Category Archives: Knick-knacks

Bit and pieces of miscellanea, or little thoughts that didn’t seem to fit anywhere else

Three Koalas Having a Snooze

Okay, I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff. “Taronga” is Taronga Park Zoo, Sydney’s main zoo area, beside the Harbour. John Ashbery visited there in 1992. He subsequently wrote a poem containing the word “wallaby”, though we may have W.C. Fields to thank for that.*

Three Koalas

* I opened Ashbery’s book “Wakefulness” one day and it fell open to page 24, where I noticed that Australia has had its literary effect: “. . . peanuts fester. A wallaby streaks for the light, / suspenders down, indeed his pantleg is falling.”

Fields? J. Farnsworth Wallaby is a character in the W.C. Fields movie “The Man on the Flying Trapeze”.

Australian Bikers


Yes, Australian bikers are different. First, they call themselves “bikies” not “bikers”. Second, they’re fond of large, furry pets.
“A stolen alpaca has been recovered during a raid of a bikie clubhouse in Sydney’s south-west. Police on Wednesday raided headquarters of the Gypsy Jokers outlaw motorcycle gang, uncovering drugs, guns and cash.
But they also found Cleo – a brown female alpaca that was being kept in a paddock at the rear of the clubhouse.”
(From: the Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 19 June 2014.)
(For those British readers who are confused by the statement ” a brown female alpaca that was being kept in a paddock”: in the Australian vernacular a “paddock” is not a toad [that’s Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 1 Scene 1] but a field or meadow.)

Norman Rockwell and Richard Nixon

Norman Rockwell had also met with the Republican nominee, Vice President Richard Nixon. As much as he admired President Eisenhower, Rockwell did not care for his vice president. In his studio, he worked on the portraits of Senator Kennedy and Vice President Nixon side by side. Scrupulously objective, he made sure that neither candidate flashed a millimeter more of a smile than the other. It was tedious work, not least because Nixon’s face posed unique challenges. As Peter Rockwell recalled, “My father said the problem with doing Nixon is that if you make him look nice, he doesn’t look like Nixon anymore.”


From: The Smithsonian magazine, October 2013, “Inside America’s Great Romance With Norman Rockwell”, by Deborah Solomon, at

The Dream-Master’s Knick-Knacks

The Dream-Master’s Knick-Knacks: Loretta Howard Gallery is pleased to present John Ashbery Collects, an immersive multi-media gallery experience showcasing a selection of things that inform Ashbery’s sensibility as well as his work as a poet, visual artist, collaborator, art critic and collector. Co-curated by poets Adam Fitzgerald and Emily Skillings, John Ashbery Collects explores the poet’s lifelong interest in collecting through the medium of his late-19th century house in Hudson, NY, a carefully composed collage-environment constructed over thirty-five years with an eclectic array of fine art by European and American masters, furniture, pottery, textiles, bric-a-brac, toys, and other objects, augmented by the content and associations that these objects hold for him—the images and artworks he arranges on his walls, the books he puts on his shelves, the music he plays, the cinema he watches—all organized in an architecturally-distinguished setting. Loretta Howard Gallery · 525-531 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001 · (212) 695-0164 AT:


Sayings of the Poets

Poets are supposed to write memorable lines. What about baseball players? Some sayings of the great Yogi Berra, from Wikipedia:

»» As a general comment on baseball: “90% of the game is half mental.”
»» On why he no longer went to Ruggeri’s, a St. Louis restaurant: “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
»» “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” In July 1973, Berra’s Mets trailed the Chicago Cubs by 9½ games in the National League East. The Mets rallied to win the division title on the final day of the season.
»» When giving directions to Joe Garagiola to his New Jersey home, which is accessible by two routes: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
»» On being the guest of honor at an awards banquet: “Thank you for making this day necessary.”
»» “It’s déjà vu all over again”. Berra explained that this quote originated when he witnessed Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris repeatedly hit back-to-back home runs in the Yankees’ seasons in the early 1960s.
»» “You can observe a lot by watching.”
»» “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.”



I can’t resist a photo of a cute dog, in this case a coon-hound called “Maddie”. Or is it that I can’t resist cute photos of dogs? In any case, this shot is from www. , or from , credit: all images are © by theronhumphrey.