Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for May 2017

H.L. Thäter brush goes to auction

leave a comment »

This brush is up for auction. It’s in fine shape, I just have too many brushes.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 May 2017 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Shaving

The Vitality of the ‘Berlin Painter’

leave a comment »

James Romm has a very interesting article in the NY Review of Books:

Only twice in modern times have museums surveyed the career of a single Greek vase painter, and both shows were at major international institutions (the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1985 and Berlin’s Staatliche Museum in 1990-1991). Thus it is a marvel that the more modest Princeton University Art Museum has assembled a vast selection of the works of the master referred to as the Berlin Painter, who lived in Athens in the early fifth century BC. Curated by J. Michael Padgett, the show charts the development, over some four decades, of an artist whose name, nationality, and even gender remain unknown, but whose distinctive and confident illustration in the red-figure style stands out as clearly as any signature.

In his pioneering research on attic vase painting, the Oxford art historian Sir John Beazley devised the label “Berlin Painter” in 1911 in honor of a large lidded amphora decorated by this artist that is housed in Berlin’s Antikensammlung. He assigned thirty-seven other works to the same artist on the basis of the unique line they shared, which he described as “thin, equable, and flowing,” and various features of the depiction of the human form. By now several hundred vases have been attributed, more or less confidently, to this artist’s hand, many recovered from the graves of wealthy Etruscans in western Italy. More than fifty can be seen in the Princeton show, along with pots by the equally talented Kleophrades Painter—who, because of the similarity of their styles, is thought to have been the Berlin painter’s teacher—and by other, later artists who clearly took their inspiration from these two masters.

The Berlin Painter began working at the end of the sixth century BC, when the red-figure technique of vase painting—in which black glaze fills the background, leaving silhouettes of unglazed red ceramic to form the image—was just starting to replace its inverse, the black-figure style that had prevailed earlier. The possibilities offered by this new medium clearly intrigued the artist, who began to expand the black background and diminish the red subject to a single, static figure—a lyre-playing singer with his head thrown back in musical ecstasy, a young athlete holding a discus. These figures seem to float, anchored to the physical world only by the short geometric band on which they plant their feet. In some cases, even this tiny hint of landscape disappears.

The first phase of the Berlin Painter’s career coincided with the birth of democracy in Athens, and the early works—which portray ordinary people caught in simple moments of daily life in much the same way that other vase painters treated gods and heroes—demonstrate the humanism of that political evolution. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 May 2017 at 3:49 pm

Posted in Art

Quotes of the day regarding Donald Trump

leave a comment »

Kevin Drum collects a few:

On Donald Trump:

President Trump reportedly complained to world leaders about roadblocks he has faced setting up golf courses in the European Union….“Every time we talk about a country, he remembered the things he had done. Scotland? He said he had opened a club. Ireland? He said it took him two and a half years to get a license and that did not give him a very good image of the European Union,” a source told Le Soir.

On Jared Kushner:

Harleen Kahlon was an experienced digital media maven when she was hired by Kushner in 2010 to boost the paper’s digital outreach….At the end of the year, when she went to collect her performance bonus at his real estate office for meeting agreed upon metrics on page views and audience growth, Kushner told her that they couldn’t pay, citing financial concerns, and asked her to “take one for the team.”

….Just before the election, Kahlon described her former boss on Facebook thusly: “We’re talking about a guy who isn’t particularly bright or hard-working, doesn’t actually know anything, has bought his way into everything ever (with money he got from his criminal father), who is deeply insecure and obsessed with fame (you don’t buy the NYO, marry Ivanka Trump, or constantly talk about the phone calls you get from celebrities if it’s in your nature to ‘shun the spotlight’), and who is basically a shithead.

On Trump again: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 May 2017 at 10:21 am

We can’t let heinous attacks overseas obscure our homegrown terrorism problem

leave a comment »

Update: Recent example of homegrown terrorist problem. More details in this report. The terrorist is a white supremacist. I will mention that when George W. Bush was president, he tasked DHS with developing reports on the threats of domestic terrorism from left-wing and right-wing groups. The report on left-wing terrorism (e.g., attacking loggers) was issued with no problems, but when the report on right-wing terrorism came out (after the election: Janet Napolitano was Secretary of Homeland Security by then. The GOP went beserk and GOP members of Congress demanded that the report be withdrawn.

The reason for that demand is unclear, but the charitable interpretation is that the GOP was thinking that if right-wing terrorism was not mentioned, it would go away. (Few have accused the GOP in Congress of having much in the way of intelligence.) But it did not. I think the report would be interesting to see, but the GOP today is worse than the GOP then, and there is no way that the GOP will address right-wing terrorists. Instead, the GOP does all it can to encourage them, and is willing to get its own hands dirty (as in body-slamming a reporter for asking questions in public). /update

Another update: “The U.S. Has a Homegrown Terrorist Problem.”

Chauncey DeVega writes at Salon:

During a speech delivered in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, President Donald Trump told Muslims to “Drive out the terrorists. Drive out the extremists. Drive them out of your places of worship.”

There is no question that terrorist groups representing a perverted form of Islam have caused mayhem and destruction. This week’s heinous bombing in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people is one glaring example — although it’s worth noting that most of the violence committed by ISIS and similar groups has been directed against their fellow Muslims. (It’s not yet clear whether the Manchester perpetrator had any significant connection to militant groups in the Arab or Muslim world.)

But Trump and too many other Americans are often silent when it comes to the terrorists and extremists in their own country.

In the United States, right-wing domestic terrorists have killed hundreds of people since 2007. Moreover, federal law enforcement and other agencies have repeatedly warned that terrorism by right-wing extremists affiliated with the sovereign citizens movement, white supremacists and other hate groups poses a greater threat than violence by Islamic terrorists. Since Sept. 11, 2001, more people have been killed and injured in the United States by white right-wing domestic terrorists than Muslim extremists.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has also documented a record increase in hate crimes against Jews, Muslims and people of color that began with the start of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and has continued through the first months of his presidency.

Last Saturday Richard Collins III, a 23-year old African-American college student and newly commissioned U.S. Army lieutenant, was stabbed to death in an apparently random attack at the University of Maryland campus.

The accused killer is a white man named Sean Urbanski, who was apparently a member of an online white supremacist group called Alt Reich Nation. The university police chief, David Mitchell, described it this way: “When I looked at the information that’s contained on that website, suffice to say that it’s despicable. It shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith, and especially African-Americans. . . . Which brings up questions as to the motive in this case. Knowing that, we will continue to look for digital evidence, among other items of evidentiary value.”

As reported by The Daily Beast, BuzzFeed and other sources, Urbanski was apparently a Trump supporter who commented upon and “upvoted” racist, nativist and anti-Muslim posts and memes in various online forums.

Apparently, Trump’s commands to “drive out the terrorists” and “extremists” apply in distant Muslim-majority nations of the Middle East but not to white people in the United States.

This act of probable racial terrorism occurred during a political moment when the safety and security of black and brown Americans is under threat from their own government. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 May 2017 at 10:02 am

Omega 11047, Valobra shave stick, iKon 101, and Lenthéric Tweed

with 7 comments

I see the focus is not very good this morning, and I apologize for that. Autofocus, like autocorrect, has its ups and downs.

I wet the knot of the Omega 11047 (a mix of boar and badger) well before I showered. After showering, I washed my stubble at the sink using MR GLO, rinsed partially with a splash, and rubbed the Valobra shave stick against the grain over my entire beard. I rewet the brush under hot water to warm it up, gave it a couple of shakes, then brushed the stubble briskly and the lather arose. Despite the diminutive size of the Omega brush, it held plenty of lather for the entire shave.

Three passes with the iKon 101 left my face completely smooth and with no problems. The blade in it now is newish, so the shave was highly satisfying: very smooth action. FWIW, I find the 101 noticeably more comfortable than the iKon Short Comb—and a lot more interesting-looking as well.

A small splash of Lenthéric Tweed EDT as an aftershave, and the weekend is underway.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 May 2017 at 8:22 am

Posted in Shaving

How Finland Created One of the Best Educational Systems in the World (by Doing the Opposite of U.S.)

leave a comment »

Josh Jones writes at Open Culture:

Every conversation about education in the U.S. takes place in a minefield. Unless you’re a billionaire who bought the job of Secretary of Education, you’d better be prepared to answer questions about racial and economic equity, disability issues, protections for LGBTQ students, teacher pay and unions, religious charter schools, and many other pressing concerns. These issues are not mutually exclusive, nor are they distinct from questions of curriculum, testing, or achievement. The terrain is littered with possible explosive conflicts between educators, parents, administrators, legislators, activists, and profiteers.

The needs of the most deeply invested stakeholders, as they say, the students themselves, seem to get far too little consideration. What if we in the U.S., all of us, actually wanted to improve the educational experiences and academic outcomes for our children—all of them? Where might we look for a model? Many people have looked to Finland, at least since 2010, when the documentary Waiting for Superman contrasted struggling U.S. public schools with highly successful Finnish equivalents.

The film, a positive spin on the charter school movement, received significant backlash for its cherry-picked examples and blaming of teachers’ unions for America’s failing schools. By contrast, Finland’s schools have been described by William Doyle, an American Fulbright Scholar who studies them, as “the ‘ultimate charter school network’” (a phrase, we’ll see, that means little in the Finnish context.) There, Doyle writes at The Hechinger Report, “teachers are not strait-jacketed by bureaucrats, scripts or excessive regulations, but have the freedom to innovate and experiment as teams of trusted professionals.”

Last year, Michael Moore featured many of Finland’s innovative educational experiments in his humorous, hopeful travelogue Where to Invade Next. In the clip above, you can hear from the country’s Minister of Education, Krista Kiuru, who explains to him why Finnish children do not have homework; hear also from a group of high school students, high school principal Pasi Majassari, first grade teacher Anna Hart and many others. Shorter school hours—the “shortest school days and shortest school years in the entire Western world”—leave plenty of time for leisure and recreation. Kids bake, hike, build things, make art, conduct experiments, sing, and generally enjoy themselves. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 May 2017 at 8:27 pm

Posted in Education

Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with KremlinI

leave a comment »

I think it’s natural to wonder exactly why the son-in-law and close adviser of the president wanted a secret communication channel with the Kremlin. Perhaps he will explain and it will all turn out to be a big misunderstanding. Or it may turn out that Russia is putting serious moves on the US now that they believe we have a weak, venal, easily manipulated, ignorant, angry, and impulsive man as president.

Ellen Nakashima, Adam Entous, and Greg Miller report in the Washington Post:

Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, then President-elect Trump’s son-in-law and confidant, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.

The White House disclosed the fact of the meeting only in March, playing down its significance. But people familiar with the matter say the FBI now considers the encounter, as well as another meeting Kushner had with a Russian banker, to be of investigative interest.

Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.

Neither the meeting nor the communications of Americans involved were under U.S. surveillance, officials said.

The White House declined to comment. Robert Kelner, a lawyer for Flynn, declined to comment. The Russian embassy did not respond to requests for comment.

Russia at times feeds false information into communication streams it suspects are monitored as a way of sowing misinformation and confusion among U.S. analysts. But officials said that it’s unclear what Kislyak would have had to gain by falsely characterizing his contacts with Kushner to Moscow, particularly at a time when the Kremlin still saw the prospect of dramatically improved relations with Trump.

Kushner’s apparent interest in establishing a secret channel with Moscow, rather than rely on U.S. government systems, has added to the intrigue surrounding the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 May 2017 at 4:15 pm

%d bloggers like this: