Roof Garden Art, Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout

Hedge Two-way Mirror Walkabout.

Hedge Two-way Mirror Walkabout.

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When I visit the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, I try to visit the roof garden. Not only are installations interactive, the view of Central Park is beautiful.

I hope to get to The Met’s current roof garden Installation, The Theater of Disappearance by Adrián Villar Rojas, which in on display until October 29, 2017.

Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout, exhibited in 2014, was created by American artist Dan Graham and Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt. “Comprising curves of steel and two-way mirrored glass between ivy hedgerows, Graham’s structure is part garden maze and part modernist skyscraper façade, set within a specially engineered terrain.” The glass was “both transparent and reflective, creating a changing and visually complex environment for visitors.”

“For decades, Dan Graham has created work that challenges viewers to think in new and thought-provoking ways about the streets and cities they traverse every day,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum.

For the artist, the mirrored cladding of a corporate headquarters symbolizes economic power and sleek efficiency; it also provides a certain camouflage, reflecting the world around it as it shields what happens inside from prying eyes.

With this signature material, Graham’s pavilions also transform observers of the work into performers within it, and, through the sight of their own reflections, make them acutely aware of their own viewership.

The evergreen plantings that edge the parapets also reminded Graham of the shrubbery that often demarcates private property lines in the New Jersey suburbs of his youth. Graham’s collaboration with Günther Vogt further illuminates the site’s multilayered references—historic gardens, public parks, contemporary corporate architecture, and the suburban lawn—as its pavilion engages the viewer in a historic and complex mirror-play.

Glass and steel "pavilion."

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” Emile Zola

Sources:

Click here to link to The Met’s page with a cool video on how the art was installed.

Click Interesting interview with Dan Graham to learn more about Graham’s work.

Amazon Rapids, “The Easter Beast” is Published!

Wild bunny, Florida.

Woohoo! My second story on Amazon Rapids has been published.

In “The Easter Beast,” Bun Bun and Chewy Chirp, the last chocolate bunny and marshmallow chick on the shelf, desperately want to go on an Easter Egg hunt, but the store’s about to close and they are being stalked by the Easter Beast, aka the store clerk, who craves chocolate and marshmallows.

Short, illustrated stories on Amazon Rapids, an App for ages 7-12, “are told through the lens of characters chatting with each other. The app is available for iOS, Android and Amazon Fire devices, and offers hundreds of original stories, with dozens of new ones added monthly.”

Amazon Rapids Includes: 

Unique chat style — Stories are told through the lens of characters chatting with each other, letting stories come to life one message at a time.

Hundreds of original stories — Kids can explore a large and growing library that’s filled with original stories spanning adventure, fantasy, humor, mystery, science fiction and sports.

Age-appropriate content – All content is thoughtfully edited to be appropriate for kids ages 7-12.

Built-in glossary — Kids can easily look up the definition and pronunciation of words to help build their reading confidence. Each time they look up a word, it is automatically added to their personal glossary for easy reference. 

“Read to me” —Kids can have stories read aloud to them while they follow along with the text. “Having been a teacher for over a decade, I’ve learned to write stories in a way that compels kids to dive in and the Amazon Rapids format is a perfect way to make that happen,” said Raymond Bean, best-selling children’s author. “In my first Amazon Rapids story, Alien Invasion, a boy named Gordon and an alien connect via a misdirected text message and hilarity ensues as they discuss the aliens’ plans to land on earth.”

Parents can visit http://rapids.amazon.com to download Amazon Rapids today.

Related Post: Amazon Rapids Press Release–My 1st Fiction Story is Published!

 

Crispy Potato Cake (Galette De Pomme De Terre)

Crispy Potato Cake (Galette De Pomme De Terre)

Crispy Potato Cake (Galette De Pomme De Terre)

I made this delicious dish a long time ago and wanted to make it again many times, but I couldn’t find the recipe. (I didn’t trust myself to make it from memory). When I finally organized cut-outs from newspapers, chicken-scratched napkins, and a ton of loose recipes, I found it.  Yay!  It takes some patience, but it’s worth it.

Happy cooking, hon.

Layer potatoes in a spiral.

Slowly cook potatoes until well browned.

  Ingredients:

2 pounds (about 3 medium) potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly

1 Tablespoon olive oil, or as needed

Freshly ground nutmeg

Freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

Salt

Fresh thyme leaves for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Pat potatoes dry if very starchy or moist. In a sauté pan large enough to fit potato slices in just two layers, spread 1 tablespoon oil with and sprinkle with nutmeg and pepper to taste. Starting in center, arrange potato slices in a closely overlapping, attractive spiral. When pan is filled, repeat to make second layer.
  2. Place pan over medium heat and cover. Slowly cook potatoes until well browned on underside, about 15 minutes, occasionally shaking pan gently to avoid sticking. Wipe inside of lid as needed to keep it dry.
  3. Press potatoes down with a flat spatula and remove from heat. Place a larger platter over pan and flip it upside down, transferring potatoes to the platter. Check pan to make sure it is clean and has enough oil to keep potatoes from sticking.
  4. Slide galette, raw side down, back into pan, and return to medium heat. Cover and cook until browned, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a persillade by combining parsley and garlic in a small bowl. To serve, slide galette onto a serving platter, season to taste with salt, and garnish with persillade or thyme.

Yield: 4 servings.

Source: “A Culinary Journey in Gascony” by Kate Hill

 

 

Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks, Part 2

Welcome to Top Ten April Fool’s Day Pranks, Part 2.

I’d love to hear if you have a favorite.

I must add a retraction to yesterday’s post.

Correction: Hubby pranks our kids. Example: Our youngest daughter scheduled an interview with the owner of a restaurant for a school project. Hubby told her a pipe burst at the restaurant and it would be closed for the month. “Oh no!” said our daughter. “April Fool’s!”said Hubby.

6) Subway Car Surfaces, 2001

Residents of Copenhagen who visited the square in front of the town hall were greeted by a strange sight. One of the subway cars from the city’s new subway, which was under construction, appeared to have burst up through the pavement. The subway car actually was a retired vehicle from the Stockholm subway. It had been cut at an angle and loose bricks were placed around it, to give the illusion that it had crashed up from below.

The stunt was sponsored by Gevalia Coffee, whose advertisements had an ongoing theme of vehicles popping up in strange locations, with the tagline “Be ready for unexpected guests.”

Real crash or subway car cut at an angle?


7) $99 Flights to Mars, 2009

Vacation at a real hot spot.

Internet-based travel site Expedia.com announced it was offering flights to Mars for only $99, which it calculated to be a savings of $3 trillion for travelers. “In this economy, you can’t afford NOT to go!” it declared.


8Kids Fly Free, 2004

Fly free?

Visitors to the website of discount airline RyanAir were greeted by the news that as a special April Fool’s Day offer kids would be allowed to ride free. A few seconds later the announcement added the second part of the offer: “For as long as they can hold on.”


9) King’s College Choir Uses Helium, 2014

The renowned King’s College Choir is not known for farce. This made it noteworthy when they released a video announcing that complex regulations had made it impractical to continue featuring young boys in the choir, and that they had been forced to find other ways to replicate the high pitch of the boys’ preadolescent voices. Because the older choral scholars had vetoed the “surgical solution,” the choir leaders had finally adopted a suggestion made by a colleague in the Chemistry Department — use helium. The video, demonstrating the use of helium during a performance, generated over 2 million views on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukDAfF0-8q8


10) Eau de Chlôrine, a perfume that makes you smell like a swimming pool, 2017

USA Swimming just put out this ad: Eau de Chlôrine is an exhilarating race of the senses that never lets up. It starts off strong, fast and soggy. A cannonball that bursts with a lasting and immense feeling of amusement. Buoyed by the passions of a life spent floating through love, happiness and chlorinated water. Eau de Chlôrine is a powerful, heady scent that leaves an impression — both in and out of the pool.

The tag line: With spring upon us, now is the time to swim in our scent.

Related Post: Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks, Part 1

Sources: Hoaxes.org, Washingtonpost.com, Youtube.com, theverge.com

 

Top 10 April Fool’s Pranks, Part 1

Hon, pulling pranks on April Fool’s Day may not be a tradition in my house, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good one. After scouring lists of news reports, advertisements, and videos, I came up with a list of my favorite…

Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks

1) The Tasmanian Mock Walrus, 1984

In 1984, The Orlando Sentinel ran a story about a creature known as the Tasmanian Mock Walrus (or TMW for short) that it said made a perfect pet. The creature was only four inches long, resembled a walrus, purred like a cat, and had the temperament of a hamster. What made it such an ideal pet was that it never had to be bathed, used a litter box, and ate cockroaches. In fact, a single TMW could entirely rid a house of its cockroach problem.

Reportedly, some TMWs had been smuggled in from Tasmania, and there were efforts being made to breed them, but the local pest-control industry, sensing that the TMW posed a threat to its business, was pressuring the government not to allow them in the country. An accompanying photo showed protestors picketing outside the offices of the Orlando city government to call attention to the plight of the TMW. Dozens of people called the paper trying to find out where they could obtain their own TMW.

Skeptics noted that the photo of a TMW accompanying the article showed a creature that looked suspiciously like a mole rat.

Tasmanian Mock Walrus or Mole Rat?


2) UFO Lands Near London, 1989

On March 31, 1989, thousands of motorists driving on the highway outside London looked up in the air to see a glowing flying saucer descending on their city. Many of them pulled to the side of the road to watch the bizarre craft float through the air. The saucer finally landed in a field on the outskirts of London where local residents immediately called the police to warn them of an alien invasion. Soon the police arrived on the scene, and one brave officer approached the craft with his truncheon extended before him. When a door in the craft popped open, and a small, silver-suited figure emerged, the policeman ran in the opposite direction.

The saucer turned out to be a hot-air balloon that had been specially built to look like a UFO by Richard Branson, the 36-year-old chairman of Virgin Records. The stunt combined his passion for ballooning with his love of pranks. His plan was to land the craft in London’s Hyde Park on April 1. Unfortunately, the wind blew him off course, and he was forced to land a day early in the wrong location.

UFO or hot air balloon?


3) The Taco Liberty Bell

On April 1, 1996, a full page ad appeared in six major American newspapers (The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and USA Today) announcing that the fast food chain Taco Bell had purchased the Liberty Bell. The full text of the ad read:

Taco Bell Buys The Liberty Bell
In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country’s most historic treasures. It will now be called the “Taco Liberty Bell” and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.

Response
Taco Bell’s announcement generated an enormous response. Thousands of worried citizens called both Taco Bell’s headquarters and the National Park Service in Philadelphia to find out if the Bell had really been sold. Elaine Sevy, a Park Service spokeswoman, was quoted as saying, “We were shocked. We had no idea this was happening. We have just been getting hammered with phone calls from the public.”

The Philadelphia branch of the National Park Service arranged a midmorning news conference to assure the public that the Bell had not been sold. “The Liberty Bell is safe. It’s not for sale,” a spokeswoman announced.

In fact, the Bell could not have been sold by the federal government, as the ad implied, because the federal government did not own the Bell. It was the property of the City of Philadelphia.

At noon on April 1st, Taco Bell issued a second press release in which they confessed to the hoax, describing it as “The Best Joke of the Day.” The company also announced that it would donate $50,000 for the upkeep of the Liberty Bell.

Even the White House got in on the joke that same day when press secretary Mike McCurry told reporters that, as part of its ongoing privatization efforts “We’ll be doing a series of these. Ford Motor Co. is joining today in an effort to refurbish the Lincoln Memorial. It will be the Lincoln Mercury Memorial.”

The Liberty Bell or the Taco Liberty Bell?


4) Flying Penguins, 2008

The BBC announced that camera crews filming near the Antarctic for its natural history series Miracles of Evolution had captured footage of Adélie penguins taking to the air. It even offered a video clip of these flying penguins, which became one of the most viewed videos on the internet.

Presenter Terry Jones explained that, instead of huddling together to endure the Antarctic winter, these penguins took to the air and flew thousands of miles to the rainforests of South America where they “spend the winter basking in the tropical sun.” A follow-up video explained how the BBC created the special effects of the flying penguins.

 


5) Amazon, 2017

Amazon has created an Alexa-themed joke, with a new “Petlexa” integration, that purports to make your Echo capable of understanding queries from your pets. It mostly just consists of this video, since Amazon (understandably) didn’t build a functional version of this.

Part 2 of the “Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks” will be posted tomorrow. Which one was your favorite so far?

Related Post: Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks, Part 2

Sources: Hoaxes.org, The Verge.com, Washingtonpost.comYoutube.com

Baked French Toast with Oat Crumble Topping

Baked French Toast with Oat Crumble Topping

Gather ingredients.

Combine custard filling and bread crumbs.

 

 

 

 

Spread diced pears over bread crumb/custard mixture.

Sprinkle topping evenly.

Ready to eat.

Baked French Toast with Oat Crumble Topping

Breakfast in our house is usually a quick bowl of cereal or a smoothie, so when I made this recipe, it was for dinner. And why not? Breakfast for dinner has been a staple in our house ever since the triplets were little. Sometimes, the best meals are served with warm Vermont Maple Syrup.

Happy baking, hon.

Ingredients for the French Toast:

9 cups (455 grams) challah, brioche or other soft bread cut in 1-inch cubes, preferably day old (from a large, 1-pound loaf)

butter, for the baking dish

8 large eggs

1 1/2 cups (355 milliliters) whole milk

1/2 cup (118 milliliters) heavy cream or creme fraiche

1/4 cup (60 milliliters) honey

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Ingredients for the Topping:

1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (30 grams) rolled oats (or use chopped nuts or sliced almonds)

1/3 cup (67 grams) light brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup (114 grams) cold, unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into cubes

1 large or 2 small pears, peeled or unpeeled as desired, cored and diced into 1/4-inch pieces

Ingredients for the Honey-Vanilla Syrup (Optional):

1/2 cup (118 milliliters) honey

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Spread bread crumbs out and toast until lightly golden, 7 to 15 minutes. Let cool. (Tip-err on less time since oven is so hot.)

2.  Generously butter a 2-quart casserole or 9 by 13-inch baking dish and fill with bread crumbs.

3.  In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, honey, vanilla, nutmeg, cardamom and salt until smooth. Pour over bread, tossing well. Press down on bread so it forms an even layer that is mostly submerged in custard. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight (or up to 48 hours ahead).

4.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

5.  Prepare the topping: In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. You can also pulse the topping ingredients together in a food processor if you’d rather. (The topping can be prepared up to 48 hours in advance; store covered in the refrigerator until needed.)

6. Spread diced pears, if using, evenly over the top of the bread, then cover with crumble mixture. Bake until golden and firm, 40 to 50 minutes. If you’d like a crunchier crust, broil for the final 1 to 2 minutes. Or leave the topping softer; it’s good both ways.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup, if desired. In a small saucepan, combine honey and 1 to 2 tablespoons water, depending on how thick you want the syrup to be. Using a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add seeds to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and let the vanilla infuse for at least 10 minutes. (Syrup can be made up to 1 week ahead.) Serve the French toast warm with the honey-vanilla syrup, or maple syrup.

Yield: 12 servings

Source: Melissa Clark for The New York Times

 

 

Spring Sign

Robert Indiana’s $3 million, 13-foot tall, 3-ton pop art sculpture “Hope” is located on the corner of 7th Ave and 53rd St in Manhattan.

Happy Spring, hon!

“The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.”
― Emily Dickinson


“It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.”
― John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga

Spring Kids Craft, Edible Birds Nests

Denver Botanic Gardens.

Edible Birds Nests.

When I taught After School Enrichment classes for grades 3-5, one of the projects we made was Edible Birds Nests. I didn’t take good pictures–think sticky-from-marshmallows-hands–so credit must be given to D Magazine’s Jessica Jones for these project photos.

Edible Birds Nests are easy, fun and perfect for celebrating Spring. Need an Easter activity for a party? This one is egg-cellent!

Gather ingredients.

Mold chow mein/melted marshmallow mixture into a cupcake tin.

 

Once the Birds Nests have hardened in the fridge, pop them out of the cupcake tin and fill with jellybean eggs.

A teeny-tiny nest with one egg is perfect as a cupcake topper. (thanks, Jessica Jones, for the suggestion.)

EDIBLE NESTS RECIPE (yields about 12 cupcake-sized nests)

Ingredients:

•1/4 cup butter

•3 cups marshmallows

•5 cups chow mein noodles

•Cooking spray

•Candy to fill nests

Directions:

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium-low heat. Remove from heat.

2. Add chow mein noodles, and mix til combined.

3. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray, as well as your fingers. Mold the mixture into nest shapes in the cupcake tin.

4. Place in freezer for at least an hour. Remove nests using a knife.

5. Fill with your choice of candy.

Source: DMagazine

Spring Video, How Does Life Live?

In celebration of Spring, I’m adding a new post every day this week and came across something extraordinary to share. It’s a 12-minute video called How Does Life Live? by Kelly O’BrienIt’s just beautiful!

Kelly filmed her daughters playing while her 3 year-old Willow asks questions about life. O’Brien says, “Kids are endlessly curious and ask about how life works, the ineffable mystery of it, all the time. Their questions reflect that time between innocence and experience as they try to figure out who they are in relation to the world around them.” My favorite question Willow asks is, “Do blue butterflies eat part of the sky?”

It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

If you watch How Does Life Live?, I’d love to know what your favorite question was.

Happy new beginnings, hon.

Spring’s Secret Garden

Monarch feeding on a Butterfly Bush.

The Secret Garden was one of the classics I read to my children. We spent many hours in the car driving to Maryland and Long Island to visit family (hon, trust me, we know every rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike), and made the time pass quickly by learning language, discovering stories, discussing characters and predicting plots. I only found out later that “brain imaging has suggested that hearing stories evokes visual images in children’s brains, and more strongly if those children are accustomed to being read to.” (The Merits of Reading Real Books to Your Children  by Perri Klass, M.D.,The New York Times)

Wait! What? Something I did was good for my kids? Woohoo! Hopefully, that balances out the other stuff that might not have been, ummm, as advantageous.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden