That was the Bleat banner a year ago: The road is wide and long. Get in, let's go. The next week I started running Andromeda Strain screengrabs. I had one saved: a red door of the Wildfire facility. It said EXIT TO DECONTAMINATION AND IMMUNIZATION.

I never used it.

I hooked up an old screen to a spare Apple TV and downloaded a museum wallpaper app.

Stop for a second: would that have made sense ten years ago? Yes; upon googling, I see the AppleTV is 14 years old. That’s a surprise. I remember that there wasn’t a lot you could do with the original, but in retrospect, hey, master plan, I guess. So would the sentence have made sense 20 years ago? Yes: we would have presumed that “AppleTV” would be a cool device used for . . . for TV, I guess, somehow. Downloaded a wallpaper app would have made sense, too.

What I would not have liked to know in 2021 was that I would stare at the pictures of museum paintings as a substitute for the real thing, because the world had shut down due to a pandemic.

If I had been vouchsafed that vision of the future, I would have imagined that the pandemic would be so banal. I would have imagined stadiums full of the dead, people clutching at their throat and falling like a sack of potatoes on the street, buses smashed into lampposts with the driver dead at the wheel, purpled tongue lolling out. If it was a movie, the last triumphant scene would be the scientists announcing that the virus had mutated, and now 98% of the people who got it survived!

So it's been a year, and no one thought it would be a year. No one knew anything, it seems.

Anyway. The app has the greatest hits, but lots of deservedly obscure paintings. Why, it’s a landscape! Cows. Huge trees, small people. If you saw it on the wall at a museum, you would drift right past it, perhaps noting the nice brushwork on the trees, or the way the artist did not exactly paint a person but suggest one. In a good museum there is always a masterpiece waiting to be discovered.

But in the museum of the Wallpaper App, you can linger. For day, if you wish, it’s the only picture in the world. And you wonder: what if it was the only picture left in the world? Suddenly it’s more precious, and more interesting.

Turns out the artist - Barend Cornelis Koekkoek - was known as the “Prince of Landscape Painting,” and he left his homeland because the landscapes were so boring. Moved to Germany, made a pile, and eventually built a house in Cleves.

Its exterior is remarkably modern, and not what you would expect from a Romantic landscape painter. Somehow the mind conjures up a guy who wears a hat like Rembrandt, has a stormy temperament, slashes at his canvas with brilliant strokes in a garret while lightning cracks the sky. Art! The reality is a carefully managed career conducted with sober planning, resulting in a very nice house in the modern style where he had dinner parties. 

I didn't know anything about him when I woke up, but after a day of having his cows on the AppleTV, I'm glad we met.

Not sure that would have made sense 20 years ago.

The skyway view again:

Rainy and cold this day. The weekly sweep::

Let's give the Larking more attention than we've previously granted.

Yes, the entrance looks off-center. Lots of irregularities, if you're into ruthless symmetry.

From the other side, you see the new brick building intended to blend in with other two-story commercial brick buildings.

Except there aren't any. They were torn down. Well, perhaps it's a nice start tp bringing them back.

Another angle, looking at the HQ project, also recent.

Needs retail and restaurants, but that'll be a while. A long while.

 

Really, how stupid can one person be?

 

Make that two people, if hubby's in on it.

Solution is here.

 

 

   

 

More of the music cues from Frontier Gentleman. We associate these tones with a specific time and place: The Wild West, last third of the 19th century. Some day this will not be as obvious to as many people.

 

 

 

   
 

"Indian" music, with terrified horns

 

   
  Humpin' it along the trail.
   
  Closing theme, and ouch: was it really a hard part to play?
   

 

 

 
   
They added the year to make it seem up-to-date and modern and with-it - but it only worked for artists associated with previous eras.
   

 

   
But it never really smelled like Pine, did it?
   

That'll do! Hope you enjoyed your visits this week. See you around.

 

 

 
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