Spellling Errror

Spring 2014 001

Gucci, you charge enough for your goods to hire an English major to edit your signs.

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Beijing Weekend

I arrived last Friday evening, checked into a hostel/2 star hotel before heading off to the Silk Market for some DVDs. The selection isn’t what it once was. Then I went to “Food Street” to take pictures of the exotic delicacies, starfish, scorpions, and whatnot. I’ll photograph them, but I’ve reached my limit for bizarre food with the pig intestines. Then I walked through some gentrified and not so gentrified charming shopping streets to Alice’s Teahouse.

Alice, whom I’ve mentioned before, speaks great English and runs a small tea shop near my hostel. She’s great to chat with to get the real scoop on Beijing and China in general. When I got back to the hostel I chatted with a young French guy who’s embarking on an 11 day tour of North Korea. I can’t imagine what that’ll be like.

Spring 2014 202

Sunday I tried out a new café near the hostel and had carrot-ginger-beer cake for breakfast. It’s quite good. Then I went to the China National Museum of Art. It’s pretty small considering the country’s long history and huge size. They had some mediocre photos in one gallery. The photographer’s niche was blurred photos of geese and swans flying or paddling through water. The best art was an exhibit of ink paintings from four painters. Gorgeous landscapes and portraits. One artist, who fixated on cartoonish water buffalos, didn’t wow me.

Then I met a friend, Spurgeon, I’d taught with in Guangzhou. He’s now teaching AP calculus at a super high school. We went for a late lunch at a Persian restaurant. The food was great, though Middle Eastern food seems all the same to me.

Next we set off to find teal ties for his students’ school uniforms. Evidently he volunteered to procure them. There was a big market (for knock offs) nearby. Some had “silk” ties in every color of the rainbow, except teal. In the end he found one teal tie and got a weak promise that if he came back next week they’d have more. Spurgeon’s from Sierra Leon and has a good bargaining technique. I hope I remember his approach for my next negotiation.

I checked into a better hotel, the Novotel, because I needed good internet to sign on to my online course’s Saturday meeting. I thought the hostel wouldn’t have reliable service. What a mistake. I tried signing on for 2 and a half hours. Even with the help of the tech whizzes, I had no luck. Such aggravation! On top of that the bed was hard as rock and there was a nightlight that reflected off the fridge that kept me up all night. It was impossible to turn it off. God knows I tried. Around 6 am the neighbors started shouting at each other. I was better off in the $9/night hostel than in the $80/night hotel.

Clever Safety Message

Upbeat safety message on a low cost Isreali airline. It sure grabbed my attention.

Harmony in Diversity

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Till the 21st the National Art Museum has an exhibit of modern, yet traditional ink paintings by Four Professors Dai Shunzhi, Fan Yang, Han Jingwei and Yuan Wusi. The exhibit’s called Harmony in Diversity.

The exhibit is free if you bring a passport or government i.d. No entry after 4 pm.

Spring 2014 110

Word of the Week

Ephebiphobia (n.) is the fear of teenagers.

It made me chuckle.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

Chicago, train 084

In Arles


China 333

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Poem of the Week

Pot Roast

Mark Strand

I gaze upon the roast,
that is sliced and laid out
on my plate,
and over it
I spoon the juices
of carrot and onion.
And for once I do not regret
the passage of time.

I sit by a window
that looks
on the soot-stained brick of buildings
and do not care that I see
no living thing—not a bird,
not a branch in bloom,
not a soul moving
in the rooms
behind the dark panes.
These days when there is little
to love or to praise
one could do worse
than yield
to the power of food.
So I bend

to inhale
the steam that rises
from my plate, and I think
of the first time
I tasted a roast
like this.
It was years ago
in Seabright,
Nova Scotia;
my mother leaned
over my dish and filled it
and when I finished
filled it again.
I remember the gravy,
its odor of garlic and celery,
and sopping it up
with pieces of bread.

And now
I taste it again.
The meat of memory.
The meat of no change.
I raise my fork
and I eat

The Beautiful People

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Winter 2014 108

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Winter 2014 096

Portraits and a sculpture from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Word of the Week

advesperate, v.
[‘ intr. To grow dark, to become night.’]

Forms: 16 aduesperate, 16– advesperate.

Etymology: < post-classical Latin advesperat-, past participial stem (see -ate suffix3) of advesperare (5th cent.), alteration of classical Latin advesperāscere to draw towards evening < ad- ad- prefix + vesperāscere to grow towards evening < vesper evening (see vesper n.) + -sc- (compare -ish suffix2). Compare Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French, French †avesprer, also †avesprir (both 12th cent., used impersonally; both obsolete after the early 17th cent.).
Obs. rare (chiefly poet.).

intr. To grow dark, to become night.
1623 H. Cockeram Eng. Dict., Aduesperate, to waxe night.

1647 R. Baron Εροτοπαιγνιον iii. 39 Flaminius persisted on in his journey; but before he could reach the Citie Nicosia, it did advesperate.

1809 J. Hutton School for Prodigals iv. ii. 46 See, the red gleaming of the western skies, proclaims that day begins to advesperate!

1875 K. Rigbye Poet. Wks. 3 When the day advesperates they meet Within some neighbour's cot to hold debate.

Sea of Grass

hepburn tracy

Kathryn Hepburn plays Lutie, a St. Louis woman who falls for Spencer Tracy, an older rancher named Jim. She marries him despite warnings that life on the prairie won’t be easy, nor will living with Jim may be hell. Tracy’s character is a real so and so. He drives homesteaders off government land. He owns plots that dot the area and wants his cattle to graze wherever. The town folk consider him irascible and bull headed. His cattle hands and cook seem deeply loyal. Marriage to this taciturn loner soon gets hard. While Jim occasionally gives in to Lutie’s requests, his indifference to their suffering neighbors and his schemes to keep homesteaders out, is at odds with Lutie’s beliefs. Besides there’s little for her to do and no one to talk to on the ranch. She loses her one friend due to Jim’s hard hardheartedness.

Eventually, Lutie gives in to temptation and has romantic encounter with a sympathetic lawyer who’d warned her about Jim. She gets pregnant and has a son. Her infidelity becomes public knowledge.

I liked the film as it offers a different look at life out West. The ranch is pretty comfortable and Jim gets Lutie a piano and gets the furnishings she’s used to. The challenge isn’t the tough living quarters or manual labor (Lutie does none), but rather the barren emotional life. The way infidelity and illegitimacy are handled seemed novel, even by today’s standards.

I wouldn’t say this is a “must see,” but it is compelling and held my interest. Hepburn and Tracy always do though, don’t they?

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