The Miniatures at the Museum

Some people have far too much money and time on their hands (think the Donald, for example). One of the wealthy residents of Chicago was into miniatures, exact replica miniatures, rather like being into expensive doll houses with all equipment included. And so it was that Mrs. Thorne had created something remarkable, which is now housed in the basement of the Art Institute. The description on the website says the following....."The 68 Thorne Miniature Rooms enable one to glimpse elements of … [Read more...]

Proof Positive— Pigs Can Fly!

Perhaps you have seen some variant of the following altered commercial about pigs flying... I have something far better than this sort of gimmicky mock up. I have actual pictorial proof that pigs can fly. One of the less well know stories about Neal Armstrong was what he insisted on taking with him to the moon, namely his pet pig, being the good Midwestern farm lad that he was. The problem was that NASA was not to know about this, and … [Read more...]

Cirque d’ Soleil— Cabinet of Curiosities

When I think of the United Center, I think of the 'madhouse on Madison' where Michael and the Jordanaires won six NBA championships. It is of course Michael (my homeboy from Wilmington N.C. and a grad of UNC) whose statue stands parked at the entrance to the United Center.But on this night in August there was no basketball, for the circus had come to town. As it turns out, the circus was not in the United Center, but just behind it in a big top blue and yellow tent, and the United … [Read more...]

Eve, After the Fall

In our visit to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the Degas exhibit (on which see the subsequent post on the Impressionists), there was within this exhibit a famous statue by Rodin, my favorite sculptor of the 20th century. In this statue, Rodin captures the shame and desire to hide one's nakedness perfectly, right after the act of disobedience which led not merely to self-awareness, but self-centeredness, self-protective behavior, narcissism. Sometime ago, I wrote a poem about the Fall and … [Read more...]

Am I Blue?

So we went to visit our Russian gal Yuliya in Chicago, and amazingly enough the weather co-operated. It was not beastly hot, even though it was August. There is a blue theme to this particular post, which includes our visit to Wrigley Field to pull for the Cubs, and also our visit to Briar Theatre to see the 'men in blue' by which I do not mean the Chicago police. First a shot of Chicago from the south side, where Yuliya lives.The baseball game turned out to be a pitcher's duel, … [Read more...]

Mind Your Own Agra-Business

On the way home from our visit to see our Russian daughter, we stopped at a large farm, to check out what Agra-Business looks like, about which our Kentucky poet and activist, Wendell Berry, has had much to say. This particular operation has 19,000 acres and over 30,000 cows, but it also serves as a birthing clinic for pigs, having about 10,000 of those as well, servicing about ten local hog farms. So in this case, the porcine operation has not replaced all the local small mom and pop farms, … [Read more...]

Pain—- a Christian Perspective

Pain, is of course a part of life for any fragile, mortal creature. And of course there are many different kinds of pain--- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Some people spend their entire lives seeking pleasure and trying to avoid pain. On the other end of the spectrum are people like those whom Sting talked about in his song 'The King of Pain'. Some people really believe 'no pain no gain' in a literal sense and seek it out as a path to higher consciousness, or transcendence, or etc. … [Read more...]

Pleasure— A Christian Perspective

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'. That phrase, should sound familiar to Americans. For many of us, those things are assumed to be what life is all about. Especially that last part--- having freedom to pursue what makes you happy. And in a culture of aesthetes, it is often assumed that pleasure is the key to happiness, and so the more pleasure, the more happiness. Ethicists have a word for this sort of assumption about life--- eudaemonism, and really it goes back to Epicureanism. … [Read more...]

Ellis Peter’s Flight of a Witch– the Best is Yet to Come

It takes some time to become a good novelist. And honestly, it requires some mild success even with something less than a person being on the top of their form. This she had when her second Felse novel won the Edgar award. I know what it's like to be praised for something before you're really good at it, when it comes to writing. I've been there, and done that. There is then something reassuring in seeing Edith Pargeter=Ellis Peters work her way gradually to being a fine novelist.We … [Read more...]