Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and the Weather Report

And now for the weather, here are the forecasts around the USA and the world ...

In Cotonou, Benin, a high of 90 and low of 78 with scattered thunderstorms
In Gabarone, Botswana, a high of 95 and low of 75 and clear
In Hong Kong, China SAR, a high of 66 and low of 59 and clear

In Washington DC, a high of 50 and low of 34 and sunny
In Kansas City, a high of 53 and low of 39 and mostly cloudy
In Denver, a high of 58 and low of 33 and windy
In San Francisco, a high of 65 and low of 55 and partially cloudy

In Izmir, Turkey, a high of 45 and low of 32 and clear
In Vienna, Austria, a high of 40 and low of 32 with showers
In Zurich, Switzerland, a high of 37 and low of 31 with wintery mix of rain and snow

And lastly, in Los Angeles, a high of 73 and low of 57 and partially cloudy

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays where ever you.

Click here for the greeting from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas: Mary, Did you Know?

There are many wonderful Christmas songs. Each of us has a handful of favorites.

What are some of yours?

Below is one that is well known but, for me, it didn't really register until a handful of years ago. The other day I heard it several times on the radio so I thought it would be worth a blog post.

A handful of years ago, a young female Fuller student gave the sermon at Glendale Presbyterian Church. Her approach was to speak as if she were the pregnant Mary pondering her future.

As you might guess, the song that was part of that worship service was Mary, did you know?.
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Did you know
That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered
Will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Did you know
That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know
That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little boy
You've kissed the face of God

Mary, did you know?
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
And the dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Did you know
That your baby boy will one day rules the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding
Is the Great I Am
Merry Christmas to all who click here and God bless you all where ever you are!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Indy Colts the new St. Louis Rams?

Was waiting in the pizza place for lunch and saw the Chargers throw a bolt of lightening in the football world.

5 and 6 man rushes with man-to-man coverage and voila, the Indy Colts are now 13-1.

Okay, the Chargers were in a must-win situation and the Colts have secured home field advantage for the whole playoffs. But still they are professionals with pride who want to win and they looked beatable.

In post-game analysis on ESPN radio, they were saying, hmmm, the coronation of the Colts is off! They see the once left-for-dead New England Patriots as back in serious contention for the Super Bowl.

A handful of years ago, the St. Louis Rams were the greatest show on turf with an aerial game with their home games in a dome. Sounds like the Indy Colts?

In the end, the Rams got smacked around by the Pats in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Will the Pats avenge the regular season drubbing by ending the Colts caravan in the playoffs?

Meanwhile, in college basketball, after my Anteaters beat Stanford, they have gone 2-3. The team is now 4-4 with a couple of non-conference games before the Big West season begins.

In the NBA, the Clippers are still on top but the Lakers are turning things around. Most fans believe, the Clippers, a seemingly cursed team, will come back to reality and at some point in the season will be passed by the Lakers.

Across the way, the Dodgers are trying to rebuild the team with deals bringing in Furcal, Mueller and Nomar.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro 1865-1885 at LACMA

One of the current traveling exhibits at LACMA is Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro 1865-1885 which is running from October 20, 2005 through January 16, 2006.

I recently saw the show and it is quite remarkable how Cezanne and Pissarro set out to paint the same landscapes and came up with different pictures according to what interested them.

I noticed that Pissarro was more likely to include people in his pictures while Cezanne didn't. Pissarro seemed more interested in the details of the scene while Cezanne focused in on the geometric shapes and less on fine details. In simplistic terms, Pissarro's landscapes seemed to me more photo realistic and even at times a bit soft focus while Cezanne's works looked higher contrast, more dimensional but details would be obscured. Cezanne's color choices usually seemed bolder but on occasion his friend Pissarro would match him but in most cases I felt Pissarro's colors were mid-way between color and black and white photography.

Anyway, it is a really unique show because it showed two painters who were friends who painted the same places in France with different results. Both in their own ways were pushing the edge of painting conventions of the time. It is hard to imagine them as revolutionary as their work is so accepted now. But the placards at the exhibit informs us they were experimentalists of their time.

If in LA, do check it out and LACMA.

"Life is a bowl of cherries ... and grapes, peaches and nectarines" (available light)

"Life is a bowl of cherries ... and grapes, peaches and nectarines" (flash photography)

My inspiration for this flight of artistic/photographic fancy is, of course, the fact that most museums of art will have a section for classic still life paintings.

Copy the following link into a new browser window to see a prime example ...

Paul Cézanne, "Still Life With Cherries And Peaches" is on public display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

In the exhibit I saw described above, there were a few still lifes.

Why would someone want a still life painting in their home?

In the modern age, we can get California summer fruits in the summer of course. But in the winter, we can get summer fruits because they can be imported from the Southern hemisphere. So I suppose the wealthy of the past might want a still life to have pictures of things they only have part of the year.

I suppose there might be a certain glamour to having a painting in your home. The wealthy could afford such luxuries and so they buy them. They could show themselves off as wealthy and as patron of the arts.

Economically, though, I wonder how expensive was art work in the past? Today, you can browse along the Venice Boardwalk and see paintings from little known local artists. The paintings aren't cheap but they don't command exorbitant prices either.

I suppose if the painter of a still life was a total unknown a century or two ago, his work might not be too expensive while he was alive though I suppose it was still beyond the reach of the common folk.

In anycase, if in Los Angeles, check out LACMA. And if you get here before January 16, 2006, check out the Cezanne-Pissaro exhibit.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036

M,Tu,Th: 12 noon to 8 pm.
F: 12 noon to 9 pm.
Sat, Sun: 11 am to 8 pm.

LACMA is Free After Five, sponsored by Target.
Closed Wednesdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day.

Originally posted June 8, 2005.
Extensively revised November 30, 2005