On Doing the Right Thing

The recent discosure of Fareed Zakaria’s plagiarizing makes me think of something which happened a long while back. When I was a freshman in college I had to write a paper for a ‘Theatre History’ class. When Professor Ron Perrier returned it to me, I was shocked and distraught to find I got a big fat “D” with a comment that said; “You have plagiarized and lifted directly from Brockett’s “The Theatre – An Introduction”.” I can honestly say I was totally unaware that I had done what I did and felt horrible for my mistake. This is before we had ‘copy and paste’ and before students were stretched on the rack and expelled for academic inauthenticity. It was an excellent lesson and I am glad I learned it in college, which at that time seemed like the only place I wanted to be.

No one is perfect, nor is there any guarantee we won’t, as hard as we try, but hopefully not, make the same mistake twice. Fareed Zakaria, unlike the young naive college student, should know better, if indeed it was plagiarism. He needs to explain himself. As he does so, I will be reminded to take care and be aware, and do the right thing as I express myself with the written word.  Perhaps he never had a professor who taught him the lesson I was taught in college.

And to help – I still have the book!

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New Britain Museum of American Art

New Britain Museum of American Art

This museum is a little gem in New Britain, Connecticut featuring primarily American Art from the 17th century to the present.  There is American Impressionism, Academic, Hudson River School, Colonial and Early Republic, First Half of the Twentieth Century and Contemporary. “The Weir Family” and “Nelson White” are two exhibits currently on display. Both show works created by three generations of painters from the same family. The evolution from grandfather, and father to son, is in itself, a lesson in art history.

After walking through the museum my friend Sylvia and I stopped for a bite to eat at the museum cafe.  We had a scrumptious lunch consisting of orange chicken on a croissant and a grilled cheese with pulled pork on wheat.  These were accompanied by a garden salad, an orzo salad and for the finishing touch, a salad of cubed watermelon lightly sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and feta cheese, all garnished with pistachio nuts, arugula and bits of delicious pickled beets.  Very gourmet!

Go soon, to see the two new exhibits, the permanent collection and have lunch at the cafe before you leave.  It is time well spent.  Although yesterday was a perfect beach day, you could go on a rainy day, but then you wouldn’t be able to have lunch on the outdoor cafe patio which overlooks a green bucolic park.

New Britain Museum of American Art

This museum is a little gem in New Britain, Connecticut featuring primarily American Art from the 17th century to the present.  There is American Impressionism, Academic, Hudson River School, Colonial and Early Republic, First Half of the Twentieth Century and Contemporary. “The Weir Family” and “Nelson White” are two exhibits on display at this time.  Both collections show works created by 3 generations of painters in the same family. The evolution from grandfather, father to son is, in itself, a lesson in art history.  

After walking through the museum my friend Sylvia and I stopped for a bite to eat at the museum cafe.  We had a scrumptious lunch consisting of Orange chicken on a croissant and a Grilled cheese with pulled pork on wheat.  These were accompanied by a garden salad an orzo salad and for the finishing touches cubes of watermelon lightly drizzled with balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of feta cheese garnished with pistachio nuts, arugula and bits of delicious pickled beets.  Very gourmet!

If I had any critical observations to make, one would be that at the end of our walk through the galleries I stopped to think about the name of this museum, ‘American Art’ and maybe because I am from the Midwest, I noticed that the majority of the work seems to come from the Eastern part of the United States of America, particularly from New England – yet all very interesting and beautiful! Despite this small detail, I highly recommend a visit to this museum. Go soon, to see the two new exhibits, the permanent collection and have lunch at the cafe before you leave.  It is time well spent.

Here are some works I took pictures of with my phone and touched up with iphoto.  Hope you like!

A thing of the past

RPR in 1st car – 1917

Why do people chase down their ancestors, pouring through letters and documents with frayed edges, faded ink on sheets of paper which crumble in your hands  and between your fingers?  I guess the answer is in the question.  As we strive  for a paperless society, documents become exceedingly inaccessible, buried in forgotten computer files, the World Wide Web, the Cloud, or Google docs and PhotoShop.  Our memory is also buried in these files – gone! – and the danger of obliterating the personal handwritten accounts which affirm the history of our ancestry, becomes more and more imminent.  Long gone is the autograph book and rapidly disappearing is the hand written letter and journal as witnesses of times past. Whatever primary sources resurface in twenty-five, fifty or seventy five years, will certainly be an anomaly, if they exist at all.

Our pursuit of knowledge and wonder are no longer driven by hiking on trails through wooded hills, along running brooks, or on cobblestone streets in historic towns, villages and countries, but rather, through endless hours with our eyes pasted to a computer screen.  Perhaps the advent of the iThis and iThat, and the capability to transmit and receive information instantly through time and space is our way of staying in tune as we are constantly on the move, whether it’s sitting in a chair in our living room or in the seat of a train.  Yet we need not remember a thing, because all information is at our fingertips through technology, and although we are seemingly more cerebral and introverted in our social exchanges, we pursue, record and process information at a faster pace than we ever did before – only to be forgotten.

We are living in an era of heightened individualism and guarded privacy which has made us less sociable face to face, more suspicious, paranoid and worried about what one knows about us and if it is really an apt description of who we are.  In this state of agitation we are unable  to shift our consciousness into a true state of Carp Diem, or in other words, lose ourselves completely in a moment  of time, in the beauty of a poem, the shapes and forms of a painting, or in the seconds at dusk and dawn when the buds of a flower open and close.

As the Age of Technology spins out of control what legacy will we be leaving for our children which our foremothers and fathers have left for us?  I for one find myself sucked into this technology and forever striving to keep up and constantly learning how to use it – dependent  on the keyboard for my social interaction and to satisfy my wonder and pursuit of information. Yet, I am weary and discerning of the lack of reality and authenticity of technology and unsatisfied with the information it has to offer. I am afraid the layers of facts, or facts posing as the truth which are deeply buried in my computer will be quickly forgotten when I turn off the switch. Yet I am happy to know that this information will never compare with the real photographs, authentic documents and letters which I hold in my hand.  I consider myself fortunate and at the same time saddened to have these papers at my fingertips because I realize that their production is a thing of the past.

The News

The Hartford Courant
I canceled the newspaper while I was on vacation. I was going to discontinue it indefinitely then I thought of getting it Thursday through Sunday, which is what I think I told them on the phone. I also said I wanted to wait until September. So the paper arrived, yesterday – on Sunday, in July. I was happy to see it in the box. This morning I heard the car come to a stall at 5 A.M. -the time the newspaper arrives. Wait a minute! -it’s Monday. It’s not supposed to come until Thursday, in September. Like yesterday I was happy to make my ritual walk to the end of the driveway and sit down and read the paper. Here is what I found newsworthy:

From the Hartford Courant. (I’ll save my critique of this paper for later)

RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS BRIDGE THE GAP For the first time rabbinical students from the Theological Seminary in New York City are attending the Hartford Seminary. The seminary offers classes to Jewish, Muslim and Christian students with the hopes of fomenting better understanding among the three religions. -A good idea as long as religion is around.

YOGA ON THE FARMINGTON RIVER Yoga classes are being offered on the Farmington River. The picture shows pupils holding poses on a paddleboard on the water to test their balance. -Not sure if I am up to this one!

EXIT POLLS PUT PRI BACK ON TOP Mexican elections are pretty much over and the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) is back in power after 12 years out of the spotlight. The new president is Enrique Pena Nieto. They are hoping to stimulate the economy and put the drug war to an end. More than 50,000 lives have been lost in six years. According to the article the drug cartels supply cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine to users in the United States. -One would think the wall would keep the drugs out.

HEALTH CARE LAW RULING SPARKS TV WAR OF WORDS The Democrats are happy about the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of ObamaCare but they don’t like the tax mandate. Overall, conservatives and Republicans are disappointed with the decision and if Romney is elected they will repeal the law. However polls show there is an increased approval of the healthcare reform by more and more conservatives – the percentage jumped from 43% to 47%. Nancy Pelosi questioned the ethics of Republicans wanting to repeal a law which will help children, young adults, men and women and seniors with needed health care. -Dah!

ROBERT’S HEALTH CARE RULING LONG-TERM WIN by George Will You will have to read this one on your own. He seems to be in favor of the decision. -Will usually presents an interesting argument, even if he is conservative.

So, it is good my newspaper showed up today and yesterday. What happens tomorrow? Now it’s back to reading the comics!

Oh, one last thing! – Spain won (4-0) the EURO 2012 championship against Italy. -What will they call this championship when the euro is defunct?

Stay tuned…

just let things be

There is nothing like summer theatre and “The Odd Couple”, by Neil Simon, to take our minds off pending summer projects and step into another reality.

In this hilarious comedy, type A personality, Felix Unger, is booted out of the house by his wife Frances.  To his good fortune, Oscar Madison, his slovenly poker playing friend, takes him under his wing. After living together for a short time as divorcees, Oscar and Felix discover they are extreme incompatible opposites.  What happens in the “Odd Couple” is that Felix, a neatnik, can’t stand to see anything out of its place and begins to drive Oscar nuts with all his nitpicking ways.

We soon realize that the result is not more order but chaos when Felix’s compulsive behavior is imposed upon Oscar’s happy go lucky nature. Oscar is virtually going insane and Felix once again finds himself out on the street only to be taken in by the British Pigeon sisters.  Once Felix leaves, peace and harmony are ironically restored to Oscar’s life and “order” becomes a matter of opinion.  

“The Odd Couple” appeals to us in so many ways.  Set in New York City, it perfectly mirrors reality and our own foibles. This wonderfully enjoyable play can teach us to strike a balance and live sanely with others, or at best, just let things be.

Now for the the summer projects…

 

Man of La Mancha…

Man of La Mancha

Miguel de Cervantes

“I shall impersonate a man. His name is Alonso Quijana, a country squire no longer young. Being retired, he has much time for books. He studies them from morn till night and often through the night and morn again, and all he reads oppresses him; fills him with indignation at man’s murderous ways toward man. He ponders the problem of how to make better a world where evil brings profit and virtue none at all; where fraud and deceit are mingled with truth and sincerity. He broods and broods and broods and broods and finally his brains dry up. He lays down the melancholy burden of sanity and conceives the strangest project ever imagined – -to become a knight-errant, and sally forth into the world in search of adventures; to mount a crusade; to raise up the weak and those in need. No longer will he be plain Alonso Quijana, but a dauntless knight known as Don Quixote de La Mancha.”