Turning the Trevi Fountain Red

I had lunch yesterday with a friend from Rome who went by the Trevi the other day during its brief red spell. He says he rather liked it – that it was a break from the (imagine the gesture) consistency that is Roma. When someone at the table asked if it was a Communist protester he laughed and reminded her that the Communists are too conservative now for anything this amusing.

Wine with wine vs. wine with food

This is an interesting admission from a wine critic:

At a blind tasting of six award- winning New Zealand sauvignon blancs last week at New York’s Per Se restaurant, I singled out a ripe, juicy wine with plenty of exuberance as my No. 1. But that was without food.
When waiters repoured the wines in a different order and I assessed all six again with Thomas Keller’s haute salade verte, poached lobster knuckles and smoked sturgeon with horseradish cream, my former favorite came in dead last and my No. 6 now shone like a star. Amazingly, almost every other wine critic in the room agreed, as did a group in London at a similar tasting.
Which proved yet again (as if I needed a reminder) that judging wines against each other won’t tell you which ones go best with food.

She found a Rufino Tamayo on the street!

This is a great story of stolen art found from Bloomberg/muse!

Gibson, a tall, blond 53-year-old resident of the Upper West Side, went out for a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning in 2003. She spotted a large painting poking out from among the garbage bags left on the sidewalk on West 72nd Street. In her pre-caffeinated haze, she kept walking.
“I’m all about de-cluttering, so why was I going to take it home?” she recalled in an interview.
A few minutes and a cup of coffee later, Gibson returned to the trash pile, saw the painting and reconsidered.

She knew she had something more important than junk art, but it took her 2 years to find out just what. She returned the painting; now Sotheby’s is auctioning it off – read the whole story!

Here’s a story with a picture.

Science strikes a blow for crankiness – or why it doesn’t matter if I’m cheerful about my damn lungs.

A positive or negative outlook had no effect on head and neck cancer survival in any univariate, multivariate, or exploratory analyses, reported James C. Coyne, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania here, and colleagues, in a study slated for publication in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Cancer.
Their pooled analysis of quality of life and mood in two Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) trials is the largest and methodologically strongest study to look at the issue.
However, even when added to numerous negative or neutral studies, the findings are unlikely to change the pervasive belief that patients can influence the course of their disease with psychotherapy or their state of mind, the researchers said.
“The belief that emotional well-being affects survival, nonetheless, has been remarkably resilient in the face of contrary data,” they wrote. “It is not clear what it would take to move the field beyond an appraisal of the literature even as simply ‘mixed’ or ‘contradictory.'”

Read the whole thing.
Yes, I’m still coughing.

And now for the really icky . . . giant snails overrun Brazil!

And when the National Geographic says ‘giant,’ they mean ‘pretty damn big!’

The invasive mollusk–which can measure nearly 8 inches (about 20 centimeters) long and weigh more than 1 pound (500 grams)–is widespread in Brazil, thriving in nearly every state.

They provide a picture, but I can’t imagine why you’d want to enlarge it. The only serious suggestion for eradication seems to be picking them up by hand. Ick!

Saxon graves found on school grounds

Regular readers may be accustomed to my occasional complaint that people in Europe dig up the most interesting things in their backyards, in contrast to us.
Well, for once I’m not whining. While building a new classroom building, workmen discovered some graves, perhaps from the Saxon period. That’s very interesting! However, when my school was building its new building in the mid-1970s (the date may explain why I’m having trouble finding a picture of that building to link to – goodness is it characteristic of its era!) workmen found a Civil War burial. McCallie is on the west slope of Missionary Ridge, site of a really fearsome battle. A Union soldier was evidently buried more or less where he fell in a rifle pit.
So – even in America students can be astounded by stuff being dug up while new school buildings are underway.

Word (mis)choice of the weekend

I’m trudging through a pile of papers (plowing would sound too swift), many of which concern a statue associated with an inscription. So far everyone has referred to the text as “a quote” rather than “a quotation.” I’m marking it wrong, but I fear the prescriptivists have lost, if not formally surrendered, another redoubt in quote/quotation.

The Final Bosses are in town

Chapel in 1907

Originally uploaded by Michael Tinkler.

I have drifted off of a committee but got drafted for something – evidently, I’m no longer a faculty observer (‘representative’ would be much too strong for our role) at the Buildings & Grounds subcommittee of the board. Oh, well – interesting while it lasted. I can get back on that in a couple of years, perhaps. Meanwhile, someone responsible for keeping the spouses occupied noticed the topic I’m scheduled to cover for Parents’ Weekend next week and asked if I’d do a version for the Board Spouses. I am always willing to talk about buildings. Is that a weakness? So I did the latest version of my song and dance about the Chapel, and it was fun (other than having to move the digital projection setup around the chapel to find a wireless hotspot so my laptop would work!).

The picture is from a postcard I scanned – postmarked 1907. Hobart and William Smith folks might notice the entire absence of the big tower connecting St. John’s Chapel and Demarest.

Rainy day in Upstate New York – but at least it’s not snow!

We had showers and rain off and on today – students were walking around without umbrellas and just getting wet; it is still quite warm. I said to a number of them that “it least it’s not snow.”
So I’m home and watching the Weather Channel to see what’s up (more rain – more!) and find out that it IS snowing in the Continental U.S.