Seemingly one of the first books to use the antihero from a previous classic, Gardner does a magnificent job of exploring philosophy and life’s greater questions through the eyes of the prototypical protagonist Grendel. For generations of high school students who have faced the evil actions of Grendel and then had their eyes opened to the revelation that nowhere is Grendel’s true nature described (much like Humpty Dumpty), this book takes on that ambiguity and blows it further open. The book, though, deserves a fuller reading than I was able to give it. Read with a group or even a class, would allow the reader(s) to dive down deep into the varying philosophies and explore the questions of what is evil and where does it come from/what makes someone evil.

Book 29 of 189

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Videos that John Green made about his book The Fault in Our Stars being made into a movie:

Thanks to Tenara for the tip!

Betty Ford attended the dedication of Bennington College’s new Visual and Performing Arts Center on May 22, 1976. The First Lady had studied dance there as a teenager in the 1930s.

In her remarks Mrs. Ford reflected on her time at Bennington and her appreciation for the arts. “For those of us who studied here, Martha Hill, Martha Graham and others gave us something else. They touched our hearts with fire and infused us with spirit,” she said. “Isn’t that what the arts are about? Nourishment for the soul. The arts, especially for me the dance, draw out our emotions and make us more alive. Very often the arts help me to see life in a new way.”

During the ceremony Mrs. Ford affixed a plaque to the building, officially dedicating the center. She and Martha Hill, who had been one of her dance instructors at Bennington, watched a presentation of pieces choreographed and performed by students from the college’s dance department in the new building’s West Dance Studio.

(White House photograph A9928-14A)

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Just one more thing today on faculty member Allen Shawn. This one, a conversation with his brother Wallace Shawn where they discuss Leonard Bernstein in a video advance of Shawn’s upcoming biography, Leonard Bernstein: An American Musician. We dare you not to read the book after watching this interview.

Although it was Frank Lloyd Wright’s intention to encourage visitors in his homes to sit on the furniture, I prefer the floor. Admittedly, this is mostly because I am not allowed to sit on the furniture at work, and partially because Wright notoriously designed for aesthetics over comfort. Although it may strike one as peculiar that I consider a place where even sitting on the furniture is severely punishable to be the “homiest” of homes—even more so when you consider that this home sees thousands of picture-sneaking, guide-ignoring, jet-lagged tourists every year—there is simply no place more tranquil and thought-provoking than Wright’s “Kentuck Knob.” Nestled into the quiet countryside, Kentuck is an example of a masterful “organic” dwelling designed by Wright. The building unites its occupants with their natural surroundings both literally and figuratively—the 2,200 square foot residence is built into its namesake “knob” and is made out of materials found on the property. Skylights run the southern length of the house and mimic the shadows of the treetops, while eastern bedroom windows work with the sunrise to create a “natural alarm clock” for inhabitants. Every detail of the structure has been considered: a northern wall offers privacy, custom-designed clerestory windows diffuse natural light, and a path leading from the house to the carport protects visitors from the elements.

Seated on the cork floor of the workspace, where I can often be found between tours, Wright’s perception of human movement and natural tendency becomes clear. One’s eye is immediately drawn to the splendors of the outdoors, reflecting Wright’s firm belief that human development and nature feed one another.Architecture, philosophy, education, and art meld seamlessly. It is one thing to study Wright’s original plans and architectural observations for Kentuck, but it is quite another to pause for a moment and watch the translation from theory to reality.

Much as I enjoy this house and my job there, I disagree with the notion that a guided tour of any historic home is the most enlightening or educational method of experiencing it. A truly functional space speaks for itself. This certainly stands true for Kentuck—in fact, my understanding of the home and of Wright’s principles of organic architecture have blossomed more because of my own silent observations than because of the time spent studying tour scripts and books about organic architecture.

—from an essay by Elyse K, photo via HOSSedia