(Image credit: Ellen Stein)

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A couple of nights ago, the season's first snow blanketed this meadow high on the shoulder of Mt. Washington, shown here in its August colors. But heavy rain forecast for today should wash away any lingering taste of winter. For now.

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At the Naval Academy, all the students, even the wrestlers, are required to attend all the home football games, They march in uniform from campus out to the stadium, where they parade onto the field by company and then march up into the stands, where they stand, literally, on their feet throughout the game. When Navy scores, plebes race down into the end zone and do pushups, one for each point scored.

But on parents' weekend, some of the students drift on out of the midshipmen's section of the stands to sit with their families like regular people--assuming that "regular people" is a fair term for lightweight wrestler Allen Stein and his good friend Mike Landis, the wrestling team's heavyweight. Mike was captain of his high school football team before limiting his energies to wrestling at the college level, but even without him in the lineup the Midshipmen did well last Saturday, beating Louisiana Tech 32-14.

In acknowledging the victory, the Academy superintendent awarded all the midshipmen an extra hour of liberty Saturday night, till 1 a.m. The wrestlers wasted that hour with the best of them.

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On a couch or a soft carpet, Dobby the dog is pretty good about sitting on command. But on a hard floor? He'll make a show of pretending, as shown here with Emily and Joshua Wiggin, who are very good at kneeling.

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During World War II, the shores of Casco Bay were heavily fortified, and the entrance to Portland harbor was mined. In 1942, a German U-boat was identified in the bay by a Civil Air Patrol pilot, but it got away before military aircraft arrived on the scene.

That's Portland Head Light in the distance, as viewed from the rusting remnants of the fortification on what is now the campus of Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.


 

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Thirty-seven feet above the main entrance to 30 Rock in Manhattan, which used to be called the RCA building, this guy with a crown and a big beard pushes aside the dark clouds of ignorance to let the sunshine in. His big golden compass promises architecture and all the arts--castles and cathedrals of human achievement. The quotation is biblical, from the book of Isaiah, but the man with the compass is from some other spiritual realm, where civilization included commerce between godlike humans and all-too-human gods.

Who is he? Where did he come from? The short answer is that he was copied from an eighteenth-century painting by William Blake, "The Ancient of Days." Blake presents this Ancient as a false little god, trying to build his own false little world with that big compass. The compass also brings Masonic mysticism into the picture.

What was Rockefeller thinking in 1933, when he adorned the entrance to his crowning public achievement with this strange image? Elsewhere in his new Center, he memorialized Prometheus, who defied the gods by supplying humanity with the fire of science and art, and he commissioned a bronze Atlas, the demigod who carried the world on his back as punishment for warring against the real gods.

Ignorant and learned people both have tussled with this stuff, so I'll stay out of it. I just like the imagery of somebody pushing those clouds apart, making a hole, piercing the gloom with brave new light.

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Even in the leafy dapple of New York's Central Park, these are dog days for horses.. The inscription on the trough reads: "Presented to the S.P.C.A. by Edith D. Bowdoin, 1912."

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Hank is on the observation deck atop Rockefeller Center, and I've got a new software painting thing to play with.

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Posted by Ellen

Midtown Manhattan, looking south from the 68th floor of Rockefeller Center.

Posted by Ellen

Last Saturday was the fourth annual Scott Fisher memorial soccer game, in which the Deering varsity soccer team plays Team Alumni as a fundraiser for the Vera Foundation, an organization devoted to teen suicide prevention. Scott Fisher was a Deering soccer player and honor student who died by suicide a few months after his graduation in 2005.

Players all wore wristbands with the number 8, Scott's number.

If Hank and Allen participate in this game again next year, they will both be playing on the alumni side. But this time they played against each other--Allen as an alumnus, Hank as a current Deering Ram. In this picture, that's Allen in white at the far left, and Hank in purple at the right. I failed to capture them both in action in a single frame, but at least here they are walking on the field at the same time. The game actually drew a good crowd; this view shows the visiting-side bleachers in the background, which were of course empty.

Usually, the alumni dominate these games. They are grown men, averaging at least 30 pounds heavier than the ever-hopeful teenage boys who challenge them. Also, there are dozens more alumni than there are current players, plenty of fresh legs. The young Rams do have a few advantages, however: they are in peak physical condition, their ball handling isn't rusty, and, unlike most of the alumni, they were wearing shin guards.

Alumni won the 2009 game, 4-1. That's not the score that matters domestically, however; what counts here at home is how the brothers scored against each other. This was a fine year in that regard; they tied, nil-nil.