Friday, November 28, 2008

Google Your LIFE

It feels like yesterday I uploaded my first "album" on Webshots so that all of my college co-eds could see my photos taken with my new digi cam. Photo sharing on-line has come a long way since then and LIFE magazine's new album created with Google definately takes the cake for most forward thinking.

I couldn't recall a single article I've ever read in LIFE magazine, but I could definitely remember some of the photographs I've seen, documenting some of the biggest events in my lifetime. So wouldn't it be awesome if you could flip through an album of all LIFE mag's photos, even some of the ones that never made it to print? Well Google and LIFE are making that possible in their new on-line album. You better set aside some time for clicking, because there are millions to see, stretching back all the way to the 1750s. Now how does one shuffle through millions of photos without a headache? No worries, Google has done all the proper filing and organizing. You can search by decade or subject, such as people, travel, sports and events. So you can go from a Kennedy Family Photo op to the 1984 Superbowl, to an African desert quite easily. I've already fallen in love with the Pablo Picasso section. How could you not resist this face?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Art all the way down Broadway, with a pit stop at Macy's

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a holiday tradition for most, whether it involves braving the crowds and cold to watch it up close or at home on the couch with a play-by-play by Matt Lauer. Besides the live entertainment and plethora of marching bands, the large scale helium balloons are my favorites. Who wouldn't get excited at the site of a 50 foot helium Snoopy?

In 2005, Macy's introduced the Blue Sky Gallery series in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, when they invited artist Tom Otterness to create a balloon version of one of his classic peices of Humpty Dumpty. This was a strong effort by Macy's to inject contemporary art into a pop culture phenomena. Jeff Koons followed up in 2007 with "Rabbit.) The parade is paying tribute to beloved art Keith Haring, who would have turned 50 this year by featuring one of his ink on paper drawings, Untitled (Figure with a Heart, 1987). During his career Haring devoted much of his time to works that carried social messages and often dreamed of having one of his works turned into a balloon. In 1988, Haring was diagnosed with AIDS and went on to work with his self-titled Foundation to support AIDS & HIV research until his death in 1990.

The 48 foot tall, three-dimensional balloon of his work sends a message at a very relevant time of year. I can't wait to see it on the big screen Thursday morning.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mindless Monday Fun

I can make a sure bet most of us are easing our way through the short work week on Wednesday. For me, the corn casserole can't come soon enough, not to mention the Black Friday bobbie sandwhiches the day after. Hence to say on this gloomy Monday, let's just have some good ole' internet fun with one of my recent favorite sites.

When I was in college in Baltimore, whenever one of us was down in the dumps we went to a place in Towson called Just Puppies. Self-explanatory, is was a place with Just Puppies. Armed with anti-bacterial wipes, you could run in, play with a poodle, a Yorkie, a Golden Retriever, get hassled to buy one and walk out 20 minutes later feeling warm and fuzzy with no worries. Well, before I disappoint you, Just Puppies is not coming to Dover, but there is a fantastic new web-site that fits the bill for anyone no matter where they live. It's the puppy cam.

Over four million people have viewed and been fascinated by this live video feed of a San Francisco family's five Shiba Inus named, Autumn, Ayumi, Amaya (the girls) and Aki, Akoni and Ando (the boys). Only six weeks old, the owners put in a puppy cam so that they could monitor them while out of the house. A coworker of the owner's saw the video feed and asked for the link, from there you've got six new puppies as famous as Lassie and Beverly Hill Chihuaha. So check these guys out and ready, set, awwwww.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Delaware Delight: Christmas comes early for Hospice

I don't remember too much from early childhood (under the age of 4) but I do remember my Pop-Pop. A great man, mostly known for Republican Politics and his buffalo in the community, had his life cut short by a brain tumor. To this day I can still have a photographic memory of his last days, visiting his home with my parents, running up the stairs into his bedroom and spending time with him watching tv, reading and listening to stories. To this day, I still hold those memories close to my heart. I was too young to fully understand how seriously ill my Pop-Pop was at the time, but I knew he was in the best place to spend the last few days of his life: at home and with his family.

Those memories would not be possible if it wasn't for Delaware Hospice. DE Hospice made it possible for my Pop-Pop to spend the remaining days of his life at home and with his family, as opposed to hospital, where he and our family, may not have felt as comfortable. Since his death in the late 1980s, Delaware Hospice has continued to grow immensely this year. Since 1982, Delaware Hospice has provided exceptional care and support to 30,000 patients and their families. Its mission is to help each patient, each day, live the fullest, most comfortable life possible. Just this past Spring, the Delaware Hospice Center opened in Milford, meeting the needs of those who require short-term stays for symptom management. Visiting hours are unlimited and care is never denied, the 16 suites provide a comfortable home-like atmosphere to patients.
The mission of Delaware Hospice alone is enough to motivate and inspire anyone in our area to support and help this organization. This week-end is their biggest annual fundraiser, The Festival of Trees kicks off the holiday season and raises funding to support its programs and services. The New Castle and Kent County festivals are this weekend, followed by the Sussex County event (at Georgetown DTCC) next week. The festival of trees features a beautiful display of trees and wreaths, sponsored by local businesses and individuals and were decorated by local artisans. Some of the trees are available for purchase and some are raffled. On Saturday, the Festival is for families, including photo-ops with Santa and loads more fun. Check the web-site for the times and admission for the Festival of Trees closest to you. This is the time of year we spend most with the ones we love, so help make it possible for all families to do the same.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taking a Shot at Proving a Point

Ever since Damien Hirst made big bucks a couple of months ago stepping away from the dealer-artist relationship norm, he has shaken the force beneath artists who may feel controlled by their dealers. Case in point, see below:

In Toronto, art dealers normally collect 30-60% in commission on all artwork sold. Do the math, and very little is left for the actual creator of the work sold. Seem fair? Because there is no existing rank, certification or organization protecting artists, they're most times left as easy prey for art dealers. You can compare the artists to damsels in distress, or your mother-in-law (can't live with them & can't live without them), artists rely on these dealers to stay afloat in the art market, but often times they're taken advantage of.

One Toronto artist in particular, Viktor Mitic had just about had enough after a local art dealer came to his studio. He tells the media, "He came into my studio talking on his cell trying to sell a painting by Pistolleto to someone in New York. Without even pausing, he just said that my paintings need to be more penetrating and left. That same day I drove down to a gun range in Buffalo N.Y.; I rented an assault rifle and blasted a "more penetrating" painting, a portrait of Christ named Hole Jesus."

Hole Jesus will be on display at Trias Gallery Nov. 27- Dec. 18. 2008 in Toronto. While Viktor's motives were quite loud, I completely empathize with his frustration. Just as artists need art dealers, the dealers need the artists as well, being Damien Hirst as a perfect example as to the potential losses art dealers can incur when an artist sells directly to the public. As much as the dealers recognize the public's tastes and needs, in no way does that give them the same credibility to instruct artist's on their work. And so the story goes in the Art Market world......

Monday, November 17, 2008

Non-Profit (or Doing) of the Week: The Consignment of Your Life Line

In my bottom night stand drawer, I've got a Star-Tac, Color LG, and a Nokia cell phone. A cell-phone user for over 8 years, I've got quite a collection going as a result of a rotating 2-year contract with Verizon. Every two years, right around Christmas time, a new phone arrives (with a manual, thank goodness) and the old one goes right in the drawer. Can't throw them away, would be too harmful for the environment, but what am I to do with them? Recently, I've learned, just flip them for cash! Better yet, flip them for a cash donation to a charity!

The folks over at Flipswap have answered all the questions when it comes to your old cell phone devices and even your ipods. The average cell phone user changes their device every 18months, leaving millions of unused cell phones out there. As electronics aren't biodegradable and even contain toxic parts that could leak into landfills and pollute our environment, we should put our old cell phone junk to better use.

Flipswap lets you get rid of your cell phone while helping those in need (an if you're in need, you can even take the cash yourself, but let's stick to being philanthropic here). In just three simple steps you can help your environment by properly recycling your cell phone and send your favorite Charity a little cash as well. Here are the steps.

1. Look up the value of your cell on for an instant quote. It's like the Kelley Blue Book of Cells, be honest here!
2. Print out the prepaid shopping label online.
3. Drop the phone in your mail box.

And voila! Once they've received your phone, they'll process it and send the check to your chosen charity. With free shipping, there is no reason not to partake. Once my new phone comes in December, my Motorola Q is going right to the Biggs Museum.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Free Gift With Purchase

Aren't those words just music to your ears? Well, lately Museums have been just as generous with incentive gifts as your local Clinique Cosmetics counter.

In honor of Philadelphia’s remarkable World Series champions, the Phillies, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will give away its own signature baseballs—Philly All Star and All Star Artists—to the first 100 Museum members and the first 100 general purchasers when tickets for the upcoming exhibition, Cézanne and Beyond go on sale. Member tickets have already gone on sale, but beginning 9 a.m. Saturday, November 1, and tickets for the general public go on sale at 9 a.m. November 15.

Cézanne and Beyond (February 26-May 17, 2008) will present some 150 works, including 60 paintings, watercolors and drawings by Cézanne (1839 – 1906), along with those of 16 later artists for whom Cézanne has been a central inspiration and whose work reflects his extraordinary legacy. Although Cezanne was not known to have played baseball, the PMA created the first Cezanne baseball in 1996. The Museum developed the Philly All Star and Artists All Star baseballs later. The Philly All Star baseball reproduces autographs of Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Benjamin Franklin, and others; the Artists All Star baseball represents the international league, including signatures of such luminaries as Henri Rousseau, Leonardo Da Vinci, Claude Monet, and Benjamin West.

If Philadelphia is not on your agenda anytime soon, the Biggs Museum is offering our own incentive gift in November and December! If you sign up for a new membership, renew or gift a membership in November and December, you'll be the lucky new owner of either a Greetings from Delaware Exhibition Catalog or a Greetings from Delaware Christmas Card Set. And no one is saying you can't regift your gift from us. We can keep a secret.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Non-Profit (or Doing) of the Week: Ch Ch Ch Check It Out

I'm at WAWA daily, for coffee that is. I just can't seem to get enough of that Hazelnut flavored goodness brewed fresh for me (or atleast I believe it's for me) in a hot pot. Unfortunately, many (or millions) of people also enjoy WAWA, so I find myself frequently in line to pay for my $1.35 cup. Normally I'm staring at the Tasty Kakes and Entenmann's wishing one day they wouldn't contain 45 grams of fat, but today I noticed tons of post-it flyers strung along the counter that read, "Check Out Hunger." So while waiting to check out my thirst for caffeine, I was intrigued to know more about the possibility of checking out my hunger.

Entering into its ninth year, WAWA is hosting the Check Out Hunger Campaign to benefit local food banks in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia from Nov 3. through Nov. 30 in all of its 570 stores. And all it takes to help combat hunger is adding $1, $3, or $5 to your bill. Your donation comes with a "soup bowl" cutout that is displayed in the store with your name. The donation will directly benefits the Feeding America food banks in the area.

I love this campaign because I know my support will go directly to my neighbors in need. Last year, Check out Hunger received over $100,000 in donations providing 1 million meals to local food banks. In light of this economic crisis, there is more of a need than ever to help those struggling in our community, especially during the holidays. So next time you're checking out your hoagie, Herrs chips and a Nantucket Nectar, add a dollar on there..... as a convenience to something important.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Caution! A Fragile New Year

There are several fantastic go-to sites for every New York visitor (who really wants to be called tourist?)... Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, Macy's, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the list goes on for days(and alot of your hard earned cash to see it all). In the next two months New York enhances all of their attractions, making it a must go holiday destination; the most popular of course being the Times Square Ball that drops at midnight New Year's Eve kicking off a brand new year and a morning full of hangovers.

Yesterday, the 2009 Times Square Ball was revealed and it's smashing. The Waterford Crystal ball is bigger than ever, coming in at three-and-a-half meters in diameter and weighing nearly 6 tons. Last year's ball was less than two meters across and less than a ton. A new shaft was built to withstand the increase in size, able to hold the ball almost 145 meters above Times Square.
What's the ball made of? 2,468 Waterford crystal triangles, each etched with a stylized star burst or a stylized angel. Pretty fancy. Some people consider this object a work of art. Is it? It certainly has a design aspect and enough detail to go along with it. The ball is a symbol to many of the new year, of what is to come in the future.
Have you wondered what would happen if the ball ever truly dropped? Or smashed into a million pieces? No Worries, the ball has been tested for winds up to 225 kph and in temps ranging from -20 to 120.
Coming in at a cost of several million dollars (paid for privately), this is the seventh ball in the 101-year history of ball dropping in Times Square. In addition to the news of a new ball this year, it was announced that the Ball will be displayed year-round, not just during the Christmas season. For those of thus who couldn't possibly bear the shopping crowd in early December or the craziness that is Times Square on NYE, this is great news. Just one more thing to add to the agenda on my next trip.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Non-Profit (or Doing) of the Week: Stuff that Bus!

No, I'm not pretending to be Ty Pennington on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, although I could use a megaphone when trying to promote this fun event.

Talks of favorite Thanksgiving side dishes (my mother's corn casserole is to die for) were talked amongst Biggs staff members the other day, meaning this "stuff yourself" holiday is right around the corner. If you're not the family chef, it's likely you may take for granted how lovely it is to sit down to turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, pumpkin pie, galor. So when comfort food holiday season comes along, so do food drives; our opportunity to make sure everyone in our community sits down for a warm meal this Thanksgiving. If you're within the Delaware community, I've got just the drive for you.

Food Bank of Delaware and DART (Delaware Bus Transit Service) have teamed up, along with many other partners such a local radio stations and Chick Fila to host the 11th annual Stuff that Bus Food Drive. Last year, they collected over 8 tons of non-perishable foods! The drive begins next Monday, November 10th at the Dover Acme and the Milford Wal-Mart, and continues through the rest of the week in several Wilmington locations. So get to your pantry this weekend and gather up those Tomato Soup and Cranberry Sauce cans. They're looking for tons of items, such as Macaroni & Cheese, Mixed Vegetables, Instant Mashed Potatos, Beans, canned fruits, paper products, laundry detergent and diapers.

Chick Fil-A is helping Food Bank of Delaware to increase participation this year by holding a food drive through November 10 at their Camden location. Bring in 3 cans of food to donate for a FREE chicken sandwich. And if you donate 6 cans, a FREE combo meal is coming your way. If you're unable to make it to Stuff the Bus next week, check your local paper for food drives in your area. Remember, every bit (and bite of food) counts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Grant Us A Little Of Your Time

After you have voted today of course! No excuses! I stood in line 45 minutes to press that green "vote" button, and I walked out feeling like a certified good citizen. But tomorrow after all the Election Day hoopla, not only will we have a new President, but we shall also have a brand spanking new exhibition at the Biggs Museum, and I must tell you it is fantastic.

On display beginning tomorrow through the end of February, visitors to the Biggs will get a chance to see the brilliant work of regional painter, Edward Grant. Often times not recognized, this exhibition is the first retrospective look at never before seen work of this painter. Born in Wilmington in 1913, Grant (I have nick-named him Mr. Ed myself) studied with some of the most recognized Delaware painters such as Frank E. Schoonover and N.C. Wyeth. With a career spanning over 70 years, Edward Grant dabbled in just about every artistic style including illustration, murals, Photo Realism and Abstraction. Most of the pieces are form Grant's studio, and from what I've heard there was so much to choose from our Curator, Ryan Grover, felt like a kid in a candy shop.

So what should one expect from Edward Grant? I consider this Edward Grant's "hello, world" introduction, so it is definitely comprehensive, displaying examples from all periods of his career. Anyone who appreciates regional landscape will enjoy Grant's work. Many of the depicted "forgotten" scenes of Eastern Shore Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula will leave anyone wondering, "I've seen this place before."

Well, I don't want to give too much away, mostly because I want you all to visit, you've got plenty of time, but don't you want to be first? Join us Wednesday night for the opening reception, beginning at 5:30. If it isn't the art, Nage Catering should be more than enough to get you through the door.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Putting Good Ole Abe in the Top Right Hand Corner...

of your envelope that is! With all of the promotional material the Biggs puts out each month, the post office feels like my second home, so much that the PO Box stuffing crew knows me by name and PO box number. On the side of personal side of my mailings, am I the only one still trying to use up my 41 cent and 1 cent stamps? My 41 cent American Flag stamps are really starting to bore me, but a penny saved is a penny earned these days. To that end, I wanted to share some news released today about a new set of stamps coming out next year to celebrate a big birthday of a man who made big history in the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
Last Thursday in Springfield, IL, the United States Postal Service gave the public a sneak peak at the artwork design of the four stamps to be issued next February to celebrate Abraham's 200th birthday. And since Mr. Lincoln was a postmaster in Illinois, Springfield was selected as the First-Day- of-Issue city when the stamps are issued on Feb. 9, 2009.

The stamp art was designed by Mark Summers, who has created several portraits for previous U.S. postage stamps. Mark used a scratchboard technique, a style distinguished by a dense network of lines etched with exquisite precision. Each stamp commemorates four stages of Lincoln’s life and legend:rail-splitter, lawyer, politician and president.

The stamps will be available in post offices across the country on Monday, February 9, three days before Lincoln’s 200th birthday. Besides stamps, alot is being planned to celebrate Abe's Bicentennial. Visit to see more ways Lincoln's legacy will be celebrated. Now, the problem at hand is, am I going to get through my 41cent stamps before February? Time to find a few pen pals I suppose.