Friday, July 30, 2021

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Paintings of Egyptian ruins from the 19th century

Click any image to enlarge

David Roberts was a 19th century Scottish painter. After a successful career in the theater as a set painter he travelled considerably, painting landscapes of where he went. He's most well known as an Orientalist because of his paintings from his travels to Egypt.  I  featured one of his works in my post The immensity of time. He painted a variety of scenes, but I've chosen to show his paintings of Egyptian ruins.  

Most of these pictures are from Art Print's post: David Roberts. There are many more examples of his work at that link. They include more scenes of Egyptian ruins as well as scenes of life and architecture throughout the Middle East and Europe.

David Roberts

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Ames Window illusion

A simple example, first done by Adelbert Ames Jr., of how our minds can be fooled by reality. It is such a strong optical illusion that even when explained, and even modified to prove the window's rotation, we still see it as an oscillation. One wonders what else we perceive that is not as it appears, no matter how closely we look. 


Friday, July 23, 2021

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Caveman Steak and more!

These videos are from Aden Films a YouTube channel about gourmet and street food. There is no narration, and no real recipes given, although now and again they'll mention the ingredients they're using at the time. They also do the occasional dance and nature videos. It's all very nicely filmed. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Western style paintings of Wada Eisaku

Click any image to enlarge

We're familiar with the influence Japanese prints had on Western artists, particularly the impressionists, but less familiar to us is the influence that Western art had on Japanese artists. The school of Japanese artists that embraced and experimented with Western visual styles was yōga

One of the main practitioners of yōga was Wada Eisaku who was active from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century. Along with being a very active painter, he eventually became a professor at the Department of Western-Style Painting at the Tokyo Academy of Fine Arts. These are a few of his works, enjoy them.

Wada Eisaku

Friday, July 16, 2021

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Relocation of the Abu Simbil temple complex

Click any image to enlarge

In my last post, The immensity of time, I featured a painting by the 19th century artist David Roberts of the ruins of the Egyptian temples Abu Simbil half buried in sand. Abu Simbil is a 3200 year old temple complex dedicated to Ramesses II and his wife Nefertari. The temples were dug out and restored at the time of Roberts' painting. 

However, with the construction of the Aswan Dam in the 1960s it was once again threatened to be lost -- this time under the waters of Lake Nasser, the reservoir that would be created by the dam. To preserve the temples a project was launched in 1959 to relocate the temples to a new site above Lake Nasser. They were eventually moved to a site 200 meters further inland and 65 meters higher to save them. It took 4 years and cost $300 million in today's dollars.  

Information for this post is from  Rare Historical Photo's post Relocating the Egyptian Temples of Abu Simbel, 1964-1968, and Atlas Copco post Abu Simbel – Unparalleled relocation project.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The immensity of time

Abu Simbel Temple by David Roberts
(click to enlarge)

Let It Be Forgotten - Sara Teasdale

Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold,
Let it be forgotten for ever and ever,
Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
Long and long ago,
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
In a long forgotten snow.

Friday, July 09, 2021

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Korean Cops TV

This video is a bit longer than I usually post, but it is entertaining. It is a sort of Koran version of Cops, but with out all the trailer parks. However, since it is set in the Itaewon nightclub there are a lot of drunks (behold the wonders of our shared humanity). Be sure to turn on the captions to get English subtitles.

It follows a trainee and her mentor as they patrol the district on a Friday. The first incident they encounter is a fight between two groups of foreigners. In trying to sort out what happened we hear the one group saying the fight was over a stolen phone and chain. The mentor can't really figure out what happened -- he either doesn't speak English well or doesn't really care -- so he writes it off as being caused by bumping into each other while dancing, an excuse he seems to have used more than once in the past.

As the night wears on most of what they deal with, both on the street and in their station, involves drunks. The police come across as being very patient with the drunks. It struck me that some of the more obnoxious ones deserved getting the bejeebles tazed out of them, but that didn't happen -- maybe it was just for the show. 

There's one segment where an alarm at the nearby U.S. base sounds which throws everybody into a panic until they realize that North Korean artillery shells and missiles aren't raining down on them, so they relax and go back to their clubbing. Altogether it is an interesting watch.


Saturday, July 03, 2021

Happy 4th of July

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls. — Robert J. McCracken


As we prepare for the 4th

Below is an old post of mine, originally put up on July 4th of 2010. As I write in the end of the post:
Americans forget how revolutionary we are. Jefferson's "all men are created equal..." is both intoxicating and destructive.
Again, or more properly as always, there are people who in their bones do not believe that all men are equal. Rather, they think most of us are fools who argue "that what was round was in fact square." so of course we need our betters to save us. And naturally they are our betters. I guess each generation has its own Intolerable Acts. We shall see. 

Above is the song Dimonkransa sung by Myra Andrade of the Cape Verde Islands. Cape Verde received their independence from Portugal on July 5th, 1975. The liberation movement was led by the socialist African Party of Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). Andrade's father was a member of it, and in fact she was born in Cuba.

Upon independence Cape Verde was a single party government, but in 1990 at a party congress the PAICV approved the introduction of multiparty democracy. In the election that followed the opposition fared well, and Cape Verde has evolved into a stable multi-party democracy.

However, this is not a post about her politics, nor the sort of third world socialism that bubbles through the undeveloped world. It seems to me there is a deeper strata, a bedrock so to speak, which lies under the languid melancholy of her lyrics.

It was said that democracy,
Lopsided democracy,
It was said that democracy
Was like a hidden treasure,
But now that it has been found.
We have all opened our eyes
And each one, relying on his judgment,
Confidently declared that what was round was in fact square,
And went to work, with a great many theories,
To prove that he was right.

(lyrics from the version she sung on her first album Navega)

Andrade is ill at ease with democracy, but for social rather than political reasons. Early in the song she calls it 'lopsided democracy' and as its lyrics unfold her complaint is that each person, not matter how foolish they are (and she clearly thinks many if not most of them are fools), now express a cacophony of opinions and arguments that bury the truth. 

She ends the song singing of English businessman and listing names from Cape Verde's past, some who have been elevated and some who she fears are being forgotten, and expresses distress at this reordering of authority. 

Stripped to its bone, the song is about a lost elite. Andrade is expressing nostalgia for a short-lived one party rule and for an escape from European domination. Of course it is her party that should rule and she now makes her home in Paris. Perhaps it is she that is lopsided, rather than all of the happy fools she mocks?

The time will come when old Náxu’s opinions
Will not be held in higher esteem than those of a babe in arms.
People will come together and cry: enough!

Americans forget how revolutionary we are. Jefferson's "all men are created equal..." is both intoxicating and destructive. It is a hell of a thing not to have to step into the gutter to clear the side walk for a swaggering aristocrat. Andrade is intimidated by and dismissive of people who have opened their eyes, and each one, relied on their own judgment, but a free man knows better.

As for coming together and crying "enough"? That is exactly what our 4th of July celebrates. Happy 4th of July to you all.

Friday, July 02, 2021