The Fable of Kintsukuroi

Bishop's Blog

Kint trans Once upon a time, in the far, far east, east even of Eden, lived a great emperor, in a great palace, gorgeously stocked with the richest of goods. It was early spring, and the season of royal visits, when kings and princes called on one another and admired each others’ choicest possessions, gave wonderful gifts and enjoyed bountiful banquets. And this year was special, because the visitors would see the investiture of his beloved son Kintsukuroi as Crown Prince of the empire.

The emperor was excited this year because he had a new and beautiful bowl to show to his friends, specially made for him by the finest of craftsmen from the finest of materials. Imagine then his horror when on going to his cabinet he discovered that it was broken apart, into a hundred pieces. How could it have happened? No-one knew. What could be done about it before…

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Which is which: Monet or Manet?

It’s easy to confuse them; they were French, they were painters, they lived at the same time, and they were friends. If like me, you have trouble remembering “which is which” here are Monet and Manet in a nutshell.

Édouard  Manet                                                                             
23 January 1832 – 30 April 1883
 Oscar-Claude  Monet
                                                      14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926 
one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern life,
a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism 
 a founder of French Impressionist painting
friends with the Impressionists Degas,
Renoir, Sisley, Cezanne, and Pissaro
 organized with Renoir, Pissaro, and Sisley
the Societe anonyme des artistes peintres, scupteurs et graveurs, as
an alternative to the Salon de Paris,
exhibited with Morisot, Renoir, Degas, Pissaro, and Cezanne
his early works caused great controversy and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism. Today, these are considered watershed paintings that mark the genesis of modern art. 
              the term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his
painting Impression Sunrise
painted portraits, Paris street scenes, café and social scenes, war scenes
  painted garden scenes, land and seascapes,  portraits, best known for his paintings of water lilies
in April 1883, his left foot was amputated  because of
gangrene,  he died eleven days later in Paris at
the age of 51 and is buried in the Passy Cemetery in Paris.
                                                              died of lung cancer on 5 December 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in  the Giverny church cemetery
manet photo
monet photo
manet luncheon in the grass
monet impression sunrise
manet at the cafe
monet women in a garden
manet berthe morisot 2
monet arrival of the normandy train
manet the barricade
monet the magpie
manet the railway
monet water lilies and japanese bridge
manet a bar at the folies-bergere
monet water lilies

WOWYUMMY! Alison’s 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies

Two weeks ago my friend Alison brought me a plate of cookies to thank me for lending her movies from my DVD  collection. I’m not telling how many  cookies I ate… I’m also not telling that I licked all the crumbs from the plate.

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You will seldom see a recipe on this site because I don’t like to cook; I would rather spend my time, energy, and creativity on projects that don’t disappear 15 minutes after I finish them. I hate to cook but I love to eat. Alison’s recipe fits all my requirements for a good recipe: fast, easy, inexpensive, and yummy. (Healthy doesn’t usually enter the equation.)

Note: not only do I love these cookies but so does the cat; I can’t decide if he’s a really weird cat or these are just really good cookies.

Alison’s 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies: WOWYUMMY

blend: 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 egg in a mixing bowl

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roll dough into small balls about 1″ in diameter (larger cookies tend to crumble)

place 1″ balls on oiled cookie sheet and flatten slightly with fork tines

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bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, carefully remove with spatula to plate or rack to cool, makes about 2 dozen small cookies (not counting the 4-5 eaten from the first tray while the rest are baking),

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The home of Little Women: Orchard House

I’m adding a new category: homes in literature and film. Consider how many completely imaginary houses from books and movies have become famous like Tara from Gone With the Wind, and Manderley from Rebecca

Probably my favorite all-time room description is from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women published in 1868. Louisa May Alcott

….in the twilight while the December snow fell quietly without and the fire crackled cheerfully within. It was a comfortable old room, though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain; for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home-peace pervaded it.”

The house where the Alcott family lived and Louisa wrote Little Women, Orchard House in Concord  Massachusetts.

Orchard House

Orchard House 4

Orchard House 3

May Alcott

Orchard House by Louisa’s sister May (Amy in the book.)

Little Women illustration by May Alcott

illustration for Little Women by May Alcott

Today Orchard House is a museum honoring Louisa and her family; to see more including the house interiors  click here.

Little Women has been made into at least 7 films. To see how Orchard House was visualized on the screen in the 1994 film, visit working class home on facebook.

The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.                                            Louisa May Alcott

Simplicity: a daily decrease

It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.                                                                           Bruce Lee

statue of Bruce Lee in Hong Kong

the (perhaps) surprising work of a well-known artist

almond blossoms by van gogh

Almond Blossoms 1890

Can you identify this very well-known artist based on some of his lesser known work?     

a pair of boots by van gogh

                                                                A Pair of Shoes 1887

head of a skeleton with burning cigarette by van gogh

Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette 1885-86

rocks and ruins by van gogh                                                                Rocks and Ruins 1888

or from his photograph taken at the age of 13? 

vincent van gogh

Need more clues?

He was Dutch…born in the Netherlands to upper middle-class parents… 

he worked for a firm of art dealers as a young adult…

he had aspirations to become a pastor and for a short time worked as a missionary in Belgium… 

irises by van gogh

                                                                                                                          Irises 1889

still life with a basket of vegetables by van gogh

                                        Still Life with a Basket of Vegetables 1885

I am certainly no art expert and was not familiar with this artist’s work except for what he is best remembered for, so it was something of a surprise when I came across paintings that I would never have guessed were his. 

by van gogh

                     Le Moulin de Blute-Fin 1886

This artist spoke several languages, lived in Paris and southern France, was an associate of Gauguin, and was friends with Impressionist painter, Toulouse Lautrec. 

the old mill by van gogh

                                                                The Old Mill 1888

He may be remembered as  much for his tragic personal life as for his work as an artist. If I add that he drank too much absinthe, was an excessive smoker, may have suffered  from  syphilis,  had hallucinations and psychotic episodes, was  hospitalized  several times for mental illness, cut off his ear (or part of his ear), and shot himself at the age of 37 and died of his wound, you may recognize this artist.

Certainly, you will most likely recognize the painting he is most famous for.  

starry night by van gogh

                                                         The  Starry Night 1889

portrait of van gogh by Lautrec

           Portrait of Vincent van Gogh by Toulouse Lautrec. 1887

starry night over the Rhone by van gogh

                                            Starry Night Over the Rhone 1888

For more information about the work and life of Vincent van Gogh click here.

today’s thought

Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.                                                                                Albert Einstein