Monthly Archives: April 2020
Photo of the Week – April 10, 2020
Tweet of the Week – April 10, 2020
A creative take on Queen’s “I Want to Break Free” (1984) – a quick homage for the desire to be quarantine-free amidst the COVID-19 pandemic!
Worst Quote of the Week – April 10, 2020
“It is being used in Germany as a mist. Health care workers go through a misting tent going into the hospital and it kills the coronavirus completely dead not only right then, but any time in the next 14 days that the virus touches anything that’s been sprayed it is killed.”
– U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, (R-TX), claiming that German scientists had developed a powder that – mixed with water – will kill the COVID-19 virus on contact.
In response, Dr. Jörn Wegner, a spokesman for Deutsche Krankenhausgesellschaft, the German Hospital Association, stated, “What your congressman said is absolute nonsense. There are no such tents and there’s no powder or magical cure.”
Gohmert continues to embarrass both my home state of Texas and the United States in general by spouting out such idiotic and ridiculous statements as this “misting” cure. Why the people of his district continue to let Gohmert stay in office is mind-boggling. Then again, if you knew East Texas, like I do, you’d understand – somewhat.
Best Quote of the Week – April 10, 2020
“This is a test of our humanity, whether we will put each other’s lives ahead of our own economic self-interest. I know we’re passing it here in Kentucky. We need to pass it as a country.”
– Andy Beshear, Democratic Governor of Kentucky, on PBS April 6, discussing the personal and professional sacrifices his state’s residents have made during the COVID-19 crisis.
How the Chief Is Coping with the COVID-19 Quarantine – April 3, 2020
Reading about my family history has always been exhilarating!
Rays of Pink
The oceans and seas remain one of the most mysterious realms on Earth. We still know more about the surface of our moon – and perhaps the surface of Mars – than what all lies beneath the world’s deepest waters.
Recently Australian photographer Kristian Laine took pictures of a truly remarkable submarine creature: the world’s only documented pink manta ray. Spanning about 11 feet and nicknamed Inspector Clouseau, after The Pink Panther, the animal lives near Lady Elliot Island, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef.
“I had no idea there were pink mantas in the world, so I was confused and thought my strobes were broken or doing something weird,” Laine told National Geographic.
Project Manta, established to study and preserve the creatures within Australian waters, discovered Clouseau in 2015. Organization officials were able to conduct a skin biopsy on the animal and determine its unique coloration is not due to disease or its diet; rather, it’s the result of a genetic mutation called erythrism, which causes reddening in melanin expressions. Most manta rays are black, white, or a combination of the two.
This is individual, however, is unbelievably astounding and proves just how fascinating our own planet really is!
Filed under Curiosities
The Earliest Hazmat Suits
Color copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel (Dr. Beak), a plague doctor in seventeenth-century Rome, published by Paul Fürst, (c. 1656).
The sight of various medical personnel clad in head-to-toe coverings to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus has become common in recent weeks. It used to be frightening to see something like that; images that were usually relegated to toxic waste dumps and crime scenes. But such garb is nothing new.
Beginning in the 17th century C.E., as more epidemics of bubonic plague swept Western Europe, doctors often wore a variety of outfits to protect them from the miasma, or “bad air”, then believed to carry disease. This was still a time when most people believed health scourges were acts of God and not the result of microbes gone awry. (Some people – even in so-called developed nations – are still stupid enough to believe that! The AIDS epidemic is a perfect example.) It was long before people realized the importance of basic health measures: handwashing, sanitation, not listening to politicians or religious leaders.
These long-ago costumes look theatrical (almost comical) now, as they typically consisted of a head-to-toe leather or wax-canvas garment; large crystal glasses; and a long snout or bird beak, containing aromatic spices (such as mint and cloves), dried flowers (usually roses or carnations), or a vinegar sponge. The strong smells of these items — sometimes set aflame for added advantage — were meant to combat the contagious miasma that the costume itself could not protect against.
They attire wasn’t just fanciful. The ankle-length gowns and beaked masks could offer some protection against germs. The design of these particular outfits has been credited to French physician Charles de Lorme who may have developed the concept around 1619. By the time the “Plague of 1656” ravaged Italy (which was then a collection of city-states) and killed an estimated half-million people, the beaked coverings had become mostly mandatory.
Terrifying in centuries past, they make for good Halloween apparel today!
Photograph of 17th-century plague doctor mask from Austria or Germany on display in Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum.
Theodore Zwinger III (1658-1724), coat of arms with portrait.
Man in plague mask on Poveglia, (c. 1899).
Plague doctor, from Jean-Jacques Manget, Traité de la peste, (1721).
Doctor in plague costume during the plague epidemic of 1720 in Marseille. Drawing first published in 1826 in the Guide sanitaire des gouvernemens européens by Louis-Joseph-Marie Robert.
Jan van Grevenbroeck (1731-1807), Venetian doctor during the time of the plague. Museo Correr, Venice.
Copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel, a plague physician in 17th-century Rome, (c. 1656).
IJsbrand van Diemerbroeck, Dutch plague doctor.
Satirical engraving by Johann Melchior Füssli of a doctor of Marseilles clad in cordovan leather equipped with a nose-case packed with plague-repelling smoking material.
Doctor’s outfit at the Lazaret de Marseille, 1720.
A physician wearing a 17th-century plague costume, as imagined in 1910.
A physician wearing a 17th-century plague costume, as imagined in 1910.
Filed under Classics
Tomás Sánchez – Landscapes of Isolation
“The interior spaces that I experience in meditation are converted into the landscapes of my paintings; the restlessness of my mind transformed into landfills. When I paint, I experience meditative states; through meditation, I achieve a union with nature, and nature, in turn, leads me to meditation.”
– Tomás Sánchez
If one word can best describe the world we’re living in now, surrealism has no equal. Seeing the empty roads and highways of the Dallas /Fort Worth-area that I’ve known my entire life is one of the most uncanny experiences I’ve ever had. I’m still trying to comprehend this slow-motion cataclysm and all of the chaos around it.
Tomás Sánchez seems to understand the concept of a surrealistic existence. His paintings truly exhibit that sense of isolation; something we introverts love, but that even we realize is not always perfect. Yet, in those moments of solitude, titanic waterfalls and endless canopies of treetops often embrace (almost swallow) a tiny nondescript figure with its natural beauty. The latter aspect is reminiscent of dramatic sunsets and massive ocean waves I’ve encountered; elements of the world that should render the most egocentric among us as humble.
“Aislarse (Isolate)”, 2001
“Orilla y cielo gris (Shore and gray sky)”, 1995
“Autorretrato en tarde Rosa (Self-portrait in pink afternoon)”, 1994
“Llegada del caminante a la laguna (Arrival of the walker to the lagoon)”
“Meditación y sonido de aguas (Meditation and sound of waters)”, 1993
Filed under Art Working