On February 1, 2011, we celebrated the second anniversary of the Webner House blog. It has been an interesting two years.
We’ve pretty much remained true to our initial post, which set forth the concept of the blog. Of course, I’d like to see more posts from Richard, and Russell, and Kish, because I think the expression of different views makes things more interesting — and I know that we all have different views on many issues. For that same reason, I’ve been happy with my big brother’s embrace of blogging. UJ and I have different views on many things, but I respect and appreciate his thoughtful posts even when I disagree with them. And, of course, Penny brings an entirely different, four-footed perspective to the table. I’m hopeful that, as time passes, we see more postings from other members of the Webner clan, near and far.
Blogging is a fascinating demonstration of the power and reach of the internet. We are closing in on 60,000 hits on our humble family blog and have received comments on our writings from people across the world. It is fascinating to read what they have to say, and it makes the world seem like a more intimate place where diverse people who may nevertheless share common interests can freely chat about almost anything. The process is inherently empowering and is probably why repressive regimes seem to view the internet as a deadly enemy.
As we move into our third year, we Webners give our heartfelt thanks to all of our readers, comment-makers, and friends.
Today is National Signing Day. For those of you who don’t follow college football — and if you fall into that category, you really should reconsider your life priorities — National Signing Day is the day that high school athletes sign letters committing to attend certain schools. National Signing Day has become a kind of holiday for sports fans, even though the only sports-related activity is the athlete picking up a pen and signing his name. It has become like Selection Sunday, when the NCAA Tournament field is announced, or the day that pitchers and catchers reports for spring training.
The dynamics of National Signing Day are interesting to observe. Most teams go into the Day with a roster of “verbals” — athletes who have already verbally committed to sign their letter of intent. However, there are always a few holdouts who announce their decision on National Signing Day, usually by picking among the caps of competing teams and putting on the hat of the winning school. As a result, evaluation of recruiting success or failure becomes perversely skewed to the holdouts. Fans of schools like Ohio State, which already has “verbals” from more than 20 excellent athletes, will focus on the holdouts and feel let down if their team doesn’t land one, when they should be focused less on the prima donnas and more on the corps of fine players who long ago agreed to be part of their school’s program.
When National Signing Day comes, coaches get to finally talk about their recruits. After they have done so, I imagine they breathe a sign of relief, and then start planning their next recruiting trip.
The painting, called “A Sacra Conversazione: The Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria,” sold for $16.9 million. The painting has all of the standard features of a “Madonna and child” painting — the plump but alert baby Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes, held by his placid mother Mary, who is clad in dark clothing. The only remarkable thing about the painting is that two other characters are shown, too.
When I read the BBC story and saw the painting it reminded me of my visit to the Louvre many years ago. I love art and I love looking at artwork in museums, but walking through room after room of “Madonna and Child” paintings definitely gave me “Madonna and Child” fatigue. I felt guilty about my reaction, but after the first few dozen of the paintings I found myself unable to appreciate the artist’s technique, the depiction of the angelic features of the mother and child, the positioning of the characters, the background representations, and so forth. Instead, I found myself thinking things like: “Wow, Jesus was really a porker! What the heck have they been feeding him?” I was happy when I finally got to the Mona Lisa and left the “Madonna and Child” rooms behind.