Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beijing Architecture for the Olympics

I'm sure you've seen many of the pictures from the incredible venues built in Beijing but Dezeen has put together a nice compilation and story here.

The Antikythera Mechanism

History, Technology, Design and the Ancients combined!! With the Olympics only days away here is an astonishing story and video that I hope you'll take a few moments to watch. If you go back in my posts or remember my story about the old man at Ephesus you'll see why I took his words so seriously. In a quick reminder, the old man said, "The ancients had powers that we don't know about"

This is the story about an ancient Greek clock that displays astronomical and Olympic times. The story was posted today on Boing Boing and the video comes from the Nature Journal of Science. This is fascinating in so many ways and well worth your time. To think I depend on my cell phone now for the time of day!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Two Thumbs Up

Well before Rotten Tomatoes and all the other film review sites we could all depend on Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel to tell us what movies to see. One great man has passed and the other has carried on with health worries for awhile. I will miss them. The Balcony is closed.

A New Burger for DC

Always looking for the great burger. In DC that's a challenge as we have some great steak joints. Here's a new place to check out. Westend Bistro from Gourmet.

Message Under The Door

Building management alerted me via letter under the door, upon arriving home tonight, that Verizon will complete installation of my Verizon FiOS into the apartment. I haven't signed up for the service but noticed this story on FiOS on Gizmodo about the service. It looks great. Gee, another hi-tec bill. This will be a wait and see methinks.

A Big Welcome to New Blogger

I've been a fan of Michael Devine and his new store in Kinderhook, NY. Many of us have mentioned his talent and seen pictures of the store and the great apartment above it.

The new Quest magazine arrived yesterday and I saw the article about Michael and mention of his new blog. So a big welcome to The Devine Life and much success.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New England Hollywood Style

With the 1st of August at our doorstep dreams of summer in New England fill my head. To this day when heading toward the beach I can imagine the smell of salt and noises from the beach. Here is a fun video from Travelistic on Mendocino, California and how this lovely Nothern CA town played such a part in our collective imagination of what a coastal New England town should be and was. For my dreams the town was Mystic. Has it should always be called.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Not that Chevy Chase. World Shoppers Are Here.

As the previous post mentioned there are deals to be had at the auction houses. This post takes note of an MSNBC story today about all the world coming to the states for their summer vacation. I for one, say welcome. Just today on a cloudy, rainy, muggy, typical Washington July day, I saw this story to be very true.

Just a couple of blocks from my home is the relatively new Rodeo Drive of Chevy Chase, Maryland. Over the past two years a proliferation of high end stores have opened here in the neighborhood. Nothing much of interest to me. There's Tiffany's of course along with Cartier, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren.

I walk past these stores twice daily heading toward my own place of work further down Wisconsin Avenue. Most of the time they appear to be empty. I always look at the young man dressed in a perfect black suit standing by the door of one of the stores ready to open it to potential customers. How can he stand there all day long like that? Yet he is always there.

Today however was different and noticeably so. While walking to meet a few friends, I first noticed a group of young Asians and from what little I heard took them to be Japanese. They were holding multiple bags from the Brooks Brothers on the corner and were fully clothed in what only can be called high American Prep, and they had the look down pat. Half a block later I ran into the most beautifully, traditionally dressed Indian family, swathed in summer saris and fancy footware coming out of Jimmy Choo, equally laden with bags. I began to take notice. Fifty feet further and this chic Italian family comes walking out of Barney's with the pretty teenager going on and on about "Boomindales" across the street but beelining for the Ralph Lauren next door.I'd seen the story on MSNBC just this morning and here was the world right before my eyes shopping like mad. I thought it was great!

Tomorrow, I'm going straight to the PR department at my shop. We have six weeks of summer vacation to go and if the world wants to shop here in DC who am I to complain.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Auction Hound Yelps

As loyal followers of Homer know, I love auctions and comment mainly on DC auctions but also about pieces and collections from all over the place. Not only do I love antiques but I love the art of the deal. Today's Wall Street Journal reports that prices for antique furniture are way down here in the states. The story is here.

The report seems to fault the decline on two reasons. One, that in these sour economic times, the market has been flooded with people selling their treasures and secondly, that the lovely Chippendale cocktail table, my first buy, has gone out of style. It goes on to say that all the design magazines are displaying modern streamlined products.

Whatever the reason, I say HOGWASH and RUN don't WALK down to the auction houses. If the prices they site are true, then now is the time to buy. It only makes me want even more to open up a business. A classic bow front is exactly that.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Perusing This Day In History

A place I have yet to visit but will. On this day in 1911 Hiram Bingham re-discovered the the lost city of the Incas, known to us all as Machu Picchu.Here is a short piece on his story.I've had friends trek up to this glorious spot and from their tales I'm glad the train will now get you there. I smoke.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Old Man Has a New Biography

A review of Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey: A Biography, by Alberto Manguel.
After reading the review I think I might stick to my Homer. To be explained.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Alexander Calder In The Kitchen

While cooking is not an area of expertise, I do love the tools that makes things go smoothly in the kitchen. If they remind me of a favorite artist, all the better, I'm sure you'll see it too. This story today from a great and early blogger, Chocolate and Zucchini.

Our own Versailles in Kennett Square

Last Thursday the New York Times published a very interesting story about the Duchess of Northumberland and her garden at Alnwick Castle. The story, entitled, "The Versailles of the North," highlighted the struggles and determination to complete what will be one the most aspiring new public gardens in Europe. As yet unfinished and critiqued by some as too commercial it is none the less a major project and is bringing in hordes of visitors. There is a nice slideshow as part of the story to show you the work in progress.

Luckily, we Yanks don't have to cross the Pond to see a garden in the style of Versailles. A good friend just returned from a weekend in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and raved about the beauty of Longwood Gardens.

Less than two and half hours from Washington DC, in the Brandywine Valley, sits over a thousand acres of botanical gardens, meadows, and majestic fountains.Open to the public year round, Longwood is a gift from it's creator Pierre S. du Pont.

The garden has twenty outdoor and twenty indoor gardens and from late May to the first of September has a wonderful nighttime show of the fountains lit and set to music. Here is the link to Longwood Gardens.

Diebenkorn Exhibition

One of my favorite American artists has always been Richard Diebenkorn. Starting tomorrow, 45 works by the artist will go on display at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. The exhibition runs from July 23 through November 9, 2008. The title of the show is, “Richard Diebenkorn, Artist, and Carey Stanton, Collector: Their Stanford Connection.” Most of the works belonged to Carey Stanton and focus on Santa Cruz Island. I became a fan after seeing his work at MOMA in New York City and hope that those of you with the opportunity to visit Stanford University take advantage.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Night Fun

A Bit of Nalts, one of my favorites, to end a sunny Summer evening. Its very silly.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Brideshead RE-Revisited

My thanks to a newly found fellow blogger Stefan, better known as Architectdesign, who reminded me of the soon to open movie version of Brideshead Revisited. I mention this for two reasons, one being that I loved the original series and secondly, that I am shocked to realize that it originally was shown in 1981. Can it be that long ago?

I must say that although the cast for the new movie is impressive, I'll be very surprised to see it match the original. Here is a moment from the original.

I recall that An Easy and Elegant Life recently posted about the series and our mutual regard for the soundtrack. I did however follow Stefan's link to the movie's website and was more intrigued by its software and presentation than by the movie itself. Its beautifully put together and shows what is to come. The way it links interviews and showcases the movie might be better than the final product. I urge you to take a look and you better have a broadband connection to enjoy it.Brideshead Revisited.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Summer Barn House

Its Friday evening on a hot steamy night in DC. While present circumstances keep me in town, I've always wished of a small yet wonderful place to get away from it all for the weekend. I love this place and the fact that it was made from an original structure. Sure Belgium is a bit to far for that quick getaway but I can picture this on the eastern shore. So dreaming away, take a look at the structure and its story.

Tate Modern

The Tate Modern in London is one of my favorite museums. Hoping to have its new wing open by 2012, in time for the Olympics, a revised design is now being shown. I like it and never miss an opportunity to visit this great place. Here is the story from

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Okay So Sometimes the Romans Do Something Right

A great motorcycle routine.

Le Big Mac

Now we all love our hamburgers, in so many different ways. But the NYTimes reports today that the American/French wars over French fries vs American fries seems to have ended with Paris now serving the all American hamburger in a truly Gallic fashion.

We would be remiss in this post without a short video explained by Vincent,aka John Travolta on the American experience with hamburgers in France.

I conclude with the link to the NYTimes, "In Paris, Burgers Turn Chic."

Roman Holiday Rules Regarding Refreshments

The Rome City Council has banned the eating of snacks near it most important monuments. Fines have been given. Does this mean no gelato licking on the Spanish Steps while people watching? Here's the story.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SoWine Bar. I Say Why Whine?

From Gizmodo today. It will never happen in this house.

If popping open a box of Franzia and drinking until you pass out is your idea of a sophisticated evening, you will have no use for the SoWine Bar. Believe it or not, there are people out there that prefer to enjoy a bottle of wine over an extended period of time. SoWine allows those users to store two bottles, bring them to the correct drinking temperature, and keep them fresh when opened for up to 10 days (according to the manufacturer) using two separate air-tight refrigerated storage units. Most of the other preservation methods out there only get you an extra few days, so this represents a significant improvement. SoWine is available for around $600

I'm Trying To Post but That Seven Year Itch Time Is Here

I know I'm way behind producing new posts but its the middle of July and all my married buddies are here in town, on the loose, screaming to meet them after work for a drink which turns into five. I can't type, I can't think, ahh I love summer!! I promise to be a better person Lord just not tonight. Til then. The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Oldest' blogger dies, aged 108

Australia's Olive Riley - said to be the world's oldest internet blogger - dies
at the age of 108. RIP. Here's her story.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Peter Beard and Mary Hemingway with R. Couri Hay

I have followed Peter Beard's career from afar for many years always with admiration. Though I didn't know his personal history intimately I was always aware of his work. I guess being a New Yorker in the 70's and 80's he was simply a part of that golden age of personages we kept an eye on.

This post throws up past to the 70's and a fascinating interview by R. Couri Hay at one of Peter's shows, "The End of the Game," where Mary Hemingway was an attendee. Peter is he kinda guy we all aspire too yet perhaps don't have the obviously good genes to win out. Here is a man whose talent and lust for exotic travel combined with a great photographic eye made me an envious fan. I'll never forget when the news broke of how he was trampled by an elephant and nearly died and of his great strides to recover and return from that horrific accident. Thanks to the Sporting Life linked here at Homer's for finding this long lost interview. Its says so much about that time. Listening to Mary Hemingway is charming and illustrative of an age gone by. Its also interesting to see R. Couri Hay way back then and who is still a fixture in New York often noted at New York Social Diary.

Peter Beard and Mary Hemingway

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sometimes It Goes Over My Head And I'm A Big Fan

A Jeff Koons sculpture owned by Dallas-based collectors Howard and Cindy Rachofsky set an auction record for the artist on Monday when it sold for $25.8 million at Christie's International in London.

The 11-foot-2-inch-high chromium steel Balloon Flower (Magenta) had been expected to fetch about $23.9 million, Christie's said. The sculpture was bought by an unidentified telephone bidder.

Mr. Rachofsky said they sold the piece to expand their collection in the focus areas of American minimalism, Italian postwar art and German painting. The move was "the most difficult decision I've ever made about a work of art," he said last month. The sculpture, bought in 1998, had been in the center of a pond on their Preston Hollow estate.

The work is part of the artist's "Celebration" series of high-tech sculptures inspired by childhood memories. Four other versions of Balloon Flower exist in four different colors, the auction house said.

The artist's previous auction record was $23.6 million for Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold), which was sold at Sotheby's in New York last November. Prices include commissions.

Golf and Architecture..YES

New structures at the Sempachersee Golf Club near Lucerne, Switzerland. Golf and Architecture doesn't just mean fast greens and sandtraps. More pictures and info via CH here.

We Need A Bigger Wall

Its called Hiperspace and is the world's highest resolution display and its complicated. More info via Gizmodo.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

DC Taxi Rules. Ahh DC. Statehood?

As a former NYC'er and world traveler I have often relied on the mercy of the taxi. Its a hard job I'm sure. However, as opposed to New York City or London, you can be assured that when you give the address to a taxi driver on where your trying to go, you'll get there. However, in DC or its close environs, the driver will have no idea on how to get there. Now, thanks to the new meter law, costs are even more obscure. Our Nation's Capital. To those of us who live here its nothing new. To those of us who have moved outside of DC it confirms our deepest feelings. Here is the lowdown.

It's Another Hot Night in DC, Can I Get One Of These?

Mrs. Blandings Gets an A+

One of my favorite bloggers, Mrs. Blandings just highlighted a superb site called Bearded Roman. is authored and maintained by Micah Christensen. Micah is an art historian living in London. He is also the co-Founder of the Constitutional Sources Project, based in Washington, DC. For Art lovers and historians and we amateurs,a new bar has been set. I will obviously link the site immediately. Thanks Mrs. Blandings.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Basin Street Boys for an Elegant Evening Swing

A quick summer's night song from the elegant Basin Street Boys singing Evening Swing

Katherine Hepburn's Lighthouse for $1.00

I love the Long Island Sound as it's where I grew up in the summer time. I have also always loved Light Houses and their sounds. This post involves modern technology and their fading relevence.

Our house looks straight across to Fisher's Island and I spent many an afternoon sailboat racing our 24's about the sound. It's a special place where sailing is King.It is not the ocean as we are protected by both Long Island and Fisher's Island Sounds, and it makes for prefect sailing with strong breezes but relatively calm waters.

On Sunday evenings, long after sunset, we would jump in the boston whaler, with the old 60 horsepower outboard engine and ride across the sound from Connecticut to New York where the "bar" was still open.

To those in the know, that would be the Pequot House,the only bar on Fisher's Island. There we would dance the night away quenching out thirsts on long neck Bud's. Late in the evening we would stumble back to the dock and ride through the moonlight looking out for those flashing lights that would guide us home.

The thrill of the ride, while snookered, was always the lights in the water created from the blades churning up the algae that lit our trail yards back while we skimmed the water under the moon.

Which leads me to this story of the Fenwick Lighthouse which has been put up for sale. Mine were not the only eye's to love this building. Those of us of a certain age would know that this lighthouse stood right off the great Katherine Hepburn's property. You know if she was still alive she would save it. That's my guess anyway. Here is the story about a building whose purpose has passed it's time but remains beautiful in its' reason. Fenwick Lighthouse up for sale. Someone must save it.

It Was My First Glimpse of Rome

I'm just a bit short this month. Damn!

Bonhams Old Master Paintings Sale Casts A Spotlight On Italy With Spectacular View Of Rome

9 July
New Bond Street

Bonhams next sale of Old Master Paintings at New Bond Street on 9 July 2008 will feature a stunning scene of the Piazza del Popolo in Rome by the Dutch landscape artist Gaspar van Wittel (1653-1736). Last seen at auction in 1923, the painting is expected to fetch £500,000-700,000. The view of the Piazza del Popolo would have had particular resonance for foreigners on the Grand Tour as it often afforded travellers their first glimpse of Rome.

A Paris Hotel's Rebirth

A Grande Dame of Paris hotels has closed for a total refurbishment but not before going out in style. Belgian designer and artist Arne Quinze created a temporary installation at five-star Parisian hotel Le Royal Monceau last month, before the hotel’s closure for a year-long make-over by Phillipe Starck. The art event entitled, "Rebirth," took place on June 26th. For more pictures and information visit Dezeen ,one of my favorite design sites.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I Don't Need to Get There Fast

I recently been reading about the return of the Dirigible and noted this New York Times article on the subject. I've always thought that air travel at slower speeds would be a great way to travel. I've had the opportunity to ride in a few hot air balloons and loved every minute, but quiet they really aren't. Here is the story on a few enterprising fellows. Why Fly When you Can Float

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Happy Fourth Of July

The true original. I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Should We Blog On A Cool Summer Night? And Is That A Verb?

Dancing Matt explained

If you enjoyed the previous post on Dancing Matt here is a brief video on how he gets his footage for video. Its very entertaining. Dancing Matt.