Category Archives: Just for Fun

Las Vegas views and a little laughter.

LONGWOOD GARDENS

TRAVELING-1

LONGWOOD GARDENS

KENNETT SQUARE, PENNSYLVANIA 2012

By Chet Yarbrough

One of the great destination cities of the United States is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia boasts great dining, theatre, art, early American history, and an ebullient youthful downtown marketplace.

PHILADELPHIA SKYLINE

AERIAL VIDEO OF PHILADELPHIA: http://www.youtube.com/embed/jzDynJSC47E” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>iframe>

SPRINGSTEEN-SINGING “STREET OF PHILIDELPHIA”: <iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/oYLr9FtYtME” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Walking down the street to view Benjamin Franklin’s house or the location of America’s First Continental Congress reminds one of how great it is to live in a free country.

INDEPENDENCE HALL EXHIBIT 2008

One can spend weeks in Philadelphia, see the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, on and on; barely beginning to appreciate the city’s beauty and history.

LIONS, TIGERS, AND BEARS–OH MY!
PHILADELPHIA ZOO ENTRY MARKER
THE LIBERTY BELL
PHILADELPHIA ZOO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, on this trip, the destination is outside the city to see Longwood Gardens, approximately 40 miles east of Philadelphia; by car, about an hour drive.

Longwood Gardens was purchased by a Quaker from William Penn in 1700.  It started as a working farm and then was purchased by the industrialist, Pierre S. du Pont in 1906.  In 1946, du Pont created Longwood Foundation Inc. “for the maintenance and improvement of the gardens” and at his death in 1954, the Foundation carried on with a policy of opening the Gardens to the general public.

PIERRE S du PONT (CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT GENERAL MOTORS 1915-1923)

Longwood Gardens rests on 1,077 acres with 20 outdoor gardens, 20 indoor gardens, 4.5 acres of heated green houses, and numerous fountains and water features.

Flower colors and trees are magnificent.

 

 

 

Water features are an integral part of the eco-system of the Gardens.

Longwood Gardens has one of the largest greenhouses in the world with over 5,500 plants.

The following website shows the current status of a tuition-free two-year graduate program in horticulture; Longwood Gardens is a hands-on teaching facility for interested students:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=longwood%20gardens%20graduate%20program&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CGkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.longwoodgardens.org%2FLongwoodGraduatePrograminPublicHorticulture_1_3_4_2_6.html&ei=y-_kT4zCE8ry2QWClKHaCQ&usg=AFQjCNHhCyJcU2YoMfv5EG6KE_Gh6SLe9g

This is a great side-trip that should not be missed if you plan to visit Philadelphia, the aptly named “City of Brotherly Love”. [contact-form-7 id=”1710″ title=”Contact form 1″]

2008 PHOTO
(Visited 67 time, 1 visit today)

ART IN NEW YORK-2

THE NEW GUIDE TO “THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART”

By Thomas P. Campbell, Director

Distributed by Yale University Press 2012

Last week, this blog introduced a new guide to the New York’ Metropolitan Museum of Art with the idea of exploring the history of art works in the museum with pictures snapped in 2011 that coincidentally appear in the “…Guide”.  Naturally, each art work has its own story.  Each story is initiated by the guide but other sources are drawn on to flesh out the art works provenance and history; i.e. showing another piece of art in New York.

The following painting by Rosa Bonheur called “The Horse Fair” is a depiction of the horse market in Paris.  The painting was begun in 1852 and was first shown at the Paris Salon of 1853.  The Salon was started in 1725 and between 1748 and 1890, it was considered by some, to be the greatest annual or biannual art event in the Western world.

THE HORSE FAIR
THE HORSE FAIR
ROSA BONHEUR (1822-1899)
ROSA BONHEUR (1822-1899)

Rosa Bonheur was a French artist, 1822-1899, that is best known for her paintings of horses, farm animals, and lions.  Her father was a portrait painter and her mother, who died when Rosa was eleven, was a pianist.  She was the oldest child of four children trained as artists.  For that period in history, she was a maverick in the world of art and life as a symbol of early feminism.  Her father, an avowed socialist, encouraged her independence and drive for equality of men and women.

When Rosa was 37 years of age she commented: Art is an absorbent tyrant. It demands heart, brain, soul, body, the entireness of its rotary. Nothing less will win its hightest favor. I wed art. It is my husband – my world – my life dream – the air I breathe. I know nothing else. My soul finds in it the most complete satisfaction. I married art…what could I do with any other Husband? (Copywrite by Michael D. Robbins 2005)

PARIS SALON IN 1865 PAINTING
CORNELIUS VANDERBILT (1795-1877)

 

The famous industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt gifted “The Horse Fair” to the museum in 1887 (this must have been a posthumous gift because Vanderbilt died in 1877).  The painting is huge; i.e. it is 16 feet wide and just over eight feet tall.

The cabinet in the following picture was exhibited in 1867 at the Paris Exposition Universelle.

 

 

 

1867 Cabinet

The cabinet did not get good reviews in Paris but a nearly identical cabinet, done by the same artist, is exhibited in the MMA.  The artist is Charles Guilaume Diehl, a German cabinet maker.  The central plaque was created by Emmanuel Fremiet.

The plaque commemorates a military triumph of King Merovech in 451 AD.  It was a victory for the Visigoth/Roman alliance over Attila the Hun at the Battle of the Catalaunian Field.  Merovech was, according to some accounts, the founder of the first Frankish tribe and this battle was the beginning of the end for the Huns effort to destroy the Western Roman Empire.   This was pyrrhic victory for the Western Roman Empire because it was in precipitous decline by 455.

The plaque shows King Merovech atop a chariot driving over a fallen enemy.

DETAIL 1867 CABINET
DETAIL 1867 CABINET–SHOWING SOLDIER BEING OVER-RUN

The cabinet was gifted by Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson in 1989 (Mr. Richardson was elected Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1999).  Richardson is a graduate of Princeton University (1961) where he majored in the history of art and went on to Harvard Law School to graduate in 1967.  He practiced law as a member of the Office of the General Counsel of the World Bank.  F. E. Richardson & Co., Inc. of New York City is a firm that specializes in acquisitions and investments in growth companies.

The “…Guide” is an interesting door to the subject of art and patrons of the art world.  [contact-form-7 id=”1710″ title=”Contact form 1″]

(Visited 50 time, 1 visit today)

ART IN NEW YORK-1

THE NEW GUIDE TO “THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART”

By Thomas P. Campbell, Director

Distributed by Yale University Press 2012

 A couple of weeks ago, the “New York Times” wrote an article about a new edition of a Guide to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As mentioned in an earlier post, a future trip to New York would more closely review some of what was photographed at the museum by this peripatetic voyeur.  This new guide is a beginning of that closer look.

“THE GUIDE” is under $24, with excellent pictures of many of the museum art works and brief descriptions of their origin, size, provenance, and content.   “THE GUIDE” offers information missed when personal photographs are taken at the Museum.  It also provides a source for web search information that contextualizes art on display.

TRIUMPH OF DIONYSUS AND THE SEASONS
TRIUMPH OF DIONYSUS AND THE SEASONS

This marble Sarcophagus is titled “Triumph of Dionysus and the Seasons”.  In Greek mythology, Dionysus is a god of chaos and, like seasons of a year with snow storms, floods, droughts, and unpredictability, Dionysus represents arbitrariness, giving and taking life by chance.  In Roman mythology, Dionysus becomes Bacchus, the communicator between the living and the dead.  The Sarcophagus is carved in the Late Imperial Roman period, between 260 and 270 A.D. which places it in the crises years of the Roman Empire.   It is generally classified as funerary art.  It is decorated with forty human and animal figures that depict the four seasons; i.e. from left to right—Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.

JOSEPH PULITZER (1847-1911)

Joseph Pulitzer gave it to the museum in 1955.  Pulitzer, a newspaper publisher that died in 1911, is best known for posthumously creating the Pulitzer Prize. Pulitzer owned two newspapers (The Saint Louis Dispatch & The New York Herald) and became an elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 9th district.

The Farnese Table below is noted to have been made in 1569, donated by the Harris Brisbane Dick Fund in 1957.  It is believed to have been designed by an Italian architect, Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, for the Farnese Palace in Rome.  The fleurs-de-lis (lilies) are emblems of the Farnese family.

THE FARNESE TABLE DESIGNED BY JACOPO BAROZZI da VIGNOLA 1565-1573
THE FARNESE TABLE DESIGNED BY JACOPO BAROZZI da VIGNOLA-ROME, ABOUT 1565-1573

 

FLEURS-DE-LIS--SYMBOL OF THE FARNESE FAMILY
FLEURS-DE-LIS–SYMBOL OF THE FARNESE FAMILY

Cardinal Alessandro Farnese lived from 1520 to 1589.  He was the grandson of Pope Paul III and became a great collector and patron of the arts.  Presumably, his family either commissioned or purchased the table.  Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, employed by the Farnese family, had once tutored with Michelangelo.  The table is inlaid with various marbles and semiprecious stones surrounding Egyptian (some say Oriental) alabaster in the center.

CARDINAL FARNESE (1520-1589) PAINTED BY TITIAN

Harris Brisbane Dick, deceased 1917, was the owner of a book publishing business, now defunct, called Dick & Fitzgerald.  At his death, Dick directed that $1,328,257 of his estate be set up to be used to buy ‘desirable objects of art’ for the MMofA.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide” will be periodically reviewed as a source document to explore the web-based history of what pictures are taken of exhibits in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; i.e. just for the love of art and its spectacular location in America’s brightness-lights City.  [contact-form-7 id=”1710″ title=”Contact form 1″]

(Visited 37 time, 1 visit today)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

WHAT IS IT ABOUT NEW YORK?

For several years, in the month of October, the Yarbroughs visit New York.  In 2011, the trip involves a walk from the Theater District to Central Park, past Rockefeller Center, and into the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

 

 

 

 

Spending a day in New York can be inexpensive once you get past the cost of air fare and a place to stay.

The New York Metropolitan Museum’s massive structure intimidates a first time visitor but being there once creates the wish to be there again.

So much to see in one day with little time to catalogue; so the goal this year is to wander through a maze of exhibits and take pictures of what seduces imagination.  Next year, a resolution is to make more sense of this immersion in art and history.

Statues of human figures, carved in 27 B.C., are so detailed and life like that they seem capable of stepping off their pedestals to tell visitors of their lives in antiquity.

This sculpture of Dionysius illustrates an ancient artist’s ability to transform a block of rock into a work of art.

Venturing into another room of exhibits, the visitor is transported to a different era, different culture, and a different form of art.  Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas are on display a few steps from the Roman and Greek exhibition.

Artist materials are different because the environment is different.

Ceremonial dugouts with elaborate wood carvings are tributes to an island culture that venerated art with the same creative energy as the Greeks and Romans.

These 12 to 15 foot tall wood statues are intricately carved, phallic symbols of something mysterious and titillating.

These figures below seem to run the gamut from familial to amusing to royal.

Next, off to the classic and modern art section of the museum.  There is a mixture of feelings in seeing the paintings of renowned artists from Van Gogh, Picasso, Mondrian, Pollock, and Warhohl to so many names that are well known but poorly appreciated because of one’s aesthetic limitations.  Putting ignorance aside, who can look and not be amazed by the geometry, beauty, and color of these paintings?

 

There is an eclectic collection of art at the Museum.  No imagination goes un-tickled by one of the Museum’s galleries.

This is only a glimpse of what  New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has to offer.    Georgia O’keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz Exhibition

Next October cannot come too  soon. This is a “don’t miss it” experience.

 

 

 

 

 

A GREAT WAY TO SPEND THE DAY–WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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(Visited 14 time, 1 visit today)

A LAS VEGAS WILDERNESS

BEAUTIFUL, QUIET, AND FUN

Red Rock Canyon is one of many natural wonders in the Las Vegas Valley.  Hiking, biking, and climbing are popular resident and tourist pastimes.  Charleston Boulevard is a major east/west arterial road in Las Vegas. Travel for 20 minutes west on the Boulevard and Red Rock Canyon looms large; the vista explains the name.

RED ROCK HIKE WITH SHEEP & BURROWS_0273_edited-1

WILD BURRO
WILD BURRO
RED ROCK HIKE WITH SHEEP & BURROWS_0294_edited-1
LOWER BOTTOM FEMALE-UPPER RIGHT MALE RAM
MALE MOUNTAIN SHEEP
MAGNIFIED PICTURE OF RAM WATCHING THE WATCHER

Like rusty pieces of sheet metal, hills are colored and striped by iron oxide bleeding red below a blue skyline.  In winter, it can be cold (say 30 to 40 degrees) and windy (say 30 to 50 mph) but on a good January day temperatures can be in the 60s with no wind.

Hiking the Canyon hills on winter days is an oddly quiet experience, even though birds are flying in and out of parched bushes and bleached bark trees, there is little chirping.

Well-traveled hiking Trails split the terrain RED ROCK HIKE WITH SHEEP & BURROWS_0291_edited-1leading to tiny snow melt waterfalls, clear water streams and occasional wild life.

Surprises occur at different turns on the trail; i.e. ancient tribes have left marks on sandstone Canyon monoliths jutting from dried grass ground.  Red Rock Hike_0214_edited-1Climbers cling to mountain face crevices on their way to nowhere to satisfy some untouched need.Climber

The Las Vegas Valley packs a lot of life styles within an hour’s drive; i.e. in the city, there is entertainment and dining that rivals New York; in the country, Boulder Dam, Mount Charleston, and Red Rock Canyon offer every outdoor experience  a resident or tourist can think of.

As “Borat”, the comic actor says—WHAT A COUNTRY.

(Visited 18 time, 1 visit today)

TOUGH AUDIENCE

WRITING REVIEWS

By Chet Yarbrough

WALKING THE DOG
WALKING THE DOG-(Blogging is brain exercise like walking the dog is physical exercise.)

Blogging is brain exercise like walking the dog is physical exercise.  In theory, the more you write the brainier you get; the more you exercise, the stronger you become; i.e. definitely not true about the first and doubtfully true for the second.  Age destroys the theory; the best you can do is mitigate the inevitable.  The general public is a tough audience to please but hope springs—-something.

( To learn something about someone or something that appears interesting to others.)

As a book reviewer and observer, an objective is to improve memory of what you hear, see, or read; second is to learn something about someone or something that appears interesting to others, and finally, most egoistically important, is being rewarded by increasing numbers of people who read what you review or observe.

(Places visited, places lived, and books reviewed are better remembered because of writing about them. )

Places visited, places lived, and books reviewed are better remembered because of writing about them.  More importantly, a sense of perspective rises from the clutter of every day living.

Knowing something about physics, even a little, offers perspective on how earth compares to the vast cosmos.  To hear that fundamental elements of mass and energy are so small they cannot be seen or measured except as a mathematical function of quantum mechanics is mind numbing and perversely interesting.

MICHAEL BROOKS (SCIENCE WRITER, PHD IN QUANTUM PHYSICS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX)

It is fascinating to see how different genius is from most of mankind but how similar genius is in human nature; how important God is to some and not to others; how cultures are different but human nature is the same; how mankind is equally greedy in elitist and egalitarian countries; how accurate facts can be distorted by history; and how inhumane man can be to man.

FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY (ALSO SPELLED DOSTOEVSKY, 1821-1881)

Classics from Charlotte Bronte to Tolstoy to Dostoevsky to Ray Bradbury to Nabokov to Richard Wright have been read by millions.  They are revisited to understand why they are classics.

“THE STRIP” ON LAS VEGAS BLVD.

Occasionally, articles are written about living in Las Vegas.  In the future, there may be articles about visiting New York, Philadelphia, Chicago,WashingtonD.C., Boston,Portland or some other interesting place.

The measure of success will be an increasing number of people who read, comment, and continue following the blog.  After blogging for many months, readership is improving; albeit at a glacial pace.  I have received very few comments which may mean nothing or everything.

Ego and ambition drive this bus with no definitive destination but my hope is that readers will continue to come along.

(Visited 18 time, 1 visit today)

ANOTHER TASTE OF LAS VEGAS

A HIKER’S PARADISE

 

Walking is a luxury of good health.  If you are blessed to have good health, put your car in the garage or a nearby parking structure and go for a walk.

SAHARA IS BEING DEMOLISHED--THIS ROLLER COASTER DISMANTLED
SAHARA IS BEING DEMOLISHED 2013–THIS ROLLER COASTER DISMANTLED

Living in different areas of the United States, from west to east and north to south, every city or town has its peripatetic attractions.  Loved living in Vienna, Virginia because of the Smithsonian; in Albany, Oregon because of visits to a cabin on the Metolius river; in Olympia, Washington because of a house on Budd Bay; in Houston because of the Astrodome (now Reliant Park); in Chicago because of Grant Park (now Millennium Park); in New Orleans because of Mardi Gras; in Little Falls, New Jersey because of great dining and nearby entertainment; and now in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is more than an adult Disneyland.

It is that; but it is also a paradise for the peripatetic.  If you are an urban or mountain trekking hiker, this is paradise.  The glitz and glamour of downtown Las Vegas is an urban hiker’s delight.

VIEW OF THE WYNN CASINO FROM FASHION SHOW MALL ON THE LAS VEGAS STRIP
VIEW OF THE WYNN CASINO FROM FASHION SHOW MALL ON THE LAS VEGAS STRIP

People watching and casino hopping reveal bizarre, zany, and beautiful bits and bites of life.

LAS VEGAS VISITOR'S TRANSPORTATION
LAS VEGAS VISITOR’S TRANSPORTATION

Walking under the “Fremont Experience” canopy on the hottest day of the year is as cool as a summer breeze.

GOLDEN GATE CASINO
GOLDEN GATE CASINO

Visiting the Bellagio to view a seasonal exhibit is as surprising as seeing a mechanical Abraham Lincoln at Disney World.

BELLAGIO
BELLAGIO

Tired of glitz and glamour, visit Spring Mountain’s National Recreation Area, 35 minutes from down town Las Vegas.  If it is 105 degrees in the city, it will be 85 degrees on the Bristlecone trail on Mount Charleston.

MID-WAY BRISTOL CONE TRAIL
MID-WAY BRISTOL CONE TRAIL

 

VIEW ON BRISTOL CONE TRAIL
VIEW ON BRISTOL CONE TRAIL

 

SKI SLOPES ON BRISTOL CONE TRAIL
SKI SLOPES ON BRISTOL CONE TRAIL

Las Vegas, like all American Cities, offers everything healthy living in the United States can offer.  If you can hike, this is a lively and fun place to live.

(Visited 27 time, 1 visit today)