Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


I am back from San Francisco. It was a good week and a beautiful week.

I had an interesting interaction at the show. My friend Robert, who is a faithful blast reader, mentioned that I was smiling.

He said that he found it a bit odd that I write such dour portrayals of the shows on the Blast but the reality is that I am usually pretty up beat and generally having a good time on the floor.

And my friend is partly right. But let me backtrack. I have had two legitimate stinkers in a row; in Santa Barbara and Palm Springs. I was pretty much expecting my string of defeats to continue unabated. Loser with a capital L, long past his use by date.

Then Shazzam! With a backdrop of foreboding and lowered expectations I managed to sell a bunch of material this week, making sweet deals with people wherever and whenever I could. Cashflow. Not huge by any standard but enough to keep the dire wolf from breaking down the door to the cabin.

The other salient fact is that I tend to not talk about my victories like I wax on regarding my defeats. I'm no Donald Trump. Because there is nothing more boring and nauseating then someone telling you how great they are doing. It rubs people the wrong way, especially those that are going through their own bad stretch. Sometimes I downplay. Not entirely honest but I don't want to rub anybody's nose in it.

Many years ago my old friend Michael Halter cautioned me to conduct my victories like funerals. Michael is an amazing man, memorized every changing line of the i ching, but that is another story.

I decided to look up the quote today. Learned something. It is from Lao Tzu, the Tao te ching - Chapter 31.

Good weapons are instruments of fear; all creatures hate them.
Therefore followers of the Tao never used them.
The wise man prefers the left.
The man of war prefers the right.

Weapons are instruments of fear; they are not a wise man's tools.
He uses them only when he has no choice.
Peace and quiet are dear to his heart.
And victory no cause for rejoicing.
If you rejoice in victory, then you delight in killing;
If you delight in killing, you cannot fulfill yourself.

On happy occasions precedence is given to the left,
On sad occasions to the right.
In the army the general stands on the left,
The commander-in-chief on the right.
This means that war is conducted like a funeral.
When many people are being killed,
They should be mourned in heartfelt sorrow.
That is why a victory must be observed like a funeral.

Christopher Dresser - Flower design

It was my birthday on the sixth.  I couldn't pick up a check all week. Lots of calls from my loved ones. Great times with my friends and fellows. A beautiful card from Leslie, my beloved. The weather in the bay was perfect. I found a wonderful and rare piece of Georg Jensen sterling and an equally if not more rare piece by Christopher Dresser.

Not that there is much scholarship at present, while some would recognize the celebrated silversmith, few today would know the Scottish artist and designer who was responsible for so much avant garde and innovative output in the last half of the 19th century. One of the true titans of the decorative arts. Because we tend to put this little blinder on and disregard so much of what should still be a relevant past perhaps because it is so incongruent with the distant present.

I bought a ceramic adorned with eccentric figures, in blue, a lovely form created for Old Hall pottery in 1884. Later I will hopefully post a picture of both objects after I dig them out of the tote.

Nice to be able to hold my head up after a show.

As I get older I am getting painfully more aware of my shortcomings. Talking too much, breaking confidences, a propensity for generally unaware behavior, the commission of stupid and avoidable mistakes. The list is long, I need to concern myself with sweeping my side of the street.

I tried not to engage this week politically. It is a no win proposition for a salesman. People can think and vote however they wish, it is none of my business. If they do ask I do my best to be vague and equivocal. Have lost some serious clients because of stupid political differences.

A woman came in with an elephant necklace and I asked her if it was an indicator of her political leanings. She smiled and showed me the matching bracelet. Wouldn't be caught dead wearing a jackass she says. At that point she got close to my face and did one of those quick assessments, see if I wanted to play a round of Hillary bashing, was I friend or foe? I stayed coy. And this repeated several times, people want to unload on the enemy.

It was a scorched earth election and people are going to sore for a while. Lots of shrapnel and more to come. I hope that the right gets it sorted out internally about who they want to be and then we can all come to the table like adults and figure out a way to make things better. An operational government, where people figured out how to make things work, even across the aisle.

Although a conservative friend tells me he is perfectly happy with things in their current paralyzed state, keeps government from doing more damage.

I'm not saying much, 'bout nothin'.


Sanoguy said...

Not saying much? Sounds like a new leaf turned! Glad to se you happy today! Happy BH is a good BH!

Max Hall said...

A belated happy bday to you Blue.

Helen Killeen Bauch McHargue said...

"As I get older I am getting painfully more aware of my shortcomings. " Me too. But I am amazed at the fact that we have these insights at all as we grow older. I remember all my old codger relatives absolutely unaware of themselves, stuck in time at about 50. It seems we can keep on growing if we work at it.
Happy Birthday and thank you for all the entertainment over the years. Savor the wonder.