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July 2008 Archive
29 July - Take a Bollard
Welcome again to visiting shipmates from the Gunroom, a discussion list devoted to the works of Patrick O'Brian. Here's a sea song for you, The Topman and the Afterguard, sung by the great Lou Killen from the album Steady as She Goes. Oh, just one more - Peter Bellamy and Lou Killen's Warlike Seamen from the CD Round Cape Horn - also available as a download.
By the way, those who like this sort of thing will find much more to like on Time has Told Me, a fine folk music blog.
27 July - Also From the Collection
A taut family drama from exotic Bali - husband and wife retire for the night to the conjugal bunk bed - husband, feeling frisky, announces that he's on his way up the ladder for a little nocturnal conjugal activity - wife Jane deftly pulls up the ladder and tells him, in effect, no way Ray 'til you've had the vasectomy. A simple but effective tactic of family planning, unless the guy's a pole vaulter. Are bunk beds common in Bali, I wonder?
I shot it as part of my little collections photography project. Don't know how, exactly, this poster fits the Janus Museum's collections rationale, but we've got it anyway.
20 July - Feline Aesthetic Ecstasy
When I mentioned last week that Cat Leroy is devoted to flowers, I had in mind the photograph shown above, taken four years ago, which I supposed I had posted here back when I made the shot; it being a classic image of great and transcendent beauty and stuff. But I find that I hadn't posted it before, so here it is - Leroy swooning in aesthetic ecstasy before a tender bloom. I've been told what sort of flower it is, but I forget. The picture always reminded me of the poet Bunthorne, prone to swoon before lilies in G.&S.'s Patience:
Junius Wallingford, Jr. as Bunthorne in Patience, 1887
If you're anxious for to shine in the high aesthetic lineWell, that's Leroy all over. From Am I Alone And Unobserved?, Patience, Act 1. By the way, Junius Wallingford, Jr. was the son of the great Grove tragedian, Junius Wallingford, and nephew of Julius Wallingford.
19 July - From the Collection
A Forest Duel, Washington Grove. Oil on canvas by Adolphus Norbeck, c.1885.
As I mentioned earlier, one of my current assignments is to update the photography of the Janus Museum's paintings. Here's a superb Adolphus Norbeck canvas I shot yesterday: the splendidly antlered elk stag, having vanquished his rival, trumpets his triumph as the sleek does stand at the edge of a pond, gazing admiringly. Or, alternately: the stag comes across his old buddy prostrate, unconscious due to the large quantity of drink taken, and bellows for help. Depends on your outlook, I guess.
Other Works by Adolphus Norbeck from the Janus Museum's Collection:
The Voyage of Life
Missouri Flatboatman Tragically in the Grip of St. Vitus Dance
Portrait of Commodore Nathaniel Wallingford
Portrait of Philip Wallingford, MFH
After the Battle of Derwood
A Trooper of the Maryland Cuirassiers
Wallingford Grove (wood engraving)
19 July - My Beautiful Socialist Galosh
There's a very fine gallery of Russian advertising posters from Tsarist and Soviet times over on Dark Roasted Blend. My favorite is shown above - young female Socialist worker expresses love and deep admiration of stylish Socialist galosh from REZENOTREST GALOSHES. It reminds me, for some reason, of the Miracle Shoe ex voto posted here last December:
Love of stylish footwear is a universal impulse, it seems.
I thought this poster was deeply moving, too - luscious Socialist weiners to nourish the Revolution. Would there be any Socialist mustard, too, do you think?
19 July - Another Recent Acquisition
Here's another superb oil the Museum recently acquired - At Pasture by Marcia Montagna, 1990. Love the Holsteins, of course, and the detail in the wild flowers is something amazing; have not been able to find any biographical information on the artist, yet. I photographed it along with our other recent acquisition, Ralph Mosher's Moorea and a group of other superb oils from the collection, including my favorite of the Museum's Adolphus Norbeck canvases - will feature them here from time to time, hiatus allowing.
18 July - Swag Report
Friend Terry, who sent me some mighty fine swag last year around this time, has kindly sent another shipment, including the alabastrine object pictured above, a hunk of fossilized squid tentacle - must locate a wedge of fossilized lemon to accompany it. But wait, there's more...
... Terry also sent this cool sticky yellow blinking octopus. Throw it at a wall, and it slides slowly down it in a singularly creepy way - Gus has been disturbing the academic calm of the Fellows' Common Room all week, playing with the damn thing. So has Josh Sackville-Cohen...
... The Director of the Janus Museum Video Unit, who was moved to produce yet another cephalopod-feline film using the sticky yellow blinking otopus and starring poor Leroy. And I also got...
... This superb Syroco pilot figure from my colleague Martha Norbeck-Wallingford; it's a fine companion piece to the Syroco B-24 Liberator thermometer she gave me last year, and also to the Museum's rare Syroco B-25 Mitchell bomber remote holder, which was donated by Friend of the Museum Rebecca Richters.
And I'm ashamed to say that I'm only now getting around to acknowledging a kind gift received way back in February...
... From noted historian and free-lance hand-gonner Jeffrey Price, a bottle of genuine Slovenian slivovitz - plum brandy - made by his friend Jože Juvenčič - Jeffrey also supplied some snaps - here is Mr. Juvenčič's still:
The distiller himself, Jože Juvenčič, and his assistant...
... who, Jeffrey says, helps recycle the plum mash following fermentation. I would bet that plum mash-eating pigs must make some pretty fine pork; would love to be able to check it out someday. Jeffrey also says:
I could swear there was a cat involved somehow, too. Probably security services of some sort, which would explain why there is no photographic record.Even though the excellent Serbian slivovitz supplied last summer by Friend Jelena was consumed long ago, I haven't touched the Juvenčič slivovitz, yet - waiting for a special occasion; and, tragically, the gout's kicking up again.
Also tragic is the news that I've received the usual dread warning from our hosting service that the site will probably exceed its miserable bandwidth allowance and may go off the air for the rest of the month. If it happens, see you in August.
15 July - More Cinematic Rapides
Raquel Welch's stunt double Donna Garrett exits from de Havilland D.H. 89 Dragon Rapide G-ALAX at the start of the comic spy thriller Fathom (1967). Last October, old friend Brian Nicklas alerted me that Fathom was missing from my listings of de Havilland D.H. 89 Dragon Rapides in the movies. I borrowed it from Netflix; it's just an OK movie - dated, and with a very involved plot that I quickly stopped trying to keep up with while I waited futilely for another glimpse of the Rapide. I prefer Raquel's next film, Bedazzled, much more. However, Fathom does feature Tutte Lemkow - I'm quite a Tutte Lemkow fan. Favorite Tutte Lemkow film? The Wrong Box, of course.
An unexpected Dragon Rapide shows up as a sort of bonus at the end of A Good Woman (2004), a remake of Lady Windermere's Fan - Helen Hunt and Tom Wilkerson fly off into the sunset in D-ILIT, the luckies. I'm not sure why the producers felt the need to rewrite Oscar Wilde, of all people. Maybe they wanted to end it with a big Dragon Rapide scene, and realized that a Rapide in the play's original setting would be anachronistic. Sorry for the poor image quality - I snapped a shot of the TV screen, since we watched A Good Woman through the Netflix box, and I haven't figured out a way to do a proper screen capture on it yet.
14 July - Jour de Fête
A jolly band of hurdy-gurdies and bagpipes greets the brave volunteers of Marseilles to Paris in Jean Renoir's La Marseillaise (1938), part of a nice Renoir box set of some of his lesser known films. They're probably playing something like these jaunty French polkas (streaming MP3), here performed by Noise of Minstrels from their album Pass the Hat, which seems to be tragically out of print.
Oh, here are a couple of tunes from last year's celebration.
13 July - Collaboration Cartoon
Here's an astounding French collaborationist cartoon from World War II - Micky Mouse, Donald Duck, and Popeye man B-17s on a bombing raid over innocent France. Above, Micky confirms his navigation.
Donald confirms, and issues his cruel order. I had never seen Micky take orders from Donald before - has the world gone mad?
Popeye poses his own question. The tank with the baby bottle nipple hanging from the hook contains "wisky". Also in the cartoon is Goofy as a turret gunner, and a particularly nasty anti-semitic caricature. See the entire cartoon here on Youtube. It's from Claude Chabrol's Eye of Vichy (1993), a fascinating collection of sleazy Vichy propaganda films and newsreels. It's available through Netflix as a DVD or streaming through the Netflix Box, which I mentioned last week - it's a great device; We're watching some interesting flicks that I probably wouldn't have bothered to borrow in the usual way.
13 July - Hot Walking
Preliminary to yesterday's catwalk in the Museum's Forest Preserve, Leroy contemplates a delicate bloom from the vantage of the North Wallow. Leroy is devoted to flowers.
The cats stepped out briskly enough, at first - Natasha on point, then Leroy and Nutmeg, but...
... But the heat, the humidity, and the thick fur coats required frequent stops for cooling flops. Above, Nutmeg served with greens. I flopped a bit, too, and contemplated the bottles of pale ale in the Fellows' Common Room Fridge. This healthy exercise caper gets old very quickly in July.
Later, I had recovered sufficiently to have another bash at grilling char siu and sweet potatoes. It was very nice, especially with a couple of pale ales.
13 July - Rare Sighting
It's always a treat to get a look at the very rare and extremely elusive Wallingford's Toad (Bufo wallingfordiensis), a species found only in the central Mongomery County region of Maryland - this chap was found on the bank of Wallingford Creek. My last sighting of the very rare and extremely elusive Wallingford's Toad (Bufo wallingfordiensis) was two years ago.
12 July - Early Grovian Research
Miguel Roderigo Gonsalves y Norbeque Discovers Wallingford Creek
Friend of the Museum and noted handgonner Jeffrey Price illuminates an obscure corner of Washington Grove history from before its first settlement by Colonel John Wallingford:
Questions regarding the visit to the Grove by Miguel Roderigo Gonsalves y Norbeque and his party in 1609 have been laid to rest. It happened. Senor Gonsalves was pursuing Capt. John Smith up the Rock Creek Valley at the time (It was a bum steer, given him by some Native American with a puckish sense of humor).Strangely, I had been unaware of the Norbeque expedition before Jeffrey's scoop. From what little I've been able to find on my own, Norbeque reached as far as what later was known as Wallingford Creek and claimed the territory for Spain. He left a narration of the expedition's exploits in an empty bottle of cheap sherry - and then he and his men disappear from the pages of history. What happened to the lost Norbeque Expedition? I bet that some generous contributions to our research fund would aid our studies. Myself, I have a hunch that bad oysters carried off the expedition - Wallingford Creek oysters are notorious - anyone could have told him that.
Speaking of generous contributions, by the way, I take pleasure once again in thanking another unknown Friend of the Museum for making a generous contribution via our Amazon tip jar. If the generous contributor would like a commemorative Janus Museum fridge magnet as a token of our thanks, please contact us at refdesk at janusmuseum dot org. These contributions are accepted with our grateful thanks - it's most encouraging to our humble efforts at whatever it is we do at the Janus Museum.
Also - Early Grovian Archeology.
6 July - The Non-Rattle of Musketry
In response to the amazing news of our maintenance man Gus's successful musket firing, old friend Dr. John Herrera of the High Speed Triumph Research Lab of Myersville, Maryland relays this anecdote from his friend Tom concerning an attempted volley at Old Sturbridge Village:
... Can't remember if I ever told you about this. A couple years ago on Independence Day we had six guys with muskets lined up to salute the raising of the USA flag.link home
6 July - Recipe Corner 2.0
It was pretty difficult, but I was able to save some char siu - Chinese barbeque - from dinner on the Fourth. I added some slices to to my luncheon ramen, and it was very very good. It was Indian-style masala ramen, which made for an exotic mixing of flavors.
Research continues on my spaghetti and spinach recipe. I can now recommend adding a can of crushed Italian-style tomatoes to the onion-garlic-mushroom-optional bacon-spinach mix in the final minutes of cooking. Mix well, and let it simmer for a minute or two before adding to the drained spaghetti. Omit the reserved pasta water.
6 July - Recent Acquisition
The Curator has asked me to post the glad news of a recent major acquisition to our paintings department - Moorea, an undated Tahitian scene by Ralph Mosher, son of the better known artist Theodore Mosher. It's quite lovely - the effect of the moon behind the clouds is particularly sublime. I'm pleased to say that its purchase was made possible by the generous donations of visitors to this site and by purchases made at the Janus Museum Museum Shop. Thus is the cause of culture advanced.
6 July - A Dog in a Kepi
And now, a dog wearing a policeman's kepi and chewing on a leg of lamb, from the superb 1907 Pathé film La Course des Sergents de Ville (The Policemen's Little Run), a proto-Keystone Kops comedy - a dog steals the leg from a butcher's shop and is pursued by increasing numbers of truncheon waving gendarmes all over Paris. They corner the thief; the brute turns on them and chases them back to their station - il est extrêmement drôle! Watch the entire film (5:44) on Youtube. Like Transformation by Hats, it's also available on Landmarks of Early Film, Volume 1.
6 July - Transformation by Hats
Here's a portion of a fine Lumière film, Chapeaux à Transformation (1895), featuring the famed chapeaugraphist Félicien Trewey (1848-1920). The entire film, and many others, is available on Landmarks of Early Film, Volume 1. I posted a link to a Boing Boing blurb a couple of years ago on the revival of the lost art of chapeaugraphy - you can even buy a kit!
By the way, we watched Landmarks of Early Film a few nights ago via the wonderful new Netflix Roku box in the Fellow's Common Room - it's an amazing device.
5 July - The Rattle of Musketry II
Friend and neighbor Ernie Kawasaki kindly sent this fine snap of Gus and William's strangely successful salute from yesterday's festivities. The photo makes it look as if William hasn't fired, but the flint ignition on Gus's musket works considerably slower than William's percussion cap - William has already fired, and is ready to start looking for a cold beer.
Today I asked Gus if he had cleaned the musket, which is, after all, a Museum artifact (as is the pickelhaube). He'll get around to it "real soon", he said.
5 July - Sing-Along
Washington Grove's Muskrat Band
Old friend Lisa the Tsarina made an excellent suggestion: post the lyrics to the Grove anthem, Washington Grove on the Fourth of July, so readers can sing along with the video - the Muskrats start up at 9:27, if one would like to skip ahead. Or use this version, from last year. Or maybe this take from '06. And there's also the fine recent performance by the Homewood Brass Consort. Anyway, here are the lyrics:
Washington Grove on the Fourth of JulyBy the way, this is the Muskrats' fortieth anniversary year. They marched on the field wearing snappy new blue ball caps and white sashes, and I actually heard some murmuring from the crowd that the Muskrats were giving themselves airs - getting a bit grand - coming it a bit high. But I thought the caps and sashes gave them a fine, dashing air - quite a magnificent sight, in fact.
5 July - Thought-Provoking Review
From Youtube viewer cotton509, the most interesting review of the week of Giant Squid vs. Cat - the original film; not the sequel:
if you put a cat by a squid not to big it will attak and eat the squid b7ut if the suid catches it it my call out for help from other cats by howeling and morwe cats will join and attack the squidGiant Squid vs. Cat has now been viewed 209,434 times. We should have thought to have flogged some product placement for it in pre-production.
4 July - The Rattle of Musketry
I'd really like to be able to say that I knew that Gus, the Museum's maintenance man, had it in him to defy the odds and actually get his musket to fire an honest salute during the town of Washington Grove's Fourth of July celebration, instead of his traditional misfire or flash in the pan - but it would be a lie. I confess that I really didn't think the old boy had it in him. But he and his buddy William Van Camp got off a perfectly respectable feu de joie during today's festivities, and one could hear the sound of the onlookers' jaws dropping over the rattle of musketry. Well done, thou
Here's the Museum's Video Unit's full coverage of the celebration - the volley takes place at 2:40, if you can't wait. The parade segment is narrated by Josh Sackville-Cohen, the Unit's cinematographer.
Later on, char siu, Chinese barbeque, with grilled sweet potato. The pork dripped on the sweet potato slices, which made them eat very nicely.
3 July - Warlike Preparations
One can never underestimate the ability of Gus, the Janus Museum's maintenance man, to screw up the simplest operation. For years, he's attempted to fire a salute with the Museum's 18th century flintlock musket during the town of Washington Grove's Fourth of July celebrations. Usually, he can at least achieve a flash in the pan - a puff of smoke as the flint strikes steel and ignites the small charge of black powder in the musket's pan, but not firing the main charge in the barrel. Often, though, Gus totally blows it, getting a humiliating click of the flint and nothing else - no cloud of smoke, no thundering boom - just a click. The crowd always get a good larf. The video above shows today's test firing, after careful preparation. There was no main charge this time, but the honest flash in the pan bodes surprisingly well for tomorrow's attempt with a full charge (but no ball). The betting, of course, is still heavily against Gus - will report the results here tomorrow.
Gus's Previous Efforts:
Once again, I'm very pleased to thank an unknown Friend of the Museum for making a generous contribution via our Amazon tip jar. If the generous contributor would like a commemorative Janus Museum fridge magnet as a token of our thanks, please contact us at refdesk at janusmuseum dot org.