Monday, January 30, 2012

Early Birds - Next Generation Birders

Micah's birds
Micah, my middle grandson, showed some interest this past December in one of the bird guides I brought to Oregon for the holiday. He studied a number of the photographs, carefully looking through the pages. When we did our California summer road trip, he had taken note during our walks of my checking out different birds we saw along the beach and in a nearby estuary. He also has interest in drawing (often using a drawing pad), so I wasn't all that surprised this past Saturday when he had our daughter-in-law text us one of his drawings - a sketch of a couple of birds. I smiled - there may be a little bit of a birder in him I thought, a connection with my interest. I will see all the little ones this weekend when I get to western Oregon, so have brought two pocketbook guides with me if more than one of them chooses to go birding with me.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Record Mogul - Does This Man Look Like One

Antanu Biswas
Today I met with another agency scientist who is doing a one-month detail in Office of the USDA Chief Scientist as a part of his leadership training program. He came to my office to talk details about information he needed for a report he is preparing. After we finished our business, our discussion moved to random personal topics, one of which led to finding out he is a recording mogul - of a sort. As it turns out, he is head of Biswas Records - Home of Digital Bengali Music and Indian Classical Music - a musical equivalent of Bollywood. Who would have know, by day, a research chemist in the Illinois heartland working for salary and benefits, by night, the producer of fine classical music from India ...the second largest producer of Bengali CDs in the world. His achievements make my birding a very tame past-time.

The Biswas label
I remember Nonsuch Records, and how I would once-in-a-while order what seemed to be some off-the-wall music album from China, India, pan flute music, something from eastern Europe. As I wrote this posting, I was surprised to find that not only does Nonsuch Records still exist, there are many notable artists who are signed to that label. That too seems like a longs ways from the eclectic selections I used to order from Publishers Central Bureau mail order discounts. Samples of the listings on Biswas Records are generously available for listening.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Old Man

My wife is great about keeping family traditions alive. One tradition is breakfast-in-bed, especially with a cup of coffee - a Swedish childhood custom that Jan has kept for our family as well. Even our kids got a
Baked eggs, English muffins, fruit & yogurt
small cup with their breakfasts (each had a small cup of their own - a tradition from both sides of our families), and now they are doing the same for our grandchildren - even the coffee as well.(1) Her birthday this past November was the second without any of our children around - I have followed suit. With our kids' ages ranging from nearly 24 to 31, we are getting a sense of what our folks are experiencing with their children in their late-50's and early-60's. She still brought me my coffee, but for practical sake, we ate our breakfast instead at our dining table where we could watch the birds come and go from the backyard feeder. The baked egg dish is a favorite recipe from the Sand Lake Country Inn on the Oregon coast - a bed and breakfast we enjoyed many times. We added up the years, and have been celebrating birthdays together for 41 years. She is adept at making it all work together: thematic cards and gifts, breakfast, homemade dinner.

I remember the line from the first Indiana Jones movie: "It's not the years, [honey,] it's the mileage." That seems an appropriate way for sizing up time. I think it was about when we turned 50 that even though we still thought of ourselves as young, it seemed the situations we would run into were Grown Up Problems. When I woke up this morning, for some reason I thought of the Neil Young song Old Man. With the wonder of laptop computers, and YouTube, instant blast from the past at the finger tips. Click here to hear the song from a 1971 performance, and then here, for a rendition sung by an old-man-version of Neil Young 40 years later. A recent relief effort by the co-founder of Farm Aid can be viewed by clicking here.
(1) We hear that our grand daughter Cambria, four years old, wants coffee each morning, so her mom gives a milk with a dash of coffee from the pot.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Letters From France - More About Artist Ellie Bogardus

Late this last year, I was fortunate to connect with nice folks in France who knew Ellie Bogardus. As I wrote earlier, I was on a quest to find copies of her art work. As it turned out, by using her name in my blog, I ended up getting copies of her work and more when I heard from people in Los Angeles and France who knew her or were friends of others who did, and the rest is art history. I have compiled my emails with the Bonnard family in France - these give some more glimpses of details about the artist.

J.M. Bonnard Drawing - Coast House on Nottingham Drive (demolished)
(Received some time in November) Hi Jeff, I received your messages on the site of my sister Justine. I am very pleased that there are new pictures of Ellie in your blog. I had a job that I was delayed, but in the days come, I will send you the pictures. Paintings of 1964-1967(?). Your drawings are nice, and I am happy to see the house Ellie in 1995. I also send you pictures of the house, in years 60's. I hope you are well, too. See you soon, Mathias PS: My blog will soon be translated into English. I would be happy that you can read it. 

Friday, November 25, 2011 11:00:46 AM Please help, again. Justine, I must have deleted my earlier emails with Mathius, so don't have his current email address. Would you please send it to me again? Also, I found a couple of sketches I made (I am not an artist) 25 years ago of Ellie's house at the ocean in Cambria. The first is a perspective of the front of the house facing the road away from the ocean. The second is a very rough drawing of the characters on the south-facing exterior wall. From my sketch, it looks like that part of the house had a flat roof, so Ellie's exterior "canvas" was a rectangle. My wife knows where our box of miscellaneous slides are that may have images of the house. Those were the pre-digital days, so I didn't take many frivolous shots back then. My apologies to you and Mathius for being so slow to dig into the archives - my work schedule has be very hectic, but I am in a four-day holiday, so am making this a priority. Jeff  

26/11/11 00:41 Re: Please help, again. Justine, Please also pass on the attached photograph that was taken in 1995. This is Ellie's house. I dug through boxes of old photographs, and was only able to find this one. Notice the mailbox in front of the house is built to look like a cat. Also, earlier this wee I received a message from a woman in Los Angeles, who happens to be an animation instructor at the University of Southern California, and she and her husband have just acquired a collection of Ellie's paintings. You can view the paintings at my blog: Please let Mathius know I look forward to hearing from him. Thanks for your help. Jeff

Dec 12/04/11 1:34 PM Hi Jeff! Sorry for my late answer, I'm not often on this email. My official address is That of Mathias is I sent your two messages to Mathias. And I want to thank you for your article on my work. Glad you like it :))) I love your sketches and the photography of the house of Ellie. I am touched to see this house. It is identical to my memory. This trip to California marked me for life. I loved this place. And I'm sad it was destroyed. And glad to see all these Elli's paintings. It's very interesting because the paintings we have are very different. They don't date from the same period. Have a good day! Justine 

Le 4 déc. 2011 à 19:57: Justine, I just sent you the images of the paintings and the photograph of Ellie's house to your other email. Thanks for your reply. Jeff 

Dec 12/04/11 1:02 PM I had good reception! The colors of the paintings ellie, painted in the 1970s, are more free than the paintings of the 1960s. See you soon, and soon, Mathias! PS: For your blog, I would look.

Dec 12/04/11 2:16 PM Great!! Thank you  :) There is a resemblance to Matisse in his paintings. I think. I hope that Mathias will send you soon pictures of paintings we have. See you soon. Justine 

Dec 12/04/11 10:57 AM Hi Jeff, I received your messages on the site of my sister Justine. I am very pleased that there are new pictures of Ellie in your blog. I had a job that I was delayed, but in the days come, I will send you the pictures. Paintings of 1964-1967(?). Your drawings are nice, and I am happy to see the house Ellie in 1995. I also send you pictures of the house, in years 60's. I hope you are well, too. See you soon, Mathias. PS: My blog will soon be translated into English. I would be happy that you can read it.

Le 4 déc. 11 à 18:47, a écrit: Mathius, I hope all of the images I sent got through to you. There were 12 paintings, and one photograph of the house from 1985. Let me know if you want any other images that appear on my blog. Jeff

Dec 12/10/11 5:01 PM Hi Jeff ! Finally, the pictures of Ellie Bogardus, and my Father. Hi Jeff! Here are pictures of Ellie Bogardus: There are 09 pictures of Ellie. The paintings were made between 1964 and 1967. The paintings are dated 1967, because
J.M. Bonnard - Self Portrait
Ellie had come to France in 1990 or 1991. The paintings were not signed before his trip to France. There are 06 paintings by Jean-Marie Bonnard (Father). Paintings made at the same time. There are 01 painting by FRED PENNEY. A Portrait of My Father. A painter and neighbor of Ellie and my Father in Cambria in the sixties. I hope you are well. You can put them on your BLOG, no problem! See you soon, Mathias. PS: I also send pictures of Ellie's house in the 60's. In my Father's house there are other pictures of Ellie, but they are not hanging on the walls. These paintings are in attics. I photograph them too. (If you have a problem with the names of the JPEG files or the ZIP files, tell me. I could not use my usual email. If you have problems, use "") 

Sunday, December 11, 2011 4:56:50 AM Hi, Jeff ! Yesterday, I sent you an address "hotmail" paints pictures of Ellie. I hope you have received. With this address "Wanadoo" my message is not starting. If you have not received anything, tell me! See you soon, Mathias.

Dec 12/11/11 11:22 AM I'm glad you received everything! The URL address of my blog is: If you have any questions, no problem! See you soon, Mathias PS: Yes, Ellie's paintings of the 70's are inspired by Matisse. 

Le 11 déc. 11 à 13:00 Mathias, Also, what is the url for your blog? I found it a week ago, but have not found it again. Thanks, Jeff

Le 11 déc. 11 à 19:43, a écrit : Thanks again, Mathias. Another question, Ellie is not your and Justine's mother, correct?  I have been assuming she is not. I will look forward to the additional images. Jeff

Dec 12/11/11 1:50 PM No, Ellie was not our mother. Ellie has not had children. Soon, Mathias

Dec 12/12/11 4:56 AM My father is alive. He's born in 1936. He has a blog, where he designed on computer.  But it doesn't paint a lot. His blog: He painted especially during his marriage to Ellie and when he was a student at the Beaux Arts (Fine Art school) in Nancy. He did not paint much. But he painted at the moment. I told him of course talked about our exchanges. He likes to interact with others and have very great and good Remember California. If you want more information on him? I'll see today. He will see your blog! See you, Mathias PS : I put your blog in my "BLOG + +" from my blog. I hope you have visits to France on your blog : - )

Dec 12/14/11 5:18 AM Hi Jeff, I've never been to Budapest. In agriculture, are there any exchanges between the United States and France? I know that France is in Europe, the country where there is more agriculture and most of European subsidies. As soon as I find the pictures of Ellie's house in the 60's, I send them to you. See you soon, Mathias 

(I deleted the original messages, December) Oh, and I have not been to France. My only work trip in Europe was to Budapest - perhaps Ireland for work early in 2012. J.

(I deleted the original messages, December) Thanks for the additional information - I enjoy learning more, and will look at your father's blog. Jeff

12/21/11 11:50 AM Dear Jean-Marie, Thank you for your reply and the additional details. I have enjoyed learning about your art, and that of Mathias and Justine - your family is quite talented. I am 57 and married for 35 years, have grown four children: 31, 29, 27, and 23. My parents (in their late 80's) still regularly use their house in Cambria, but live in Visalia - they will continue to enjoy the coast until my father can no longer drive. Their Cambria house is just a couple of blocks walk from the house you lived in. I work for the USDA Agricultural Research Service, and have been in administration for the past six years in the Washington, D.C. area. As you can probably see, I blog around a few regular themes - mostly birds and some about the military experiences - one of my sons served in the U.S. Army for four year, and the youngest is training as a pilot in the Navy - I did not serve in the military, so this has been an adjustment for my wife and me. I write my blog for my grandchildren - for when they want to know more about what their grandfather thought about when they are older, and I am ancient. Take care, thanks again, and I hope you have a good Christmas. Jeff 

Bonnard greeting card
Jan 01/03/12 4:46 PM Dear Jeff and family, First of all we wish you one very happy New Year. 2012 is one year for us electoral, I send you as to all my friends my wishes card, (it
also works for the United States) I enclose a drawing of the house of Aunt Ellie that I made in 1999 during our last visit to Cambria. Encore bonne année et bonne santé et grosses bises à vous tous! Mathias, Justine, Yolande & Jean marie Bonnard

Jan 01/07/12 9:11 AM Mathius, Thank you and all the best to you and your family in the New Year. I appreciate connecting with new friends in France. Jeff  
Addendum: My sister-in-law was raised in Cambria. She has interest in the recent Bogardus discoveries.

Sunday, December 11, 2011, 1:54 PM Here are the rest of Ellie's. 

Dec 12/12/11 11:07 AM Thanks, Jeff.  I only wish the guy in Los Angeles was as good a photographer as Bonnard.  I wouldn't mind having better quality photos of that collection.  I remember when I was at Ellie's once, she was working on a painting called Pink Lady or Pink Ladies.  A wordplay on the subjects wearing pink and drinking Pink Ladies.  There was, of course, a cat or cats relaxing while the ladies enjoyed their cocktails.  I like her later paintings because they remind me of Matisse.  I once read  in a comparison of Matisse and Picasso that Matisse could paint joy.  I think Elllie could too.  Wishing you and Jan a joyous Christmas if I don't hear from you before then or even if I do.  Love, Dana

Dec 12/12/11 11:25 AM I see Gertrude Stein's Cat as Mona Lisa with Cat.   Mirror images across centuries.