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November 2008 Archives

November 2, 2008

Some great advice (and the 2008 Rubber Dodo Award)

Salon posted another funny article by Anne Lamott ; this one is called “No Time to Cry Wolf” and includes some great advice about how to survive these last nerve-wracking, nail-biting days before the election. Here’s what she recommends:

…find a good charity site where you can send whatever you can afford. Send what you can to Planned Parenthood in the name of Sarah Palin. Send what you can to Obama's campaign in a swing county in your nearest swing state. The Republicans are wrong: You don't always lose if you share. You actually get really, really happy.

Well, this sounded like a great idea to me. I’d already given to Obama, and I’ve been fretting about the environment lately, and global warming and polar bears. I know that the Bible says that God gave man dominion over the earth and all its creatures, and I've been thinking about that and how not everyone interprets that in the same way. I think that "having dominion over" means that we need to take care of the earth and its creatures, it doesn't give us free reign to trash the place. And I don't think shooting wolves from airplanes is what God had in mind either.

So I got on the computer and went in search of a reputable organization that was doing something to help Alaskan wildlife. And it didn’t take long to find exactly what I was looking for!

Here's the mission statement for The Center for Biological Diversity:

"At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

We want those who come after us to inherit a world where the wild is still alive."

I checked them out on Charity Navigator and learned that they have the highest rating (4 stars). And then I explored their website and found this press release:

RubberDodoAward_Palin.jpegAlaska Governor Sarah Palin Wins 2008 Rubber Dodo Award

Palin Has Sought to Remove Endangered Species Act Protection for the Polar Bear, Suppressed and Lied About State Global Warming Studies, and Denied That Global Warming Is Caused by Greenhouse Gas Emissions

“Governor Palin has waged a deceptive, dangerous, and costly battle against the polar bear,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

“Her position on global warming is so extreme, she makes Dick Cheney look like an Al Gore devotee.”

“Palin’s insistence that Arctic melting is ‘uncertain’ is like someone debating the theory of gravity as they plunge off a cliff,” said Suckling.

“It’s hopeless, reckless, and extremely cynical.”

Continue reading "Some great advice (and the 2008 Rubber Dodo Award)" »

November 3, 2008

Some comic relief while we wait...

Here are various and sundry things that people have emailed to me during the past few months. Don't know who to credit for these but I've appreciated the comic relief!

A while back, I posted that hilarious Election Trains graphic, and it turns out that there were several sequels to it.

If the Candidates were Ovens:


Continue reading "Some comic relief while we wait..." »

November 5, 2008

Happy, relieved, and did I mention HAPPY!

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let's sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

Altogether shout it now
There's no one
Who can doubt it now
So let's tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again


Continue reading "Happy, relieved, and did I mention HAPPY!" »

November 8, 2008

PhotoHunt: Together


This week's theme is "together."


This brightly-colored mural in Durham NC shows Pauli Murray (1910-1985), a professor, civil rights advocate, and co-founder of the National Organization of Women. Next to the image is this quote:

“True Community is based upon equality, mutuality, and reciprocity. It affirms the richness of individual diversity as well as the common human ties that bind us together.”

Find more photo hunters here.
Happy weekend!

November 10, 2008

Chorus Pass

Venice’s Chorus Pass organization is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year with a series of concerts and also a redesigned website.

The Chorus Pass is a ticket that provides admission to 16 of Venice’s churches. Current cost is nine euros and since the ala carte price at the door is three euros, the pass is a bargain if you intend to visit more than three of these churches.

In the latest Donna Leon mystery, The Girl of His Dreams, Commissario Guido Brunetti pops into the church of San Giacomo dall’ Orio and is surprised to learn that the church has an admission fee, but then he’s told that Venetian residents can enter for free. I’ve met a few people who were somewhat indignant about having to pay to visit a church, but it doesn’t bother me at all. There are other churches where admission is free but then you have to spend several euros feeding the light boxes to see the paintings, so I’d just as soon pay at the door. The paintings in the Chorus Pass churches are well-lit plus the money goes towards restoration and maintenance, so it seems reasonable to charge a small fee.

Another great thing about the Chorus Pass is that you will find these churches open 10-5 Monday-Saturday, so if you decide to trek all the way out to San Pietro di Castello, for example, you won’t find a closed church. The 16 churches are spread out across all of the six sestieri of Venice - it’s such a great way to get an overview of the city and you'll see many wonderful things along the way as you wander from church to church.

These photos show both sides of a Chorus Pass tote bag that I bought last December. These graphics are very cool; they are so simple yet each church is clearly recognizable. I'm thinking about taking this thing apart and framing it!

Chorus Pass Churches

Continue reading "Chorus Pass" »

November 11, 2008

List of Donna Leon books (in order)


In yesterday's comments, Sandra said that she had inadvertently bought one of the Donna Leon mysteries twice because it was republished with a different title. The same thing happened to me - I bought what I thought was a new one in Venice and then realized I already had it back home. It took me a while to track all these books down because some were out of print for a while, in the US anyway, but I did manage to find and read them all (though not in order).

I work with a bunch of readers (and mystery readers in particular), and we are always passing books around the office. Everyone loves this series, even the people who've never been to Venice. And if you're a Venice lover, these are essenziale.

So here's the list with duplicate titles in parentheses.

Continue reading "List of Donna Leon books (in order)" »

November 12, 2008

The Pesaro Altarpiece in the Frari

celestia catI found this sweet story in E.V. Lucas’ A Wanderer in Venice (published in 1914), and since it combines three of my favorite things (churches, cats, and art), I had to share it on the blog.

In his story, Lucas was sitting in front of Titian’s Pesaro Altarpiece in the church of the Frari (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari).

As I sat one day looking at this picture, a small grey and white cat sprang on my knee from nowhere and immediately sank into a profound slumber from which I hesitated to wake it. Such ingratiating acts are not common in Venice, where animals are scarce and all dogs must be muzzled.

Whether or not the spirit of Titian had instructed the little creature to keep me there, I cannot say, but the result was that I sat for a quarter of an hour before the altar without a movement, so that every particular of the painting is photographed on my retina.

Six months later the same cat led me to a courtyard opposite the Sacristy door and proudly exhibited three kittens.

Sigh. I haven’t met any cats or kittens during my many visits to the Frari, but I have read that in the former monastery next door (now the Venetian Archives), there’s a much loved colony of cats who keep the mice from nibbling away all the ancient documents of the Republic.

Here's the painting Lucas was looking at when the kitty jumped in his lap.

Continue reading "The Pesaro Altarpiece in the Frari" »

November 14, 2008

PhotoHunt: Ruined


This week's theme is "ruin(ed)."

I've got a couple this week, a shrine in Venice and a shed in North Carolina.

This little wayside shrine in Venice looks like it's melting into the wall. It's not completely ruined but it's on its way.

San Antonio shrine

But even so, it's still serving its purpose as a devotional altar, as you can tell by the little San Antonio candle someone put in it.

San Antonio shrine detail

Continue reading "PhotoHunt: Ruined" »

November 17, 2008

Bull Durham

This post is for Girasoli (world’s biggest Red Sox fan!). A while back, we were talking about baseball movies on her blog and of course, “Bull Durham” came up. Girasoli didn’t know that the Durham Bulls (the minor league team in the movie) were a real-life team, so I told her that I’d go by the ballpark and take some photos.


This ballpark (the Durham Athletic Park or the DAP) was built in 1939 and is where they filmed the movie in 1988. There have been a number of events to celebrate the movie’s 20th anniversary this year; the biggest was when Kevin Costner brought his rock-n-roll band to play at the city’s Fourth of July party this summer. That concert took place at the new ballpark (built in the mid-1990’s), not this old historic one. The Durham Bulls always had decent attendance at games, but the crowds grew even larger because of the movie and also because of the early 1990’s success of the Atlanta Braves (at that time, the Durham Bulls were a minor league team for the Braves). The old ballpark just couldn’t handle the crowds ( I remember one game where I missed three innings waiting in line for the ladies’ room!) so they built a new and larger stadium. It’s a very nice place but I kinda miss the old park.

Continue reading "Bull Durham" »

November 19, 2008

Gesuati (Santa Maria Rosario)


This is the church that the Dominicans built on the Zattere when they outgrew Santa Maria della Visitazione. Built in 1726-43 by architect Giorgio Massari, this is one of many (too many?) big white Baroque churches in Venice. But this is probably the most refined and elegant of them all, not over-the-top or garish in any way.

It's another church that I like better from the side than from the front, but this façade is not ugly or overloaded with sculpture – it contains just four statues representing the Four Cardinal Virtues (justice, prudence, strength, and temperance). There are twin turret-style bell towers, though only the one on the right has bells.

Continue reading "Gesuati (Santa Maria Rosario)" »

November 21, 2008

PhotoHunt: Reflection


This week's theme is "reflection."

This was taken at Surf City beach on Topsail Island, NC.

Surf City birds

You can find more Photo Hunters here.

Happy weekend!

November 23, 2008

SSS Week One: Porcini and Chestnut Soup


sundayslowsoupersMany thanks to Amy for getting the Sunday SlowSoupers off to a great start! This soup is absolutely delicious – I really loved it. I had good intentions of freezing some of it for the holidays but no, I ate it all myself (not in one sitting!). Porcini is a strong flavor and while it's the top note in this, the chestnuts mellow it out. It's elegant comfort food.

I’m psyched about participating in Slow Soupers because it will make me try new recipes. I tend to get in a cooking rut and make my same faves over and over. And I probably wouldn’t have tried this one because I would have been too lazy to search out the ingredients.

I pretty much followed the recipe exactly (and it's really easy to make). I skipped the cream fraiche garnish and just topped it with parsley and fresh thyme leaves. I used Pacific Organic chicken broth (bought a six-pack at Costco) and sherry. Used a can of whole chestnuts packed in water that I found at Whole Foods.

I’ll definitely make this again, and I’d like to try it with fresh roasted chestnuts sometime when I’ve got the time to roast and peel them myself. I’m going to bring some porcini home from Venice next month and look for chestnuts on sale after the holidays.

You can find the recipe (with step-by-step photographs) on Amy’s blog. I've also reprinted it below.

List of other Slow Soupers is here. We'll be cooking soup from now until April! Thanks to Krista for the cool logo!

Next up: Jerry’s Mexican Turkey Soup

Continue reading "SSS Week One: Porcini and Chestnut Soup" »

November 24, 2008

The Cats of Mirikitani

catsofmirikitaniThis is such a wonderful film! I had a lump in my throat and misty eyes through much of this movie even though it's not a depressing story,although parts of it are very sad. It ends up being a poignant and uplifting tale about “the healing powers of friendship and art.”

It’s the story of Jimmy Mirikitani, a Japanese-American artist who, at age 80, was homeless and living on the streets of New York City. After 9/11, his friend Linda Hattendorf (the filmmaker) moved him into her apartment because the air was too toxic for someone living on the streets. Linda not only helped him with the bureaucratic challenges of getting help and a home of his own, but also helped him revisit his past and ultimately heal wounds that came from losing his family during WWII, both in Hiroshima and in the US internment camps where Jimmy and many other American citizens of Japanese ancestry were imprisoned.

I didn’t know a lot about these camps, and it’s just so unbelievable that there were concentration camps here on American soil (with American citizens put into them). I read somewhere that the US government has some serious karma from its treatment of Native Americans and also for slavery; I’d add the treatment of Japanese-Americans to that “bad karma” list.

The DVD has some bonus features that are definitely worth watching. I loved seeing the opening of Jimmy’s first art show. And I especially loved the scenes that show his return to Hiroshima, where he attended a memorial service for the victims of the atomic bomb. So sad and beautiful and moving.

The movie’s website says that Jimmy’s doing fine (he’s now 88 years old) and that he continues to make art, not war.” Good for him! Throughout the film, he’s shown creating his art. He's such a character, so gifted, and his work is so beautiful. A few of his paintings are shown here.

It’s such a powerful story. Sometimes getting your heartstrings tugged is a good thing! Thanks to my friend Pam for recommending this film.


November 28, 2008

PhotoHunt: Metal


This week's theme is "metal."

A classic use of metal. I'm hoping that someone will come out with a line of hybrid vehicles with retro styling. :)


You can find more Photo Hunters here.

Have a nice weekend!

November 30, 2008

SSS Week Two: Mexican (Turkey) Soup


sundayslowsoupersThis recipe came from Jerry, who very thoughtfully wanted to help us use our leftover turkey. But I didn't have any! So I subbed a can of red kidney beans, and you know what...it worked! Great recipe. The avocado cream is the best part - awesome stuff. I also garnished with some Guiltless Gourmet Blue Corn tortilla chips and the whole thing was yummy. Recipe is below.

List of other Slow Soupers is here. I'm going to miss a few weeks while I'm in Italy but I'll catch up when I get home. We'll be cooking soup from now until April!

Continue reading "SSS Week Two: Mexican (Turkey) Soup" »

This page contains all entries posted to Churches in Venice in November 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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