At the Zoo— Part One

One of the older zoos in America is the Brookfield Zoo which first opened in 1934. It is on the west side of Chicago, is well worth the visit, and we took a trip there one hot August day with Ann and Yuliya. Disclaimer— the two wildest and scariest animals I saw on that day are these two that I took a picture of through the waterfall….. Visiting the zoo is rather like going to see the staging ground for… Read more

My Favorite Martian

Petra, in Jordan, is called the Rose City, for very good reasons, the rock is a rosy color, and so is the sand. ‘The Martian’, in so far as it was filmed in an actual earthly geographical location, was filmed in the deserts of Jordan, as it was deemed the terrain on earthy most like the Red Planet. For two hours and 22 minutes, we hold our breath is see if Mark Watney (aka Matt Damon), left for dead on… Read more

The Impressionists at the Art Institute– Part Four

It would be hard to over-estimate the importance of Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), one of the most distinguished of the Impressionists, and one with considerable longevity. The Art Institute has a goodly sampling of his work, though, not some of the most famous of his paintings. Among other things, Renoir had a great gift for painting faces, including the faces of children…. for example…. His paintings of flowers became very popular indeed… As were his depictions of home life… Less… Read more

The Impressionists at the Art Institute– Part Three

Alfred Sisley (1839-99) was an interesting Impressionist painter, who sadly did not achieve much recognition or success in his lifetime. Though he had British citizenship, he spent much of his time in France painting. My favorite Sisley painting is this one, done in France… Notice the concentration on depicting the church in varying light, showing the effect of change of light on the color of something. At the Art Institute the following Sisley painting was on display… Another less well… Read more

The Impressionists at the Art Institute– Part Two

Obviously, Monet and Renoir are two of the more famous of the Impressionist painters, and perhaps the most familiar to the general public. This post will focus on Monet’s work. The Art Institute has a good collection of his more celebrated works, for example Monet’s famous Haystacks paintings… And who doesn’t love his pastel paintings of water lilies…. His city paintings of smoggy foggy London and small French towns are also worth studying closely. One of my personal favorites is… Read more

The Impressionists at the Art Institute— Part One

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

Whistler, without his Mother, at the Art Institute

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

Ellis Peter’s The Piper on the Mountain

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

BJ at MSG— What a Grand (Piano) Night

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

Now That’s What I Call Wedding Joy!

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