Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links

Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links

May 10, 1962, WAITING ROOM FROM NORTHWEST. – Pennsylvania Station

Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.
– “Farewell to Penn Station,” New York Times, Oct 30, 1963

Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links

Music Links

[Mu1] To be deaf, blind, and a dancer is one thing, to teach others how to move to the music they hear and you don’t is something.

[Mu2] Good line: “But years of evidence show cutting school music programs to save money is like trying to stop a clock to save time.”

[Mu3] NASA made a stunning music video of the moon, using 3D mapping, photos, relief images, and CGI of light patterns, set to National Symphony Orchestra Pops of Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.”

[Mu4] The hottest debate in music: cult-like fans vs enraged and offended haters over…CVS Pharmacy hold music?

Art Links

[Ar1] “The biggest art fraud in US history,” worked the way all good scams work; people wanted to believe it was real.

[Ar2] Instead of suffering for your art, how about art as a form of pain management.

[Ar3] “The Public Art of Robert Moses’s New York”, and how a city changed its mind, repeatedly, on sculptures and monuments.

[Ar4] The caged bird still sings, and these prisoners are producing art.

History Links

[Hi1] “I have obtained one of the finest and least expected results—Spectra of the stars!—and beautiful spectra with colors and magnificent lines. Just one more step and the chemical composition of the universe will be revealed,” wrote astrophysicist Pierre Jules César Janssen. He had observed helium for the first time.

[Hi2] The forthcoming “first-ever” same-sex marriage for the British Royal Family is hardly the first such relationship, just more open than in the past.

[Hi3] Trivia is always tricky, and TV game shows have a long history of cringe-worthy moments, but this one makes a run at worst flub in gameshow history. Including social media post-flub breakdown by those involved.

[Hi4] The history of Bitcoin.

Food Links

[Fo1] “Within one single recipe, one piece of paper, there is so much depth and logic.” After 140K students and nearly 60 years of instruction, this culinary institute would know.

[Fo2] The food fight scene from Animal House is iconic, so of course the St. Paul Saints played it on the scoreboard while 8,000 fans re-enacted it for their “Largest food fight” promotion.

[Fo3] The history of non-milk milk, as the debate over whether nut-based liquid can be labeled “milk” on packaging and advertising.

[Fo4] I’ve treated my children to a surprise Happy Meal or two over the years when they were in school as a treat, but some schools are attempting to crack down on that, and parents are not happy.

Architecture Links

[At1] Art and Architecture always seem to want to be together, and are beautifully so at the Boston Public Library

[Ar2] I’ve seen this myself. Architecture and history focused social media accounts also can be hiding places for all sorts of lunacy, including alt-right racism.

[Ar3] Architecture folks still weep for the destruction of the original Penn Station, so on the 20th Anniversary of Grand Central’s restoration a review of how it was done, including the Supreme Court case that was involved.

[Ar4] “You are not a profession that has distinguished itself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights,” Young chastised the audience, which had gathered in Portland, Oregon for the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) National Convention that year. “You are most distinguished by your thunderous silence and your complete irrelevance.”


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Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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16 thoughts on “Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links

    • I don’t care so much about hold music (though we need SOMETHING to indicate we haven’t merely been disconnected) but can we PLEASE end the practices of places periodically inserting a pause and an announcement about something (or worse: the sound of a phone ringing, which really gets your hopes up, then some crummy canned announcement).

      I prefer the systems that at least make a stab at giving an estimated time – that way I know, is it worth hanging on or not? If I’m gonna be hanging on for 40 minutes, even if I can put the thing on speaker phone and work on something else, forget it. Unless I’m reporting a regicide and I know the name of the king OR queen being murdered….I’m not hanging on.

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  1. Ar4 – The modern phenomenon of Outsider Art, as the subject of art shows dates from 1947 when Jean Dubuffet mounted an exhibition of art made by inmates of an insane asylum. He coined the term art brut ie “raw art” ie “uncooked art” to describe the art in the show to indicate that the artists were not formally changed. Outsider Art now describes a large range of artists with varying backgrounds, degrees of training, and interest in interacting with the established art world. International shows now routinely exhibit such art.

    Prisoner art is a subset of all this. Prison Arts Coalition is one organization that promotes the art of prisoners providing “support, information, and partnership opportunities within the American prison arts sector”.

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    • I readily admit to not being an overly “artsy” person, so my knowledge and opinion is not an educated one. But pieces like this, I find fascinating is most art we are always drawn or taught to whatever meaning the artist is trying to convey, whereas here I’m drawn to the artist themselves. Knowing that experience and then seeing the art through that filter makes a difference to me. Much like if you talk to a normal priest and then one that was a monk for an extended period of time, or two veterans where one say combat and the other did. Experience makes them different, in subtle but important ways in the way they view things, and I find that compelling in see the work of these prisons. Just my opinion.

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  2. When I was still on Facebook, I followed the Architectural Revival page, enjoying the pictures of beautiful old buildings.
    I didn’t sense any white supremacy, but I did sense the historical ignorance of those who champion it the loudest.
    The overwhelming sentiment expressed was that of a lost Golden Age, when everything was correct and in its place.

    Of course this requires a willful ignorance of how things really were, and the complex twisted strands of art and culture that tie a 18th century manor house to the Romans, the Africans and Persians. In other words, how Classical architecture was the creation of nonwhite people.

    Yet you wouldn’t think so from our culture. Notice how pervasive the idea of white Romans and white Greeks is, how when a picture of a black Roman is shown it produces a firestorm of controversy, yet moviegoers never seem troubled by a white skinned blue eyed Roman with an English accent.

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    • As the resident new guy still, I do not have keys to the Batman-like Chip signal, but I was curious your take on that item from the moment I first read it.

      I have found that in areas of my interest, like aviation and military history, there are some folks that get very loud with wrong history and sure enough if you listen to some of them long enough the racial stuff starts to come out. I’m not sure what it is, if it’s the facade of serious study that they think will mask it, or just as a different way to get into social media circles. The truly hateful are a small minority, but there is a large spectrum of people-as there are in all things-with just the right mixure of ignorance and prejudice to not have the discernment needed to indentify their hate up front.

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      • Aside from the obvious hateful types, I think there is a much, much larger set of people who have spent our lives swimming in a sea of cultural chauvinism.

        There isn’t anyone alive who remembers a time when the world wasn’t dominated by the northern Europeans or Americans, so its easy for us to just assume its always been this way.

        That Golden Age that a lot of people long for is a very specific age- it refers to the 17th through 20th centuries when the Europeans fanned out across the globe, conquering and colonizing everything in their path.
        But of course, everything that has a beginning has an end and the European/ American cultural hegemony isn’t any different.

        18th century Europeans loved the Roman and Egyptian ruins, and Shelley famously wrote “Ozymandias” about the romantic run of Ramses II:

        “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
        Nothing beside remains.”

        I think that the central task of America in the 21st century will be to come to terms with a post-American world order.

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    • I’d like to see more detail from that article. The $6M number in allocated savings sounds low, even accounting for them retaining all staff, for ending 80 odd degree programs. I’m assuming there are some redundancies involved as well. The end of the piece sounds like there is something of an identity and marketing crisis going on and makes the ESports part come off as gimmicky. Might be wrong.

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      • Since they seem to be eliminating degrees, but not programs, I’m not surprised that the savings are low. Eg, they are no longer going to have a Bachelors in Mathematics. The cuts within the Dept of Mathematics will be upper-level classes. Depending on the math requirements of the remaining degree programs, the classes that are cut may represent a very small part of the student-hours taught by the math faculty. Certainly that was the case at my undergraduate school, where I was a math/comp sci major. Even though that school granted all of BS/A, MS/A, and PhD in mathematics, the number of advanced classes taught each semester was not large. I got in a graph theory class when I was a sophomore, before I was really ready — which was good, because it was not taught again before I graduated.

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    • My dad used to teach there, back in the 70s and 80s. It was never a *great* school, but I think it was better then than it is now. I did my undergrad physics classes there in the summer ‘cos it was free to me and it meant I didn’t have to take Org Chem and Physics at the same time.

      There was also a huge scandal with the most recent former uni president there. Something about olive jars and overspending….the typical thing that hangs up most uni presidents who get in trouble; they figure campus funds are their personal slush funds and spend lavishly on their own offices.

      But yeah, as someone at a university I can tell you the pressure to phase out “low enrollment” programs and start up gaudy and potentially intellectually-bankrupt ones that will get butts in seats (or fingers on keyboards) is an eternal source of consternation to those of us curmudgeonly dinosaurs who are not close enough yet to retirement to just tell TPTB where they can stick their pressure to go all-online.

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  3. Hi1: Please let him have said this in a squeaky voice. Late natural philosophers and early scientists believed that it was possible for humans to discover and know everything in a given field. Nowadays not so much.

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  4. Hi2

    They are missing the closest to our age, William III (of William and Mary fame). Coincidentally, Queen Anne’s brother in law.

    Unlike Eduard II and James I, William never had children, even though securing the Protestant succession was a critical issue, and Parliament accepted his potential children from a potential second marriage (Mary died when he was 43) as heirs after Queen Anne.

    During the 1690s, after Mary’s death, rumours grew of William’s alleged homosexual inclinations and led to the publication of many satirical pamphlets by his Jacobite detractors.He did have several close male associates, including two Dutch courtiers to whom he granted English titles: Hans Willem Bentinck became Earl of Portland, and Arnold Joost van Keppel was created Earl of Albemarle. Keppel was 20 years William’s junior, strikingly handsome, and rose from being a royal page (and a foreigner, to boot) to an earldom These relationships with male friends, and his apparent lack of mistresses (only one woman was ever mentioned as a potential mistress) , led William’s enemies to suggest that he might prefer homosexual relationships.

    Bentinck’s closeness to William did arouse jealousies in the Royal Court. William’s young protegé, Keppel, aroused even more gossip and suspicion.

    Both Bentick and Keppel still have living descendants that carry the tittles they received from William III. Through the Queen Mother’s maternal line, Bentick is an ancestor of Elizabeth II. And among Keppel’s descendants we have Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

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