Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday's Funnies #13

Two unemployed guys are talking. One says, "I'm going to become a lion tamer."
The other replies, "That's crazy, you don't know nothing about no lion taming."
"Yes I do!"
"Well, OK, answer me this. When one of those lions comes at you all roaring and biting, what you gonna do?"
"Well, then I take that big chair they all carry, and I stick it in his face until he backs down."
"Well, what if the lion takes that big paw, and hooks the chair with them big claws, and throws that chair out of the cage? What do you do then?"
"Well, then I takes that whip they all carry, and I whip him and whip him until he backs down."
"Well, what if that lion bites that whip with his big teeth, and bites it in two? What you gonna do then?"
"Well, then I take that gun they all carry, and I shoot him."
"Well, what if that gun doesn't work? What will you do then?"
"Well, then I pick up some of the s*** that's on the bottom of the cage, and I throw it in his eyes, and I run out of the cage."
"Well, what if there ain't no s*** in the bottom of the cage? What you gonna do then?"
"Well, that's dumb. Cause if that lion comes at me, and he throws the chair out of the cage, and he bites the whip in two, and my gun don't work, there's going to be some s*** on the bottom of that cage, you can bet on that."

And finally, you must watch this video. It is a little long, about 7 minutes or so, but it so worth it! I couldn't stop laughing!

Nina Conti live at the Apollo - the art of ventriloquism at its best from artFido - fetching art on Vimeo.

Laughter is the brush that sweeps away
the cobwebs of your heart.

Mort Walker

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Signs - The true meaning of raising the "Freak" Flag!

Flags on streetlights along Michigan Avenue in Chicago advertising the Picasso exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. Notice how the letters on the sign match the letters that were on display here in the Daley Plaza.

For more fun signs, please join Lesley here.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Chicago - My Kind of Town

Some more pictures I'd like to share with you from our visit to downtown Chicago.

My header photo is of "The Bean", as it is affectionately called because of its shape. Official name: Cloud Gate (whatever the heck that means) by Anish Kapoor. It is made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together and has no seams. (Jim and I were actually there when the Bean was just put together. We could still see the welding. That was back in 2004. It sure looks different now!) It is 33 by 66 by 42 feet. It weighs 110 short tons.*

Here is a closer look at the Bean. I love the reflection of the city's skyline in the sculpture. Too bad that there are other people around admiring the Bean, too!

This is our reflection in the Bean. Do we look like a couple of tourists or what? And no, we are not that younger couple walking by. Wouldn't that be wonderful if the Bean was magical and it turned your big old bodies into young, lithe ones when you saw your reflections? Ha!

When you walk underneath the Bean, it looks like an upside down metal bedpan! It is conclave, and the images are upside down in the center. The red arrow points to Jim and me.

Also in Millennium Park you will find Crown Fountain, which is an "interactive public art and video sculpture". Designed by Jaume Plensa, it is composed of two 50-foot glass brick towers that use LEDs to display videos on their inward faces. (Wikipedia) The videos consist of the faces of over 10,000 Chicagoans, who either stare or smile, but at some point purse their lips and water spurts forth. Between the two towers is a granite reflection pool. Here is the back of one of the towers.

Here is the other tower with a face on it. It was a cooler day, so not many kids were playing in the water.

FINALLY, the water started coming out of the mouth. Here's the video that I shot:

Here's an informative video about Crown Fountain and an inside look:

*INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW: What is the difference between a short ton and a long ton? The British ton is the long ton, which is 2240 pounds. The U.S. is the short ton, which is 2000 pounds. Both tons are actually defined in the same way. One ton is equal to 20 hundredweight. It is just the definition of the hundredweight that differs between countries. In the U.S. there are 100 pounds in the hundredweight, and in Britain there are 112 pounds in the hundredweight. This causes the actual weight of the ton to differ between countries. (cited)

In honor of Memorial Day and to the soldiers who lost their lives for our country, in 2010 Congress passed and the President signed an Act creating a National Moment of Remembrance which encourages people to stop at 3:00 pm for a Moment of Silence.

photo credit: Google

Please take time to remember the fallen.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday's Funnies #12

With time, women gain weight because we accumulate so much 
Information and wisdom in our heads that when there 
is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies. 
So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured,
educated and happy.

Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror
I will think,  “Good grief, look how smart I am!”

Must be where "smart ass" came from!

Everybody laughs the same in every language 
because laughter is a universal connection.

Yakov Smirnoff

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Your Art Lesson Continued

Continuing on with my visit to the Art Institute of Chicago and the "Picasso and Chicago" exhibit:

Here is a fun painting. It's called, "Man with a Pipe". Then in parenthesis (Man with a mustache, buttoned vest, and pipe). Presents a seated figure with a bowler hat and a pipe.

Here it is again. This time I pointed out the pipe, mustache, and two buttoned vests. I could be wrong about the vests!

The subject of this painting is, "Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler", a dealer, writer and publisher who opened up his gallery in Paris in 1907 and began representing Picasso the following year. This is what is supposed to be in here:  an African mask hanging on the wall to the left of the subject, a suggestion of eyes, wave of the hair, an ear lobe, and clasped hands. This is definitely from Picasso's Cubism period. Don't you think this would be extremely hard to paint?

Although I've referenced this painting before as an example of me trying to do a yoga pose, it is actually a painting of Picasso's second wife, Jacqueline. It is entitled, "Nude under the Pine Tree" and it combines some of his Cubism style with classical colors.

I think the following drawing shows you Picasso's true skill as an artist. It is a simple sketch of a woman entitled, "Woman Standing with One Arm Behind Her Head".

The lines of her dress are simple and flowing, yet look at all the detail in her face. It is almost like a photograph. Let me make it bigger for you.

This concludes your art lesson on Picasso, the painter, sculptor, artist and lover.

Wait. Did I forget to mention that this man had two wives, many lovers, and several mistresses? Oh yes he did. I guess he saved some of his energy for the bedroom.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Signs - Artistically Speaking

These large, colorful letters spelling Picasso's name were displayed in front of his famous sculpture in the Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago during the "Picasso and Chicago" exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.

I think their bright colors and arrangement really reflect this artist's work.

For more on Picasso's work, see my post here.

For more signs, visit Lesley here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Your Art Lesson for Today

Recently Jim and I visited the Art Institute of Chicago to see it's latest exhibition, "Picasso and Chicago".  His work was first exhibited here 100 years ago at the Armory Show, which was a modern art showcase. Picasso had never been to the Art Institute nor had he even set foot in Chicago. Yet he donated this famous sculpture, (although unnamed, dubbed "The Picasso" by Chicagoans), to the City of Chicago, refusing to accept the $100,000 check, insisting that this was a gift.

Sculpture weighs 160 tons, 50 feet tall

You mention the name "Picasso" and most people know who you are talking about. You either love his work or hate his work. Maybe I should rephrase either respect his work, or hate his work. I fall into the  love/respect his work. I may not understand some of it, but I can respect it. This man was talented, no doubt about it.

photo credit: Wikipedia

I have to say that I am so happy that museums are allowing cameras into the exhibitions (no flash allowed). This way, I can share it with all of you, AND you don't even have to pay the price of admission!

You're welcome!

First thing we saw as we entered the gallery was this which I thought was pretty cool:

Here is your vocabulary lesson for today. That smaller model sculpture is called a maquette, pronounced (ma-ket, muh).  Who knew? Not me. Until today, that is. Anyway, how cool is that? With the backdrop of the unveiling of the original sculpture back in August 1967.

If you ever go to an art exhibit and you have a chance to rent headphones, I highly recommend them. You get to hear more background about the pieces that you wouldn't ordinarily get from just walking around the museum. There was talk about the above piece and what people thought the sculpture was of: head of a baboon, a horse, or even Picasso's afghan dog. Officially is it supposed to be of a woman's head.

Here are some examples of what I learned because of wearing the headphones:

This is called, "The Old Guitarist" and was painted during Picasso's "blue" period. But what was really interesting was that there were two other paintings underneath this one! He just painted over the canvas again and again.

This painting is entitled, "Villa in Villarius", and is a view from Picasso's home of his garden and valley when he lived in southeastern France. He painted this outside because tests found a lot of dirt in the paint. There were a lot of dirt particles in the air from the many pottery kilns in the area.

Which is where he made this large vase with dancers.

I love this painting. It's called, "Mother and Child", from Picasso's Classical period.

A few feet away was this painting. It is said that when Picasso saw a photo of his "Mother and Child" in the museum catalog, he went into the other room and handed the visiting Art Institute Trustee a rolled up painting. It was the fragmented painting below that he had cut off from the original painting. When it was one large painting, the man had one arm around the woman and the other arm dangled a fish over the baby. That is what the baby was reaching for. I don't know why (or can't remember) why he decided to cut this piece off.

This is called, "The Red Armchair". It is a portrait of his mistress Marie Therese Walter, who had "blonde hair, a strong profile, and a voluptuous body", according to the description of the painting. I like that it looks as if the woman is looking face forward, and then it shows her profile. The true meaning of a "two-faced" woman!

To be continued.....

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I don't want no stinkin' worm

I love to hear the birds singing.
photo credit: Chris Gomersall

But not before the crack of dawn.

That is downright ludicrous!

The weather has changed, which means it is conducive to sleeping with the windows open. One particular robin sits in the tree right outside our bedroom window and wants to sing his heart out at approximately 4 a.m.

Sunrise was at 5:30 this morning. I checked. Why the heck is this bird singing 1 1/2 hours BEFORE the rising sun?

They say that the early bird gets the worm.

I don't want no stinkin' worm!

Plus if this guy is singing so loudly, he's not going to get the worm either. He's waking up all the other damn birds in the neighborhood, and there's going to be a whole lotta worms being eaten.

I did a little research and found out that male birds like to sing out strongly in the early hours of day (ahem) to say that "This is my turf. And this is my gal. Stay away."

According to Paul Handford, evolutionary biologist at the University of Western Ontario, "It is a little like calling out their name, over and over again......a daily advertisement of their continuing tenure." And the reason birds sing so loudly in the morning? Their song is more consistent. (cited)

Okay. I get it. It's the robin's turf.

Blah, blah, blah.

It's MY condo. You don't hear ME screaming those words out every morning.

You don't hear ME screaming - "THIS IS MY HUSBAND!"


I'll strike up a deal with you, Mr. Robin. I'd be willing to walk up and down our block with a megaphone telling every bird that this is your turf, IF you will stop singing at 4 a.m.

Oh. And I'll be walking around about 8 a.m.

That's a more reasonable time.

For all our sake.


Tweet Tweet

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday's Funnies #11

A newly married man asked his wife, 'Would you have married me if my father hadn't left me a fortune?'

'Honey,' the woman replied sweetly, 'I'd have married you, NO MATTER WHO LEFT YOU A FORTUNE!'

An elderly man goes into a brothel and tells the madam he would like a young girl for the night. Surprised, she looks at the ancient man and asks how old he is.

'I'm 90 years old,' he says.

'90!' replies the woman. 'Don't you realize you've had it?'

'Oh, sorry,' says the old man. 'How much do I owe you?'

An  elderly couple Pauline & Frank were recently attending a church service at their retirement village.

About halfway through the service,  Pauline took a pen and paper out of her purse, and wrote a note and handed it to Frank.

The note said:" I just let out a silent fart, what do you think I should do?"

Frank scribbled  back: "Put a new battery in your hearing aid."

Father O'Malley answers the phone.

'Hello, is this Father O'Malley?'

'It is!'

'This is the IRS. Can you help us?'

'I can!'

'Do you know a Ted Houlihan?'

'I do!'

'Is he a member of your congregation?'

'He is!'

'Did he donate $10,000 to the church?'

'He will.'

Girl: 'When we get married, I want to share all your worries, troubles and
lighten your burden.'??

Boy: 'It's very kind of you, darling, but I don't have any worries or troubles.'

Girl: 'Well that's because we aren't married yet.'

You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as 
long as it wants.

Stephen King

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Signs - Wooden Shoe Wisdom

We spotted this sign in the gift shop at "Little Netherlands", part of Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan.

Visit Lesley HERE for more signs. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Windmill Island Gardens

While we were up in Saugatuck, Michigan, we visited the Windmill Island Gardens. It is located in the city of Holland, which is about a twenty minute drive away. Holland is famous for its tulips, the Tulips Festival, and the windmill.

Unfortunately we were about three weeks too early for the festival, and there was nary a tulip to be found. We DID see some daffodils in bloom, though.

If you ever are in the area and want to see something different and lots and lots of beautiful tulips, I certainly would visit Holland, Michigan. I have been there during the tulip festival. The parade is fun to watch, especially watching the people scrub the street as they walk.

According to the Tulip Time Festival website, the festival includes three parades, traditional Dutch dance performances, concerts, theatre, Dutch attractions, Dutch food, children's events, and Tulip City Tours.

What you can see off season is Windmill Island Gardens, where the working windmill stands.

The day we visited it was overcast and hardly any visitors were in sight. We first came upon this building.

It is appropriately called the "Organ House", where, you guessed it, the organ is kept. But not just ANY organ. This organ was built in 1928 by the famous organ maker Carl Frei in the city of Breda. It was given as a gift to the city of Holland in 1947 by the city of Amsterdam out of gratitude to the U.S. for its role in liberating the Netherlands in World War II. (cited)

It used to be pulled in the parade during the Tulip Festival, but that stopped in 1960. The organ is inspected and tuned/repaired once a year. It is so specialized that the repairman comes from Europe to do the work. That is him in the left side of the photo. Yeah, the organ wasn't working when we were there.

The 125-foot tall windmill stands on a 36 acre site.

This windmill is called "De Zwaan", which is Dutch for "The Swan". De Zwaan was first erected in Krommenie, near Amsterdam, Noord Holland in 1761. In 1889 it was moved to Vinkel, in the province of Noord Brabant and reconstructed there. Two Holland, Michigan residents (Wichers and Brown) went on a search to bring a Dutch windmill to their town to pay homage to the city's Dutch heritage. Many of the windmills had suffered structural damage due to World War II and the Dutch government placed a ban on the sale of windmills outside of the Netherlands.Wichers gained an exemption from this ban, and was able to purchase the damaged De Zwaan for $2800. It was the last windmill to leave the Netherlands. De Zwann arrived in October 1964 and it took six month to reconstruct. Wikipedia

When you enter the windmill, there are two sets of double doors. This is so the farmer could drive his wagon in, unload, and lead his team of horses out the other doors.

The mill is five stories up. Back in the day there were no stairs like what we walked up on the tour. The miller had to climb ladders all the way to the top. So it was very inconvenient for the miller to keep climbing down if someone entered the mill. He devised a plan where he hung a wooden shoe from a rope. A person would write a note to the miller, shove it in the shoe, then pull on the rope. He would also tie his bags of grain to be lifted to the top of the mill to be ground.

Here is a close up of the shoe. Translation: Messages for the miller

One of two millstones

photo credit: Wikipedia
Another interesting tidbit about this windmill. It is operated by the first ever female miller. Her name is Alisa Crawford, and she received her Dutch Mill Society miller certification in 2007, joining the Dutch Guild of Volunteer Millers. Because the course was taught entirely in Dutch, Crawford spent two years learning the language. She is the only American professional Dutch Miller. Even with the highest level of certification for her specialty, she cannot apply to become a Master Miller for ten years.

photo credit: Holland Sentinel
She has to ground the flour just so using the wind to move the gears to grind the grain. She has to be able to move the blades of the windmill by herself to catch the wind. The blades are 80 feet long and 6 feet wide, and weigh three tons. She uses a "capstan wheel" to turn the blades so they can be aimed directly into the wind. Everything above the green band (see photo of the windmill above) is on rollers so the entire cap will rotate.

A long way up there!

Did you know that the Dutch used their windmills to send signals to their surrounding neighbors? Depending on the position of the sails (arms of the windmill) - the message would tell what was happening with the miller such as celebration/joy, mourning, or rest? Click here to read more on this topic and to see a demonstration of the different positions.

Currently De Zwaan is grounding wheat flour.

We picked up a bag from the gift shop.

So far I've made pancakes with it and they were delicious!

We walked over to "Little Netherlands".

Consisting of a large gift shop, a museum, and a concession stand.

I bought a wooden bowl and had it engraved at the gift shop. Here is the woman doing the wood-burning:

The finished product.

Afterwards I thought it may have been confusing, thinking the April 21, 1984 date was our 29th anniversary, when actually that was our wedding day. Well, as long as I know what it means, I guess it's okay!

Windmill Island Gardens also boasts having an antique carousel which was built in 1908 by DeBoer Bros. It is made of wood, and called a "kiddie machine", a European trait, because it was built for children. The animals are stationary and do not move up and down like the modern carousels.

The following photos are from this year's tulip festival. I cannot take credit for them; I got them from the internet for your viewing pleasure.

photo credit: Huffington Post