We are outta here

Everything must end, even the Gatlingburg Regional.

Sunday, tradition has Mike and I playing the first 4 matches of the Swiss, then heading to Knoxville.  We do something educational, then check into the airport Hilton and catch a very early flight home.  The rest of the team finishes the tournament, cooks steaks at the cabin and prepares to drive to Nashville and fly home on Monday.

The team game went well, we won 3 of our 4 matches and had a very respectable number of victory points.  The box lunch provided to the players was hideous, but that’s traditional too.  We shook hands with the team and headed into the rain, having played 154 hands of bridge without a cross word.  There’s a reason I like playing with Mike.

The Knoxville Arboretum was Mike’s first choice of afternoon entertainment, but looking at plants in the rain just didn’t seem like a plan to me.  Looking at plants in good weather doesn’t actually seem much better.

We decided to go back to the Knoxville Museum of Art, where we had been two years previously.  It’s small, just right for a 45 minute visit before closing time.

The Mona Lisa depicted in spools of thread

The Mona Lisa depicted in spools of thread

This piece was interesting, if not groundbreaking.  The Mona Lisa was depicted with 1448 spools of thread.  The stand in front of it holds a spherical crystal, which inverts the image and provides a very realistic image of the hallowed portrait.

Getting closer

Getting closer

I guess it’s an interesting exercise in the science of pointilism and a bit of optics.  Certainly catches the eye.

The downstairs of the museum has the “Thorne Rooms”, an exhibit of scale model rooms of historical value which are so dimly lit (for preservation purposes) that they are virtually invisible.  We noticed this two years ago, and it hasn’t changed.  They may be very valuable and have great historical and anthropological significance, but they aren’t much fun to try to see or appreciate.

It might seem that art should be appreciated for its own sake, but life doesn’t work that way.  How we perceive an given work of art is related to the news, to politics, to social mores, to the zeitgeist of the moment.  Here’s a perfect case in point:

Marion Greenwood, The History of Tennessee

Marion Greenwood, The History of Tennessee


The painting is properly rectangular, it’s just the photo that gives it the odd shape.

Marion Greenwood was commissioned to paint this for the University Center Ballroom, and it’s theme is the music in Tennessee, from Negro spirituals to Beale Street Jazz to East Tennessee religious music.  At the time, it was considered modern and liberal to include the black people, and the mural hung for many years.

In the 1970’s, however, the forces of political correctness decided that the artwork was racist and insulting, wrongfully depicting enslaved people as happy and grinning, and the painting was taken down.

The wheel of opinion keeps spinning, and now the 30 foot long painting has been restored and placed on permanent display in the museum.  Plus ça change, plus ça meme chose.

About this time we got a text from Bob–the boys won the final three matches, although two of them by only 1 imp each, so we were 7th overall in the Swiss teams.  That meant that Mike and I snatched up 86 masterpoints apiece for the week.  I’m a happy camper.

We were the only people in the airport Hilton restaurant, where I had a decent plate of pasta, exactly like the one I had last year and will probably have next year. I played some bridge online with Gail (which is why I ended up winning more points for the week than Mike did) then hit the sack for an early flight home.  By noon Monday I was in San Francisco and by 1 I was in my office catching up on my work–playtime is over, and it’s back to reality.


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