Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Walt Disney Concert Hall


I feel like great architecture rivals great art in its ability to impress, inspire and exhilarate.  

When I was in Los Angeles during the summer of 2018, I made a point of locating the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.  I'm a huge fan of Frank Gehry's work ever since I saw the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago.  His designs seem to defy logic but in a way that is alluring and charismatic.

I remember driving into the downtown area and wondering how such an architecturally challenging building could exist among all the skyscrapers all around me.  Then I saw it sitting on a corner and thoroughly dominating the scene.  Can you see how the name "Walt Disney Concert Hall" has been subtly etched into the stainless steel to the right of the entrance?

Gehry designs provide the viewer (and the photographer) with an endless supply of abstract view points.  
I recently discovered that Gehry designed a skyscraper in New York City that I haven't seen.  That will be on my list along with a clinic in Las Vegas that looks fascinating in the photos I've seen.  A Frank Gehry tour around the world would be a great objective.  If only there was the time and money!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

It Won't Be the Same Without Her


Back in 2015, I did a post about a wonderful opportunity I had to actually see the oral arguments for a case before the United Sates Supreme Court.  You can see that post here.  I actually got see how tiny and frail Ruth Bader Ginsburg looked behind that huge desk.  Her body may have taken on a look of frailty but her mind was as sharp and clear as ever.

Her strength, determination and legal prowess will be missed on our nation's highest court.  

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Windmills and Castles


Back in the early 70's, I took a road trip with my parents back to Illinois to visit some family.  On the way, we took a slight detour through Iowa to see this windmill that I had read about. 

It's located in Elk Horn Iowa and is the only working Dutch windmill in the United States.  I thought it was beautiful and since I hadn't yet started traveling to Europe, I thought it might be the only one I'd ever see.

Later that same evening our car was headed east toward the border with Illinois when we rolled into the town of Anamosa Iowa.  It was dark but we could see what looked like a huge, dimly lit castle.

We found the hotel we were looking for and quickly made the decision to go back in the morning and find out what that huge building could be.

It turned out to be the Anamosa State Penitentiary.  I don't think I had ever seen such an elaborate building as a prison.

As of 2016, it was housing 855 inmates and an additional 175 in a segregated area.

The prison was built between 1875 and 1899 and was originally called the Iowa Men's Reformatory.  The building itself in on the National Registry of Historic places.  

We decided our little detour through Iowa was well worth the extra miles.  We went in search of windmills and discovered a castle too.  

These three photos seem to be the only ones I have of the place.  They are from that group of slides I recently found and scanned.  If you would like to see more photos of this beautiful building, this link will take you to the Google image page.  There are some great photos there.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

EveryTraveler Has One of These Stories

Back in 1986, I attended a National Convention in Seattle and since I was that far north, I took the opportunity to go to the World Expo in Vancouver Canada.  (I did a short post about the Expo here.)

I was accompanied by three others who had also attended the convention.  We asked a travel agent known to us to make the arrangements which she said would be no problem.  However, we didn't get the arrangements sorted until the last day of the convention and even then they weren't complete.  The agent told us we would be staying on a ship that was moored on what I believe was the Frasier River.  We were told that all the hotels were full but that several cruise ships had been commissioned to accommodate the overflow of visitors.

That sounded sort of exciting until we arrived and saw that the ships in question were pretty haggard looking. There were two aged ships docked together, the Princess Patricia where we checked in and were served lunch and the Prince George where our actual rooms were located.

The cabin I shared with one of my friends had just enough room to pass by one another if we stood sideways.  That's my camera laying on the top bunk.  I bumped my head getting in and out of that bunk every time.  It's actually a good thing that our cabin was so small because there was no heat on the boat.  Our body heat was all we had to keep the room warm enough.  However, showering in the morning was a truly awakening experience.

I found this photo among those old slides that I recently discovered.  It sums up the experience perfectly.  The condition of those deck chairs paints a pretty clear picture of the state of these accommodations.

The good news is that we thoroughly enjoyed visiting the World Expo for two days and now we can laugh about this rather challenging travel experience.  It's fun to have colorful travel stories to relate to friends and this one has been told many times.

I've left out quite a few of the frustrations we encountered getting our itinerary and tickets to the Expo.  Suffice it to say that we never used that particular travel agent again.