Fleur de lis

I recently became aware of a call for artwork making use of the fleur de lis, which is a symbol used a lot here in St Louis.

Since I’m trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone and work on projects that aren’t only for me, I think I’m going to give it a try.

I will be working on this over the next few days trying to create something interesting based on the below image. So, if I don’t update for a few days, it’s not personal.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.

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Consensus =/= Proof

In a previous post, I mentioned that on bad mental health days I take advantage of Ancient Aliens as background nose due to the lack of critical thinking skills it requires to watch. Yesterday, because of some weather that moved through the local St Louis area, I had one of those days, albeit on a smaller level.

Yesterday’s viewing of Ancient Aliens episodes provided me with a topic idea for today. Every episode begins with a tagline that says, “Millions of people around the world believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings. What if it were true?”

The suggestion from the folks behind the show is, of course, the idea that because a lot of people believe it, it must be true. However, as anyone who paid attention in history and science knows, only a few thousand years ago people believed the Earth was the center of the solar system, believed the Earth was flat, and believed humans were incapable of achieving flight.

While, sadly, I do have to acknowledge there are those who still believe all of those things, most accept that scientific evidence has proven the Earth revolves around the Sun, the Earth is a globe, and airplanes and helicopters fly over our heads daily.

Another tagline used in every episode of Ancient Aliens features some variation of a phrase that says, “ancient astronaut theorists believe”. I’ve always considered this to be an acknowledgement that the “theorists” were selective in their acceptance and rejection of “demonstrated” evidence with how well it fits the existing “theory”. This is versus adjusting theories to reflect new evidence that may not work with existing theories, which is how actual scientists do research.

As the great American philosopher, George Carlin, stated, “never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.

M.C. Escher: Infinite Variations

This past Friday, my wife and I got a chance to see an exhibit of the works of one of my favorite artists, M.C. Escher. The exhibit, M.C. Escher: Infinite Variations, opened here in St Louis on May 2 and will remain through September 22.

This exhibit brings approximately 100 pieces from the Herakleidon Museum in Athens, Greece, to the United States. For the St Louis exhibit, the curators are making use of two exhibition spaces. The main part of the exhibit is on display at the World Chess Hall of Fame and a smaller selection of Escher’s work is on display at the St Louis University Museum of Art.

The exhibit not only features the lithograph, woodcut, wood engraving, and mezzotint (yes, I had to Google this too) prints created by Escher, but also includes several practice and layout sketches, lithograph stones, and wood blocks used to create the prints. The inclusion of these printmaking tools allows the viewer to really appreciate the genius of Escher and the painstaking detail that went into each of his prints.

While I’ve always appreciated Escher’s work and have made use of book and internet viewings, nothing beats being able to see the actual prints up close. If you’re anywhere near the St Louis area, or will be before September 22, add this exhibit to your t-do list. You won’t be disappointed.

If you’re interested in what Amazon offers for M.C. Escher, they have many book, print, and t shirt offerings.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.

Just a Heads Up

As of today, I’ve received the initial approval for the Amazon Associates program. Currently, the book and movie links in the Catch-22 entry link to my Amazon associate account.

The way the program works is I link books, movies, etc in my blog posts and if you buy a copy from the link, I get a small referral commission. That commission, in turn, helps to fund my writing and reading habits for future entries here.

Additionally, over the coming days, I will be switching older article links from Barnes and Noble to the Amazon Associates program links. So, if you get a flood of page updates, my apologies ahead of time.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.

Catch-22

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Note:
I will avoid spoilers here and request that any comments remain spoiler free as well.
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Yesterday I watched the new Hulu mini-series version of Catch-22. The book, Catch-22, has always been one of my favorite examples of absurd literature. Until this past Friday, we’ve had to settle for the original 1970 film version of Catch-22 to experience it as a piece of the theater of the absurd. Well, not any more.

Unlike the previous film version at only two hours, the mini-series format gives the director, George Clooney, a full six hours to do a much better job of following book and including more of the insanity that makes Catch-22 one of the icons of the absurd.

This production is fantastic and much better than the 1970 film. Also, this verion doesn’t shy away from the satire and insanity and the goriness of war that Heller made a central theme of the book. This is, by far, the best version of this story and the best way to experience this story outside of reading the book itself.

The only major change that sticks out in this version is the ending. The ending of this version is a bit of a surprise and leaves even more questions than the 1970 movie and the the original book… which was always Heller’s intent.

If you have a Hulu account, definitely check this out. If you don’t have a Hulu account or have been contemplating creating one, this series is definitely worth it.

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Note:
I again request that any comments remain spoiler free.
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Apologies

My apologies to everyone who follows this blog and just received what looked like an avalanche of spam. I planned for those story pieces to find their way on here and forgot to post them previously.

In addition to telling the story of my own mental health, I always intended for this blog to feature various writing pieces that I’m particularly happy with, even if the intended recipient was not.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.