Monday, January 26, 2009
no specifics. none of the Obama "we're all in this together", no discussion of how the government will regain our trust...and absolutely no mention of the bizarre way parliament closed in early December. there won't be any debate until tomorrow, when the much-hinted-at budget finally gets presented. the confidence vote could hit thursday. Iggy promises "a calm & serene" consideration of the budget. Layton is sticking to coalition talk...and the Bloc, eh bon, the Bloc will do what the Bloc will do.
i do hope it gets interesting.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
President Barack Obama might want a map for his new Georgian Neoclassical address...the place has 132 rooms.
the original building was designed by James Hoban, an Irishman who may have based his contest-winning plan on Leinster House in Ireland (now home to the Irish Parliament).
during the war of 1812, the building was burned down by British/Canadian soldiers...this is probably the only fact i have always remembered from my high school history class. the damage led to a white-washing of the stonework…which is why the building came to be known as “the White House”. the name became official in 1901 under Teddy Roosevelt.
to bring all this up-to-date, the Obamas have already chosen their decorator–Michael S. Smith from Santa Monica will redo the private rooms for the First Family. Smith is known for child-friendly combinations of formal antiques & more contemporary fabrics, which sounds like a sensible combo for the White House.
for their decor, the Obamas will be able to wade through the 40,000 sqft warehouse of White House furnishings; since the Kennedy administration, nothing has been thrown out. i wonder if that includes old holiday decorations?
Monday, January 19, 2009
i've been watching some completely crazy film shorts made during these Nevada atomic tests. the US army posted hundreds of soldiers to Nevada's Camp Desert Rock during this period; during tests, soldiers were told to leap from their foxholes and run TOWARDS the bomb.
mostly what happened (according to the documentary film footage) is they struggled against the dust and wind and the birds falling out of the sky. when they finally got out of their foxholes, they walked, looking a little dubious, towards the bomb site. afterwards, the army dusted them off with brooms. no joke.
why am i studying all this? because i'm working on the final draft of a novel, Rats of Las Vegas; the storyline finishes in 1951, during these tests, and i want to get it right. because a person just can't make this shit up.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
despite my aggravation at the stand-alone Books' demise, i'm going to try to read the Books webpage...new home for the usual articles & reviews, plus a site for discussions, & Martin Levin's Shelf Life blog (old dogs, new tricks?)
instead of getting my Globe book dose on airplanes and subways, in cafes or in the bath, i'll be reading at my laptop. i'm trying to like it. really. i am, and my laptop is adjusting to the bagel seeds that keep getting stuck in the keys.
(here is Quill & Quire on why the Globe changed the Books section)
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
i actually love snow globes with the Eiffel Tower (well, i like snow globes with just about anything inside)--and before you turn up your nose at this essential tourist item, consider that the Eiffel Tower in a snow globe is an AUTHENTIC HISTORICAL ARTIFACT.
yep. French glassmakers claim to have invented the decorative glass paperweight in the 1800s; the glass globe was probably perfected by Central European artisans. and somewhere en route, an anonymous glassmaker created the snow globe. the trinkets were in production by the mid-1800s. but most historians consider the Eiffel Tower snow globe produced for the International Exhibition of 1889 as the first hot-selling example of the breed. (the image above is an 1889 snowglobe owned by Bergstrom Mahler Museum in Wisconsin.)