Thursday, December 28, 2006

Venus in Moscow

St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow built by Postnik Yakovlev for Ivan the Terrible in 1555.
I saw this architectural wonder myself many years ago in my globe-trotting days. The weather was truly terrible (like Colorado right now), the food was even worse, but the vodka was good and the experience altogether fascinating.


Anonymous Joe said...

Oh neat! I almost went to Russia in high school with a class trip, just before the Berlin Wall fell. I don't recall why the plans got scrapped, though.

28/12/06 6:01 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Oh too bad joe! That would have been something unforgettable. But really. There's nothing to eat there. Indescribably bad, unless they've caught on to world cuisine after the Pluto in Sagittarius..:-)

The Soviet regime was depressing. people here have no concept of totalitarianism and probably never will.

The Berlin Wall thing was dramatic. Kind of a marker.

28/12/06 6:13 PM  
Blogger Neith said...

When I was in Finland, the eight Americans in the program there took a trip to Moscow. Very wonderful and scary all at the same time. This was in Nov '72 and we were herded around carefully. I did get to see St Basil's at midnight w/snow falling. Also had a truly ecstatic visit to the Bolshoi Ballet! I can even remember the peculiar smell of the bread they served at the hotel we stayed in.

All in all, it was quite an experience and a great train trip! I do love to travel by train too . . . sleeping in a berth on a train puts me right to sleep. The food on the Russian side was bad but the tea was great. Very, very glad to get back to Finland where there was color, light & sanity and first class cheese . . . :-)

28/12/06 6:58 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Neith! Incredible! I'm so glad you told this story. Now that you mention it, I do remember the tea.

Herded around carefully is right. And all the little uniformed school children obediently sang songs for us. I still remember my favorite tunes.

The lack of color too, except in the cathedrals!

I remember a trip to the Black sea and the women were like from another planet. Very blubbery and white in their swimsuits and oddly shaped, yet completely uninhibited.

It's blizzarding again in Denver and I'm snowed in. Thank god I'm a Cancer and have plenty of food in the house.

28/12/06 7:29 PM  
Blogger jm said...

The borcsht was not red beets. It was thin watery I don't know what with cabbage swimming around. Very salty. Then there was hard dry well done meat of an uncertain origin. The rest is vague.

28/12/06 7:31 PM  
Blogger Kadimiros said...

"The rest is vague."

Kind of like that blurred background behind the pear in the picture for the preceding thread. :-)

28/12/06 8:46 PM  
Blogger Neith said...

The lack of color too, except in the cathedrals!

The only bright garments i saw were on the little children. They got dressed in reds & yellows. But the whole place was generally drab. Oh yeah, I saw more gorgeous men too . . . what makes for a handsome man, doesn't make for a pretty woman.

But the whole Red Square experience was awesome with the Red Stars, Lenin's Tomb & St Basil's. Never was so glad to leave a country in my life!!!

28/12/06 10:00 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Even more vague than behind the pear.

Never was so glad to leave a country in my life!!!

Me too neith. Highly depressing, at least in the big cities.

what makes for a handsome man, doesn't make for a pretty woman.

How 'bout that.

28/12/06 10:13 PM  
Blogger jm said...

It's really interesting, too, about the fundmental nature of cultures. These people are always falling in step with authoritarian rule.
The Russian aristocracy was extreme.

28/12/06 10:16 PM  
Blogger jm said...

And why would they dress their buildings in color and not their bodies?

28/12/06 10:19 PM  
Blogger Kadimiros said...

Probably unsafe to stand out as an individual.

28/12/06 10:59 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Of course. Execution always looms.

The opposite of this society. It's beyond hue. There aren't even clothes to color on the American body.

28/12/06 11:06 PM  
Blogger Kadimiros said...

It would be quite funny to see monochromatically gray people walking past those buildings in the photo. :-)

28/12/06 11:06 PM  
Blogger Kadimiros said...

Maybe I will try that sometime -- paste in some pedestrians from a black-and-white photo on top of a color photo.

28/12/06 11:08 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Great idea.

It reminds me of a painting my friend did called The Escalator

The people on the escalator in a department store were naked as they passed the fully clothed mannequins.

28/12/06 11:27 PM  
Blogger jm said...

I love those kinds of collages. Not the jumbled kind one usually sees, but clear concise statements.

It's a fine art, very hard to do well. But when well done, they are intriguing and tickle the imagination in a unique way.

Photoshopping doen't match it.

28/12/06 11:31 PM  
Blogger Kadimiros said...

The Escalator...LOL! Interesting symbolism. Somehow clothes are part of the human condition. Removable, unlike fur. So many options!

28/12/06 11:33 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Removable, unlike fur.

Ha ha! I was just looking at some pics of prehistoric men. Incredible how we've changed, speaking of clothing.

Why did we lose our fur?

Why all this complication? The clothes issue dominates man's life, so it seems. And how confused he is. The human closet. The Mighty Complication.

28/12/06 11:40 PM  
Blogger Kadimiros said...

Oh, we used to paste stuff together in art school a lot. It was wonderful exercise in creative composition.

Computers weren't so widely available back then. I did have access to computers, but I eschewed their use in favor of mastering traditional skills first. Computers are still evolving from their digital roots to something with the expressiveness of traditional media.

28/12/06 11:40 PM  
Blogger Kadimiros said...

Well, as to fur, I've always liked the aquatic ape theory, but it is controversial and so far insufficiently supported.

Clothes aside, bare skin has much better potential for sensing the environment and for promoting connectedness and communication from infancy onwards. The sense of touch. Maybe that has something to do with it, along with other factors such as having fewer hiding places for parasites.

28/12/06 11:49 PM  
Blogger jm said...

This is fantastic. If it could match traditional media in expresiveness. That's what I'm working with.

The thing about cut and paste, though, is that it's really 3D. The tiny gap creates a large effect that the screen will never duplicate. It can come close, probably.

The gap is what triggers the imagination so much, I think. Like a synapse.

28/12/06 11:50 PM  
Blogger jm said...

I've always liked the aquatic ape theory


Maybe the fur loss came with artificial heat and enclosed living spaces.

28/12/06 11:52 PM  
Blogger Kadimiros said...

Well, there are furry creatures in hot climates, too. Could be a combination of factors.

Aquatic ape -- The notion that in the distant past, the ancestors of modern humans returned to a semi-aquatic lifestyle long enough to lose body hair (like other ocean going mammals) and for the spine to straighten out and the pelvis to change angle.

The distant past is a puzzlement. There is enough dispute over its particulars that one might almost suppose that many alternate past histories converge on the same present!

29/12/06 12:25 AM  
Blogger jm said...

There is enough dispute over its particulars that one might almost suppose that many alternate past histories converge on the same present!

Of course. One of my tenets.
history is fiction

There is some connection maybe in this aquatic thing... with porpoises. These sea creatures have an unusual communication with humans.

There has to be a reason around an alternative protection no matter how it developed.

Why would we give up our natural protection, then put on rain slickers?

Such a puzzle.

29/12/06 4:56 AM  

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