Whose Ordered Plan?

The British say this is a work of madness:

An eccentric architectural plan thought to have been drawn by George III during his period of "madness" has been discovered at the British Library.

It is part of a huge collection of papers put together by the King during his reign from 1760 to 1820.

The loose piece of paper was tucked inside a volume about the Palaces of Hanover in Germany.

The diagram of a building was drawn in ink over a pencil outline "in a rather savage way", according to experts.

Peter Barber, head of map collections at the British Library, said the drawing, scribbled on the back of an order of service from St George's Chapel in Windsor, was "not an ordered plan".

It looks like someone was working out some ideas; if this is what madness looks like, oh well.

We have to remember that this was drawn with a crude implement, dipped in ink, and probably not in the best of light. It could have been a sketch to work out some ideas or it could have been the work of someone trying to amuse themselves. It could also have not been drawn by George III at all and it could have been done by a servant or someone at his direction.

Stolen Heritage

The Elgin Marbles are back in the news for another round of handwringing and complaining.

The Greek prime minister has said the British Museum's decision to loan one of the Elgin Marbles to Russia is "an affront" to the Greek people.

Antonis Samaras added: "We Greeks are one with our history and civilisation, which cannot be broken up, loaned out, or conceded."

He said Britain's view that the marbles could not be moved was now invalid.
A depiction of the river god Ilissos will go on show in St Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum.

It is due to remain on display in the Russian city until mid-January.

The work is one of a number of relics acquired [a fantastic euphemism for stolen, as usual] by Lord Elgin in Athens in the early 19th Century, now known collectively as the Elgin Marbles.

Ownership of the artefacts, once part of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple, is disputed by Greece.

It maintains that Lord Elgin removed them illegally while the country was under Turkish occupation as part of the Ottoman Empire. The items have remained in the British Museum ever since.

Yes, I think we can all agree that the old British Empire stole whatever it wanted just like everyone else. No, there really is no compelling case for not returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece.

I can see the reasoning behind these arguments, but if you're going to be a purist about this sort of thing, then the museums of Europe need to be emptied of everything they contain.

I remember visiting the Baden State Museum in Karlsruhe, thinking that I would see a lot of German artifacts. And you can certainly see some of that, but what you will also see are numerous artifacts looted from around the world, either "borrowed" or "acquired" the way everyone else used to do it--through war or conquest, and usually both and almost always waged with a heavy hand against anyone who dared lay claim to a cultural treasure.

Honestly, why would a museum in Baden-W├╝rttemberg feature all of those Egyptian and Greek artifacts if they hadn't already been loaded into wagons or onto horses centuries ago and stolen? If you send back the Elgin Marbles, I think you have to send back all of the pottery as well. And then and only then can we talk about the removal of human remains.

Abstract Number One December 2014

Abstract Number One for December, 2014 is a radically different piece than anything that I've done this year. I wanted to start out with something completely new, but my old habits and my old way of doing things will return eventually in this series. That's not an awful thing, I hope.

John Boyega and That Stormtrooper Outfit

Here's my first reaction to seeing John Boyega in a stormtrooper uniform on the surface of a desert planet.

Cinematically, this is a single reaction shot, designed to orient the audience/viewer to a new scene or the beginning of a scene. Boyega rises up, gives a solid reaction, and then moves in the frame to a new perspective that does not appear in the clip.

This suggests that the actor has been knocked out, incapacitated, or is recovering from being struck or disabled in some way. His shocked demeanor supports that.

The idea that he is, in fact a stormtrooper is a stretch for me because he is considered one of the "good guys." That would suggest the Boyega is wearing the uniform as a ruse and nothing more. He put on the armor in order to escape from a situation or to pass himself off as someone he is not. Where's the helmet? Removed because this is not who he is and this is not his actual uniform? Probably.

The Internet exploded with outrage; however, in keeping with the cinematic history, using a stormtrooper uniform to escape detection or deceive the real bad guys goes back to Episode Four, which, of course, begins with a crash-landing on the desert planet that has seen so much action.

I could be entirely wrong, of course, and I'll eat my words a year from now...

Fall Colors and Textures

Some of the patterns and textures found in this shot really came out in the Photoshop processing. This is amateur photography, and this is about as good as it gets for me.