The sixth in the series of thirteen murder mysteries is the tale called ‘Black is the Color of my True Love’s Heart’, and apt title for a very interesting novel indeed. The ethos of the novel has to do with the art of folk singing and folk songs or ballads. In America we might think of the songs of Stephen Foster (1826-64) that good Kentucky boy who wrote Camptown Races, Oh Susanna, and many more. Folk songs of course are… Read more

Some animals are just born comedians. I’m referring to the monkeys and their kin of course. There is this sign that stands at the opening of the gorilla exhibit. It reads as follows…. This one however seems to have ignored all the necessary gorilla etiquette The orangutans and monkeys were doing their usual thing, just hanging around…. Equally impressive were the fish exhibits which included beautiful coral and seahorses… Here’s an interesting polka dotted skate…. There must have been a… Read more

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Sometimes you go to the movies expecting one thing, and something else happens. I went to see ‘The Intern’ expecting it to be a funny piece of enjoyable fluff. Rather like eating cotton candy. You know— empty calories, but nonetheless sweet. And sure enough Nancy Meyer’s latest film has its funny and sweet moments. But along the way to funny and sweet, there was actually a serious side to this film about work and family, and how to keep both… Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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