Monday, December 28, 2015

In appreciation for a gift - an essay

I moved out of my parent’s house in 1995. You know what I miss the most from the house? I mean the house itself, not the family who lived with me, or the occasions & events that happened there.

I miss the pencil sharpener. It was a 1960’s vintage mechanical hand-crank type, in technical terms a "planetary sharpener". It was mounted on the wall in the basement room where I hung out as a teenager.

The room was square, wood walls and floor, no carpet, no windows and no door. But right there by the doorway was the pencil sharpener. 
Sharpening Old School, baby!

I graduated from high school in the late 80’s, in the days before the Internet and Microsoft Word. At least it was at my house. So, I wrote all of my book reports and did all of my homework on paper, with a pencil. I tried to avoid pen because my handwriting is terrible and I had to go back and erase a lot.

Now, that should explain why I used the pencil sharpener, but why was that the thing I miss the most?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Met's Open Acces for Scholarly Content

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is offering rights-cleared access to over 400,000 digital images of objets d'art in their collection. 

Works that are covered by the new policy are identified on the Museum’s website ( with the acronym OASC. Like this one:

Mary Cassatt's The Barefoot Child

And yes, they have works that are not the product of Western Civilization. Because we should enjoy them as well. 

Read the full announcement here:

OASC was developed as a resource for students, educators, researchers, curators, academic publishers, non-commercial documentary filmmakers, and others involved in scholarly or cultural work. Prior to the establishment of OASC, the Metropolitan Museum provided images upon request, for a fee, and authorization was subject to terms and conditions.
Additional information and instructions on OASC can be found on the Museum’s website at

The civilization most concerned with property rights is also concerned about sharing the results of creative work. Because Western Civilization should be shared and celebrated.

Image credit:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) in 1787.

You may be cool, but you're not "my first name has Wolf in it" cool.

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is the byname of Serenade No. 13 in G Major, K 525serenade for two violins, viola, cello, and double bass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, admired for its lively, joyful quality and its memorable melodies. The piece was completed on August 10, 1787, but was published posthumously. In present-day practice, it is typically performed in orchestral arrangement.

Mozart produced many serenades, the 13th of which, nicknamed Eine kleine Nachtmusik, is his best known. The four-movement work opens with a bright allegro in sonata form, and a slow, lyrical second movement follows. The third movement is a light minuet, and the finale is a brisk rondo. Originally, the piece contained a second minuet, but that movement has been lost. The specific occasion, if any, for which Eine kleine Nachtmusik was composed has never been determined.

Because Western Civilization has some of the greatest works of art mankind has ever known.

Britannica Academic, s. v. "Eine kleine Nachtmusik," accessed December 18, 2015,

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales are:
A collection of stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. The tales (mostly in verse, although some are in prose) are told as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together on a journey from Southwark to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral.

He uses the tales and the descriptions of the characters to paint an ironic and critical portrait of English society at the time, and particularly of the Church.

You can read the entire Tales in Middle English or Modern English at

Through the marvels of the Internet and the Public Domain doctrine of Western copyright law. 

Because Western Civilization should be celebrated, even though it's not perfect.

Image credit:

Text credit to The Open Library's description of the work. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Madame X

John Singer Sargent's most famous portrait, popularly known as "Madame X". 

Because Western Civilization is worth preserving.