Bits and Bobs (the "it’s been a long time" edition)

Upset c.1887
Joseph Decker (1853-1924)
de Young Museum, San Francisco

Scanner Wars and Sunday Painting
It has been a while since I have done a Bits and Bobs. But it has been an even longer time since I have done a Sunday Painting. You may remember several months ago when I wrote about getting into a physical altercation with my scanner/printer. Well, I wasn’t kidding and I only just now have replaced it. Actually John got if for me for Christmas (rewarding bad behavior) but it took a while to arrive and I finally decided to hook it up this weekend. (“Hook it up” isn’t the right phrase considering it is wireless.)

So in honor of having a scanner again, I decided to revive Sunday Painting, my occasional feature where I post a scan of one of the many art postcards I have collected over the years. How ironic then, that my first one out of the gate is one that I didn’t actually scan. I fell in love with this painting at first sight. If I could own and hang in my house one work of art that is currently in a major collection, it would be this one. Kind of a strong statement given all the amazing art I could choose from, but there is something about this painting that makes me covet it. Maybe it is because the de Young Museum which owns it, doesn’t provide a postcard of this little lovely, and the artist is relatively obscure and I can’t find a color image in any book that makes me want to own the real thing so badly.  And just look at the image itself. Similar to my taste in fiction, I love paintings with lots of detail of mundane objects and subjects. Can you just imagine the owner of this box of candy?

This poster is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee
Should the Queen be getting all the attention? Well, perhaps more than a poster. And to be perfectly truthful, this poster won’t have its Diamond Jubilee until next year. Since it is the Queen’s accession to the throne that is at the 60-year mark, not her 1953 coronation, this poster, has to wait until next year to really celebrate. But when you think about it, that is probably a good idea. The poster won’t have to share the limelight with all the Queen’s festivities. (And I did use the new scanner for this image.)

Poster designed by Gordon Nicholl
National Railway Museum, York

Will I get Jubilee-fever when I am in England?
A few months ago John and I were pondering our travel schedule for the year and we decided to go somewhere for about eight days in the May/June time frame. Being the kook that I am, I almost love planning travel more than doing it, so running through the list of options once dates are chosen is perhaps one of my favorite things in life. After sifting through the possibilities on our very long wish list, and balancing them against our plans for next year, we soon settled on a trip to England. We thought it would be a great time for John to see some gardens. It seems the only time we ever make it to England these days is over the Veteran’s Day holiday and gardens aren’t quite as interesting in the cold, foggy days of November as they are in the Spring.

All of this is prelude to say that I wasn’t even thinking of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee or the possibilities of related events and exhibits when we bought our plane tickets. But then last week I came upon this post by Meg at Pigtown Design just up the road in Baltimore all about the Jubilee and some of the events surrounding it. Like one at the V&A of Cecil Beaton portraits of the Queen. But that ends in April. Shoot. I suppose I could go up to Leed’s which is where it goes next, but that is too far off our itinerary. Or I could try the Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle, but that really isn’t my cup of tea. The one I really, really want to see is an exhibition of her diamonds at Buckingham Palace. But that doesn’t start until the end of June.

Queen Victoria’s Small Diamond Crown

Thankfully there is The Queen: Art and Image at the National Portrait Gallery (one of my favorite museums in London) that will actually be running while we are there.

Lightness of Being, 2007
Christine Levine

And speaking of Baltimore (and queens)
Last night we watched The Filthy World. A one-man show by Baltimore’s most infamous native son, John Waters. Everyone knows that he is the genius behind the film Hairspray. But some may not know that he is the king of really filthy films that are all about really bad taste and have been banned and censored all over the world. Well, his one-man show is hilarious. Waters is brilliant and talks non-stop for an hour and half going over the highlights of his childhood and career. But please, unless you know about the early John Waters and his penchant for the irreverent and filthy, do not rent this one. Or don’t say that you weren’t warned.

But where are the books?
It has been a while since I posted a book review and I am not sure when that is going to change. My reviews have never really approached the standards of real book reviews, (Hmm, why don’t we hyphenate that? I bet it was at some point. Isn’t the noun “book” serving as an adjective? Teresa, what say you?) being more like personal musings on my reading experience. But I think I may be at a point where I don’t feel like writing them. Originally I started doing them so I would better remember what I had read. But I could do that without trying to turn them into reviews. My work has taken a very interesting, but brain-intensive turn (more on that in the weeks to come) that makes me want to turn off a bit more at night rather than trying to provide analysis or description of what I am reading. I think I may come up with some abbreviated format that frees up time for posts like this one and more time for reading.

15 thoughts on “Bits and Bobs (the "it’s been a long time" edition)

  1. Desperate Reader February 12, 2012 / 2:32 pm

    I love the description 'small diamond crown' – especially in relation to the sizeable rocks in that one, it makes you wonder what the big diamond crown looks like. May/June will be heaven for gardens – I hope you post lots of pictures.


  2. Teresa February 12, 2012 / 4:37 pm

    Re “book review”:Since you ask, the usual pattern is that compounds start out open, then become hyphenated, then become one word. But being English, there are exceptions. I always just check the dictionary.

    The adjective thing comes in when the whole phrase is an adjective, so “book-review blog” could be correct (depending on your editorial style regarding hyphens), but book review would probably not.

    The first time I went to England was right at the end of May, and the gardens were wonderful. I particularly remember the roses in Hyde Park. However, it was ridiculously cold, far colder than my more recent April trips have been. That was just a freak thing, but it sure put a damper on the trip.


  3. Margaret Evans Porter February 12, 2012 / 6:14 pm

    We've planned an earlier London/Eire trip than normal this year, as well. However, we prefer to give the Jubilee as well as the Olympics a miss. It will, however, be the 3rd time I'm in-country during a major Jubilee year.
    Also, though my travel is somewhat dictated by a writers' conference, it will permit more garden and National Trust property visits than November does!

    If you don't feel like doing reviews, so be it. But I always enjoy knowing what you're reading!


  4. joan.kyler February 13, 2012 / 7:06 am

    I just watched the John Waters show a few months ago. I've seen several of his films and think they're weird and hilarious, as is he. I'd love to have dinner with him.

    We had only been to England in the fall and, once, in the early spring until I went to the Chelsea Flower Show. I am in the process of sort letters my late mother and I wrote to each other over many decades, and I found a postcard telling her that we had seen the entire Royal Family passing in cars, all waving that lovely little Royal wave. This was in the 1980's, so Charles and Diana were in one car. What a thrill. There we were, standing on a corner by ourselves, hardly anyone around, no hoopla, and the Royal Family is waving to us!


  5. Ti February 13, 2012 / 1:03 pm

    That is a box of candy? At first, I thought it was a box of rocks… quartz and the like. I do like though. I feel that the title is especially fitting.


  6. Ruthiella February 13, 2012 / 1:17 pm

    Do you think the painting is titled “Upset” because the recipient of the box didn’t find any of the candy to his/her liking? Or maybe they were hoping for something more substantial, like jewelry? I will read anything you post, always a pleasure. But I do hope you keep us informed of your reading, even if in an abbreviated format. I read (and very much enjoyed) both the Miss Buncle books last year because of your enthusiastic review.
    John Waters did a very funny “no smoking” ad that used to play before the film at movie theater I went to in the 80’s.


  7. Thomas at My Porch February 13, 2012 / 3:31 pm

    Hayley: It is officially called that I think, but to your point it should be called the “small crown of diamonds”. It is one of those tiny little ones that Victoria used to perch on the very top of her head. I am sure John will take tons of photos and the gardens will be appropriately photogenic.

    Teresa: Oh I know, I was reading something not too long ago that had so many hyphenated words. It may have been Love's Shadow. I am going to have to open up my Strunk and White and refresh my memory.

    Margaret: When will you be in London? I have never been to Eire, and for some reason it doesn't even really make it onto my wish list. I am not entirely sure why.

    Joan: For as much as I followed the Royals in my youth I never tried to see them while I lived there. Meanwhile roommates from North America had some great stories including one who worked as a hostess at the restaurant where they had Prince William's six birthday party. So she got to interact with them and everything.

    Ti: I know what you mean, it looks like it could be jewelry.

    Ruthiella: Very funny. I will definitely keep writing stuff about books and even reviews every so often. i am just giving myself permission to not feel obligated to do so. I remember that “no smoking” announcement John Waters did. It was hilarious.


  8. February 14, 2012 / 1:26 pm

    I support you doing abbreviated or different reading notes. I, too, started my blog first and foremost as a record of my own reading. Do what works for you! We're not getting paid for this (at least I'm not? am I doing something wrong? :)) so do what works for YOU and I look forward to reading whatever that may be.

    I love the painting, too. And to me, “Upset” means that the box got upset and therefore spilled what does look like candy, to me… but what do I know.


  9. winstonsdad February 14, 2012 / 4:25 pm

    have fun on your visiti ,I m sure theyll be lots of jubilee items about I remmber the golden and silver ones ,all the best stu


  10. savidgereads February 17, 2012 / 6:27 pm

    Sorry I havent commented in a good long while Thomas, I am planning to be much better with blogging but moving and the like has thrown me a bit and everything went manic in January – blah, yawn, excuses, I am back now.

    Please could you come to Manchester when you visit the UK, we could do a day out in the peaks the three of us!


  11. agoodstoppingpoint February 18, 2012 / 6:45 pm

    I love the painting. The gumdrop-type candies are especially eye-catching. I like the whole jumble effect too.

    – Christy


  12. olduvaireads February 22, 2012 / 2:10 pm

    What a painting!

    And ugh I know what you mean about the book reviews. My work is hardly brain-intensive but it makes me so exhausted at the end of the day (all that feeding, cleaning up, running around, diapering and baby-entertaining is tiring!) that I tend to sit on so many of my blog posts, most of them half-finished, and then never hit the 'publish' button.


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