Monthly Archives: June 2008

A few shots of Prague

Prague

The start of my travels last week was in Prague, and I had some lovely weather there.  On Sunday I climbed the wooded hill on the right side of the picture above, and then climbed up the mini ‘eiffel tower’ on top of the hill for the shot below of the castle:

Prague

Here’s a shot along the river…

Prague

For now I’ll just put up one building picture – take note of the line of windows toward the top – Praha!

Praha building

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Orange!

Orange

Orange is the color of the day! That’s because Holland has gotten off to a great start in the Euro 2008 soccer tournament, with victories over Italy (3-0) and France (4-1). I’m not much of a fan really, but it’s great fun to see how the country has come alive and the national color is out all over. Read all the latest news on the Euro 2008 site.

Update: Well, it’s all over now.  Last night Germany lost to Spain, 1-0.  A kind of surprising result after all the higher-scoring matches.  I watched the Dutch lose to Russia in the Old Town Square in Prague, then saw the Russians lose to Spain a few nights later.

Anxiety…

Here’s Don DeLillo from The Names (1982):

The price of oil was an index to the Western world’s anxiety.  It provided a figure, $24 a barrel, say, to measure against the figure of the month before or the year before.  It was a handy way to refer to our complex involvements.  It told us how bad we felt at a given time. (p. 66)

So, how do we feel at $130+ a barrel?

Thoughts on Obama

First off, I think it’s appropriate to acknowledge the extraordinary accomplishment of Barack Obama in winning the Democratic nomination.  The campaign was a long slog, and prior to Iowa seemed like an extreme long shot, but his team appears to have had a solid strategy and great discipline in working toward the end goal.  They were of course helped by the fact that so many people felt that Clinton was a shoo-in, to such an extent that even the Clinton team simply did not pursue the contest in all the states.  Essentially if Obama was running against a less confident front-runner, he might not have had a chance.

I find it a refreshing change to watch a young man (well, he’s a year older than me, but still young in the political world) who is very smart and very articulate go through this process with most of his dignity intact.  Some may find his message on hope and change to be empty, but let’s consider whether it’s really so much different from Reagan’s ‘morning in America’ message…  I think we may well be talking about ‘Obama Republicans’ in the years to come.

The general election campaign will be a much different affair; substantive policy differences, and major ‘style’ differences, and a generational gap all make it next to impossible to feel that the candidates are basically the same (even though I recognize that in many ways things in America will play out in a similar way regardless of the next President).  There are major challenges to be faced in the years ahead: energy, water, global competitiveness, national security, immigration.  I would like to see the two candidates will focus on these real issues, despite the almost inevitable media hysterics driven by a need to gab 24/7.

Jumpin' the pole!

Pole Climbin'

Pole Standin'

Pole Jumpin'

Yep, that’s me going airborne a couple weeks back!

Richard Serra's 'Promenade' in Paris

Outside the Grand Paleis

Made a quick trip to Paris this past weekend, and I made of point of heading over to the Grand Paleis for Richard Serra’s Monumenta 2008 installation entitled ‘Promenade’. I had never been in the building before, and this was a neat way to see it; nearly empty, with Serra’s five tall steel columns set up through the length of the hall.

Richard Serra's Promenade

One of the best features of the installation was that they had a audio guide largely consisting of Serra talking about the piece, explaining some of his thought process as he designed it for this particular building.

Serra's Promenade

The title acknowledges that the piece is all about walking through the space, using the columns as a way of guiding you through it, perspectives changing as you stroll up to and around the columns and then back away.

 

Serra's Promenade

It also had me thinking about the steel of the columns versus the steel of the glass roof, straight lines and curved metal. Serra also talked about spending some time in Kyoto, getting a sense of the zen gardens there where the individual object in the setting is less important than the whole of the garden.