Saturday/ it’s official: LEGO’s RMS Titanic

From CNN Style:
Made up of 9,090 pieces, the replica model divides into three sections to reveal the interior of the ill-fated vessel, including the first-class grand staircase, which sprawls over six decks, as well as a Jacobean-style dining saloon and the engine room.
The LEGO ship is a 1:200 scale model and also includes a recreation of the ship’s bridge, promenade deck and swimming pool.
“At the time of its launch the Titanic was the pinnacle of nautical engineering, the largest moving vehicle ever created. It has been an incredible journey to recreate this iconic vessel from LEGO bricks, using blueprints created over a century ago,” Mike Psiaki, design master at the LEGO Group, said in a statement Thursday.
“Designing the LEGO Titanic with such a focus on immense detail and scale, but also accuracy, has allowed us to create one of the most challenging building experiences to date,” he added.
The set won’t come cheap though: Available for pre-order from November 1 and general sale from November 8, the ship will retail at $629.99.

All pictures are from Lego.com.

Monday/ a little short-handed

I had a procedure done at the dermatologist’s office, on my back.
I’m not allowed to reach up too far, or out, or down, with my arms until Wednesday when the medical tape comes off.

This is the kind of cartoon one finds in The New Yorker magazine (I love them). Check out the T-Rex by the xerox machine in the back. The cartoonist is Daniel Beyers and he resides in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, with his family.

Friday/ got my bookstore fix

It was lovely outside today (76°F /24°C), and I walked down to the Twice Sold Tales bookstore on Harvard Avenue.
I browsed around in the store but did not buy anything this time. (It’s just fun to look at all the books, so mission still accomplished).

Sunflowers (Helianthus, from helios, Greek for sun) is a genus comprising about 70 species of annual and perennial flowering plants in the daisy family Asteraceae. Before blooming, sunflower plants tilt during the day to face the sun in order to gain more sunlight for photosynthesis, a response called heliotropism. Sunflowers are thought to have been domesticated 3,000–5,000 years ago by Native Americans who would use them primarily as a source for edible seeds. [From Wikipedia]
The plywood boarding is still in place at Twice Sold Tales, a little curiously. Maybe the owner likes the artwork with the cats on. (The cats inside are still there, as well). I like the T-Rex sign, myself. The sign on the door says that the store is not buying books right now. Seattle fire marshal ordered the store to stop piling up so many books inside. (It makes it harder for fire fighters to navigate the inside, and for customers to get out).
The little plaza by the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station is in good shape: no graffiti and no trash lying around.
This 20-foot tall public art sculpture of silent speakers in the shape of an X (or a positive sign on its side) is part of the artwork commissioned for the AIDS Memorial Pathway (AMP) project, a tribute to the missing narratives of women and Black people lost to the AIDS crisis. It is called ‘andimgonnamisseverybody’.
The artist is Christopher Paul Jordan (b. 1990), and he used bronze, aluminum and stainless steel.

Tuesday/ more Looney Tunes characters

My LEGO Looney Tunes character collection of twelve little figures is almost complete.
(Daffy Duck got left behind when the package was shipped from Denmark, maybe the Bricklink seller there can send me one in an envelope).

Lola Bunny with her basket ball, Bugs Bunny’s love interest. She is a late addition to the Looney Tunes characters, debuting only in 1996 in ‘Space Jam’. She likes to say ‘Don’t ever call me ‘Doll’ ‘.
Tasmanian Devil (‘Taz’) is a scary character, moving like a whirlwind, short-tempered and with an insatiable appetite. Any music— just not Scottish bagpipes— will calm him down, though.
Marvin the Martian debuted in 1948. He has no mouth, nose or ears, and his outfit is loosely based on the Hoplites: the heavily armed foot soldiers of ancient Greece (helmet with the brush on, and skirt). The Hoplites did not have ray guns, of course.
Petunia Pig with teapot and tea cup. She debuted in 1937 in ‘Porky’s Romance’ as Porky Pig’s love interest. In the cartoon movie she has a spoiled pooch called Fluffnums and would have nothing to do with him.

Sunday/ Denny Triangle walkabout

There was a break in the rain today, and I walked around the Denny Triangle (in downtown Seattle) to check on the construction projects there.

Broadway in New York City reopened this past week, and the Paramount Theater here in Seattle is, as well. ‘City and Colour’ is the alias under which the Canadian musician, singer, songwriter and record producer Dallas Green (40 yrs old), records under.
The $1.2-billion expansion of the Washington State Convention Center has been three years in the making, and will be completed in summer 2022. Interstate 5 is just on the other side. The 10th-floor ballroom will provide views of Puget Sound.
The Cornish College of the Arts building on Boren Ave (constructed 1915, traditional Norwegian Style, architect Sonke Englehart Sonnichsen), holding its own between the Seattle Children’s Research Institute: Building Cure at the back and The Ayer on the right, a new 45-story luxury apartment tower.
The two apartment towers of 1120 Denny Way are complete, two stacks of white floors going up 41 stories. I’m trying to work up enthusiasm for the appearance of the black & copper structure in the middle – and not quite succeeding.
A brand new Porsche 718 Cayman T* on Denny Way, waiting at the red light. (*I say it is a Cayman T because the double tailpipe & wheels match the picture of one on Porsche’s website). Even though the Cayman is sometimes called ‘the poor man’s Porsche’, this model starts at $70k. What a beautiful car, but it burns fossil fuels. Come on Porsche— make haste, and make it electric.
Now I’m in the Cascade district north of the Denny Triangle. This is the skeleton of the old Seattle Times building where the newspapers used to be printed. Two office blocks, 16 stories, and 18 stories tall, will be built here. The three apartment towers at the back with the curvy sides are all on Denny Way.
Looking west from Thomas Street and Boren Avenue North, and using my telephoto lens. Look for the golden elevator cage going up to the observation deck, in the middle of the Space Needle.
The Gold Bar on 9th Avenue serves up cocktails and small plates & tacos. Kudos to them, for opening up their pandemic street space as soon as the rain had stopped. (That’s an active bike & e-scooter lane running along the pavement: something that patrons and the servers have to keep an eye on).
There’s the sun, peering through the leaves in Denny Park alongside Denny Way.
I took this picture (on the pavement by Denny Park) to remind me to look up/ determine how long the lever would have to be, to move Earth, in this famous statement from Archimedes.
A discussion on physics.stackexchange.com provides the answer. The principle of a lever in balance is that on the one side, distance times weight, is equal to distance times weight on the other side: d1.W1 = d2.W2. Earth weighs 6×10^24 kg. Let’s make the load arm length (opposite of Archimedes’s side) 1 m long, and assume he can push down with the force needed for 60 kg of weight. Say that gravity where he stands, is equal to that of Earth’s, and that Earth’s weight is concentrated where it meets the load point on the lever. Then the lever’s force arm length (on Archimedes’s side) would have to be 10^23 m. That is a distance of some 10 million light years. (About 4 times the distance between our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest one to us).
If Archimedes pushed down on this intergalactical, perfectly rigid lever for 3 or 4 feet, Earth on the other end (10 million light years + 1 m away), would move by the diameter of an electron.
Snapping a picture while crossing Westlake Avenue near Denny Way, and looking south towards downtown ..
.. and the McKenzie luxury apartment tower nearby is a cylinder of blue, gray and white tiles.

Friday/ the insouciant rabbit

in·sou·ci·ant
/inˈso͞osēənt,inˈso͞oSHənt/
adjective
showing a casual lack of concern; indifferent.
“an insouciant shrug”


My package from Kopenhagen, Denmark finally landed on the porch today.
Inside are the LEGO Looney Tunes figures that were still missing from my collection, plus a bunch of bricks for building trees and foliage. I will build one figure every day. Here is the first one: the famous rabbit.

Do I even need to introduce this rabbit? Per Wikipedia: ‘Bugs Bunny is an anthropo-morphic gray and white rabbit or hare who is famous for his flippant, insouciant personality’. He debuted in director Tex Avery’s Oscar-nominated cartoon film ‘A Wild Hare’ (1940).
P.S. That is an enormous carrot!

Thursday/ the Abba-tars are coming

‘We took a break in the spring of 1982 and now we’ve decided it’s time to end it. They say it’s foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we’ve recorded a follow-up to The Visitors.’
– ABBA, at the announcement of their first new album in 39 years


The new album is due Nov. 5. This is the image of the cover on Amazon.

The suspense is over for ABBA fans, and hey! a whole new reunion album of their music is coming. (At first it was just a new song or two that were promised.)

As far as I understand, the 80’s supergroup made themselves into avatars for a virtual world tour, so that they would not have the hassle of traveling the world over in the flesh (and in a pandemic).  Who can blame them for not wanting to travel for work? I do not.

Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson in a live-stream of the ABBA Voyage announcement at Grona Lund, Stockholm.
[Photo by Fredrik Persson/TT News Agency / AFP]
Looking good .. Björn Ulvaeus (76), Agnetha Faltskog (71), Anni-Frid Lyngstad (75) and Benny Andersson (74). Those are the high-tech costumes that had enabled the motion-captured visuals of their younger selves. Benny joked that he should have asked Agnetha and Anni-Frid if they can still sing before tackling the project (they can), and said it was wonderful to experience the camaraderie of collaborating on an album again.

Monday/ here’s the Safari Wildlife Treehouse

I finally built the LEGO Creator Safari Wildlife Tree House (31116) that I had bought in July.

The giraffe is the star of the set. I added the alligator* in the reeds, some leaves to the tree, and the color embellishments on the ground and around the flamingo.
*The alligator is one molded LEGO piece with a movable jaw and tail. Nice.

31116 LEGO Creator Safari Wildlife Tree House (and then some)
What I love about the set: the giraffe, the rocks & the ladder attached to it, and the bird & anemometer on the roof. What I question somewhat: the red & blue colors for the treehouse structure, and the beige for the platform (a darker brown would have been better). And then: there is a complete toilet and washbasin inside the treehouse! Over the top.

Monday/ the No 10 bus to downtown

I took the No 10 bus to downtown to go to the dentist this morning.
Here are a few pictures.

Looking south on 15th Avenue. Coastal Kitchen restaurant is open but only Wednesday through Sunday. (The combination rainbow-transgender flag needs a little straightening out, but that’s OK). The former QFC grocery store building on the far left has been deserted & boarded up for a few months now. There is a non-scalable fence around the parking lot. The guy on the electric scooter is using the street (not the sidewalk: good), and wearing a helmet, also good. There are three e-scooter operators in the city: LINK, Wheels, and Lime.
There are new signs at Westlake Center, for locals and tourists alike. The 1929 Macy’s building was sold in April for $580 million. The new owners plan to renovate the 85,000 sq ft-ground floor, mezzanine and second floor to accommodate new retail stores. Amazon is leasing the upper floors, but I doubt there are any workers in there. Amazon pushed back a return to the office for its workers to 2022.
I love the Pacific Northwest artwork at the Arc’teryx outdoor equipment & clothing store by Westlake plaza. The moon is my favorite. (I could not find the name of the artist).
On the left would be Mount Rainier, and that has to be an orca fin in Puget Sound, on the right.
And finally some salmon. That’s a sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) on the left, also called red salmon. Salmon are anadromous fish: spending most of their adult lives at sea, but return to fresh water to spawn. Catadromous fish (example: the North American eel) spend most of their lives in fresh water, then migrate to the sea to breed.
Lastly, I had to go check out the completed $600 million Rainier Square Tower with its sweeping step-up side on 5th Avenue. Floors 39 to 58 at the top are ‘residences’ (apartments). The 1 bed -1.5 bath 896 sqft units start at some $4,400/ month. I’m sure a 2 bed 2 bath would be about double that. (Eek).
Right across the street from Rainier Square Tower are the straight lines of this 1996 building that used to be a Red Lion hotel. I sat in its ball room in 2011, listening to my firm’s partners drone on about the value that a good brand brings to a firm (bottom line: you can charge more for your product or service than your competitors can). Then later that year in 2011, the Red Lion was sold. It was sold again in 2014, and a makeover made it into ‘Motif Seattle‘, now owned by Hyatt. Google Maps says there is a Tesla destination charger in its parking garage down below. (Destination chargers are installed by businesses and land owners for public use, but have a slower charging speed than superchargers).

Monday/ new mural on 17th Ave

I stumbled onto this mural that wraps around the brick building at 1633 17th Ave on my walk tonight. It features the young poet Amanda Gorman, that read her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ during President Biden’s inauguration. The artist is Gretchen Leggitt. Sadly, there is already some vandal’s graffiti on the artwork. Zero respect.

From Gretchen Leggitt @g2legit on Instagram:
“FOR THERE IS ALWAYS LIGHT, IF ONLY WE’RE BRAVE ENOUGH TO SEE IT.”
– Amanda Gorman

This is my latest mural in Seattle, WA located just blocks away from the #CHAZ. In 2020, protesters claimed this as an autonomy zone to fight for human rights through art, words, peace and unfortunately some with violence. I do not care to make any comments about this autonomy zone, but I do want to comment on the respect I have for the brave people who have passionately sparked and fought for the 21st century civil rights awaking. @blklivesmatter

I do not endorse violence or destruction. Instead I endorse voices of reason and peace. @amandascgorman was that voice for me when she shared her poem The Hill We Climb with the world. Her words spoke of perseverance, resilience and hope for ALL humans, which inspired this mural.

Thursday/ the fastest mouse in Mexico

From Wikipedia:
Speedy Gonzales is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. He is portrayed as “The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico” with his major traits being the ability to run extremely fast, speaking English with an exaggerated Mexican accent, and also speaking Spanish. He usually wears a yellow sombrero, white shirt and trousers (which was a common traditional outfit worn by men and boys of rural Mexican villages), and a red kerchief, similar to that of some traditional Mexican attires.

Cartoons featuring Speedy Gonzales were removed from the Cartoon Network TV channel in 1999— due to concerns that the little mouse’s sombrero and heavy accent insulted Mexicans. Speedy Gonzales fans were mightily upset, though, and successfully petitioned for his return to Cartoon Network three years later.

LEGO’s Speedy Gonzales minifigure, another one of the 12 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes characters in the set from LEGO.  The character first appeared in 1953 in  ‘Cat-Tails for Two’ (as an early version) and officially debuted in ‘Speedy Gonzales’ in 1955.

Tuesday/ a wily coyote

wil·y
/ˈwīlē/

adjective
skilled at gaining an advantage, especially deceitfully.


[Description taken from Wikipedia] Here’s Wile E. Coyote, the cunning, devious and constantly hungry Coyote that  repeatedly attempts to catch and subsequently eat the Road Runner.

Instead of his animal instincts, the Coyote uses absurdly complex contraptions (sometimes in the manner of Rube Goldberg) to try to catch his prey, which comically backfire, with the Coyote often getting injured in slapstick fashion. Many of the items for these contrivances are mail-ordered from a variety of companies that are all named Acme Corporation.

One running gag involves the Coyote trying (in vain) to shield himself with a little parasol against a great falling boulder that is about to crush him. Another running gag involves the Coyote falling from a high cliff. After he goes over the edge, the rest of the scene, shot from a bird’s-eye view, shows him falling into a canyon so deep, that his figure is eventually lost to sight. This is followed, a second or two later, by the rising of a dust cloud from the canyon floor as the Coyote hits.

The LEGO minifigure depiction of the Looney Tunes character Wile E. Coyote. He made his first appearance in 1949 with Road Runner. As his contraptions go (to take out Road Runner), this anvil is a pretty simple one.
P.S. Seattle residents report real coyote spottings from time to time, right here in the city.

Monday/ walking up along Pine Street

I took my rental car back this morning. The plan is to go carless for a week or so, and then get another one. There is still a good number of weeks to go before I get my new car.

It was a pleasant day, and I could walk up, up along Pine Street to get to the other side of Interstate 5, and to Capitol Hill where my house is.
It’s about 30 mins of walking with no stopping, but I took my time, and took some pictures as I went.

This is the Hertz rental car center on the 6th floor of a garage on 8th Ave in downtown. There’s the counter in the distance where I had dropped my car’s keys. These are basically all the cars they have; the five floors below are eerily empty. (Hard to know if all the floors had been filled with cars pre-pandemic, though). There’s definitely a shortage of rental cars right now, with people starting to travel again. In places like Hawaii, the fee for a small sedan is $195/ day. That is crazy, and 4 times or 5 times the ‘normal’ rate.
I like the signage in the elevator lobby. I was tempted to stop at every floor to see what 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 looked like, and what colors, then thought, no! just go all the way down.
The upscale Grand Hyatt hotel on Pine Street is still closed. Many years ago, I had cocktails with friends in the lobby bar. One of them was from Houston, and he could not stop talking about his Continental Airlines frequent flyer miles. (Continental Airlines is no more. It merged with United Airlines in 2010).
Corner of Pine St & 9th Ave, looking northeast. Dough Zone dumpling house Chinese restaurant on the right, Washington State Convention Center expansion construction zone on the left. That’s the No 10 bus from Capitol Hill, coming into downtown.
The Paramount Theater is still shuttered as well, of course. 
‘Justice for Daunte Wright’ says the sign, the 20-yr-old African-American man that was fatally shot on Apr. 11 by police officer Kimberly Potter during a traffic stop & attempted arrest for an outstanding arrest warrant, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
The US Treasury Department was “taking steps to resume efforts” to put the abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill (left of the picture), but nothing new has been announced of late.
Ticket booths at the main entrance of the Paramount Theater. The theater has 2,807 seats for the performing arts, and opened in March 1928 as the Seattle Theatre.
Looking back at the Washington State Convention Center expansion, from the Pine Street overpass over Interstate 5. Maybe there is a little money left in the budget to also fix up that rusty lamp post on the far right.
The Baltic Room nightclub & bar with its art deco ironwork is still boarded up, but not permanently closed, as far as I can tell.
This space at 300 East Pine St houses attorney’s offices now, but some 15 years ago it was called The Chapel, a fancy wine & cocktail bar, filled with beautiful people on a Friday night, and a place for which one would dress up a little (in a city that had made grunge bands and grunge wear famous).
The artwork on the alley side of the Sugar Hill eatery & bar at 400 East Pine has been there for a while, but is holding up. Sugar Hill bills itself as a ‘loungey, vinyl-fueled eatery/ bar for craft cocktails, Thai street food & late-night DJs’.
I had left Pine St, and made my way to the new apartment buildings on Broadway by the Capitol Hill light rail station. This is the brand new plaza on the inside. I love the pastel colors of the art installation, with the brighter yellow & orange in there as well. I really hope it stays like this for a while: clean and graffiti-free.

Tuesday/ the art of deception

‘You need only two rich people to want to buy something they can exclusively own for it to become very expensive’.
– Sebastian Smee, art critic for Washington Post


Here’s the instantly infamous digital work of art ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ by an artist from North Carolina called Beeple (Mike Winkelmann). It’s a collage of 5,000 digital images. Each one took one day to create. The buyer was a Singapore-based founder and financer of the cryptofund Metapurse who goes by the name Metakovan. That says it all right there, in my humble opinion.
An image from ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’, by Beeple. (Christie’s Images Limited 2020)

The recent sale of the digital thing (it’s a .jpg file) called ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days‘ with its non-fungible token* attached, has caused a stir in the art world. It went for $69.3 million.

*Essentially a digital certificate of authenticity that is a string of characters connected to a blockchain: the same concept that powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. (The blockchain means the characters sit in different physical places around the internet, and have to be combined to verify authenticity).

Is it art? I don’t know, I guess so — but it cannot possibly be worth $69.3 million. Just as the Rabbit, the Pool with Two Figures, or that duct-taped banana, cannot possibly be worth $91.1 million, $90.3 million or $125,000, respectively.

(Just for the record, Guinness World Records lists Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as having the highest-ever insurance value for a painting. On permanent display at the Louvre in Paris, the Mona Lisa was assessed at US $100 million on Dec. 14, 1962. Taking inflation into account, the 1962 value would be around US $870 million today).

Here is David Hockney’s ‘Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)‘ that went for $90.3 million in Nov. 2018.
Rabbit by Jeff Koons was sold for more than $91 million at Christie’s in New York in May 2019. It set a new record for the most expensive work by a living artist to be sold at auction after the Pool with Two Figures.
The ‘Art Basel Banana’ was a stunt, and not a work of art (my opinion). It was created by Maurizio Cattelan, and he titled the ‘art work’ Comedian. Mr. Cattelan’s bananas were offered in a limited edition of three with one artist’s proof, sold at a cost of $120,000 apiece at the Art Basel show in Miami Beach in Dec. 2019. Maybe the bananas were special? No. At least one of the bananas reportedly came from a local Miami supermarket.

 

Friday/ a thousand-and-one nights

My used book with Arabian fairy tales arrived at last, shipped from Germany with snail mail.
I could not find the Afrikaans edition online — the one that had I read in bed fifty years ago as a youngster! — but I found the German translation that offers the same gorgeous water paint illustrations, on Abebooks.com.

The tales inside are as follows:
How the Story of the Thousand-and-one Nights Started
Little Kadi
Sinbad the Sailor
Prince Sayn Al Asnam and the King of Spirits
Aladdin and the Wonder Lamp
Ali Baba and the Forty Robbers
The Magic Horse
The Envious Sisters
How the Story of the Thousand-and-one Nights Ends

Sinbad the Sailor This is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Big trouble for Sinbad and his mates on their third voyage, ship-wrecked on an island with one-eyed man-eating giants. The captain was eaten first because he was the fattest! I bet he could not run as fast as his crew. Yikes. (I don’t believe these are technically Cyclopes. The Cyclopes come from Greek mythology. Arabians were students of Greek literature, and Homer’s epic poem Odyssey probably inspired this fairy tale). [Illustration by Janusz Grabianski].
The Magic Horse Ah yes: the prince undoubtedly proposing to the princess with some servants looking on. (I confess that I don’t recall the details of this fairy tale. I will have to read the German, and report back). Got to love those lovely light blue veils worn by the servants, looking exactly like 2021 pandemic surgical masks! [Illustration by Janusz Grabianski].

Friday/ Anton Goosen turns 75

South African folk singer Anton Goosen turned 75 today.

He sings mostly in Afrikaans, but also in English.
I love his song called Magalies, O Magaliesberg — a song that (somewhat) romanticises the hardships of the 1830s Great Trek of the Voortrekkers (pioneers).
Some of these pioneers ended up in what would become the Transvaal Colony, and is today called Gauteng Province.

The Magaliesberg is a modest but well-defined mountain range north of Pretoria, with ancient origins. It was formed some 2 billion years ago.
The area around the range has seen occupation by humans dating back at least 2 million years, to the earliest hominin species (such as Mrs Ples). The Sterkfontein Caves, which lie at the World Heritage Site called the Cradle of Humankind, are close by. [From Wikipedia].

Ox wagons during the Great Trek in South Africa (1835-1838).
[Picture from Wikimedia Commons, from p209 of the book ‘The Voortrekkers’ by J.S. Skelton, 1909].
Voor op die wa sit my hoepelbeenpa,
agter op die wa sit my vaalhaarma
Waai die wind, waai my jas,
knoop my Sannie haar sydoek vas
Veertien rooies voor aan die wa,
sewe van my en sewe van my pa
Die hotagter, die Afrikaan,
hy en sy maat moet die disselboom dra

(Front of the wa1 sits my hoop-legged pa,
back of the wa sits my drab-haired ma
Blows the wind, blow our coats,
ties my Tammy her silk cloth close
Fourteen red ones front of the wa,
seven of mine & seven of my pa’s
The left back, the Afrikaan2,
he and his mate, must bear the bar)

1Short for wagon, we say v-ahh in Afrikaans
2A breed of cattle indigenous to South Africa

Lyrics from ‘Magalies, O Magaliesberg‘ from the Anton Goosen album ‘Liedjieboer Innie Stad’ (1986), with my own rough translation into English.

Sunday/ an unknown Van Gogh

This painting of Van Gogh has been in the hands of a French family for more than 100 years. It will be auctioned in March and is expected to fetch from €5m to €8m ($6.1m to $9.8m).

Auction of an unknown Van Gogh.
Paris A painting of Vincent Van Gogh (1853- 1890) that has been in the possession of a French family for more than a 100 years, never exhibited in public, will be auctioned in Paris on March 25 by Sotheby’s and Mirabaud Mercier. Van Gogh painted this canvas in the spring of 1887 in Paris, called Scène de rue à Montmartre. (Van Gogh lived there at the time, at 54 Rue Lepic, with his brother Theo). It depicts a street scene with the Moulin de la Galette, a windmill, and businesses near the top of the district of Montmartre in Paris. It is believed to be one of the last paintings of Van Gogh’s Montmartre works in private ownership. The painting is oil on canvas, size 46 x 63 cm (18 x 25 in). The auctioneers hope the final bid will be between €5m and €8m ($6.1m and $9.8m).
[Image & text from Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad].

Friday/ the Year of the Ox is here

Happy Lunar New Year! The Year of the Ox* starts today.
In Asian cultures people wear red to celebrate the arrival of the lunar new year, the color that symbolizes luck and prosperity.
Married couples hand out red packets with cash inside to children and unmarried adults.

*Read: bovine creature. The zodiacal ox could be construed as male, female, neutered, hermaphroditic, and either singular or plural.

From my porcelain display case: a child holding the ‘newly born’ Ox, symbolizing the start of The Year of the Ox. I bought the item at a souvenir shop at Hong Kong International Airport in 2010 or 2011. At this point, I am really not sure when I will make it out to Hong Kong again.