Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


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The Duomo & Several Bottles of Prosecco

On our third day in Florence we toured the Duomo Baptistry and the church as well as it’s underground crypt. Then we hunted and gathered deli meats and cheeses, bread, and wine, and headed to Michelangelo Park for an afternoon listening to music and enjoying the view until the sun went down. Yes, that afternoon was just a lovely as it sounds, especially when you consider 6 adults probably drank 3 bottles of wine and 4, perhaps 5 bottles of prosecco.

The Duomo was interesting. The Baptistry was stunning and ornate. The exterior of the Duomo is imposing with all that colored marble. The museum was fascinating, showing the history of the Duomo and the facades that it’s had across the hundreds of years that it’s been standing; it was started in 1200’s and finished in the 1400’s. Which is why it was so confusing that the Duomo itself wasn’t ornately decorated.

The crypt under the Duomo had some of what you might expect, dead people, of some of what you might not, the old sanctuary floor mosaics. When you want to update something in Italy, you just build on top of the old stuff. And that’s apparently exactly what they did with the Duomo. They just built a new floor above the old sanctuary floor, and that was that, new and improved church. This was on the only instance of this happening. Be on the look out for St Clément’s in Rome.

After lots of church time, these heathens when on the hunt for picnic provisions and headed to the park. The weather couldn’t have been nicer to lounge in the sun. We ate drank so many bottles of wine and prosecco, and heard live music. It was a much needed break from walking and absorbing information.

I think I got a great shot of satan chowing down on people, a scene on The Baptistry ceiling. I will leave in suspece for that until tomorrow.

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David Up Close

I can already tell were getting some of these David pictures printed in a triptych or something. Here’s Jeannine’s shots with the telephoto lens of the same places we visited in my post yesterday. I wrote most of my thoughts on the matter there. This one is just all picutures and mostly David. Because what could possibly be more magnificent.

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This is where we had the best pizza of the trip. It’s a market in Florence. The bottom functions as a food market, and only operates in the mornings. Upstairs there’s food stalls that stay open until the late afternoon. These guys made the best pizza I have ever eaten. I also got an amazing conollo here. 

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This is where the best pizza was born.

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Pope Snoke.

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The Statue Of David Knocked My Socks Off

The Statue of David is incredible. I cannot wrap my head around how Michelangelo created him. When I walked into the room and saw him at the end of the hall, he looked perfectly proportional. It’s only when I got right up to him, only a few feet away did I realize how enormous his hand and feet are. This realization didn’t make him any less beautiful to me. It made me gape at the genius of Michelangelo. It’s like a magic trick that he’s still pulling off hundreds of years later.

If there’s one reason to get on a plane and go to Italy, seeing that statue is it. There’s a multitude of other wonderful reasons to visit Italy, but just David is enough of a reason in my opinion. He astounds.

There was plenty of other art work the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze and I found loads of religious artwork that had a bounty of infants just looking like shrunken down adults. Enjoy!

This is the Duomo. It's that intensely decorated on all sides.

This is the Duomo. It’s that intensely decorated on all sides.

See. This is the Duomo's back end.

See. This is the Duomo’s back end.

This statue is The Rape Of The Sabine Women. It was beautiful, b

This statue is The Rape Of The Sabine Women. It was beautiful, but I was too excited to see David to give it the attention it deserved.

This is what you see when you turn a corner and suddently David

This is what you see when you turn a corner and suddently David is just there. It took my breath away.

As you walked the length of the room toward David there were unf

As you walked the length of the room toward David there were unfinished Michealangelo statues on either side of the hall. They drove home how difficult the work must have been to draw beauty out of marble.

I cannot describe how incredible David is. I felt I could sit in

I cannot describe how incredible David is. I felt I could sit in that room and look at him for hours.

He's also enormous. He's 17 feet tall.

He’s also enormous. He’s 17 feet tall.

There was lots of other art work at Accademia di Belle Arti di F

There was lots of other art work at Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze. This one features Mary having a moment of, that ain’t mine!

There was a room with a massive collection of plaster statues.

There was a room with a massive collection of plaster statues.

First off, what is angel in the lower right even doing? Toot too

First off, what is angel in the lower right even doing? Toot tootley doodley doo, all herald the middle aged infance Christ! Second, infant Jesus seems to have a receeding hairline.

I had to go back and see David one more time, before we left the

I had to go back and see David one more time, before we left the area.

Ouch. Mary seems untroubled.

Ouch. Mary seems untroubled.

Mm, that Jesus has 5 kids and a double mortage, and needs a six

Mm, that Jesus has 5 kids and a double mortage, and needs a six pack to fall asleep every night.

I don't know. Not sure what it is, not sure why it's been decapi

I don’t know. Not sure what it is, not sure why it’s been decapitated.

East or West, normally you pick just one.

East or West, normally you pick just one.

It was interesting, the inside was sparce in comparison with the

It was interesting, the inside was sparce in comparison with the outside.

We got a bit of time to relaxe in the afternoon. It was about 70

We got a bit of time to relaxe in the afternoon. It was about 70 degress and sunny almost every day of our trip.

Just a richly decorated grotto.

Just a richly decorated grotto.

The only fat statue we saw.

The only fat statue we saw.

This is the Duomo. It's that intensely decorated on all sides.

This is the Duomo. It’s that intensely decorated on all sides.

Random street art.

Random street art.

I think  I'll just read.

I think I’ll just read.


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Florence Italy – Short Bursts

Here’s the other half of our pictures of our first day in Florence. Here’s a technical note, that will most likely be too much information. I have two cameras a Nikon D4 and a Nikon D800E, and Jeannine and I traded off on carrying them each day. We typically had the wide angle lens on the D800 and the telephoto lens on the D4. It’s the sweeping shots that the wide angle can get that we typically want to print, so it makes sense to put that on the camera that sucks in the most pixels.

I had the D4 with the telephoto lense on our first day, and although I don’t give much thought to how the shots from each lens feel significantly different, I noticed it when I was doing this edit. They are just less atmospheric and more pointed.

Now then. Let’s talk about looking at paintings by Botticelli, Rafael, Da Vinci, Rembrant and Caravaggio all in one spot. The Uffizi is overwhelming. It’s jam-packed with art work, and where there aren’t paintings there’s statues and the elaborately painted ceilings. I thought I would be really engaged at the beginning, but then feel exhausted and unable to really be present at the end.

We saw Da Vinci, Botticelli, and Rafael first. And although I felt grateful to see that work, I wasn’t blown away by it. I felt a little bummed that they didn’t have a greater impact. Once we went downstairs we saw the Caravaggio’s and Gentileschi’s Judith Beheads Holofernes and Reni’s David With The Head Of Goliath nearly back to back. And I just felt entranced by them. I think part of it was that they started to look less like paintings of people and more like people. And then there’s all the bewitching darkness in them. The subjects float out as though out of the abyss. I adored them.

Who needs segues, lets talk about Galileo’s fingers. They’ve keep his mummified digits and have them on display at his museum. There’s a thumb, an index finger, and the middle finger with the phlange that extends into the palm of his hand. As if this weren’t gruesome enough, but the bones still had bits of gnarled sinew attached to them.

That seems like an appropriate place to leave you on our first day. Sweet dreams… About frayed finger tendons and beheadings…

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I’m certain this was not a crab-shaped bong. But I really cannot think of a good reason why this was in the Galileo museum. I probably should have read the words.

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OG Come play with us Danny… 

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I Am Overwhelmed With Italy Pictures

Ok. So, I have 1600 pictures from the Italy trip after deleting duplicates and just obviously bad shots. The thought of doing the best editing this collection really deserves makes me break out in a cold sweat.

In addition to the picture problem, I am also drowning in what to say about what we experienced. I really don’t have the words. Every single day was amazing in it’s own particular way. My eyes were drowning in beauty either in the artwork or the architecture or the landscape. And now, I need to hang paltry words around it.

In the interests of starting somewhere, here I am. In Florence.

The pictures below were from our first full day in Italy after a tremendously needed 12 hours of sleep, which banished our jet lag. We went to the Uffizi in the morning and the Galileo museum in the afternoon.

The Uffizi was incredible. I was like walking inside an art history book. I’m not going to try and describe it and just point you to a good link if you want to know a bit more about the museum and it’s most famous works. Just know that loads of famous paintings are in there, and all the décor around the paintings is just as magnificent as the paintings themselves.

I have so much more to say, but I just don’t have the mental bandwidth to say it right now. But! These are only half the pictures from our first day. The second half will be for the next blog post. There I might find the words explain how I fell in love with Caravaggio or I might talk about how freaking weird it is that the have Galileo’s appendages on display.

Ponte Vecchio at night

Ponte Vecchio at night

This place had amazing chocolate, but also great coffee.

This place had amazing chocolate, but also great coffee.

More science.

More science.

Science and stuff in the Galileo Museaum.

Science and stuff in the Galileo Museaum.

I'm Bacchus bitches. This was so, so lovely. This was step two i

I’m Bacchus bitches. This was so, so lovely. This was step two in the process of turning me into a Caravaggio fan.

This is a wretched picture. It was packed in there with people a

This is a wretched picture. It was packed in there with people and selfie sticks, so this is the best we could do. But man. I fell in love with Caravaggio on this trip.

Ho hum, killed a giant, whatevs. Seriously though, this was gorg

Ho hum, killed a giant, whatevs. Seriously though, this was gorgeous.

Seeing this in person filled me with awe. Also Judith took zero

Seeing this in person filled me with awe. Also Judith took zero shit.

Heyyyyy, I'm Bacchus bitches.

Heyyyyy, I’m Bacchus bitches.

These are the back sides of Rafael's finished work. They were pe

These are the back sides of Rafael’s finished work. They were perhaps more fascinating then the finished portraits on the other side.

What the hell is that?

What the hell is that?

Yeah, just another random room in the Uffizi

Yeah, just another random room in the Uffizi

Yet another random ceiling in the Uffizi

Yet another random ceiling in the Uffizi

Oh you know, just a random ceiling in the Uffizi

Oh you know, just a random ceiling in the Uffizi

Now there's a David replica there with another statue that's que

Now there’s a David replica there with another statue that’s questioning his choices.

Outside the Uffizi where the statue of David use to be

Outside the Uffizi where the statue of David use to be

Another Random Street in Florence

Another Random Street in Florence

Random street in Florence

Random street in Florence

 


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This isn’t the feeling I expected to have

Michael Cohen basically admitted in his testimony that 45’s presidential run was intended as a spectacular publicity stunt. He didn’t expect to get the nomination. He didn’t expect to win.

This was what I suspected, but never expected to have confirmed. I don’t think 45 is terribly smart, but I think he’s smart enough to know he’s sitting a top a mountain of dirty laundry that really wouldn’t hold up to scrutiny in both his businesses and private life. But his own narcissism would allow him to bow out, so here we are.

I never expected this confirmation, but I thought if it ever came I would feel smug about having my theory confirmed. I don’t feel smug. I am sad and disappointed.

This is about to wander. My dad was my favorite person, partially because he would put on puppet shows for me and loved to play with me as much as I him, but also partially because my mom had mental issues and was remote and less interactive. My dad worked long hours, and I cherished the short minutes I had with him. He would pull up a chair for me to stand on in the kitchen so I could “help” him make pancakes. He taught me to treat other people the way I wished to be treated. He taught me to drive. Because my mom was so reclusive, he taught me every thing I know about how to be in the world.

It’s almost inexplicable that the man I knew, the man who did those things, were he alive today would be completely devoted to Donald Trump. He would be so deep in that con that I would struggle to recognize who I was looking at. And this knowledge embarrasses me.

My life got bigger than where I grew up. It got bigger than the small sphere my parents were comfortable moving in. It was exquisitely painful when I realized how small my larger than life father had become. It made me feel wretched to hear his lapses in judgment and his lack of intellectual curiosity.

He would have been particularly susceptible to the snake oil 45 is selling. He loved Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. He rarely encountered people different from himself. He would have been so, so easy to con.

It breaks my heart to see my dad as a whole person, flaws and all. I grieved for who my child’s perception built up and my adult’s perception tore down. I grieved for what an easy mark the man who gently carried me from the car while I was sleeping and tucked me in bed ended up being.

And here I am, technically correct, and so, so sad for it.

Side note: I really hate Facebook as a corporate actor. I am trying to reduce what I share there. I think I will blog a bit more.


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Generational Thoughts on John McCain alternate Shut it Millennials

I had to unpack this thing because I was having a bunch of fee fees, and I couldn’t suss out why. In the wake of John McCain’s death I saw a whole mess of liberals around my age or older expressing appreciation for various things John McCain did, from his service and internment, to his various breaks with his party, to his admirable correction of a supporter telling him that Obama was a Muslim. Then I saw a wave of mostly millennials raging that people were expressing gratitude for some behaviors of a man who also did shitty things.

And I wanted to strangle the millennials a little. I think my irritation stems from three things. First, tearing someone down for expressing gratitude is gross. There’s so little that’s positive on the internet, and proudly taking a giant shit one someone saying they appreciate something is destructive.

Second, the man has been dead for like a couple days. So maybe the moment to rant about his shitty choices isn’t on the day he dies? It’s in poor taste to light a fire up the asses of his family before he’s in the ground. He’s dead and cannot hear your rage. Instead your criticism can only act on his family. There will be like infinity days after he’s buried to talk about why he was an ass. And there’s plenty of cannon fodder there. See the note at the bottom for excellent criticisms of McCain.

Third, John McCain’s death made me feel genuinely sad. But I don’t think that sadness was directly about him. His death reminded me that at one time, in the what now feels like a very distant past, I believed conservatives sincerely wanted America to succeed and only differed on how to get there. Further, I thought they accepted that I, a queer, and other people not exactly like them, could share in that success, because they valued the principles of liberty more than they were bigoted against people different from themselves.

In light of the recent past a strong argument can be made that this belief was wrong then, and that the only thing that’s changed is what’s observable vs hidden. And losing that comforting but false belief is painful. We typically believe that revealing the truth is positive, but I think it’s more like Shiva. While it does spur growth, it only does so after scorching the earth and mass destruction first.

Casualties of this truth revealed are my relationships with friends and family. And it makes reaching across this disconnection feel less and less tenable. And I know reaching across it is the only way to come to understanding. But this has eroded my faith that they can or will ever hear me.

I suspect this sadness is just beyond reach behind the gen xer’s responses to John McCain’s death. I know that’s where my sadness is coming from. It’s not really about McCain himself, but what he’d come to represent to me.

Millennials seem to regularly step on rakes when they are intellectually correct but emotionally wrong. Their criticism of McCain’s actions are correct. But slapping gen exers in the face with your truth bombs while they are mourning the loss of connection and security aren’t going to get you a medal. Let people express gratitude for the good things a flawed human did. Let McCain’s body cool before you attack his legacy. Let people have a sad. Chill the fuck out. You’re exhausting this cranky Xer.

If you want to hear what I think are the best criticisms of McCain’s actions check out this podcast. TLDL: they conclude that the worst aspect of his legacy is adding Sarah Palin to his ticket as she is a prelude to 45. Her complete lack in policy knowledge or vision for how to succeed coupled with dog-whistle resentment politics made her, not a pit bull in lipstick, but 45 in drag.

https://art19.com/shows/the-weeds/episodes/e9ac3738-3e2a-4695-9d72-c3d36a3e5417/embed?theme=light-custom