Friday, February 29, 2008

Jesus and the Junkie

I just spotted this image on Hasta Los Gatos Quieren Zapatos, and I'm amazed. The site where it was originally posted calls it a "surreal piece of religious propaganda". And I guess it is - but it's so old school in it's symbolism, and yet up-to-date at the same time. [Except the junkie looks like George Michael, but whatever! I {heart} George Michael.]

The symbolism is right out of the old religious art images: the skull representing mortality, and the contemplation of it. The wall behind them looks like it shows a map of the Americas. The paraphernalia that the junkie uses are all laid out so we can see them, the "sinner's tools" - cards, booze, a gun, coke, a candle for the heroin spoon, and of course the needle and tourniquet. We see Jesus' suffering for our sins, but also that he is there with us, even in the loneliest times. It reminds me of the Footprints poem. You know the one:
Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Mary Stevenson, 1936
This image feels heavy-handed, but yet, it grabs me. What about you? I think probably all those crucifixes, and entombment images back in the Middle Ages used to feel powerful - real - to the people back then too. THAT's what I think is amazing about religious art. I always get sucked in.

Happy Leap Day!

Happy Leap Day, everybody.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Bon Mi-Carême! Apparently in Catholic Francophone countries, the mid-point of Lent is celebrated by parading, a version of caroling, and boozing - sounds fun if it's not too cold! * I found this image at Idle Speculations (which crashes my browser each time I go, bummer! Terry's images are just too awesome, I guess.) I like the idea of celebrating the mid point.

Now, if you are better at math than me, you will realize that we are not just 20 days into Lent, which started on Ash Wednesday, February 6th, this year. But something I just learned last year is that you don't count Sundays in the "40 days of Lent." They are considered Sundays IN Lent, not Sundays OF Lent. So, those Sundays are days OFF. Easter will be 3 weeks away, March 23rd.

I hope you all are having a great Lent.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More on the Odyssey....

From the Bad Astronomy blog: The Ulysses' voyage has come to an end. Yes, it did the slingshot, but ran out of gas, to mix metaphors.....

"The Drugs Don't Work"

Hey there. Well, this is pretty big news for me.... this Prozac not working thing..... Funny that I'm learning about it mostly from European news sources, not so much the American ones.... why would that be??

Anyways, here's the back story: A few years ago, after my friend James died, I went into a pretty major funk. I thought I was just having trouble coping at my job, so I went to a therapist to "learn some coping mechanisms for dealing with stress at work."

Well, she diagnosed me with Major Depression. I started taking some meds (NOT Prozac back then), and did talk therapy. I realized that I was depressed, but that there was medicine that could make me better, and through talk therapy, I could learn how to "exercise my emotional muscles". It worked. I went off the meds before trying to get pregnant, and things have been way better since.

Except that starting after the birth of La Segunda, in the days leading up to my period, my moods were terrible. I felt like the world was going to end. I wanted to stay in bed all the time, and felt hopeless and sad and panicked and generally awful emotionally. So, I talked to my primary doctor and asked her about Midol. She's like, "I haven't heard about Midol since, like, 1983." And I said, "Yeah, well, me neither. It's just that that's when I got my period, so that's what stuck in my head. Is there any medicine out there that works for the mood swings that come at my period?" So, she recommended a low dose of Fluoxetine.

I started taking the Fluoxetine over the summer, and am still on it. HOWEVER, I have been noticing some very strong side effects when I drink alcohol. Now, there IS a warning label on Fluoxetine that DOES say to reduce alcohol consumption, and that if a person drinks while taking the drug, they could experience dizziness. There is the standard legaleze "talk to your doctor" non-advice advice out there. I did a search about alcohol and Prozac a few weeks ago after I had a blackout after about 4 glasses of wine over a 4 hour dinner party. I came up with only an ancient comment from someone on a message board who basically said, "yeah, until you know how your body reacts to it, you might have a few blackouts 'til you get the balance right."

But then, last weekend, I had another blackout. I didn't realize that I was drinking a lot, but apparently I was. I just did another search and came up with this comment. And apparently, I'm not alone in the feeling that, at first, you feel like everything is fine, and then WHAM. Things go south.

Look, I enjoy a glass of red wine now and then. I have checked out the AA scene, and I don't think it's for me. But these side-effects are CRAZY SCARY. I don't want to go down this path again. And if it turns out that "the drugs don't work"after all, I'm gonna call my doctor and see about getting off of it. It's weird. This is all coming to light for me at the same time.

Thank God I got through my major depression when I did, and was on some efficacious drugs. I worry that this will make people who are depressed re-think the medication option ALL OVER AGAIN. Which is a shame. Because I do believe the drugs work. With therapy. But they work. Who wants to live life depressed?! It sucks!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Newsy Bits

I've been scanning the blogosphere today, and have found several items that interested me, and I thought I'd share.

First off, ever since Lakshmi and Sam started on their domestic, open-adoption quest, I've been learning a lot about the process. They have kindly been answering my questions and helping to de-mystify the whole "open adoption" concept for me. Lakshmi turned me on to "Peter's Cross Station" and Lily Sea's post there today was amazing. I can see that there are very few "unbiased" voices for pregnant women considering adoption. And I think she is doing the right thing by blogging about it. I share her concern for my daughters if they are ever in the position of having to face an unplanned pregnancy. It gives me pause. But her post seems like it would be very helpful for any (young) woman in that situation today. So, keep it up Lily Sea!

In other news, two articles about water: 1) From Simply Cooking, how Pepsi (tm) is selling water from a drought-parched land and selling it to us at a premium. When, oh when will the bottled water craze end!? 2) How the Vintondale, PA post-mine-chemical-leaching-catastrophe reclamation is working in my own back yard of upstate PA. Thanks again to Pruned for doing such a great job blogging.

The Siren Chronicles talk about how the wave of foreclosures is helping out the homeless - they're squatting in the subdivisions!

I love the mast head at the Siren Chronicles! I just saw the Odyssey over the weekend at the
Curio Theatre, and it was AWESOME. Anyone in Philly should go check it out. It's in the beautiful Calvary Center and the setting is perfect for the retelling of Homer's epic. So great.

Friday, February 22, 2008

La Segunda's interests

I read this morning on Green Mom Finds about how to figure out if your kid is eating seafood safely. [wtf - what kind of world are we living in!?!] And I thought of La Segunda. Yeah, she eats fish, but she loves the ocean, or at least the IDEA of the ocean, thanks to Ariel - you know the one, La Petite Sirène.

We call her our little mermaid - LOVES to swim. I mean, she will stay in water way past when it's good for her. Her lips are blue and she still argues to stay in the water. And she's fearless around it. Pools, lakes, seaside. Doesn't matter. And she loves to lie in the sand, just like her auntie, Angie, while we make a sand sculpture of a mermaid over her.

La Segunda also loves cake. Every night we need to read "Bunny Cakes." She saw this beautiful cupcake on Cupcakes Take the Cake, and couldn't stop talking about it. Me neither - I adore Peeps! Easter is just around the corner, time for my second-favorite Easter candy to make an appearance.

Well, all, "Keep your stick on the ice. We're all in this together."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

La Prima's interests

Last year when La Prima was applying to summer day camps, she had to fill out a form telling what her favorite food is, what music she likes, what games she plays, what books she likes to read, etc. For the question, "what music do you like?" La Prima answered "Louis Armstrong". [!] She had heard Satchmo in music class that year, and I guess he made an impression. Here, from the National Archives site, is his WWI draft card.

Mother Reader
is talking about getting support for the "Reading is Fundamental" campaign, which is in danger of losing funding under the current regime. Which brought me to search for my favorite "READ" posters. I think La Prima would approve of this one, as do I!

There is also an announcement on Narnia web that Harper Collins, the publisher of the Narnia books, is launching a "read it before you see it" campaign for Prince Caspian - a great idea. I've been trying to get the Chronicles of Narnia series into circulation in our house, but Harry Potter is definitely the obsession nowadays.

And finally, via Boing Boing, a new nautilus-shaped house in Mexico City that I covet. Wouldn't it be awesome to live in this place?! I love the outside being inside. And the colors! I wonder if the architect would build one on a reclaimed lot in Philly? Hmmmm.....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Red Skies at Night"

Bear with me here, people, this will get twisty:

But today my mind has been bent around some great ideas that were brought to me by various bloggers [thank you!] and I am now reeling (and in one case swooning) all over again.

First, I visited (r)Evolutionary (neofauvist) Art, where Cristian René started out talking about a beautiful sunset he saw last night. Here in Philly, we also had a spectacular evening sky, sorta "Red Skies at Night." He made a beautiful picture, and then quoted Byron. Here's the poem:
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods
from Childe Harold, Canto iv, Verse 178

THERE is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

- Lord Byron

Which immediately made me think of my most favorite Byronic Hero - Mr. Edward Rochester. What a dream-boat, especially as played by Toby Stephens (in the BBC 2006 version). [sigh]

I just want you all to know that I am not alone in adoring Mr. Rochester. I guess, (from this article) Charlotte Bronte was a huge fan of Byron's and so created Mr. Rochester as an homage. It says, "Jane Eyre is no ordinary romance, and it seems in keeping with the novel's gothic atmosphere that its hero should be decidedly Byronic."

And after reading Pruned, again this morning, I think that a there's an added dimension to Jane's character, that I never really saw before, or at least couldn't put into words. But I just learned this new word today: Phytoremediation.
Phytoremediation is a general term used to describe various mechanisms by which living plants alter the chemical composition of the soil matrix in which they are growing. Essentially, it is the use of green plants to clean-up contaminated soils, sediments, or water. The word "phytoremediation" is from the Greek prefix phyto- meaning "plant" and the Latin root word remidium- meaning "to correct or remove an evil". In soil, the "evil" could be anthropogenic (man-made) contaminants such as organic solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, or radionuclides.
Jane is "planted," by chance in Thornfield, a cold, barren place, (the name says it all!) and brings warmth and love to Rochester. She draws out the poison, the evil, and allows Mr. Rochester to be free of the horrors of his past. [The plant's name is "pennycress," isn't that appropes for Jane Eyre??]

Still with me? Yeah, it's a stretch, but it's what's rolling around in my head today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Random Green Posts


Here are some green blog posts from around the interwebs:

Pruned (which I love) talked about an awesome, and apparently already-implemented scheme for handling rainwater run-off. This is an idea whose time has come, if you ask me! How great is that? The photos by Kevin Robert Perry are fantastic throughout the article.

And after reading The Urban Planter's post about remembering to water our street trees in our various metropoli, I realized, we need to get on this!

Apparently, my FAVORITE Easter candy, Cadbury(tm) Creme-Eggs, will have green packaging this year. At least, there will be LESS packaging - AmericaBlog picked up the post from the Guardian, UK.

*(SW 12th Avenue Green Street Project, Portland, Oregon. Photos by Kevin Robert Perry.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Monday

Thanks to all of you who left me a comment, and of course, all of you (select few!) who read this blog. I'm really loving the blogging, as I said, and am grateful to the readers who drop by. Thank you.

A quick round up of some interesting stuff I found today on the interwebs:

Am A Walker
turned me on to this site about the European Pilgrimage trails to Santiago de Compostela and elsewhere. Lots of great photos, and other stuff I haven't even explored yet. Thanks for the tip!

Over at Starlight Ministries, Lia talked about her color prayer and a book she's found called, Praying in Color. Sounds good, and I may need to pick me up a copy this Lent.

And Marie has finally gotten sucked into the Colin Firth as Darcy crush vortex after watching Pride & Prejudice on PBS. What took her so long, I'll never know! But here's a nice little bit of eye candy.

Happy Monday, All.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

One Year Blogging!

Hi All! Well, it's been one year, and I have to say, I'm totally loving the blogging. I got the idea for some navel-gazing from Bob. So, here's a questionnaire he posten on his site - it's good to take stock once in a while.

What's the purpose of your blog?
I started out this blog in the hopes of creating something I was looking for in other blogs but couldn't find - a place to see and discuss Religious Art. [The blogs that come closest are "Idle Speculations" or "Iconia", but they both have a different approach than I do.]

I have become fascinated by Religious Art over the years. I enjoy thinking about it, and how I respond to different images. That's how it started, but I also blog about other stuff that interests me, like the environment, style choices for women, cultural stuff, and different news about my crushes.

What are the boundaries of your blog?
I blog about the ideas or issues I feel or think something about. I usually don't tread into water that's too deep for me - I don't like getting out of my depth. I want to be able to know something about what I'm writing about, or at least say when I don't.

Why can't blogs go further, to the point where there's hardly any discernible difference between artist and critic/commentator, blog and work of art?
I'm not sure that blogs can't go further. I mean, look at Aerophant. I think that blog is art in and of itself. But then, I also don't consider myself an art critic, but rather a fan, so maybe that's a difference right there.

What scope and degree of editorial control do you exercise over your blog?
I'm writing. And I have a pretty robust filter.

What about posting comments from readers, and what about anonymity?
People can post comments. I like reading what people have to say.

I change pretty much all the names of those I write about from my personal sphere, to protect the innocent!

What about liability coverage?

What's the economic model of your blog?
It's like a donation.

How do you see your blog's relation to the established print art media?
I try to find images online that reflect what I'm talking about. I view my blog as a place for the lay person, religious or not, art lover or passer-by, to see the images that amaze me. I don't try to analyze art in an academic way. Sometimes I might bring what I learned long ago in college to bear, but mostly, I am writing as someone who appreciates Religious Art. My definition of what falls into that category is not fixed.

I'm much more interested in virtual media at this point, than print anyway. I mean, art magazines and catalogs are so expensive to produce, and need art historians out the wazoo to be able to authenticate and discuss art pieces for sale, basically. Most of what I'm interested in is either mass-produced, easy to find images, OR is currently in a church or museum. So a "review" of the piece isn't going to contribute to the art market - which in my mind is the state of the art world/"established art media" these days - one big market (which isn't bad, I'm just saying).

How do you attract readers/posters other than by word of mouth?
Apparently, according to Google Analytics, by talking about "nice toes" and "slutty moms". I also use Technorati - which I often call "Technocrati" 'cause I find it hard to use sometimes. And I've signed on with some interest web rings. Or, I post comments on other bloggers' sites. But I am happy with the generally constant but low-frequency traffic I get.

In general, is blog art criticism more open and liberal, and print criticism more closed and conservative?
I think so. I think it's the same with all blogging - there are no editors beyond the writers themselves. That means you get zillions of blogs saying whatever they want ["n'importe quoi!"]. But it also means, that you can stumble across some real insight and news once in a while, which is what makes the blogosphere so amazing.

Where will your blog be in three to five years?
I'm not sure. I hope I'm around in 3-5 years!

I hope to be able to do some traveling and see some religious art "in situ" and blog about it. Like, I have big dreams of going to Romania and Bulgaria to see old churches and Byzantine icons. I just read about Aksum in Ethiopia, which sounds amazing. I'd love to go back to Mexico to see the ultra-baroque churches there, maybe even for Day of the Dead. And I want to go on the pilgrimage trail from southern France to Santiago de Compostela.

I also have an elaborate plan for researching floral representations in stained glass, and medieval art generally, to see if the artists were using the flora to express ideas. Like, using a rose to mean love, for example, in medieval religious art. I have some theories, but would love to find out more about it. If there are any experts out there who know, please leave me a comment!

So there you have it, folks. And now, as I did with my first post, I leave you with the Chemical Brothers, (an incomplete song, but you get the idea) and a possibly inappropriate link.

Here we go!

Politics and the Stars, a Round-Up of Sorts

Happy Valentine's Day! If you go for that kind of thing.... As our building's security guard, James, said this morning, "What sense is it to show affection on just one day a year!? We should be letting people know how we feel about them every day." "Share the love," I say.

First, because many people thing Science is a dirty word, I want to re-post this announcement and invitation of the Presidential Candidates to a debate on Science at the The Franklin Institute, here in Philly on April 18, 2008. Here's the dealio. Found this exciting news on the Bad Astronomy Blog.

And, in the spirit of the day, here's more about politics - the dirty game I love to hate, and hate to love. Camille Paglia's discussion, quoted from on Joe.My.God, of the candidates and their, shall we say, FLAWS, is awesome:

On the Republican side, conservatives marshaled by leading radio hosts have hotly rebelled against the onrushing nomination of Sen. John McCain, who has been vilified for years for his slippery positions and his schmoozing with liberals. On the Democratic side, rank-and-file party members have been shocked to discover that there is a ruling elite of 800 superdelegates, who have the power to crown the presidential nominee and who can be easily swayed or corrupted by lobbying.

The old-guard feminist establishment has also rushed out of cold storage to embrace Hillary Clinton via tremulous manifestoes of gal power that have startlingly exposed the sentimental slackness of thought that made Gloria Steinem and company wear out their welcome in the first place. Hillary's gonads must be sending out sci-fi rays that paralyze the paleo-feminist mind -- because her career, attached to her husband's flapping coattails, has sure been heavy on striking pious attitudes but ultra-light on concrete achievements......

This disarray among Republicans, which may depress voter turnout or even spawn a protest splinter party, offers a fantastic opening to Democrats, if the party can only seize it. The galvanizing energy aroused by Barack Obama's thrilling coast-to-coast victories gives Democrats a clear shot at regaining the White House. However, the three-faced Hillary, that queen of triangulation, would be a nice big gift to Republicans, who are itching to romp all over the Clintons' 20-volume encyclopedia of tawdry scandals.

John McCain's courage under torture during the Vietnam War deserves everyone's gratitude and respect. But as a national candidate, the stumpy, uptight McCain is a lemon. Oy, that weaselly voice and those dated locutions and stilted intonations. Who needs a weird old coot with a short fuse in the White House? This isn't a smart game plan for the war on terror.

And finish up with the stars, found on Bad Astronomy, which I just love!

Enjoy the day, people.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Super Smeller??

While I was walking to work this morning, I smelled the beautifully fresh smell of rain falling on ice. It reminded me of the two scenes in "Ice Storm" where Elijah Wood's character, Mikey, talks about the sense of smell.

Mikey Carver: Because of molecules we are connected to the outside world from our bodies. Like when you smell things, because when you smell a smell it's not really a smell, it's a part of the object that has come off of it, molecules. So when you smell something bad, it's like in a way you're eating it. This is why you should not really smell things, in the same way that you don't eat everything in the world around you because as a smell, it gets inside of you. So the next time you go into the bathroom after someone else has been there, remember what kinds of molecules you are in fact eating.


Sandy Carver: Where are you going?
Mikey Carver: Out.
Sandy Carver: Its freezing!
Mikey Carver: Yeah
Sandy Carver: Then why are you going?
Mikey Carver: When its freezing.... Because it means the molecules aren't moving, so when you breathe, there's nothing in the air, you know, you breathe into your body, the molecules have stopped, its clean.

That's how my walk smelled this morning, clean - pure. It made me wonder if Mikey had a super sense of smell, sort of like a "super-taster" but of the nose. What would the word be, a "super-smeller"? Apparently, according to this quiz, I am a "super-taster". Nothing to Chartreuse's husband, but still.

That whole thought process brought me to remembering an Old Spice commercial from a few years back that I just LOVED. I have spent the day searching the interwebs, and have found only one mention of it, and nothing on Utube, so I guess it no longer exists!

The commercial showed 2 women talking about their boyfriends and complaining about them. But then one of the guys walks by and she smells him, and she's all kissing and hugging him and it's like she doesn't remember anything bad he ever did, because he smells so great. I can TOTALLY relate to this ad. AND I love the smell of Old Spice

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The End of the 'Burbs!?

The End of the Suburbs is nigh? Really?! That's great... for the environment, but are all those people going to move back into the city? and if they do, what'll happen to their McMansions? They'll be my NEIGHBORS?!

There's been a lot of writing about how, what with the mortgage foreclosures, and the credit crisis and all, suburban sprawl will end. One can only hope. It would take a monumental shift in culture and attitude, as the NYT points out, but it may be what happens, given the crunch that a huge number of regular people are facing.

The Atlantic Monthly, in its article, however, points out that once the exurbs are vacant, the land still has pipes under it and roads all over it. It's not like it can easily be "re-purposed" back into wilderness or farmland. Which is the whole argument against sprawl in the first place. Instead, the housing is likely to become modern-day tenement housing run by slumlords. Great.

It would have been nice if the people planning the exurbs had taken a look at former suburbs. And what ends up happening to parcels of land when individual families start living in a place. The Human Flower Project has a nice piece about small gardens in Cambridge, and how they vary. Some are used as parking spaces, some are actually used for green of various kinds.

I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I now live in what was once a suburb of Philadelphia, now well within the city limits. I favor dense "green" living and local farmland that produces food over sprawl and buying food from other countries. But not so long ago, my house was in the 'burbs, and my food came to the 'hood by train. I guess it's a matter of degrees... "food for thought!" :)

P.S. If you've read this far, and you live in or near Philly and/or care about science, there is a move afoot to try to get the candidates to attend a Presidential Debate on Science. The debate is scheduled for April 18 at The Franklin Institute. For more information, go here. Found this exciting news on the Bad Astronomy Blog.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Narco-Santo & Photography in 1960 Algeria - It's All About the "Gaze"

Saw this great article about the renegade santo - Jesús Malverde - on Hasta los Gatos Quieren Zapatos, which was originally from the NYT.

Religious art is a fascinating thing to me, hence the blogging. It amazes me that even mobbed up thugs want a little divine intervention on their behalf. And they will resort to buying art - and possibly giving themselves away - to feel secure in that aid. We all want to be comforted and feel that the Higher Power is on our side. Even the crooks.
"People say Malverde helped me do this or that; mostly it's people into drugs who think he'll shield them from the police," said Raul Gonzalez, owner of a botánica called Mystic Products in Compton, Calif. "It's the power of the mind, you know. They believe it, so they take chances and get away with it, but they will eventually get caught."

Indeed, drug enforcement authorities in Mexico and the United States said Malverde statues, tattoos and amulets can be tip-offs to illegal activity.

"We send squads out to local hotel and motel parking lots looking for cars with Malverde symbols on the windshield or hanging from the rearview mirror," said Sgt. Rico Garcia with the narcotics division of the Houston Police Department. "It gives us a clue that something is probably going on."

Courts in California, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas have ruled that Malverde trinkets and talismans are admissible evidence in drug and money-laundering cases.

"It's not a direct indication of guilt, but it would definitely be used in combination with other things" like piles of cash, baggies and scales, said José Martinez, a special agent with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

Last month, Cervecería Minerva, a Mexican microbrewery in the central-western state of Jalisco, introduced a beer called Malverde. Company officials said they chose Malverde's name and image for its label because he was the most recognizable and admired figure in focus groups.

"Drug smugglers drink it like holy water," Sergeant Garcia said.

Bris de Mots was also thinking about religious imagery this week, talking about the photography of Marc Garanger in his book, Femmes Algériennes 1960.

Apparently, Garanger's job was to photograph Algerian women without their veils for the French occupying/colonial authorities who were making identity cards. The book sounds like it is a study in culture clash, on many levels.

But the most intriguing idea from Bris de Mots was (if my French isn't too rusty!), "the reference to the judeo-christian aesthetic in a civilization which does not have the worship of the religious image occults [maybe occludes?] the dramatic reality."*

So the artist, and the French/Western/Non-Muslim viewers have a MUCH different reaction to these photographs than Muslims, or, especially, the sitters who were photographed. I've never seen this book in real life, but the cover photo shows a young woman in traditional Algerian garb - does she look saintly to you too? or is it my fascination with religious art and saints' images that gets in the way? Food for thought.

* The original text says: "la référence à l'esthétique judéo-chrétienne dans une civilisation qui n'a pas le culte de l'image religieuse occulte la dramatique réalité".

Friday, February 8, 2008


So, I've been re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in preparation for when La Prima and I get there in a few months with out bedtime stories. She loves, loves, loves the HP books, as do I [she dressed as Hermione Granger for Halloween this year].

Apparently, I am not alone in my appreciation, shall we call it, for Professor Snape. Ever since Alan Rickman took the role, I've thought that Snape is the most awesome character from the books. Perfect casting. [sigh]

I can't wait to see the "young Snape" in the upcoming movies. I just learned that the Half Blood Prince has begun filming! [yay!] Further web-surfing brought me to this "fan art" site. If you have not yet read the final book, it's a SPOILER, but I like this image. Even though it's very fan-arty, it's a good representation of Snape's dilemma, in a Tarot card-esque way. I like it.

In other movie news, there's a Russian movie, "A Kiss - Off the Record", coming out that I really want to see, based on the life of their out-going president. As in, his term of office is almost up. Clearly, he is a very private man!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

dribs & drabs

Well, all, lots of news of all types from all over:

Bob shares some great artwork by some of my favorite musicians: Radiohead. Love it.

There is some crazy-mixed-up news from the political world:
• the HUD/PHA scandal
Mac & Cheese sales are thru the roof (you KNOW that's not good) but people gotta eat!
• and Wonder of Wonders - Walmart is doing GOOD for the world's oceans! Who knew?

And then two brain twisty things:
• How to soothe Math Anxiety (it's possible??)
• How to think of Market Economies Using Smurfs as Widgets... or something.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ash Wednesday & random finds

So, it's Ash Wednesday, and as has been the case the past few years, La Prima wants to go to church to get ashes on her head. I don't get them, but she does. We've spent days strategizing: how I'll get her from school to do it, and everything.

I had been missing the poster that my grand-dad's press had made of the London Underground. Josiah just found it, along with a stash of photos of me with my great-grandmother which I thought were lost too. So glad he found them! I found two great typography sites which reminded me of him all over again.

In France, the unveiling of a new high-speed train reminds me that the US could learn a thing or two about not turning our backs on our glorious industrial/manufacturing past. We could do this too! From the BBC:

Alstom compares the AGV - successor to the TGV - to the world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, in terms of importance and innovation.

"That we are here today is testimony to the courage of Alstom, because during its worst period it decided not to sacrifice its research and development," Mr Sarkozy said in front of the new train at Alstom's rail test centre in La Rochelle, western France.

In 2004, Mr Sarkozy, then finance minister, intervened to save Alstom by partially privatising the company and blocking a takeover by Germany's Siemens which wanted to dismantle the French giant.

"We need to entrench a simple message in people's minds: industry is not over, industry is essential for the economy of a rich nation as much as an emerging nation," Mr Sarkozy said at the launch.

Viggo made the Fug Report. [Sigh] Even with the scraggly coif and beardage, he's still so hot!

And last, but certainly not least, Families for Obama has put together a cookbook fundraiser. So far (I'm on page 3) the recipes look very yummy!

It's Fashion Week, I Guess

I'm a little slow on the uptake, apparently, what with Mardi Gras and everything! But there's a little thing called Fashion Week going on in our Big Apple to the North, and so, I thought I'd talk style for a mome. From the events going on in NY, I think my favorite has to be Betsey Johnson.

But from my web surfing, I've found fabulous-looking stuff in Spring collections from two of my faves: Paul Smith and Marimekko.

Marimekko is back to bold colors, and very feminine lines, which I like. So pretty.

Paul Smith is also moving away from boring muted tones, and has come back with some nice strong colors and fantastic pattern combinations. I love how his details are so classically British, but not staid. and I love the shoes - nice colors, and they look like they're a good height.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Wow! Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth!

Cool sculpture, huh? It's called, Schurenbachhalde, and it's near Dusseldorf, Germany, but it reminds me of some of the places I visited in Eastern Europe back in the early `80's. I must admit that while it's a scary aesthetic, and not one I that I hope comes to fruition, there is something familiar and even a tad comforting to me in these kinds of post-apocalyptic statements. Not sure about the handstander though!

And since tomorrow is such a BIG day (Super Tuesday + Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) = Super Fat Tuesday), I thought I'd share this awesome post I found via my favorite cupcake blog. The "King-Maker" cupcake. How fitting. And they're Vegan too!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday Afternoon News (to me!)

Well, actually, this first bit IS news:'s membership has endorsed Obama! Yay! I voted yesterday, and Josiah and I had a big, long discussion about it last night. I can't for the life of me figure out WHY baby-boomer feminists think Hillary is so great. But then, I don't get a lot about 'boomers.

And then this news I found on Joe.My.God's site, that Brattleboro, VT has a warrant out for Dick & Bush's arrest, warms my heart. We haven't made our summer vacation plans yet, but Vermont is looking better all the time. Way to go, guys! Maybe there IS hope for this country after all.

And, while I'll be celebrating Candlemas, the Superbowl will also be happening on Sunday. I think the Fug Girls have it all figured out for me!

Enjoy, all.

Happy Groundhog Day (tomorrow)

So, I knew Groundhog Day was also called Imbolc (my Irish is terrible) or Candlemas. But I never knew about the whole "Purification of Mary" aka "The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple" Sunday feast day, until recently.

I love the idea of Candlemas, and how it fits into the Solar Calendar - it's the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Handy, right? The "baby New Year" born at the Winter Solstice, is growing.

February 2nd is 40 days after the Winter Solstice, and so, according to Jewish Law, Jesus would be of the right age to take to the Temple for Presentation, and Mary would have ended her "confinement".

It's just so handy how these ideas mesh together. And helpful to me. I like celebrating of the passage of time in the change of the seasons. It makes more sense to me. Feels more real, more tangible.

I like to make a big deal out of Groundhog Day. That way we remember that Spring WILL come. The darkest days are over. I bet Mary was psyched to get out of the house too. Even if the Temple was just down the block, to be out and about after delivery and all the adjusting that has to happen with a new baby - PLUS royal house-guests on Epiphany - it's a lot! She sure was a trooper. Having also given birth in December, I can tell you, it's no picnic.

We'll see tomorrow what Phil says, but Spring WILL get here!

P.S. Doesn't that chartreuse gown on the lady behind Mary look fabulous!?