Sunday, December 31, 2023

The year in quotes, 2023


In accordance with our occasional tradition here, I present the year of clerkmanifesto in quotes. 

These are clerkmanifesto's best quotes from the past year, and will be particularly of use to those readers who read clerkmanifesto to increase their wisdom, but think once a year really ought to do it.

The rest of you may find some utility in these quotes as well though. For instance, what if you wanted to start a gift mug company but aren't particularly concerned with, um, making money.

That last one might not be the best example.

Maybe we just think of these quotes as a trip down memory lane?

Here is our year in quotes:

Feb 2:

Let us all, forever more, be prudent, measured, painstaking, and careful in our condemnation of good, and brash and reckless in its expression.

Feb 7:

Writing is good (or bad), hard work. Except in the moment that you are doing it, at which point it isn't anything like work at all.

April 21:

The last ten years have been an illustration of the following:

Proving wrong people wrong doesn't work anymore.

May 2:

Makes no sense, has no point, and yet here we are.

May 24:

Tips, for good or ill, mostly ill, are like light, or roaches, or water, or zombies- if you leave even a crack, they will find a way in.

June 28 (Quote squatted by and occupied by (though not actually originated with in a conventional sense) clerkmanifesto, on June 28):

If you don't read the newspaper you're uninformed. If you do read the newspaper you're misinformed.

Aug. 10 (doubleheader!):

Time: You don't have to do a single thing to find yourself somewhere else.


All roads lead to the present, even the ones away from it.

Aug 13:

The hardest place to protest...

Is in one's own head.

Aug 22:

When each of us has gone through the unasked for trouble of being born, for every last creature, a debt of the Universe is owed to us.

Aug 31:

The more a culture believes in all their own crap, the more people get hurt.

Sept 24:

It's not reality that's so difficult, the difficulty is in how much we want to change it.

Oct 4:

Time solves all our problems. And creates them.

Oct 21:

Everything that was once "a thing" will be a thing again. At least once, but sometimes forever.

Oct 23:

Time heals all wounds, leaves a little scar, and eventually you're all scar.

Nov 26:

The gods return my calls, but only when I cannot answer the phone.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Cat shrines of the Mississippi


Thousands of angry dog owners have written in to clerkmanifesto to complain about yesterday's post in which I subtly suggested that our attraction to dogs, while not necessarily individually reprehensible (I too have loved a good dog!), speaks to the human qualities of obedience, domination, hierarchy, and social control that has invariably doomed our species' experiment in the universe to tragedy.

I'm sorry I have offended so many of you. I will make you a deal:

If your dog doesn't bark, growl, or invade my personal space uninvited, I will...

Show you more cat shrines!

Everyone loves cats, don't they?

Well, one would certainly think so judging from all the shrines dedicated to them down along the bluffs and backwaters of the Mississippi River here in Saint Minneapolis!

Friday, December 29, 2023

At the cat shrine


Here is a picture I took down by the river bluffs, in the morning, when the shore was frozen.

Actually, the picture I took wasn't much like this one, before I started adding things, and dreaming things, and ended up with a cat shrine.

A cat shrine.

There are nearly as many cats as there are dogs in my country. But I see dogs all the time. I only see cats on special occasions, sequestered as they are.

I think there are wonderful dogs and wonderful dog owners. But those are not the standard. And I think cats are...


But I believe this, even if it might sound like a joke:

If human beings loved cats far more than we do dogs,  we would make it through. 

But it's sixty-forty to the dogs; loyal, suggestible, territorial, hierarchical, and barking dogs, 

and we are doomed.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Fancy spirit animals of the library workers


I have been calling them "experiments", but maybe they should be called...


No. Maybe not.

I still have no library workers to take new pictures of to make more of my spirit animal portraits. I'd really like some new source material, but there aren't that many people left who I haven't already photographed or who haven't already refused the honor! Also, sometimes I'll see a volunteer I've barely ever talked to, one who keeps to themselves, and suddenly I am overcome with weariness at the thought of going through the whole song and dance routine to get their pictures and their animal of choice. Also, after all of that I asked a rarely seen substitute librarian who said "no thank you" as nicely as possible, and I hated it.

So who knows. I may just continue doing more of these fancy iterations and worry about my overall progress in the new year when I've worked up another surge of energy.

Or maybe I'll just read a book.

Anyway, here is an assorted group of new, um,



Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Back to normal: the best of the weekend


Now that I have expressed myself by putting smeary effects all over my portraits, I can settle down and show you the main work of the weekend. I believe I have five new people to add here, with a couple of redo's for library workers whose portraits I wasn't fully satisfied with. 

The one with all the birds, "Jennifer's Warblers", was the subject of some discussion here a few days ago, but this is a newer, far better version that I am finally satisfied with, even if Jennifer seems to remain... diffident. The other redo is of Judith, with a stoat, a portrait I really like, though maybe even better in its "special effects" version that I might have shown yesterday. 

New animals include a parakeet and an otter (with a library worker who wanted to be indirectly photographed, thus the back angle). 

Repeat animals with new people include a polar bear, a lion, and a moose. I was briefly annoyed by repeat animals at one point, but that reaction has passed. One never knows what will come out of them, and it's a different picture every time.

Anna's Parakeet:

Emmy's Polar Bear:

Jennifer's Warblers (and kitten):

Judith's Stoat:

Kelly's Otter:

Vance's Lion:

Don's Moose: