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December 26, 2019



Over the decades I worked at a number of hospitals, public and private.

In the course of my work, sometimes I'd be so tired I wouldn't bother changing back into my street clothes but instead just went home in my scrubs.


Above, a selection from my anesthesiology travels.

December 26, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"... the purely accidental quality of each lived instant, a quality the poet identifies as 'love.'"


Above, my favorite sentence of the week.

It's from Joel Broewer's October 14, 2007 New York Times Book Review piece about "In The Pines,"Alice Notley's then-new collection of poems.

Now I'm not sure if I should get a book of Brouwer's poems or Notley's.

Probably best to invoke my old adage when in doubt about things book-related, to wit: get both.

Bonus: My Crack Research Team©® found a treasure trove of recordings of Alice Notley reading from her work, including 21 poems in Buffalo, New York on April 10, 1987, and a video of a reading from November 6, 2006.

December 26, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Google Assistant Interpreter Mode for Phones

What a fantastic holiday drop.

From the Verge:

Interpreter mode, the feature that allows Google Assistant to translate your conversations in real time, has come to phones.

Google says it will work with 44 languages and can be invoked by saying commands like "Hey Google, help me speak Thai" or "Hey Google, be my German translator."

Once you're in interpreter mode, the Assistant will translate your speech and read it out loud.

On phone screens, the Assistant is able to offer up Smart Replies that can speed up the conversation by letting you respond without having to speak.

Interpreter mode was previously only available on Google Home smart speakers and displays.

Free, the way we like it, for iOS and Android.

December 26, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What's better than seeing a Hopper painting? Sleeping in one

Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 9.13.01 AM

Margot Boyer-Dry was the second person to spend a night in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' Hopper hotel room: her account of the experience appeared in the New York Times, and follows.

What’s Better Than Seeing a Hopper Painting? Sleeping in One

Every detail of Edward Hopper’s "Western Motel” has been brought to life at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where you can spend the night.

Behind a pane of glass at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a wooden bed frame anchors a sparsely decorated motel room [above].

Vintage suitcases have been arranged at the foot of the bed, and light streams in diagonally through a window, just beyond which a green Buick is visible, parked in the foreground of a mesa landscape.

It looks like the setting of a painting, and it is.

Every detail here was inspired by Edward Hopper's 1957 painting "Western Motel" [below],

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which has been brought to vibrant, three-dimensional life.

The only thing missing is the mysterious woman whose burgundy dress matches the bedspread.

But that's where the museum guest comes in.

I was the second person to stay in the museum's Hopper hotel room, essentially becoming its subject for a night. (Before it sold out through February, the room cost anywhere from $150 a night to $500 for a package, including dinner, mini golf and a tour with the curator.)

My time there was short — a standard stay runs from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. — and awkward.

I had traveled all day to reach Richmond, and these pristinely basic quarters were the main event.

Ultimately, it reminded me of every other hotel room I've ever stayed in

Ellen Chapman, a Richmond resident who stayed the night before I did, was more focused on the novelty of an art overnight.

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[above, Ms. Chapman inside the Hopper room]

"I've always had that childhood fantasy of spending the night in a museum," she said. "The remarkable part for me was waking up, drinking my coffee, and looking at this amazing exhibit right next to me."

The "Hopper Hotel Experience" is the flashy centerpiece of "Edward Hopper and the American Hotel," an exhibition featuring about 60 of the artist's hospitality-themed works, including paintings, sketches, and early-career cover illustrations for the trade magazine, Hotel Management.

Also on view are 35 works by other American artists exploring travel in America across time and medium, from Robert Salmon’s 1830 painting "Dismal Swamp Canal" to a 2009 photograph by Susan Worsham titled "Marine, Hotel Near Airport, Richmond, VA."

Leo G. Mazow, the show's curator, said he intends the Hopper room to do more than just generate buzz.

"So many people say, 'Well, Hopper's about alienation.'" But for Mr. Mazow, Hopper's themes of "transience and transportation yield a particular type of detachment," which the hotel experience explores.

Hopper's painting career coincided with the period when automobile production and expanding highway infrastructure made travel possible for a broader range of Americans.

A lifelong New Yorker, Hopper and his wife, Jo, took several extended road trips, during which he painted common elements of American life: hotels, motels and guesthouses; lighthouses; restaurants; city streets and interiors.

His quietly dramatic depictions of those spaces and the people in them came to define an American aesthetic.

Barbara Haskell, a curator specializing in 20th-century painting and sculpture at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which owns most of Hopper's oeuvre, said, "As Americans, we have this individualistic thread that runs through the country, and he captures that individualism in a way that no artist really does."

Hopper imbued his subjects with a sense of interiority that reflected his own resistance to the societal changes of midcentury America.

Jo Hopper's diaries (on display here) describe him as a political conservative with a deep skepticism toward the new: He was appalled by skyscrapers; categorically opposed to air travel; and unable to cope with women's independence (he forbade his wife from driving).

The result in his work is "a kind of sadness, a nostalgia for a way of life that's disappearing," Ms. Haskell added.

And yet Hopper indulged in the modern pastime of car travel.

"Western Motel" sits at the crux of this ambivalence, depicting a striking landscape, but as seen through the window of a generic indoor space built for refuge.

As I sat on the bed in a Hopper refuge come to life, I reflected on my own journey to the "motel" from Brooklyn.

After nine hours on the M.T.A., Amtrak, and Greyhound, I found myself inside the room, and straddling two worlds: I tinkered with the radio (wood-finished for historical accuracy but Bluetooth-enabled for function), chewed on a Tootsie Roll, and leafed through issues of Time magazine from 1957. (One absorbing piece was titled "The Emancipation of Moslem Women," and ads for Bermuda were dominated by white people.)

Then a modern instinct kicked in: I set my phone's photo timer and snapped a few pictures of myself posed as the painting's sitter.

As I prepared to post the winner to Instagram, my own wave of ambivalence washed over.

In that moment, I was spending more energy capturing the perfect shot than experiencing the place I'd traveled to see.

Alienation, indeed.

Edward Hopper and the American Hotel

Through February 23, 2020 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia; 804-340-1400, vmfa.museum. The Hopper Hotel Experience is completely sold out.

December 26, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jumbo Delete Eraser


Very meta.

Palm-size eraser shaped like the well known and much loved key on your computer keyboard.


Designed in Russia.



December 26, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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