Vin Crosbie's Personal Blog

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The Outrageous Increase in Sheepskin Costs

I cannot justify the increased costs of a U.S. college education during the past 40 years. Although the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that although the overall costs of everything in the United States increased by 236 percent (i.e., inflation) between 1980 to 2000, the average costs of a U.S. college education increased by 1200 percent: five-times more than inflation. Yet has the education received increased five times as much? I very much doubt so.

Inherited Paintings

Julian Alden Weir’s ‘Early Fall’ All are by early American or late 19th Century American Impressionist artists. A minor work by J. Alden Weir (1852-1919). Year unknown. It is basically the view in back of his home in Windham Center, Connecticut, looking west towards the hills of Lebanon, Connecticut. Signed in lower left corner. 12-¼ by 16-¼ inches. Professionally appraised in 2013 at $17,000. William Glackens A minor work by William Glackens (1870–1938). Year unknown. Reynolds Beal’s ‘Noank’ My late brother Kevin’s favorite was this painting of Noank, Connecticut, by Reynolds Beal. Unknown An artist about whom I’m trying to find the file. Walter Griffin’s ‘Maine’ ‘Maine’ by Walter Griffin (1865-1935). Signed in lower right. 10 by 12 inches. Professionally appraised at $3,500. Charles Foster Ryder’ Hot Springs, Virginia’ ‘Hot Springs, Virginia’ by Chauncey Foster Ryder (1868-1949). Signed in lower right corner. 8½ x 10⅜ inches. Professionally appraised at $5,000. Unknown An unknown and unsigned oil painting that has been in my family since at least 1950. Unknown View from the west bank of the Hudson River to Breakneck Ridge on the east bank. An unknown and unsigned oil painting that has been in my family since at least 1950. Hung for many decades above the living room fireplace on the second floor of the family homestead at 215 Church Street, Willimantic, Connecticut. Known to have been purchased at an estate sale. By coincidence, this viewpoint, just south of West Point, New York, is the same that young J. Alden Weir and his father Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889) had each painted when the latter was teacher and professor of Drawing at the U.S. Military Academy there. Wikipedia notes that Weir senior “created many unsigned paintings that may never be attributed to him.” This could be one such painting, but remains unsubstantiated. A Painting on Glass by an Unknown Artist This view of the Connecticut State Capitol building in Hartford, Connecticut, hung for decades in the publisher’s office of the daily Chronicle newspaper in Willimantic, Connecticut. It was likely purchased by publisher George August Bartlett (1873-1919) during the last two decades of his life. I thought it might have some value, but recently discover that it was mass produced and today worth approximately $100. One Painting No Long in Possession Charles Courtney Curran’s ‘A Sunny Morning’ ‘A Sunny Morning’ (1916) by Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942). Signed and dated in lower left […]

Take a Foreign Virtual Walk

Stuck at home? Would you rather be taking a walk or a drive or a train through Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Stockholm, Hong Kong, or some other foreign city? Then take a break with this app/website. Pick a city, pick a time of day, then watch. It doesn’t let you control where you go, but you can control whether or not you hear street noises. You can also hear local radio stations from that city.

Early U.S. Presidents in Today’s Suits

Digital artist Magdalene Visaggio uses her iPhone to transplant the portraits of U.S. Presidents into photo software and gives them modern clothes and haircuts as if they were U.S. politicians today. See her Twitter feed and meet George Washington (above) and others. Scot mountain biker Danny MacAskill is arguably the best bicyclist of any type in the world. Here are two video clips [each six minutes long] of proof. In the clip above, MacAskill treats mountains the opposite way rock climbers do: finding new and challenging routes to descend the peaks. And in the clip below, a tour de force, he cycles down the rooftops to the sea in my wife’s hometown of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

How Effective is Only One Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine?

The British Broadcasting Corporation reports how just one does of COVID-19 vaccine is mildly beneficial, but it is the second dose that truly brings immunological benefits. This Might Be a Topic of Controversy in the Other 49 U.S. States Yet has hit the bulls eye in my native Connecticut! As are, I think, their choices for Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York. Absolutely perfect choices! Japanese Film Noir If you are like American Film Noir and don’t mind subtitles (in other words, you’re not the normal American), you’ll love the Criterion Channel’s new selection of Japanese film noirs from the 1940s-60s. I can particularly recommend Kurosawa’s Stray Dog and The Bad Sleep Well, Nomura’s A Colt is My Passport, or Suzuki’s Branded to Kill and Tokyo Drifter. I’m looking forward to watching others. (That last movie is an odd one: the Japanese studio wanted to get rid of the director, who it had under contract, so it cut his film’s costumes, sets, and location shooting budget the shreds. He decided instead to film anyway on that shoestring budget. The result is a surreal gangster film that looks like it was filmed on rejected sets from 1960s American TV ‘Batman’ TV series (see photo below.] Color-Blind Man Sees the Difference with Special Glasses One-and-a-half minute video from the British Broadcasting Corporation.

January 3, 2021

Earthquake Aftershock Live A video camera of RITV in the Croatian city of Rijeka captures live an aftershock from the earthquake that nation this past week. R.I.P., bassist Eugene Wright, 95. R.I.P. bassist Eugene Wright, 95, last surviving member of jazz legends the Dave Brubeck Quartet and a pioneer in racial desegregation of U.S. music venues. For those of you who don’t know who there are, see the video clip above, in particular from the 4-minute mark, to discover that a group doesn’t need to look hip to be verrrrry hip! Wright’s solo turn then begins around the 5-minute mark. Or click the this link to see one of the greatest single jazz performance ever given: The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Carnegie Hall performance of their ‘Take Five’. I’ll miss him.

December 30, 2020

They Aren’t Coming for Your Jobs Yet, but Just Want to Dance And an Autonomous Ship will Retrace the Mayflower’s Voyage Speaking of Oceanic Voyages… A traditional ‘King Neptune’ certificate from August, 1944, as my namesake uncle, then a private in the U.S. Marine 3rd Division, crossed the Equator for the first time (at a militarily “censored” latitude) aboard the Dutch freighter Bloemfonteim, on the way to an amphibious landing at the Battle of Guam. When in 1941 the Germany invaded the Netherlands and the Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies, the ships of the Dutch Navy that escaped joined up with Australian, British, and U.S. navies. The Bloemfonteim became an Allied troopship. I’ve a similar Neptune certificate from 1942 when my father, then a U.S. Navy ensign, crossed the Equator for the first time, aboard the battle cruiser Santa Fe. The 20th Century in Manhattan (as well as the ‘Mad Men’ era) finally ends. No matter how important who think you are, no longer shall ye get ‘power lunches’ at the Four Seasons nor drinks at 21. And the perfect big-screen TV video for ‘Star Wars’ fans who want to feel cozy this winter. And back to robots: South Koreans, showing more acumen than American capitalists., purchase Boston Dynamics. Hyundai paid a reported billion dollars for it. Japan’s Toyota already is the world’s leader in the coming field of household robotics. Hyundai wants to be that for general-purpose worker robotics. Boston Dynamics is far more advanced at this than any other U.S. company.