What I See ~

Happy Birthday Rembrandt

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Today, July 15, 1606, is Rembrandt’s birthday. Born Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn he is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art and of course the most important in Dutch history. [Image above: Self-portrait in a cap, with eyes wide open, etching and burin, 1630]

His contributions came during what historians call the Dutch Golden Age. Rembrandt has been called “one of the great prophets of civilization” because of his perceived empathy for the human condition.

His most famous works include:

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632)

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Belshazzar’s Feast (1635)

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the Million Dollar Man's Feast flat

Night Watch, his most celebrated work (1642)

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Bathsheba at Her Bath (1654)

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Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild (1662)

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Rembrandt was a prolific self-portraitist producing over 40 self-paintings, a few drawings and 31 etchings of himself.

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A young Rembrandt, c. 1628, when he was 22

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Self-portrait, c. 1629

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Self-portrait, 1630

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Self-Portrait with Velvet Beret and Furred Mantel 1634

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Self-portrait, at 34, 1640

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Self-Portrait, oil on canvas, 1652

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Self-portrait, Vienna c. 1655

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Self-Portrait, 1660

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Self-Portrait with Two Circles, 1660

Self-Portrait as Zeuxis, c. 1662

Self-Portrait as Zeuxis, c. 1662

Self-portrait, 1669

Self-portrait, 1669

Self-portrait, dated 1669, the year he died

Self-portrait, dated 1669, the year he died

Curious Beginnings

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June 27, 1829: James Smithson Dies

Talk about odd beginnings, when James Smithson died, he left everything to his only nephew….

…unless his nephew died without any heirs. In that case he decreed that the whole of his estate would go to, “the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Curious as he left his estate to a country, a country he had never visited!  [top picture is the Smithsonian Flag]

Smithson at Oxford, 1786

Smithson at Oxford, 1786

Smithson was a fellow of the esteemed Royal Society of London from the age 22. He published numerous papers on mineral composition, geology and chemistry.

As it would happen, six years after his death, Smithson’s nephew, Henry James Hungerford, dies without heirs. President Jackson sent diplomat Richard Rush to England to negotiate the transfer of the funds. Two years later Rush sets sail for America with 11 boxes containing a total of 104,960 gold sovereigns, eight shillings, and seven pence, as well as Smithson’s mineral collection, library, scientific notes, and personal effects. After the gold was melted down, it amounted to a fortune worth well over $500,000.

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After much haggling by too many politicians the Smithsonian Institute was finally established in 1846 “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge”.

The “Star Spangled Banner” – the actual flag that flew over Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during a British naval bombardment and inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the poem that would become our national anthem is housed at the Smithonian

The “Star Spangled Banner” – the actual flag that flew over Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during a British naval bombardment and inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the poem that would become our national anthem is housed at the Smithonian

North Atlantic Right Whale model

North Atlantic Right Whale model

Termed “the nation’s attic” for its eclectic holdings of 137 million items, the Institution’s Washington, D.C. nucleus of nineteen museums, nine research centers, and zoo—many of them historical or architectural landmarks—is the largest such complex in the world.

Enola Gay

Enola Gay

Judy Garland's Ruby Slippers

Judy Garland’s Ruby Slippers

 

 

 

 

 

The National Air and Space Museum has the distinction of being the most visited museum in the world, exhibiting marvels of aviation and space history such as the Wright brothers’ plane and Freedom 7, the space capsule that took the first American into space. John Smithson, the Smithsonian Institution’s great benefactor, is interred in a tomb in the Smithsonian Building.

Wright Brothers Flier

Wright Brothers Flier

Original Mercury Spacecraft Freedom 7

Original Mercury Spacecraft Freedom 7

The unveiling of the Fénykövi Elephant on March 6, 1959. Image from Smithsonian Institution Archives

The unveiling of the Fénykövi Elephant on March 6, 1959. Image from Smithsonian Institution Archives

Do you see a human head and body on the engraved stone to the right? Scientific studies show that humans deepened the natural grooves on this stone and smoothed planes and curves to create an image. This may be one of the earliest representations of a human figure.

Do you see a human head and body on the engraved stone above? Scientific studies show that humans deepened the natural grooves on this stone and smoothed planes and curves to create an image. This may be one of the earliest representations of a human figure.

Richard Matzkin, Lovers Reclining , at National Portrait Gallery

Richard Matzkin, Lovers Reclining , at National Portrait Gallery

 

 

 

No-Hopers

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No-Hopers

A dishwasher, two mailmen, a teacher and a mill worker, described as a band of “no-hopers”, defeat the powerhouse, the “Kings of Football”, the polished English soccer team at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.

1950 American Team

1950 American Team

Today in 1950, what is referred to as the “Miracle on Green”, the American team composed mostly of amateurs, defeated the English team known at the time as the “Kings of Football”. It’s members had a record of 23 wins, only 4 loses and 3 draws since the end of World War II! All were professional players hand-picked from England’s powerful domestic teams.

By contrast, the American teams had lost their last 7 international matches. Bookies gave the Brits 3-1 odds compared to the Americans 500-1! The new coach for the American team agreed, telling a British reporter, “We have no chance.”

Action from England v US, 1950

Action from England v US, 1950

The English team assaulted the Americans with one clear shot after another, but goalie, Frank Borghi (who drove a hearse in St Louis) managed to tip them all.

Frank Borghi

Frank Borghi

Goal!

Goal!

With 10 minutes left in the first half, forward Joe Gaetjens scored with a diving header. The English team lashed back frantically in the second half but nothing got past goalie Borghi. The 30,000 Brazilians went wild (knowing the British loss helped their own team) carrying Gaetjens off the field in celebration (top photo).

Cya George

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George Carlin died today in 2008 of heart failure. He was 71. Born in New York City, Carlin dropped out of high school and joined the Air Force. When he was stationed at Barksdale AFB in Bossie City, LA he began working on the side as a disc jockey at radio station KJOE in nearby Shreveport.

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Ah George, he was labeled by his superiors as, an “unproductive airman” and eventually discharged early in 1957. During his time in the Air Force he had been court martialed three times, and received several nonjudicial punishments.

George Carlin

He worked as a radio announcer and disc jockey in Boston and Fort Worth TX after his discharge. George was half of a comedy duo with Jack Burns, and made his first solo appearance on the Tonight Show in 1962.

You could see Carlin on many television variety shows of the 60’s, where his famed routines included:

The Indian Sergeant (“You wit’ the beads… get outta line”)

Stupid disc jockeys (“Wonderful WINO…”)—”The Beatles’ latest record, when played backwards at slow speed, says ‘Dummy! You’re playing it backwards at slow speed!’”

Al Sleet, the “hippie-dippie weatherman”—”Tonight’s forecast: Dark. Continued dark throughout most of the evening, with some widely scattered light towards morning.”

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A routine from his third hit album, Class Clown (also 1972) grew into the comic’s now-famous profanity-laced routine “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” When first broadcast on New York radio, a complaint led the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ban the broadcast as “indecent.” The Supreme Court later upheld the order, which remains in effect today. He was even arrested several times, once during an appearance in Milwaukee, for violating obscenity laws.

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that’ll infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war. ”

~George Carlin, Class Clown, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television

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Carlin was asked to be the first guest host of the new sketch comedy show called, Saturday Night Live. He gave his last live comedy show in Vegas just weeks before his death.

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Yearning to Breathe Free…

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Today in 1885 the Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor

Shipped from France, the 350 individual pieces were packed in 200 cases. Made of copper and iron, Lady Liberty was reassembled and dedicated the following year. The statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi with assistance from engineer Gustave Eiffel, who designed the Eiffel Tower. Bartholdi modeled Lady Liberty after his mother, Charlotte…

Charlotte Bartholdi

Charlotte Bartholdi

Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi

Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi

 

 

 

 

 

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OR was it really… Elvis!?

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Owen Wilson Maybe?

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The 450,000-pound statue was originally copper-colored, but underwent a natural color-change process over the years called patination that produced its current greenish-blue hue. Liberty stands more than 305 feet from the foundation of its pedestal to the top of its torch, taller than any structure in New York City at the time. Bartholdi dubbed the statue, “Liberty Enlightening the World”.

Assembling the Statue of Liberty (1) Bartholdi-Liberty-hand-and-torch-large construction_014 construction_017 Liberty_1927

 

 

Dedicated on October 28, 1886, by President Cleveland, who said, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.”

Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus

In 1903, a plaque inscribed with a sonnet titled “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus, was placed on an interior wall of the pedestal. Lazarus’ now-famous words, became symbolic of America’s vision of itself as a land of opportunity for immigrants.

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“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

  • The New Colossus
  • by Emma Lazarus
  • Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
  •  With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
  •  Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
  •  A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
  •  Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
  •  Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
  •  Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
  •  The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
  •  “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
  •  With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
  •  Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
  •  The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
  •  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
  •  I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

 
The New Colossus, Annotated by Esther Schor
http://nextbookpress.com/new-colossus/
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Celebrate Loving Day

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Loving Day

Today, June 12, is remembered annually as Loving Day. Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights decision. It wasn’t until June 12 of 1967 that the US Supreme Court invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The case was brought by Mildred Loving, a black woman and Richard Loving, a white man [image above & below] who had been sentenced to a year in prison for marrying each other. Consider, it wasn’t that long ago that it was illegal for races to marry.lovingcouch-thumb-320x212-44497

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The trial judge in their case, Leon M. Bazile wrote:

“ Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Really Judge Bazile!

Mildred and Richard Loving, their daughter Peggy, Mildred’s sister Garnet, and Richard’s mother Lola, on the front porch of Mildred’s mother’s house April 1965. © Estate of Grey Villet.

Mildred and Richard Loving, their daughter Peggy, Mildred’s sister Garnet, and Richard’s mother Lola, on the front porch of Mildred’s mother’s house April 1965. © Estate of Grey Villet.

In June 1958 the couple traveled to Washington, D.C. to marry, thus evading Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act which made interracial marriage a crime. They returned to the small town of Central Point, Virginia.

Imagine this!  Based on an anonymous tip, local police raided their home at night, hoping to find them having sex, which was also a crime according to Virginia law. When the officers found the Lovings sleeping in their bed, Mildred pointed out their marriage certificate on the bedroom wall. That certificate became the evidence for the criminal charge of “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth” that was brought against them.

Peggy, Sidney, and Donald Loving playing © Estate of Grey Villet

Peggy, Sidney, and Donald Loving playing © Estate of Grey Villet

The Lovings pled guilty and were sentenced to a year in prison with the sentence suspended for 25 years if they left Virginia. Needless to say they left, moving to District of Columbia.

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The Lovings, with help from the ACLU, appealed the decision to the US Supreme Court. Richard loving didn’t attend the oral arguments but asked his lawyer, Bernard Cohen,  to convey a message to the court: “Mr. Cohen, tell the Court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.” Pretty straight forward guy.

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The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions in a unanimous decision (dated June 12, 1967): Chief Justice Earl Warren’s opinion for the unanimous court held that:

“ Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State. ”

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In June 2007, on the 40th anniversary of the issuance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving, Mildred Loving issued a statement in relation to Loving v. Virginia and its mention in the ongoing court cases regarding same-sex marriage in the US.

“ I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry… I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

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Mildred & Richard in 1967

Celebrate Loving Day in June!

http://lovingday.org/

The Ballad of John and Yoko

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Today in 1969, The Ballad of John and Yoko hits #1 in the UK. Although written by Lennon, the song was attributed to Lennon-McCartney as was their custom and released by the Beatles as a single in May of ’69. Lennon wrote the song chronicling the events surrounding his marriage to Yoko Ono. It was the Beatles final UK number one single.

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John brought the song to Paul’s home on April 14 of 1969 and recorded it that evening. “Paul knew that people were being nasty to John, and he just wanted to make it well for him”, said Yoko Ono. “Paul has a very brotherly side to him.”

 

At the time, George Harrison was on holiday and Ringo Starr was filming The Magic Christian so the song was recorded without them. In his biography, McCartney recalls that Lennon had a sudden inspiration and wanted to record immediately without the other guys… so they knocked it out that night.

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The recording was the first Beatles single to be released in stereo. The B side showcased George Harrison’s, Old Brown Shoe.

 

Several US radio stations refused to play the song because they thought the song was sacrilegious containing the words Christ and crucify.

 

Christ, you know it ain’t easy,

You know how hard it can be,

The way things are going,

They’re gonna crucify me.

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Click arrow then the underlined, “Watch on YouTube”

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These Chicks Kicked Ass

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How you feel about discrimination

Today we can celebrate another step taken towards humanity’s quest to end discriminations. Funny but during the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War (oxymoron ~ “civil” war) African American men were given the right to vote… but god forbid, not women!

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Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association to push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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In 1890 Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote.

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Susan B. and Elizabeth (and many others) had an uphill battle as it wasn’t until June 4, 1919 that the 19th Amendment, which stated that “the rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” passed both houses of Congress and was sent to the states for ratification.

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Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land. Eight days later, August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment took effect.

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Rock and Roll Banned

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June 3, 1956: Rock and Roll Banned

It was 1956 and the country was just coming to terms with a booming population of teenagers. These kids came into their own with vastly different musical tastes and attitudes. But it was a dance party the night before that had the crusty city authorities of Santa Cruz, CA ban Rock and Roll.

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Santa Cruz captured national attention when they announced a total ban on Rock and Roll at public gatherings, calling the music, “detrimental to both the health and morals of our youth and community.”

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I would have liked to have been there… the dance party the previous night that got Rock and roll banned. Some 200 of those crazed teenagers packed the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on a Saturday night dancing to the devil music of Chuck Higgins and his Orchestra. Chuck and his band were a Los Angeles group with a regional hit record, “Pachuko Hop”. Listen to this, classic 50’s Rock and Roll… wow makes me want to devil dance ;)

The Santa Cruz police arrived just after midnight to check on the event and what they saw, according to Lt Richard Overton, was a crowd “engaged in suggestive, stimulating and tantalizing motions induced by provocative rhythms of an all-negro band.” Oh my, not an all negro band! Lt. Overton shut the place down immediately and sent the crazed teenagers home.

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It may seem obvious now that Santa Cruz’s ban on “Rock and Roll and other forms of frenzied music” was doomed to fail but it wasn’t the only such attempt. A couple weeks later, Time magazine reported similar bans enacted in Asbury Park, NJ and San Antonia, TX.48510

 

 

The city authority’s also mentioned the “undesirable elements” at the dances… the not-so-thinly-veiled concerns of the racially integrated nature of these events. So let us celebrate the breakdown of “race fear” that Rock and Roll helped promote.

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The Beav’ “Don’t Cha Cry”

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June 2, 1948: The Beav’ is Born

Jerry Mathers was born today in 1948. We all know he played the Beav’ in Leave it to Beaver but did you know he had a brother and sister who also dabbled in show biz.

Susie

Susie

Jimmy Mathers

Jimmy Mathers

Jimmy

Jimmy

Susie Mathers

Susie Mathers


Mathers reportedly got the role as Theodore Cleaver when he told producers he didn’t want to be at the audition because he was missing his Cub Scout meeting. They figured his candidness was perfect for “The Beav”. After 6 years and 234 episodes he finally launched his music career with this not No. 1 hit, “Don’t Cha Cry”.

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