Weekend 321.0

Aqueduct Racetrack“I just want it to look like nothing else in the world. And it should be surrounded by a train.” ― Walt Disney

(1) A Feast for the Guilt-Ridden Guest: Exploring complex themes with cunning wit and elaborate metaphors in George Herbert’s ‘Love (III)’ (WSJ)

“But Herbert is most dear to us because his poems suggest an intimacy of discourse between the poet and his creator. Not for Herbert the attitude struck by Donne, who can begin a poem by telling off a heavenly body (“Busy old fool, unruly sun”). The speaker in Herbert’s poems is marked by an unforced humility—he may be the only poet in the body of English poetry who is believable not only when he addresses the divinity but when he transcribes the responses he gets.”

(2) A quote from The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

“I still recall the morning when she entered my office, eyes shining with emotion and an old anthology of John Donne’s poetry in her hand. This was where she discovered that intelligence, this wonderful gift, grows in silence, not in noise. It was here too that she learned that a human mind, a truly human mind, is nurtured over time, with hard work and discipline.”

(3) 14 Ways to Make a Protected Bike Lane [Infographic]

Image courtesy of the Limestone Roof Photo Archives.

Weekend 320.0

(1) Perrier-Jouët presents/ Ephemera by Mischer’traxler

Weekend 319.0

(1) Playmobil Prototypes (YouTube)

Weekend 318.1

IMG_4503Year by year you sanctify the Church, the Bride of Christ, foreshadowed in visible buildings, so that, rejoicing as the mother of countless children, she may be given her place in your heavenly glory.

A related excerpt from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

“That night, for the next day’s lecture, he wrote out his defense of what he was doing. This was the Church of Reason lecture, which, in contrast to his usual sketchy lecture notes, was very long and very carefully elaborated.

It began with reference to a newspaper article about a country church building with an electric beer sign hanging right over the front entrance. The building had been sold and was being used as a bar. Once can guess that some classroom laughter started at this point. The college was well known for drunken partying and the image vaguely fit. The article said a number of people had complained to the church officials about it. It had been a Catholic church, and the priest who had been delegated to respond to the criticism had sounded quite irritated about the whole thing. To him it had revealed an incredible ignorance of what a church really was. Did they think that bricks and boards and glass constituted a church? Or the shape of the roof? Here, posing as piety was an example of the very materialism the church opposed. The building in question was not holy ground. It had been desanctified. That was the end of it. The beer sign resided over a bar, not a church, and those who couldn’t tell the difference were simply revealing something about themselves.”

Weekend 318.0 (…a virtual cornucopia of unmonastic beauty)

(1) 22 Habits of Unhappy People

(2) Everything Is Owed to Glory (WSJ – Registration Required)

“But Wellington was the servant of a democratic government, while all Europe became enslaved to Napoleon’s insatiable personal ambition.”

(2a) Churchill Still Stands Alone (WSJ)

“Churchill is the resounding human rebuttal to all Marxist historians who think history is the story of vast and impersonal economic forces. Time and again in his seven decades in public life, we can see the impact of his personality on the world and on events—far more of them than are now widely remembered.”

(3) Humanizing Religious Veneration (WSJ – Registration Required)

“The whole room is a virtual cornucopia of unmonastic beauty. This meditating saint may be ascetic, but he is certainly not otherworldly. The left-hand wall of his study has two mounted shelves. Books line the upper one. The bottom is filled with objets d’art. The secular and the religious exist in total psychological and pictorial harmony.”

(3a) Clear Creek Abbey October Newsletter

“No one knows exactly when this particular limestone statue was set there, but she had probably been in place since the twelfth century, when the Faith was still young in France and the Abbey…”

Weekend 317.0 (Si monumentum requiris, circumspice)

(1) Burying the Body in One Place and the Heart in Another (WSJ)

“During the medieval period, the belief that the physical and spiritual worlds were intertwined fed into the idea that the soul was located inside the heart. Many aristocrats and royals even had their hearts removed after death. Their corpses were then interred in the family crypt, while the heart was preserved and buried in a place of spiritual significance. That usually meant a favorite monastery.”

(2) Julie Schumacher: On writing about writers (WSJ)

Weekend 316.0 (…an abundance of caution)

“You gonna have to wear some pants, man, ’cause you freaking’ me out with that.”

― Black Jesus

(1) Inflated Hopes: Early airship experimenters found that insurance companies refused to quote rates for aerial liability. A review of C. Michael Hiam’s ‘Dirigible Dreams.’ (WSJ)

Weekend 315.0 (79.45%)

“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.

#278 10.5.2014 is inspired by this padlock at the Main Street Station AND this sign from the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

#282 10.9.2014 is a tribute to Walt Disney and inspired by a toy bird he found in New Orleans. The DigiBird also reminds me of Disney’s favorite song “Feed The Birds” by the Sherman Brothers.

#286 10.13.2014 is inspired by the Land Pavilion at Epcot.

(1) Architect Michael Graves on Design Hits and Misses (WSJ)

(2) A Flower Arrangement Inspired by a Helen Frankenthaler Painting (WSJ)

Weekend 314.0

(1) Gear Prudence: Are Folding Bikes for Dorks?

Dear FOLD: Folding bikes are like better Transformers—they convert from heaps of machinery into ready-to-go transportation, but don’t further enrich Michael Bay.

Weekend 313.0

It’s starting 1 day early. I have some stats from Playmobil365.com.

Most Viewed Days: #41, #39, #40, #37, and #2

(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)

(2) Ancient Rome’s Bridge to Nowhere: The Ponte Rotto still stands as a heroic fragment (WSJ)


I want to squish its FACE!!!

Weekend 312.1

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.

Weekend 312.0 (Le mal du pays)

Train crossing between mountains.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)

(1c) Haruki Murakami Bingo

(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.

Weekend 311.0

(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.

(2) This may sound like the start of a joke, but bear with me for a moment. How many priests does it take to officiate at a Catholic wedding?

Weekend 310.0

Pegoretti was one of the six craftsmen featured in Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle at the Museum of Arts & Design in 2010.

(1) Robin Williams and Dario Pegoretti: The Comedian and the Bike Builder (WSJ)

(1a) A.N.T. Part 1

(2) McDowell + Benedetti’s Footbridge and Rail Station Underway in Terni (ArchDaily)

(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.”