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Columbus Day Observed Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

14 October 2019

As regular readers of this modest journal know, the editor and publisher never fails to observe national holidays by putting his feet on his desk instead of his fingers to the keys. Despite the evidence to the contrary.

Paparazzi Dogs. By the Australians Gillie and Marc Schattner.

And on this observance of Columbus Day, that's the plan once again. We have a little list of long-neglected tasks to get through. We even woke up this morning from a dream in which we'd been applauded by several people for getting at least one of them done.

We hate to break the mood with a cup of coffee, but we did want to wish you a Happy Columbus Day whether you're as indigenous as we are or a recent arrival or just your average, ordinary dreamer hoping for something better than mere circumstance had condemned you.

Of course we need a photo for that and yesterday we were hitting the discount shoe stores around Union Square hoping for a Columbus Day sale we couldn't refuse (unsuccessfully, alas). But nothing at all was popping into view.

Not, that is, until we ran across Paparazzi Dogs by Gillie and Marc Schattner, a temporary art installation on Powell St. The artists, who work together on public art, commented about the installation in May:

San Francisco is a place where every person can truly be themselves. People from all walks of life come to San Francisco to emerge themselves deep in culture and to feel free. As artists, we live by that notion and it is reflective in our work.

The dogs with cameras were created in response to the death of Princess Diana as a caricature of the pack mentality of photographers who chase celebrities for a living. They were probably not intended to be quite as charming as they appear.

Detail. For the gear obsessed, here's a close-up of the camera, lens and flash.

Which makes it an ambiguous sculpture from the two who claim their aim is "to fill the world with inspiring public art that spreads messages of love, equality, conservation and hope." And therefore perfect for this ambiguous holiday.

Now back to our list.

One of the items on that list is to leisurely read through Diane di Prima's Whose Day Is It Anyway?, in which she proposes a list of her own, a long one of Italian-Americans who might be honored today rather than the not-entirely-politically-correct Columbus. In some quarters Columbus Day has always been Italian-American Heritage Day. And she provides a lot of reasons to celebrate.

One of whom, of course, is Yogi Berra. Berra was adroit at putting his foot in his mouth but, unlike a lot of guys wearing ties, you always knew what he meant. He couldn't help putting it memorably. His bark was just as good as his bite.

We'll leave you with one to get the party going today. "Take it with a grin of salt," he said he never said.

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