The blog suspects that gawking is the typical reaction to one's first glimpse of the ceiling of the lobby of the Bellagio Casino, which features an enormous chandelier of glass flowers by the sculptor Dale Chihuly.
Several of Susan's friends have expressed surprise that she would want to spend her Christmas vacation in Nevada. Faithful blog readers, however, will understand that the primary purpose was research for this blog, as it is highly unlikely that any other city in the world contains as many 20th-century obelisks as are found in Las Vegas.
Maurice came down to visit this past weekend. The cow is a long-lost but now restored Winston-Salem landmark (outside a restaurant called Staley's on Reynolda Road). Note that Nate is now almost as tall as Maurice.
The set of The Brothers Menaechmus (Plautus), currently running at the Wake Forest University Theatre on the Mainstage, features a lovely fake obelisk designed by Mary Wayne-Thomas.Photograph taken by Jon after last Friday's opening. The street signs say "Harbor" and "Forum."
Friday evening brought the annual Department of Biology barbecue at Tanglewood Park. As has been the case for decades, Professor Peter Weigl made sure that there was enough delicious smoked chopped pork to go around. Before stuffing himself, Nate took pictures of the master and his pork.
The Susan half of the blog is currently observing a news blackout (the excuse is the need to focus on finishing her book). All she knows is what she reads in the Winston-Salem Journal and in Paul Krugman's blog, plus a few tidbits provided by Jon. No NPR or cable news whatsoever. It's still too much.
Still (mentally) wandering around the Easton cemetery on a rainy August afternoon...the style of the time apparently favored more rather than less punctuation, but the period after "Willie" is somehow heartbreaking.
Faithful readers of this blog probably already know what a pyramidium is. An obelisk-damaging earthquake, a big hurricane, and freshman orientation at Wake Forest seem a little too much for one week in August!
"The obelisk is, to quote McDowell and Meyer in The Revival Styles in American Memorial Art, one of the "most pervasive of all the revival forms" of cemetery art. There is hardly a cemetery founded in the 1840s and 50s without some form of Egyptian influence in the public buildings, gates, tomb art, etc. Napoleon's 1798-99 Egyptian campaigns, the discoveries at the tombs of the Pharaohs, and our new Republic's need to borrow the best of the ancient cultures (Greek revival, classic revival, the prominence of classical studies and dress, etc.) led to a resurgence of interest in the ancient Egyptian culture. Obelisks were considered to be tasteful, with pure uplifting lines, associated with ancient greatness, patriotic, able to be used in relatively small spaces, and, perhaps most importantly, obelisks were less costly than large and elaborate sculpted monuments. "
Photograph taken by Susan in the 1851 South Easton Cemetery. More obelisks tomorrow!
It has always saddened the blog that apiculture and viticulture are unrelated endeavors, as cultivated grapes do not require pollination. But there is an exception to this rule. The wild grapes of the southeastern United States - the muscadines - are dependent upon insect pollinators for setting their fruit. And, because the blog has been so busy this summer that it had to let its garden go natural, the bees are busy on the vines.The name muscadine was given by the early settlers of North Carolina, who were reminded of the French muscat grape by the sweet musk scent of these wild grapes. The first wines ever produced in the United States were likely made from muscadine grapes!
Jon went to an ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls) Company Conference held in Madison, WI, this past week. One of the high points was a tour of the manufacturing facility in Middleton, WI. This innovative and successful company does not take its ties to the performing arts lightly:
"ETC's 325,000-square-foot headquarters in Middleton, Wisconsin, built in 2004 and expanded in 2009, is the hub of the company's global operations and an homage to the art of lighting and entertainment. Virtually a theater in its own right, ETC's 'Town Square' atrium stages a 1940's street, complete with a life-size recreation of the famous Nighthawks painting by Edward Hopper. Set-like façades such as a marquee theater and an Art Deco skyscraper hide real departments. When the 300+ ETC Source Fours in the ceiling rig are bright, the scrim-like walls create the illusion of solid city structures. When the lights are artfully dimmed by an ETC lighting control system, the workaday world of ETC materializes into view."
As the comparative endocrinologists moved out of the University of Michigan dorm, the Ironworkers moved in for the 27th Annual Ironworker Instructor Training Program. If you browse through the program catalog you will see that the union has a comprehensive set of education offerings that cover everything from math and computer skills, project planning, apprentice tracking to history of the ironworkers union and ornamental wall coverings (bring your work clothes for the latter, as it's hands-on training).
Fears that it would prove difficult to park in the charming college town of Ann Arbor were proved baseless (although it did take the blog several tries before it got the cool solar-powered meter maid to take its $$$).
The blog heads off on a short road trip to Ann Arbor, MI, tomorrow for the North American Society of Comparative Endocrinology meeting. The blog hopes to avoid hearing the sound of Mitch McConnell's voice while it travels.
An article in today's Winston-Salem Journal about the start of planning for the hundredth anniversary (in 2013) of the merger of Winston and Salem inspired reflections on Joseph Winston, the Revolutionary war hero who contributed the Winston to our city's name. It turns out that he is on facebook. Which is more than one half of the blog can say for itself.
Maurice and Susan stroll by Arena Stage in southwest DC on the 4th of July. Two points: 1. It is not at all obvious when one is walking past Arena Stage that the sidewalk follows the curves of the structure. 2. The blog still can't figure out the theatre/theater thing.
Here's an inspirational excerpt from the mission statement of Arena Stage:
Arena Stage produces huge plays of all that is passionate, exuberant, profound, deep and dangerous in the American spirit. We have broad shoulders and a capacity to produce anything from vast epics to charged dramas to robust musicals.
Jon's new Nationals shirt honors one of the most venerable baseball superstitions - stay off the line! Read about it in a book aptly titled Don't Step on the Line: Sports Superstition (see pp. 9-11). Susan's new Phillies shirt pays homage to the great broadcaster Harry Kalas. If you listen carefully, you can hear the crowd at Citizens' Bank Park singing High Hopes after every home victory (or just ask the blog to sing you a chorus.)
Jon and Susan are professors at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. Jon is in the Department of Theatre and Dance. He has lived in Winston-Salem for 25+ years. Susan is in Biology, and has lived in Winston-Salem for 5+ years. Jon's neighborhood is Sherwood Forest; Susan's neighborhood is Ashley Forest. Maurice, who lives in the District of Columbia, serves as occasional capital correspondent.
"The reality is the reality."--Pedro Martinez
"It's only gonna get funner."--Roy "Doc" Halladay
"I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it."--Paul Krugman
"Nobody is going to come out of this looking good."--Maggie Christman