Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Classic Rock

Here's some live Chuck Berry from fairly early in his career (I'm guessing no later than the early sixties), performing one of his classic numbers for French TV:

Another Batch of DC Photos

Here are a last few photos taken a couple weeks back on my trip to Washington with Ben and Natalie.  Above is the fountain in the middle of the national Gallery of Art.

The old Post Office Building in DC has been converted to a touristy mall, with restaurants, boutiques and a performance space.  But the most interesting part of the place remains the architecture.

The main hall of the American Art Gallery (not to be confused with the National Gallery of Art) was once the Patent Office, and this main hallway was once considered the largest room in the country-- necessary to hold all the models of inventions that passed through the building.

After leaving DC, we stopped in Frederick, MD on our way to Gettysburg.  This was a display in an antique store there.  Below are Ben and Natalie outside of an old mansion in the town.

A Thought for Tuesday

I think there is definitely something to this line by the Italian chemist Primo Levi (1919-1987):

"The bond between a man and his profession is similar to that which ties him to his country; it is just as complex, often ambivalent, and in general it is understood completely only when it is broken: by exile or emigration in the case of one's country, by retirement in the case of a trade or profession."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jazz for a Saturday Evening

This is a great song written by Nat Adderley, and performed by the band led by his brother Julian, better known as Cannonball (with Nat on trumpet).  Very cool...

Yet More Saturday Family Blogging

Here's a counterpart to the photo a couple of posts down-- this time, Natalie stands amid the trees in the Boston County Forest down south of Buffalo.  I'll let you decide which setting appears more inviting.

More Saturday Family Blogging

Ben and Sally in the looong tunnel leading to the garage and stables from the Casa Loma Castle in Toronto, which we visited earlier this week. 

Saturday Family Blogging

Natalie in front of the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall in Washington DC.  Hard to believe our trip was almost two weeks ago now.

Saturday's Quote

Something to think about from the late UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961):

"Destiny is something not be to desired and not to be avoided. 
A mystery not contrary to reason, for it implies that the world, 
and the course of human history, have meaning."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Indie Pop at Its Finest

Velvet Crush were one of the great, mostly unsung bands of the nineties and aughts.  Here's some evidence of how good they were:

Some More Washington Pictures

Back in the late eighties/early nineties it seemed like I was going down (or through) DC regularly to attend a conference or do research.  Every time, I made it a point to give my regards to Charlie McCarthy at the Smithsonian History Museum.  After fifteen plus years I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to say hello again to the little guy, though he wasn't in his former regular spot (I gather they were doing renovations or something in what had been the pop culture wing).  Luckily for me, I came across Charlie in a temporary exhibit room (shared with Archie Bunker's chair, Fonzie's jacket, and Dorothy's red slippers), though he seems much less dapper without his trademark top hat.  It was good to see him again.  Below are some of the sculptures from the National Gallery of Art-- beautiful pieces all, but lacking some of McCarthy's insouciant charm.

Toonerville Thursday

It seems the older generation of Toonervillians is marked by a decided difference of opinion with regard to modern fashion.

A Thought for Thursday

A nice pithy observation from the author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963):

"Experience is not what happens to a man;
it is what a man does with what happens to him."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Punk Rock Classic

This was one fo the great singles coming out in the wake of the punk revolution in England in the late seventies.  Good stuff:

More Washington Photos

A few more pictures from our trip to DC last week.  Above is a shot through one of the archways that make the Union Station such an architectural landmark.

A view of the capitol from the east side of building. The Supreme Court Building is also  nearby.

 I remember years ago wandering into the Library of Congress, going to the card catalog and looking up an obscure pamphlet, whose number I passed to a librarian, and ten minutes later I was perusing the booklet at one of the tables in the iconic reading room.  Nowadays, that whole area is secured and accessible only to those registered as serious researchers.  That's tto bad, but at least the lobby is still open to casual visitors, and it's kind of impressive too.

We didn't go into the Botanical Gardens (the prospect of the likely humidity being rather off putting in the 90+ degree heat), but even the grounds looked pretty nice. 

We did go into the Museum of the American Indian though, and it was quite cool (in both senses of the word), starting with the impressive architectural design.

A Tuesday Thought

Here's a memorable line from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, pere (1802-1870):

"It is the way of weakened minds to see everything through a black cloud. The soul forms its own horizons; your soul is darkened, and consequently the sky of the future appears stormy and unpromising."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cool Song

This is my first favorite song off the new album by Beachwood Sparks, though I expect several of the others to kick in as well, once I've listened to them a few more times.

Yet More Saturday Family Blogging

Ben at Old Home Days in Williamsville.  He's wearing the garb he dons as a blacksmith's apprentice at the old Amherst Museum, but at this event he was demonstrating rope-making.

Our Washington Trip

Natalie, Ben and I spent a few days on the road this past week, visiting Washington DC (and a couple other spots).  These are a few pictures from our first evening in the capital, starting with a shot of the National Archives building (where I turned down a job about twenty years ago).  The plaza there was where we got off the train to begin our walk around the Mall.

There was a giant movie screen set up in the middle of the Mall, and a big crowd waiting to watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  I told Ben and Natalie that if they would have been showing It Happened One Night (scheduled for next week according to a poster we saw), I would have insisted we stay to watch, but I wasn't abut to inflict Butch Cassidy on them (one of the most overrated movies ever, in my opinion).  That's the Smithsonian Castle int he background.

Instead of staying for the film, we walked down to the Lincoln Memorial (seen above in the distance behind the Washington Monument).  They were doing a lot of work on the grounds, and several areas were fenced off (including, unfortunately, the reflecting pool). But there were a lot of folks out exploring like us, enduring the extremely warm weather.

The World War II Memorial was not yet built the last time I was in DC, and it's an impressive memorial, maybe especially at night (sitting between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial). We spent a little while walking around the site.

Looking back the way we came from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I'll be posting more pictures from our trip over the next week or so.

More Saturday Family Blogging

I think this Joseph's expression in this shot is pretty much what is meant by "the cat who ate the canary" (though, Of course, I don't mean to imply that he literally ate a canary).

Saturday Family Blogging

Natalie giving Helen her first (?) driving lesson. It appears that Emma was also paying close attention.

Saturday's Quote

Something to think about from the author and editor Clifton Fadiman (1904-1999):

"To divide one's life by years is of course to tumble into a trap set by our own arithmetic. The calendar consents to carry on its dull wall-existence by the arbitrary timetables we have drawn up in consultation with those permanent commuters, Earth and Sun. But we, unlike trees, need grow no annual rings."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Classic SCTV

Johnny LaRue was one of the greatest of John Candy's recurring characters on SCTV.  Here he is reviewing a French restaurant. Funny stuff:

Toonerville Thursday

Even the anonymous denizens of Toonerville lead exciting, adventure-filled lives, as you can tell from these two strips.

A Thought for Thursday

A harsh, but probably accurate, observation from one of the great figures of the Italian Renaissance, Petrach (Francesco Petrarca 1304-1374):

"Believe me, many things are attributed to gravity and wisdom which are really due to incapacity and sloth. Men often despise what they despair of obtaining. It is in the very nature of ignorance to scorn what it cannot understand, and to desire to keep others from attaining what it cannot reach. Hence the false judgments upon matters of which we know nothing, by which we evince our envy quite as clearly as our stupidity."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Song for Sara

She's probably seen this a million times, but I know birthday girl Sara likes these guys, so I hope she will enjoy it on the million and first viewing:

Happy Birthday Sara!

Here's hoping that Sara has a fantastic day as she celebrates the anniversary of her birth.  Can you believe (based on the above photo) that she's the most camera-shy of my nieces? 

A Tuesday Thought

Something to think about from the great Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC):

"All things are nourished together without their injuring one another. The courses of the seasons, and of the sun and moon, are pursued without any collision among them. The smaller energies are like river currents; the greater energies are seen in mighty transformations. It is this which makes heaven and earth so great."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cool Classic

Here's a tune that I believe birthday boy Ben might identify with (but not too much, I hope):

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Uh oh.

Ben turns sixteen today, and you know what that means-- he will soon be on the roads with his driver's permit! Good news for Ben... but the rest of us may want to be on guard ;-)

Have a great day Ben!

A Sunday Quote

Here's a nicely optimistic perspective, from the former Canadiaan Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000):

"Perhaps the rediscovery of our humanity, and the potential of the human spirit which we have read about in legends of older civilizations, or in accounts of solitary mystics, or in tales of science fiction writers - perhaps this will constitute the true revolution of the future. The new frontier lies not beyond the planets but within each one of us."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Farewell to a Favorite Band

I just read that Soundtrack Of Our Lives is breaking up, which is a pity since I've enjoyed their run of fine albums over the past few years. Luckily, they're going out with one last release, which includes this song:

Yet More Saturday Family Blogging

Natalie and Andromeda at Akron Falls last summer. If she looks distracted, I'm sure it's because Andromeda is plotting how she can get in the water.

Saturday Family Blogging, Part 3

I hope this wasn't supposed to be kept confidential: Uncle Dan teaches Thomas how to eat fire.

More Saturday Family Blogging

A common site on Fletcher Street: Nik engineering a Lego masterpiece.

Saturday Family Blogging

Doesn't Helen look like she'd make a dashing nineteenth century Russian cavalry officer?

Saturday's Quote

Something to think about from the pen of Canadian critic Northrup Frye (1912-1991):

"There is no reason why a great poet should be a wise
and good man, or even a tolerable human being, but
there is every reason why his reader should be improved 
in his humanity as a result of reading him."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cool Song

This is one of my favorite Blondie songs-- not one of their hits, but a great song nonetheless, Check it out:

A Day at the Zoo 2

Four more pictures from my day at the zoo last week, starting with one of the backstroking polar bear (who was possibly the coolest guy in the park, in both senses of the term).

A Day at the Zoo

Last Friday Theresa, Helen, Emma, and I visited the Buffalo Zoo.  These are some of the pictures I took that day.