Friday, November 11, 2016

Booze, Buildings, and Beauty

I'm writing this on Tuesday evening.  Yep, Election Day, but I'm tired of all the election coverage after what seems like a four year campaign.  And I'm very disgusted by how little the left seems to care how unapologetically corrupt our leaders have become.  So, the TV is off and I'm writing since I'm trying to completely avoid any coverage of the election.  Sure, I'd like to know how my local elections are going, whether or not we're going to fully subsidize a multi-millionare on his quest become a billionare by funding a new stadium with taxpayer dollars.  And we've also got marijuana and the death penalty on the ballot so those are of interest as well, but the rest?  Fugeddaboutit.  I'm in Rhode Island anyway and the polls don't close for another few hours out in San Diego.  So, you get the pleasure or pain of my company for a few minutes.

Through my increasing maturity, aka getting old and fat, my tastes in thing have changed.  Sometimes I have grown to like one thing, and dislike another, but more often I've developed a taste for something else.  An acquired taste per se, wine for example.  I used to only drink beer and the occasional cocktail, but I've learned to appreciate wine much more, and I can drink scotch or bourbon straight.  I haven't lost a taste for beer and cocktails, I've just added interests.  It's kind of like friends.  Rarely, if ever, do I stop being friends with someone, they're just left on the Christmas Card list with a bunch of other once a year friends.  Some are Olympic friends though- ones you only want to hear from once ever four years.  New friends are just newly acquired tastes, and while there's nothing wrong with the old ones, we just don't keep in touch as well as we used to.

Museum of Man and the California Tower outside the Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park
My wife and I used to go to the movies fairly often, but several years ago we started going to a few plays at a theater in Balboa Park.  These days we might see two or three movies a year and now have season tickets to that theater.  Still like movies, just prefer the new thing now, and when it comes to movies, Netflix is mo bettah anyway.

That picture above is of something I never would have appreciated when I was younger.  Balboa Park is bursting with museums and other than the one bursting with airplanes, I didn't appreciate those until recently either.  That's the case with art and the arts in general.  In my 20s and maybe in my 30s I didn't even notice art.  Either I was too engrossed in my family, movies, and network TV to take the time to appreciate it, or I couldn't afford it.   We like the Old Globe, but it ain't cheap.

Nor was our trip to Rome, but the art and architecture there just blew my mind.  That was where I really became interested in it.  It's not hard to do, as some of the finest art in the world lives there.

Bernini's Rape of Persephone                                           Wiki
The visit to Italy was an eye-opening experience for us both due to the magnificent art and the ancient, yet timeless architecture of its churches and museums.  I notice it much more now, although there aren't a ton of examples of old stately buildings here in San Dog as there is in other parts of the country.  The oldest building here is probably the first California Mission, Mission San Diego de Alcala, build by St. Junipero Serra in 1769.  But there are peoples houses in Rhode Island where I'm on a business trip (and visiting Sarge), that are just as old.  Walking around downtown San Diego recently though I noticed some architectural features that caught my eye.  

Former YMCA with what I think is a Spanish Renaissance facade.  The graffiti is more modern.

Bas Relief on the facade of the old San Diego Library
San Diego County Administration Building in Art Deco style
Old San Diego Post Office with Art Deco Bas Relief sculptures
Santa Fe Train Depot                                                                      Source

I tend to appreciate these features more now than in the past.  Chances are I wouldn't have noticed them even 10 years ago.  I guess my tastes have just evolved to a point where I prefer old things, my wife is a notable exception- she's still in her 30s, or at least looks like it.  I like how NAS North Island has kept some of the more iconic buildings that date back to the 30s.

I enjoy seeing these classic and elegant buildings, and their distinctive features.  It's a shame that functionality and cost seem to be the primary drivers when many buildings are constructed today, especially government buildings, which used to have sweeping entrances, grand lobbies, and high ceilings.  While that's not always true, the classic styles are no longer in favor, with modern twists and features that make a statement for the architect being the current trend.  The new San Diego Library is one example:

Not bad, but a little too modern for my tastes.  Maybe I was just born 30 or 40 years too late. Before Rome I never noticed architecture or beauty in nature.  I didn't care to see the Grand Canyon, which I probably would have thought was just a nice hole in the ground, but now it's on my 5 year bucket list as are several parks in Utah and the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia 

Sunsets, the color of the sky after a good rain, the symmetry of some flowers and tropical plants, and the colors of some birds, stunning landscapes- the awesomeness of what God has created in nature-  It's all good and I'm glad I've finally noticed. 

Post Script:  I'm quite happy with the election results, for the conservative hope I carry.  I guess there are enough folks fed up with corruption in Washington. Hey GOP- you've got the House, Senate and Presidency- don't muck it up.  


  1. It's a good thing you toured Europe before the Muzzies gain ascendency and destroy all the historical artwork and statuary..

  2. Very nice post, thanks. Olympic Friends- I'm going to remember that, it has a nice ring. When you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway I highly recommend taking the time to take a few of the side roads off of of the BRP- finding an entry back onto the BRP can be a challenge but very much worth the effort. The farms, homes and scenery make a very nice addition to what you can see from the BRP.

  3. Maybe we should always have Tuna on Fridays?


    1. Pretty lofty position that I'm not worthy of- with things like Friday Flybys (and Fishnet Friday) filling that day sometimes. I'm too part-timey 'round these parts to post every Friday anyway.

  4. I think I'm in that first photo of Trevi Fountain. (Not really, but coulda been) My version of the picture was taken from the other side about where the crowd is on yours.

    Concur with Ron's statement about Blue Ridge Parkway. It was very effective at lowering Blood Pressure after a long week at the puzzle palace. I availed myself of that several times during my tour.

    Also in that vicinity were several very nice wineries, which are well worth your time to visit.

  5. Italy brings back such pleasant memories. I remember the Trevi Fountain as well, a very pleasant spot. (I think we bought gelato there. Wouldn't surprise, I never passed a gelato stand, well, not voluntarily.)

    Great post Tuna.

  6. One small quibble, the photograph of the YWCA is labeled as YMCA. A great post, as usual.

    Paul L. Quandt

  7. The BRP is lovely. The only proper way to do it is via motorcycle.
    --Tennessee Budd

  8. Being an art major, I can do art museums all day long and have done so. Michelangelo's Pieta was my favorite in Rome. I often go on business trips with my husband. While he is at work, I tour whatever museums I can find. Once while in Buffalo, NY, I visited a modern art museum. It was not impressive, so I made my way to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park - that was good stuff!

  9. I have a daughter in art school so I guess it's genetic.


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