Thursday, July 31, 2008

Les Trois Rois

Les Trois Rois is where Herzl stayed in Basel for the First Zionist Conference.

His portrait taken from the balcony was on the wall of Dr. Bernard Kaufman's home.

Dr. Kaufman fought for his life as a boy scout in Vienna when Nazis came to attack a celebration of the anniversary of Herzl's convening.

His father brought him to meet Dr. Freud.

Dr. K just died before we left California. He was 94.

Fest im Basel...

...tomorrow's August 1st.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eiger, Munch und Jungfrau

The view from Gurten...still not sure which is which.

Monday, July 28, 2008

werner niklaus manuel (1484-1530)

who is this?!

O.K. Now that I am back from Switzerland, I am back to update this blog posting with an answer. Werner Niklaus Manuel was:

Niklaus Manuel (probably born in 1484 in Bern; died 28 April 1530 in Bern), was a Swiss dramaturg, painter, graphic artist and politician.

And you can also find him listed under the "List of Swiss People" page. Very useful.

I remain curious and would like to know more. I mean check out the image above...and from 1520?!...maybe I'll update this furtehr at some point or expand in another format.

La vie, c'est un chanson...

In the Rosengarten there will be ten boys and girls, according to Li'l E.

This used to be a best spot for K's grandmother. Now we have a son.

Mueti is gone and Karen's godmother has two new hips.

And this wonderful, small woman in her modernist dress plays Alpenhorn. She practices in the park, and the gardner trims each day. At the end of this foreign film, I cry cuz it's jus' so pretty.

La vie, c'est simple...

Rosengarten, Bern (CH)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Freddie is All

Our dear friend Lottie was an au pair for the folks who developed this musical -- We Will Rock You. It amazes me that Freddie Mercury now looks over a London street like Lenin.

A New National Socialism esthetic, based on the dreams of Farrokh Bulsara (5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991), born in Zanzibar -- does it make any sense?

Does THIS Lenin need to be torn down? Is he transcendent? Would he live longer in Nietzche's vision than any of these other world leaders pretend?


travelin' man

Back to Town

Good times out in Marlow. One of the best days yet in Li'l E's short life to-date...mine too.

Now off to meet Lottie & Darren at the British Museum to see an exhibition on Hadrian and meet their small man Baby J.

Out tonight for Thai downtown. Off to Swiss on early flight in the morning.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Late Night London Walk

sometimes Li'l E can't sleep when we travel overseas so we stroll in the wee hours.

We've done it now in London and in France...something, something, something "underpants.".

It's late.

Golders Green?!

Cricklewood?!...definitely England.

We're on this side of the pond, visiting dear friends...all blessed-the little ones abound and surround what used to be just "us."

Friday, July 04, 2008

Preparing for the U.K.

To start preparing for my trip to the U.K. to visit my dear friends Billy, Susan and their new and dearest little girl (whom our li'l E has yet even to meet!...), I am starting "at home," so to speak, namely Thomas the Tank Engine.

Our Li'l E has tons of Thomas stuff. Our house is crowded with it. Li'l E loves Thomas OnDemand. He can name every single engine on the island of Sodor.

On all Thomas books, movies and paraphernalia credit is given, "Based upon the works of Rev. W. Awdry."

There is something ominous about the reference to me, because the Reverend Awdry is not really known to me or others in the U.S., like Milne or Barrie might be. Is he real or some strange moral foil?

The Thomas works are remarkably bland, uniquely unimaginative and purposefully pedantic and repetitive -- promoting usefulness over all other virtues. The language is terse and full of strange, onomatopoeic verbs like "chuffing." The trains are always chuffing.

It's O.K., though. I've actually become inured to Thomas and even quite like the Alec Baldwin narrated ones.

Having read a little bit of Orwell and being half-English myself, I figure that, if this Reverend Awdry is real, he has to be English.

So I called the innernetz and found that he is, in fact, real...or was. And he was, in fact, English.

In fact the English are great admirers of both Wilbert Vere Awdry, OBE, (15 June 1911 – 21 March 1997) and his brother George, pictured here together "chuff, chuff, chuffing along."

Since much is now known about Wilbert, a.k.a. "Rev Awdry" or "the Thin Clergyman," through his collected works and their progeny, the passage below, crafted by Martin Clutterbuck, tells a bit more about his brother George.

The Reverend's younger sibling, George Edward Vere Awdry (1916-1994) made significant contributions to the 'Sudrian' Mythos. Over the decades since the 1950's, George and Wilbert defined (and refined) Sodor's geography, history and industry. This research culminated in 1987 with the publishing of their book (albeit abridged for affordability), The Island of Sodor, Its People, History and Railways.

Aside from being an avid model railway and steam enthusiast, George's interests included being a member of the British Interplanetary Society, for which he authored a paper on the practicalities and challenges of colonizing the moon (you can read it here). George was also a prominent Ricardian which provides me with a perfect introduction to the following...

...Clutterbuck goes on to present an essay by John Saunders on George Edward Vere Awdry's significance. George was a great admirer and proponent of Richard III. He "refounded" the Fellowship of the White Boar. And George composed the aforementioned The Island of Sodor, Its People, History and Railways derived "from the knowledge he gained through his many years working in both the Institute of Mining and the National Liberal Club." An spiral-bound edition of Map Island of Sodor - Reissue is discounted to over $500 on Amazon.

For an interesting essay exploring issues of Class and Gender in Rev. Awdry's works also crafted by Martin R. Clutterbuck click here.

Clutterbuck's treatment deals mainly with Thomas and not Starlight Express, the breakthrough work by Andrew Lloyd Weber that brought together rollerskating and the post-modern musical extravaganza.

There is a debate as to whether Lloyd Weber was inspired by the thin clergyman's Railway Series: what is suspected cannot be confirmed.

Now, I know absolutely nothing at all about Starlight Express except for the fact that it came out when I was younger and that it was acknowledged to be an overproduced failure. Perhaps it was ahead of its time...

...ahead of its time in exploring cyborg-based sexuality, a thing for which Lang's Metropolis is often given credit. The question may be how aware was Lloyd Weber when he made his lusty ladies of lead? His useful engines?

And is it just irony that Starlight Express seems only to live on in Germany and under the enduring tag line "Timing, Prazision und Perfection"?

This is not a joke, people. Some authorities claim that Humans could marry robots within the century. And consummate those vows.

Is Awdry's work somehow a liminal bridge between the Industrial Revolution and Bladerunner? A day when machines talk and the master-servant relationship is constantly in-flux? A probing explication of the base, psychic interplay of technology and sensuality like J.M.W. Turner's whirling, chuffing ethereal engines to so-called hentai floating through the dismal ether of on-line pornography?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

MAGNES exceeds Oakland Museum of California


Despite the herculean efforts of Oakland Museum of California's Marketing Manager Adam Rozan, the tiny, little Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley has exceeded the Oakland MuseumCA's number of facebook members as of this writing.

We love Adam at MAGNES. We wish him luck in his efforts to keep pace with "the little engine that could" that is MAGNES. Really, we do.

Many have thought the MAGNES efforts are remarkable given their resources, including The New York Times.

(image: Rozan and Senior Curator René de Guzman "in the swim," so to speak...)