionship (we’ll miss your impressive purring), as well as more than your share of dramatic moments (remember the time you got the full facial blast from that nasty skunk in the culvert—and then you turned pink and black for a few weeks after we had washed you down with tomato juice to neutralize the skunk smell)?

We’ve made you a nice wooden box (from those boards we salvaged from the beach last month after the ice break-up) and we’ll be burying you this evening beside that bent little spruce tree where the deer sleep in the wild asparagus field back at Jen and Derek’s place… about a hundred meters from where you were born. Ev’s going to plant a clump of those daisies you always liked to hide in to mark the spot.

Don’t let this go to your head, Thomas… but you truly were the coolest of cats!

14 May 2010


13 May 2010






Caldas da Rainha, Portugal

I’d like to say a huge Obrigado! (thank you!) to the kind folks who invited me to Portugal this week—the students, instructors, school administrators, and design colleagues who welcomed me with such open arms and kind hospitality. Special thanks go to graduating student Bruno Franco (my first contact at ESAD), Miguel Macedo (who initiated my participation with Comunicar Design), the driven and passionate Cristiana Pena (you rock, girrrrl!) for the inspirational and organizational effort, Anabela Figueiredo Machado Monteiro for the logistical support, and the rest of the ESAD/CR team and community…


Photos: Design… is a verb.—the title of my keynote presentation; event propaganda designed by the students; Bruno Franco (on the right, in the white sweatshirt) and others at the hands-on graffiti workshop (one of many diverse topics addressed during the event); some of the 3rd-day participants in front of the school (designer/author/presenter Nuno Coelho with doggy in foreground).

12 May 2010

Caldas da Rainha… and Zé Povinho






Caldas da Rainha, Portugal

I had heard (and written) about the enigmatic cartoon character Zé Povinho—the wildly popular “Portuguese everyman” created by the artist Bordalo Pinheiro in 1875, portrayed as a poor, somewhat passive-aggressive peasant known for flipping irreverent hand-gestures to uppity-ups in positions of privilege and power… so it was a delight to have the chance to visit the ceramics factory founded by Pinheiro here, and to view hundreds of his original drawings, maquettes, and signature ceramic creations. (Although the factory closed, sadly, in 2009 with the laying-off of over 100 employees, one of the kind women working in the retail shop made an exception and allowed Miguel and I to view the private museum collections).

Photos (from the top): Zé Povinho giving his classic salute (Pinheiro’s original piece); “The walls have ears…,” from the factory’s private museum; Zé Povinho as an installation piece; aside from the ubiquitous porcelain vegetables and cabbages the area is known for, the most popular object in any of the souvenir shops is ceramic penises*—ranging in size from baby’s pinky to a lumberjack’s forearm (and larger), including many cleverly attached/concealed on figurines of every description (and gender, for that matter), with the “members” in question “activated” by the pulling of a string—here a sweet little old lady shows off a small selection of the phallic wares she peddles in the local market square and from a tiny shop below her home; and, a few of the sculptures outside of one of Caldas da Rainha’s several sculptural museums (I’ll likely plan a return visit in the future to take these in).

*The tradition of making ceramic penises in Caldas da Rainha is said to have started when King Dom Luis, who ruled from 1861 to 1889, suggested that local potters “make something more interesting.” :-)

11 May 2010




Óbidos, Portugal

Situated just a few km from Caldas da Rainha, the 14th-Century castellated village of Óbidos bristles with antique charm. Winding cobblestone streets inside the fortified walls are lined with an interesting mix of well-preserved Portuguese architecture spanning over 600 years (now most buildings are occupied by galleries, shops, and watering holes to serve the hordes of foreign tourists that apparently descend on Óbidos every summer—thankfully we encountered only a few handfuls of vacationing Brits and Germans in the narrow, nearly-deserted medieval laneways). I found myself drawn to the remarkably variegated patina and age-worn textures of the old facades, structures, doorways, and signage—what an incredible resource and palette for those in the visual arts living in this region!

My new ESAD/CR design-instructor friends Miguel Macedo and António Costa guided me on a meandering tour through the ancient castled village, and we enjoyed the local cherry liquor known as ginjinha, regional vinho tinto, and excellent fish dinners over spirited conversation as the sun sank into the Atlantic.

Methinks a person could get used to living in as civilized a place as this…

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