Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Step Into My Bidet

A slow day at work, though it portends eroding revenues, opens the door to free association and flight of ideas. Last night the moon was full. It is often stated among people who work in emergency rooms that people are crazier and the ER gets busier during full moons. Anecdotes abound, but there is little if any scientific evidence that this is true. See the link at the end of this post.

I noticed the full moon in the west this morning when I went out to get the paper, and thought I'd try to get a picture. I didn't have time to set up a tripod, but thought I'd see what I could do with the Nikon D90 handheld. The results weren't great, but I did what I could including cranking up the ISO to 6400.

Rather discouraged that 1)I had to go to work, and B)I didn't have time to mess around trying to get a better DSLR picture, I jumped in the truck and sallied forth, which is better than nancying fifth, as far as I can tell. As I pulled onto the street at about 7:15, I noticed that the sky was a little lighter and clouds were blowing through the western sky. I pulled over, extracted the trusty Canon A560 digital point-and-shoot from my jacket pocket, and snapped off a couple pics before resuming my commute.

Moonlight, February 10, 2009
photo by David Cory

A Waterfall, Moonlight, by 1886, oil on canvas, by Ralph Albert Blakelock

The result, as viewed on the LCD of the camera, reminded me of Ralph Albert Blakelock (1847-1919), a painter who struggled with mental illness and who had a propensity for moonlit landscapes. In some of the his paintings, the moon illuminated Indian encampments, another favorite subject of Blakelock. As usual, I am expounding here upon a subject (art) in which I have virtually no training or expertise. But I know what I like. Sorry, I just had to say it. I can stoop that low, but I would never further debase myself by saying of a work of art, abstract or otherwise, "I could do that," or "My kid could do that," or "A monkey could do that." The major difference between people who make such statements and the artists they are criticizing is the artists have the guts to actually do it, and not just say, "I/my kid/my pet monkey could do it."

But, as usual, I digress. I know I like Blakelock, because one of his paintings hangs in the Midwest Museum of American Art in nearby Elkhart, Indiana (the same economically depressed town visited by President Obama yesterday), and I have had the opportunity to see it in person. It hangs next to a painting by Albert Bierstadt, whose western landscapes I have admired for a long time.

"Indian Encampment", 1870, oil on canvas by Ralph Albert Blakelock

I like Bierstadt so much that years ago I bought a print of a painting he did of an Indian encampment. The painting is entitled, "Indian Encampment Late Afternoon."

Bierstadt appreciated the special quality of late afternoon lighting.

Detail from Bierstadt's "Indian Encampment Late Afternoon"

This is where the free association and flight of ideas comes in. Back in January, 1971, the brilliant humor magazine National Lampoon (to which I then had a subscription, much to my father's chagrin) published a Women's Liberation issue, which included a parody of Cosmopolitan magazine, including an editor's column titled, "Step Into My Bidet," a sendup of Helen Gurley Brown's column, "Step Into My Parlor." The Lampoon title was so absurd and funny that it has stayed lodged in the atrophic recesses of my brain lo these 38 years (though I must confess I had to resort to Google to find out the details of the issue at Mark's Very Large National Lampoon Site*).

The Bierstadt print hangs in our master bathroom. As I considered the possibility of taking a photo of the print to post here (indeed, the detail above is from the print in the bathroom), I thought that I would be inviting readers into the bathroom, and as such, could say "Step into my bidet," if in fact I had one, which I don't. But if I did, the print could be hanging perilously close to it, so that the inattentive observer might truly step into the bidet.

Link to Full Moon Myths
*Link to the Unofficial National Lampoon Site


Zhoen said...

Bierstadt is breathtaking, especially seen in person, as it were. I didn't much get Pollock until I could stand in front of his paintings - I could feel them, the movement and color and mastery there.

Dan said...

Sallying forth v. nancying fifth....hilarious!

David C. said...

Zhoen, thanks for your comment. Seeing the real thing definitely beats looking at a print.

Dan, I liked that one too, and I didn't even steal it from Groucho, or anyone else, unless it was subconscious. BTW, I liked your proposed title (Hair to the Chief) for a previous post, and used it in a later post. Also, don't take offense that I seemed to put you in the same league as myself and a monkey when it comes to artistic ability.

Dan said...

Somewhere, there is a monkey with hurt feelings....and rightly so!


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