Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Art Review: A Somewhat Incomplete Sample of the Renaissance

"Renaissance". It is a French word that means rebirth. I'm using it for today's Sunday Art Review post in reference to the European Renaissance that took place between the 14th and 17th centuries- a fairly broad period in history. A great deal has been written about the Renaissance. Volumes in fact. Libraries, University courses and museums are dedicated to this subject, so I could never cover it here in my humble Sunday Art Review post. I certainly don't pretend to be an art expert, yet I did study Art History and have toured many of the great museums of the world. During the Renaissance, a tremendous amount of self awareness and social debate erupted. Man was discovering more about the world, the human form, and how things worked. The shocking notion of science was considered in some circles to be an affront on God and his Church. Yet many artists flourished and were embraced by the rulers of the day- Kings, Queens, Dukes and Popes. In terms of art, it resulted in stunning attention to detail, to depict a realistic representation of life. I thought I would close out the month of May with the Sunday Art Review: A Somewhat Incomplete Sample of the Renaissance. Olivia, I expect you to weigh in, correct me or add any other thoughts here). The first image, above left is "Diana and Actaeon" by Italian artist Titan. I hope you enjoy these other masterpieces:

above: Seems a bit cliche, but it IS an important piece. "The Last Supper," Leonardo Davinci

above: Henry VIII of England, by Hans Holbein the Younger .

'Mars and Venus United by Love,' Veronese

Madonna with the Child Reading, by Jan Van Eyck.

above: Venus and Cupid, by Lorenzo Lotto
I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into the Renaissance. I also hope it inspires you to read more, visit a library or museum and just appreciate the incredible expression of this era. Anyone care to mention their favorite Renaissance artists or works of art in particular?
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Saturday Seven: Most Popular Topics on This Blog

For me, blogging is a creative outlet. It is a hobby and a pleasant distraction that I primarily maintain for myself. I readily admit that it has morphed into a site that promotes Palm Springs by highlighting the many attractions and goings-on in our fair city, but still it remains just a hobby for me. I've endured my share of detractors-mainly limited to a few people who think I am completely self-absorbed because I write about myself. I think they are just jealous or insecure about themselves. But I digress. Anyway despite the fact that I maintain this blog for myself, I have enjoyed using Google Analytics to study traffic and visitors to my blog. It is a handy tool and quite interesting as well. I thought it might make for an amusing topic for my weekly Saturday Seven Series today to list the most popular, traffic driving topics on my blog. Some may surprise you. So here goes. I am pleased to present another scintillating edition of The Saturday Seven: Most Popular Topics On This Blog:

#1 "Priscilla Presley and Elvis in Palm Springs" continues to be the number 1 most popular topic that brings people to my blog.

#2 Celebrities and the Palm Springs Film Festival are a major attraction.

#3 Surprising as it may seem, the topic of Ascots, or Cravats is the third most popular topic that brings visitors! To this day I continue to receive e-mails from enthusiastic men who want to learn more about wearing ascots. Who knew!

#4 I've blogged about Cesar Millan numerous times, which continue to attract visitors to the site

#5 My recent Provocative Ads post has really been popular in a very short time

#6 Restaurant Reviews in Palm Springs, including this one for Tropicale

#7 Embarrassing Moments Post
Which of these were your favorite? Or do you have a different topic you enjoy reading about on this blog? Go ahead, leave a comment, it's totally FREE and FUN!
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Make A Difference for Someone Visually Impaired

Regular readers of this blog may recall that May is National Guide Dog Month. Paula Abdul is the spokesperson to help us raise awareness for this fundraiser to help non-profit, accredited Guide Dog Schools across America. Since May is drawing to a close, there are just a few days left to this fundraiser, and we're hoping for a surge in donations before the month ends. I'm asking everyone to consider making a donation in any amount if possible. You can donate online, or visit any Pet Co store to donate at the register. To help us generate interest in this fundraiser, Paula Abdul has generously provided a prize package from her new jewelry collection. It is free to enter the sweepstakes, just click here and look for this same image of Paula Abdul to sign up. While you are there, you can easily make a quick donation online!

above: Don't you just love this photo of Dick Van Patten and Paula Abdul together with the guide dog?
If my own words didn't convince you, check out this brief video message from Paula Abdul and Dick Van Patten about National Guide Dog month. I hope you will make a donation in any amount. At the very least, go ahead and enter the sweepstakes for the free jewelry from Paula Abdul's new collection! Help us place more guide dogs to the visually impaired and change someones life.
Thanks for your help
-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Growing Things in Palm Springs...

Ahhhh, Life in Palm Springs. How I love our desert environment. I've been keeping up with blogs of friends across the country, many of whom are sharing photos of their gardens, flower beds all newly planted and full of the promise of spring and the anticipation summer. I thought I'd share a few photos of plants in and around my garden, some of which I took at unusual angles to make them more interesting. I call this post "Growing Things in Palm Springs". Take this cactus for instance. It is sitting in a pot on the edge of the hot tub and pool. I just liked the contrast of the cool blue water behind the cactus.

above: this "organ pipe" style cactus is nestled between two palm trees. I remember planting this guy when he was just in a five gallon pot!

above: this Sago Palm is quite happy...even though it isn't really a palm tree.

above: this Madagascar Palm isn't really a palm either, but it sure is fun. Just don't touch the stalk part, it has spines all over it. Ouch!

above: I think this is in the agave family, but it has a huge stalk growing in the center that resembles an asparagus spear!

above: a very large barrel cactus, I like these guys

above: more baby cactus lined up to be planted soon.
above: we have hedges of Oleander shrubs, in red, white and pink. Oleander are very very common in Southern California, but I like them because the bloom year round.
Hope you enjoyed this brief tour of Growing Things in Palm Springs. Have a great day.
-Rick Rockhill

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our Lady of the Patio

Living in Palm Springs, we pretty much have 360 days of sunshine a year. Those other five days it rains like a son-of-a-gun for a few hours and then it is just overcast. Where I'm going is we spend a lot of time living outdoors because we have such pleasant weather. This may spark some debate, as the summer months are incredibly hot, but I happen to enjoy the 100+ degree temperatures. We installed a shade structure over the length of the patio, which surprisingly works quite well to make being outdoors in the summer very tolerable. (In the photo above you can see the shadow on the patio surface from the shade structure). Anyway, the point is we spend a lot of time outside enjoying the patio. So let me tell you about Our Lady of the Patio. Recently a friend of ours purchased a building that previously had a restaurant as a tenant. When they closed, they pretty much left behind all their furnishings, dirty dishes and all! While looking around the premises, we found a religious statue of the Virgin Mary, holding a baby Jesus. I didn't want to leave it behind for the demolition team, so I rescued it and brought it home. She now resides outside, near the pool and I have renamed her "Our Lady of the Patio". It's difficult to see from this photo, but her head has some sort of crown being lowered by angels or cherubs, it is quite elaborate. At any rate, Our Lady of the Patio presides over our desert paradise and offers protection to all who pass.

above: I mentioned the shade structure we have over the patio, you can see here how simple it is, yet it reduces the sun exposure on the back of the house, thereby reducing the temperature inside the house

above: On our patio we have a fireplace (see first photo above) but we also have a Chiminea fireplace on the northwest patio. A Chiminea is basically a clay pot raised off the ground to burn wood. I like the detail of the sun cactus and moon on it. It makes for a nice cozy atmosphere on late evenings while relaxing under the dark, clear desert skies. Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed meeting Our Lady of the Patio!
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Susan Boyle Video

The UK reality show Britain's Got Talent continues on, with the latest episode last night. You may recall her first performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" that has become one of the top 5 viewed videos on YouTube worldwide. I blogged about the real message of Susan Boyle a few weeks ago and recevied e-mails from people from across the globe. The unlikely superstar Susan Boyle performed a second time, singing the iconic and popular "Memory" from the Broadway musical "Cats". She had a shaky start on a few notes but she quickly found her voice as her confidence kicked in and raw talent shone through once again. The Susan Boyle charm and incredible talent propelled her to the front of the competition. The winner will be announced next weekend on Britain's Got Talent; I'll keep an eye out for how she does. In the meantime, check out her newest performance from last night's show:

above: I hope you can view this YouTube video of Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent competition. Enjoy!
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Night At The American Idol Season Finale

On Wednesday I had the privilege of attending the live broadcast of the American Idol season finale in Los Angeles. I've been watching Idol all season and was really excited to be at the show in person. I was the guest of Paula Abdul, who looked absolutely stunning. We arrived on the red carpet at the Nokia Theatre in time for the press photos and interviews. As Paula made her way down the line of reporters, I mingled with a myriad of A-list celebrities as they arrived on the red carpet; Steve Martin, Heather Locklear, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi, Fergie, The Black Eyed Peas, Lionel Ritchie, Cyndi Lauper, David Archuletta, Carlos Santana and Ryan Seacrest just to name a few.


above: The red carpet leading into the Nokia Theatre
above: the paparazzi were packed tight along the red carpet. The noise from their shouting constantly was insane. The only reason they took my picture was because I was walking with Paula Abdul and later with Carrie Underwood.

above: Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi looked beautiful.

above: Carrie Underwood was so sweet; we briefly chatted as we made our way down the red carpet together.
Kris Allen becomes the new American Idol
In case you didn't see the finale, it was a star-studded, action-packed show. It featured performances by Queen Latifah, Carlos Santana, Fergie, The Black Eyed Peas, Rod Stewart, Kiss, Queen, Keith Urban, Lionel Ritchie, Cyndi Lauper, and Steve Marton.
above: Cameras were strictly forbidden inside the Nokia Theatre. I sneaked just one photo at the very end, right after Kris Allen was announced as the winner of American Idol season 8. Kris is on stage in the middle, hugging the girl in yellow.
Then Onto The After Party...

above: the American Idol logo was beamed onto the side of the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood.
above: First I went to the Fox after party, and later the VIP party that went late into the early hours on Thursday morning. It was packed with celebrities galore, and just about every American Idol contestant from prior seasons. I chatted with Blake Lewis and Michael Johns while enjoying some delicious Ahi Tartare.
Some New Photos for My Sidebar...

above: Me with Danny Gokey, American Idol 3rd place contestant.

above: Me with Adam Lambert, American Idol first runner up contestant

above: a blurry photo of Kara DioGuardi (with her friend) and me.

above: with American Idol host Ryan Seacrest-this is a terrible photo of me. I had a great time, it was a fun evening that I won't soon forget.
-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Adventures of Sheldon: All Grown Up!

I'm not sure where the last year has gone to, but Sheldon is now just over a year old, and all grown up. Well nearly grown up anyway. He still has that sweet innocence of a youngster- playful and energetic. His older brother Owen (pictured here) tolerates Sheldon's enthusiasm for life, although deep down Owen loves to play with Sheldon- provided it is on his terms! When I took this photo, Sheldon had just returned home from a visit to the groomer, looking handsome and debonair. Sheldon loves the oh-so-fresh feeling of being back from the groomer; he typically runs to the mirror in the hallway to check himself out. He even manages to catch his reflection in the glass French doors when the sun is just right. He is a smart poodle and makes me a proud parent everyday. I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist. I love my dog.
-Rick Rockhill

Monday, May 18, 2009

Life is Just A Bowl of Cherries...It Is All About The Choices We Make

These are especially difficult times for many people. No one ever said life was fair. There are times in life when it seems the light has gone out, and others when it shines so bright that we need to squint our eyes. Whether we realize it or not, each of us make decisions throughout our lives that change its course, sometimes for the better, and sometimes not. When life deals less than ideal circumstances, we still have a choice. Even when those circumstances are the most dire and disappointing, we always have a choice. The ability to choose is a very powerful action- always remember that. Even if the only choice you can make is one that is inside of your head, it is still a choice you can make. Being an avid reader of autobiographies, I have an unquenchable thirst for the wisdom of others. I've always felt it was wise to learn from one's own mistakes, but is even wiser to learn from others. Interestingly enough, some of the greatest autobiographies I have read all have a recurring theme: choosing your attitude. Decide whether you choose to be a person who sees the proverbial glass as half empty or half full. (I choose the latter). I consider myself to be quite fortunate because at a very young age I learned how short life can be. It isn't worth wasting each precious day worrying, angry, and upset. Don't choose negative thoughts, they whittle away your life. I submit to you, gentle reader that life is just a bowl of cherries. It depends on whether or not you choose to accept the pits, or spit them out.
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Art Review: Miscellaneous Art in Rome

After a few days back stateside again I've settled back into my routine at home in Palm Springs once again. So today it's time again for a fresh edition of my Sunday Art Review. While in Rome I snapped a few photos here and there, thinking that it would provide good material for this post. Somehow I lost my notes on the names of these works, after being ever-so-diligent in keeping track. Oh well. Here I present a new edition of the Sunday Art Review: Miscellaneous Art in Rome. Above left is an oil painting by the great Vincent Van Gogh, depicting Jesus and Mary after the Crucifixion. It hangs in the Vatican Museum in Rome (or should I say, in Vatican City). Here are two random statues I found while exploring Rome. They are somewhere on Via Nazionale.

above: There are probably thousands of marble statues and busts in the Vatican museum. This one is of an emperor, notice the face emblem on his chest, its rather interesting.

above: it's not the real Thinker by Rodin, which is in France, but it's the cast.
above: a marvelous fresco painting by Raphael, The Crowning of Charlemagne.
I hope you enjoyed these random works of art from my trip to Rome. Have a Happy Sunday!
-Rick Rockhill


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

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