Octopus eats its leg

Octopus arm front windows

This morning we checked out the Museum of Contemporary Art’s show “Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg.” The title comes from a Japanese saying to the effect that an octopus in a mortal jam will eat off its own leg to survive aware that it will soon regrow, with the implication that sacrifice is necessary to create new growth. Kinda gory way to frame that notion…. Murakami was born in 1962.

Takashi Murakami 1999 Super Nova

The exhibit shows his pieces in chronological order, and allowed us to see how his art has changed. His sense of color aesthetics is stupendous, and was there at the beginning. This is a 1999 piece he named “Super Nova.” It portrays the world after an atomic bomb…mushrooms are a frequent theme in traditional Japanese art, and of course the bombs make mushroom clouds….

Panel detail

Here’s a detail from a recent multi-panel work, showing more of the influence of anime. Just for this show, we were told, he designed an octopus, used for the promotional materials…you’ll have to find it “out there” if you are interested. Big eyed. Pink.

Lamborghini headlamp

Wandering the streets toward the next stop, we window-shopped Lamborghinis (one headlamp only shown) and Bentleys (even saw a muddy one!—I didn’t know mud stuck to Bentleys!).

Between lion

We also wandered by this lion, with a moldy green pelt.

Russert Meet set

In the broadcasting museum, we unexpectedly found Tim Russert’s “Meet the Press” set.

Subway detail

And…we took the subway back to our (temporary) apartment. Beautiful tile work on the walls…public art that mostly goes uncelebrated.

River view

Abe n mr sweater

I jokingly said this street art was Abe and Mr. Sweater. Turns out it is something like Abe and the Common Man. Common Man being white guy in cable-knit sweater. Nothing against white guys or sweaters. But.

London House temple

We took a fantastic architectural boat tour, and this was across from our dock. The somewhat unexpected rooftop open-air circular temple can be rented for special occasions.

Chicago from mouth of Chicago River

Our boat went out to the lock that prevents the Chicago River from dumping into the lake—its natural flow—but did not leave the river. Such a great view west of the skyline.

Chicago founded right

The grass-edged landform to the right was where the Euro-Americans first settled here. They heard the Indians saying something that they distorted into “Chicago” thinking that was the name of the spot. Turns out the Indians were commenting on the marshy vegetation—stinking onions. Or so our wonderful guide said.

Design by context

Even more than the building in the previous shot, this one was designed with a plain façade meant to reflect what was around it.

Rivers map

This one, on the other hand, has a stylized map of the rivers. That red “bench” feature way up there indicates the location of this building, a “you are here” marker.

Heart Chicago

Spotted on our way back from deep-dish pizza engorgement….

Being urban

Electrical infrastructure

Sometimes urban infrastructure is in your face. Or above your head. Hanging out.

Big view interior

In our hundred-year-old apartment, things are far more genteel. This view is through the dining room and across the library and through the living room to the fireplace. BIG! To the right from the library is a balcony over the front door of the building, and to the right of the living room is a sun room.

Entry hall

And this is the entry hall. The entry. Only.


Swirly auto

We’ve seen a few vehicles with these obscuring paint jobs (maybe wraps not paint per se)—semi-secret, I guess you’d say. Always before, we’ve seen them within 50 miles of Detroit.

Not this one. Midwest, but not near Detroit.

Woodgrain pin

I didn’t mean this to be a confusing what-is-it photo, but I guess it is without context. This is the corner piece of a wooden handrail, with an elegant metal peg keeping the two pieces attached.

Love the dissected wood grain.

Courthouse and

And: golden hour!

Another courthouse: note the cannon in the lower right. [Identify by light illuminating the hub and spokes of one wheel?]

Wars mentioned on the memorial’s plaque are Mexican War, War for the Union (this one goes by many names), and Spanish American. The memorial is called “County Tribute to Her Heroic Dead.” Sobering.

Polvo means dust

Pale yellow lily trumpet

When I lived in Mexico, I understood where dust came from. There was dry, dusty soil exposed nearly everywhere. Vegetation was the exception in the sierra. So, there dust was soil particles. [I carefully didn’t think about the minority of other kinds of particles mixed into it.]

That dust source isn’t a big thing here in urban-suburbia. So, where does dust come from? Is it mostly teensy bits of textile fiber? And what else?


Okay, I’m finished with that topic….

Pottery fun

Stoneware potlid

This morning I managed to unintentionally start a wee mug-off. There was no winner, just some laughs.

The mugs have words, but this pot did not. It was a whole covered casserole, but this is just the lid and its handle. The potter only put glaze on one side, a lovely silver-grey. [My mug did not have a naughty word on it; no comment on the other mug’s text.]

This may not make sense. Apologies.

Hue(s), no cry

Yell R bridge night

We had a green light and the bridge showed blue lights as we crossed the Yellow River.

“No cry” because Atlanta United won and the tacos-and-strawberry-cake celebratory dinner was yummy-squared.

Church fireworks

Fireworks by me

I’ve been hearing about the great color and drawing and photo-editing possible on the new iPad. So, I gave it a try, creating an illustration (of sorts) for a sign we saw yesterday.

The sign read “Church Fireworks” in big letters. And below: “2 for 1 sale!” And if that wasn’t enough to entice you, the final punch line was: “No taxes.”

Lots of food for thought there….

Drama needing rewrite

Gap clouds

After all the excitement yesterday, we were s-l-o-w getting moving today, plus we had a “Real Breakfast”™️, and all that reality Takes Time. So.

Clouds sat in the valley, and, with rain, well, everything was a different (weather) reality.

We managed to accomplish our data hand-off (a gen-u-wine parking-lot delivery moment), and begin our mosey (Oliver Springs; Dayton!!). And we passed on (most of) the Interstate-miles. Not bragging, just passing along info.

ATL new bridge

After considerable of driving (including dodging “dark-red-road-sections), yippee! we passed under ATL’s New Bridge. These are the NEW cement joists and NEW new road-bed, all the expensive re-constructed roadway to replace the sections that…melted…during the homeless guy’s fire…not that long ago.

Short version: this is happy-fun version of New Bridge.

And, we are home! (Bowing.) Thank you…thank you.

Whatta day!

Cloud on road

Today was a storied day. Too many stories to tell them here, in fact. The morning started in the clouds, or, more precisely, the clouds descended to the ground…creating lovely, muted light. Okay, one story. Sometime after this shot we drove a winding road through a narrowed valley, decorated every so often by flanking, blooming banks of orange lilies. It was named Frog Level Road. When it’s tough, the frogs go low, and burrow deep in the mud. And this valley was low for the area, meriting the reference.

M on computer

Our next big adventure was to see M’s field school winding up their season. This is when the largest area is exposed and the “most” has been revealed by weeks of hard work in the merciless sun. It is the pinnacle of science!

Cord marked sherd

Science also can look like this. It’s a cord-marked sherd, meaning that when the clay was still plastic and partly dry, someone took some rough cord material and pressed it into the clay to make a surface decoration. This is an easy method to originate and potters all over the world have used it.

Anyway, the stories unfolded. A shower to clean the sweaty, grimy body. A big download of pictures. A party at a lovely home on a hill, a gift to the crew that we were allowed to join. Finally, we crashed, spent and happy and enjoying the wafting air-conditioned breeze in the hotel room. A few fireworks outside as I was falling asleep; or did I dream that in a fog of exhaustion.