design advise

Henry Sargent.  The Tea Party, c. 1824.  o/c:  64 3/8 x 52 3/8 in.  mfa Boston.

The casual deportment of mixed company in The Tea Party makes this composition an appropriate pendant to the more formal arrangement of The Dinner Party. Like The Dinner Party, The Tea Party may represent Sargent’s own home in the Tontine Crescent, a row of handsome Boston townhouses (no longer extant) designed and built by Charles Bulfinch in 1793–94. One contemporary critic noted: “The rooms and furniture [are] delightfully painted, and with the most minute fidelity.” This is an upper-class interior, with two richly appointed parlors filled with fashionably attired figures. The women wear stylish Empire gowns in colors suitable for daytime; white garments were reserved for evening, as they were difficult to keep pristine. The furnishings reflect the latest styles recommended by such tastemakers as English designer Thomas Sheraton, who advised that the drawing room was to include the finest furniture and decorations in the house. Sargent carefully delineated the French-styled Empire armchairs and a marble-topped center table toward the middle of the first parlor; the table may be one that descended in the Sargent family and is now in the collection of the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. Other imported and domestic goods are displayed around the two rooms, including an alabaster vase on a stand in the corner at the left, mirrors that help to reflect the warm artificial light in both spaces, and vases and urns on the mantelpiece. The walls of the room are lined with paintings—likely some landscapes, a subject that Americans were just beginning to collect.

–mfa Boston

British teachers threaten police action if parents allow kids to play video games, use Facebook

Across the pond, the assault on liberty and parental rights just keeps on going…

from Yahoo:

Parents in England risk being reported to the police if they let their children play violent video games like Call of Duty, according to a letter sent to the homes of students at a group of British schools.

The letter, which went out to parents in February but has recently garnered worldwide attention, was sent from the principals at the Nantwich Education Partnership, a group of primary and secondary schools (the British equivalent of elementary, middle, and high school). According to the note, there is a concern among teachers about the “levels of violence and sexual content” students are exposed to in certain video games. “If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18+ we are advised to contact the Police and Children’s Social Care as it is neglectful,” the principals wrote, referencing the UK version of social services. “Access to these games OR to some social media sites…increases early sexualized behaviors (sometimes harmful) in children AND leaves them vulnerable to grooming for sexual exploitation or extreme violence.” The letter mentions the video games Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Dogs of War, and the social media and messaging sites Facebook and What’s App.

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The state always thinks it can better raise your children than you can.

Ive trained my cats to think they’re in charge, and to think they exact a tribute of two breakfasts from me each morning.

Initially I feed them each half a small can of salmon. The white cat finishes first, and scratches at the cabinets for more. As if in response, I feed them each a half can of whitefish, exactly as I always intended to. They finish with gusto, convinced that they’ve won.

I am so in client services.

And if you want to know how to succeed in client services, I’ve just told you.

—  Jeffrey Zeldman