One of the reasons we went to the Art Institute during our visit to Chicago was to see the new Degas exhibit, which, was clustered with various paintings of the other Impressionists. We will deal with this section of the museum in some detail. Impressionism of course was a study of the effects of light on the appearance of external objects— water, pastoral scenes, people etc. To some extent it reflected the reader-response notion that the viewer contributes to the… Read more

Major museums like the Art Institute in Chicago always have special exhibits, and one that was on display when we visited with Yuliya in August was an exhibit of portraits and drawings of James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), the American artist and raconteur, who spent a good deal of time in London. In fact he was based in England, even though he was born in Lowell Massachusetts. A child of privilege, his family moved first to Stonington Conn. for a couple… Read more

The fifth novel in the Felse mystery series features Dominic alone, without any assistance from his father George. It also features something quite different from the first four novels in the series— a mystery set in Slovakia! Writers of course, if they are wise, are supposed to write what they know, and if you haven’t done your homework, you might be forgiven for thinking Ellis Peters had violated this rule in this novel. But she didn’t. In 1947 Peters, whose… Read more

I was in NY this past weekend to film for six CNN shows, the second season of Finding Jesus, and in the evenings I had free time. The weather was fabulous, and I was staying in Manhattan at the Hotel Chandler, so I could walk everywhere, including on Saturday night to Madison Square Garden, to see NY’s native son, Billy Joel, a lad from Oyster Bay Long Island. I’ve always loved his music, right from the beginning in 1970-71. Piano… Read more

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No matter how much time one spends at Pompeii or Herculaneum or the slope houses in Ephesus, one is always impressed with the artistic skill of those who decorated the walls and halls of ancient Roman villas, for example look at the stucco reliefs from one such house above. The artists tended to go for safe mythological motifs, notice the griffin in one of the reliefs above, which assumed everyone knew these stories from Greek mythology and Homer. It is… Read more

(this is the famous portrait by Hans Holbein of the great humanist scholar) Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) of Rotterdam was anything but irascible. He was mild-mannered, loyal to his Catholic Church to the end of his life, and kept his distance from the likes of Luther. He remains important to us today especially because of his Greek NT (1515 first ed. 1522 2nd ed.), which became the main basis other than earlier English translations such as Tyndale’s for the King James… Read more

You know you’re getting old when the bands you go to see have members in it which are all older than me (a spritely 63). Some have joked that the Happy Together Tour could be called the AARP Tour, as it consists in bands that were formed between about 1965 and 1968, and no later. I’m talking about the Buckinghams, the Cowsills, the Grassroots, the Association, Mark Lindsey of Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Turtles. All of those… Read more

Have you noticed there is a difference between honesty and truth? A person can be as honest as the day is long, saying exactly what he believes to be true, and yet not tell the truth. Our culture has been suffering from truth decay for a long time, and a good deal of the talk about honesty and transparency has replaced a concern for truth in many quarters. Let me explain what I mean. There are devout Christians who honestly… Read more

When Ellis Peters gets on a roll, she gets on a roll. Fresh off of the third novel in the Inspector Felse series (‘The Flight of the Witch’, see previous review) she decided that a pirate adventure in beautiful Cornwall, during the late summer holiday season was a perfect setting for a murder tale. And she was right. First published in 1965, (and with a different title in the U.S., namely the boring ‘Who Lies Here?’) the author was still… Read more

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