About Me

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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Monday, August 29, 2016

"the dog of reflection"

from the british library flickr collection (PD)
From a children's poetry collection dated 1903 - we revisit the fable of the dog and his reflection:

A dog growing thinner, for want of a dinner,
Once purloin'd a joint from a tray;
"How happy I am, with this shoulder of lamb!"
Thought the cur, as he trotted away.

But the way that he took, lay just over a brook,
Which he found it was needful to cross,
So, without more ado, he plunged in to go through,
Not dreaming of danger or loss.

But what should appear, in this rivulet clear,
As he thought upon coolest reflection,
But a cur like himself, who with ill-gotten pelf,
Had run off in that very direction.

Thought the dog, a propos! but that instant let go
(As he snatched at this same water-spaniel).
The piece he possess'd — so, with hunger distress 'd,
He slowly walk'd home to his kennel.

Hence, when we are needy, don't let us be greedy
(Excuse me this line of digression).
Lest in snatching at all, like the dog, we let fall
The good that we have in possession.
 --Jeffreys Taylor

Ingpen, R. (1903). One thousand poems for children: a new choice of the best verse old & new. Philadelphia: Jacobs. 29.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

a snuffbox squirrel

the metropolitan museum of art - the jack and belle linsky collection, 1982
This porcelain treasure was designed and made at the Schrezheim factory in Schreizheim, Germany circa 1761-70.  The painter of this object, Johann Andreas Bechdolff, pops up reliably in searches for Schrezheim porcelain - here's a pug snuffbox he decorated.  He didn't only paint the tops of snuffboxes: at the Met page for this squirrel you can see the bottom and inside as well.  Why a critter on your powdered tobacco holder?  Think of it like a cell phone case: you personalize that with something you like, and carry it daily.  Same sort of thing.

Friday, August 26, 2016

rembrandt observes a dog trying to make a friend

thanks wikiart.org (PD)
1636: Rembrandt does what he does best - capturing a small moment of life that evokes a great deal of feeling.  This is his sketch of "A Woman with a Child Frightened by a Dog." What monstrous canine are we going to find?  Why, it's only a greyhound, with a foot tentatively forward, and nose raised in what looks like a curious sniff.  I've seen both cats and dogs do this to little kids, as if they smell differently from adult humans.  Meanwhile, the toddler is not thrilled at this beast who is up in his face, benign intent or not, yet the woman is marvelously portrayed as sheltering the little one while brokering the meeting of dog and child.  If she was worried, she'd be throwing more of her body between the two, but she's smiling.  Up above, somebody in a turban is watching the whole thing like it's television.  I suppose back then the streets were everyone's television.
This is what I love about Rembrandt.  He has a way of making the smallest gestures capture you at a gut level.  I've sheltered kiddies while they decide about dogs.  I've explained to my dog that not everybody will love you right away.  For another example of Rembrandt's ability to capture deep human feeling with the merest of motions, please see "The Jewish Bride."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

field trip: new friends at nashi orchards

all photos mine
Yesterday our departmental team went on our yearly staff retreat.  This year our destination was Vashon Island's Nashi Orchards, creators of delicious and unusual craft ciders.  
We met their sheep and watched them get a snack...

...then owner Jim Gerlach gave us a tour and an interesting talk about the grounds and the process.  

We proceeded to the open-air tasting room, where we met the official greeters: the orchard's three Bouvier de Flanders, only two of which I managed to snap.  
They were hot, but calm and happy to see us.

We were happy to see them, too.

We sampled the three unusual, delicious ciders made by Nashi, and while we couldn't bring home a lamb or a huge friendly dog, we could bring home...

Seriously, if you see this anywhere, try it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

wordless vintage wednesday

thanks lovely shop on se stark

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

tame your turtle

thanks wikiart.org
...tame your world?  I thought I had found only a curious and appealing artwork, and instead cracked open a door to one amazing person's adventures.
This is "The Tortoise Tamer," a 1906 oil by the Turkish Romantic painter/archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey. It's true that turtles are trainable; here's a sweet amateur blog post on how one does this, complete with videos.  Yet this piece is meant to be an allegory on his slow and steady work pace (which got a lot of good work done), as well as harking back to the ways turtles have been brought into pleasant use over the years.  I'm not counting turtle soup, and thankfully neither did he.
Osman Hamdi Bey was the subject of a graphic novel a few years ago.  Have a preview of the book and its creators here.

Monday, August 22, 2016

the simple joy of being a pup

thanks wikiart.org (PD)
This fresh and immediate puppy study is from the hand of George Harvey (Scottish, 1806-1876).  Harvey was famed for his close observations of character and detail, as well as his feeling for nature in both large scope (landscape) and intimate scope (portraits of people and animals).  As he was painting during the years of the Romantic style, I'm not surprised by the freedom of his approach, but I do very much enjoy it.  The Romanticism of the United Kingdom did tend to be of a closer, more personal scale, a look at Nature as you yourself engaged with its small daily representatives - your children, your farm, your horse.  Here's a very readable essay about this art movement, which is one of my favorites, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Friday, August 19, 2016

meet the bananacat

thanks clker
I may have met my latest spirit animal.  He's "very optimistic and carefree," and loves sweet treats and playtime.  He is also a little white cat that lives in a banana.  He does not leave said banana; he hops round inside it like a sack race - but only when there are no humans about.
His name?  Bananya.  He has a bunch of bananacat friends, and 7 episodes (so far) of their adventures.  Do not wait any longer - head over to Crunchyroll and get into this tiny, kawaii and oh so fruity Japanese anime.