Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Art of Espresso

At times it's an unexpected, creative surprise that can make you smile during the course of a trying day. An extra bit of thoughtful artistry to help shake off the doldrums, and awaken a world of possibilities. You might venture into a local coffee shop and order your favorite espresso drink, and there it is - a little bit of magic on the surface of your brew crafted delicately with the frothed milk. At the New Shelton wet/dry site you can find wonderful photos of this espresso art - a swan, a lion, and a butterfly among other images. After consuming the artful brew you just might exit the java joint with an extra spring in your step and a lighter heart.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Paris Morning

"Paris Morning"

Original Art by Heather Keenan

"An artist has no home in Europe save in Paris" - Friedrich Nietzsche

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast" - Ernest Hemingway

"To err is human. To loaf is Parisian" - Victor Hugo

The City of Light Eiffel Tower The Louvre Arc de Triomphe Notre Dame Cathedral Grand Palais

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Day After Gifts

I committed a major faux pas on Valentine's Day this year by arriving home after work without any gifts or a card for my wife. She had prepared a sumptuous dinner including wine, and presented me with a gift and card. Despite my offering of lame excuses I knew she felt slighted by my lack of consideration and selfishness this year. This added salt to the wounds, because she is usually very understanding about the occasional missed gifting on Valentine's Day. We managed to get through the dinner with our emotions in check, and I made a silent vow to never forget important marriage dates again.

The next day I decided to make some amends by purchasing a nice flower arrangement, and beautiful card at a local greenhouse. There were no line ups, a good selection of valentine themed arrangements, and everything was half price! The clerk was even glad to see me as business was slow. It was absolutely painless, and it caused me to think - what if my wife and our immediate family agreed to start purchasing all gifts for various occasions a day or so after the event? The time and money saved would be fantastic. This could even work for Christmas. Have your normal Christmas celebrations and festivities, then everyone could go on a shopping spree for gifts a few days later - missing line ups and getting some great deals. Buying online gifts would also be cheaper and more hassle free (don't believe the myth perpetrated by retailers about vanishing inventory as the big holidays approach). We would all have a knowing smirk watching the herds of sheep like shoppers scrambling to buy gifts on time while anticipating our own low stress post event purchases. For now I'll start by getting my wife to agree that February the 15th will be our Valentine's Day regardless of tradition. Wish me luck.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Illusionist

The Illusionist is a cinematic spectacle. It's a great mix of romance, suspense, and mystery with a rich visual texture set in early twentieth century Vienna. Edward Norton is superb as the mysterious Eisenheim, an enigmatic purveyor of the "dark arts" who seems to have taken the skill of magic beyond mere tricks into the realm of the supernatural, spiritual, and mystical worlds. He is backed by a talented cast that includes Paul Giamatti as Chief inspector Uhl, hired by the corrupt and jealous Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) to discover the secrets of Eisenheim's illusions. Jessica Biel is more than credible as the beautiful Sophia - caught in a triangle of amorous intrigue between her childhood friend Eisenheim, and the calculating, evil Leopold. There are enough plot twists to provide intrigue, but they only serve to enhance the grand crescendo of events leading to the final scenes. The early childhood scenes border on being overly sentimental, but do not detract at all from the screenplay. It would be fascinating to discover if any of the more elaborate illusions depicted in the movie could actually be done - then or now. For my taste, one of the best movies of the decade.

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