Saturday, May 1, 2010

Theme Day: Statues

They said the theme was "statues." They didn't say what the statues had to be made of.

I believe this guy on the Ambassador Campus is beating swords into plowshares. I have a feeling there's a piece missing.

This work (title unknown (Swords into Plowshares), 1992) was created in by J. Kenton Zlab. Zlab isn't the first artist to be inspired by this quote. A statue called Let Us Beat Swords Into Plowshares, created by Yevgeny Vuchetich, was given by the Soviet Union to the United Nations in 1959.

"And they shall beat their swords into plowshares" is a phrase from the Bible, specifically Isaiah 2:4 if my web search is correct. I found a cool website that compares Bible phrases from the different translations. Go ahead and try your favorites.

photo by Pasadena Adjacent
A late update to the post: Pasadena Adjacent furnished me with this photo she took of the statue when leaf man had a sword to beat into a plowshare. Sorry it took me so long to post. Thank you, PA.

There are now 1209 City Daily Photo bloggers around the world. Click here to view thumbnails for those participating in today's theme.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Maybe Koi, Maybe Not

I have more to tell you about Hulett C. Merritt and the property we've been talking about this week at what's locally known as the Ambassador Campus. But as I write it's much too late for me to formulate more than one or two coherent sentences, so I'll have to keep it short for now.

We're looking north (and perhaps a tad west) toward the second mansion of three that remain on the grounds. Pasadena Adjacent asked me the other day if there were still koi in the ponds. I didn't see any but if there are, I think they'd be in this stream that flows through the gardens from uphill to down, west to east.

Normally today I'd post the April Last Day photo. But normally I'd have my regular computer and my regular software and--well, today's not a normal day!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Matters: Now

I'm usually more timid than I need to be when it comes to exploring, but my brother was visiting last weekend. Being with him made me bold. Together we climbed the steps of the Merritt Mansion (see yesterday's photo). As we drew near we realized the mansion was empty. Had that not been the case I surely would not have been so rude as to press my camera to the window to take this picture.

You can see "empty" doesn't mean "abandoned." Over the past hundred years or so as it's passed through different hands, this building has been well cared for.

I hope City Ventures plans to maintain that tradition. If they're to meet their goal of opening condos by the end of 2011 they should be building along Orange Grove Blvd. soon. This lovely old house will be spared if all goes according to plan. If I'm picturing it right, the condos will be in what was once the mansion's front yard.

The house my brother and I grew up in has also passed through different hands since my mother sold it more than twenty years ago, after my father died. The last time I visited, the hardwood floors were scuffed and dull and the driveway looked cracked and old.

You never know if the next owner is going to love your home the way you did. One day, like Hulett C. Merritt, you'll be gone. Will it matter then?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Empty Emissary

I was a little shocked the first time I stumbled upon this mansion. A mansion is not something one normally stumbles upon.

But there it was hidden in plain sight, invisible from Orange Grove Blvd. and the surrounding streets, yet accessible when I got out of the car and began strolling through the Ambassador Campus and stumbling upon things.

This is, or was, the Hulett C. Merritt Mansion, built on Millionaire's Row in 1905. It subsequently became part of Ambassador College in the 1950s. Still later, the whole area became the Ambassador Campus, which included three mansions, several fountains and some lovely gardens.

Now the mansions are empty. Some of the fountains are dry. The gardens, though well-tended, lie untrampled, awaiting their fate.

According to real estate blogger Brigham Yen, City Ventures has purchased the property for development. There will be some condos. But don't freak out. According to the current plans, the mansions will stay.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wear Your Extrovert Genes

Did you know the Doo Dah Parade is coming up this Saturday? Did you know it's in a new location? Do you want to be in it? You could march with the winners of the Thorny Rose Award.

I just learned that Friends of Hahamongna (I'm a Friend) won this year's Thorny Rose Award and at the last minute has been invited to march in the parade. Each year, says the Pasadena Star-News, "the Thorny Rose is awarded to Pasadena's most controversial citizen or group by an anonymous committee of local socio-political observers." This year the observers had a hard time coming up with anyone cantankerous enough. The Friends of Hahamongna are pretty nice. But they just won't drop the Hahamongna issue, so I guess you could call them a thorn in someone's side.

Columnist Larry Wilson expressed concern that the Friends of Hahamongna might take the award as an insult instead of an homage. But the Friends are good-humored folk who see the Thorny Rose as an opportunity to spread the word.

A few weeks ago some of you joined in signing the petition at, asking the City Council to reconsider a 2003 decision to build soccer fields at Hahamongna (there's still time to sign). Now you can join the Friends of Hahamongna in the Doo Dah Parade. The parade starts at 11:00am this Saturday at 2627 E. Colorado Blvd. Look for the Friends of Hahamongna and join in the friendly chaos!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Zen Monday: #93

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what I think the photo's about. There's no right or wrong. It means what you think it means, or what you want it to mean.

I look for a photo worth contemplating or, failing that, something odd or silly. Unless I absolutely must say something I stay out of the comments box to avoid influencing the discussion (because when I get in there everything goes down hill).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Here's a photo taken outside Pasadena: an overview of one small section of the gargantuan Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the UCLA campus.

The fun part: going down the Janss steps. The good-for-me part: going up them.
plunging into the crowd was the insane part.

I went Saturday with my brother and sister-in-law. They had a list of signings to attend, so we ran the gamut of fun/good-for-us/insane several times over. We met Michael Connelly, Kate DiCamillo, Nick McDonnell, Dave Eggers and T.C. Boyle (at the Vroman's booth!). See? There's always a Pasadena connection. Michelle Huneven was there, too. She's the Altadena author whose novel, Blame, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Had I known, I'd have brought my copy of Blame for her to sign. I was thrilled to stop by the booth of Glendale's Abril Armenian Book Store, buy A Gift in the Sunlight by my friend Kay Mouradian, and have her sign it.

The Festival will host about 400 authors--of all genres and degrees of fame--over the weekend. If you go today you could meet Po Bronson, Elizabeth George, Antwone Fisher, Pico Iyer and/or a local author you already know.

Wear sensible shoes. Have patience with the crowd. And watch out for readers of all ages underfoot.