Thursday, February 20, 2020

Fabricating Fashion: Textiles for Dress, 1700–1825

A fashion trend begun by Queen Marie-Antoinette. From Art Institute of Chicago:
In a portrait by Jean Baptiste-François Désoria, Constance Pipelet wears an elegant gown similar to a white cotton muslin dress from about 1800 (above), both simple garments that belie the complex global networks necessary to supply Europeans with imported fabrics like Indian muslin or Chinese silk. Drawing upon the Art Institute’s permanent collection, Fabricating Fashion illuminates the artistry that enabled the creation of these intricate textiles and garments. Presenting these works alongside portraits and prints from the period, this exhibition highlights the rich legacy of their mostly anonymous creators and tells a fuller story of the people who made and wore fashionable textiles in Western Europe between 1700 and 1825. (Read more.)

How is Climate Change Deadlier Than Abortion?

From Return to Order:
Bishops need to be involved in political battles, but that is not their chief function. They must uphold Church teaching even when it is not politically correct or opportune. Thus, American Catholics must question why the bishop is raising this issue now. Pro-life Catholics have reached the height of their political power mobilizing millions nationwide. They have turned the tide to the point where nearly half of all Americans identify as pro-life. No one, not even the president, can ignore the influence of the pro-life movement. This influence is starting to bear fruit in the appointment of pro-life judges. Some are even saying that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is possible. By denying abortion’s preeminence, the bishop is undermining decades of work in the trenches by countless Catholics and other Americans to end the intrinsically evil sin of procured abortion in America and the world. (Read more.)

Ancient Automatons

From Classical Wisdom:
The majority of technology developed by the Greeks seems to have only been for entertainment, spectacle, and toys, However, the Antikythera mechanism (1st century BC), recovered from a sunken ship in the Aegean Sea, appears to be the first analog computer, and it was designed to make astronomical calculations possible in order to determine the timing of the Olympics. There is little record of the Romans developing automatons, however, they were great engineers. It seems that, like the Greeks, they used automatons as toys, entertainment and public spectacles. Mark Anthony had an automaton of Julius Caesar, made of wax, depicting Caesar rising from his deathbed and turning, slowly, to display his twenty-three bleeding wounds to the crowd. This started a riot and led to Brutus and the other killers of Caesar fleeing the city. There are also reports that Roman temples used mechanical birds and figurines in a similar manner to the Greeks. (Read more.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

An Icon of American Painting

Hot Moon by Milton Avery
From Artsy:
Known to many as the “American Fauvist,” Avery painted the world around him––his wife, Sally; daughter, March; and the landscapes they traveled to––in broad planes of poetically juxtaposed colors. In works like Checker Players (1943) and Cello Player (1944), Avery captured the human figure as a series of large, chunky shapes. Rather than rendering the details of his subjects, Avery found his voice in the hues he observed, and used his feelings as fodder to render the underlying atmosphere of a scene. And yet, for much of his life, Avery’s career was eclipsed by  American Realism and the rise of  Abstract Expressionism; his work was too abstract for the academics and too representational for the AbEx scene. And despite his selling prices today (a painting can easily earn $3–$5 million at auction), he rarely sold work in his lifetime. Despite these difficulties, Avery continued to paint lilting abstractions of his family, shorelines, and forests until his death at the age of 79. The relentlessness with which Avery painted perhaps made sense given how accustomed he was to dealing with adversity, thanks to a youth frequently touched by death and poverty. (Read more.)

The Guillotine: A New Democrat Symbol

You've got to be kidding. From The Blaze:
Bre Kidman unveiled a new campaign logo last week: a guillitone, the execution apparatus commonly associated with the French Revolution that was used for the beheadings of King Louis XVI and his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette. But fear not, Kidman, who hopes to challenge Republican Sen. Susan Collins in November, says using an image of the deadly device in campaign materials is not meant to be taken literally.

"We're not going to start a guillotine in Monument Square (in Portland) and start beheading people," Kidman clarified to the Portland Press-Herald. "It's a symbol of the work we have to do to overcome flaws in our system – flaws that have become deeply evident in the last few weeks." (Read more.)

A Lost Anglo-Saxon Monastery

Where the first King of England was crowned. From Live Science:
Newly unearthed remains may come from the monastery where England's first king, Edgar the Peaceful, was coronated more than 1,000 years ago, according to Wessex Archaeology, an archaeological company and charity in England.  The so-called smoking gun emerged during an excavation at the famous Bath Abbey, ahead of planned renovations there. During the excavation, archaeologists were surprised to find hints of Anglo-Saxon architecture in two structures next to the abbey. These are the first known Anglo-Saxon structures in all of Bath, a city that was founded by the Roman Empire and that is known for its thermal hot springs. The two apsidal (semicircular) structures, or apses, were found below street level, underneath what once made up the cloisters of the 12th-century cathedral built over Romano-British deposits. The cathedral is just south of the abbey church. (Read more.)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Review of Hartwell House

Where the French Royal Family lived in exile. as told in the novel Madame Royale. From The Guardian:
The French royal family lived here in exile. In fact, it was in the ornate library that Louis XVIII signed his accession to return to the French throne. ‘Why wouldst thou leave calm Hartwell’s green abode?’ asked Lord Byron of Louis’s departure. Indeed....We stayed in the Duchess d’Angouleme room, once occupied by the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. It features a sumptuous four-poster bed and cosy window seats from which to view the parkland....The dining room is formal, old-fashioned, and rather wonderful. For traditional afternoon tea, head to the drawing room or library, for cakes and scones on a silver cake stand. (Read more.)

Inside a Southern California Rental Empire

I guess this is why so many live on the street. From LAist:
Many of Nijjar's tenants live in starkly different conditions, fighting off roaches, rats, bedbugs, bees, maggots and mold, all while struggling to get even minor issues fixed. At many of these rentals, low-income residents feel stuck in unsanitary, dangerous housing.The sprawling rental empire grew from modest beginnings in the 1970s into a behemoth. According to a KPCC/LAist analysis of government data and a review of public records, businesses connected to Nijjar account for at least:
  • an estimated 16,000 units spanning Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Kern counties, and reaching Sacramento, Fresno and Arlington, Texas
  • $1.3 billion in real estate
  • 4,400 parcels of land
  • 4,300 eviction lockouts in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties between 2010 and 2018
  • one in 20 evictions in San Bernardino County over the same time period
  • 170 business entities, including corporations, limited partnerships and limited liability corporations
Tens of thousands of California's poorest tenants -- many just a step away from homelessness -- have endured conditions in housing run by PAMA Management, which can be dirty, dilapidated and even deadly. That's according to code enforcement documents, lawsuits and public data, as well as interviews with plaintiffs' attorneys, fair-housing advocates, tenants and ex-employees. Those sources point to alarming issues at properties run by Nijjar's company.
At a Pomona trailer park owned by a Nijjar entity since 2005, typhus broke out in 2015. The medieval, flea-borne disease can kill if left untreated. Public health officials came in, trapping feral cats and opossums. On one opossum, they counted 1,087 fleas. It was L.A. County's first typhus outbreak since 2009. Since the outbreak, the state has twice suspended PAMA Management's permit to operate the Pomona park, citing electrical hazards and sewage leaks.
At another PAMA property, a manager testified that rats would swim in garbage water, walls would "bubble up" with mold and roaches "would fall over your body." At a third property, a lawsuit said a cockroach infestation was so severe that one of the insects climbed into a girl's ear, requiring surgery for the bug to be removed. At yet another complex, crime was so rampant that LAPD officers were afraid to patrol the property, leading the city attorney to file a lawsuit. (Read more.)