My review

Things I Can’t Do: Use gmail properly, insert a non-distorted TextBox diagram into a Word document, drive a stick shift, attach a zip drive, explain the distribution of prime numbers, set up a directory in a Verizon cell phone.

Things I Can Do: Blog, order books on Amazon.com, drive and parallel park on the left side of the road, set up, use, and type on an iPhone.

Enough said.


My review

Ornamental Decoration in 17th Century France

Jean Le Pautre titlepage


ornamental grotesque faces


decorative embellishment


fountain arabesque


armorial ornament


Le Pautre ornament with putti


17th cent. french ornamental motifs


extravagant 17th cent. french ornamentation


grotesque border motif


17th cent. decorative embellishment


border motifs - 17th cent. designs


border grotesques and arabesques


Le Pautre - 17th cent. ornamental design


ornamental design vignettes


17th cent. french ornamental design - Le Pautre


arabesque and grotesque fountain designs


decorative embellishment - architectural design


3 grotesque face designs


17th cent. french fountain decorative design


17 cent. decorative stand and vase design


17th century plinth design


french design motifs


Jean Le Pautre (Lepautre or Lepaultre) (1618-1682) has been described as the most important ornament engraver of the 17th century. His prodigious output extended to more than 2000 prints, mostly from his own original designs.

He was not only the originator of the grandiose Louis XIV style but was also responsible for disseminating and popularising its full lavish repertoire throughout Europe. Le Pautre’s often over-elaborate and flamboyant designs frequently included arabesques, grotesques and cartouches, together with elements from classical mythology.

His diverse range of subject matter, influenced by his carpentry/joinery architectural background, included: friezes, wallpaper, grottoes, alcoves, fireplaces, furniture, murals, ceiling mouldings, fountains and grottoes.


A 3-volume series of his works was released in 1751 by Charles-Antoine Jombert of Paris, under the title: ‘Oeuvres D’Architecture De Jean Le Pautre’ and was recently uploaded by the University of Heidelberg. (Hint: to get to the thumbnails, click on ‘Titelblatt’, then the ’-’ symbol and arrow across to reach the 147 illustrations) The sample of images above are from Volume One which concentrates on the grotesque/arabesque prints.


architectural border design - 17th century france
Ornamental Decoration in 17th Century France

Pocket Penguins 70s

Whenever I think about not buying the Pocket Penguins 70th Anniversary box set I punch myself in the face. I love how the images on these three are so dominant, and yet there’s great treatment of type as well.




Pocket Penguins 70s

Down with applause

MY FOREIGN colleagues are often amused by the way Americans leap to their feet at the end of most evenings at the theatre. The moment a curtain drops, everyone tends to stand–particularly if the cast includes a real-life celebrity. A visiting friend from Russia, who went to see “The Coast of Utopia” at Lincoln Centre, was very impressed by the standing ovation, assuming it was something rare and honourable. I hadn’t the heart to explain that he was in the company of ovation-sluts.

So in the weeks following the frenzy before the Tony awards, when Broadway producers can finally exhale, I was amused by Sunday’s New York Times piece about the tedious American habit of entrance applause. Actors find it disruptive (albeit encouraging, if it’s for them); directors find it a nuisance (“The whole rhythm of the play has to stop”, says one producer). Why do we do it?

Vladimir Konecni, a professor of psychology at University of California, San Diego, who has studied the psychology of theater, noted that while the “joiners” of the entrance applause are most likely engaging in a simple case of imitation, the applause starter is harder to explain. “Elitism is absolutely the issue,” Professor Konecni said. “I have good taste, I have money, I have sensitivity, I am rewarding myself mentally.” One feels a giddy sense of accomplishment, he said, for having made it into the same room as Kevin Spacey.

Another factor is the concept of “impression management,” in this case impressing your date. “You’re telling her, ‘I belong here, I know the rules,’ ” Professor Konecni said.

That sounds about right. There is a certain smug pride in being the first to start or stop clapping, as though the whole experience is old hat. “Look at me,” we seem to say. “I do this all the time. Take notes.”

I was particularly pleased to learn this bit of trivia about Japanese theatre:

In Japan traditional kabuki theater is known for kakegoe: shouting at actors upon their entrance, and throughout the performance. When an actor strikes a traditional pose along the entrance, audiences will shout out his yago — literally “shop name” or theatrical studio — or lines of encouragement like “You’re better than your father!,” referring to the tradition of passing roles down through the generations.

Kakegoe makes up for the nonexistence of curtain calls. “There’s a saying in kabuki theater that if you wait until the end of the performance, it’s too late,” said David Furumoto, who teaches theater at the University of Wisconsin.

Waiting until the end of a show is too late? Does this speak to a larger need for encouragement? Or an unspeakable fear of mortality? Regardless, it makes New Yorkers sound down-right restrained.


Down with applause

But, you could eat a bagel or donut?

IMG_4293.JPG

The other evening while out with neighbors for dinner I mentioned that I had pork chops for breakfast the day before. Her response: I couldn’t eat a pork chop for breakfast. So, have a look at my breakfast. Would you rather eat breakfast cereal, a donut or a bagel like she does?

She does struggle with her weight and her rejection out of hand of nutritious food in favor of the convenience and her long experience with lousy carbohydrate-laden food is one reason for her struggles. You don’t give up anything when you eat the EF Way. You gain new foods and variety along with nutrition. And the weight just falls off.


But, you could eat a bagel or donut?

A "Healthy" Doctor Runner with Heart Disease

Following on the Salazar post on marathoners is another less dramatic story, but with the same plot: Excessive Running. The doctor who looked the picture of health and was a runner was expected to ace his treadmill stress test. Yet, he flunked and was found to have calcified arteries Hidden Heart Disease.

Note that by using vitamins C and E, natural antioxidants, the doctors treating the patient were able to partially reverse the disease. Don’t run excessively (or only when you sprint briefly in my opinion) and do take antioxidants, especially if you do run excessively.


A “Healthy” Doctor Runner with Heart Disease

Bryan Caplan in *The New Yorker*

Louis Menand, who has written a book on pragmatism, writes in response to Caplan:

In the end, the group that loses these contests must abide by the outcome, must regard the wishes of the majority as legitimate.  The only way it can be expected to do so is if it has been made to feel that it had a voice in the process, even if that voice is, in practical terms, symbolic.  A great virtue of democratic polities is stability.  The toleration of silly opinions is (to speak like an economist) a small price to pay for it.

There is much more at the link.

Addendum: Here is a good sentence from Menand: “People are less modern than the times in which they live, in other words, and the failure to comprehend this is what can make economists seem like happy bulldozers.”


Bryan Caplan in The New Yorker