Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Goede morgen aan een winderige Oostende

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Dans le port d'Amsterdam / Y a des marins qui chantent ..." Jacques Brel #QotD #Amsterdam

2015.03.28-DSC00338Dans le port d'Amsterdam
Y a des marins qui chantent
Les reves qui les hantent
Au large d'Amsterdam
Dans le port d'Amsterdam
Y a des marins qui dorment
Comme des oriflammes
Le long des berges mornes
Dans le port d'Amsterdam
Y a des marins qui meurent
Pleins de bire et de drames
Aux premires lueurs
Mais dans le port d'Amsterdam
Y a des marins qui naissent
Dans la chaleur paisse
Des langueurs ocanes

 - Jacques Brel, "Amsterdam"

These views aren't the port, exactly, but the open waters near the new library. Fitting to be quoting from Brel today as I head out of the Netherlands for a meeting in Belgium!

  2015.03.28-DSC00337 2015.03.28-DSC00336

IC 1834: Antwerpen to Oostende

Thalys 9340: Amsterdam to Antwerpen

Sunday, March 29, 2015

"It is impossible to imagine anything more expressive of the numerous ideas represented by the French epithet bourgeois than these straight facades of clean black brick capped with a rococo gable of stone painted white" H. James #QotD

It is impossible to imagine anything more expressive of the numerous ideas represented by the French epithet bourgeois than these straight facades of clean black brick capped with a rococo gable of stone painted white, and armed like the forehead of the unicorn with a little horizontal horn — a bracket and pulley for hauling storable goods into the attic. The famous Dutch cleanliness seems to me quite on a level with its reputation, and asserts itself in the most ingenious and ludicrous ways ... The windows are of those huge plates of glass which offer a delectably uninterrupted field for friction; but they are masked internally by thick white blinds, invariably drawn, and the only use of their transparency to any mortal is to enable the passer-by to examine the texture of the stuff. The front doors are hedged in with little square padlocked barriers, to guard the doorsteps from the pollution of footprints, and the visitor must pocket his pride and apply at an humbler portal with the baker and the milkman. In such houses must dwell people whose nerves are proof against the irritation of minute precautions — people who cover their books with white paper and find occasion for a week's conversation in a mysterious drop of candle-grease on a tablecloth. 

Henry James. Transatlantic Sketches (1875) , p. 385-87

"The traveller with an eye for details will find some eloquence in the fact that, though the canals at Amsterdam and Leyden offer continually this charming pretext of trees by a water-side" H James #QotD

The traveller with an eye for details will find some eloquence in the fact that, though the canals at Amsterdam and Leyden offer continually this charming pretext of trees by a water-side, there is not in their whole length a single bench for a lounge and a half-hour's aesthetic relish of the situation. The traveller in question though, shrewd fellow, will not be prevented by the absence of benches from getting it, as he looks up and down and sees the wide green barges come floating through the respectable stillness, and the quaint old scroll-work of the gables peep out through the meagre density of the trees.
Henry James. Transatlantic Sketches (1875) , p. 387

A visit to the Albert Cuyp street market in Amsterdam

As regular readers know, I love to visit markets whenever I have a chance. On this trip to Amsterdam, I had the opportunity to visit the Albert Cuyp Street Market. Lots of interesting stalls and shops, some amazing fish stands, cheese,

Another highlight of the market was a group of Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea) that perched on the fish stall waiting for scraps.

Some other market visits include:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

"Amsterdam, where I took my first Dutch walk, is a stately city, even though its street-vistas do look as if they were pictured on a tea-caddy or a hand-screen" H James #QotD

2015.03.27-DSC00250The curious fortunately excludes neither the impressive nor the agreeable; and Amsterdam, where I took my first Dutch walk, is a stately city, even though its street-vistas do look as if they were pictured on a tea-caddy or a hand-screen. They have for the most part a broad, sluggish canal in the middle, on either side of which a row of perfectly salubrious, but extremely attenuated trees grow out of a highly cultivated soil of compact yellow bricks. Cultivated I call it by a proper license, for it is periodically raked by the broom and the scrubbing-brush, and religiously manured with soap-suds. You lose no time, of course, in drawing the inevitable parallel between Amsterdam and Venice, and it is well worth drawing, as an illustration of the uses to which the same materials may be put by different minds. Sky and sea in both cases, with architecture between; winding sea-channels washing the feet of goodly houses erected with the profits of trade. And yet the Dutch city is a complete reversal of the Italian, and its founders might have carefully studied Venetian effect with the set purpose of producing exactly the opposite ones. It produces them in the moral line even more vividly than in the material.It is not that one place is all warm color and the other all cold; one all shimmer and softness and mellow interfusion of every possible phase of ruin, and the other rigidity, angularity, opacity, prosperity, in their very essence; it is more than anything that they tell of such different lives and of such a diflferent view of life. The outward expression on one side is perfect poetry, and on the other is perfect prose; and the marvel is the way in which thrifty Amsterdam imparts the prosaic turn to things which in Venice seem the perfect essence of poetry. Take, for instance, the silence and quiet of the canals; it has in the two places a difference of quality which it is almost impossible to express. In the one it is the stillness of order, and in the other of vacancy — the sleep of idleness and the sleep of rest; the quiet that comes of letting everything go by the board, and the quiet that comes of doing things betimes and being able to sit with folded hands and say they are well done. In one of George Eliot's novels there is a portrait of a thrifty farmer's wife who rose so early in the morning to do her work that by ten o'clock it was all over, and she was at her wit's end to know what to do with her day. This good woman seems to me an excellent image of the genius of Amsterdam as it is reflected in the house-fronts — I penetrated no deeper. 

Henry James. Transatlantic Sketches (1875) , p. 384-85.

Henry James visited Holland in 1874

Friday, March 27, 2015

"If there's rock show at the Concertgebouw" Paul McCartney #QotD

What's that man holding in his hand?
He looks a lot like a guy, I knew way back when
It's silly Willy with Philly Band
Could be, ooh-ee
What's that man movin' 'cross the stage?
It looks a lot like the one used by Jimmy Page
It's like a Relic from A different age
Could be, ooh-ee
If there's rock show at the Concertgebouw
They're got long hair at the Madison Square
You've got Rock And Roll at the Hollywood Bowl
We'll be there, ooh yeah

- Paul McCartney and Wings, "Rock Show"

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Program Director presentation for the @BioDivLibrary Annual meeting & BHL Day

The Biodiversity Heritage Library Annual meeting took place at The Field Museum (Chicago, IL), March 17-18, 2015. The first portion of day one included a "BHL Day" modeled on the successful event hosted by Museum Victoria/BHL Australia at the 2015 Global BHL meeting.

We had a very good turnout of BHL Members and Affiliates along with a number of participants from the Chicago area.

Below is my presentation for BHL Day.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

March 14, 2015 ... Happy Birthday Albert Einstein, and Pi Day (π)! #PiDay

2015.03.14.15 Pi DayToday is a special Pi Day, March 14, 2015 (or, aka, 3.1415). And, at 0926:53 today we get even more gooey-pi goodness that won't be seen for a long long long time ...

Here are two of my Pi Days from the past:
And , in case you need it, Pi to 1 million digits is here. And if you have a lot of time ... to 10 million digits!

Also, you might know, this is also Albert Einstein's birthday!

And, here's something to keep you busy in the meantime you can peruse the following number of Pi digits (anyone want to count how many this is?). 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679821480865132823066470938446095505822317253594081284811174502841027019385211055596446229489549303819644288109756659334461284756482337867831652712019091456485669234603486104543266482133936072602491412737245870066063155881748815209209628292540917153643678925903600113305305488204665213841469519415116094330572703657595919530921861173819326117931051185480744623799627495673518857527248912279381830119491298336733624406566430860213949463952247371907021798609437027705392171762931767523846748184676694051320005681271452635608277857713427577896091736371787214684409012249534301465495853710507922796892589235420199561121290219608640344181598136297747713099605187072113499999983729780499510597317328160963185950244594553469083026425223082533446850352619311881710100031378387528865875332083814206171776691473035982534904287554687311595628638823537875937519577818577805321712268066130019278766111959092164201989380952572010654858632788659361533818279682303019520353018529689957736225994138912497217752834791315155748572424541506959508295331168617278558890750983817546374649393192550604009277016711390098488240128583616035637076601047101819429555961989467678374494482553797747268471040475346462080466842590694912933136770289891521047521620569660240580381501935112533824300355876402474964732639141992726042699227967823547816360093417216412199245863150302861829745557067498385054945885869269956909272107975093029553211653449872027559602364806654991198818347977535663698074265425278625518184175746728909777727938000816470600161452491921732172147723501414419735685481613611573525521334757418494684385233239073941433345477624168625189835694855620992192221842725502542568876717904946016534668049886272327917860857843838279679766814541009538837863609506800642251252051173929848960841284886269456042419652850222106611863067442786220391949450471237137869609563643719172874677646575739624138908658326459958133904780275900994657640789512694683983525957098258226205224894077267194782684826014769909026401363944374553050682034962524517493996514314298091906592509372216964615157098583874105978859597729754989301617539284681382686838689427741559918559252459539594310499725246808459872736446958486538367362226260991246080512438843904512441365497627807977156914359977001296160894416948685558484063534220722258284886481584560285060168427394522674676788952521385225499546667278239864565961163548862305774564980355936345681743241125150760694794510965960940252288797108931456691368672287489405601015033086179286809208747609178249385890097149096759852613655497818931297848216829989487226588048575640142704775551323796414515237462343645428584447952658678210511413547357395231134271661021359695362314429524849371871101457654035902799344037420073105785390621983874478084784896833214457138687519435064302184531910484810053706146806749192781911979399520614196634287544406437451237181921799983910159195618146751426912397489409071864942319615679452080951465502252316038819301420937621378559566389377870830390697920773467221825625996615014215030680384477345492026054146659252014974428507325186660021324340881907104863317346496514539057962685610055081066587969981635747363840525714591028970641401109712062804390397595156771577004203378699360072305587631763594218731251471205329281918261861258673215791984148488291644706095752706957220917567116722910981690915280173506712748583222871835209353965725121083579151369882091444210067510334671103141267111369908658516398315019701651511685171437657618351556508849099898599823873455283316355076479185358932261854896321329330898570642046752590709154814165498594616371802709819943099244889575 ...

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Farewell to Florida ... "My North is leafless and lies in a wintry slime ..." Wallace Stevens #QotD

2015.03.02-IMG_4292My North is leafless and lies in a wintry slime
Both of men and clouds, a slime of men in crowds.
The men are moving as the water moves,
This darkened water cloven by sullen swells
Against your sides, then shoving and slithering,
The darkness shattered, turbulent with foam.
To be free again, to return to the violent mind
That is their mind, these men, and that will bind
Me round, carry me, misty desk, carry me
 To the cold, go on, high ship, go on, plunge on.
- Wallace Stevens, "Farewell to Florida"