What Is Remodernism?

Much modern art is not appealing to me, because it is harsh, tacky, uninspired, uninspiring, or devoid of skill. Some is unintentionally funny, but I am generally unwilling to pay to see it. I hate paying for it, especially when a taxpayer-funded monstrosity is plopped into previously pleasant public areas.

Brutalist architecture can be interesting in a masochistic way. Websites and photo streams of architectural malpractice can be engrossing, but I pity those who live in or among the structures that will blight the humans' existence. Frank Gehry's shiny angular eyesores are a prime example.

This Remodernist piece is thus something I could perhaps be down with, were I more engaged in philosophies of art.

Nodal Ninja Panographic Tools

At the end of last month, the lone direct store and supplier of Fanotec products, including Nodal Ninja panoheads, closed in Chandler, Arizona. They sold other companies' products for people interested in virtual reality photography, of panoramas where the viewer rotates the object around self and of objects where the viewer rotates an object. Years ago, the former was a hobby of mine. With their closeout sale, I bought a new Nodal Ninja 6 panohead, but I have yet to shoot anything. I also have a newer digital SLR with much better resolution than my old Rebel XT.

Not too many weeks ago I bought some panorama software updates. There is a re-learning curve, and the loss of Photoshop, since I cannot justify the subscription fees, means a bit of effort to learn enough for a new graphic editor, be it GIMP or something else that can handle layers and masking. Maybe it is time to get a drawing tablet, too.

That I have not shot any panoramas in a long time will soon change, so please stay tuned!

Some Brazilian Portuguese Expressions

"A gasolina estava batizada," literally "The gasoline was baptized," meaning the gas was illegally diluted with water. An amusing expression from a very Catholic country.

"A mão de vaca," literally "the cow's hoof," meaning a cheapskate whose hand holds money tight, that never opens. Maybe an expression from the Northeast.

"Não há para onde correr," literally "there's nowhere to run," which means there is no other way to do something.

Candlelight Vigil for Tiananmen Square Massacre, 30 Years Ago

There will be a candlelight vigil for the Tiananmen Square Massacre victims of thirty years ago when the Chinese Communist Party slaughtered many of its own citizens who wanted greater freedom. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation works to maintain awareness of Communism's horrible track record of oppression and systemic impoverishment, environmental pollution, and mass murder.

I remember watching that unfold over days and weeks while on summer vacation. Unforgettable.

No Pecan Nuts to Brazil

Around Christmas 2018, I mailed a one-pound bag of pecans, harvested from local groves, to a Brazilian friend, since he didn't know what pecans are. His wife does, but she acknowledged they are rare and costly, certainly in the country's northeast. Surely they would enjoy a bag of pecans, I thought.

Mail to Brazil is slow, often a few weeks, but my friend says the Brazilian postal system is reliable, if slow. He says they have never lost or stolen anything. I expected delays because of Christmas and other seasonal holidays as well as a Brazilian postal workers' strike. But March came without the pecans showing up, so we gave up.

Around May 1st, almost a half year later, the pecans returned to me. They bag had been opened for inspection and a pamphlet inserted, written in Spanish, about what is prohibited entry into Brazil by Vigiagro, Vigilância Agropecuária Internacional. I had checked with the USPS about whether nuts could be sent to Brazil and got a definite maybe, so I decided, Why not? And now I know.

What I found particularly interesting is the forbidden items pamphlet in Spanish, not English, the international language of business. I find it odd that Brazil's Vigiagro has no English forms; however, since Brazil's neighbors and, probably, majority trading partners are nearly all Spanish-speaking, maybe there is no real reason for such forms in English.

Next time, like Ghostbusters, I'll know who to call.

Judging a Science Contest

On Wednesday the 27th, I volunteered as a judge for an 8th grace science contest at Imago Dei Middle School. There were three groups for whom my input was particularly important. One involved people's fear of robots, another involved human-powered electricity generation, and the last involved crown gall, a bacterial infection of plants. I also talked with two girls who did a presentation on aromatherapy (lavender and peppermint) and relaxation.

All the kids did a good job, and I enjoyed judging. It was interesting to see what the students put on their posters versus what they had to say about their projects.

This project, Your Own Electricity, was done by a group of three young men who went through five different generators in an attempt to charge a cellphone.

"Your Own Electricity" Science Project

This project, Crown Gall, was about a bacterial infection of plants and was a solo project. Unfortunately for the student, someone who had a collection of crown gall-infected roses never delivered them to her, so she wasn’t able to perform her experiments.

"Crown Gall" Science Contest

The final project, Robotics, mainly involved building and programming two kit robots, but the two young men who did this researched who fears their possible future robot overlords.

"Robotics" Science Contest

Everyone did a good job, but I regret that I didn't spend more time at others' presentations.