Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekly Blog Round-Up - Part II

An illumiated letter image from Idle Speculations.

I don't think I should let la Prima see this death map from Buzz Feed. She's having trouble falling asleep at night because she's worried about natural disasters.

The Carnival of Green at Christian Environmentalist.

Uses for former big box retail stores - fill w/ recyclables?? From Treehugger.

From this week's horoscope by Rob Brezsny:

Happy Holy Daze, Pisces! My gift to you is advice about the coming year. First, read this quote from W.H. Auden's book The Dyer's Hand. "A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish." With this as your touchstone, I urge you to be a gourmet in your approach to daydreaming during 2009. It will be time for you to make your fantasy life into an art form instead of a chaotic, unconscious diversion. If you put more intention into your generation of mental images, you will find yourself better able to create what you really want.
"It's Gettin' Hot in Here!" fight global warming.

Five stories of former slaves via Monte Asbury's blog. Inspiring stories, though it is distressing that we are still fighting the scourge of slavery.

Remembering "Feed the World" at To Miss With Love. Snuffy talks about how there aren't many people of color in the video - not many women either.

An Advent calendar w/Modern gargoyles. Check out the Yuppie Gargoyle. There's even a Darth Vader grotesque!.

Solar tiles are currently available for residential buildings! From Treehugger.

A Sami woman from Finland. NY Public Library has uploaded tons of photos to Flickr.

According to the BBC Vampires no
longer scary
. I'm surprised, as a British news source, that the BBC never mentions their famous (luscious) vampire impersonator, David Bowie, from The Hunger.

Jay's photos of St James the Less clean up day
- a beautiful altar icon of Mary holding baby Jesus and a Lily.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Religious Images and Sex

Big News this week: Playboy Mexico's cover featured María Florencia Onori with a Mary-esque veil over her head, and little else. There has been an uproar over the symbolism. [Read about it here and here and here.] It's always interesting to me when religious imagery shows up in mainstream media. But this is sort of "the mother lode" [I do love a good pun.] I am sure that Playboy (tm) expected an outcry, but they must have also expected a boost in sales. Look, I am giving them some free publicity! [yikes]

But while people are upset about this, using sex to sell magazines is certainly not new - of course not for Playboy specifically - but nor is it new for artists portraying religious themes, especially scenes depicting religious ecstasy, to use sexual imagery. We humans really know a limited range of truly ecstatic feelings, and so, in order to depict what "ecstatics" experienced, I'm not sure we can blame the artist for using the closest available metaphor for the feeling - the orgasm.

UPDATE: I realize that Playboy does not intend this cover to be religious art. The cover is titillating. Mixing two ideas that "shouldn't be mixed" - Sex and Religion. Artists who create religious art, on the other hand, are working to express religious ideas, or retell stories, using images or sounds to describe holy ideas or events. They may be in it for the money, but in my view, there is a HUGE difference between the work of artists, and porno mags. /UPDATE

Bob has a great discussion of sexuality in art on his (fantastic!) blog "Art Blog by Bob." He does an excellent job with religious art, and his discussion of Bernini's St Theresa sculpture is superb. Go and check it out. St Theresa is receiving God's love, like an arrow from Cupid's bow. See more about St Theresa de Avila and her ideas about feeling God's love. Even more provocative in both Bob's and my opinion, is Bernini’s monument to Blessed Ludovica Albertoni (see below). Not only can you see the rapture on her face, but she's reclining in her (death)bed, ready for God's embrace.

I'm not saying Playboy is art, and I don't know what to say about lines being crossed when using sensual or sensuous themes when depicting religious scenes. The artist tries to use images to express ideas, and the images need to be accessible to the viewers to make sense. If the viewers (us) understand the emotion, or physical state being represented in a sensual way, maybe that makes the most sense. I don't want to vulgarize religious art. But I do think that religious art can be accessible in a number of ways.

Food for thought. What do you think?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Weekly Blog Round-Up - Part I

Photo of San Lazaro celebrants in Cuba, from the BBC.

Here is a fascinating discussion of Richard Ciznik (I'd never heard of him before) who is an Evangelical preacher who might be a great addition to the Obama administration, according to Framing Science, where I found the piece. Very, very interesting comments about the future generation of Evangelical voters, and what it means for us on the left who are also Christian. According to Mike Clawson at Emerging Pensees, Ciznik may be picked up by another org sooner rather than later anyways. Wild. I never knew of the intrigue! Oh the Drahms!

The rock pools of Oz are detailed in a lengthy, in-depth discussion of the rock pools of Australia, as opposed to, say, Madeira on Pruned.

A good discussion of moral ambiguity (and finagling) at work. From BlogHer.

Mercury photo at BAB best photos of 2008.

Baby steps... baby steps - Blackwater out of Iraq!

As part of my very-occasional series on God in Advertising and the implications for Religious Art (see here and here) - Gawker delivers. Here's the ad campaign at Collegiate Church.

Why Bush Will Walk - at UnCensored
. This same thought came to me as I read all about the Middle Ages. I think it was Clovis I who reminded me of Bush II.

One "Carbon Neutral" day...?

I had a facial last night so I could talk with La Prima about her problems with some of her friends. "They're telling secrets." I forgot it starts this early!

Ask Obama to make Breastfeeding a priority. Posted on BlogHer

Aerophant's "a river remembered" post reminds me of my time playing in the stream with Ladybird. It was in her grandfather's pasture. We had the greatest adventures! and another little gem from Aerophant.

View Larger Map

Friday, December 12, 2008

Weekly Blog Round Up

My friend Karen sent me this image of Pharaoh's daughter finding Moses, it's from the Fleischer Art Memorial, here in Philadelphia. It's done in the style of a Madonna, but is of an Old Testament subject.

Interesting. I'll have to go see it in person! Below is another view of Moses in the bull rushes from Idle Speculations for comparison.

Words of wisdom from our trusty Church Administrator about open sourcing one's life. A very good read.

5 suggestions for from boing boing.

Green gingerbread competition for the season.

A Pruned article about re-purposing canals. Is there something other than green-ways that we can do with these things? I think of the canal in my hometown. What memories!

Batgirl wants fair pay!

Chicago sit-in pays off for workers. Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope for the workers in this country after all.

I'm still not gonna darken Walmart's door, but if Blogfish says they are helping to stop overfishing, I'll say, good job. On that.

A cute hippo! Love the hippos. Even if they are aggressive and hate humans.

Awesome images of "re-sampled space" from bldgblog.

This weekend will be our family's holiday baking weekend. Unfortunately my flu bug has prevented Lakshmi, Sam and Awesome Godson from coming over. He's still brand-new, and though I approve of sharing, I do not approve of giving the gift of flu to an infant. SO. We will be cooking with just the Grand Forêts present. Our cookie list this year is as follows:

Have a great weekend, all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mohinder Suresh

OK. So I am totally late to this party, but DAG!

I just started watching Heroes on Netflix, and since I am home sick, have been racing through the end of the first season. Mohinder Suresh is da bomb. [I guess, technically, a number of people think Peter Petrelli is da bomb, but, whatevs.]

I realize that this conversation must have been going on back a couple of years ago when Heroes was fresh.... but ..... [gulp] He. Is. So. Hot. By far the beautifullest man on TV.

Save the world, Mohinder!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Brief Weekly Round Up

Isn't this language map beautiful? Thanks to Book of Joe for the link.

I'm sad to know that Odetta died. I listened to Odetta for the first time with my friend Lenore, freshman year. I miss her. And I'll miss Odetta. What a great voice!

Megan Powell mentioned a Swedish Vampire Movie on her blog. Sounds good!

Here's a Google book about Vegetable gardening during WWI. Perhaps we should take note in these dire times. I think I found this link at Boing Boing, but I can't remember. My bad.

Pure Awesomeness from the Fug Report.

My new favorite movie is Slumdog Millionaire. You gotta see it!

As always, I love Idle Speculations for the BEAUTIFUL religious Art. I don't know how Terry does it, week after week. But wow! My favorite Religious Art blog out there. Now I want to visit this church (La chapelle de la Vierge, Cathédrale de Saint-Louis, Poitou-Charentes La Rochelle). Go to the blog to see more!

And, in closing, I'm sorry I missed this before Thanksgiving day, but how awesome is it to see WKRP again? I ask you. Thanks to BlogHer for the link to Hulu.