Open Thread – Pretty Pictures

Just because I can. These were taken at the Mosteiro Santa Maria da Vitória in Batalha in Portugal.

It is quite an extraordinary building. The church is narrow, but its sparse, almost willowy columns draw one’s eyes up to the breathtaking height of its ceilings. Out the back, there are the Capelas Imperfeitas, the Unfinished Chapels – a massive, unceilinged, octagonal space of curlicued stone where swallows swoop and squabble. The charming cloister is made even more pleasant by the sight of several handsome soldiers – stern faced, yet shyly amiable, and oh so young – guarding the tombs of two Portuguese unknown soldiers.

 Batalha
Batalha

Feel free to share links if you have photographed (or otherwise made) something you like recently.

Edited after posting for more photoey goodness.






70 replies
  1. 1
    aimai says:

    Looks like Sainte Chappelle in Paris. I can’t post a picture but its well worth looking at and going to see it. This year I had the great, great, good fortune of seeing two different world heritage sites. The Amber Fort in Jaipur and the underground cities in Cappadocia. Its easy to get jaded by good fortune, by pictures, by the sense that everything that can be seen can be seen at a distance. But to be in the space, craning your neck to look up. To be on top of an elephant looking down in the same physical space that a king once looked down as he entered his palace. To be surrounded by the pleine air and the clouds or the dust of a specific place (albeit including the sweat of your fellow tourists) is a totally different experience and you really approach the sublime in a way that can’t happen with a mere photo.

    aimai

  2. 2
    geg6 says:

    Don’t know if this will post, but here’s some similarly pretty pics of a chapel, Heinz Chapel at my alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh:

    http://www.photohome.com/pictu.....pel-2a.jpg

    http://www.heinzchapel.pitt.ed.....rior/1.jpg

    They aren’t my photos, but I don’t do photography. I only appreciate it.

  3. 3
    eemom says:

    No pix, but I shall seize upon this open thread to share the most EPIC FUCKING AWESOME smackdown EVAH of so-called “liberals” pimping Ron Paul.

    A certain little shit who shall remain nameless has met his match.

    Even the Mighty Twittering Cole can’t save his sorry ass this time.

  4. 4
    Maude says:

    @geg6:
    Beautiful and the photos are also beautiful. I could go into the church, sit down and look at the stained glass for hours.

  5. 5
    geg6 says:

    @eemom:

    Yup. Read it. Loved it. Hell, I posted it on my FB page (which I almost never do). I want to post it everywhere.

    And GG’s response has been the most pitiful thing I’ve ever seen. Mewling about how all those non-white liberals who say the same things about Paul and Obama that GG does are being marginalized and ignored. What, Glenn? All three of them?

  6. 6
    kindness says:

    I’m kinda torn. I support Israel but not the Netanyahu version it’s become. Wednesday Israel’s Supreme Court issued a ruling supporting on a law which allowed Israel to bar Israelis who marry non-Israelis who aren’t Jewish from being able to bring their spouses to Israel to live with them. Here’s Haaretz’s article titled Supreme Court Thrusts Israel Down the Slope of Apartheid.

    I grew up in the NY suburbs. A large number of my friends and in-laws are Jewish. I want to support Israel but I have to say that treating Israelis who aren’t Jewish differently than Israelis who are is the same as apartheid. We see it here in the US with gay spouses but thank goodness we stopped the haters from doing the same thing based on religion and ancestry.

  7. 7
    geg6 says:

    @Maude:

    Isn’t it? I may be an atheist, but I can appreciate the true beauty of it. I always said that if I was ever insane enough to get married, I’d do it there and have my reception in the Commons Room at the Cathedral of Learning:

    http://ts2.mm.bing.net/images/.....4e7495c52d

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Brachiator says:

    Here’s a link to a cool graphic on Maslow’s hierarchy of InterTubes needs.

    Cats figure into the equation.

  10. 10
    PeakVT says:

    Very nice. I have a picture of the unfinished chapels I tried to link to, but FYWP doesn’t like me today. Click on my name (hopefully) to see it.

  11. 11
    Cat Lady says:

    The snippet of song (“somebody left the gate open”) from that cool Citibank ad of the woman on top of the rock spire has become such an earworm of mine that I had to track it down so now you all can have it too. You’re welcome.

  12. 12
    Violet says:

    Gorgeous photos!

    Since this is an open thread, can someone help me figure out why I don’t have the buttons for Bold, Blockquote, etc. above the posting box anymore? I’m using Firefox 8.0 (just checked) and have had them until the other day when they vanished. I haven’t changed anything about FF — no add ons or any other settings. My computer did download a Windows Update, but I can’t remember if that was before or after this happened.

    I checked Internet Explorer, which I don’t use much at all, and I see the buttons there, so I think it’s a FF issue. I’m just not sure how to fix it.

    I’ve got Flashblock running, but I’ve had that for ages, so I don’t think that’s the problem.

    Anyone got ideas or suggestions?

  13. 13
    satby says:

    @eemom: Thank you for that. I needed a cigarette, and I haven’t smoked in 40 years.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Mark S. says:

    @eemom:

    There are not many litmus tests for being a progressive in good standing in this country, but one would think, if there were, that surely to God, civil rights would be one of them.

    The whole thing was awesome.

  16. 16
    catclub says:

    @Brachiator: productivity triangle far too large.

  17. 17
    satby says:

    And since this is an open thread, I just want to tell everyone that my granddaughter, Madison Noelle is one today. A milestone that one year ago was very much in doubt, as she was born almost 4 months early at 25 weeks gestation. Her dad is in Afghanistan right now, but we’re still overjoyed today.

  18. 18
    JGabriel says:

    All those spandrels in the photos remind me of late Stephen Jay Gould. I wonder what Gould would have made of all those GOP presidential candidates denying evolution.

    .

  19. 19
    ThresherK says:

    Wow, even knowing how mere photos “crush down” the look of things.

    Also, “It took over a century to build, starting in 1386 and ending circa 1517, spanning the reign of seven kings” reminds me that in America, “historical” is liable to be something built before everyone had television. Other places, not so much!

  20. 20
    Violet says:

    @eemom:
    Awesome stuff. Love it.

    @satby: Congrats! Big milestone.

  21. 21
    Yevgraf says:

    @aimai:

    Loved St Chappelle. It was worth braving the courthouse line and security to go see.

    Recently, the spouse and her sister walked the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain (the route of St James). There are some neat drone cam videos of a town they stayed in, as well as the destination cathedral.

    http://vimeo.com/19009743

    http://vimeo.com/27959788

  22. 22
    Brachiator says:

    @catclub:

    productivity triangle far too large.

    Yeah. You probably need a wedge for “Online Gaming.”

    @JGabriel:

    All those spandrels in the photos remind me of late Stephen Jay Gould. I wonder what Gould would have made of all those GOP presidential candidates denying evolution.

    Yeah, but that church was built, so, so, intelligent design, dammit!

  23. 23
    wrb says:

    When in Portugal be sure to see the Templar castle at Tomar.

    Very powerful

  24. 24

    @wrb:

    You are right.
    The round Templar church is one of the more spectacular things I have seen. Also as camp as it gets. Also crossed off my list this trip, thankfully.

  25. 25
    Violet says:

    @eemom:
    My favorite part of the brilliant, righteous piece:

    It isn’t a president, whether his name is Ron Paul or Barack Obama who gets good things done. It is us, demanding change and threatening to literally shut the system down (whether we mean Wall Street, the Port of Oakland, the Wisconsin state capitol, Columbia University, a Woolworth’s lunch counter, or the Montgomery, Alabama bus system) who force presidents and lawmakers to bend to the public will.
    __
    In short, if you’re still disappointed in Barack Obama, it’s only because you never understood whose job it was to produce change in the first place.

    Hell to the motherfucking YES. What was it Obama said last time? “We are the change we have been waiting for”? I think he also said, “Make me do it,” as in, keep pushing me to do the right thing. If progressives and leftists feel he hasn’t done enough, they only need to look in the mirror.

  26. 26
    Elliecat says:

    @eemom: Excellent, excellent, excellent. Of course I got this after a couple decades of seeing what issues lefties and liberals in my supposedly super liberal university town took up and which they never asked questions about—such as why such a supposedly liberal tpow/osqdfaerml

    And this, a million times this:

    In short, if you’re still disappointed in Barack Obama, it’s only because you never understood whose job it was to produce change in the first place.

    For too many people, Obama was supposed to be the big magic daddy who fixed everything so we wouldn’t have to shift our lazy asses to do anything about poverty, racism, etc.

  27. 27
    Kola Noscopy says:

    Photos are just stunning.

    I have GOT to get to Europe before I croak.

    I will tour the art and architecture in this order: Italy, Germany/Poland (I’m a Kraut by blood from both sides; what can I say?), England, France, Spain/Portugal, Netherlands/Nordic countries.

  28. 28
    Yevgraf says:

    Another video I like whenever I get sad about the world is this one. I like it because you don’t see old white wingnuts in it, the music is gorgeous, the sites are nice, and you wind up positive.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

  29. 29
    eemom says:

    @satby:

    Happy Birthday to the Little One, and may her Dad be home to stay SOON.

  30. 30
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @eemom:

    A certain little shit who shall remain nameless has met his match.

    Glad to see your fatal attraction for Glenn continues unabated. It is very entertaining, and I would be sorry to see it wane.

    The Zilla shall never be surpassed. I will follow your link, however, and see what lesser mortal is nipping at his ankles.

  31. 31

    @Kola Noscopy:

    After the sights I have seen this trip, I would put Portugal earlier on that list, if you get the chance. They also have great wine, good food and cute young people. Worth a visit.

  32. 32
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @eemom:

    the most EPIC FUCKING AWESOME smackdown EVAH of so-called “liberals” pimping Ron Paul.

    Oh eemom, you can do better…?

    This is just more wasted breath arguing against something Glennzilla never advocated in the first place. But you and the writer already knew that…I hope. You can read, right?

  33. 33
    eemom says:

    @Kola Noscopy:

    Timmy, I am in such a happy mood after reading that piece that even your trolliest trollery is but the sound of sweet birds chirping on a summer morning.

    I have already asked Mr. Wise to marry both me and my husband.

  34. 34
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @Sarah Proud and Tall:
    @Violet:

    I think he also said, “Make me do it,” as in, keep pushing me to do the right thing. If progressives and leftists feel he hasn’t done enough, they only need to look in the mirror.

    Same old crock. Obama doesn’t do my job. It would be nice if he did his own, though.

    I certainly shouldn’t have to do it for him. He’s being paid rather well, after all. And it would be nice to see him really, really TRY, you know?

    I mean, millions of AMericans have called Barack into the office to let him know he’s on probation and may be fired. We say “we hired you to do a job and you aren’t doing it.”
    Barack says “but YOU have to do the job you hired me for; I’m just a figure head.” We say “nice try, but we have our OWN fucking jobs to do and shouldn’t have to do yours too.” Barack says “but you haven’t PUSHED and prodded and cajoled me enough to MAKE me do the job I was hired to do. It’s YOUR fault!”

    And we say” are you fucking nuts? You don’t even TRY. Ten more months probation and if we don’t see radical improvement you are FIRED.”

  35. 35
    JGabriel says:

    @Kola Noscopy:

    … Spain/Portugal …

    FYI, the Portuguese really resent and dislike being lumped in with the Spanish. I mean really dislike it.

    .

  36. 36
    Birthmarker says:

    My best cathedral (so far!) is La Seu in Palma, Mallorca, Spain. I can’t link but it is easy enough to google. The individual family chapels inside are the most ornate we saw, which I suppose spoke to piracy and the slave trade. Some remodeling was also planned by Gaudi, so there is that. 4 Euros to get in, only a short wait.

  37. 37
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @JGabriel:

    FYI, the Portuguese really resent and dislike being lumped in with the Spanish. I mean really dislike it.

    And I should care why? Aren’t they kind of right next to each other on the map, which is why I connected them?

    Did you check with the Polish to see if they are offended that I “lumped them in” with Germany?

    Do the Travel Ministers of these countries monitor Balloon Juice, looking for offense?

  38. 38
    handsmile says:

    Well we certainly needed an Open Thread, and this one is living up to its billing. Congratulations, satby, to you and your family on such a happy day!

    Here is my contribution to the Arts & Leisure section: “10 Most Amazing Stained Glass from Around the Globe” (a link I have bookmarked):

    http://www.oddee.com/item_97755.aspx

    From the sublime to the ridiculous: I have to believe that by now the corpse of Mr. Greenwald’s advocacy of Ron Paul has been well and truly urinated upon. Frankly, I’ve never understood the appeal of the exercise. Greenwald is regarded by many (most?) here as a bete noire or pinata, regularly derided as a narrow-minded legalistic provocateur, an expatriate lacking political acumen, a windbag. So why did his “support” for a libertarian mountebank inflame so many?

    And here’s my larger, and completely sincere, point: Just where is this alleged progressive support for Ron Paul, of which Glenn Greenwald appears to be the most prominent representative? I read a lot and widely, and so far it seems to me be reports of an Abominable Snowman. Are there more seasoned trackers here to direct me to this menace?

  39. 39

    @Yevgraf: Ah yes, Matt’s dancing around the world is just the perfect antidote when you’re feeling down, for all the reasons you list.

  40. 40
    Catsy says:

    No new finished creations (quite a few WIP), but I just recently posted a retrospective collage of all my best work from 2011.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/catsy/6649032575/

    I’m pretty down on 2011 as a whole, but in retrospect I guess I did pretty good. The GLaDOS model definitely resonated and went viral, if nothing else.

  41. 41
    ruemara says:

    Some people need hobbies beyond Balloon Juice. I’m just saying.

    Lovely shots, SPT. I’m holding on to the plans I have to tour Europe for a season or two. After I spend 6 months in Japan. A girl can dream. I got some photos but it’s the usual boring stuff.

  42. 42
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @satby: Bravo, and big applause!

  43. 43

    @eemom:

    In short, if you’re still disappointed in Barack Obama, it’s only because you never understood whose job it was to produce change in the first place. But don’t take out your own failings in this regard on the rest of us, by giving ideological cover and assorted journalistic love taps to a guy who believes the poor should rely on

    So, now I’m allowed to criticize the President again? No? Only the ‘other side’s’ Pres? I couldn’t be bothered to piss on the grave of the Last Best Confederate Paul’s grave, but then I’m not particularly happy with President Obama on some pretty substantial issues – snd you don’t fucking like that either.

    So, I’m allowed to push as long as I don’t actually push. Fucking finger twiddling bullshit from you. The author pokes his finger in your eye and you fall in love? Consistency, what is it?

  44. 44
    Soonergrunt says:

    @eemom: That’s the most beautiful thing on this thread.

  45. 45
    Mino says:

    The Hostess bankruptcy is a very timely example of locust capitalism. The latest:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....siderecent

    How handy to have this example for folks to study when trying to understand what Bain did.

  46. 46
    ericblair says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    So, now I’m allowed to criticize the President again?

    There’s a difference between “The President and Congress need to do this, and here’s how we start pushing for change” and “The President sucks and is evil and we might as well vote for the Republican.”

  47. 47
    Mino says:

    Now that attention is on this subject–welshing on employee contracts, maybe we can get Congress to do something about that Supreme ruling. Because it is wage theft.

    Cause they aren’t going to stop with defined benfits. They’ll find a way to get to the 401K’s, too.

  48. 48
    satby says:

    Thank you all!

  49. 49
    eemom says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I’m not particularly happy with President Obama on some pretty substantial issues – snd you don’t fucking like that either.

    This may come as a shock to you, but I don’t give a shit who you’re happy with. You’re just a nasty, angry little gnome.

  50. 50

    @eemom:

    Yes, and you bothered to answer the fucking point didn’t you? I’d wear names you call me as a badge of pride, frankly. Good job.

    Of course you don’t give a shit, which makes your post so silly.

  51. 51
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Like aimai, I was thinking of the Sainte-Chapelle. The best way to visit it is with a friend who’s been there before, and will lead you up the stairs and out into the middle of the upper chapel with your eyes closed, so you can open them to be greeted with a symphony in stained glass.

  52. 52
    Kola Noscopy says:

    Can’t we all just get along?

  53. 53
    wrb says:

    @handsmile:

    Just where is this alleged progressive support for Ron Paul

    There is a lot of Paulism among people who call themselves progressive but aren’t. At FDL, for example. Seems to have become Paul fan site.

  54. 54
    Flukebucket says:

    According to Human Events Tim LaHaye just endorsed Newt Gingrich. Looks like the Mittster has been Left Behind.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    wrb says:

    @Flukebucket:

    Is this coming out of that big preachers’ shindig they are having today to try to unify around a notmit or he he coming out independently?

  57. 57
    Flukebucket says:

    Just saw the headline and have not really read the article.

    Here it is if you would like to see it

  58. 58
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @ericblair: Chuck’s too busy nailing himself to a cross to get that point. Martyr acts are hard work.

  59. 59
    geg6 says:

    @Flukebucket:

    Does anyone else besides me find it fucking hysterical that Protestant evangelicals are endorsing a Catholic convert over a Mormon bishop?

    This country is sooooooo fucked up and, whaddayaknow, religion is right at the center of why it is so fucked up.

  60. 60

    @The prophet Nostradumbass:

    Heh.

    It is pretty rich when the STFU crowd starts with “push me”
    bullshit. That bunch is pretty limitted in number around here, but damn noisy.

  61. 61
    Flukebucket says:

    @geg6:

    Hell it’s 2012. The Mayans tried to warn us. Nobody will listen. And here is the best part. 12/21/2012 comes after the election and before the inauguration. By then the popcorn shortage will be epic.

  62. 62
    handsmile says:

    @wrb: (#53)

    While I appreciate your reply, the claim that FDL has become a “Paul fan site” is not supportable. Let me state more precisely, visiting that website several time each week, I have found little evidence of it, with the exception of one regular writer there, metamars.

    What has been dubbed, erroneously in my view, as progressive support for Ron Paul is more readily to be found, for example, in such recent examples as this David Sirota column in Salon, “Who’s a real progressive” or Matt Stoller in Naked Capitalism, “Why Ron Paul Challenges Liberals.”
    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/1.....singleton/

    Both present what Sirota calls “calculating pragmatism” in evaluating Paul’s proposals/positions with President Obama’s actions on a wide range of issues, contrasting executive/legislative authority and prerogatives. I find this to be an ultimately spurious exercise, of at best debate-society value.

    As I wrote above, I consider Ron Paul to be a libertarian mountebank and one of no real political consequence. At the same time, I find this notion of progressive or liberal support for him to be chimerical and of no real political consequence as well.

  63. 63
    wrb says:

    @geg6:

    Does anyone else besides me find it fucking hysterical that Protestant evangelicals are endorsing a Catholic convert over a Mormon bishop?

    Not really.

    Pretty close call for them, but I’d say they are closer to the Catholics than to the Mormons.

    What would be unbelievable/impossible is them endorsing a Methodist, Unitarian, Quaker, Lutheran, or other old-line protestant. With those folks they have no sympathy.

  64. 64
    wrb says:

    @handsmile:

    I don’t visit there often

    I looked in last week & every nearly thread and comment up that day seemed to be pro-Paul.

  65. 65
    eemom says:

    @handsmile:

    mountebank! Now there’s a word I haven’t heard since the SAT. : )

    At the same time, I find this notion of progressive or liberal support for him to be chimerical and of no real political consequence as well.

    Maybe, but it was Assclownzilla who proclaimed him “left of Obama.”

  66. 66
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mino: I remember when that company was public and blamed its declining sales and profits on the Adkins diet. So it went and took itself private, then took on more debt to buy companies that did the same thing it did in a declining market for its product.

    Yeah, pensions.

  67. 67
    Liz says:

    beeyootiful pics. Thanks for posting.

  68. 68
    Brachiator says:

    @handsmile:

    As I wrote above, I consider Ron Paul to be a libertarian mountebank

    Isn’t that redundant?

    At the same time, I find this notion of progressive or liberal support for him to be chimerical and of no real political consequence as well.

    I agree, unless Paul or someone with similar foreign policy views, tries for a third party challenge.

  69. 69
    geg6 says:

    @wrb:

    You obviously didn’t grow up Catholic.

    I had friends in grade school whose parents wouldn’t let them play with me because I was Catholic. My father was disowned by his family because he married a Catholic (they relented, but there were family members on that side that were unrelenting in their disdain and distaste for our large family).

    When I was young, being Catholic was equally as disgusting as being black.

    Among Protestants only, of course. I welcomed their hate then and I welcome it even more now that I’m an atheist.

  70. 70
    A Humble Lurker says:

    Thank you, eemom. That was totally righteous.

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