Preamble – Letters from Russia, Part 1

Letters from Russia: 3 Iterations of dossier (with Underwood typewriter)
Letters from Russia: 3 Iterations of dossier (with Underwood typewriter)

Letters from Russia: Note to Readers

What follows is a collection of letters (albeit ostensibly) written by Henri LaFleur – a cobbler in the French army during the Russian campaign of 1812 – to Genevieve Vaschon, his fiance in Paris.

Henri’s fourteen letters offer his observations on the physiology of war, as well as discourse and personal sentiments on love, war, society, politics, and meaning of self. The accompanying landscapes give a sense of his search for solace and release in the surrounding chaos of war.

The letters were sent over an eight-month period beginning in Austria and moving through Prussia, Poland and into Russia.   First with battles in Smolensk and Borodino, then fires and pillaging in Moscow, and finally the well-documented November retreat.

The final letter in the correspondence was sent on retreat near the Berezin Bridge at which location during three days, much of the remaining French army perished into the icy river while attempting crossing of the bridge.  Others were stranded in on the Russian side with the pursuing Cossack troops when the retreating French army destroyed the bridge behind them.

As it were … the collection of letters, along with a variety of sketches and paintings, was found bound and stored in an attic trunk, as per Henri’s written request before leaving Moscow.  There is no further verifiable historical information to confirm Henri’s return home though regional folklore contends that he indeed survived and lived a long life in a small village near the sea with his dear Genevieve.

-Dave Olson
Summer 2004
Lake Cresent, Washington & Manzanita, Oregon

Letters from Russia: Reading Tolstoy in Manzanita
Letters from Russia: Reading Tolstoy in Manzanita


Hip Night in Vancouver ~ Choogle On! #31

Classic Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip rock an exclusive show at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom. Uncle Weed and Bread the Producer start at the New Amsterdam Cafe and choogle on over reading Gord Downie poetry, talking Barenaked Ladies along the way and spark a huge doobie at High Dough while results in dicey music analysis.

Tragically Hip at the Commodore

Download Choogle On! with Uncle Weed #31 (20:43, 19.2MB, .mp3)

Subscribe to the Choogle On! feed or Chillaxin feed or in iTunes

Busking the Tragically Hip

Tragically Hip Set list in Vancouver
Photos by Bread the Producer


Barenaked Ladies’ blog & BNL Podcast in iTunes

The Commodore Ballroom

Tragically Hip Pool on Flickr

Crazy Canucks – Power outages – both literal and figurative

Another Crazy Canucks podcast is up and waiting for your ears.  TCC#7 – Vancouver and the Canucks lose power features RebeccaJohnJJ and me (Daveo) talking about the past three games (all losses) and discussing the root causes for the struggles.  Plus a shout out to Hockey night in Kandahar and a shut up to stupid trade rumours.

In other news, thanks to Winnipeg Karl, I’ll be seated in Sec. 101, Row 9, Seat 8 vs Chicago on Sunday night after watching the Grey Cup with Dr. O and Dan Funboy!


HIgh Times Accolades for Evergreen College Reaction from Business Examiner

Evergreen in High Time cover

The somewhat infamous Evergreen State College, where i earned my hard-fought degree, is often awarded magazine accolades to balance out the complaints and punchlines which appear in equal amounts -especially in Washington State.

Despite the positivity of the article, the Greener PR folks never did utilize the High Times award of Top Counter Culture College award. Though there *was* some public and legislative backlash and whining, I contend that the HT article did more to increase applications from wide-open thinkers that make Evergreen unique than the vanilla US News or Seventeen magazine pablum which attracts lemmings (lemmings do not actually commit mass suicide BTW, the running off cliff thing is an urban legend propagated by none other than the Disney cartel).

Anyhow, here’s some self-aggrandizing and safe coverage as skimmed/copied from Business Examiner (a newspaper covering south Puget Sound commerce etc.) obviously almost verbatim from the college’s official press release.

Feel good everyone, feel good and pay up while Evergreen waters down.

Evergreen: top college for learning, participation

The Evergreen State College in Olympia is one of the nation’s most academically challenging school, and a top college for the level of active and collaborative learning for students, according to a national study released yesterday.

The study, founded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, said Evergreen students develop top abilities in analyzing theories and ideas and spend more time preparing for classes and reading textbooks. Evergreen students also spend more time making class presentations and working with other students on projects than most of the nation’s college students. Evergreen freshman and seniors cite the quality of interaction with faculty members and other students and the campus physical environment as keys to their success.

Unlike many other college ranking systems, the annual study focuses on putting more emphasis into successful student learning and high quality research. In September, a federal Higher Education Commission directed that colleges and universities should be measured by such student learning outcomes. Some 260,000 college students at 523 U.S. universities participated in the survey.

Founded in 1967 as an alternative to traditional education, Evergreen is a top example of interdisciplinary education in America. Academic studies are organized into interdisciplinary learning communities focused on specific themes with real-world relevance. Evergreen was recently featured as one of only two public colleges in the book “Colleges That Changes Lives.,” and named as a “College that is doing good for the nation” by the Washington Monthly political magazine.

Remembrance Day Activities in Vancouver 2006

From a recent Vancouver Parks Board Media Advisory, here are the locations of various Remembrance Day events going on around Vancouver.

White poppies for peaceI will be at one of the events (undecided but likely Stanley Park) with podcast-o-rator in hand to chronicle the event and wearing a white poppy for peace provided they arrive by post from the UK (Globe and Mail, CBC). Bear in mind, i respect this day as a somber occassion and in no way wish to diminish anyone’s hardship or beliefs, however, i sincerly believe the best way to honor dead soldiers sacrifices and grueling, unimaginable hardship is to avoid war and tyranny in all forms through conscious application of deliberate peace.

I am also planning up a special Postcards from Gravelly Beach podcast with a story about soldiers by a young fella i used to coach in in-line hockey, musing from Lt. Magnum’s blog, words from Thoreau and Gandhi and maybe Dalai Lama or Dhamapadha, my own Letters from Russia and a few snippets from some local media essays and perhaps a wee bit of Robbie Burns with a dram for the dead ones like last year. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyhow details (and thanks to Mr. Barefoot for again doing my research for me ;-0)…

The following Remembrance Day Ceremonies usually start 30 minutes before the 11 am moment of silence. Check local Legion Branches for further details.

Remembrance Day Ceremony November 11th at Memorial Park South Sponsored by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #16 at 11 am located at East 41st Avenue and Prince Albert Street.

Remembrance Day Ceremony November 11th at Grandview Park Cenotaph Sponsored by the Royal Canadian Legion #179 at 11 am located at Commercial and Cotton Drives.

Remembrance Day Ceremony November 11th at Stanley Park Sponsored by the Japanese Canadian War Memorial Committee at 11 am at the Japanese Monument near the Stanley Park Pavilion.

Remembrance Day Ceremony November 11th at Victory Square Major representation by civic officials with music at 11 am at Cambie and Hastings Streets. Come view the recent restoration work at this lovely downtown park.

Painting in Goudy’s Parc Guell in Barcelona

Painting in Goudy’s Parc Guell in Barcelona
Originally uploaded by Uncleweed.

That post about Picasso got me looking through Europa trip photos. None of Pablo’s private museum (located in a grand old funky manor house in downtown Barcelona) but here’s this one of me painting at Gaudi’s Parc Guell right after visiting the Picasso museum.   Painting all loose and free d from constraints for replicating form , … No mad skills here, i just try to listen to my surroundings and not think about what i am doing while i am splattering paint onto surface.

Old Goalie John Garret blogs

Yes the old goalie with the ears which oppucy the entire sides of his noggin – John Garret has a blog and i did not know this until moments ago.  Funny to see a guy who does not look athletic at all and realize he played at a high level for several years.  He and Hughson have become my fave tandem when i seek reliable, homer-istic Canuck broadcast – nice to come home and tune in to their intelligent and witty commentary – much better than the usual CBC west coast crews (talking to you Millen).  Vancouver fans are fortunate to have a great radio duo (half anyhow ;-)) and decent crews doing the TV coverage (despite the stumbles of the alumni in PPV games).

Mission to the Homestead and Himalayas ~ Choogle On! #30

Exiting the Castro chaos in geta sandals, Mad Dog and Uncle Weed stroll through San Francisco’seclectic Mission district talking about urban planning and related social conundrums and sorting out tense Nepalese political negotiations en route to a fine neighborhood pub called the Homestead with a bench full of hidden wine, naked wimmin on the walls and men with old-timey hats.

Download Choogle On! with Uncle Weed #30 (21:26, 19.9MB, .mp3)

Subscribe to the Choogle On! feed or Chillaxin feed or in iTunes

homestead pub in san francisco Picture(28).jpg
Bonus Resources:

Homestead pub map and review

NepalPolitical news on BBC (tentative peace agreement)


Homeless protest documentation from Indy Media

Downtown Eastside Enqurier article on the homeless sit-in/protest

CBC (protest coverage)

Music from Jerry Garcia Band (duh ;-))

This episode produced by Bread the Producer from recording made by Uncle Weed on Oct. 31st, 2006

Picasso’s paintings causing disturbances – Thoughts about Art and Ownership

I am an aficionado of art in general but for me, the most scintillating and infectious era of painting spanned roughly from the ending of the impressionists to the start of the abstractionists – Van Gogh to Picasso in brief – in there are Matisse, Vlaminck, Toulouse-Latrec, Chagall …

I also follow along as various Van Gogh and Munch’s are stolen and sometimes recovered and meditate (for lack of a better word to describe deep, lucid thoughts occurring while walking and not-thinking) on the reasons and logistics for art thievery and the conundrums and tensions between art and commerce in general.

Anyhow, A few weeks back, a story of quadrillionaire impresario Steve Wynn excitedly put his elbow through Picasso (and received tons of really favorable press from it – he’s clumsy and an art enthusiast the articles say). He had to cancel a sky-high deal to sell the piece and sent it into repairs.

Meanwhile, another Picasso (one I particularly like too) is accused of being obtained under devious and dubious surroundings – indeed diaspora results in art and objects d’art to be left behind, sold at a discount rate, hidden never to be found or otherwise experience an unplanned change of hands.

How to present a case? Is one really entitled to damages from a third-party (meaning someone who did not “steal” the painting but may have purchased it off someone who did obtain it in tense circumstances)? Should The Louvre, for example, return Hammurabi’s code? But to whom?

Egypt’s ancient and rich legacy is another example of a museum taking, but ultimately preserving, objects that otherwise would’ve been scavenged by bandits and melted and sold. The Haida art local to the Northwest might have been lost with many of the tribe (small pox etc) had the somewhat(un)-scrupulous sea captains not taken precious artifacts to London for cataloging and preservation – later to help revive the art for contemporary artisans.

In the case below, the factoid missing from the briefing is how the wealthy banker obtained the painting in the firstplace. There may well be a chain of devious behavior but either way, i’d prefer the piece to end up in Pablo’s fine museum in Barcelona which, while full of fascinating pieces showing his progress as an artist, lacks some “major” pieces from what is perhaps his most enduring era of his craft.

$60M Picasso taken off auction block (CNN)

POSTED: 11:05 a.m. EST, November 9, 2006

NEW YORK(AP) — British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Art Foundation withdrew a Picasso painting worth up to $60 million from a planned Christie’s auction Wednesday amid claims by a German man that he owns the piece.

TheLloyd Webber foundation and Christie’s said ownership claims by Julius Schoeps meant a “cloud of doubt has been recklessly placed” on the ownership of the painting from Picasso’s Blue Period, “Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto.”

Schoeps is suing the Lloyd Webber foundation, saying in a federal complaint that he was an heir of wealthy Jewish banker Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy from Berlin and that the banker lost the painting in Nazi Germany in a “forced sale.”

Another Crazy Canucks episode up

Got Skype’d up with John, Rebecca, JJ and Alanah for another roundtabl, hot-stove during which we discuss the games vs. Wild (loss), Avs (close loss) and Dallas (last minute win).

Crazy Canucks hockey podcastCrazy Canucks #6 [36:34m] if you aren’t subscribed, feed this tasty morsel into your preferred pod-o-rator.

Amongst the minor technical glitches, highlights include JJ encouraging Matt Cooke produce points and tell us poor folks what it’s like to actually go to the games, Alanah addressing the Morrison trade rumours and expressing vitriol to the Avs Canuck killers, John reminicing about his days as a goalie and Rebecca recapping Burrows’ shopping exploits while I reveal my respect for Jacques Lemaire’s suntan, young Alex Edler (“discovered” by classic Canucks/scout Thomas Gradin), props to Dallas’ veteran talent and finally, offer a shout out to the worldwide Nuck fans.  Plus we mention the new Canucks site and player blogs.


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