SYW: On the Greater Good, Ferris Wheels, Violins & Trumpets

Melanie has a new set of questions today for her Share Your World challenge.

QUESTIONS

A mixed bag today

What do you think of the idea of the ‘greater good’ principle?
I think it is central for a just and equal society. Although we have “freedom” that doesn’t mean we can – or should – do whatever we want to. This is one of my major concerns about American society, that people confuse freedom and individuality. We have gotten so selfish and blame others – mostly the downtrodden – for our own inability to get ahead in life. There are things that living in a society compels one to do – to behave responsibility and with caring for others, whether or not those people are part of your family or social circle. Mask wearing during the pandemic was for the greater good. Some individuals would be inconvenienced by it, but overall, society will benefit – indeed, has benefited by the mask mandate.

Do you enjoy riding a roller coaster or other amusement park type ride?
I’m a wimp – the Ferris wheel is as daring as I get. Many cities have these gigantic Ferris wheels nowadays; I guess they provide riders a good view from the top. London, Sydney – probably many more – saw how successful it was in the city where it was invented – Chicago!

Which musical instrument is the most annoying to you personally?
There isn’t a particular instrument – it’s more the way that the instrument is played. I mean this in two ways: If the person playing the instrument isn’t very good or doesn’t have the “musicality” to play it, and the type of music or piece that is being played.

In the first instance, I would say violin or really any stringed instrument. If the person playing it isn’t very good, it sounds horrible. But I suppose that could be said about any instrument. In orchestras, there are a lot of violins – the stringed instruments are the most noticeable because the strings moat often carry the melody. I’ve been to concerts with a violin section that isn’t very good, and, in some pieces especially, it is really cringeworthy.

I have seen violins played in a variety of ways and in various types of music, and if the musician is good, it sounds fantastic. I think, however, that the violin is one of the most difficult instruments to learn well. I’m not just talking about classical music – I love ‘fiddling” and most of the fiddlers I’ve heard are real professional.

I have an eclectic taste in music; there are few genres I don’t like in general. I like jazz, but there are certain kinds of jazz that I don’t like, like when the piece gets very long with a lot of ad libbing and showcasing one instrument with lengthy solos. In these cases, it is usually the trumpet that I don’t like, because it can get very “screechy” when the musician is experimenting with it.

Would you rather have a vivid imagination or a photographic memory if you had to choose just one?
I already have a vivid imagination, but I have always envied people with a “photographic memory.” My memory has always been bad, but it’s deteriorating even more now that I’m getting older. So I guess I would like to have a good memory – it would have helped a lot during my working years, and maybe twenty years from now would help me stave off dementia!


GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)

Feel free to share fun plans for this season that you might have.   Especially now that many places are lifting restrictions and travel is a bit easier.
I had hoped to go abroad before the end of this year, but due to my husband’s health issues, we can’t make any firm plans, so we are planning a road trip to the Northeast in October. We may cross into Canada if we have our passports by that time.

Thursday Doors: A Nubian Lodge

Norm’s Thursday Doors is back! I haven’t been anywhere, like most of us. So I went into my archives and found photos of this charming place that we stayed one night at in Abu Simbel City, in southern Egypt. This region, which is today southern Egypt and northern Sudan, was traditionally the home of the Nubian people. Nubia (also known as “Kush” in ancient times) was often fought over, conquered and reconquered by the Egyptians while the Nubians rebelled for independence; in the end, Nubia became a part of Egyptian society while retaining some local cultural elements. Egypt even had a few Nubian pharaohs.

Traditional Nubian villages were colorful collections of domed houses. They used dome structures because clay bricks made from the mud produced by the Nile’s annual inundation were conducive to this architectural style.  Also the domes kept their houses cool in the hot weather. The men painted the house interiors white, while the women were in charge of painting the exteriors and they chose colorful pigments – blues, oranges, yellows, etc.

Here are some photos of Nubian-style buildings, taken from our tour bus as we drove through Abu Simbel City.

Many Nubian villages were displaced from their land with the building of the Aswan High Dam and had to be relocated, so in the years from 1960-1967, they were moved to a remote area in the desert north of Aswan.  The Egyptian government provided them with houses made of concrete, with flat roofs. This caused the interior of the homes to be very hot in the summer.  Furthermore, these houses were inadequate because of their size – while previously Nubian families enjoyed houses with nine rooms, they were now forced to live in 4-room houses shared by two families.  Crowding combined with the heat caused sanitary conditions to deteriorate.  Nubian children began to attend Egyptian schools in which the language of instruction was Arabic.  As fewer Nubians grew up reading and writing their native language, their culture threatened to die out.

In recent decades, the Nubian people have sought a revival of their culture and their written language.

The Eskaleh Lodge belongs to a musician and his wife who wanted to share their culture with the world, and is decorated with Nubian arts and crafts. The lodge is built in traditional Nubian style, characterized by domed roofs and archways. The domed ceilings keep the rooms cool. The lodge is a series of hallways and courtyards flanked by rooms.

An interior door admitting entrance for staff only.
This is one of the entrance gates to the lodge.

There is native artwork on display in hallways and public areas.

Traditional Nubian music is heard in the public areas of Eskaleh Lodge. A professor who came to give us a lecture about Nubian history and culture played for us on a mandolin-type instrument.

Most interesting was an instrument called a kisir. This 5-string harp-like instrument became katar (something like this) in Arabic, and in Spain it became “guitar.” The kisir is played by moving one’s fingers on and off the strings as the other hand strummed, much like how the guitar is played today.

Abu Simbel City is a colorful town in which the Nubians have begun to construct their buildings in the traditional way and return to some of their customs. Until recently, few tourists visited the area because it was so remote or took day trips from Aswan (about 2 hours each way) to see the Abu Simbel temples. That is why the Eskaleh Lodge is so important – there are still few lodgings in Abu Simbel and the lodge is a beautiful example of the revival of Nubian culture.

A Photo a Week: Three Angles

Nancy Merrill’s challenge this week is to photograph an object from 3 different angles.

I was thinking of this challenge this evening when we were at our old house, which is currently being rented by our daughter and son-in-law, so I set out to take photos of things in their house from three angles.

A black vase of (fake) black roses and spiders

Liam’s band equipment

Stevie Nicks (one of our grandcats)

 

First Presbyterian Church of Evanston – Open House Chicago 2018, Part 5

One of the most beautiful churches in Evanston, particularly its stained glass windows, is the First Presbyterian Church, which we visited during Open House Chicago 2018 in mid-October.  The architect of this building was Daniel H. Burnham, the same man who made Chicago famous for the design of the White City during the World’s Columbian Exhibition in 1893. (If you have read Devil in the White City, you have learned a lot about him.)
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The church was built in 1894 and completed in 1895 after a fire that destroyed the previous sanctuary.
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Additions to the Joliet limestone building included a Sunday School wing (1926) and the Walker Chapel (1969).
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The stained glass windows contain a lot of sapphire blue, which is City Sonnet’s color of the day today.

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These large windows which flank the north and south sides of the church depict the Old Testament (south window) and the New Testament (north window).
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If you look closely at this window depicting the Ascension, you can see Jesus’ feet and the bottom of his turquoise robe, just above the heads of the witnesses!
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These windows tell the story of Adam and Eve.

The Balcony Rose Window is the most beautiful of all! Fully illuminated by the setting sun, it draws its inspiration from the Beatitudes which Jesus shared during his “Sermon on the Mount.” (Matthew 5:3-11) Each “petal” depicts one of the Beatitudes.

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From Top and moving Clockwise: Dove (Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven); Lily (Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God); Scales of Justice (Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled); Crown with Stars (Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven); Inverted Torch (Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted); Olive Branch (Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God); Lamb (Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth); Broken Sword (Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy).

Looking toward the altar from the main entrance. Everything on the platform on which the altar sits is removable so the space is very flexible for concerts, pageants and other performances. The sanctuary plus the balcony seats 1,100 people.
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The lectern
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The altar
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Much of the wood trim has carvings, such as these angels. All the columns and decorative trim were not part of the original structure and were added later. The types of wood used were red oak and Georgian pine.

 

Also notable is the splendid organ, which the organist let me try out! The organ is an amalgamation of parts from the original 1895 organ, the 1940 installation and the 1958 Aeolian Skinner instrument.
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The sounds of different instruments, such as the oboe, flutes or violins, can be produced using the levers on the left and right; the sound is transmitted through the approximately 3,500 pipes arranged in 64 ranks.
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The organ pipes, as seen from the balcony. The blue ceiling and back-lighting in the organ chamber were added as part of a major renovation of the church in 2001.
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Light fixture
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The original building cost $80,000 to build.

http://www.liahona.net

BIG Can Be Beautiful!

Lens-Artists’ photo challenge this week is: BIG Can Be Beautiful Too!

Denali – Tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere (Denali National Park, Alaska, 2016)
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American Eagle Roller Coaster made out of Legos, using 14,500 Lego bricks with 9,300 feet of track (Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, 2017)
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Big statue being carved out of rock (Crazy Horse National Monument, South Dakota, 2017)
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Big musical instrument (My 6-year old grand nephew playing cello) – photo taken by his dad, David Williams
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Big crowd – Women’s March (Jan. 21, 2017, Chicago – over 200,000 marchers, but the crowds in Washington D.C. and New York were even bigger!)
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Big Ferris wheel (Navy Pier, Chicago, 2017)
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Big painting by Georgia O’Keeffe (Chicago Art Institute, 2018)
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A face only a mother could love? (African buffalo, Tanzania, 2018)
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Big horns on a small gazelle (Tanzania, 2018)
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CFFC: Things People Play With

The topic this week for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is Things People Play With. (I apply the term “Play with” rather loosely! 🙂 )

Discarded Barbie
Lost Barbie
Leaf and Ducks – Sweden
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Carnival Ride and Blow-up Slide, Des Plaines Fall Fest
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18th century doctor’s tools, Des Plaines Fall Fest
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Blocks, Des Plaines Fall Fest
20180916_155037_001.jpgVisitors try out a saw used to cut logs to make boats, National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, Dubuque, Iowa
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Stingrays – you were allowed to put your hand in and touch them if you washed your hands before and after! (National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, Dubuque, IA)
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Electric guitars and drums – band Size of Sadness, Chicago
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Having fun painting at Bottle and Bottega, Park Ridge, IL
Mary paints a tree, Angela a dragon