Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Being Practical

Many years ago I purchased “Practical Ventriloquism” in a thrift shop. Mine was a 1938 edition of the Robert Ganthony tract first published in 1883.

Having grown up in the age of “How To,” the use of “practical” in that sense was unfamiliar enough, that the title always had me wondering: Were there other books out there on alternative aspects of voice throwing? Theoretical ventriloquism, perhaps? Or experimental?

By now, even “How To” is dated and has long since given way to “DIY,” and “For Dummies.” Ventriloquism for Dummies, anyone?

Here are a few other “practical” books …

Here are some of the dyed feather samples included in the book. I love the dreamy seaweed-like quality. Dye recipes for each can be found in the text.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Naval Gazing in Annapolis

Gilded footballs from every victory against Army are enshrined behind glass, including the one from the first confrontation in 1890.

I recently visited Annapolis to attend Tableau Software's Tapestry conference on data visualization. I’ll post details about the conference when the links to the presentations are in place.

I had some time before my scheduled return to New York, so I grabbed a tour of the U.S. Naval Academy.

First stop was Lejeune Hall where we got to size up the 33’ platform, off which every midshipman must jump in order to graduate.

Above, you can see half of the Olympic-size swimming pool. The other half lies beyond the moveable bulkhead at the far end.

What might be mistaken for Marimekko carpeting, is the floor of the wrestling room.

Campus architecture is dominated by the Beaux-Arts style of Ernest Flagg. In addition to Dahlgren Hall, below (2), and the Naval Academy Chapel, he designed Bancroft Hall which houses all midshipmen and is the largest dormitory in the world.

Bancroft Hall on a frigid Annapolis morning.

The entire second floor of the naval museum in Prebel Hall is devoted to ship models. Displayed on the first floor is the original flag from the Battle of Lake Erie bearing the "dying command" of Captain James Lawrence, "Don't Give Up The Ship." 

Beneath the Naval Academy Chapel, lie the remains of John Paul Jones in a massive, ornate marble sarcophagus. Above ground, in addition to a sumptuous Tiffany window, there are water and sea-themed stained glass windows representing passages from both the old and new testaments.

The many antique shops along the charming streets of historic Annapolis abound with Naval Academy memorabilia.

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