Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Random Musings 12

What do you think when hear the names Don, Betty, Peggy, Joan, and Roger? If you're thinking Mad Men, then you're as excited as I am to see the 2-hour season 5 premiere on March 25 (image: Frank Ockenfels, AMC). I wasn't so sure about this show at first and didn't watch the first two seasons right away, but once I caught on, I was hooked. Matt Zoller Seitz has some interesting thoughts about why the show is so great in the latest issue of New York magazine. Last season had some great moments, like Don's elderly Jewish secretary, Ida "Are-ya-goin'-to-da-toilet?" Blankenship, who was so popular she got her own Facebook page. Tragically, even her death was a hoot. And of course there was episode #7 from last season, "The Suitcase," which ranks up there as one of the all-time best hours of television ever written and acted. The synergy between Don (Jon Hamm) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) was simply brilliant. Let's see if they can top it this season.

Last month, I posted about New York Public Library's disastrous plans to gut the main historic building and research library and make it mostly a circulating library and Internet computer zone. The project is going to cost upwards of $350 million. Meanwhile more than 80 branch libraries throughout NYC are completely falling into ruin and need to be completely overhauled. Yesterday, Leonard Lopate on WNYC radio interviewed Scott Sherman, who wrote the exposé published in The Nation this past December, and Caleb Crain, a former research fellow at NYPL. The radio program addresses both the potential positive and negative sides of this controversy, but truly drives home the nightmare of what is being planned.

In the world of art, the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci has never gone out of style, so Dan Brown really had no need to try to make him more titillating than he already was. Over the past 2 months, the Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) has come back into the spotlight, not in her world-famous portrait at the Louvre in Paris, but in a copy made at the same time that belongs to the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid (their image). Having recently conserved and cleaned their copy of the Gioconda, the Prado's conservators have determined that it probably was painted about the same as the original. They're also claiming that the restored copy is closer to what the picture actually looked like when Leonardo painted it. Dirt, varnish, and aging have darkened the Louvre's original. I think it's rather interesting too that the copy artist probably was Andrea Salai, Leonardo's lover. You can read more about the painting in articles published in The Art Newspaper here, here, and here. And just when you thought that was big Leonardo news, yesterday it was announced that scholars believe they may have "found" his long-missing mural of The Battle of Anghiari beneath another painting.

I'm heading back to Florida this week. The Pater's mental health is degrading some more as Alzheimer's disease continues to affect him. I'll be doing a few more things to help make his life comfortable and manageable, including following up some doctor appointments. Our dear friend RM has been simply amazing in helping with so many things. I owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude and, knowing she reads these posts, I'm publicly making it known how much I appreciate all of her help. With managing health problems such as Alzheimer's in our lives, I've often found the British World War II slogan "Keep Calm and Carry On" to be quite useful at times, so I'll leave you with this delightful video of the story behind the slogan, the iconic posters, and a charming bookshop in the UK that I would love to go visit one day soon. Watch the video here if you can't see it below. You'll appreciate the message.

No comments: