Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Architecture & Churches


The most commonly found architecture in Ecuador is probably that which was built during the time that Ecuador was a Spanish colony. This Spanish colonial architecture can be found in every city and town that was ever visited by the Spanish – from the humblest monastery to the newest and most modern of cities. The Spanish look and feel is undeniable and yet, the way that the elements have aged and worn these edifices gives it a somewhat unique Ecuadorian feel.


According to the CIA World Factbook, 92% of Ecuadorians are Roman Catholic.  Along with the old impressive churches there are new ones and many more are being built.  



Wikipedia tells us the New cathedral in Cuenca as shown above (official name: Catedral Metropolitana de la Inmaculada Concepción) had its towers truncated due to a calculation error of the architect. If they had been raised to their planned height, the foundation of this church to the Immaculate Conception, would not have been able to bear the weight. In spite of the architect's immense mistake, the New Cathedral of Cuenca is a monumental work of faith that began to be built in 1880. It is in Neo-Gothic style, and its blue and white domes have become a symbol for the city. Its facade is made of alabaster and local marble, while the floor is covered with pink marble, brought from Carrara (Italy). When the Cathedral was first constructed 9,000 out of Cuenca's 10,000 inhabitants could be accommodated inside. 


As in most Ecuadorian and Latin American churches, many styles are used in the construction of the churches and Cathedrals: late Gothic in the arches, Moorish in the ceilings and Baroque in the main altar. The catacombs of many of the cathedrals serve as a resting place to important figures in Ecuador's history




Owing to its geographical isolation, Cuenca had a coherent urban profile until 1950. However, this was followed by the threats of urban expansion and transformations resulting from pressure exerted by real-estate promotion and new social requirements. An Urban Development Plan for the Metropolitan Area of Cuenca was adopted in 1982 to safeguard the image of the town and to restore several buildings.





Ecuadorian Architecture was always strongly influenced by the Spanish Culture. The attractive Spanish look and feel definitely enhances the beauty of Ecuador's Architecture.


Traditionally, cemeteries were characterized by huge stone monuments and mausoleums, particularly for the wealthy.  Today, however, the trend is to bury the dead in jardines or memorial gardens where landscaping has largely replaced the ostentatious tombstones of the past. 


Cemeteries displaying the old architectual tombstones can still be found quite often throughout Ecuador.




While Ecuador is home to some of the most spectacular architectural achievements in history, many of the area’s indigenous ruins no longer are standing because the Spanish either destroyed or built over the ancient buildings. The new has remained intimately connected to the old; a number of important towns are built on the rubble of the Inca civilization, and in many cases the Spaniards even reused Inca building stones. The region’s urban centers were built more for walking than looking, as evidenced by the blocky concrete buildings that dominate the downtown areas of most larger cities. Most of these buildings were erected in the 20th century, when architects were primarily concerned with reducing building costs (and consequently losing the charm of the traditional Spanish look).   



 To see more architecture & churches of Ecuador, please click on the links.  

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Hank the Sock

One of our sweet daughters and a couple of her friends discussed Hank the Sock on Facebook.  I asked permission to "blog" the discussion.  See below.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Music



Below & eventually on More Music & Even More Music & perhaps on Gosh (!) Even More Music (working on it) is a bunch of YouTube Music Videos we linked on Facebook for the Kiddies to see (one a day).  These lists are in no particular order (except for The End) and don't purport to be a Top 300 or anything like that.  It's just a list of music we like without duplicating (too often) artists.  There are numerous songs & compositions missing & lost (in our minds) but the music is never completely forgotten. 



    Friday, 11 February 2011

    Bossy & Selfish Communicate

    Bossy & Selfish are at the grocery store. Bossy has two packages of salad, each package containing two salads.

    Selfish asks: "Why so much salad?"

    "Well" Bossy answers "We're going to have trout tonight and lasagna later on this week...." then she petered out, did a swift turn and returned one of the packages of salad to the display counter.

    "You know..." Selfish told her when she returned. "When you make salad. It's too much for me. It'd be fine if you only made half as much." He paused. "Then you wouldn't need so much salad."

    Bossy rolled her eyes. She'd already returned one of the packages to the display.

    Selfish continued: "We're talking about it now. What are we going to do?"

    Bossy made a face.

    Selfish continued some more: "We're discussing it now and we're going to compromise and do it your way, aren't we?"

    Bossy said "yes" and wandered away to look at a display of bran bars she had no intention of buying.

    *******************

    Later on, laying in bed together having one of their 3 cozies of the day, Bossy explained to Selfish that what they bought were packaged salads with sometimes croutons or little tomatoes and/or cheese & salad dressing, etc. and to save a bit for later was very difficult.

    "I didn't have the wherewithal to explain it to you in the store" Bossy elucidated.

    Selfish said he understood.

    Bossy felt compelled to expound further.

    This time with a sigh, Selfish said: "I understand!"

    And that was the end.

    At least for now.



    Sunday, 6 February 2011

    Faces


    We've been taking pictures of "faces" for quite some time and thought before posting this batch, we'd do some research.

    Wikipedia tells us that:  "The face is a central sense organ complex, for those animals that have one, normally on the ventral surface of the head, and can depending on the definition in the human case, include the hair, forehead, eyebrow, eyelashes, eyes, nose, ears, cheeks, mouth, lips, philtrum, teeth, skin, and chin. The face has uses of expression, appearance, and identity amongst others. It also has different senses like olfaction, taste, hearing, and vision."
     

     The explanation makes us wonder somewhat, particularly when it talks about "for those animals that have one, normally on the ventral surface of the head."  Is that excluding animals that don't have a ventral surface (?) or those animals that don't have a face? 



    (1) "Newborn babies prefer to look at attractive faces, says a UK researcher, suggesting that face recognition is hardwired at birth, rather than learned." (2) "Some researchers believe newborns can recognize their mothers almost immediately after birth but this is based primarily on voice recognition. True visual recognition probably takes a few weeks." 



    Wikipedia also tells us that:  "From about age three, the child begins to combine circles and lines to make simple figures. At first, people are drawn without a body and with arms emerging directly from the head. The eyes are often drawn large, filling up most of the face, and hands and feet are omitted."


    Another study suggests that "babies are born with a broad idea of what a face is.  By the time they're nine months old, though, face processing is based on a much narrower model, one that is based on the faces they see most often.

    This more specialized view in turn diminishes our early ability to make distinctions among other species, and possibly other races. For instance, if an infant is exposed to mainly Asian faces, he or she will grow to become less skilled at discerning among different, say, Caucasian face."


    "Non-verbal communication, in the form of facial expressions, may be impaired in people with schizophrenia. Researchers have now shown that deficits in non-verbal expressivity in schizophrenia are linked to poor social skills and an unawareness of the thoughts and intentions of others."



    "The fairly new facial recognition systems work "on the fact that every face has numerous, distinguishable landmarks, the different peaks and valleys that make up facial features."  The systems define "these landmarks as nodal points. Each human face has approximately 80 nodal points. Some of these measured by the software are:

    • Distance between the eyes
    • Width of the nose
    • Depth of the eye sockets
    • The shape of the cheekbones
    • The length of the jaw line
    These nodal points are measured creating a numerical code, called a faceprint, representing the face in the database."


    Portraiture & faces in art are common.  There are numerous sites that feature "faces", how to draw them, things that look likes faces, explaining the psychology of expressions & feelings displayed and touting the beauty of faces in fashion.  "Of all the keys to reading human faces, eyes are the most expressive. So it is no wonder that most people prefer to have eye contact with people they are talking to. Eyes may be watchful or sleepy. They may glare with boldness and arrogance. They may be downcast and timid. They may be glazed with passion."


    Walt Whitman wrote a wonderful poem about faces and the Helium Website has a page (or two) that showcases 27 short poems by more contemporary writers on faces. 


    Interestingly enough, we Googled Fashion Faces and came up with this.  As time goes by, what Google brings up changes, so this was the first picture displayed after Googling Fashion Faces.  What kind of "statement" is that?


    Wikipedia gave us the fascinating information that plastic surgery of the face was first discussed by Aulus Cornelius Celsus, who lived in the first century AD.  He described plastic surgery of the face, using skin from other parts of the body.

    It's evident that many of us would wish to change our faces, whether because of small flaws, wrinkles or major problems. 
     

    Most of us, however, are stuck with our faces but here's precious few that didn't spend time (at one time or another) looking into a mirror and wishing "if only this were slightly different or that was gone".  Coco Chanel said, "Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty."


    If you're interested in seeing more pictures of Faces from us, click here

    Tuesday, 1 February 2011

    Even More Quotes

    Like all things in the universe, we are destined from birth to diverge. Time is simply the yardstick of our separation. If we are particles in a sea of distance, exploded from an original whole, then there is a science to our solitude. We are lonely in proportion to our years.  ~ The Rule of Four, Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason #quote

    That's the trouble with survival of the fittest... The corpse at your feet. That little inconvenience. ~ I Know This Much is True, Wally Lamb #quote

    Genuine tragedies are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights.  ~  G.W.F. Hegel #quote

    Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering in order that they may have existence.  ~  Leon Bloy #quot

    Drifting off to sleep, I thought about her. How nobody is perfect. How you just have to close your eyes and breathe out and let the puzzle of the human heart be what it is. ~ The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd #quote

    In a reality made of language, the people who get to name things have psychological ownership of those things. Couples name their pets and children, Madison Avenue names the products that dominate our desires, theologians name the deities that dominates our spirit - 'Yahweh' changed to 'Jehovah' changed to plain ol' generic 'God'  -  kids name the latest cultural trends or rename old ones to make them theirs; politicians name streets and school and airports after one another or after the enemies they've successfully eliminated: they took Martin Luther King's life, for example, and then by naming their pork barrel projects after him, took possession of his memory. In a way, we're like linguistic wolves, lifting our legs on patches of cultural ground to mark them with verbal urine as territory that we alone control. Or maybe not. ~ Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, Tom Robbins #quote

    Learning acquired in youth arrests the evil of old age; and if you understand that old age has wisdom for its food, you will not so conduct yourself in youth that your old age will lack for nourishment.  ~ Leonardo da Vinci #quote
    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And then is heard no more / It is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury / Signifying nothing ~ William Shakespeare #quote

    I'm not OK, you're not OK, and that's OK. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross #quote

    Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking.  ~ Marianne Williamson #quote

    Dear Kate, Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes - the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing that you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. Take care, John Appleseed #quote (A Mac OS X EasterEgg)

    I've developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time ~ Charlie Brown #linesfrom TV

    Toto? I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore... ~ Dorothy (Judy Garland), The Wizard of Oz #linesfromMovies

    Yes I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the apperance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion. ~ Tom Wingfield, The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams #quote

    We're the middle children of history...no purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. ~ Fight Club #linesfrommovies

    He had mastered the fatal technique of believing his own lies. ~ The Man From Elysian Fields  #linesfrommovies

    Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. ~ Charlie Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator' #linesfrommovies

    I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet. - Ancient Persian Saying #quote

    Tell me who's your friend & I'll tell you who you are. ~ Russian #Proverb