Saturday, December 31, 2011

The blog gawks

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.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The blog is famous

Not really, but one of our photos was used (with the blog's permission) by another, better written blog concerned with some of the same themes:

Scroll down to the end of this post to see Jon Christman listed in the credits! Do you recognize his photo? The blog is happy it is not a lonely voice crying in the wilderness...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back from Vegas...

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.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Maurice, Nate, and a big cow

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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Last chance... see Wachovia signs in the whole country. Wells Fargo has announced that the new signs will be revealed October 17.

Faux obelisk in Winston-Salem

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."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

True North Carolina

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.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The world of topsy-turvey

Paul Krugman nails it in one of his most recent blog posts:

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.

The bud was nipped

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.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Welcome to Winston Hall

This is the entrance to the Department of Biology at Wake Forest University. Even the undergraduates are beginning to notice that our door is falling apart.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

At Stonehill College

If there's a grotto, of course grotto parking is essential!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cracks in the pyramidium

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!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tasteful and cheaper!

From the very, very helpful website of The Association for Gravestone Studies:

"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!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stonehill College

When the blog checked into the New Dorm at Stonehill College, the first thing that it noticed was the millstone motif of the entrance way. All was soon made clear by a helpful historical marker...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New England-y

Two scenes from a stroll along Washington Avenue, South Easton, Massachusetts.

Monday, August 22, 2011

All New England cemeteries...

...are trying to look like this.

(Susan photographed the 1801 Seth Pratt Cemetery in South Easton, Massachussets, when she should have been making sure her Gordon Research Conference was running smoothly.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The wild grapes of North Carolina

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!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

World's largest anklung orchestra

Our Washington correspondent was there!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Contrary to the impression left by the U.S. House of Representatives...

...most Americans are actually useful folks who can make stuff and get things done. Here are some of Jon's photos of actual workers working in the ETC factory in Middleton, WI.

Meanwhile, back in Winston... has been too hot for the blog to walk. Even the bees in Jon's backyard are overheating.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

At the ETC main manufacturing facility

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 fa├žades 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."

Frodo Lives!

Raising the question, is Falling Creek Camp located in Middle Earth?

(The song is Frodo's version of Bilbo's song, first sung at the end of the Hobbit.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Final glimpses of life in Ann Arbor

The blog says good bye to Ann Arbor. Jon is having a "Big 10" summer, as he is now in Madison, Wisconsin at the ETC convention while Susan tends to the debt ceiling debates back in Winston.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Welcome Ironworkers!

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).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Iconic farmer's market

Saturday morning, downtown Ann Arbor. Established 1919.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Good questions (and even better answers)

While Susan went to her comparative endocrinology meeting, Jon went to the museums of Ann Arbor.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The political situation in the heartland

Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan is the object of a lowkey statewide recall effort. (Photographed in Ann Arbor.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The happiness of being a Phillies fan

Parking fears assuaged

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 $$$).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Off to Ann Arbor

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.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh no

Tuesday, noon, in Susan's backyard.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Resident evil

A view of Susan's wild backyard through her new dining room window at noon today. (Evil because this creature shamelessly consumes Susan's day lilies and hostas.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Joseph Winston is on facebook

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.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Where American theater (theatre?) lives

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.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Baseball chic

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.)