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And Now, Red…

On side street in San José del Cabo. Sign says “Casa dela güera.” Not “guerra” as in “war.” Güera is listed as “blond” in Spanish dictionary.

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"The Pursuit of Delight" -- Stewart Brand's review of Steven Johnson's Recent Seminar in San Francisco

Humanity has been inventing toward delight for a long time. Johnson began with a slide of shell beads found in Morocco that indicate human interest in personal adornment going back 80,000 years. He showed 50,000-year-old bone flutes found in modern Slovenia that were tuned to musical intervals we would still recognize. Beads and flutes had nothing to do with survival. They were art, conforming to Brian Eno’s definition: “Art is everything you don’t have to do.” It looks frivolous, but Johnson proposed that the pursuit of delight is one of the prime movers of history — of globalization, innovation, and democratization.

Image: Perforated Nassarius gibbosulus from archaeological layers dated to between 73,400 and 91,500 years ago at Taforalt. Credit: Image courtesy of d’Errico/Vanhaeren

Consider spices, a seemingly trivial ornament to food. In the Babylon of 1700 BCE — 3,700 years ago — there were cloves that came all the way from Indonesia, 5,000 miles away. Importing eastern spices become so essential that eventually the trade routes defined the map of Islam. Another story from Islamic history: when Baghdad was at its height as one of the world’s most cultured cities around 800 CE, its “House of Wisdom” produced a remarkable text titled “The Book of Ingenious Devices.” In it were beautiful schematic drawings of machines years ahead of anything in Europe — clocks, hydraulic instruments, even a water-powered organ with swappable pin-cylinders that was effectively programmable. Everything in the book was neither tool nor weapon: they were all toys.

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Lesley's Open Studio This Weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

Lesley is having an open studio this weekend in Bolinas featuring knitted wool scarves and woven Alpaca shawls. Info here: https://www.coastalmarinartists.com/2016-open-studios-thanksgiving-weekend/creed-copy/

Two of our favorite potters are among the 16 artists doing open studios: Patricia Yenawine and Mardi Wood. Info on all artists here: https://www.coastalmarinartists.com/ (Roll mouse over images to get artists’ names.)

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Which Cover Do You Like Best?

Rick and I are in the final stages of preparing Small Homes for the printers. We changed the cover from an earlier version, which showed a small turn-of-the-century home in Santa Cruz (in this revised cover, it’s the middle image in the left hand column), because a single image didn’t seem to represent the diversity of images (120 or so small homes) in the book. Hence the collage.

Below are two alternatives, the same except for the background color. In the one with the red, it’s similar-looking to Home Work, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and Tiny Homes on the Move. Some of our savvy book friends think it’s too similar, and that another color would distinguish it from the other books. Hence the other with the dark green background.

Comments, please. Which do you like? Do you see any problem in this cover being similar to our other books?

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