The Louisiana Purchase: Stealth Aid for Napoleon or Fantastic Land Deal, Adroitly Pulled Off By Rascally Yankees?

 

La Salle
Rene-Robert La Salle, Explorer

Although the story of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the fateful choice to buy at bargain basement prices just about a third of all the eventual United States, is about nations and global politics, much the real story rests in the lives of a handful of individuals. The folks who brought about this exchange of millions of acres included near geniuses, pathological egoists, visionaries, and the most squalid of colonial functionaries.

     . . . details include greedy merchants .  .  .  vanity filled functionaries, astonishingly brave explorers, and monarchs with king sized egos to match their blue blood, at times apparently unburdened by competency or sense of civic duty  . . .

 

The details include greedy merchants. It’s about vanity filled functionaries, astonishingly brave explorers, and monarchs with king sized egos to match their blue blood, at times apparently unburdened by competency or sense of civic duty. Perhaps it was a time of incredible statesmanship; perhaps it was a time when our Constitution was rendered a blank scrap of paper. When the recrimination (or celebration) faded to silence, the ink dried, the people died, the living memory passed on, the Nation had become enormous, and its future potential staggering.

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Stripper Fashion, Exotic Dance, & Expressive Sexuality in American Feature Films and Life

expresive sexuality
Michele Merkin model and celebrity. “Merkin modeled for 15 years, living in Paris, Milan, New York, and Los Angeles, appearing in such magazines as ELLE, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, and over 60 commercials …”  Exactly what provides the source material for sexually expressive fashion?

While watching movies, I wondered: presented with opportunity would consumers act in self-interest to create novel and expressive fashion motifs, especially involving human sexuality? human beings are, after all, cultural critters, and we learn culture from one another. Certainly we should learn – and teach – via the films we watch and make. Perhaps this is not always the case. But I’m guessing sometimes it is.

Women spend both more time and more money on fashion as communication. More dollars are spent, more retail outlets exist servicing women’s shopping, and more collateral matter is generated . . . 

Still, before looking particularly at movies it was easy to determine that guidelines do exist, governing time, place, and magnitude of expressive clothing and dress, probably more for women than for men, if only because we can determine that women spend both more time and more money on fashion as communication. More dollars are spent, more retail outlets exist servicing women’s shopping, and more collateral matter is generated – more advertising, blogs, magazines. Continue reading “Stripper Fashion, Exotic Dance, & Expressive Sexuality in American Feature Films and Life”

IT’S ON THE WALL – MURAL

 

mural, Louisiana
Cotton Time, Alison B. Curry, Arcadia, Louisiana, Post Office, (study).

Human beings have acted to create images on wall spaces since well before recorded history. Cave paintings are well known and powerfully appreciated for their evidence of human creativity. The will to decorate these “walls” has, over time, lead to the development of varied means and modes, beyond pounding colored clay into a powder and mixing it with fat. Generally, walls are decorated by changing the surface by applying objects—by affixing small stone or glass tiles to form shape or pattern, and by coloring or dying the surface.

Thus, the vast, soaring space of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque gets it name from the thousands of beautiful Iznik tiles which decorate its interior.  The Byzantine pile at Venice, St. Mark’s Basilica, glows with hundreds of thousands of tiny mosaic pieces, sandwiches of thin glass over leaves of sheet gold. Murals around public buildings in the United States carry on the grand tradition but in the American way, integrated into the community.

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Camel Wrestling

Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul. Once one lays eyes on the magical skyline, the sight is never forgotten.

Forget that familiar, beatific, mellow picture on the cover of the cigarette pack. Put aside those lingering images of the sensuous East so popular with Victorian Orientalists. Elbowing up to the steel fence around a camel wrestling pitch in Turkey and I suppose anywhere is more like spending an afternoon with the good old boys at a NASCAR rally in the broiling sun of the American Deep South than snoozing on a divan with a plump, warm odalisque. Continue reading “Camel Wrestling”

LOOKING FOR LAFAYETTE

Marquis de Lafayette
Gilbert du Mother de Lafayette

At some point after being born in Lafayette, Louisiana, I became aware of both how oddly common it was to see this name on the landscape and, later, I began to look into the history of Lafayette as a character. Part of my family lives up east, so I may have seen signs in Manhattan on a visit, and then slowly notes other examples.  Think about it. You’ve probably come across a county, city, street, park, school, shop, or restaurant named for Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette more than just a few times by now.

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The Exotic Other – French Impressionism & Japanese Woodblocks

Georges Seurat

This article strays from my more typical pastures of Louisiana to discuss the historic appropriation of aesthetic and design elements from Asia into Western art and their functions as mediating devices. I want to discuss how it seems to me that those elements present a kind of familiarity for visitors to Asia, a familiarity that ameliorates anxiety associated with presentation of the exotic.

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“Alluring” Fun – Fly Fishing the Atchafalaya Basin

fly fishing
The Quiet Solitude of Fly Fishing

For generations, people have been fishing the Atchafalaya Basin region for commercial harvests and for sport. Yet, the idea of fly-fishing in the Atchafalaya is fairly new.  While the Basin, itself, is fresh water, within twenty minutes anglers can access the brackish water of the Basin’s coastal edges, and the salt-water margins of the Gulf of Mexico.  In these varied eco-systems, anglers who come to Louisiana may seek out bass, bream, catfish, redfish, sac-a-lait, speckled trout, and other species—using lighter tackle in fresh water and heavier gear in salty areas.

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“Post-Modern Nipples” There’s a Thousand Stories in the Nakes City

 

Burlesque and Striptease
Once Comedy, Satire, and Wit, Now Mostly Stirptise, Baudy Dance Can Still Be Entertaining

The frisson existing between real and faux events, as between standard human mating ritual and performative settings such as strip tease is exceptionally well defined by the “latex nipples” case which went to court in Lafayette, Louisiana decades ago – way back in about 1994 or so. In Lafayette, a medium sized city in the center of south Louisiana’s “Cajun Land,” apparently part of the regulatory apparatus involved with so-called “gentleman’s clubs” is attached to the corpus of obscenity law.

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Dr. Leisure Dithers About His Doo-Dads: What’s Enough to Close a Cuff?

Cuff Links

One fine summer’s day, the great Lord Curzon, then British secretary of state for foreign affairs, received a delegation from Mosul,” historian Jacques Darras recalls. “When they were ushered in to his presence he was busy writing and he invited them to go to the window and to look at the people enjoying the sunshine in the park. They were polite men and they did so. After a while Lord Curzon joined them. ‘How many people do you think we can see?’ he asked. Since they were especially polite men the delegation ventured on a number of guesses. But the secretary of state soon put an end to the conversation. ‘It doesn’t matter how many there are,’ he said. ‘But you can be sure of one thing. Not a single one of them has ever heard of Mosul.’ Thus the delegation was put in its place. They knew how unimportant they were. Unlike Mosul, cufflinks can be important.

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Ad Hoc Gardens of Japan – a Photo Show

 

Ad Hoc Gardens of Japan

Although informally known as Dr. Leisure, I am a Louisiana artist and scholar.  I received my fine art degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in the seventies. I have been active in draftsmanship, painting, and related undertaking since then, but am currently most fully engaged in photography – and of course working to develop my blog/vlog.  My first important show of fine art photographs upon returning to the USA is a collection of Japanese “ad hoc” gardens. In addition, I published a scholarly study of cock fighting (which I illustrated) just as that infamous sport was becoming illegal.

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