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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Now that's what I call an x-ray!

yuk. yuk.  A new freshwater  "pancake" stingray discovered in the Amazon River.  More info and pics at Our Amazing Planet!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Steampunk H. H. Richardson Train Station Diner

A clever renovation of an historical building, with a steampunk themed interior decor, yields delicious food and drink paired with great architectural karma....the Deluxe Station Diner in Newton, MA.

Added 3/28/11:  more pics and narrative about renovation can be found on artist and sculptor Mark Fisher's web site. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wow! Tomorrow is a super-Moon!

(image compliments of NASA)

Time to grab the hand of your someone-special and go watch the moon-rise at sunset tomorrow.   From NASA: "On March 19th, a full Moon of rare size and beauty will rise in the east at sunset. It's a super "perigee moon"--the biggest in almost 20 years".   They give a nice explanation on the web site.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For the love of color...

I think you will like this blog, For the love of COLOR, which has the motto "Engaging the world with a colorful perspective and finding inspiration in everything from architecture to nature".  Here are a few excerpts.  There must be some kind of software that extracts colors from photographs but it is not explained.  Does anyone remember Martha Stewart's first set of paint chips?


Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

(a pi pie from wikipedia, looks like my mom's cheesecake...yum)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses

As winter drags on it's a good time to visit a greenhouse.  A few historical greenhouses can be found around Boston, including the Ferguson Greenhouses at Wellesley College.  They were built with funds raised by Dr. Margaret Ferguson, master of the Wellesley College faculty in the first half of the 20th century.  She completed a Ph.D. at Cornell in the 1800s (extraordinarily rare for a woman at that time) and in 1930 became the first woman president of the Botanical Society of America.  The greenhouses were designed by her and built by the firm of Lord & Burnham, the preeminent builders of greenhouses at that time.

 Begonia House

Potting Room

Desert House

Cryptogam House

Tropic House
Seasonal Display House

Hydrophyte House

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Van Gogh's Starry Nights revisited

Dear WM fans, As always, thanks for the comments---they are like little dollops of excitement falling into my day.  Recently, an anonymous reader left the following comment on the post about Arthur Buxton's pie charts of Van Gogh paintings---"Where is Starry Night? Must have lots of blue and a good bit of yellow.  None of the pies match it!" 

Well, I initially thought the same thing.  And the comment reminded me of another very cool and very new resource on the web --- the Goggle Art Project.  You can "visit" famous museums all over the world and look at some of the most famous art in the world.  In fact, in many cases, you can get much closer to it than you could in the actual museum.  So I went the the MOMA in NYC to take a closer look at Starry Nights......

I zoomed here...

 then there... 

 I zoomed everywhere... 

(all click to enlarge)

My conclusion: The top left pie chart of the Buxton poster (a small fraction of that poster below) is Starry Nights.   Or is it the bottom right one below?   Argh, I can't decide.   Keep in mind the pie charts only plot the five most common colors (which of course begs the question of how the colors are defined.  Are they Pantone colors?).  At any rate, go have some fun at the museum!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

AGA Stoves and a Winter update....

I haven't posted much about my new village, the sweet little hamlet of Woods Hole.  I was traveling a lot in the fall and with the shorter days the town seemed to go into a winter hibernation mode.  A summer tourist draw, each restaurant in town gradually shut-down between October and January and now only the Capt. Kidd is still open.  The still beating heart of the village is Pie In the Sky bakery where I get my coffee every morning.  Today I was chatting with owner Eric about the pros and cons of Aga stoves, a connoisseur's ultimate "comfort stove", and remembered my pics from a showroom I stumbled across in London a while ago.

Behold the beauteous AGA!

Okay, the polka-dots are bit much but how about that mint one!?!  And a truly fascinating short history of the AGA, including the story behind its invention by a Nobel Prize winner, can be found here on wikipedia.

I also popped into Smallbone nearby, purveyors of bespoke kitchens that have inspired past renovations of my own.  Here is a detail of a beautiful wood countertop.  For a lot less money you can call up your favorite carpenter and go to Lumber Liquidators--the unfinished cherry butcher block countertops are waiting for you to arrive.   Here's a link to another post about my home-made wooden countertops.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Infinity and Dreams, Hillmer and Borge

I saw the most beautiful photography exhibit recently by Karin Hillmer at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center in New Canaan, Connecticut.  The title of the show was "Infinity and Dreams" and it featured a series of photographs inspired by the work of Jorge Luis Borge, the famous South American writer who is credited with inventing the literature genre magical realism.  These crappy screen shots below don't do justice to the beauty and mystery and depth of these photographs but hopefully they will inspire you to click through to the artist's web site and see better reproductions of her many photographs.  Each photograph had a title that was written in lovely script on the mat of the originals.  And yes, the ink monkey always drinks every last thick black drop.

I was wondering how magical realism might be related to the fantasy genre whose invention is often credited to William Morris and found this  excerpt on wikipedia that explained it nicely:

"Prominent English-language fantasy writers have stated that "magic realism" is only another name for fantasy fiction. Gene Wolfe said, "magic realism is fantasy written by people who speak Spanish,",and Terry Pratchett said magic realism "is like a polite way of saying you write fantasy". However, Amaryll Beatrice Chanady distinguishes magical realist literature from fantasy literature ("the fantastic") based on differences between three shared dimensions: the use of antinomy (the simultaneous presence of two conflicting codes), the inclusion of events that cannot be integrated into a logical framework, and the use of authorial reticence. In fantasy, the presence of the supernatural code is perceived as problematic, something to which special attention is drawn, whereas in magical realism the presence of the supernatural is accepted. While in fantasy, authorial reticence creates a disturbing effect on the reader, it works to integrate the supernatural into the natural framework in magical realism. This integration is made possible in magical realism as the author presents the supernatural as being equally valid to the natural. There is no hierarchy expressed between the two codes. The ghost of Melquíades in Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude or the baby ghost in Toni Morrison's Beloved who visit or haunt the inhabitants of their previous residence are both presented by the narrator as ordinary occurrences; the reader, therefore, accepts the marvelous as normal and common."