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Author: Richard

Book Highlights, Lowlights, and the Dud of 2016

2016 was a good year for the bookshelf and, increasingly, earbud. I still have difficulties with fiction on Audible or Overdrive — sometimes I want to pause or flip back a page or two which isn’t convenient. For self-help books (not covered below), perhaps its even ideal. What non-fiction loses when listened to in note-taking ease it gains in immersion.

Most of my highlights for the year were of slightly older vintage, so these are my personal highlights (and a few lowlights) rather than the best originally published in the year.

The Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante (9/10): My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, The Story of the Lost Child.

Westmoreland County Museum of Art: A Diamond in the Rough, Promising to get Sharper

The Mellon Family’s impact on the Art world is enormous: Andrew Mellon established the core of the National Gallery of Art. His son Paul established the Yale Center for British Art (1977) in addition to huge donations to Yale’s main gallery. Andrew’s cousin Sarah Scaife is responsible for much of the world class art in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

Her son, Richard Mellon Scaife, was a not insignificant collector in his own right. Better known for his funding of conservative political causes, his will threw at least a small loop at the art world when he died in July 2014. It specified that the recipients of his art would be two small Pennsylvania Museums, the Westmoreland County Museum of Art in Greensburg and the Brandywine River Conservancy in Chadds Ford. Works by the Pittsburgh-born John Kane would go to the Museum 90 minutes from Pittsburgh. The remaining 500 pieces were to be allocated in the ultimate art keeper league fantasy draft for these two institutions. That process began last year.

I got a chance two weekends ago to visit the Westmoreland Museum.

westmoreland-co-museum-of-art
Westmoreland County Museum of Art

Health Kick: Month Three

Weight went from 228.2 to 222.6, -5.6 lbs. Body fat 63.5 to 59.4, -4.1. Fine, but under my target desire of losing 6 pounds of fat/month. I am still, by the measurements of BMI, just over 30.0, obese. However, I am half-way to the goal of 195.

The highlight of the month was a twenty mile run, the preparation for the LA Marathon March 15th. No land speed records were set, but I felt good during it, and that I could have gone further. Like the 16 mile peak in January I didn’t really re-fuel mid run and there was not much water along the course. My body feels like it is in the middle of re-composition. I look better, and compliments are rolling in from people I had not seen since November. I felt proud waking early Sunday morning to do it.

2015-02-22 10.30.16

The Closer

One of the glories of baseball is that at any moment in October some unsung roster scrap can be possessed by fate and take over a series. The Giants’ 2010 and 2012 playoff runs benefited from such unpredictable surges. Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross and Marco Scutaro shone most brightly in the twilight of previous runs then faded away; Barry Zito packed the value of his entire seven year contract into a couple of clutch October games.