Language That Lasts

I love the idea that a 3,000-year-old language can be decoded. Makes me wonder how much of what we write today will exist thousands of years from now (and will we want it to?).

<a href="http://Simple computer program decodes lost Biblical language “>

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Lost

Note to self: Don’t go exploring until your husband purchases a portable GPS. Too bad I didn’t think of that before I took my car and went off in search of this cool-sounding store I’d read about in a magazine. I planned ahead and printed out directions to get there; unfortunately, I didn’t print out directions to get home. Silly me, I assumed I could just take them backwards. Forty-five minutes later I was still circling the same three towns trying to find the highway. Now, this is not a new experience for me. I have no sense of direction. It’s not that I’m stupid—I graduated from a very good college in the mid-west. And I’m perfectly able to follow directions, which is why I found the store in the 45 minutes that my directions allowed me. No, I’ve discovered that my internal compass point perpetually north. I could be staring at the sun setting (because for darn sure I’m not getting out of bed early enough to see it rise) right in front of me, knowing full well that the sun sets in the west, and still feel as if I were facing north. I constantly take wrong turns and have to backtrack in order to find something—welcome to my world. But I haven’t been this lost since high school, only back then I would have enjoyed it way more. I would have stopped to ask directions, except, you know that line (usually a couple of blocks, sometimes less) between “really cute town” and “sketchy”? Well, that’s where I was, and the thought of stopping didn’t really make me feel good. So I continued driving, searching for highway signs, landmarks, anything that would give me an idea of where I was. I mean seriously, the George Washington Bridge is huge; how difficult can it be to spot? Apparently, very. Eventually I found signs to the highway, took it in the right direction (yay me!) and made it home. Note to husband: Please buy one soon!

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Ghosts and Nirvana

I saw two amazing exhibits at the Morris Museum this week. One was pure temptation; the other a hidden treasure. The first exhibit was The Shoe Must Go On. For a small museum, it was a great collection. Baby, designer, historical, sports. There were representations of the earliest forms of shoes in various parts of the world, to shoes of famous people—even the “boot” that Sonya Sotomayor wore around the Capitol building while meeting with various Senators during her nomination period. I saw shoes with feathers, beads, jewels and silk. There were shoes that were used with foot binding in China. For a shoe lover like me, every possible type of shoe was there to be drooled over. But the best pair of shoes, hands down, were the chocolate ones. That’s right. Shoes. Made. Of . Chocolate. Filled with chocolate too. Scrumptiously amazing.

 As I wandered, in awe, out of that exhibit, I walked into another gallery that left me speechless. It was a photography exhibit entitled, Shadow and Memory: Ellis Island’s Unrestored Buildings, and featured the photography of Christopher Barnes. He photographed the deserted hospital buildings on the island in the 1980s and again twenty years later, when a few of them had been cleaned and stabilized. His photographs were awesome. As I walked around the gallery, I could almost hear the patients, doctors and nurses who inhabited those buildings so long ago. I could almost imagine the fear of my relatives who arrived on Ellis Island and hoped not to be sent there. The photographs lived and breathed. What struck me the most was how alive those photos seemed in comparison to the historical photos that were next to them of actual patients, doctors and nurses. None of those subjects had as much vitality as an abandoned desk, a peeling window, an ivy-covered toilet.

 The exhibits were truly a juxtaposition of life and art.

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