The Second Stone (blog)

  1. The Big Islip Bowl Bowling Alley Pencil

    17 Dec 2020
    The Big Islip Bowl Bowling Alley Pencil  This work started by chance.  In the fall of 2018 we had a couple of guys come over to do a job terracing our vegetable garden.  It’s not very big, but the ground slopes down at a pretty steep angle, so there are…

  2. Tom Rapp’s “Fourth Day of July”, a Great Independence Day Song

    04 Jul 2020
    Tom Rapp, The Netherlands, ca. 1969. Tom Rapp’s ”Fourth Day of July” is an antiwar song without equal.  Known mostly to Rapp’s loyal fans of fifty years ago, it deserves more attention, especially on the occasion of Independence Day, and as much in 2020 as in 1972 when…

  3. Robert Frank, Harry Lunn, Paul Katz, and collector Arthur Penn

    24 Feb 2020
    A personal research into the story of the photographer Robert Frank and the dealer Harry Lunn brought me to a few pages from R.J. Smith’s biography American Witness:  The Art and Life of Robert Frank.  There I read of how Frank soured on the deal he had made with…

  4. Allen Ginsberg and Archy and Mehitabel

    19 Feb 2020
    Did Allen Ginsberg read Don Marquis’s Archy and Mehitabel?  Me-OWL! Was Allen Ginsberg influenced in some small way by the poetry of Don Marquis?  One poem in particular, “archy declares war”, reminds me powerfully of “Howl” and certain other poems by Ginsberg.  It is a…

  5. Nude Photography on a Secluded Beach in Greece

    10 Sep 2019
    Some places let you really get in touch with your body, mind, and spirit – or wherever those three things come together as one.  The beach is that kind of place, warm and sunny, with the hypnotic, rhythmic noise of the waves, where the amniotic sea reminds us subconsciously of…

  6. Donald Trump, Cross-Dresser?

    07 Aug 2019
    Donald Trump’s Secret Life Many people will have read of the allegations of sexual abuse by Donald Trump, the account that advice columnist E. Jean Carroll gave in late June 2019 after over 20 years of silence – that Trump had assaulted her in the fitting rooms at Bergdorf Goodman’s.…

  7. The Blue Meanies Have Taken Over the World!

    19 Jul 2019
    In recent years it has occurred to me more and more that the recent trouble in the world can be explained by the simple fact that most of the planet has been taken over by the Blue Meanies.  Surely no one who ever saw the Beatles’ 1968 film Yellow Submarine

  8. Pietre d’Inciampo - Lest We Forget

    14 May 2019
    As an act of homage, I’ve been photographing all the “pietre d’inciampo” or “Stolpersteine” – the stumbling blocks or tripping stones – that have been installed around Torino in recent years to commemorate some of the people who were arrested by the Fascist government or by…

  9. Paris, Nov. 13, 2015, 11e Arrondissement

    09 Mar 2016
    I Love Paris – in the springtime, I Love Paris – in the fall… despite everything. We happened to take accommodations just a short distance from Le Comptoir Voltaire, one of the targets of the terror attacks of the evening of the 13th of November, and just a few…

  10. A Rather Queer Banknote

    18 Feb 2016
    An old Brazilian banknote represents a grand, historic scene, but reveals a surprising detail:  what appears to be a hermaphrodite.  Want to see?  Sorry to pitch like a sideshow barker, but we’re all grownups here, and there’s nothing wrong with curiosity.  Besides, I have a more legitimate theme or two…

  11. Io Leggo - I Read - a Declaration of Love

    01 Feb 2016
    A letter I sent to the New York Review of Books in March 2013.  The subject is a text (not mine), part riff, part rant, and part love letter.  It’s about books and the passion for reading, and it’s something worth sharing.  Warm thanks to ”Il Circolo dei Lettori”

  12. Humor versus Terror: Lord Buckley’s H-Bomb

    14 Jan 2016
    Soon after the terror attacks in Paris of Nov. 13, 2015, I wanted to share with Charlie Hebdo (and now with all) the inspiring reflection of Lord Buckley on the role of humor in confronting terror. In H-Bomb, Buckley suggested how we could learn to stop worrying, and just …

  13. William Carrick and Irving Penn - Kindred Souls

    01 May 2015
    No one who sees William Carrick’s photographs of “Russian Types”, who also knows Irving Penn’s “Small Trades”, can miss the uncanny resemblance. Appearances lead us to ask the obvious historical question:  whether Penn knew the work of Carrick and was thus inspired in his own portraits. As an admirer of…

  14. Moi aussi - a tribute to Charlie Hebdo

    11 Jan 2015
    The mass murder carried out by extremists against Charlie Hebdo seems exceeded in its vileness perhaps only by the stupidity and ignorance of the protagonists. What, exactly, did they think they were attacking? Charlie Hebdo spared no one its barbs – they gave it to the Israeli government as well…

  15. Scout’s Honor - Baden-Powell, Regimentation, Art, and Sexuality

    10 Oct 2014
    This essay relates mainly to Baden-Powell and scouting, while bringing in regimentation, indoctrination, civic and personal virtue, as well as sexuality, ideas about our bodies, recent historical and cultural tendencies, a lot about the the German art of the Nazi period, and other themes and tangents as well. The first…

  16. Stick It Back - An Anti-Advertising Campaign

    05 Oct 2014
    Advertising gives me a pain. I think we have to fight back however we can. If advertisers are going to stick it to us, we have to stick it back to them. I propose to put adhesive stickers on advertisements, or near the offending institutions, to counteract this perniciousness, to…

  17. U.S. Public Health - An Expatriate’s Perspective

    15 Jul 2014
    As an American living in Europe, for me it was bitter amusement to observe, in the public debate over the Affordable Care Act, the contortions of the American Establishment to avoid, if possible, any form of public health care. Many would have preferred to go on forever as we have…

  18. Arms Control and Terrorism

    15 Jul 2014
    An appeal to common sense and decency, to curb civil war and terrorism, by controlling all phases of design, manufacture, and trade in weapons and the materials needed to produce explosives, addressed to Barack Obama, who has, I should think, sympathy for such a cause. The political resistance to measures…

  19. Columbia, Spring 1968 - 40 Years Later

    14 Jul 2014
    Columbia College Today, the alumni magazine of Columbia College, did a 40th-anniversary feature on the 1968 strike. The issues that followed printed many of the letters that came in response. I wasn’t there at the time, but I was a year or so later, when the reverberations were still strong…

  20. Environmentalism:  The Aesthetic Argument

    14 Jul 2014
    On Oil Dependency, Global Warming, and the Environment, with a plea that aesthetics be a bigger part of the dialogue, for Columbia Magazine Last year there were a few articles in Columbia Magazine, the alumni magazine of Columbia University, that provoked many strong responses. They were “States of Dependence”, by…

  21. Global Warming: The Scientific Approach

    14 Jul 2014
    Global Warming, for the New York Review of Books This letter (unpublished) is in response to an article in the New York Review of Books by Freeman Dyson, who was reviewing a book by William Nordhaus, “A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies”, and one by…

  22. Population Growth and Global Warming

    11 Jul 2014
    An exchange between Bill McKibben and Allen Schill, with a letter from Paul and Anne Ehrlich, from the New York Review of Books of late 2007 and early 2008 Population Growth and Global Warming I’ve read with pleasure and great interest several of Bill McKibben’s articles over the years in…

  23. Thomas Pynchon’s Science

    10 Jul 2014
    Thomas Pynchon’s Science – a call for a scientific Baedeker, and diverse observations (plus a tangent about Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão and his airship La Passarola) This is a letter I sent to a reviewer who often writes about books with scientific or technological subjects. It was not for publication…

  24. Marcel Proust’s Stimulants

    07 Jul 2014
    Marcel Proust and Mind-Altering Substances (and Proust’s deathbed photographs by Man Ray) Speculations about the role of drugs in Proust’s creative process, and observations about the last photographs of Marcel Proust.  A response to Graham Robb’s review of Richard Davenport-Hines’s book Proust at The Majestic in the New York Review…

  25. Andy Warhol: A Revisionist Critique

    07 Jul 2014
    Andy Warhol: A Revisionist Critique, by Allen Schill The following is my response to an article by Richard Dorment about the work of Andy Warhol, published in the New York Review of Books of Oct. 1, 2009.  It consists of a story (true) of mine followed by a brief polemic.…

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