May 2010

Posted by Ellen

Last Saturday was prom night for the seniors of Deering High School. Kaela and Hank posed for pre-prom pictures at Portland's East End waterfront.

Posted by Ellen

You may recall that it was in the mountains here above the village of Maienfeld, Switzerland, that Heidi and Peter used to take the goats to pasture. The cows, which didn't really figure in the Johanna Spyri novel or in the Shirley Temple movie, presumably stayed down below in these pastures in the Rhine River Valley. Heidi and Peter climbed up the goat paths every morning, frolicked in the meadows, and lived happily ever after in the bright clean air, curing the invalid Clara, bringing the old hermit back to the church, and spreading joy and good cheer and etc.--even so, it was a nice book, a nice movie, and there's no denying it's a beautiful piece of the world.

 Today the people of Maienfeld mostly tend vineyards and host tourists looking for Heidi. An hour's walk up the valley is the spa town of Bad Ragasz, where tourists come looking for Roger Federer.

Posted by Ellen

 

A bee pollinates a lotus water lily in the Orchid Garden in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Posted by Ellen

We can only guess what this woman is doing: talking on a cellphone? waiting for the mutton store to open? hiding from somebody? Since she didn't bother to take off her helmet, she must be expecting to hop back on her bike very soon.

The other puzzle here concerns why someone would paint pictures of chickens on a store that advertises mutton for sale.

They say India is a land of mysteries.

 

 

Posted by Ellen

Last week, a new condo tower opened in Philadelphia near Rittenhouse Square; its penthouse has already been sold, for $12.5 million. This picture was snapped by a glazier who was hired by the new owners to redo some of the windows.

This is only a small part of the view that $12.5 million buys. The penthouse occupies one entire floor of the new building, and its views are 360 degrees. What you see here is the view looking to the east: the art deco Medical Arts Building across the street, the vaguely Moorish Drake tower near the righthand edge of the photo, with the new glass quonset-hut-canopy of the Kimmel Center behind it.

In the distance is New Jersey, on the far side of the Delaware River.

By all accounts, the new condos are pretty nice. Each one occupies an entire floor, with elevators that are basically private for each resident. In the elevators are buttons you can push to operate the fully automated underground garage; your car will be whisked up from its underground spot and placed gently near the street-level exit, all ready for you to slide behind the wheel and venture forth into the city.

 

Posted by Ellen

California sculptor Michael Christian wrought this man--bogeyman?--from rusting steel. The creature first appeared last summer at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, but he has recently been transplanted to a brick courtyard in Toronto's Distillery District.

He is named Koilos, which is a place of caves in a fantasy-card game. He's fourteen feet high and weighs about a ton. And he is perfectly typical of Christian's monumental-scale work, which is well known on the West Coast: vaguely human, clearly alien, all kitschy with that ineffable low-budget horror-movie something. Many Torontans have quickly grown fond of Koilos; as of last night, at least 339 photos of Koilos in Toronto have been posted on the web.

Posted by Ellen

Some people think that Clown Day in kindergarten ought to be a happy occasion, but those people don't know everything. Emily Wiggin is the sad kind of clown.

Posted by Ellen

In 1930, a lacrosse team made up of players from both Oxford and Cambridge toured the United States, taking on all comers and thrashing them. Apparently, many of the Oxford-Cambridge stickmen were Americans studying abroad, including a number of Rhodes Scholars who had excelled at lacrosse during their undergraduate years.

Only one American team beat Oxford-Cambridge that season: the St. Johnnies from Annapolis, Maryland, shown here in short-shorts posing with the jacketed Englishmen in front of Washington, D.C.'s Central High School, where the game was played. St. John's won, 7-0.

St. John's College is now a super-intellectual "great books" school where students study the classics in the original Greek and have no time for intercollegiate sports. Every year, however, they do schedule one game against the athletic powerhouse located across the street from their campus in Annapolis, and they usually win handily. The game they play is croquet, and their opponents are the midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy, who complain that the Johnnies have all year to practice croquet, while midshipmen have to march and run and shine shoes and do all that other time-consuming navy stuff.