USA and Germany vs. the UK
. It could be an interesting alternative history, but instead it's just a little diplomatic tiff.
The imported helot class revolts in Dubai
. The numbers for the Gulf microstates have always intrigued me. Just going by the stats in the article, almost 2/3 of the population of Dubai is from somewhere else. What happens if the guest workers decide they want some changes?
Wave of federal workers to retire soon
. Sadly I'm not going to be one of them. And I read somewhere else that the retirement age could be pushed up to 72 by the time I get anywhere close.
Interesting article about works of art from old churches being moved into new ones
. I think I can safely say that American tastes for "modern" from the fifties through the seventies resulted in some pretty awful -- and awfully ugly -- buildings, especially churches. The consequences of the aesthetics of those days continue to haunt us.
My parents were married in what was once a pretty little church in the small town where my grandparents lived. Unfortunately the church later caught fire (the wedding having nothing to do with that), and they rebuilt it to be more modern. The old stone walls remained intact, but some architect decided to put the altar in the middle of the building, facing one end of the transept, with seats (not pews - and let me tell you, the kneelers attached to those things are brutal) facing it from the apse, nave and transept. I'm sure the idea was to put everything in the middle to make the Mass more accessible post-Vatican II, but the result was that you were looking at one side of the priest or the other unless you got one of the seats in the few rows facing the altar. And my grandmother was a traditionalist, so we always sat in the nave. Now they're trying to restore the altar to its proper place, but the ranks of parishioners are dwindling, so fundraising efforts for getting the work done haven't been too successful.
I've asked this before, but what happened to Art-with-a-capital-A in the twentieth century? When did all the aesthetics get stripped out of it in favor of making some sort of "statement" - which is generally "I hate George W. Bush" if I'm reading the press releases about exhibitions of contemporary works properly. Not exactly a statement for the ages, is it? Look at anything Art Nouveau from the turn of the century, or Art Deco from the thirties. It all holds up. Then look at those kidney-shaped things - paintings, ashtrays, tables, swimming pools - from the fifties. Ugh. And I won't even go into the horrors of the 1970's palette.
Modern art in the Catholic church is hit or miss. There's a banner representing Mary in the giant suburban church my parents belong to. Unfortunately it's not exactly representational, and it reminds me of a giant purple jellyfish every time I see it. A giant purple jellyfish at the front of a building that looks like an airplane hangar, but they really pack them in, so they do need the space. But there are the "Communion of Saints
" tapestries at the cathedral in Los Angeles, which are definitely modern, but harken back to realism.
This is one reason I picked St. Matthew's
, which is beautiful in the traditional sense, especially now that the restoration work is complete. All the artwork in Catholic churches should tell something about the faith, which is why the grand old European churches are chock full of paintings and sculptures. It really does make it all more real to see something identifiable and understandable, rather than something abstract, so it's no surprise that new churches are choosing to rescue the treasures of the past.