Just for the record. “awesome” c.1600, “profoundly reverential,” from awe + some. Meaning “inspiring awe” is from 1670s; weakened colloquial sense of “impressive, very good” is recorded, by 1961 and was in vogue from after c.1980. Post 2011, it became a tiresome, profoundly irrelevant term used by Americans without vocabularies nurtured by reading books. Jus’ sayin’.
True, we live in a world with ample geography, geology, chemistry, biology, history, culture, art, events and individuals that warrant such a descriptive adjective, but not your new shoes, your dentist bill or the outcome of a football game. Enough.
Forget terrorism and climate change, here’s some good news.
Microsoft’s newest version works and once you get it downloaded and installed/upgraded you can finally smile. It’s not awesome, no OS is. It’s quirky in a Windows way with a few rough edges, but after the whole version 8 and 8.1 experience, Windows is welcome in my house again. The days of XP when platforms were boxes beside your desk with keyboards and mice are gone. The cloud, touch, voice and mobile are our new reality. Yawn? Android and iOS millennial fan boys should remember I’m a boomer like most of the five regular readers here. C prompt anyone?
Recent Adventures: France and Asheville Fall
We had a wonderful visit to France again this summer.
A few days in beautiful exciting Paris where folks take their time to enjoy a meal and have conversations without their “devices” on the table. Revisited many of the tourist spots (see the 1st 3 minutes of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.) Got around on the Metro, swooned at the D’Orsay and Louvre and enjoyed the bread at the sidewalk cafes. Joined a Trafalgar gang of Canadians, Brits, Yanks and Aussies for two weeks and a ride around some of country’s the sweet spots: Rhone valley, Provence, Monoco, Riviera, Carcassonne, Bordeaux, Loire valley, Mont St. Michel and Giverny. Then back to Paris where we hooked up with an old pal. Jean François had lived with me as a graduate student at GWU in DC back in the 70s.
Fast-forward. His family’s historic estate (de Tocqueville wrote his book on Democracy in American there) is located in Baugy, a village near Compiègne. Now his beautiful daughter was having her wedding there. We stayed there for a few days as preparations were made for the big event – a grand affair lasting almost 12 hours. An unforgettable memory and reunion with Jean’s family.
Back in Asheville for the fall semester at UNCA/OLLI – interrupted for a week-long watercolor workshop with talented Ann Vasilik and another week romp with 200+ caricaturists in Sandusky, OH. We took great courses: Famous Courtesans, Lighthouses, Lon Chaney, Fracking, and Profiles of Historic Women. I taught two others: Basic Drawing and “What to do with your Travel Photos” – the later with a pal, seasoned instructor Dennis. When you teach/facilitate a course, you learn so much, one of the reasons I love to do this. Our classes at OLLI are filled with enthusiastic (they bail if they’re bored,) knowledgeable, experienced participants. We all teach each other.
Another old pal stopped by for a visit – cousin Sara from Israel. When I visited there in 1971 she was our fabulous guide taking us all over from Banias to Jerusalem. So good to see her again.
This year’s caricature convention in Sandusky was fun but absent many European and Japanese friends. The art work keeps getting better and increasingly digital. Met and spent a little time with life-long illustrator-hero C.F. Payne. Pinch me. Quick look video link.
by Kerry Waghorn
“A Full Life,” his latest book may seem like an odd choice to discuss here. He’s 91 now and just escaped a death sentence of cancer. Happy for him and his family. Although I’m not a christian, I was always an admirer. Not a politician, he was/is a wise leader. Since his presidency, he has accomplished more as trusted diplomat, adviser and election observer. His participation and promotion of Habitat has done much good. He is an engineer, a farmer, a poet, a painter, an artisan, a good man, and a hero.