1) From a Guardian slide show “The Rough Guide to the Best Art You’ve Never Seen”



Ceiling painting, Tomb of the Diver (National Archaeological Museum, Paestum, Italy)

“It was thought that no paintings from ancient Greece survived in 1968, when a small, stone-box coffin was discovered in a cemetery in Paestum, a Greek colony in southern Italy. The paint inside looked fresh, but it dated from 480-470 BC, the time of Aeschylus, Pericles and Socrates. The sureness, ease and grace of the brushwork are surprising, especially since it’s executed in the difficult technique of fresco. The little naked figure’s dive symbolises the soul entering the next world”


Sculpture and Frescoes in Cave 285, Dunhuang Grottoes, Mogao, China

735 caves were cut into a cliff face in what is now Gansu province, China, over a period of a thousand years: prayers for safe journeys commissioned by merchants as they left China and entered the bandit-infested desert regions. After this section of the Silk Road was abandoned, they were forgotten, and we are only now beginning to appreciate these extraordinary excavations decorated with soaring angels – a Vatican of Buddhist art

2) Heroes

Who was the last hero you meet?

From a Christian Science Monitor article about four, here is one:


Victor Perez


For Victor Perez, an unemployed Fresno, Calif., construction worker, alertness paid off. On Tuesday morning Mr. Perez saw a news report about a girl kidnapped by someone in a red and white pickup truck Monday afternoon. When he left his home later that day, he saw a truck like the one in the news report and decided to follow it.

“I just took that chance to follow the truck and told my cousin to dial 911, while I gave chase, and just to make sure if it wasn’t him,” Perez told “The Early Show” on CBS Wednesday morning.

Convinced that the truck was the one police were looking for, he used his car to cut off the truck.

“The second time I cut him off, the little girl stuck her head out, and that’s when I said, ‘OK, that ain’t your girl right there,’ ” said Perez.

The man driving the truck eventually stopped and pushed the girl out onto the street, and Perez got out and stayed with her until police arrived. She was later returned to her mother, 12 hours after being abducted.

Eventually, police found the truck behind an apartment complex and arrested Gregorio Gonzalez, a gang member out on probation for felony domestic assault.

“I just felt like I was doing my part living in the same neighborhood as the little girl,” Perez said. “I just felt like everybody should step up in their own communities and, when something like this happens, come together and try to do your part to help out.”

Perez has been offered full-time jobs for his display of character, and will be honored in an on-field ceremony Saturday at Fresno State University’s football game with Hawaii.

3) The Golden Years by Billy Collins

All I do these drawn-out days
is sit in my kitchen at Pheasant Ridge
where there are no pheasants to be seen
and last time I looked, no ridge.

I could drive over to Quail Falls
and spend the day there playing bridge,
but the lack of a falls and the absence of quail
would only remind me of Pheasant Ridge.

I know a widow at Fox Run
and another with a condo at Smokey Ledge.
One of them smokes, and neither can run,
so I’ll stick to the pledge I made to Midge.

Who frightened the fox and bulldozed the ledge?
I ask in my kitchen at Pheasant Ridge.