Monday, December 30, 2013

Senor Hunter and La Sagrada Familia

Flat Mr. Hunter admires the gothic side of La Sagrada Familia, which has a nativity scene

Mr. Hunter's keeper has longed to visit Gaudi's famed Barcelona cathedral ever since she saw Irving Penn's marvelous photo of a funeral procession passing in front of La Sagrada Familia.

Funeral Cortège in front of La Sagrada Familía
Irving Penn
Thanks to the Pebbles From Paradise blog.

Flat Mr. Hunter and the austere Passion facade

Beautiful!  Mr. Hunter can't wait to see this cathedral with his own wooden eyes.  A big "Gracias!" to Liz for taking Flat Mr. Hunter to Barcelona in the meantime.

La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona, Spain
June 2011

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Kennedy Gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery

Mr. Hunter and I had the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., for the first time recently.  And we were glad to have the chance to go out to Arlington National Cemetery while we were there.  It felt right to visit the Kennedy family gravesite on Veterans Day weekend and as the country prepared to mark the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's death.

Mr. Hunter and I paid our respects at the Kennedy family grave.

Mr. Hunter and one of JFK's most famous quotes.

The view from the Kennedy gravesite back towards Washington, D.C.

View up the hill, where Robert E. Lee's
Arlington House is located.

John F. Kennedy's grave.

The grave of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

To the right of Jackie Kennedy's grave, there is a headstone
that reads simply, "Daughter."

The grave of infant Patrick Bouvier Kennedy.
John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s ashes were apparently scattered
in the Atlantic Ocean.

The eternal flame.

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia
November 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Self-Driving Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

Flat Mr. Hunter and I spotted one of Google's self-driving cars the other day.  Every other time I've seen one, I haven't had a chance to see if there was someone in the driver's seat.  (I think I was hoping there wouldn't be!)  

But this time I saw the self-driving car close-up, and there was indeed a driver at the helm.  He was getting ready to parallel park, and I felt a little disappointed somehow when I saw this driver turning the steering wheel.  Oh well!  Flat Mr. Hunter and I were still glad to have a closer look at the, um, newfangled contraption.  

And Mr. Hunter was especially intrigued to hear about this sighting, considering that it's the kind of car that he could theoretically drive around in on his own.  

Each time I've seen these self-driving cars, I've noticed a spinning, bucket-shaped thing on top.  With the car parked, I got to study what this gray object (part of the car's laser radar system) looks like when it's still.  

A closer look at the laser range finder system. 

A peek inside the car.  What does the red button do?

The friendly yellow car in the logo reminds me the Richard Scarry character, Goldbug.
Which is appropriate, since Goldbug plays a pivotal role in Scarry's classic book
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go.

Certainly the driverless car is the sort of vehicle that Mr. Hunter could actually, you know, drive.  He says, "Sign me up!" 

Mountain View, California
July 2013

Wikipedia page on the Google driverless car -

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Le Hunter et Le Boulevardier

You may have noticed that Mr. Hunter has an affinity for busts and other sculptures of heads.  And when he encountered this fellow at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mr. Hunter felt an even stronger kinship.  The pointed chins, the long noses... they could be cousins!

Mr. Hunter's new friend in the top hat is called Le Boulevardier, and he was created by the Polish-born American sculptor Elie Nadelman.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Los Angeles, California
March 2013


Official LACMA page on Le Boulevardier -

Official LACMA site -

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Field of Painted Polka Dots

Back when Mr. Hunter's caretaker worked as a web surfer, she created this directory category for polka-dot specialist Yayoi Kusama.  So Mr. Hunter had to pose with this Kusama painting, which is called No. C.A.9.

A closer look at the texture of Yayoi Kusama's dots in the painting.

 Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Los Angeles, California
March 2013


About the Whitney Museum's 2012 Yayoi Kusama retrospective -

LACMA page on Yayoi Kusama's No. C.A.9 -

Wikipedia article on Yayoi Kusama -

2012 interview with Yayoi Kusama -

Ceci n'est pas un chasseur*

Mr. Hunter (aka Monsieur Chasseur for the purposes of this post) got a kick out of posing with Magritte's famed painting, The Treachery of Images (This Is Not a Pipe).

Ceci est la signature de Magritte, avec le mot "pipe."

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Los Angeles, California
March 2013


smarthistory video about The Treachery of Images -

Wikipedia entry for The Treachery of Images -

LACMA page on The Treachery of Images -

*chasseur = hunter

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where In the World Is Mr. Hunter? - East Ninth Street Edition (The Answer)

Which museum was Mr. Hunter visiting when he stood before this lovely Abstract Expressionist painting?  Well, he wasn't on East Ninth Street, but the painting he was admiring is called East Ninth Street.  The piece is by Joan Mitchell, and you can see the entire work in all its glory if you go to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art (LACMA).

Ten years ago, Mr. Hunter and family went to LACMA for the first time--to see a show about John Singer Sargent in Italy, actually--and it was in the permanent collections of LACMA that Mr. Hunter's caretaker discovered the seemingly endless pleasure of taking photographs of paintings and details of paintings.  There's a sort of conversation that takes place for me, a particular kind of deeper engagement as I zoom in on aspects of artworks that have spoken to me.

I have synesthesia, and one type of synesthesia that I experience makes it so that I hear what I see; the things I'm looking at create an experience of sound in some other dimension.  As I focus on different points in a painting, I've noticed that particularly pleasing compositions in my viewfinder will change the sounds of that painting for me, like an alignment or a kind of harmony.

In doing some research on Joan Mitchell and her painting, I've just learned that Mitchell also had synesthesia!  This WWD article by Lorna Koski recounts that "Mitchell was notably bright and shrewd and had the unusual quality of being a synesthete, someone for whom sounds, letters, numbers and personalities had colors, flavors and shapes."  I shall have to investigate further.  And this illustrates another of the pleasures of taking photographs of works of art: revisiting those photographs can lead you down new paths so that your experience of the paintings and sculptures broadens to include new stories.

I quite like this detail from East Ninth Street.

Stay tuned to see more photos from Mr. Hunter's LACMA explorations.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Los Angeles, California
March 2013


LACMA's page on East Ninth Street -

The Joan Mitchell Foundation -

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Where In the World Is Mr. Hunter? - East Ninth Street Edition

Mr. Hunter likes to visit art museums now and again, and when he does, he often finds paintings that speak to him.  There's something about the contrast between Mr. Hunter's carved wooden angles and the varied and vivid colors and brushstrokes of paintings by artists from Eric Carle and Claude Monet to Jackson Pollock.

In March, Mr. Hunter and friends wandered the halls of the largest art museum in the western United States.  Where was Mr. H when he felt the need to pause and pose before this lovely Abstract Expressionist painting?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Teddy Bear Travel Totem Who Met Queen Elizabeth II

Mr. Hunter is impressed and a bit envious after reading this People Magazine account of how a 7-year-old girl named Jessica Fitch persuaded Queen Elizabeth II to pose for a photo that features the girl's teddy bear. 

Photos by Michael Fitch

Mr. Hunter can't imagine getting a chance like this, 
unless he was in the hands of a little kid.

Most impressive!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Visit with Space Shuttle Endeavour

Kennedy Space Center opens its Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit this weekend, so Mr. Hunter has been remembering his visit this past winter to the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit at the California Science Center.  (You may recall some divine photos from the days when Endeavour was towed through the streets of Los Angeles.  And you can bet that Mr. Hunter and I were sorry to miss that sight.  Here's NASA's official Flickr set showing the move.)

The California Science Center's exhibit currently has Endeavour displayed horizontally, so you can walk under and around the orbiter.  There are plans to eventually change this configuration so that visitors can get different views.

 Last time I'd seen Endeavour (at the 2012 farewell flyover), it surprised me to see how worn she looked, though of course it makes sense that a vehicle whose job it was to be rocketed into space and then to reenter the Earth's atmosphere repeatedly would not be in pristine condition.  At the California Science Center, you can walk underneath Endeavour, so I got a closer look at the wear and tear on her heat-shielding tiles.

Heat-shielding tiles on Endeavour's underside.

At the California Science Center, Endeavour also looked smaller than I had anticipated, even though I'd seen her flying overhead on the 747.  I suppose my expectations were influenced by the breathtaking Saturn V exhibit at KSC, which has the massive Saturn V rocket suspended overhead in stages.  It sounds like the new Space Shuttle Atlantis display in Florida will include replica external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters, which should help visitors get a more vivid perspective.

Mr. Hunter's family had the chance to see two shuttle launches in 2002 because my dad was working on an experiment that flew up to the International Space Station on STS-110 and then returned to Earth on STS-111.  So Mr. Hunter had to pose with the signs about those missions.

"Our" shuttle missions.

Thank you, Endeavour!

Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit
California Science Center
Los Angeles, California
March 2013

Official site for the Endeavour exhibit -

Official site for Kennedy Space Center's Atlantis exhibit -

Los Angeles Times gallery:
Space Shuttle Endeavour rolls through the streets of L.A. -

I particular enjoyed this L.A. Times photo of Endeavour rolling by while two boys played basketball in their backyard.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Swell Shark

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Mr. Hunter encountered the notable sight of a soon-to-be swell shark scooting around inside its egg case, waiting to be born.  And according to this fact sheet from the aquarium, it can take between nine and twelve months for a swell shark egg to hatch.

Here's a young swell shark outside of its egg case.   

Here's a quick movie of what the unhatched swell shark looked like as it moved around in its backlit egg case:

The Aquarium of the Pacific also has a nice fact sheet about the swell shark.

Kelp Forest exhibit
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey, California
December 2012

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hall of Fame: Hilton Hawaiian Village Guards

Stand at attention!  
Mr. Hunter and the Hilton Hawaiian Village Guards have arrived.

When we were staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the guards were part of a daily evening ceremony.  One afternoon we happened by as the guards were lining up and preparing to make their big entrance.  I asked if they would mind posing, and as you can see, they obliged.  I love this photo!  And it also makes me laugh to see the young man wearing the crown of palm fronds who snuck into a second photo of Mr. Hunter, the guard, and yours truly.

In 1997, the guard welcomed Michael Jackson when he arrived to stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  I wonder if any of these guards were part of that reception.  Here's a photo of Michael flanked by the guards.

Photo from about MJ et al's blog entry about Michael Jackson's 1997 Hawaii visit.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Guards also paid their respects at a 2007 memorial service for Don Ho.  Since 2009, this civilian drill team has been known as the Hilton Hawaiian Village Royal Honor Guard.

Honolulu, Hawaii
July 2003

Official site for the Hawaii Royal Honor Guard -

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Imitations: Ana

Ana's an actress, so it's no surprise that she can do a mean--even hypnotic--imitation of Mr. Hunter.

October 2003

Monday, January 21, 2013

Flat Mr. Hunter at President Obama's Inauguration

Mr. Hunter celebrates Inauguration Day 2013 by reflecting upon Flat Mr. Hunter's visit to Washington, D.C. in January 2009.  He attended the inauguration with Mike and Mahlon.  What an opportunity!

Flat Mr. Hunter enjoys the performances at the
We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration
at the Lincoln Memorial.

Flat Mr. Hunter and the U.S. Capitol Building.

Flat Mr. Hunter and the Washington Monument, with inauguration crowds.

Flat Mr. Hunter checks out the crowds in D.C.

Flat Mr. Hunter and the White House.

Mr. Hunter will always be grateful to Mahlon and Mike for inviting one of his flat representatives along on their inauguration adventures.

Washington, D.C.
January 2009