Football Fashion

Sunday afternoon often only means one thing – Football! But, don’t worry though; I won’t unleash my inner NFL nerd (just kidding!). Instead, in keeping with last weeks post on fashion trends I have decided to dedicate this week’s post to the evolution of the NFL jersey. As a die-hard fan of the New England Patriots (who better get their stuff together in Cleveland), I am partial to their red, white, silver, and blue jersey. Not only is it patriotic, but also it is also way more sophisticated than any other teams’ jerseys (I’m looking at you Minnesota). However, it wasn’t always so classy. To demonstrate, let’s flashback through the various incarnations of the Patriots jersey.

 Though I couldn’t find what the actual uniform looked like during the Patriot’s first year, each of the helmets had an image of a three-point hat with the player’s number under it. This then gave way to the throwback uniforms that we have seen a lot of recently. From 1961-1996, the Patriots wore a primarily red jersey for home games and a white helmet with the mascot (“Pat Patriot”) hiking a football. Helmet is awkward and the blood red is blinding.



 In 1996, the clumsy helmet logo and obnoxious jersey color were changed to a more streamlined logo and visually pleasing blue color. Logo is great, but the blue is still a little too bright.


In 2002, the bright blue jersey color was replaced by a darker navy color. Perfection.



How do you guys feel about the recent trend in wearing throwback jerseys? Do you have a favorite team jersey, football or otherwise? Let me know in the comments section below. Have a great weekend 🙂 (Information gathered from

Stuff of science fiction

Apparently light sabers are real.

As are quantum teleporters.

And flying saucers.

And holographic displays.

And virtual goggles.

…The list goes on.

Scientists and researchers (who could be one and the same, most likely) have discovered new ways to make the science fiction technology become a reality.  When things like teleportation devices and flying saucers first appeared in sci-fi films and novels, who would have thought that they could become the real thing?  But that’s the beauty of art– we can conceptualize even the most seemingly implausible things and thus inspire other creative thinkers to practically realize the impractical propositions made by art.

And this makes me wonder: Could these advances have been made without art?  Without having the authors and the artists who came up with these crazy tall tales about Unidentified Flying Objects and robots on Galactic Republic (Star Wars) and jet packs enabling regular people to fly, could science have taken bold steps in the crazy directions that it has?  I’m sure many people have read books or watched films and thought, “Wow, that’s so cool!  I want to make that!” and that those people have become the ones who have paved the way for us in the realm of applied science.  It’s encouraging to know that even our most out of this world insane ideas can be taken and fiddled with to become a tool of the real world.

With this in mind– what about the Jetsons?  If all of these new technologies and gadgets inspired by different art forms are slowly coming together to form a part of our reality instead of just our imaginations, imagine what else could come from the Jetsons!  Cars that fold into briefcases, robotic maids who cook and clean for us, and maybe even… aliens?!

The Jetsons, the model 21st century family
The Jetsons, the model 21st century family

Poems to Music

Music and Poetry by Paul Hartal
"Music and Poetry" by Paul Hartal

Music and poetry are two different art forms that share an undeniable bond. In both of these mediums, some form of story is being told, but, in the best examples of each, never in an obvious or unoriginal way. In poetry, words are used to give some kind of impression to readers. The connotations of the words chosen, the images described, and the sounds of the language all combine to create not only a logical sense of what a poem is saying, but also a general “feeling” of what kind of emotion that poem is trying to convey. In classical instrumental music, sound – it’s tone, volume, and intensity – is used in a similar way as poetry to invoke some kind of impression on listeners. Of course vocal music takes this all a step further, in that it contains both music and lyrics, which can be considered to be a type of poetry.

Lately, I’ve been listening to a few different songs that are a unique hybrid in music and poetry.  These songs take poems that were originally written simply to be read and put them to music.  Here is a short list of a few of these songs that I’ve found and think are particularly interesting:

I’m intrigued by this mixing of artistic forms and what it does to both mediums. When the poetry and the music complement each other well, the result is a beautiful and unique reinterpretation of the boundaries between music and poetry. Loreena McKennitt’s “The Lady of Shalott” and Cherish the Ladies’ “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” both achieve this delicate balance in matching the tone of the music and the poetry. Ochs’ “The Bells” and Copeland’s “12 Poems of Emily Dickinson” however are, in my opinion, less successful at achieving this balance. “The Bells” is done to a kind of happy, countryish tune which fits well with the first two stanzas of the poem, but then at the end of the song, Ochs’ combines a few lines from the last two stanzas, which are much darker and don’t really match with the happy sounding tune. “12 Poems of Emily Dickinson” sounds completely wrong. The vocals are sung in opera style, and the music is mostly nondescript. When I imagine a musical version of Dickinson’s poems, I hear music that is mysterious and playful, like the writing style in many of her poems, and I do not imagine operatic vocals.  I love opera, but Dickinson’s poems just don’t sound natural sung that way.

I can’t help  but wonder why these musicians have chosen to take the work of poets and put it to music. Are they trying to promote good poetry, did they just like the words in the poems they chose, or is there some other reason? Whatever their reasons, I love listening to these poems put to music. Even the ones that make me cringe mentally are enjoyable in the sense that they are an interesting, if somewhat dubiously successful, experiment in the combination of two of my favorite things – music and poetry.  Happy listening!

A Fashion Democracy?

One of the classes that I am taking this semester is on literary theory and during yesterday’s session we discussed the concept of taste – who has it, who/what controls it? I found this discussion to be especially pertinent to the discussion of many artistic forms such as fashion.

When I think of fashion icons and arbiters of sartorial taste, I usually remember the scene in Devils Wears Prada where Meryl Streep’s character informs Anne Hathaway’s character of the path of cerulean blue sweaters from the runaway to the discount bin. Centralized media, such as magazines and newspapers, have historically been the only source for fashion legitimization. However, with a burgeoning number of blogs and personal web pages, taste has become (at least in my mind) a far more fluid and open term. For example, one of the fashion blogs that I have recently enjoyed reading is created by a 13 year-old girl (she was 11 when she started it)! Thus, does age affect who is considered to have legitimate taste? Do you think with advent of blogs have a democratizing effect on artistic taste and legitimacy or will our fashion culture forever be in the hands of Anna Wintour types? Here some blogs that I personally look to for examples of good taste:




Let me know what you guys think and some of the people/websites that you look to for style inspiration! Have a great rest of the week 🙂

Welcome to the Kitchen

This week I want to step into the shoes of one of my favorite people to ever walk this earth, Julia Child.  My love for her began when I saw the movie Julie and Julia back in 2009.  After the movie, I remember YouTubeing her videos and laughing hysterically with my sister.  One of the videos was her cooking for her husband, who liked to eat his food burnt, so at the end of the video she brought the food out of the oven burnt to a crisp.  The genuine manner, which she presented herself, allowed her audience to know she was being completely serious when she pulled the burnt food out of the oven.  Her husband enjoyed his food burnt, and that was the way she was going to prepare it.  I have never seen another lesson on burnt cooking, which is why Julia was so attractive.  Her absurdity and antics in the kitchen led her into stardom and into my life as well.

She loved to cook and she loved to eat.  What I like about her is knowing she worked hard to learn how to cook and that it was not a process that came over night.  I find this comforting because I am striving to be an armature cook.  I enjoy cooking so much and I especially enjoy eating my own food.  There comes to be a better appreciation for the labor and time spent preparing a meal that you get to enjoy while eating.  Cooking for me is also a time where I can take my mind off my busy schedule and do a mindless activity for a half hour.  It has also provided me with an opportunity to invite friends over and share my home and food for them.  Cooking for or with friends is a satisfying experience.  If you’re trying to get to know someone better, why not have him or her over for dinner?  You have time to talk with them while preparing, eating, and cleaning.

Even if you don’t know how to cook, just pull a recipe from a cookbook or on the web and follow it plain and simple.  Stir-frys are often easy to make, taking little time and tasting great!  Some of my favorite foods to cook with are sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, frozen spinach, tempeh (a soy replacement for meat), couscous, and Indian spices like ginger, cumin, and coriander.

Even if your meal turns out horribly, don’t give up!  Cooking is like anything, the more you practice the better you become.  Plus, I’m not sure much can be worse than Julia’s burnt food!

The Greatest City That Was

A city is a vertical landscape, organized linearly, radially, sometimes seemingly at random; the horizon is not the edge of the earth’s curvature, but instead the structures that define not only space but the dynamics of the space. It is not a sterile grid in which everything is set in its own place, but an integrated system in which everything is interdependent, and yet, it can be self-sustainable all on its own, self-contained cohesive unit separate from the world without.

Then take this city, and compress it. Compress it tenfold, a hundredfold, pushing ever more into a smaller space, and suddenly the old structures are no longer sufficient to support its populace, its original infrastructure and functions and standards. Some things must shift in order to re-adapt and to accommodate its new conditions, while others must be sacrificed altogether. The result is a hyperdense urban area, a living, breathing organism, complex and incomprehensible and breathtakingly terrifying all at once.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing examples exists in the Kowloon Walled City of Hong Kong.

It was once a military fort, existing for hundreds of years without much change. Once urban settlement began, however, it grew and grew- never spilling outside the boundaries of its walls, but building upon building upon building springing up and around and against and on top of and between one another. The buildings tended to hover somewhere between 10 and 15 storeys, depending on the source one reads- and at is peak population may have reached a density of 3,249,000 people per square mile. It was fraught with crime and and violence, and although many of its residents might have been perfectly average and hardworking, the area lay outside the jurisdiction of both the British government and the Chinese. There was no official control, no official regulation. The Walled City was left to its own devices. Yet it thrived and it flourished, a city and a world all unto its own.

Architecture was, on average, haphazard; additions were were made wherever there was space. Wikipedia provides:

The City’s dozens of alleyways were often only 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) wide, and had poor lighting and drainage. An informal network of staircases and passageways also formed on upper levels, which was so extensive that one could travel north to south through the entire City without ever touching solid ground. Construction in the City went unregulated, and most of the roughly 350 buildings were built with poor foundations and few or no utilities. Because apartments were so small—about 60% were 23 m2 (250 sq ft)—space was maximized with wider upper floors, caged balconies, and rooftop additions. Roofs in the City were full of television antennas, clotheslines, water tanks, and garbage, and could be crossed using a series of ladders.”

Instead of streets, there are only alleys so one may navigate between buildings. Yet the buildings are packed so closely together that the space between them is nearly negligible. There is little light, little breathing room. Were one to stand outside at street level, there might peek a sliver of sky, and perhaps sunlight would reach down when the sun was high, as a deep and narrow rift cut through canyon walls. The buildings of the Walled City look less like separate structures than one whole, as if one took any other city, ran it through a trash compactor, and spit it back out- fissures here and there, a crack, a small awkwardly-shaped opening there, where nothing else might fit- but the distinctions and boundaries between personal and public space are no longer defined by conventional standards.

It was demolished in 1993, and in its place today stands an open park. Broken and whole, derelict but alive, the Kowloon Walled City was (and is) nothing to be trifled with. Should it have survived, it might yet be a microcosm of its own, a hyperbole of the metropolis, a distinct urban ecosystem unlike any other.

Other images of interest (which you really ought to look at): The Walled City in 1973, and a ridiculously detailed artist’s rendering of a cross section.