The university coffee shop sells beans, bagged snacks, and cups as well as the usual high-test brews and baked goods. When the shop closes, the displays of nibbles and cups stays out. No one messes with it, no one fingers the goods, unless it is to read the back of the bean-bag for description and then put it back. Because that’s just how it is. The student union is a high-trust environment. And no one wants to mess that up, so the students police themselves. Yes, there are cameras, and security on occasion, and it’s never smart to leave something valuable laying out to tempt the weak (or the gods of spilled liquids), but while I was there all day, no one bothered things that didn’t belong to them. Continue reading
My folks and I drove two hours each way to go to a little art museum in the northeastern Texas Panhandle. This was the second attempt. The first time, we didn’t know the museum was closed for Christmas and New Years. Then we tried to go before school started and the weather intervened (8″ of snow on narrow, winding roads.) The third time was the charm. We got to see the Rembrandt etchings.
“O come, o come Emmanuel,” or “Veni Emmanuel” to use the original name, includes a series of descriptions of Jesus. One that hearkens back to the book of Isiah is “shoot of Jesse’s tree.” Today we use it as a metaphor. Medieval art took it literally, and one of the things I did this summer was take pictures of various Jesse Trees.
This choir-stall is a very simple depiction of the idea, and comes from the Cistercian Abbey of Maulbronn. As you can tell from the fragment of sign, it dates to around 1450, so it is Renaissance. Continue reading
So there I was in traffic, waiting for the light to change. The SUV beside me caught my eye. The driver had her window down a little, and was letting a lap-dog stand on her chest and the steering wheel, looking out the windshield.
Later that day, I did a double take because it appeared that a mastiff was driving. No, but he was leaning across the driver, peering out the open window. Continue reading
The question arose yesterday: what exactly is a pfalz? Dictionary definitions suggest that it is another term for Schloß, a palace. A pfalzgraf was a count in charge of a pfalz, or who had one on his territory, but that doesn’t answer the question.
Short version: a depot and temporary residence for the early Holy Roman Emperors. Continue reading
Every so often you come across something in folklore that makes you raise an eyebrow and wonder. The figures of Frau Pechte/Perchta and Frau or Mutter Holle are two of those. One leads the Wild Hunt, and the other features in several of Grimm’s fairy tales. Continue reading
One would think that 11 pounds of puss-cat cannot block access through a house unassisted.