Wednesday, September 26, 2012



In 1959, the Blisses commissioned the architect Philip Johnson to design a pavilion for the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Colombian Art. This building—eight domed circular galleries (having an unroofed fountain area at the center) set within a perfect square—recalls Islamic architectural ideas, and Johnson later credited the design to his interest in the early 16th 
Century Turkish architect, Mimar Sinan. The pavilion was built in the Bosque (or copse), one of the designed landscapes at Dumbarton Oaks, and Johnson employed curved glass walls to blend the landscape with the building. He later reminisced that his idea was to fit a small pavilion into an existing treescape, to make the building become part of the Bosque. Johnson maintained that he wanted the garden to march right up to the museum displays and become part of them, with the plantings brushing the glass walls and the sound of splashing water audible in the central fountain. Furthering this idea, Mildred Bliss suggested creating four interior glazed planter areas situated between the galleries and the fountain.

Johnson also believed that the pavilion was to be best enjoyed from the inside. 

In addition to offering interesting garden views, the eight gallery spaces allow for a well-organized circulation plan. They also provide intimate areas for visitors to enjoy and study the Pre-Columbian objects. 

Each interconnected exhibition gallery is 25 feet in diameter, having curved glass walls supported by cylindrical columns sheathed in Illinois Agatan marble and shallow domes that rise from flat bronze rings. The floors are teak, laid from the center out in radii, and ended by wide rims of mottled green Vermont marble.

Next, an Estate.

Thursday, September 20, 2012



Yes, we took a 3-day cruise up the Nile. 

It was glorious. To see the little communities lining the banks, the agricultural areas and the vistas into the plains and mountains.

We stopped at many sites: the temple that was full of mummified crocodiles 

which we saw at the crack of dawn, The Valley of the Kings, including Tutankhamun's Tomb,

the impressive Temple of Karnak in Luxor,
Even the god OSIRIS was excited at KARNAK.
The fabulous Queen Hatshepsut Temple

and finally the Aswan High Dam with the incredible Abu Simbel Temple
This temple was resurrected in 1968 by UNESCO from Lake Nasser by being raised 100 feet to be preserved for all humanity. It's magnificent.
We were fortunate enough to see the sunrays pierce through the temple onto the innermost altar.

We found Egypt not very receptive to tourists and difficult traveling. I strongly believe the reason for that is that their religion, Islam, believes the artifacts to be infidel. So not much attention has been paid to them through the many centuries. However, now, they are waking up to the value of the artifacts and monuments which to them is the money that tourism brings.

Friday, September 14, 2012



Designed by I. M. Pei in 1978, a remarkable building housing mostly modern art.
Atrium with the Calder Mobile.
It's a scintillating place to be. My office was three blocks away, so construction was really interesting.

Next, A specialized Art Place.

Saturday, September 8, 2012



We were walking, Marilyn, Ted and I, to a lunch spot in Rehoboth Beach one day. Marilyn spotted a ring in the window of a jewelry store that she really liked. We went in. The store was a typical nondescript tourist place. Marilyn's hand looked stunning with the bling.

It was a wide titanium tension ring with a slot holding a small, round cubic zirconium stone for $156. 

A tension ring is a new-fangled ring that holds the stone via compression being that the entire ring is a steel spring. These rings display the stone beautifully and dramatically. Marilyn said she would think about it and off we went to lunch. It was the big topic of the bunch.

I got on the Internet and looked for tension rings. I found quite a few sites bearing various designs. The most surprising site had them for $20-$30 based on a bidding system. I immediately e-mailed the link to Marilyn.

Marilyn was shocked by the prices. She said that she didn't know why anyone shopped for things like this other than on the Internet.

Three days later, Marilyn and I were at her kitchen table looking over the rings on my iPad. I had found one that I liked, also. Marilyn picked out quite a different tension ring then the one she had seen in the store. It was black swirls with a large cz stone being held in compression. 

I liked two rings: one a black titanium ring holding a small, round cz stone in a slot. 

The other was quite different being a triangular cz stone held with one band on the right and two bands on the left showing off the stone beautifully. 

We ordered all three.

When the package came, I rushed over to Marilyn's for the unveiling. Both Marilyn and I were thrilled with the rings.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


(One of Four I've Seen.)

I've always been fascinated by Egypt—her Pyramids, 
It's the only addition to the New 7 Wonders of the World: making it '8'.

and Sphinx.

Little did I think I would ever travel there. However, Ed and I went on a most fantastic journey.

Egypt was sensational! I never even imagined how fantastical it was.

We landed, of course, in Cairo and found it awesome—the crowded streets, the dust, foreign intrigue and the bustling of an enormous city.

One day we were in the Bazaar exploring. All of a sudden a man stood in front of us beckoning us into his tent! We were ready for adventure so we went in, but nervously. Inside it was simply a tent with lots of folded materials on the walls. The Egyptian was talking with us as if we were friends. Another man appeared with tea! But the Egyptian kept talking nonsensical things. All of a sudden, the other man brought out a tray with various colored bottles on it. These we came to learn were perfumes! We were being shaken down for perfume. We made excuses and quickly exited.

We stayed at a exquisite hotel overlooking the Necropolis of Giza with the Pyramids (The Oberoi Mena House)

  ---quintessential Egypt.

We were amazed at the Pyramids. 

Me in front of 480' Khufu (2560BC).

We rode camels at the Pyramids.

We went into the tunnel in the inside of the Khufu Pyramid, the largest. The tunnel was narrow and short. It had few light bulbs and was full of people. 
There was only enough room for one line of people going in and one line coming out. You had to crouch down in several areas. I became very claustrophobic and turned back not seeing the Queen's Chamber. It was too much for me. We did climb up the enormous blocks about a tenth of the way up though.
Ed on Khufu.

We would take day trips to various sites: Memphis, Saqqara and Alexandria.

Next, the Best Excursion of All.