Monday, March 31, 2008

Mamet

"So, taking the tragic view, the question was not 'Is everything perfect?' but 'How could it be better, at what cost, and according to whose definition?' Put into which form, things appeared to me to be unfolding pretty well."

"I began reading not only the economics of Thomas Sowell (our greatest contemporary philosopher) but Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson, and Shelby Steele, and a host of conservative writers, and found that I agreed with them: a free-market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism."

His article is fascinating:
An election-season essay
by David Mamet
March 11th, 2008 12:00 AM

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Baby Plays

Netflix for toddlers? I can't tell what I think about this idea yet! It does solve the problem of where to put outgrown toys in a small apartment... but does it foster an addiction to the new?! Who knows!

EmilyWood.com


Youth

YOUTH
Theodore Roosevelt

I want to see you game, boys, I want to see you brave and manly, and I also want to see you gentle and tender. (Address at Friends School, Washington, DC, May 24, 1907)


Be practical as well are generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground. (Speech at Prize Day Exercises at Groton School, Groton, MA, May 24 1904)


Courage, hard work, self-mastery, and intelligent effort are all essential to successful life. (America and the World War, 1915)


Alike for the nation and the individual, the one indispensable requisite is character. (American Ideals, 1897)

The Art of Fantasy

The short story is one of the oldest forms of literature, dating back to the Hebrew Bible’s short narratives; only poetry precedes it. Though the idea of the contemporary short story only dates back to the nineteenth century (with Hawthorne, Irving and Poe), the fairy tale, now considered a subcategory of the short story, actually predates the modern short story as one of the earliest forms in oral literary history. The fairy tale originated in the form of the “frame-story,” a written version of the oral tales told by an autodiagetic narrator, a conscious teller of the community’s history via narratives. Both the short story and the fairy tale differ from the novel in several similar and significant ways. “[The short story] can afford no digression that does not directly affect the action” (Burroway, 41). The novel, with its extended characterization and included subplots, is the most fully developed form of literature. The story differs from the novel “in the dimension that Aristotle called ‘magnitude,’ and this limitation of length imposes differences both in the effects that can be achieved and in the choice, elaboration, and management of the elements to achieve those effects” (Abrams, 194). The short story and the fairy tale both concentrate mainly on a limited number of relatively undeveloped characters and a single plot. The tale differs from the story in that the tale is a “‘story of incident,’ [where] the focus of interest is on the course and outcome of the events” (Abrams, 194). In the fairy tale this plot is usually that of a quest, taking form in a forbidden romance, or an initiation, or rite of passage. In the short story, but more closely in the fairy tale, the structure of the narrative is formative in the theme of the work. The structure of the fairy tale is unique in its almost formulaic manner; and shapes the theme through its structure; this is exemplified in Grimm’s fairy tale “The Glass Coffin,” in a traditional manner, and in A. S. Byatt’s tale “The Glass Coffin,” in a contemporary rendition.

In the creation of art man most closely comes into his purposed function as a creature made in the image of the Creator. Man does not merely make imitations of nature; he creates sub-realities in which the imagination pulls the artist towards a higher realm. The audience must grapple with developing what Tolkien calls a “Secondary Belief” (Tolkien, 49). This belief enables the reader to appreciate the narrative intent, similar to a combination of the ideal narrative audience, the narrative audience, and the narratee, and in a greater manner develop those ideals and justices for which the human mind craves fulfillment from its earliest days. The structure of the fairy tale is conducive to exploring and fulfilling those universal sighs.

This amounts to saying that initiatory scenarios—even camouflaged, as they are in fairy tales—are the expression of a psychodrama that answers a deep need in the human being. Every man wants to experience certain perilous situations, to confront exceptional ordeals, to make his way into the Other World—and he experiences all this, on the level of his imaginative life, by hearing or reading fairy tales (Bettelheim, 35).

Both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung were interested in fairy tales for their psychological import (though devoid of the creature/Creator purposefulness). Freud used these narratives more for the subjective individual projections into the fairy tale, and Jung, in an extension of Freud, to find the underlying archetypes in our collective unconscious.

The voice of the fairy tale is unique in its universality. Unlike the novel and short story (which when done well, achieve a sense of universality in theme), the fairy tale employs a standard voice in the structure, and is therefore able to span centuries and continents accessibly, in both the themes dealt with, and the manner in which they are expressed. Because of the relatively simple, predominantly oral quality in which fairy tales are written, they maintain the qualities that account for their longevity today. “…[T]he events which occur in fairy tales are often unusual and most improbable, they are always presented as ordinary, something that could happen to you or me or the person next door when out on a walk in the woods. Even the most remarkable encounters are related in casual, everyday ways in fairy tales” (Bettelheim, 37). The stories are accessible to each reader, capturing the child’s need for cohesion in troubling circumstances, as well as the adult’s yearning for adventure, a trip away from the commonplace, an elevation of oneself from the confusion and ugliness of the fallen world.

The voice that employs this structure uses a very strict logic within the Secondary Creation. This is not a realm of confusion and misery; although those elements may be present, they are not what classically dominates as the main theme of the tales. “The logic of a fairy tale is as strict as that of a realistic novel, though different” (Lewis, 13). This sub-creation runs in conformity to constant virtuous laws, not the constant physical or scientific laws which rule Primary Reality. “Creative Fantasy is founded upon the hard recognition that things are so in the world as it appears under the sun; on a recognition of fact, but not a slavery to it…. If men really could not distinguish between frogs and men, fairy-stories about frog-kings would not have arisen” (Tolkien, 55). Within the sub-creation there are laws which function in a similar manner to our scientific laws, they are, however, unique to that particular Secondary or sub-creation. For example, in fantasy it is a law that only a Virgin may touch, or capture, a unicorn. This “law” has no basis in our scientific laws of nature, but it is just as unchangeable as is the laws of gravity in our Primary Creation. The virtuous law (what is called “natural law” in the Primary Reality) forms the motivating factor behind the logic of fairy tales, and this virtuous law informs the other more customary laws of fairyland. So, in the creation of a vow in a fairy tale, the audience can know certainly that the promise will be fulfilled in the end, however the circumstances convolute to bring the audience to that point.

Tolkien, in his book Tree and Leaf, describes what he believes to be the four main elements essential to the fairy tale. Fantasy, recovery, escape, and consolation: these four parts dictate, generally, the structure of the tale. In Bettelheim’s book, The Uses of Enchantment, threat is added to these four elements. To create an opportunity for the recovery, escape and consolation there must be a threat “…to the hero’s physical existence or to his moral existence…”(Bettelheim, 144). The first of the elements within fairy tales is Fantasy, an altogether unreality. The narrative must employ, primarily, images of the fantastic to produce a fairy tale. This may seem rather obvious in discussing fairy stories; one assumes that they would include things other than what are found in this world. But this must be a conscious effort of the narrator, to use “things that are not only ‘not actually present,’ but which are indeed not to be found in our primary world at all, or are generally believed not to be found there” (Tolkien, 47). This otherness helps the narrative audience to disengage themselves with the strict expectations and presumptions that they carry about with them. The audience is then able to participate in the narrative and eventually fulfill their narrative desires.

This otherness in the fantastic nature of the fairy tale leads to the Recovery—“which includes return and renewal of health;”—a “regaining of a clear view” (Tolkien, 57). For the narrative audience, this is the first in the steps of achieving a Secondary Belief. The ability to see things in a different manner sends the audience back to the Primary Reality with a renewed vigor in seeing the Primary and not growing weary of it because it is primary. Tolkien uses an illustration of an artist who, growing bored of the three primary colors and in his eagerness to create an original, resorted to exploitation of the primary and a “willfully awkward” rearrangement of what was before him; creating what turned out to be drab and calloused (Tolkien, 57). In the same manner, the writer need not turn to manipulating the reality or technical aspects before him in order to successfully join ranks with the sub-creators. There is no merit in recreating the sinful chaos in which the world has been thrown (if purpose is to create a narrative, not just a slice of life, because all narratives have these overarching principles) in order to be more “realistic.” For the greater reality, which created the seemingly chaotic Secondary Reality, is still underlying and upholding this one, and guides and rules through natural laws, evident to all.

The third tenet of the structure of a fairy tales is Escape. “Escapist” literature has been condemned as an unworthy, or at least, an un-artistic endeavor. However, in looking at man’s estate on this earth, it is in a sense only (truly) natural to want to escape from this Primary Reality. “Why should a man be scorned if, a man finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it” (Tolkien, 60). Once the implied reader embraces the recovery, or the regaining of clarity, it is possible to then escape. This is a true escape, an escape to what is higher and more virtuous, not merely a temporary removal or avoidance of the problem. In comparison to escapist literature “[t]he fairy tale does the opposite: it projects the relief of all pressures and not only offers ways to solve problems but promises that a ‘happy’ solution will be found” (Bettelheim, 36). This escape leads directly to the final element of the fairy tale’s structure: the happy ending.

The happy ending is essential to the fairy tale. This happy ending, far from being merely a placibic ending for the audience, actually helps them gain self-realization through the possibility, and viewing, of the positive outcome of trying circumstances.

The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous ‘turn’ (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale)…is not essentially ‘escapist,’ nor ‘fugitive.’ In its fairy-tale – or other world – setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies…universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief (Tolkien, 68).

There is a joy in seeing justice meted out to those who deserve it and a good that is for ever after. Conversely, “…the hero’s suffering in many modern fairy tales, while deeply moving, seems much less purposeful because it does not lead to the ultimate form of human existence. (Naïve as it may seem the prince and princess getting married and inheriting the kingdom, ruling it in peace and happiness, symbolizes to the child the highest possible form of existence because this is all he desires for himself: to rule his kingdom—his own life—successfully, peacefully, and to be happily united with the most desirable partner who will never leave him)” (Bettelheim, 147). Through this union in the ending, the fairy tale shows the nature of the structure of fairy tale to be one of pointing to, or of showing the higher realm. This speaks to the fundamental tenet that the fairy laws addresses the universal virtuous code. These elements of “recovery from deep despair, escape from some great danger, most of all, consolation,” along with the threat to the hero’s moral or physical well being, must be present as a guiding force to create a successful fairy tale (Bettelheim, 143). “A Myth is not a cautionary tale like a fable which by arousing anxiety, prevents us from acting in ways which are described as damaging to us” (Bettelheim, 38). The myth represents the inevitable state of existence, whereas the fairy tale presents to the audience not a fatalistic commentary on the Primary Reality, but rather realized potentials.

One of the outcomes of this manner of otherness in the fairy tale is that “[one’s] mind has not been concentrated on [one]self, as it often is in the more realistic story” (Lewis, 38). This then makes possible the introduction and evaluation of themes which otherwise would be, perhaps, unwelcome to the audience, or would be approached with predispositions unfavorable to an open reading of the subject matter presented. Lewis comments on this inhibition that sometimes accompanies more realistic fiction, showing that fairy stories, precisely because of its otherness, could achieve what sometimes different sorts of literature could not do. “I saw how stories of this kind could steal past a certain inhibition that had paralyzed much of my own religion in childhood…. [Why was it so hard to feel as one should?] I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings” (Lewis, 47). He concludes that, just as in The Chronicles of Narnia (though not purely allegorical), fairy stories can lead the reader to a greater understanding of something otherwise misunderstood or even taboo. Unlike the myth or fable, which instruct the reader on how to understand or respond to the narrative, the fairy tale never does so.

The fairy tale never confronts us so directly, or tells us outright how we must choose. Instead the fairy tale helps…to develop the desire for a higher consciousness through what is implied in the story. The fairy tale convinces through the appeal it makes to our imagination and the attractive outcome of event, which entices us (Bettelheim, 34).

Psychologically this helps the audience to experience, by engaging the Secondary Belief, the narrative catharsis, or full resolution of the narrative, through all of the aspects of the structure of the fairy tale.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In defense of politicians

On Sunday night we were playing Apples to Apples with a bunch of people. One young man chose "politicians" as the winning card to go with something like "corrupt" or "sleazy". I hate this attitude in folks, and specially in young people. By the very nature of American politics, those interested in going into service are motivated by doing just that, serving. It is undeniable that once great power or wealth is achieved in any field, corruption is a temptation, however, unlike service, corruption is not endemic to politicians' very nature.

Robert A. Heinlein wrote his "THIS I BELIEVE" in 1952, in which he states:

"I believe that almost all politicians are honest ... there are hundreds of politicians, low paid or not paid at all, doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true we would never have gotten past the 13 colonies.

"I believe in Rodger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River. I believe in -- I am proud to belong to -- the United States. Despite shortcomings from lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history."

I think that's true.

The Obama Bargain

The Obama Bargain

By SHELBY STEELE
March 18, 2008; Page A23
The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Obama has said of himself, "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views . . ." And so, human visibility is Mr. Obama's Achilles heel. If we see the real man, his contradictions and bents of character, he will be ruined as an icon, as a "blank screen."

Thus, nothing could be more dangerous to Mr. Obama's political aspirations than the revelation that he, the son of a white woman, sat Sunday after Sunday -- for 20 years -- in an Afrocentric, black nationalist church in which his own mother, not to mention other whites, could never feel comfortable. His pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a challenger who goes far past Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in his anti-American outrage ("God damn America").

How does one "transcend" race in this church? The fact is that Barack Obama has fellow-traveled with a hate-filled, anti-American black nationalism all his adult life, failing to stand and challenge an ideology that would have no place for his own mother. And what portent of presidential judgment is it to have exposed his two daughters for their entire lives to what is, at the very least, a subtext of anti-white vitriol?

What could he have been thinking? Of course he wasn't thinking. He was driven by insecurity, by a need to "be black" despite his biracial background. And so fellow-traveling with a little race hatred seemed a small price to pay for a more secure racial identity. And anyway, wasn't this hatred more rhetorical than real?

But now the floodlight of a presidential campaign has trained on this usually hidden corner of contemporary black life: a mindless indulgence in a rhetorical anti-Americanism as a way of bonding and of asserting one's blackness. Yet Jeremiah Wright, splashed across America's television screens, has shown us that there is no real difference between rhetorical hatred and real hatred.

No matter his ultimate political fate, there is already enough pathos in Barack Obama to make him a cautionary tale. His public persona thrives on a manipulation of whites (bargaining), and his private sense of racial identity demands both self-betrayal and duplicity. His is the story of a man who flew so high, yet neglected to become himself.

Mr. Steele, a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the author of "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win" (Free Press, 2007).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

National Cathedral Free Organ Recitals

The National Cathedral is offering free organ recitals:

—CENTENNIAL ORGAN RECITAL SERIES—

As part of the celebration of the Cathedral’s Centennial, we will present many of the world’s finest organists in a special Centennial Organ Recital Series. This series will also celebrate the Great Organ in anticipation of the upcoming Organ Project which will see two new instruments installed in the Cathedral. This series will take the place of the regular weekly organ recitals for the 2007–2008 season. Recitals take place Sundays at 5 pm, and are free and open to the public. No reservations are required, with the exception of groups.

March 23, 2008Easter Day Organ Recital
SCOTT DETTRA and CHRISTOPHER JACOBSON
Washington National Cathedral Organists
April 6, 2008DAME GILLIAN WEIR
United Kingdom
April 20, 2008DAVID HURD
New York, New York
May 4, 2008NAJI HAKIM
Paris, France

Nonpareille

I have long wondered why the word "nonpareille" occurs alongside of "capers", so I finally looked it up.

Thanks to A Pinch Of for the answer:

These small green spheres are the unopened flower bud of a Mediterranean bush, Capparis spinosa. Closely related to the cabbage family, the shrubby plant resembles a rose bush. Each bud is picked by hand in the early morning hours before it can open. Capers are harvested daily from May to July. They have no great taste appeal when eaten fresh but after pickling they take on a pungent flavor.

After drying the buds in the sun, they are pickled in a strong vinegar brine. Most are bottled in this brine but they may also be packed in salt. This salt-pack method is far superior for maintaining quality and flavor. In her book, From Julia Child's Kitchen, Mrs. Child suggests replacing half of the brine in a jar of capers with vermouth to improve their flavor.

Although they are grown throughout the Mediterranean as well as parts of Africa and Asia, the finest capers are said to be the tiny nonpareille (meaning 'without peer') that come from southern France. Capers range in size from this especially small variety to much larger ones from Italy. Morocco is the largest commercial producer today.

A new variety of capers from Spain is emerging on the market as "caperberries." The smaller the better has long been a mantra with capers but these caperberries are the size of olives. Packed with the stem intact, they are an elegant addition to a buffet with roasted fowl or poached fish.

ps. Click on the capers for one of my favorite caper inclusive recipes.

Christ and the Arts

April 5 & 6, 2008
Presented by New Hope Presbyterian Church
Register here.

Session 1. "Challenges for Christians in the Arts." A power-point presentation covering the purpose of art, the question of beauty, and how Christians should use the Scriptures to make artistic decisions.

Session 2. "Modern Art: How Did We Get Here?" A power-point presentation with examples of painting from various periods in the history of Western art, showing how much of modern art combines rebellion with a search for the transcendent, and how Christians can respond.

Session 3. "Music and the Book of Revelation." A lecture, using musical examples, on five composers who have set parts of the Book of Revelation to music, helping us understand its message of Christ’s victory.

Session 4. "Beauty in an iPod Culture." A lecture on the way technology affects our artistic choices, seeking to show how to use advanced technologies in a wise and balanced way.

Worship. "Beauty in the Sand." A Sermon on Psalm 90.

Concert. "The Gospel Roots of Jazz." The Renewal Trio.

Dr. William Edgar
William Edgar is Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Professor Edgar earned a B.A. in music from Harvard University in 1966, and a M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1969. He pursued graduate studies at Columbia University and earned a Dr. Théol. at Université de Genève in 1993. He is married to Barbara, and they have two children and three grandchildren.

Professor Edgar served as a home missionary of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania from 1969-1970 and on the faculty of Brunswick School, Greenwich, Connecticut from 1970-1978. Thereafter he served as Professor of Apologetics, Faculté Libre de Théologie Réformée, Aix-en- Provence, France from 1979-1989 before coming to Westminster in 1989.

Dr. Edgar is author of In Spirit and In Truth: Ten Bible Studies on Worship; Taking Note of Music; Sur le rock; Bibliographie d'ouvrages apologétique; Reasons of the Heart: Recovering Christian Persuasion; La carte protestante: L'apologétique protestante de langue française de 1815 à 1848; If You Seek Me; The Face of Truth; and Truth in All Its Glory: Commending the Reformed Faith.

The cost of the conference is $20.00 per person.
Payment will be accepted at the conference.
Please make checks payable to "New Hope Presbyterian Church."

For more information about the conference, call the church office at 703.385.9056 or email at office@newhopefairfax.org.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Lucketts


I posted about this last spring, though a little too close to the event. This year I wanted to give everyone the heads up early enough for you to start saving up for it!

Seventh Annual
SPRING
ANTIQUE MARKET 2008
May 17&18, 2008

Admission $5

Open 10-5 Daily 42350 Lucketts Road, Leesburg, VA 20176 (703) 779-0268

Thursday, March 06, 2008

IHS Discussion

Go to Tankard of Tea for a fascinating discussion of the origins of IHS. Interesting from the perspectives of theology, linguistics, and art history.

E concludes with:
"It started as a clerical mistake. (Get it "clerical", as in, cleric, clergy, monks? haha) But it was perpetuated, I think, because of bad theology run amok. The middle ages were, shall we say, strong in venerating the holy and awesome side of God; in cultivating a fear of God and respect of our position as sinners. But we all know they went a bit overboard. I think they forgot that God Himself invites, nay, tells us to call Him father and brother, co-heir. He prepares a place for us in His eternal home, writes us in His book of life, invites us to dine with Him weekly, and made The Greatest Sacrifice for us. Surely we can speak His holy and most beautiful name, and must not confine ourselves to abbreviations. We know we are unworthy and unfaithful sinners, but it is the story of salvation that He says "Call me by my real name, anyway". Just like it is not our choice to exclude ourselves from His table when He calls us to come, it is not our choice, with mock humility, to call Him something other than what He wishes. Particularly when that something other is, to modern culture, so impersonal: an abbreviation or acrostic."

This is particularly noteworthy since it has become vogue to write G-d or some variation thereof for God. This not only is a corruption akin to the IHS controversy you describe, its lineage can more directly be traced to the Jewish tradition of dropping letters when writing God's name. Your discussion of why theologically, in the light of Christ's coming those traditions or fashions are not valid means of expression. Christ himself has removed the barrier, and we are adopted sons... to call our father, "Father". To do otherwise is to begin down the path of creating your own traditions that seem wiser to you than God's own demands.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Reading

Steve Jobs on reading:

"Today [Jobs] had a wide range of observations on the industry, including the Amazon Kindle book reader, which he said would go nowhere largely because Americans have stopped reading.

"'It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,' he said. 'Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.'”

Donald Hall says:
[Stolen from Word Daze blog (it looks like he has stalled out on posting though)]:

September 20 is the birthday of Donald Hall, American poet and the 14th U.S. Poet Laureate. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1928, and when he was only sixteen, he attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. In his 50-year career as a writer, Hall has published poems, essays, letters, children's books, and literary criticism (1).

In 1985 Hall wrote a short essay for Newsweek's "My Turn" column entitled "Bring Back the Out-Loud Culture" where he challenged readers to return to reading and reciting aloud:

Good readers hear what they read even though they read in silence: speed reading is barbaric. When we read well, in silence, we imagine how the words would sound if they were said aloud. Hearing print words in the inward ear, we understand their tone. If we see the sentence "Mr. Armstrong shook his head," the inner voice needs to understand whether Mr. Armstrong disapproved or was outraged -- before the inner voice knows how to speak the words.

If when we read silently we do not hear a text, we slide past words passively, without making decisions, without knowing or caring about Mr. Armstrong's mood. We might as well be watching haircuts or "Conan the Barbarian." In the old Out-Loud Culture, print was always potential speech; even silent readers, too shy to read aloud, inwardly heard the sound of words. Everyone's ability to read was enhanced by recitation. Then we read aggressively; then we demanded sense (2).

Although written in 1985, Hall's words are as true today as ever.

Today's Challenge: Out-Loud Renaissance
Read something aloud today: quality poem or a passage from a good book. Challenge yourself this week to commit a favorite poem or passage to memory. See if it helps you pay more attention to the written word.

Quote of the Day: "We must encourage our children to memorize and recite. As children speak poems and stories aloud, by the pitch and muscle of their voices they will discover drama, humor, passion, and intelligence in print. In order to become a nation of readers, we must again become a nation of reciters." -- Donald Hall

Sources:

1 - http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/264

2 - Hall, Donald. "Bring Back the Out-Loud Culture." Newsweek 15 April 1985: 12.


One of the best books I have read on the subject of orality and literacy is just that: Orality and Literacy, by Walter J. Ong.

National Cherry Blossom Festival












Another great event hosted by the National Building Museum:

Join the National Building Museum and the National Cherry Blossom Festival in celebrating the annual opening of Washington, D.C.'s cherry blossom season. This year's family day invites visitors of all ages to enjoy hands-on activities, captivating martial arts demonstrations, and exciting indoor and outdoor performances that explore Japanese arts and design.

  • WATCH the Shizumi Kdomo Dance Troupe perform traditional Japanese children's dances
  • LISTEN to Japanese folk music performed on the koto, a Japanese zither-like instrument
  • EXPLORE a larger than life origami sculpture and create your own origami figures to take home
  • DRESS up in traditional Japanese clothing and discover traditional Japanese artifacts
  • LEARN by creating Mon Kiri—the Japanese art of folding and cutting paper
  • VIEW cherry blossom-themed artwork by D.C. public and charter school students

The Opening Ceremony will feature an appearance by Miss Universe, Riyo Mori, and performances by taiko drummer Kenny Endo, the Tateshina High School Jazz Club, and Howard University Jazz Ensemble.

Free. All ages. Drop-in program. Visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org for more details.
NBM Museum Shop and café open.

Links:

Here are a couple of fun links, none of which I thought merited its own posting, so I thought I'd just jumble them all together.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE Domino Magazine? I do. It's a great design mag, with a focus on Green. RealSimple has gotten old and runs the same old every month. What can I expect after receiving it for 6 years though?


Also worth mentioning is Blueprint (a Martha Stewart pub). But it turns out that it will stop being after the January/February issue however: for more info. That explains the two issues of Martha Stewart Living in my mail box this month. Huh.


A fun toys site (thanks to BSC) I specially like the wooden tea bags. And the Holy Toast stamper.


Thanks to SJC, the funniest blog I have seen in a long time, maybe ever: Stuff White People Like. As it turns out, I am really, really white.


And the funniest show that I have seen since the writers strike: Flight of the Conchords. You can see some of their songs on YouTube, but I recommend borrowing or Netflixing the whole first season. You too will be repeating everything you hear or think back to yourself in a New Zealand accent.