“You gonna have to wear some pants, man, ’cause you freaking’ me out with that.”
― Black Jesus
“You gonna have to wear some pants, man, ’cause you freaking’ me out with that.”
― Black Jesus
“In Him we live and move and exist.” ― St. Paul
How many of your conversations this year started with, “it just seems like yesterday?” Projects that mark the passage of time are difficult because you realize (very profoundly) how precious time is. It seems like every three months #YOLO is trending on twitter, and while I used to recoil in disgust, PLAYMOBIL365.com has given me a new respect for HOW quickly time passes (and how short life is).
Year long projects also bring into focus the people, places, and things that have become sources of inspiration. There’s always a story behind every picture on PLAYMOBIL365.com and while I don’t want to be be smarmy and overly introspective (some mysteries should remain mysteries), there are always some fountainheads worth sharing.
In case you couldn’t tell from surveying the content on this site, I have nurtured a lifelong obsession with Walt Disney. And NOT the crap they do now; but the city-planning, architecture, engineering, story-telling, mass-transit, attention-to-detail, respect for history and tradition, and rampant innovation envisaged by Walt Disney and his coterie of imagineers.
(1) Architect Michael Graves on Design Hits and Misses (WSJ)
It’s starting 1 day early. I have some stats from Playmobil365.com.
(1) Hometown Hero: Dow Chemical put Midland on the map, but architect and local scion Alden B. Dow made it the most modern town in Michigan. (Dwell)
Bicycled about 50 miles this weekend between the ride in Manhattan and the Three Beach Tour (Calf Pasture, Compo, and Penfield/Jennings) on Sunday. I’m also excluding the miles attached to errands beginning on Thursday so the final tally is much higher.
Wanted to end the weekend with one more quote from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami:
“Tsukuru visited railroad stations like other people enjoy attending concerts, watching movies, dancing in clubs, watching sports, and window shopping. When he was at loose ends, with nothing to do, he headed to a station. When he felt anxious or needed to think, his feet carried him, once again of their own accord, to a station. He’d sit quietly on a bench on the platform, sip coffee he bought at a kiosk, and check the arrival and departure times against the pocket-sized timetable he always carried in his briefcase. He could spend hours doing this. Back when he was a college student he used to examine the station’s layout, the passenger flow, the movements of the station staff, writing detailed observations in his notebook, but he was beyond that now.”
Need to find an image to accompany this quote.
A couple of days off from work (a much needed extra long Labor Day Weekend) so I’m doing some housekeeping, biking, and drinking gratuitous amounts of coffee. I also finished Murkami’s book less than twenty-four hours after it arrived.
(1) A quote from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
“The only real interest he had was train stations. He wasn’t sure why, but for as long as he could remember, he had loved to observe train stations—they had always appealed to him. Huge bullet-train stations; tiny, one-track stations out in the countryside; rudimentary freight-collection stations—it didn’t matter what kind because as long as it was a railway station, he loved it. Everything about stations moved him deeply.
Like most little boys he enjoyed assembling model trains, but what really fascinated him weren’t the elaborate locomotives or cars, or the cleverly designed dioramas. No, it was the models of ordinary stations set down among the other parts, like an afterthought. He loved to watch as the trains passed by the station, or slowed down as they pulled up to the platform. He could picture the passengers coming and going, the announcements on the speaker system, the ringing of the signal as a train was about the depart, the station employees briskly going about their duties. What was real and what was imaginary mingled in his mind, and he’d tremble sometimes with the excitement of it all. But he could never adequately explain to people why he was so attracted to the stations. Even if he could, he knew they would think he was one weird kid. And sometimes Tsukuru himself wondered if something wasn’t exactly right with him.”
(1a) Le mal du pays – The groundless sadness called forth in a person’s heart by a pastoral landscape. Homesickness. Melancholy.
(1b) Hearts Linked by Pain: The plainness of Murakami’s writing accentuates a story of finding things to live for after traumatic loss. (WSJ)
(2) An excerpt from The Bermudian by Nathaniel Tucker:
The guava flourishes, the myrtle grows,
Upon the surface earth-born woodbines creep,
O’er the green beds the painted ‘sturtians peep,
Their arms aloft triumphant lilacs bear,
And jessamines perfume the ambient air.
The whole is from an eminence display’d,
Where the brown olive lends his pensive shade.
When zephyrs there the noon-tide heat asswage,
Oft have I turn’d the meditative page,
And calmly read the ling’ring hours away,
Securely shelter’d from the blaze of day.
(3) Oh, Come On. Marigolds? Seriously? (WSJ)
(4) Francis Ford Coppola Talks Travel (WSJ)
“What makes a hotel great is: sort of like what makes a great wine; it’s much more than the fruit you drink, and the bottle and the label. It’s the story connected to it; the context and the history. A hotel is made great by the guests who stayed there 100 years ago, and all the detail and personality that developed over that time.”
(5) Eurailing Around Europe—As an Adult (WSJ)
*Train crossing between mountains. Scan is from The Art of the Wind Rises: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki.
(1) Confrontation Amid the Shadows: Caravaggio forces us to bear witness in ‘The Taking of Christ’ (WSJ)
He is all exoskeleton, barely a man at all. The painter has offered an allegory of the way the State—hard, metallic and unyielding—comes to overwhelm compliant, beleaguered, passive humanity.
Pegoretti was one of the six craftsmen featured in Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle at the Museum of Arts & Design in 2010.
(1a) A.N.T. Part 1
(3) ‘Like a Singing Matisse’ (WSJ)
“Guy and Geneviève are instantly likable innocents, but although Mr. Demy admitted that he wanted to make people cry when they saw “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” he eschewed the ‘happy ending’ so customary in American musical comedy. Rather, the anguish, the ambiguity and the perplexity of love prevail.”
(1) Woody Allen’s Bleak Vision by Rev. Robert Barron
“If you consult the philosophers of antiquity and the Middle Ages, you would find a very frank acknowledgement that what Woody Allen observed about the physical world is largely true. Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas all knew that material objects come and go, that human beings inevitably pass away, that all of our great works of art will eventually cease to exist. But those great thinkers wouldn’t have succumbed to Allen’s desperate nihilism.”
(2) A complementary quote from Peter Kreeft:
“We have all breathed that modern air, even those who disbelieve it or even despise it. Our lungs are full of reductionism, which is dead air. Then, suddenly, a gust of wet, salty air blows in from the sea, and our spirits spring up like children, full of mysterious joy. A smell from another country, a gleam of celestial beauty falling on our jungle of filth or imbecility (to use a formula from Perelandra itself). An angel, a heavenly messenger, a star. Ralph Waldo Emerson (I think) said: ‘If the stars should appear only one night in a thousand years, how mankind would wonder and be grateful for that vision of Heaven that had been shown!’ Well, something like the “Great Dance” appears only once in a thousand books. That is why we appreciate it, as a Bedouin appreciates an oasis.”
(3) Another from Daniel Lanahan, OFM:
“The ultimate explanation of our dissatisfaction must be that we have been planned, projected, and made for something deeper, something more essential. Yes, we are destined for a personal relationships with people in life; but the aim is that through them we finally encounter God, before whose face alone we realize our being, our profoundest fulfillment and deepest happiness. As Augustine prayed: ‘You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.'”
(1) Sturmey Archer “The Planetary Gearset” (YouTube)
(2) Speed Traps For Japan’s Escalators (WSJ – Registration Required)
(3) Shakespeare as a Life Coach (WSJ)
“The world is grown so bad that wrens make pray where eagles dare not perch.” – William Shakespeare, Richard III
(4) ‘A Spy Among Friends’ (WSJ – Registration Required)
(5) A Ferris Wheel Family Rides Coney Island’s Renewal (WSJ – Registration Required)
(6) In Praise of the Mundane Marigold (WSJ)
“The key to using annuals creatively, said Mr. Stufano—respected for transforming Wave Hill Garden, in the Bronx, from a sad mess into an arresting jewel—is to forget fads. Train yourself to just look at the plant’s essential qualities, its texture, form, height and color, without letting the chicness factor (or the taint of that gas-station island) seep into your brain. He often used ordinary plants like marigolds and thistles in unusual ways at Wave Hill.”
(7) Francis Ford Coppola Talks Travel (WSJ)
(1) Architect Lord Norman Foster on Good Design and Collectible Cars: The sought-after British architect reveals what he’s seeking, riding, collecting and coveting (WSJ)
“The best way to quickly transform a space is: by light and shadow. Light it, open it up to a view, provide a glimpse of the sky, orient it, close it down. For me, space is inseparable from light and shadow.”
(2) Under the Lily Pads: Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Administration Building (WSJ)
“The theatricality of this entry sequence, all of which occurs within 40 feet of the door, is pure Wright, conjured with low ceilings and high ones, shadow and light, the heft of brick and stone, and the sparkling weightlessness of glass.”
(3) Keeping Quiet at the Monastery: Monasteries Offer a Retreat for City Dwellers Not Opposed to Sharing a Bathroom or Changing Their Own Sheets (WSJ – Registration Required)
(1) Refining the palette: “Making Colour” at the National Gallery (The Economist)
I saw this exhibit twice (7.26 and 7.28) whilst in London. There really isn’t an official catalog SO I went back a second time to take notes.
The exhibit tells the story of color in Western art (paintings, ceramics, and textiles) from the Middle Ages to the end of the 19th century.
In addition to describing the materials used, it examines the stability of those materials (pigments) as well as the techniques employed to capture the effects of light and shadow. The theory (and science) of color is also covered in the first room via The Natural System of Colours by Moses Harris and the de Mayerne manuscript.
The exhibit is organized by color and interspersed with examples of pigment sources (lapis lazuli, azurite, verdigris, realgar, vermilion, kermes, and cochineal).
It begins with blue and the process for acquiring, manufacturing, and exporting natural ultramarine (lapis lazuli) and concludes with gold/silver.
The exhibit includes paintings by:
(a) Renoir, The Skiff
(b) van Gogh, Two Crabs
(c) Treck, Still Life with a Pewter Flagon and Two Ming Bowls
(d) Monet, Lavacourt Under Snow
(e) Seurat, Study for Bathers at Asnières
(f) Sassoferrato, The Virgin in Prayer
(g) Rousseau, A Valley
(h) Cézanne, Hillside in Provence
(i) Ruysch, Flowers in a Vase
(j) Degas, Combing the Hair
(k) Bordone, A Pair of Lovers
(l) Dolci, The Adoration of the Kings
(m) van Lint, A Landscape with an Italian Hill Town
(n) Crivelli, Saints Peter and Paul
(o) Carracci, Christ appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way
One of my favorite objects in the exhibit was Turner’s Paintbox from 1851 (on loan).
(1a) A quote from A Closer Look Colour by David Bomford and Ashok Roy:
“Colour – along with light, shadow and movement – defines everything that we see…throughout history, the painter’s palette – the range of colours – has been dictated by several factors: the availability of materials, artistic or religious convention, stylistic influences and so on.”
(3b) I can’t escape Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace [5.20.2014 #140]. I love that Richard Ayoade and Matt Berry were in the IT Crowd.
“By worrying when the next idea might come, you restrict yourself—with the perspective of time, he’d learned to treat design more lightly, to enjoy it.”
(2) A quote from The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved by Hunter S. Thompson
“Pink faces with a stylish Southern sag, old Ivy styles, seersucker coats and buttondown collars. ‘Mayblossom Senility’ (Steadman’s phrase)…burnt out early or maybe just not much to burn in the ﬁrst place. Not much energy in the faces, not much curiosity. Suffering in silence, nowhere to go after thirty in this life, just hang on and humor the children.”
(3) The Art of Freight Train Painting: Canada’s railyard Rembrandts create art that moves (Utne Reader)
(3) Book Review: ‘Bicycle Design: An Illustrated History’ by Tony Hadland and Hans-Erhard Lessing (WSJ – Registration Required)
(4) What Type of Camera Clicks for You? (WSJ)
(5) How about some lyrics from Green River Ordinance?
Put on your old black dress
And grab your dancing shoes.
Head out to the old bar Rose
and we’ll dance away our blues.
Spent all week waiting
Now my mind’s on you.
Hold my loving arms, my loving arms are for you.
I’m so tired of the nine to five weighing down on my soul
Let’s get out all of this uptown life and head out on the country road.
Forget about all the things that we can’t make right
Put on a little Emmyloo, and we’ll dance into the night.