Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everybody!
A scene from this year’s “Christkindl Market” in downtown Denver, Colorado — shelves of beer steins on sale at a vendor’s stall:
Oddly enough, it was only on a recent trip that we discovered that while the word stein is German, this style of beer mugs is only called a stein in English-speaking countries. Stein is an abbreviation of the German steingut (stoneware), the material they’re made of. But in Germany, bierstein (“beer stone”) is the term used for a scaly deposit built up in poorly-cleaned brewing vessels. A mug like one of these would be called a krug, or more properly a bierkrug.
So there’s your language lesson for the day, more about the “Christkindl Market” in subsequent posts.
This is the Denver-resident half of a pair of panels, which together tell a story of the still-lost Maya kingdom of Sak Tz’i’ (White Dog). We know the name of the site from inscriptions on the panels, it was once one of a number of kingdoms that battled along today’s Guatemala – Mexico border. But while we know the site’s name, and the rough area in which it was located (since its name glyph appears throughout the area), no one knows the location of Sak Tz’i’.
Such is the ambivalent nature of many ancient artifacts you can see in museums today. You get to see the artifacts, but many were ultimately purchased from looters (and by continuing such purchases, museums in the more-affluent parts of the world perpetuate the vicious cycle). By removing the panels from their original site, looters destroyed evidence about the site’s history.
There’s a house in our corner of town whose owners go above and beyond when it comes to Christmas yard decorations. Â The tree is just the start of things:
But as I said, that’s just the start. You have to see the whole yard for the full effect:
When we stopped at the Chicago Botanic Garden on our recent trip to the windy city, we found they had a whole courtyard devoted to bonsai trees. Â Better still, the trees were displayed with frosted glass backings — making for some really nice photo compositions.
In this particular case, the glass could have been a bit taller. Â But I’d never been to Chicago before, and have no plans to return anytime soon, so I wasn’t about to be fussy. Â A bit of work in PS Elements, and the size of the frosted glass became immaterial.
Personally, though, I prefer the silhouette / monochrome version. Â Gives it a nice, crisp look, don’t you think?
If you’re curious, this tiny forest is a Sawara False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’).