Christmas Gift Selection # 8 For 2017 – Monet’s Bridge

MonetsBridge1079Monet’s Bridge Loire Valley France

Note: This is a repost of one of our Top Ten Gifts for the discerning buyer originally published in December of 2013, a year that will live in infamy. In what has become a half-assed tradition here at *The Institute we have been irregularly reposting these now famous gift selections when we remember to do so in a lame attempt to create a Holiday Tradition and mostly because we suddenly realize it’s Christmas time and we don’t have squat done. It’s fun and we don’t have to spend the time making new stuff up. Enjoy.

Direct from *The Institutes vast architectural holdings we are proud to present in our Top Ten Gift List for the first time anywhere

Monet’s Bridge !!!

Here it is, the gift you’ve been waiting for. Monet’s Bridge. Yeah, the painter guy. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a piece of French history that coincidentally is architecture and also has utilitarian uses. It’s a triple threat all rolled into one big chunk of masonry beauty. This bridge is located on the Little Loire river near the small French village of Beau en Valle in the heart of the famous Loire valley. Paris is just a hop, skip and a baguette up the le road. Once the haunt of visitors wanting to escape the summer heat of Paris it has lately fallen on hard times with a greatly reduced tourist count.

This is the actual bridge that Monet and his friends used to jump off of, stark naked, to skinny dip when he was a kid. The bridge where he was fascinated by the reflected colors that blended and swirled on the surface of the slowly moving Little Loire river that led him to create a brand new art style. This architectural beauty is perfect for that garden pond, French inspired walking garden, or simply used for access to that lower forty (wide enough  for a John Deere model B tractor and hay wain to cross with room to spare). It can be yours if you move fast. This bridge in all its uniqueness is being sold first come, first served.

The Institutes antiquities department have been working on this deal for years, and now that the French government finds itself in a similar position financially that the U.S. is in, they too have begun selling off less popular items in their architectural catalog. So after many nights of wining and dining some minor French bureaucrats we got them hammered enough or as the French say “se soûlant” that they agreed to sell it to us lock, stock and river water. Their loss is your gain.

The bridge is complete with included guard rails and natural patina you see in the image above. Another lucky break for us came when we discovered that the French, again due to budgetary constraints, were discontinuing the Little Loire river as well. Unfortunately we didn’t find out about this until the river was mostly discontinued but we were able to salvage enough of the actual river water to make a 5½’ diameter pond 4′ deep on either side of the bridge plus some flowage between the two. Also included but not pictured are two road signs, the round white ones with the red circle around the outside with the number 45 in the middle. This historical marvel can be yours for the plebian price of just

Monet’s Bridge 104,953.00 FRF **

item #12312017-1 under bridges sorta famous p.27 in our catalog

Bridge is to be sold intact and must be moved as one piece, includes 50′ of roadway on either side of bridge. Buyer responsible for transportation and permits to allow structure to be moved through the French countryside to the Port of Marseille a distance of 904 km or 562 miles. Any costs of dismantling or razing of French buildings or rerouting phone and power lines to allow transport is the sole responsibility of buyer, as is damage to the French highway system and security to protect workers from angry French citizens. Buyer must post bond equaling $80.00 American and surrender passports until move completed. Buyer must sign agreement not to make fun of French language or make impertinent remarks about local food or culture. Buyer must adhere to strict three-day work week.

** $16,000.00 U.S.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

Shadow Racers

Yeah, a lot of you have been asking ” Hey! What about the first heavier than air, air race that was held on May 23, 1909 – the Prix de Lagatinerie, at the Port-Aviation airport south of Paris, France? And how does that tie in with this new sport we’re hearing about called Shadow Racing?” In fact so many cards and letters have been coming in that we had to assign a special intern just to steam the stamps off the envelopes so we could use them again. We heard you and have been working feverishly to gather the information to put together this article. There’s a whole crock pot of information about this subject and we intend to dredge up every sordid, exciting, non-essential, nearly factual bit we can find.

Air racing as a sport has often included airplanes, some of them made here at home which would be America, and some made other places like Europe which at one time included Great Britain and France and Germany, all countries that fit inside Europe the continent and have had some success with inventing various stuff and then bragging about it constantly. One of these things was Airplanes and their own proprietary version of air racing.

The heyday of this sport was in the 1930’s and 40’s and even later in which the races were set at different venues and various contestants got airplanes and raced them. Many spectators attended these races and got sore necks from looking up all the time. Some even got all over dizzy of a second and had to lay down for a while. The planes themselves were interesting in that they all were heavier than air and took some skill to fly them. Every one who had a plane was extremely proud of their aircraft, even more so if it didn’t fall out of the sky and crash and these owners would go on and on about the safety of this new mode of transportation called aviation until you were just sick of it and began avoiding them whenever possible. In the early 20’s you had planes with names like the Albatross L 69 from Germany, the de Havilland DH.71 Tiger Moth from England. Even earlier you had the Deprussian 1912 Racing Monoplane from France. Those early planes were special in that they were constructed of things like, wood, wire, paper, canvas and glue and other non-essential materials that were cheap and readily available.

Later in the 40’s you had the Caproni Bergamaschi PL.3 from Italy, and the Condor Shoestring from the U.S. There was even one from The USSR called the Yakolev Yak – 11. However there is no record of it ever winning a race or even flying for that matter which may have something to do with its namesake, as the only time Yaks fly is when they’re tumbling through space after falling off one of the high mountain cliffs in which they’re found. But you know the Russians they got to get their two cents in there. Even if it is to brag about their dumb named plane which supposedly crashed into a tree upon take off and never flew again. It wasn’t even a very tall tree.

All of  this sky racing stuff was not lost on our feathered friends, the birds, who have been flying for years and have gotten highly skilled at it. Birds are great mimickers and saw the fun that people were having racing their planes around and sometimes getting big bucks for doing so and thought “Wait a minute! I’m a bird! I can do that!” and soon were putting on their own airshows and races and pulling in big crowds.

One of the big events they created was the sport of Shadow Racing. This is when a single bird or sometimes many of them, builds up a head of steam way up in the air and comes screaming in, diving as low as they can over the ground, trying to out race their shadows. In the image above you can see this streamlined racing gull, a tried and true model that hasn’t changed its shape for many years, slowly but easily out distancing its shadow. Cool, right? This sport is growing in popularity and gaining big crowds at flyways like Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge both important areas for bird flying. We mustn’t forget Padre Island and those long sandy beaches perfect for this event. Even the lumbering old Pelicans, the C-130’s  of the bird world compete there. There is even some talk of a nationally televised race sponsored by Red Bull and Budweiser, but as yet no dates have been set.

We for one, look forward to this seasons many Shadow Racing events and will be on hand to capture the excitement of it with our cameras. In fact we have been busy designing our own Shadow Racing bird and believe we can do well in the shorter Shadow Racing Sprints. Wish us luck. Hope to see you there.

Christmas Gift Selection # 8

MonetsBridge1079Monet’s Bridge France                                               click to enlarge

 

Monet’s Bridge

Here it is, the gift you’ve been waiting for. Monet’s Bridge. Yeah, the painter guy. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a piece of French history that coincidentally is architecture and also has utilitarian uses. It’s a triple threat all rolled into one big chunk of masonry beauty. This bridge is located on the Little Loire river near the small French village of Beau en Valle in the heart of the famous Loire valley. Paris is just a hop, skip and a baguette up the le road. Once the haunt of visitors wanting to escape the summer heat of Paris it has lately fallen on hard times with a greatly reduced tourist count.

This is the actual bridge that Monet and his friends used to jump off of, stark naked, to skinny dip when he was a kid. The bridge where he was fascinated by the reflected colors that blended and swirled on the surface of the slowly moving Little Loire river that led him to create a brand new art style. This architectural beauty is perfect for that garden pond, French inspired walking garden, Mall entrance, or simply used for access to that lower forty (wide enough  for a John Deere model B tractor and hay wain to cross with room to spare). It can be yours if you move fast. This bridge in all its uniqueness is being sold first come, first served.

The Institutes antiquities department has been working on this deal for years, and now that the French government finds itself in a similar position financially that the U.S. is in, they too have begun selling off less popular items in their architectural catalog. So after many nights of wining and dining some minor French bureaucrats we got them hammered enough or as the French say “se soûlant” that they agreed to sell it to us lock stock and river water. Their loss is your gain.

The bridge is complete with included guard rails and natural patina you see in the image above. Another lucky break for us came when we discovered that the French, again due to budgetary constraints, were discontinuing the Little Loire river as well. Unfortunately we didn’t find out about this until the river was mostly discontinued but we were able to salvage enough of the actual river water to make a 5½’ diameter pond 4′ deep on either side of the bridge plus some flowage between the two. Also included but not pictured are two road signs, the round white ones with the red circle around the outside with the number 45 in the middle.

Monet’s Bridge 104,953.00 FRF *

Bridge is to be sold intact and must be moved as one piece, includes 50′ of roadway on either side of bridge. Buyer responsible for transportation and permits to allow structure to be moved through the French countryside to the Port of Marseille a distance of 904 km or 562 miles. Any costs of dismantling or razing of French buildings or rerouting phone and power lines to allow transport is the sole responsibility of buyer, as is damage to the French highway system and security to protect workers from angry French citizens. Buyer must post bond equaling $80.00 American and surrender passports until move completed. Buyer must sign agreement not to make fun of French language or make impertinent remarks about local food or culture. Buyer must adhere to strict three-day work week.

* $16,000.00 U.S.

 

Our Remodel

NewHallway1388

click to enlarge

It’s nearly, almost, finally completed. Our new addition here at the Institute is in it’s absolutely final phase. All we need to do now is polish up the Pergo and hang some paintings and we’re done.

Many of our concerned readers have been writing in asking “When will the remodel be over so you can quit screwing around and get back to writing good posts?” Well our answer is soon. As you know we periodically remodel parts of the headquarters building here at the Institute for our own benefit, I mean to improve working conditions, and for months we’ve been having to walk down this dismal hallway to use the executive washroom. It was dark, dingy, drab and the old paisley wallpaper was beginning to flake off the walls. It was time for a re-do, a complete make-over, let in some more light, dress the place up some and as you can see the results were nice.

As you know the Institute is totally funded by the Government grants we get for our bogus, I mean valuable research projects and from the support and generous donations of our loyal readers. As this is your money, both as a taxpayer and as a generous contributor, we make certain that it is money put to good use. At least some small amount of every single one of the dollars we get, from either our grant programs or from you, generous reader, is put towards one program or another that we are currently undertaking. Without giving away financial information our critics and competitors would dearly love to have, we can say with the utmost confidence, that entire teeny tiny amounts of nearly every dollar, and we’re talking two possibly even three teeny tiny amounts goes directly to fund some important program that brings untold benefits to the citizens of our great country. I’m talking America folks, where you can pull a scam like this, I mean perform a useful service to your fellow taxpayer, and they can’t stop you. Is this a great country or what.

To totally complete the project and tie up those pesky loose ends that are always part of a project like this, we’ve got to arrange to send the workers we borrowed from France back home. We needed them because they still know how to do stuff like this and we kind of like, don’t, anymore. Don’t even get me started about the loss of our guild programs here in the U.S. where you could send those young people and imprison them, I mean train them until they could do something useful, and as you could expect, there’s been a small disagreement about transportation issues.

It seems our migrant workers have decided that they are now too good to be traveling back as steerage in that very nice little freighter we reserved for them. We had the hold completely fumigated after the cattle were unloaded and there is ample space for all the crap they bought while they were here. We’ve even allowed them to shop at one of our big-box grocery stores so they could pack their own lunches for the trip home. That sense of gratitude that you would expect from providing work, living space, and other non-essentials like bread, sun-screen, ponchos for those blustery days, well actually they were those recycled black plastic trash bags with arm holes cut in them so they weren’t that expensive, but even so, those weren’t in our contract, and of course food above and beyond their 800 calorie a day diets, I don’t know, I’m kind of disappointed in this new trade agreement we have, it seems to me to be very one-sided in favor of the imported worker at the expense of those who don’t want to spend much money. But enough about our troubles.

The addition is done, the ungrateful, miserable and hard-to-understand workers are gone and we can get back to work again, writing better, if not darn good posts again. Which reminds me, the area around the sump pump in the art storage basement needs a new mosaic and with the troubles they’re having in Greece right now I understand you can pick up experienced tile setters now that the project in the acropolis has fallen apart, for almost nothing. So with that in mind, please keep those Eurodollars coming in so we can continue our necessary and needed work going at the level you’ve come to expect, after all we do this not for ourselves totally, but to raise your standard of living by our continued success. If we look good you feel better. Thanks America.

 

The Gleaners

The Gleaner2305click to enlarge

If you go to France and you go to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which is just down from the left bank McDonald’s, you will find a famous painting by Jean-François Millet, a French guy, called the Gleaners (the painting not the French guy). He painted it in 1857 and called it that because that is what was going on in the painting and because they liked short names back then.

It depicts three supposedly French women, we’re not sure if they’re French or not because he didn’t say. They could just as easily been Croatian or Moldavian or even Dutch, but that’s beside the point. What is the point is that these women are called Gleaners because they would go into the fields after the harvest and pick up bits of whatever had just been harvested, take it home, put in it linen sacks, hit those sacks with a stick to settle the contents and store them in a storage unit known as a gleaner locker, for use during the cold winter that was just down the road. Apparently a bunch of people did this as a way to cut the high cost of living. It was way before Costco or Wal-Mart or Sam’s.

A lot of you are probably sitting there right now saying “Yeah, So?” but what you don’t know is that Jean-François Millet, or Johnny Millet as he was known here, was a huge traveler. Not huge like 420 lbs. and having to book two seats all the time huge, but huge as in he traveled a lot. Everywhere he could get reservations. He was never home. He did this because it was hard to come up with new ides every time he wanted to do a painting and like all artists you have got to keep churning this stuff out.

It was on one of his journeys that he came to America and went straight to Rocky Mountain National Park to see what was happening. There he met a park ranger and had an idea that would change the art world completely and earn him a permanent place in Art history classes forever. This ranger whose name has been lost in the dim recesses of the historical past, found Johnny looking down a rock strewn hillside on Trail Ridge road. He was raptly watching many little creatures darting out into the meadow and harvesting huge mouthfuls of grass which they would then bring back to their dens, put in linen sacks, hit those sacks with a stick to settle the contents and store them in a storage unit known as a Pica locker.

“What are those marvelous creatures?” he asked in a French accent that totally gave away where he was from. “They’re gleaners, a form of rodent that lives above the tree line, that harvests grass to sustain them through the long cold winters ” replied the ranger “but as they are from the Lagomorphs family or more precisely the Ochotonidae order we intend to call them Pikas.” “Mon Dieu” said Johnny Millet and then and there the light bulb went off and a work of art was born. The rest is history, or Art History, to be exact. Johnny caught the next clipper ship back to France and soon The Gleaners was on the wall at the Musée d’Orsay. Now American tourists pay good money to look at it not knowing that the idea was taken from the side of Trail Ridge road in Rocky Mountain National Park. And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, You know the rest of the story.