Friday, March 16, 2018

Emeriti Event

GW's Society of the Emeriti (SOTE) met for lunch in GW's Textile Museum. Two special events followed lunch, a stimulating lecture by Professor Halal and a visit to the "Vanishing Traditions" exhibit.

(1) Professor William E. Halal gave a fascinating and thought-provoking talk entitled "Beyond Knowledge: Technology Is Creating An Age of Consciousness." 

I could not begin to summarize it here but I will mention a few of Professor Halal's striking comments.

We are now living in a post-factual world (all of us, not just Trump). We are beyond knowledge as opinions have replaced facts. Everyone is now voicing opinions.

He clarified at the outset that, when he refers to the Technology Revolution, he does not mean IT only but also, for example, organic farming, aquaculture, climate control, smart robots, 3D printing, fuel cell cars, space tourism, and cancer cure.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the critical areas.

By 2000 a $1000 PC will have the power of the human brain.
By 2025 Weak AI will replace routine knowledge work.
By 2040 General AI will be comparable to humans.

2020-2030 Most Likely Scenario
cancer cure
climate shift
global ethics
global brain
automation of routine thought

Biggest increase in future jobs: Creative Work e.g. entrepreneurs, artists - Computers cannot imitate these jobs

Complex manual work will remain because computers cannot do it - e.g. barbers, janitors, farmers, cooks, gardeners, repairmen, carpenters, dentists, care givers

Obstacles to Global Maturity
Lack of leadership, political will, vision, cooperation, etc.

How far up on the pyramid of consciousness can AI go? Perception, Awareness, Memory yes; but emotion? AI can simulate emotion but cannot experience real emotion.

Final thought: Computers will become very powerful and will replace humans BUT humans will always be needed.

But we need to develop global ethics - we need collaboration (diplomacy, joint problem-solving), centrist solutions (green tax, corporate citizenship, government markets), and conflict resolution (peacemaking, arbitration, mediation)

(2) Museum Visit "Vanishing Traditions: Textiles & Treasures from Southwest China" -  an exhibit of textiles from Guizhou

We were given these lovely bookmarks from the exhibit.

Here are some photos of items in the exhibit:


 baby carriers
Mothers carried their children to work with them until they were three years old

 clothing for a man

 hats and shoes for children

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Double Billing: India and Bolivia

Our fearless leaders, Rosemary and Chas, suggested "Tandoori Nights" in Annandale (7137 Little River Turnpike) for our latest outing. I think everyone agreed that the food was very good. And the conversation, of course, was interesting!

We were each given two complete menus, one Indian and the other Bolivian. The latter had very few (almost none!) meatless or fishless dishes but the former had a fine array of vegetarian specialities. My choice was delicious!  Paneer Makhani - Cubes of homemade cheese, cooked in creamy tomato sauce. And, of course, the delicious Naan bread.

My photos did not turn out very well. When John sends me his, I will do a switch.

Doesn't Chas look like a Swedish King meeting with his Royal Council?

We were pleased to welcome Ralph as a new member of our group and to welcome Indra's son Andy as an out-of-town guest who will certainly be welcome any time. (This goes for Lester and his daughter Sophie as well who have also joined our group in the past.)

This is a test. Find the differences between the two photos.

 Left to right, Ralph, Christine, Camilla, Rosemary, King Henry, John, May, Indra, Andy

Left to right, Ralph, Christine, Camilla, Rosemary, King Henry, John, May, Indra, Andy

Thank you, Chas and Rosemary, for planning a wonderful evening. I look forward to the next outing of this very special group.

Feminine Domesticity

My friend Barbara and I went to the National Museum for Women in the Arts today to see the exhibit "Women House" that contains 90 works displaying feminine domesticity. A constant theme was the imprisoning of women in the house.

Here are some of the works:

"A Doll's House" - Inspired Ibsen's play "A Doll's House"

Note in particular the room to the right on the top floor where the female resident of the house, an artist, has a nude male model.

 Barbara and Christine standing in front of a quotation by Nora from "A Doll's House"

"But our house has been nothing but a play-room. Here I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I used to be papa's doll-child," says Nora, the main character in Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House. Ibsen equates a child's toy with a prison in which a woman moves from room to room, trapped in fantasies and representations of womanhood. Written in 1879, this play profoundly influenced early women's liberation movements. Beginning a century later, women artists used miniaturized depictions of the house and its furnishings to offer their satirical take on stereotypical gender roles and the (x) of day-to-day chores.

A chess set using pieces depicting household products such as ironing boards, lamps, refrigerators, and televisions

 A variety of houses in different shapes and colors - Blue Japanese House on the far left

The artist climbs into a cupboard where she feels safe and can meditate in her own space.

We had a nice lunch in the Mezzanine Cafe of the Museum.

Barbara with her shrimp salad         Christine's salad with greens, apples, pine nuts, and goat cheese

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Music by IBIS

Barbara is a follower of the IBIS Chamber Music Society. Today Camilla and I joined her for a performance at the Rock Spring Congregational Church in Arlington. The theme was WAR and PEACE.

                            Barbara and Camilla                                             Christine

The concert included the following:

(1) Farewell to Arms, Op 9: Introduction and Aria by Gerald Finzi (1901-1956)
      Soprano Elizabeth Kluegel sang the lyrics and John Sutherland Earle accompanied her on the piano.

(2) Canzone, Op 38a, for violin (Joseph Scheer) and piano (Earle) by Samuel Barber (1910-1981)

(3) Three Songs by Gabriel Faure': Lydia, Clair de Lune, and Apres un Reve by Gabriel Faure'

(4) Elegie, Op 24, for cello (Sean Neidlinger) and piano (Earle)

(5) Dover Beach, Op 3 by Samuel Barber (It was Matthew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach")

(6) Piano Quartet No 1, Op 15 in c minor by Gabriel Faure' - This was the masterpiece of the concert! Incredible! Earle (piano), Matthew Maffett (viola), Neidlinger (cello), and Scheer (violin). 

Cellist Neidlinger and Violist Maffett

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Love That Risotto!

Dona and I went to Annapolis for lunch today. We had a delicious meal at our favorite Annapolis restaurant, Carrol's Creek Cafe. I had the same thing I always have - risotto. It is the best risotto I have ever eaten!

Dona and Christine 

We then shared a deliciously decadent chocolate bomb dessert.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Lunch with Betsy

Christine and Betsy

I met my friend Betsy for lunch today. Our restaurant choice was True Food Kitchen in the Mosaic District. She had spaghetti squash and I had an individual Margherita pizza that was truly delicious.

Although the food was very good, the noise level is really excessive, unfortunately. I would not consider going back unless we were able to get a table outside.  Despite the noise, however, we had a very nice time. I always enjoy chatting with Betsy.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

A Predominantly Norwegian-Themed Lunch

Today is International Women's Day and I celebrated it with two exceptional women. I met my friends Marie and Solveig for lunch at the Alexandria Pastry Shop. Most topics of conversation centered on Things Norwegian.

                           Marie and Solveig

                                                         Christine  Marie and Solveig


Marie very kindly gave Solveig and me each a sweet dessert, one of the Pastry Shop's delicious cookies.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

George invited us to join him at the Church of the Epiphany for a splendid concert. It was the Washington Bach Consort performing (1) Prelude and Fugue in C by Jeremy Filsell on the organ and (2) Cantata: Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen. It was absolutely glorious.

A quick photo inside the church before I turned off my phone

After the concert, we went to the Bon Pain nextdoor for lunch and conversation. We all chose one of the delicious soups.

 John O, Christine, and Janet

 George and his friend Eleanora


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Visitors from France

Arthur is back in the States and this time he has brought his charming fiancee. We went to Yindee Thai in Springfield for dinner this evening. Here are a few photos of the happy couple.

Doesn't Arthur look like the cat that has just eaten the canary?!


My dinner - Pad Thai with tofu

Sunday, February 25, 2018

An Outing for Lovers of Norwegian Theater

A group of ten of us attended a performance of "Nuora" at the Lansburgh Shakespeare Theatre. This play was an Arab-American adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House.

In the photo above you will see, from left to right, May, Christine, Marie, John (standing), Verna, Barbara, and Joel. Three members of our group - Solveig, Elden, and Sunneva - were unable to join us for coffee and our lively discussion after the performance.

It was a wonderful afternoon - an interesting play in a lovely setting and a cordial, interesting discussion in the spectacular courtyard between the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American Art.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Lively Discussion

Our Sons of Norway lodge's Reading Circle met to discuss Jo Nesbo's Blood on Snow. Those present were Marie, John O, Tim, Richard, Linda, Lynn, and Christine.

The discussion was, as always, animated and interesting. Much of it centered on the Fixer's wife Corina and whether she was a victim of sexual abuse or a ruthless Black Widow.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Dinner and a Play at GW

May, Janet, and I had a leisurely dinner at Panera's at GW before attending the GW student play Translations. An enjoyable evening!

The play was written by Brian Friel and directed by Jodi Kanter.

From the playbill:

The play's themes of identity, community, and colonialism resonated with a variety of political and cultural issues of the early 1980s,  the midpoint of the thirty-year conflict between Northern Ireland and the republic of Ireland commonly known as The Troubles.

The characters all struggle to discover their individual identities by learning to communicate with each other.

Translations identifies colonialism as a factor contributing to this gap in communication. The linguistic barriers impeding progress between the English and the Irish in 1833 would not be present if the English respected Ireland's autonomy and culture.

 \                                   May and Janet in the dark theater before the performance

The stage set before the lights went out

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Powerful Music

May, Indra, Barbara, and I went to a concert this afternoon at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Falls Church. It was powerful!

More details later.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Swiss Food Again!

Marie, Tina, and I met at the Swiss Bakery for lunch. We spent two hours in stimulating conversation. I forgot to get a photo of us, unfortunately. However, here are some photos of the bakery and its "crown jewel," the delicious Linder cookie.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Celebrating John

Janet and I wanted to celebrate John's reception into the Episcopal Church. We invited him to a dinner at Janet's house. She made delicious manicotti and Arthur (my live-in chef from Paris) provided a heavenly French cheesecake. (He should go into the catering business!)

John Q, Janet, John O, and John Q Junior 

Arthur's Cheesecake

Saturday, February 03, 2018

A Birthday

Colin is now a teen-ager! We celebrated his birthday today.

Arthur took me to Game Shop to buy Colin's gifts. Colin made it clear, "NO BOOKS."

Arthur prepared the main course, Eggs Benedict. I added the peas.

 Arthur and Christian


                                                                Auguri, Colin!

Proud Mima