Adios, Chicago!

At least for now. Thanx for giving us such great weather!

We spent the last couple of days in Chicago visiting the Art Institute, the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago History Museum. We’d been to the Institute last Fall but it’s so big and diverse it’s always worth a visit.

Along the way we checked out The Bean. Which the artist who designed it calls Cloud Gate but anyone who’s ever seen it knows it’s really a giant bean:

We spent more of our time on this trip going through the Asian art collection. I particularly enjoyed the Indian pieces because I’d been introduced to the subcontinent’s mythology as a teenager after reading Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light. It was fun seeing what the various gods and goddesses “actually” looked like. Very few matched my expectations :).

The Institute also has a fine collection of ancient Greek ceramics, including this cup, which I can’t imagine would be useful for drinking anything but alcohol, since you clearly couldn’t put it down anywhere. At least until you were too drunk to care what happened to it.

It’s not all about ancient stuff, though, as they also have a wonderful collection of European art. Including this piece. Which I think is the most beautiful Rodin sculpture I’ve ever seen.

And then there was this guy, in the Japanese collection. Despite his appearance he’s actually a helpful demigod devoted to education and learning. I’d sure focus on my studies if I thought some “helpful” guy who looked like this was keeping an eye on me!

On a more traditional playful note, I really liked this piece of Chinese art. Who knew camels could laugh?

A particularly interesting piece of scroll work also showed what the best dressed public officials in China were supposed to wear. I think the San Carlos City Council would look great decked out this way!

And here’s a new mascot for Seth’s & my podcast devoted to “…the intersection of economics, history, politics, psychology and science”, The Boiling Frog.

Not sure he’d win us more listeners…

Most of the animals in the zoo were in hiding, no doubt because the weather was turning cold. The Chicago History Museum is definitely worth a visit to learn more about the city’s on-going conflict between hustling to make a living, incorporating massive waves of diverse immigrants and dealing with the classism and racism that all too often result.

After that it was so long, Chicago and on to the Amtrak train that was taking us to Vicksburg!

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