Monday, October 31, 2005

Spending Saturday with Napoleon & Warhol

Mr. Random decided NOT to do the Marine Corps Marathon this year after all, and is going to definitely do it next year. He did go pick up his shirt and all, but on Friday night he was still having serious doubts, and felt like he would disappoint everyone if he didn’t do it. I reminded him that his well-being was much more important to me, and I didn’t want to get a call saying he had collapsed, just so he could make other people happy. He was depressed about it for a while, but he knows that he made the right decision – he wasn’t able to train as hard this year, and his overcompensating gave him back spasms. Besides, he’s already done four of them! That’s four more than 99 percent of the planet does . . . he should be proud of what he has accomplished so far, and I am certain that he will be ready for the race next year . . . he’s so competitive that he won’t want to miss another one.

On Saturday, Mr. Random just did some light running and puttered around the condo. On Sunday, he played soccer and actually scored a goal, so he was pretty pleased that even if he didn’t do the marathon, that he was able to score a goal for his team that day.

However, since it had been planned that Saturday was going to be Mr. Random’s “rest and relaxation” day, I had planned to be out doing stuff and not be in the way. So I spent my Saturday doing one of my favorite things . . . going to museums!

To begin my fabulous Saturday, I met my friends J & R at their house, and from there we went to the National Geographic building, where on the first floor is an extensive exhibit on Napoleon, with many artifacts from his life and the accompanying time period. ( A very impressive show, and if you are in the DC area any time soon, I highly suggest that you go . . . like many exhibits in DC, admission is free. J was most impressed by seeing the large hat that Napoleon actually wore, and also that a painting the exhibit showcased of Napoleon on a horse was actually smaller in real life than thought. My favorite parts? I don’t know, maybe seeing the schoolbooks that young Napoleon scribbled margin notes in? Seeing the velvet portfolio that held Napoleon and Josephine’s annulment papers? Seeing his actual military camp bed set up, along with the box that it was carried around in? Tallyrand’s red velvet prayer chair? The plaid “do-rag” that N wore on St. Helena, because of the heat? The snuff box that he liked to fiddle around with when talking? The many little details that make up a life were all around, and I was in awe of each and every one of them.

After leaving National Geographic, we went to lunch and then decided that since it was still early, we could get in another museum . . . so we looked in the handy-dandy City paper and saw that there was an Andy Warhol exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Off we went! The exhibit was fantastic, although not quite as extensive as I had hoped – I am sure that the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh must be amazing, since most of the DC exhibit was on loan from there. I was especially drawn to his early and late graphite sketches, and was very intrigued by his 4 minute “screen test” films. The most disturbing (and effective, I guess) part of the exhibit was a room filled with his series of works on guns, knives and crosses. There was nothing gross or disgusting about the pictures, they were just silk screens of the pictures of the objects themselves, but something about the compositions of the pictures and the colors, just got to me . . . and stayed with me. This is another exhibit I highly recommend folks seeing if in the area. The Corcoran is not free, but charges $8 admission – very worth it, though!

So ended a wonderful afternoon with my friends! I was exhausted when I got home, and didn’t go to the Halloween party after all, but I was fine with that.

For my birthday, my friend J gave me a book of Margaret Bourke-White’s early photography from the years 1927-1936. It was the accompanying book for an exhibit I saw at the Phillips Collection in 2003, and at the time I had sorely wished that I had purchased the book for it. Does my friend know me or what?

Maureen Dowd’s piece in Sunday’s NYT Magazine just left me speechless – not in a good way, either. Whenever the NYT does a lifestyle piece, you just know that whatever it is only applies to the rarified circles of whoever the author is. However, their front page series on Class Matters a few months ago was quite top notch . . . and I found this week’s magazine article on pensions intriguing, if incomplete . . .

I found today’s poem in The New Yorker a while ago . . .

By Wislawa Szymborska
(translated from Polish by Stanislaw Baraczak and Clare Cavanaugh)

Everything —
a bumptious, stuck-up word.
It should be written in quotes.
It pretends to miss nothing,
to gather, hold, contain, and have.
While all the while it’s just
a shred of a gale.

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