STAYING POWER VERSUS “FLASH IN THE PAN”: Which New People and Stuff Are Which?

Coca Cola “Coke” Has Staying Power

“Staying power” means being in the older sector of society, and if persons have it, can mean they behave in a curmudgeonly fashion, which is cool.  At the older, wiser ages of sixty, seventy, eighty or so, a non-freaky balanced-thinking person can see what the problems are in society that are holding back advancement.  Growing, changing, flexing, embracing the new are traits of advancing.  It is ironic that sometimes new trends hold us back.  They are usually those that can be termed “flashes in the pan.”  One example might be texting while driving.  While this is seductively empowering for multi-taskers, the tendency to do this leads to wrecks.  Time will tell if driverless cars have staying power.

Each individual caller fends for himself/herself nowadays when using a rest stop.

Other screen devices may have changed the brains of children craving the empowerment of playing warring games on the computer or TV.  Does it change the way their eyes see what’s around them, too?  Another example could be handwriting.  Although definitely not a flash in the pan, handwriting is not being taught much in school any more.



Cursive writing used to be third-grade curriculum.  Nowadays, some people trying to communicate cannot produce an attractively legible note or letter any more, being out of practice from keyboarding.  This missing form of politeness is one of the new things that stands out to us older, wiser types.  Who doesn’t feel good when receiving a thank-you note, handwritten, for doing something nice?  Who doesn’t like the feeling of opening the mailbox and finding something personal?  A note is a work of art because the author chose the paper and pen, the thoughts, and even which postage stamp.  Add a clever seal for a final touch?  Stick on a custom-made return address label?  In the book The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, author Anne Trubek states that handwriting is lauded as something that embodies positive personal qualities such as rigor over facile information processing, and individual emotion over impersonal mechanization.

Handwriting Exhibiting Fluidity and Skill

Also, she misses typing, as do I– I was so fast at it– the hard shove of the carriage return and the satisfying flick of the completed page out of the platen, Trubek writes.

Not all things new have staying power.  Like our cell phones, the computer does, for writing.  So much editing can be so easily done by a writer using the computer.  The cell phone and the computer have staying power, but how about cursive writing skill?  Can society keep valuing the forming of lovely connected marks, the fluid forward-going ellipses of cursive writing?

To repeat, the older person can often discern which people new in serving a role, or which processes/best practices will stay around versus those that soon are done for, simply a flash in the pan.  Staying power can mean “sustainable,” a well-worn word.  It brings to mind another word, “ecology,” new in the 1950s, a word that may have been coined by Rachel Carson in her famous nonfiction book SILENT SPRING.  She was the author who blew the whistle on DDT pesticide’s killing off birds .

A Darling Sleeping Baby In Spotless White Bib, whose parents will change several thousand diapers for her.



Even though plastics awareness has taken hold in the public consciousness, which is the concept that too much non-biodegradable material is bad for earth, we know that plastic items are handy and you don’t have to wash them.  Consider diapers.  From the earliest of ancient time, babies have needed diapers.  Can you imagine any parent refusing the perfectly designed and engineered Pampers, Huggies, and other paper + plastic diapers?  No, you can’t, but oddly enough, plastics, sustainable in concept, being an inventive solution with staying power in the public eye, are “non-sustainable” trash items that planet earth cannot forever provide the graveyard.

Rolls of paper towels in every kitchen are certain to stay, have the power to stay, used for blotting washed vegetables and wiping anything on any surface.  And speaking of kitchens, the iron skillet has sustained itself to good cooks.  Meats brown up in them; an iron skillet even seeming to add flavor.  An iron skillet is not just a flash in the pan; it is a cook’s old friend, perfect for braising, going straight into the oven from the cooktop.

Consider vinyl recordings.  The first grooved musical platters to be heard from the effect of a stylus in the groove of that spinning black vinyl have never disappeared for good.  Records diminished in popularity, but they have staying power, even though technology advanced to audiotape and CDs.  Those new products got popular, but vinyl record collectors held steady.  Vinyl has proven to have staying power.

Athletic competition is a fruitful area of interest when considering staying power versus the flash in the pan, both in terms of individual performers and the event as the structure for performance.  Fans who follow horse racing on television each May have heard commentary that the Triple Crown, Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Horse Races, are the most popular events of all, through and through, events with staying power.

The Preakness Horse Race, Second of The Triple Crown

Close To The Finish:  The Preakness Horse Race



Consider a bouquet. Through long, long times ago and still today, presenting a bouquet has signified “You Are Successful!” whether in a stage performance, celebrating a birthday or anniversary, a get-well-quick gift, or declaration of love or appreciation.  Beautiful flowers wrapped together for passing from one hand to another have proven to have staying power.

Bouquets ensure that the beauty of nature is present for the marker event. A tiny bouquet of just a few stems is fine.

















New meanings of words, and word pairings ease communications efforts.  A current example is the popular phrase “going forward,” used in ways such as this:  “What with New York and Brooklyn’s underground train-signaling system needing an upgrade of so many billions of dollars, ‘going forward,’ what is the city to do?”  Moreover, “sayings,” even if very old, help us expedite communication.  This author is completely enamored with sayings.  If they are epigrammatic, I love them all the more.  I do not surprise myself by my choice of subject matter for this post on my six-year-old blog.

I wonder, will there be any other images that could be worked in here, into this post?  Portraits of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Jean-Michel Basquiat?

Interest And Controversy Over Such Modernistic Style Continues 27 Years After His Death

Having Begun As A Graffiti Artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Body Of Work Created Fame And Fortune.  He lived 27 years, dying about 30 years ago, just after his friend Andy Warhol’s passing.  A Basquiat painting sold for over one-hundred million dollars in 2017.


Here’s an to end this post with some definitions of the term “sayings,” sayings such as “a flash in the pan,” and then here’s a list of sayings I can think of that are cool.  For my fellow word lovers and sentence writers out there in the blogosphere, and for every custodian of the English language, I say catch yourself using these sayings, and then think of little children who would benefit from an interpretation of the saying.  Especially enjoy the list if you help toddlers who would otherwise have no clue about the meaning.  Here is the string of synonyms for “sayings”:  Sayings are “epigrams,” “adages,” “maxims,” “aphorisms,” “proverbs,” “euphemisms,” “idioms,” “cliches,” “mottos,” “witticisms,” “quips,” or “old saws.”  And here are some good ones:

  1. flash in the pan: the person getting the attention cannot sustain the role
  2. fly by the seat of your pants: no approach is seen, so invent what to do
  3. God willing and the creek don’t rise: a response to an invitation that is “yes” but provides a loophole
  4. no time like the present: when opportunity presents itself, perhaps it should be taken!
  5. throw in the towel: you are beaten; the other person or situation against you has won
  6. pedaling through sauerkraut: someone who is having a tough time going in a happy flow (sauerkraut being a shredded mess of wet, fermented cabbage, it would be tricky)
  7. even monkeys fall from trees: said to comfort someone who couldn’t believe she had an accident or other negative surprise
  8. water under the bridge: don’t keep something on your mind– let it go! that thing has flowed away
  9. kill two birds with one stone: the “bird” is a task or responsibility; a smart worker doubles the accomplishment with one effort
  10. thumb in your back: someone’s thumb pushing encourages you to put your shoulders back and keep going
  11. tie a string around your finger: see it and remember; “Now, what was it I was supposed to remember?”
  12. there is no free lunch: alas, when you thought you were being given a nourishing thing for free, you ended up paying something after all
  13. eyes in the back of your head: someone in authority has a skill of transperception and sees that no misbehavior goes unnoticed
  14. keep your eyes peeled: a request for assistance in being on the lookout for something
  15. open a can of worms: detail a subject that causes tiresome communication, disinterest, or disagreement
  16. fill the bill: something or someone that is just right, what was hoped for
  17. third time’s charm: heralding that someone got or would get the desired result by keeping on after two tries
  18. a New York minute: the unknown time that something may take that usually only takes a minute or two


TALIESIN: Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Shining Brow” (Welsh) in Wisconsin

Taliesin, built by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in his homeland of Spring Green, Wisconsin, near Madison, shone from the brow of the landscape, something like a crown. For him, Taliesin was imbued with hope and a homecoming freedom to the man’s soul. In this peaceful rural setting, we on tour understood more about architecture’s paradigm shift from Box to Prairie School visiting the genius architect’s “Shining Brow,” a structure put into the landscape, a home of many levels built from native sandstone, built into, not on, a beloved hill in the ancestral valley.  Frank Lloyd Wright (FLLW) built a house to increase the happiness of nature in one of his favorite places as a boy. In this home was hope for a life of unconventionality. Under influence of his mother, Anna Lloyd Wright, he came to build in the place where his grandparents had emigrated from Wales seventy years earlier.

We toured the grounds and structures on a warm June day in 2015, we dozen together. We were an intergenerational group, many with cameras, restricted to outside shooting. After four hours of touring, the human warmth of the 600-acre estate built from the work of its own valley’s laborers was palpable. So was its architect’s truth, and the developing American history of the first half of the twentieth century. Taliesin is indeed a treasured place in the world.


Taliesin was to be a combination of stone and wood, just as they met in the aspect of the hills around about. Its color like the flat stretches of sand in the river.

Taliesin was to be a combination of stone and wood, just as they met in the aspect of the hills around about. Its color like the flat stretches of sand in the river. “The whole was low, wide, and snug, a broad shelter seeking fellowship with its surroundings,” said Frank Lloyd Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s intellectual power, natural charisma, his being self-taught in skills of farming and building, not trained to pursue a certain sweep of established practices . . .   these traits enabled the unique twists in the built structure combined with nature’s beauty, precepts that his mentor Louis Sullivan promulgated.

Readers of this post, what follows are tour notes scratched down in a four by five thin booklet, I standing and listening with gratitude to finally be where I was. Narration was by Brian, a three-decades-experienced describer of the architecture and points of personal interest of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 600 acres and the inhabitants.

Note #1  Out of the shuttlebus, we viewed the architecture design school, a sandstone building termed Hillside School. The structure once had a gymnasium, now a theatre, and wore the date 1903. The only such cornerstone adorns this building:

Frank Lloyd Wright, being Welsh, preserved a strange-spelling language by using the initials FLLW, as seen on this unique stone. Later cornerstones became red tiles. just a few. tiles

Frank Lloyd Wright, being Welsh, preserved a strange-spelling language by using the initials FLLW, as seen on this unique stone. Later cornerstones were red tiles, just twenty-one in all. They meant “FLLW approved.”

Can you imagine how thrilled members of this group felt entering the first building of the grandest Taliesin tour? Our narrator described the structure as a co-ed boarding school named Hillside Home School. It was said to have once accommodated 150 learners. Standing in the Assembly Room, we learned that FLLW’s grandfather saw to it that a phrase from the poem “Gray’s Elegy” was inscribed on the stone wall. Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Graveyard” is said to be the supreme example of eighteenth-century graveyard poetic expressions, i.e. a somber and thoughtful view of life.  I include the stanza carved into the stone wall: Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their team afield! How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! These words bear evidence to FLLW’s Welsh heritage. Born in him was a sensitivity for the beauties and grandeur of nature. This poem, say critics, heralds lowly folk, which matches a strong take-away message of this tour–  FLLW built Taliesin with the labor of farming folk of Spring Green. He got the quarrying, stone masonry, carpentry, electrician work, and more done by members of the community, some of whose laborers possessed similar skills as did FLLW, practical skills of the farm. Of course, his enormous talent encompassed design, drawing, music, construction of  homes, fireplaces, and furniture.

HILLSIDE, built for architecture students when FLLW was about 35 (b. 1867), with influence from Welsh grandparents. Inside on a stone wall, grandfather inscribed a stanza of "Gray's Elegy" and grandmother, on a wooden beam, a verse from Isaiah of the Old Testament.

HILLSIDE, built for students when FLLW was about 35 (b. 1867), with influence from Welsh grandparents and his mother. Inside on a stone wall, grandfather inscribed a stanza of “Gray’s Elegy” and grandmother, on a wooden beam, a verse from Isaiah 40 of the Old Testament.

Today this building houses work stations for architectural students seeking a master’s degree. Their place for drafting was referred to as the “Abstract Forest” for its dense collection of heavy structural V-shaped braces. The space was a forerunner to the Johnson Wax Building that FLLW designed.

Our tour moved in this building to include having a seat in the theatre of 120 chairs. Both a curtain like no other and a favorite quote by Walt Whitman burnished this most interesting space:   Wisdom . . . something there is in the float of the sight of things that provokes it out of the soul. The colorful stage curtain, made of cotton, canvas, and string, was designed by FLLW but put aside for many years. The name of the curtain was “View of the Valley in Abstract, Late Summer.” Mrs. Wright, Olgiavanna, Yugoslavian last wife, eventually recruited interns to sew his design and hang the curtain as a surprise. When FLLW analyzed what the students had produced, he arranged for a few changes, such as more gold cloth and more vertical bands of black. Apparently the many blocks of green cloth pleased him. The theatre welcomes patrons for performances by the Bach Dynamite Dancing Society and also hosts the Unity Chapel Concert Series.

Note #2  There are three Taliesins– I, II, III because of two fires. The first fire was lit by a deranged gardener who had been terminated. Seven people died in the fire. The first Taliesin stood five years. The second fire, lit by lightening, devastated the eleven-years-standing Taliesin II. Again, as in the first fire, the merciless winds, FLLW exclaimed, carried the flames to a dozen places burning up the living space but not the office, place of creative genius. Local lore has it that it seemed God was dissatisfied with the architect’s character and personal life, but not his work. In rebuilding after each fire, the Courtyard  increased. The Carriage House, where horses could be watered and cared for, was moved further back. Taliesin III has 3,700 feet of courtyards, after five decades of development. FLLW stated that Taliesin would never be completed, and freely took risks to change elements. Changes were welcomed if they were governed by the concept of “Implicit Diagonality.” Our narrator said that a new term is needed, a simpler term.

In the brochure about the tour, one can read that red was FLLW’s favorite color. He wrote of stones turned red, dyed by fire and reused. He said a richness had been added. The chosen red is a Cherokee red, the color of ironstone, as trims the house and is shown in the barns for Guernsey cows, horses, pigs, and chickens. Only Guernseys were put on the estate. Being tan or brown, they colored the landscape harmoniously without dotting it, as would black and white animals.

Red was said to be Frank Lloyd Wright's favorite color. The red on the barn today is brighter than the Cherokee red, or Ironstone seen on the house.

Red was said to be Frank Lloyd Wright’s favorite color. The red on the barns today is brighter than the Cherokee red, or Ironstone seen on the house.

Note #3  Inside the Architect’s Residence we saw the table upon which FLLW drew the famous Fallingwater Home built in Pittsburgh. The drawings were produced in three hours, just before the buyer arrived to seal the deal that had been arranged on the telephone. According to Brian the narrator, this true story evidences that the design was completely finished in the mind of the genius architect. All that remained was the “downloading” onto paper once the opportunity for the sale presented itself.

Taliesin contains seventeen fireplaces. FLLW called them strong, quiet, rectangular rock-masses from the outside, bespeaking comfort within. Some burn vertical logs, something unusual and beautiful. So much work to cut logs, then carry them in and light fires– this  was a factor in the decision to establish Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, where interns and others in service could winter, returning to Taliesin Main during warmer seasons in Wisconsin.

Taliesin houses seven concert grand pianos of Bechstein brand. FLLW’s father was a piano teacher, and young Frank received so much music. All his architectural creations were like music to him. Our narrator placed much emphasis on the musical turn of mind FLLW possessed. In the short heyday of the estate when noted architects and literati gathered, some of them also musicians, the piano, violin, and cello sang of Bach, Beethoven, and Handel. A delightful piece of plywood furniture, never seen before by this tourist, had a purpose– it positioned four seated players facing in, their wooden music stands built in. The structure was a circle. Our narrator stated that one, the last one, was built for Lady Bird Johnson, former first lady, and that she eventually donated it to one of the Smithsonian Museums.

Many large Asian statues and many wall-hangings, notably a Japanese masterpiece by Tan Yeng from the late 1400s, adorned the living space. A quote from a book purchased in the gift shop after the tour (Taliesin, edited and photographed by Yukio Futagawa, 2002, Tokyo) addresses the curiosity about the many statues:  “If the eye rested on some ornament it could be sure of worthy entertainment. Hovering over these messengers to Taliesin from other civilizations and thousands of years ago, must have been spirits of peace and good-will? Their figures seemed to shed fraternal sense of kinship from their places in the stone or from the broad ledges where they rested. For the story of Taliesin, after all, is old:  old as the human spirit. These ancient figures were traces of that spirit, left behind in the human procession as Time went on, and they now come forward to find rest and feel at home. So it seemed as you looked at them. But they were only the story within the story:  ancient comment on the New.”

Note #4  It seems to tour-goers to be true that Mr. Wright likely enjoyed life at Taliesin III with his young wife Olgivanna Lazovich Hinzenburg, of Montenegro and Yugoslavia, pupil of the philosopher Gurdjieff. We imagine they spent their days in the harmonious and subtle shelter that was the third edition of Taliesin with their daughter Iovanna. A surprise is born! A late change comes– 1953! FLLW acquires steel trusses that were part of a freight vessel on Lake Michigan. A highly unusual long jut is built into the house exterior off a living-room balcony. A steel truss, a lengthy I beam girder, it is supported in the middle by a stone pylon and named the Bird Walk; it was the wife’s idea. This disturbing walkway would in no way be thought of as an abomination because of the “form follows function” genre of architecture. Its reason for being? It was the site for seeing as birds in the treetops see, a lesson in perspective. FLLW stated of his beloved Taliesin that it would never be finished and that it had no inharmonious discrepancy. A nature-loving couple, happy at home, a workshop home, a home with a school wherein architects learn from the master to take risks, this is the unique Taliesin.

Walking Away From Taliesin The Home