Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cosmic Perils




Dear George,
What with all the recent hurricanes, droughts, etc., global warming is at the top of people’s minds.   In the process, though, we seem to have lost sight of the biggest threat of all.  I mean, of course, the constantly growing collapse of the ozone layer.  You’ll remember that because of cows passing gas and effusions from spray deodorant cans a continent-sized hole has developed in the ozone layer.  While most people rarely worry about it, we have a vested interest in ozone because it protects us from deadly ultraviolet rays from outer space.  As best as I can tell, the problem is reaching catastrophic proportions.  I read on a website put up by a guy named Wild-Eyed Eddie that the ultraviolet rays are melting the neurons in the frontal cortex and people’s brains are turning to mush. Ever since I learned this, I’ve become more and more aware how strangely people are acting these days.  Sometimes they don’t show any more sense than a mongoose or a horsefly.

I wasn’t that worried about Wild-Eyed Eddie’s theory until last Tuesday when I stopped by our neighborhood dairy store for a midday snack.  The sign on the frozen yogurt machine at the end of the counter offered a choice between French vanilla and black raspberry.  I told the clerk I’d like a small black raspberry yogurt cone.  “What kind of cone do you want?” the clerk asked.  “Just the regular,” I said.  The clerk, who had a lot of tattoos on his arms and neck, looked puzzled.  “I never heard of ‘regular’,” he said.  “We don’t have regular.”  “You know,” I replied, “the cones that people normally get.”  He scrunched up his nose, then reached back on the rack and got a sugar cone.  I didn’t want a sugar cone because it cost more, but I didn’t try to correct him.  Then he went to the bin and started to scoop out some black raspberry ice cream.  “No, no,” I said, “ I want yogurt.”  “We don’t have yogurt,” he said.  “Yes, you do, you do,” I said with some frustration.  “It’s right here in this machine,” pointing to the big machine at the end of the counter.  “That’s softserve,” the clerk said, getting frustrated too.  “Yes,” I said, “it’s soft serve yogurt.”  I pointed at the sign over his head to prove my point.  “What I’d like is a black raspberry softserve yogurt cone.  Small.”  The clerk still seemed unconvinced, but he went ahead and dished up a cone.  I think it was smaller than the normal small.  I wondered if this guy had been spending an excessive amount of time out of doors which would increase his exposure to ultraviolet rays. 

If I had my doubts, the final clincher about the ozone crisis came a couple of days later when I encountered another young person whose mind seemed to have been totally eradicated.  I was driving through a green traffic light into the Kroger parking lot when a high school girl stepped off the curb right in the path of my car.  She was talking on her cell phone with her head down and didn’t look either way, despite walking against the light.  I jammed on my brakes and came to a stop a few feet away from her, though she still didn’t notice anything.  Then, without looking either way, she stepped right in front of a pickup truck approaching on the opposite side of the street.  That car too had a green light.  The driver hit the brakes and came to an abrupt stop.  The girl, chatting away, still didn’t notice anything.  Having gotten across the street without getting killed, she stepped up on the curb and continued on her way.  She was lucky that the other driver and I have at least a few functioning neurons left, but the future doesn’t bode well for the young girl (or for the rest of us).

Worried that humanity is facing a fate similar to the dinosaurs, I took the sheepdogs on a hike in Eden Park the following Sunday with our friend Donna.  On our return to the car we stopped to rest on the bench outside the conservatory.  Various people came up to see the dogs, including a group of a dozen or more adults who were wearing nametags.  There was just one child with them -- a little girl, two and a half -- who came up to pet the dogs.  Her father, a red-haired, mid-20s guy named Jesse, explained that his daughter loved dogs.  When the group moved off with their guide, Jesse followed along with them, leaving his daughter behind.  After a while Donna went into the conservatory to the ladies’ room while I kept watch on the little girl.  Her dad and the rest of the group had gotten about fifty yards away.  The dad seemed entirely unconcerned about his daughter’s whereabouts.  Whether very trusting or just obtuse, he didn’t cast a single glance in her direction the entire time she was gone.  For a moment the little girl noticed that her father had disappeared, and she looked around nervously.  I pointed to him across the lawn, but he was too far away for her to see him, and she went back to petting the dogs.  When Donna came back, I picked the little girl up and carried her across the lawn to her oblivious father.  He didn’t notice me coming, and, when I set her down, he said, “Oh, there you are.”  He seemed surprised that she was still there.  The little girl turned around and started running back toward the dogs.  Her father hesitated, but then followed behind and eventually took her by the hand, telling her they’d see more dogs where they were going.  I just shook my head.  I didn’t know if there was a mother at home, but I hoped that Jesse would manage to get his daughter home safely.  I think the ultraviolet rays had wiped out the paternal instinct center in his brain.    

It’s pretty shocking.  I don’t want to appear holier-than-thou, because, of course, my brain is decompressing at least as quickly as everybody else’s.  Wild-Eyed Eddie recommends wearing titanium helmets to ward off the ultraviolet rays.  I went to the Dollar Bargain Store to try to get one, but they didn’t have any in stock.  In fact, they didn’t even know what I was talking about.  I hope I’ll find one this weekend while I still have my wits about me.
Love,
Dave


G-mail Comments
-Linda C (2-28): David , this is so scary, I live in a college town and I thought it was all the drinking that was killing brain cells. And I have to say some students have not been affected. But a lot of students do work in the service industry.  At check out in krogers yesterday, and I don't do self check out so some jobs for students are saved, but check out is not as busy as it used to be and the check out workers have extra time.  My check out guy, a bagger, and check out guy in next aisle were all talking to each other. Conversation went some thing like this. " did you see new Girl in the deli "  " you mean the ones with the big ummms " " yeah , but doggy face "  Me," excuse me , but you do see me , the customer standing right here don't you?"  Slightly embarrassed glances.  Me "why would you treat a co worker like that? "  Bagger "ummm, like what ?" 
Me " saying negative things like you just did, I might seem old to you but I got the " big ummms", you could be fired for this and be part of a lawsuit" 
Check out guy " we weren't being mean about her tho.”  At this point I realized these brats were going to actually argue with me and defend their behavior.  Me " I'm not going to report you today, but please think about what you said, and if it was appropriate or not, and whether I as a customer should have to hear this, I see the three of you in here all the time so I'm going to get back with you when you have had time to think this over"  I will too, does this mean I've turned into a jackass from years of climate problems?  No, I think I would of always said that.
-Donna D (2-27): so good and weirdly funny, david :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Oscar Fever




Dear George,
Katja and I have come down with our annual case of Oscar fever.  We’ve been watching the Academy Awards faithfully every year for five decades, even longer than the Super Bowl and Miss America.  We take it more seriously than the latter because we’re such dedicated movie-goers.  I saw a recent survey which identified “frequent movie-goers” as those who attend 12 or movies a year.  We normally see at least fifty movies a year.  Consequently, we usually cover all of the Best Picture nominees and most of the actor/actress award performances.  Bob Hope was doing the sixth of his 18 master of ceremonies jobs when we started watching in the early 1960’s.  Our favorite host over the years was Johnny Carson, though we rated Steve Martin and Chevy Chase pretty highly too. 

Movies have declined drastically in sheer numbers over the years, and, aside from technical sophistication, I think they’ve declined in quality as well.  The Best Picture nominees fifty years ago in 1963 were The Music Man, The Longest Day, Mutiny on the Bounty, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Lawrence of Arabia.  I’m not sure any of this year’s contenders would even be included on that list.  Plus they say that the Oscar voting has become dominated by advertising, money, and politicking.  That could be why I usually don’t agree with the Academy’s choices. My two favorite potential Best Picture picks for 2012 (Moonrise Kingdom and The Master) weren’t even among the Academy’s nine nominees.  Of the nine films the Academy did wind up with, I thought Zero Dark Thirty was way ahead of the others, though it’s apparently not a strong contender, and director Kathryn Bigelow wasn’t even nominated.  I also disagree with the pundits’ opinions about the likely Best Actress winner (Jessica Chastain or Jennifer Lawrence).  Emanuelle Riva (Amour) is not only the oldest nominee in Oscar history (age 85), but Sunday’s Award ceremony will be on her 86th birthday, making her one year older than the Academy Awards themselves.  In my opinion, her blood-curling performance as a dying stroke victim had a lot more angst than all the other Best Actress nominees combined (who generally played unmemorable roles).

Because this will be the 85th annual award show, a lot of history has accumulated over the years.  Here are some obscure but interesting facts that I’ve run across:
  
·       Oscar’s name.  No one know for sure how the award statue got named Oscar.  The most common theory is that a librarian who worked at the Academy remarked on seeing the statue, “Why it looks like my Uncle Oscar!”  (6)
·       Oscar the winner.  Oscar Hammerstein II is the only person named Oscar who has actually won an Oscar  (for Best Song, “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” 1941).  (6)  
·       Model.  Mexican film director and actor Emilio "El Indio" Fern├índez posed naked for the sculpting of the Oscar statuette which was cast in tin and copper and then gold-plated.  (9)
·       Wooden Oscars.  In 1938 ventriloquist Edgar Bergen got an honorary Oscar that was made out of wood and had a mouth that could move.  (3)
·       Mixed Messages.  Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American performer to win an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress, Gone with the Wind, 1939).  Because of racism, she had to sit at the back of the room next to the kitchen.  (1)  
·       Plaster Oscars.  During World War II, because of metal shortages, the Academy handed out plaster Oscars.  They could be traded in for metal ones after the war.  (6)
·       Siblings.  The only brother-sister pair to have won Oscars for acting were Lionel Barrymore (Best Actor, 1941) and Ethel Barrymore (Best Actress, 1944).  (6) 
·       McCarthy Era.  In 1957 the Academy made a rule that no one who was a Communist could win an award.  The rule was repealed two years later after Senator Joseph McCarthy’s death.  (3)
·       No Popcorn.  When Ben Hur won Best Picture in 1959, the Academy prohibited theaters from selling popcorn and soft drinks because the movie was deemed so important.   (3)  
·       Barred.  In 1971 the Nixon administration blacklisted Vanessa Redgrave from the Academy Awards ceremony.  (3)
·       Substitute.  Marlon Brando refused his Best Actor award in 1972 for The Godfather because of discrimination against Native Americans.  A woman identified as Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather collected the award for Brando and delivered a 15-page speech.  It turned out later that she was really an actress named Maria Cruz.  (6)  
·       Ad Lib.  When a naked man named Robert Opal streaked across the stage behind presenter David Niven at the 1974 ceremony, Niven ad libbed, “The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping…and revealing his shortcomings.”  (6)  
·       Rated X.  Midnight Cowboy (Best Picture, 1969) is the only X-rated movie to win an Oscar.  (6)
·       Politically Correct.  In 1989 the phrase, “And the winner is…”, was replaced by “And the Oscar goes to…”  (6)
·       Family Lines.  Two famous Hollywood families can each claim three generations of Oscar winners: (the Hustons: Walter, John, Anjelica) and the Coppolas (Carmine, Francis Ford, and Sofia).  (1) 
·       Muscle Man.  When Jack Palance received his Best Supporting Actor award in 1992, he used his on-stage time to do one-armed push ups, then continued on with a rambling speech.  (5)
·       Youth.  The youngest male actor to win a Best Actor award was Adrien Brody in 2002 in The Pianist (age 29 years and 343 days).  (7)
·       Height.  The tallest actor ever to win an Oscar was John Wayne at 6’4” (True Grit, 1969).  (8) 
·       Drunks.  Denzel Washington (Flight, 2012) is the nineteenth actor nominated for playing a drunk.  (2)
·       Good Company.  Anthony Quinn has appeared in more movies (48) with other Oscar-winning actors and actresses than any other Oscar winner.  (3) 
·       Two-Timers.  No male actor has ever received more than two Best Actor awards.  There are eight two-time recipients: Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Fredric March, Dustin Hoffman, Sean Penn, and Tom Hanks.  (8) 

So that’s some of the Hollywood story.  I hope everybody watches and their wishes come true.   And let’s be checking out those flicks for next year’s awards.
Love,
Dave

Sources: (1)  www.awardsandshows.com, “Oscar Trivia”; (2)  www.blogs.indiewire.com, “Oscar Trivia”;  (3)  www.brownielocks.com, “Academy Awards Trivia”; (4)  www.filmsite.org, “Academy Awards Best Picture Facts and Trivia”; (5)  www.foxnews.com, “10 awful moments in academy awards history”; (6)  www.history1900s.about.com, “Academy Awards Interesting Facts”;  (7)  www.movies.about.com, “Oscar Trivia Quiz”; (8)  www.seeing-stars.com, “Oscar Trivia”; (9)  www.wikipedia.org, “Academy Award” 


G-mail Comments
-Linda C (2-23): Love your movie information, so well researched and the kind of info i love knowing, not that there was a place for this, since I don't know if  nick  cage won an oscar . But he is a Coppola also.  I too far exceed the average moviegoer pictures seen in a year.  I'm going out on a limb here, because my Oscar picks aren't politically motivated but just who I think should win
Best movie. jingo
Best actor. Joaquin Phoenix 
Best actress. Forget her name, but woman from amour 
Supporting actor. White guy from jingo
Supporting actress. ???? Sally field
Best director . Amour.  Exquisite direction.
Costumes.  Anna karenin
Music. Can't decide
Hated wreck it Ralph , took twins at Xmas and they sat still and watched all of movie, I thought it was bad for kids
 Almost best
Beasts of southern wild
Helen hunt
??? Daniel day Lewis
The last quartet, not nominated but wonderful
Crazy king from Norway
Going to party, I'll see if I win ( really, not name of movie)
What do you think of my picks?
-Dave L to Linda (2-24):  Hi Linda,  I agree with almost all your picks.  I was torn between Django and Zero Dark Thirty for best picture, thought J. Phoenix was great, Amour lady (Emannuelle Riva) definitely the best.  I also enjoyed the crazy king, Southern beasts, Quartet, and all your other choices.  Movies are great.
Dave

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Was Lucien Right After All?



Interior of the Menominee Drugstore (V.A.L. photo, ca. 1950)

Dear George,
My Uncle Kent’s drugstore was located on Electric Square, directly on my afternoon walk home from grade school.  I’d stop there without fail because Kent let me read the week’s new comic books back in his office.  He and his pharmacist partner, Lucien P., mixed their prescription drugs in a walled-off room at the back of the store.  Lucien was a white-haired man in his late fifties.  He had a sort of dour temperament.  Uncle Kent, a World War II veteran, was even more serious, so there wasn’t a lot of joking around in the prescription room.  When I’d stop by Lucien would usually give me advice about life.  It would be pretty much the same each time.  I must have generally been gloomy because Lucien would tell me that I’d better enjoy my childhood since life only gets worse afterwards.  High school would be harder, he said, and then you had to worry about getting married, making money, raising kids with all their problems, struggling to pay bills and taxes, health issues, losing your loved ones, being lonely, etc.  It wasn’t a reassuring picture. 

I was always taken aback by Lucien’s speech because I didn’t find childhood that enjoyable, and it was hard to imagine that things would only be getting worse.  Even now, I think the stereotype that children are brimming with fun and happiness is nothing but a myth.  You’re always under the control of up-tight adults.  The things you want to do are usually against the rules.  School is dreary.  Big kids pick on you.  Your little brothers and sisters are nuisances. You have to eat stuff you hate and do unpleasant chores.  And you’re bored most of the time.  After each of Lucien’s lectures, I thought about what he’d said and I prayed he was wrong.

Looking back, it’s hard to say.  My high school years were nutty but stressful.  College got more exciting because of the freedom, but we were all striving to be Jack Kerouac-style beatniks and were chronically depressed about the meaninglessness of life.  Grad school was simply a drag, full of pressure and self-doubt.  Adult work life got more stable and meaningful, but now strikes me as kind of bland and monotonous.  And I’m still trying to figure out what retirement is all about.  Could Lucien have been right after all that one’s childhood years are the best? 

To get a firmer grip on the question, I made up a list of various experiences I could recall that were unique to childhood, at least to my childhood in Menominee in the 1940’s.  Here are some of the examples I came up with:

  • Going to the Saturday matinee at the Menominee Opera House with a hundred screaming kids and watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon, a Three Stooges short, and a Hopalong Cassidy main feature.
  • Getting my first two-wheeler bike for my birthday.
  • Singing “Centa, Sweet Centa, refuses her Polenta” in unison with my first grade classmates.
  • Catching fireflies after dark in a Mason jar.
  • Playing “boys chase the girls” on the Washington Grade School playground
  • Climbing into empty freight cars in the Menominee rail yard with my friend Marvin F. and talking to the hobos.
  • Swimming underwater with one’s eyes open, watching out for snapping turtles and searching for lost treasure on the river bottom.
  • Walking home after a heavy rain with my friend Loopy-Lou and being awed by his ability to swallow live worms that he picked up from the sidewalk.
  • Running full speed through the forest with the Irish Setters, leaping over fallen trees.
  • Skipping flat rocks off the water’s surface.   
  • Trick or treating with friends on a pitch dark Stephenson Avenue on Halloween night.
  • Going to the city dump and finding good stuff to tow home in my wagon.
  • Playing detective with Frankie S., trailing suspicious-looking men through Montgomery Ward’s and downtown streets. 
  • Eating cotton candy at the U.P. State Fair at Escanaba.
  • Talking in Pig Latin so the adults couldn’t understand a single word.
  • Getting a double-dip Lemon Flake ice cream cone at the Ideal Dairy.

After I turned eighteen, I rarely did any of these things ever again.  That’s so sad.  Then I thought about what comparable lists would look like for early and later adulthood, and I decided, though they were totally different, they looked pretty good too.  I remember when our son J turned 20, I told him that the 20’s were the best time of life.  When he became 30, I changed my mind and decided that the 30’s were best.  Then, the same for the 40’s.  Though seemingly inconsistent, I was being completely genuine each time.  I think it means that the best time of life is where one is currently at.  Now I think the 70s are pretty good: sheepdogs, line dancing, photography, hikes in the forest, walks with friends, weekly movies, blogging, drinking red wine, the art museum, tons of leisure time, even dealing with the vagaries of getting older.  I do think that Lucien was completely right on one point – that I shouldn’t have been so glum during childhood.  However, it turns out that it’s all pretty good.
Love,
Dave


G-mail Comments
-Vicki L (2-20): D,  I wanna hear more about your friend (new to me) 'Loopy-Lou'! Eating worms off the sidewalk??
That is truly amazing… If nothing else....our childhoods had some very unique features.  Love, Vicki
-Gayle C-L (2-19): David,  I love the scenario.  Thru out all the years... You've lived a fulfilling healthy life to write that its all good !  And it is..  You need to rewrite this when you're 90 +  :)   Im going to look for it :)  Of course I'll be soooo much younger :)   XXX G
-Jennifer M (2-19): If this were Facebook, I would click "like." :-)
-JML (2-19):  nice one dad. you're funny even when you're not trying to be

Thursday, February 14, 2013

To My Valentine

My sweet Valentine girl (date & place unknown)

Dear George,
Today is the 56th Valentine’s Day that Katja and I have celebrated together.  I fell in love the first time I saw her at a freshman mixer at Antioch in 1955, though it took a year and a quarter before we ever met.  We were on coop jobs in Madison and Milwaukee, and Katja came home to visit Menominee and meet my family over spring break.  We were pretty inseparable ever since.  



Katja in her bridal gown

Katja was a beautiful bride.  We got married at the Quaker chapel in Yellow Springs on August 28, 1960.  It was a tumultuous time, and we were both thrilled and relieved, though I was overcome by uncontrollable sweating because of the magnitude of the day.  



Katja with our dog Jacques at Faber’s Fabrics, Ann Arbor

We moved to Ann Arbor for graduate school, and Katja took a part-time job as a sales clerk at Faber’s Fabrics to help support us.  She bought a sewing machine and started enthusiastically turning out shirts, tablecloths, and curtains.  Steve and Margie, my brother and sister-in-law, gave us their standard poodle Jacques who became an integral member of our family.  



Doris, Vicki, and Katja at my graduation in Ann Arbor

Katja loved my parents and siblings, and they loved her.  Menominee was such a startling departure from urban Philadelphia that Katja found it an amazing place to be.  Katja and my sister Vicki were (and are) particularly close.  



Katja at our apartment complex

I took a faculty job and we moved to Cincinnati in 1966.  Katja found us a townhouse at a brand new apartment complex on Cincinnati’s outskirts, and we moved on to a new, adult phase of life as young professionals.


Katja, J, and Jacques

At a holiday party in December 1968 Katja announced to the guests and myself that she was pregnant.  Having no idea that she’d decided to discontinue her birth control pills, I was more or less stunned.  J’s birth in 1969 launched the most significant and rewarding part of our marriage.  


At the racetrack

Katja formed a women’s consciousness-raising group which met at our house in the early 1970’s.  Within two years all of the members had divorced their husbands except Katja.  Whew! 


Katja with Thumper

Katja has always loved warm and fuzzy things.  Thumper was the first of several rabbits that she bought from a young woman in our Clifton neighborhood.  Thumper was allowed the run of our apartment until we discovered that he liked to chew through electric cords.  


Katja and J at Mt. Airy Forest

Both Katja and I had grown up in families with multiple kids, and there’d been a sharper demarcation between children and adults.  With a solo child, though, Katja , J, and I operated much more as a cohesive threesome.  Weekend hikes in Mt. Airy Forest were just one of our many regular activities.  



At Beach Haven

Katja’s parents, Buck and Helen, owned a cottage at Beach Haven on the New Jersey shore, and we’d visit for a week each summer.  Everybody loved being on the Atlantic Ocean beach.  



Katja at Schloegel’s in Menominee

We’d also go to Menominee each August for a family reunion.  Those were some of the happiest times.  Schloegel’s was Katja’s favorite restaurant, and we’d enjoy tasty breakfasts and broiled whitefish dinners there. 



Katja and Dave with Winston

One day the mid-70’s I came home, and there was an animal in the kitchen that looked more like a sheep than a dog (our Bedlington Terrier, Winston).  Thinking that a family with a kid should also have a dog, Katja ordered Winston from Illinois.  



Katja and J

It was a big shock when J grew up and went off to college at Columbia.  Mother and son, however, have always remained very close, and they share lots of genuine laughs every time they’re in contact. 



J and K, our son and daughter-in-law at med school graduation

When J and K fell in love, partnered, and eventually married we got to add the daughter to our family that we’d always wanted.  



Buck, Katja, and Helen

Katja’s parents, Buck and Helen, moved to Cincinnati in about 1992, and she devoted a lot of time and love in providing daily support to them in their later years. 



Katja with Mike and Duffy at Mt. Storm Park

I came home one day in June 2002 and found two furry sheepdog fluffballs in our kitchen doorway.  At first I was aghast, but Mike and Duffy won our hearts immediately.   



With our grandkids L and V

In the last several years our grandson and granddaughter, L and V, have become a major part of our family lives.  Here we are together on an outing last year in New Orleans. 




Dave and Katja in NOLA

Now, both retired, we are ready for more adventures.  That’s what’s good about being Valentines for so long.
Love,
Dave 

G-mail Comments
-Phyllis S-S (2-18): What a lovely, love letter.  We're just back from chicago - Julius Caesar at the Shakespeare theater and then Der Meistersinger at Chicago Opera.  Both wonderful performances…  Phyllis  
-Linda C (2-15):  Lovely, just beautiful
-Gayle C-L (2-14): David,  Now that's a beautiful love story!!!!
Such a nice L*** tribute to Katya and your life.  That's a Happy Valentines Day!!  Lol.    G 
-Donna D (2-14): david this is lovely and wonderful!  hope katja loves it!
   


Monday, February 11, 2013

Cincinnati Favorites: The Taft Museum



Dear George,
One of our five-star places for weekend outings is the Taft Museum of Art.  We go whenever there’s a new show, sometimes more than once (e.g., for the recent Edward Steichen photography exhibition).  The museum is located downtown at Lytle Park and is the former home of members of Cincinnati's Taft family.  The mansion was built on the city’s edge about 1820 for wealthy businessman and former mayor, Martin Baum.  It then became the residence of Nicholas Longworth, Cincinnati lawyer, banker, and acclaimed winemaker.  David Sinton, who made a fortune selling pig-iron at inflated prices during the Civil War and became one of the wealthiest men in America, then purchased the house in 1871.  Sinton's daughter Anna married Charles Phelps Taft, editor of the Cincinnati Times-Star and half-brother of President William Howard Taft (whose presidential campaign Sinton had financed).   Anna and Charles Phelps Taft lived in the house from 1873 to 1929, and William Howard Taft accepted the presidential nomination there in 1908.  In addition to launching the Taft media empire, Charles Phelps Taft served in Congress and was the owner of the Chicago Cubs for several years.  The Tafts were major art collectors, and they turned their home into a museum in 1927, donating the house, its 690 works of art, and a million dollar endowment to the people of Cincinnati.  The deed for the gift stated, "We desire to devote our collection of pictures, porcelains, and other works of art to the people of Cincinnati in such a manner that they may be readily available for all."  The Taft Museum opened in 1932.  The interior is beautiful, and it houses a marvelous collection of art, including European masterworks (e.g., Rembrandt, Hals, Gainsborough, Ingres, Millet, Goya, Corot, Turner, Van Diest), 19th century American paintings (e.g., Duveneck, Farny, Sargent, Whistler), an extensive collection of porcelains and enamels, antique furniture, and famous entryway murals from the 1840’s by Cincinnati African-American artist Robert Duncanson. The Taft was renovated in 2003-4, and its turn of the century decor gives the guest the feeling of visiting the Taft's home.  On a recent visit during the holidays I took pictures of various rooms housing the permanent collection.   Here's how the Taft is looking these days.
Love,
Dave





































































The courtyard

Sources: www.wikipedia.org (“Taft Museum of Art”, “Charles Phelps Taft”, “David Sinton”); www.taftmuseum.org (“History”); www.digproj.libraries.uc.edu (“Baum-Taft-House”) 

G-mail Comments
-Gayle C-L (2-11):  This museum is amazing.  So beautiful.  The walls are lucky.. and so are you, you were there!!  Great detail..and a great story..
Thank you for this :)    Love you :)