Archive for November 9th, 2013

09
Nov
13

11.9.13 … LOL, true confessions, busted …

LOL, winter

Remember : Cold season is starting and cows seek heat on car hoods. do not forget to tap on the hood to give the cow enough time to get off before you drive away! ROTFLMAO

Downton Abbey, Season 4: New Characters Details :  busted … I may be secretly reading the BBS summaries (Downton Abbey Season 4) …

via ▶ MASTERPIECE | Downton Abbey, Season 4: New Characters | PBS – YouTube.

Can’t wait for Downton Abbey Season 4? The cast and creators of the series introduce you to some of the new arrivals — a lord, a valet, an opera star and more! [Downton Abbey, Season 4 premieres Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, 9pm ET on MASTERPIECE on PBS.]

via Downton Abbey, Season 4: New Characters | Downton Abbey | Masterpiece | PBS.

Miniature City Models Around the World, WSJ.com:  OK … true confessions:  I love miniature models.  Last week at the Hoover Dam (10.30.13), I dragged my husband back to the model of the dam during construction.

Thought to be the biggest of mini cityscapes, covering 9,335 square feet, the Panorama of the City of New York was built for the 1964 New York World’s Fair by urban planner Robert Moses —or more specifically, Raymond Lester Associates, a firm specializing in architectural models. Made mostly of wood and plastic, it includes every building in all five boroughs as of 1992, when it was last brought fully up-to-date. (Here, the Twin Towers still stand.) To raise money, the museum is letting people “buy” parcels of real estate in the model, with an apartment going for $50 and city icons running upward of $5,000—a bargain even when adjusted for the literal deflation. New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, queensmuseum.org

What to look for: The tiny plane looping over the city, following a wire to land at LaGuardia Airport and taking off again seconds later.

via Miniature City Models Around the World – WSJ.com.

And here is the Hoover Dam for you …

IMG_8510

09
Nov
13

11.9.13 … this guy is building a labyrinth in Seattle, and he is picking out every stone in the path for color and shape … “But I happen to know that when you build intention in to a landscape playing on its connection to the natural world and the cosmic forces that influence it that it actually has a presence that could be considered sacred.” …

Jeffrey Bale, World of Gardens: The Labyrinth Project:

In the fall of 2006 I was approached by a person, who helped spearhead the building of the Islandwood Environmental School on Bainbridge Island in Washington.  This is an amazing institution. It is hoped that every child enrolled in school in the Seattle region be able to go to Nature camp for one week at Islandwood, where they will be guided by graduate students in environmental education.  For many of the kids it is their first time in the woods.  I built a cistern there that collects the water from the Learning Center in 2007.  You can read an essay I wrote about it at: http://jeffreygardens.blogspot.com/2011/06/artist-in-residency-at-islandwood.html

Beyond this is a wonderful bronze prayer wheel, with a plaque explaining that you set an intention and spin the wheel 9 times.  A bell rings on the 9th rotation and your intention is sent out in to the World.  It is a popular destination for island residents and visitors.  On the Prayer Wheel is an inscription by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tsu.  It reads; “I have just three things to teach: Simplicity, Patience, Compassion”.

I’ve worked on a lot of projects in the last 25 or so years, and it has been very seldom that I have been asked to build something sacred.  I even had a client ask me in a sarcastic way when I finished her patio if she would have to meditate out there.  Heaven forbid.  But I happen to know that when you build intention in to a landscape playing on its connection to the natural world and the cosmic forces that influence it that it actually has a presence that could be considered sacred.  Animals are attracted by the energy these places emit.  I’ve had a Cougar, a Rattlesnake, a large banded lizard, a Great Blue Heron, and Bald Eagles visit the places where I’ve intended them to be magical.  As they are used over time for ritual and introspection they become loaded with memory and history that can trigger consciousness on a profound level.

Years ago I was approached by the TKF Foundation (http://naturesacred.org) based in the Washington D.C. area to give a lecture on building sacred spaces.  TKF is known for installing Poetry Benches in troubled parts of the region, like Baltimore.  They also build labyrinths and gardens, sometimes in prisons.  After my presentation the architects in the audience and I focused our discussion on the ethical gathering of materials as a basis for creating sacred landscapes.  They were interested in having me build a labyrinth for them but there was no real idea of how laborious it would be to build a pebble mosaic labyrinth.   Eventually they asked me if I would do one in recycled asphalt on a roof top in Washington D.C.  It would be the first of its kind, for good reason.  I declined.

After three days of gathering rock, about 3,000 pounds, I felt that I was ready to start setting stone.  A pallet of mortar had been delivered to the site and 200 feet of rebar.  I started by sitting on one of the 8 directional stones and doing the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra 18 times.  This is an ancient Hindu Sanskrit mantra that I learned with a group of friends when we would gather on the full moon and chant the mantra 108 times.  There is a description of what the mantra means at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahamrityunjaya_Mantra

I then read the chapter in a book I’ve owned for many years called ‘The Medicine Wheel’, written by Sun Bear and Wabun (Prentice Hall Press).  This is a book of Native American astrology that I have used to develop my methods for incorporating Medicine Wheel ideas in to may mosaic work, mainly through orientation and the coloration of stones.  I was starting in the eastern direction near where the labyrinth will be entered, building the outer ring.  I am making 12 small white moon shaped mosaics and each moon represents a seasonal moon throughout the year.  The first moon I would be creating would be under the title of the ‘Frogs return Moon’.  The animal totem for this moon is the Beaver.  I brought a few beaver chewed sticks that I gathered the week before from a beach I go to on the Columbia River in Oregon so I inserted one of these outside the circle at the point where the moon mosaic would be created.

I flanked the moon with two 5 petaled wild roses made of round red stones around a round gold center.  I’ve started to make these flowers, or starbursts when I hear the bell ring when somebody is turning the prayer wheel.

Just as I was adding the last stones to the wet bed of mortar a friendly man named Mike came down the path.  While talking he said he had brought his kids to the previous labyrinth for a walking meditation.  I told him I would make a flower for him if he rang the bell on the prayer wheel, so he went back and did that, and I made him a sweet little flower that I have named ‘Mike’s Flower’.  He came back and I showed it to him and told him to make a note of where it is so he would remember it when he walks the labyrinth.   This made us both very happy.

The night before I left I wrote a  description to be printed for a sign to put up by the site.  It reads:

The Labyrinth Project

The layout of this labyrinth is based on the well known early 13th Century Chartes Cathedral Labyrinth near Paris.  It has 11 circuits that make turns at two cross axis oriented to the cardinal directions.  The diameter is 36 feet and the entrance is from the East, the direction of the rising sun.  It is made from hand collected rock from various beaches on Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap Peninsula, set in to mortar.  8 of the granite boulders around the perimeter are set at the cardinal points.

Counting the central ring, the number of circles is 12, which ties the labyrinth to the seasonal and lunar cycles.  12 is the sum of the Earth (4) times the Divine (3).  The seasons are represented here as colors, with 12 Moons  set in the outer ring.  A 13th ‘Blue Moon’ sits in the sun circle in the center, symbolizing lunar and solar eclipses.  This creates a native Medicine Wheel connecting the Earth, Nature, and the Moon.

Each Moon in this labyrinth has a totem color, mineral, animal, plant, and spirit keeper.

The moons, starting at the entrance and going clockwise:

Budding Trees Moon (3/21-4/19)  Yellow, Fire Opal, Red Hawk, Dandelion

Frogs Return Moon (4/20-5/20)  Blue, Chrysocolla, Beaver, Blue Camas

Corn Planting Moon (5/21-6/20)  Green, Moss Agate, Deer, Yarrow

Strong Sun Moon (6/21-7/22)  Pink, Carnelian Agate, Flicker, Wild Rose

Ripe Berries Moon (7/23-8/22)   Red, Garnet and Iron, Sturgeon, Raspberry

Harvest Moon (8/23-9/22)  Purple, Amethyst, Brown Bear, Violet

Ducks Fly Moon (9/23-10/23)  Brown, Jasper, Raven, Mullein

Freeze Up Moon (10/24-11/21)  Orange, Copper and Malachite, Snake, Thistle

Long Snows Moon (11/22-12/21)  Black, Obsidian, Elk, Black Spruce

Earth Renewal Moon (12/22-1/19)  White, Quarz, Snow Goose, Birch

Rest and Cleansing Moon (1/20-2/18)  Silver, Otter, Quaking Aspen

Big Winds Moon (2/19-3/20)  Blue Green, Turquoise, Cougar, Plantain

I try to make a flower each time I hear the bell on the prayer wheel ring.  I hope to add 108 stones around the 10th circuit.  The 8 rings closest to the center represent the orbit of the known planets from Mercury to Pluto.  The permeable lines between the paths will be filled with crushed gravel and over time, moss and seedlings.

In walking this labyrinth, it is my hope that you will feel a change in yourself, to being one more connected with Nature in all its harmonious magnificence.  Leave your thoughts behind if you can, being here in the moment, and just feel the progression refilling your opened mind as you follow the circuits.  It is all about cycles, ebbing and flowing like the tides around this island being pulled by the moon.  Ideally you return via the same route you came in.  Step to the side if somebody needs to pass.  Doing it barefoot will add the bonus of foot reflexology.  Enjoy!

via Jeffrey Bale’s World of Gardens: The Labyrinth Project, the beginning.

man’s best friend: And from a later blog on the project!

Lucy walks the Labyrinth with her nose

via Jeffrey Bale’s World of Gardens: The Halls Hill Labyrinth: Pluto and the Four Elements.

09
Nov
13

11.9.13 … Some Buckhead history and some perspective on “American Nations” … So is Buckhead typical of the Deep South?

Buckhead, history, Atlanta: I have most of this, but it is nice to read it condensed in one place.  And I was just trying to remember how to spell “Eretus” Rivers yesterday  (as in E. Rivers Elementary School, the public elementary school that is located  and most associated with Buckhead). 

The purchase of 400 acres along the road connecting “Buckhead” with Hardy Pace’s ferry by a prominent Atlanta businessman in 1903 proved to be the seminal moment in the evolution of Buckhead.

Here to fore, the area — and that is the best way to describe it at that time — was mostly owned by a few pioneering families who scratched a pretty impressive living out of dense forest and farmland.

But the land offered something beyond agriculture, something rare during the summer months when the dust and dirt of the bustling downtown combined with the oppressive heat to make life in Atlanta a bit of a challenge. The tall trees and a general lack of development meant it was substantially cooler and more tolerable. Those who had the means made their way out to the Chattahoochee River on the weekends, which gave rise to communities like Vinings.

Like a burning star creates a solar system around it, so, too, did Maddox’s presence in Buckhead create a gravitational pull. His prominent friends would soon follow, people like William H. Kiser, who created a fortune as a dry-goods wholesaler and built the impressive Knollwood nearby. Designed by Philip Trammel Shutze, the English Georgian-style home set atop a knoll was visible for many years from Paces Ferry Road. Among the others were attorney Morris Brandon, politician and former Florida Attorney General William Bailey Lamar, banker John Grant and James W. Morrow, who owned Morrow Transfer and Storage. All built magnificent summer estates where they, too, could escape downtown Atlanta and entertain their prominent friends and acquaintances.

Developer Charles Black purchased the remainder of the Dickey estate in 1911 to create Tuxedo Park. With enormous land lots the neighborhood consisted of homes of comparable size and style to those already in area. Across West Paces Ferry Road, Eretus Rivers and his business partners acquired nearly 400 acres from the estate of Wesley Collier in 1906 and in 1911 developed Peachtree Heights West. Over the course of the next few years, additional subdivisions developed around this area, which is remarkable given the continuity of the styles.

Thus Buckhead became the destination neighborhood, rising above the former trendy enclaves of Druid Hills and Inman Park in drawing the city’s politically and socially connected families.

via Neighbor Newspapers – Column Transaction gave rise to Buckhead we know.

Up in Arms, Colin Woodard,  American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, history, sociology,  anthropology: This article is one of the most fascinating I have read in years and it pulls together history, sociology and anthropology.

Up in Arms

THE BATTLE LINES OF TODAY’S DEBATES OVER GUN CONTROL, STAND-YOUR-GROUND LAWS, AND OTHER VIOLENCE-RELATED ISSUES WERE DRAWN CENTURIES AGO BY AMERICA’S EARLY SETTLERS

Among the eleven regional cultures, there are two superpowers, nations with the identity, mission, and numbers to shape continental debate: Yankeedom and Deep South. For more than two hundred years, they’ve fought for control of the federal government and, in a sense, the nation’s soul. Over the decades, Deep South has become strongly allied with Greater Appalachia and Tidewater, and more tenuously with the Far West. Their combined agenda—to slash taxes, regulations, social services, and federal powers—is opposed by a Yankee-led bloc that includes New Netherland and the Left Coast. Other nations, especially the Midlands and El Norte, often hold the swing vote, whether in a presidential election or a congressional battle over health care reform. Those swing nations stand to play a decisive role on violence-related issues as well.

For now, the country will remain split on how best to make its citizens safer, with Deep South and its allies bent on deterrence through armament and the threat of capital punishment, and Yankeedom and its allies determined to bring peace through constraints such as gun control. The deadlock will persist until one of these camps modifies its message and policy platform to draw in the swing nations. Only then can that camp seize full control over the levers of federal power—the White House, the House, and a filibuster-proof Senate majority—to force its will on the opposing nations. Until then, expect continuing frustration and division.

GREATER APPALACHIA. Founded in the early eighteenth century by wave upon wave of settlers from the war-ravaged borderlands of Northern Ireland, northern England, and the Scottish lowlands, Appalachia has been lampooned by writers and screenwriters as the home of hillbillies and rednecks. It transplanted a culture formed in a state of near constant danger and upheaval, characterized by a warrior ethic and a commitment to personal sovereignty and individual liberty. Intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers alike, Greater Appalachia has shifted alliances depending on who appeared to be the greatest threat to their freedom. It was with the Union in the Civil War. Since Reconstruction, and especially since the upheavals of the 1960s, it has joined with Deep South to counter federal overrides of local preference.

DEEP SOUTH. Established by English slave lords from Barbados, Deep South was meant as a West Indies–style slave society. This nation offered a version of classical Republicanism modeled on the slave states of the ancient world, where democracy was the privilege of the few and enslavement the natural lot of the many. Its caste systems smashed by outside intervention, it continues to fight against expanded federal powers, taxes on capital and the wealthy, and environmental, labor, and consumer regulations.

If you understand the United States as a patchwork of separate nations, each with its own origins and prevailing values, you would hardly expect attitudes toward violence to be uniformly distributed. You would instead be prepared to discover that some parts of the country experience more violence, have a greater tolerance for violent solutions to conflict, and are more protective of the instruments of violence than other parts of the country. That is exactly what the data on violence reveal about the modern United States.

With such sharp regional differences, the idea that the United States would ever reach consensus on any issue having to do with violence seems far-fetched. The cultural gulf between Appalachia and Yankeedom, Deep South and New Netherland is simply too large. But it’s conceivable that some new alliance could form to tip the balance.

Among the eleven regional cultures, there are two superpowers, nations with the identity, mission, and numbers to shape continental debate: Yankeedom and Deep South. For more than two hundred years, they’ve fought for control of the federal government and, in a sense, the nation’s soul. Over the decades, Deep South has become strongly allied with Greater Appalachia and Tidewater, and more tenuously with the Far West. Their combined agenda—to slash taxes, regulations, social services, and federal powers—is opposed by a Yankee-led bloc that includes New Netherland and the Left Coast. Other nations, especially the Midlands and El Norte, often hold the swing vote, whether in a presidential election or a congressional battle over health care reform. Those swing nations stand to play a decisive role on violence-related issues as well.

For now, the country will remain split on how best to make its citizens safer, with Deep South and its allies bent on deterrence through armament and the threat of capital punishment, and Yankeedom and its allies determined to bring peace through constraints such as gun control. The deadlock will persist until one of these camps modifies its message and policy platform to draw in the swing nations. Only then can that camp seize full control over the levers of federal power—the White House, the House, and a filibuster-proof Senate majority—to force its will on the opposing nations. Until then, expect continuing frustration and division.

via Tufts Magazine / fall 2013.

 



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