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The Purple Muse

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Welcome to the web site of The Purple Muse.  We offer commentary and opinion on the major issues being debated in our world today.

Monday, December 4, 2017

End of an Era

This morning I talked to web.com about some issues regarding my web site.  I discovered that this site is built on software that is being phased out.  I had seen some evidence of this as I was losing access to certain features for my site.  In order to continue on web.com I will have to completely rebuild the site from scratch.  I do not wish to go through the effort to do this.  Therefore, I will be ending thepurplemuse.com sometime in the coming months. 

I haven't decided when the final date will be that I remove all the existing material from the Internet.  I haven't decided how or if I will continue to put my material in the public domain.  But it is now pointless to add material to this site.  I expect this to be my final blog on thepurplemuse.com. 

Thanks to everyone that has visited thepurplemuse.com over the past 10 plus years, especially those that have given me suggestions regarding how to make the site better.

You can continue to find me on Twitter - @thepurplemuse.

TPM

12:24 pm          Comments

Monday, November 27, 2017

Leonardo da Vinci

If you were asked to name the five greatest geniuses of the past thousand years, I believe most people would include Leonardo da Vinci on this extremely exclusive list.  I have admired the works of Leonardo since I first heard about him as a teenager decades ago.  I have seen the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris among a large crowd of tourists.  I was well aware that Leonardo was much more than a painter.  I knew that Bill Gates purchased some of his notebooks for millions of dollars a few years ago.  But how much did I really know about one of the greatest men to ever walk the planet? 

As I was walking through a book store a couple of weeks I saw a new biography of Leonardo by Walter Isaacson.  I decided it was time for me to learn more about this great man.  Isaacson wrote biographies of Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs that I reviewed on this web site.  I was confident that his biography of Leonardo da Vinci would be excellent.  It is. 

We know Leonardo primarily as a painter.  He is probably the greatest painter of his era and maybe the greatest ever, although I am sure others would disagree.  But Leonardo was far more.  He was an engineer, scientist and architect.  We could give him many different titles.  He gathered knowledge on an incredible number of subjects though-out his life and documented them in his notebooks. 

Leonardo was the illegitimate son of a Florentine notary (lawyer in modern nomenclature) and a peasant girl from the town of Vinci, near Florence.  Isaacson explains Leonardo's complex family relationships that impacted him throughout his life. Leonardo had virtually no formal education as a child yet became one of the most learned men of his time due to his lifetime of learning about an incredible number of subjects.  Leonardo was a homosexual man that apparently never had any meaningful relationship with women other than as subjects for his greatest paintings.  During parts of his life Leonardo may have acted as a pedophile because of his relationships with boys. 

Although Leonardo was a genius he was also human and had some great failures.  His inability to devise the appropriate paint for plaster walls resulted in technical failures of some of his greatest works, including The Last Supper.  Leonardo failed to meet the expectations of his customers on many important projects because he delayed or never finished them.  Leonardo planned to publish a number of books from the information he documented in his notebooks but none were ever completed and published. 

I knew that Leonardo painted a small number of paintings during his life.  Until I read the book I didn't realize that Leonardo didn't really like to paint as he aged and refused many lucrative commissions.  During much of his adult life Leonardo made his living producing pageants and plays for his patrons.  He designed sets and costumes to entertain the courts that he served.  He was a media mogul of sorts during his time.

Leonardo was born in Vinci, apprenticed in Florence and worked in Florence. Milan, Rome and France during his life.  He lived at the same time as Michaelangelo, Raphael, Machiavelli and the Borgia's.  He knew and interacted with all of the greatest people of his area and time.  He was an acknowledged superstar during his era. 

A couple of weeks ago the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in private hands was sold at auction for about $450M.  The painting has a "unique history" that I won't review here.  Can anyone imagine what the Mona Lisa is worth?  If you have any interest in Leonardo that is unsatisfied by your current level of knowledge I suggest you read Walter Isaacson's new book, Leonardo da Vinci

TPM

11:17 am          Comments

Friday, November 17, 2017

Alphabet Novels - Part 3

I just finished reading the next five Alphabet Novels by Sue Grafton.  Kinsey Millhone continues to develop as a private investigator and deals with new cases, her current personal issues and her past.  She also deals with her "good angel" and "bad angel" as she tries to determine the best way to solve her cases. 

The series of novels is extremely interesting with the author continuing to place the character in the mid - 1980s as real time marches on.  Kinsey is also approximately my age within the time frame of the novels which is also very interesting.  

"K" is for Killer - 1994

"L" is for Lawless - 1995

"M" is for Malice - 1996

"N" is for Noose - 1998 

"O" is for Outlaw - 1999 

I will return to the Alphabet novels in the coming months. 

TPM

2:53 pm          Comments

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Spenser Novels - Part 3

I recently finished reading ten more of the Spenser novels by Robert B. Parker.  All of the novels are interesting, some have plot elements relating to social issues which were active during the period when the novels were written.  I have now read thirty of the forty-one novels.  I will return to reading Spenser soon.  

Walking Shadow - 1994

Thin Air - 1995

Chance - 1996

Small Vices - 1997

Sudden Mischief - 1998

Hush Money - 1999

Hugger Mugger - 2000

Potshot - 2001

Widow's Walk - 2002

Back Story - 2003 

The age of the main characters in the series is getting very interesting.  Parker continues to age the relationship between Spenser and Susan Silverman in a manner that is consistent with the calendar time of the publication of the books.  However, he no longer discusses the actual age of the characters in the books.  By 2003 Spenser and Silverman should be roughly 60 years old but there is no indication they are being impacted by their age.  It will be interesting to read how this impacts the remaining novels in the series. 

TPM

4:15 pm          Comments

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Alphabet Novels - Part 2

I recently finished the next seven Alphabet novels by Sue Grafton. They cover a relative short period in Kinsey Millhone's life but were written over about seven years of Sue Grafton's life.  By novel ten some new elements have been added to Kinsey's life.  It will be interesting to see how Ms. Grafton blends them into the series.  I have acquired the remaining books in the series that are currently available in paperback, through number 24.  They continue to be very interesting.  I will return to to this series soon.  Here are novels number 4 through 10. 

D is for Deadbeat - 1987

'E' is for Evidence - 1988

'F' is for Fugitive - 1989

G is for Gumshoe - 1990

"H" is for Homicide - 1991

I is for Innocent - 1992

"J" is for Judgement - 1993 

If you like detective novels, you will like the Alphabet novels. 

TPM

3:27 pm          Comments

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