Friday, January 18, 2008

I got a call late last week that all the lighting fixtures I had taken up to Maine for rewiring and replacement of missing parts were ready for pick-up. We made arrangements to go up to cape Neddick on Wednesday of this week with the idea that on the way back we’d stop off for a good fish lunch somewhere on the shore road through Kittery’s outlet shopping zone.

The day was brilliant—Fritz even commented on the deep, almost lapis blue color of the sky in the crystal clear air. I happen to love driving, and not being able to during the time I had the hard cast on my foot was a huge frustration for me. Being on the road on such a perfect day was a real pleasure. We got to Cranberry Hill Antiques, which specializes in lighting of all kinds and restoration of antique lamps and hanging fixtures in particular, around 11:30. Here’s what we picked up:

For the front entrance vestibule, an Eastlake cast iron chandelier that I had originally found in an antique store in Waltham MA. It didn't have any of the original glass, so I found "Tiffany"-style opalescent glass and cut it to fit. It takes five ornamental bulbs and one long tube light in the center shaft.

These two will hang in my studio/office upstairs that's going to be all Moroccan/north African in color, layout and decor. The square lantern is something I found the day I took my lights up to Cranberry Hill and grabbed it as I needed a second hanging light in the studio. The clear and colored glass star is something I found at the famous flea market in Norton, MA for something like ten dollars many years ago. It had hung in my Boston studio for years but was badly in need of repair and a complete re-wiring.

I have three of these, all salvaged from the renovation of the Kendall Square T stop in Cambridge. It's just half a block from where our design and production building was at MIT and when the call went out that large numbers of these were being trashed, several of us grabbed as many as we could get our hands on. They weren't particularly appealing--decades of grime and pigeon droppings all over them. But when cleaned up and repainted, they just sparkle. Two will go in our exercise/dressing room and the third will hang in the big attic room under the house's main, pyramidal roof.

This is an antique Chinese lantern in hand-carved wood and embroidered silk. I found it while shopping fro props for an MIT production years ago and got a reduction on it as I was buying so much else for the set of the show. For many years it hung in the front hall of my Boston house. It will hang over a round table in our new bedroom where we'll probably have breakfast and almost certainly have tea in the afternoon. The master bedroom will be very Chinese in any event as we both have furniture and art from China.

And here's the big guy, almost three feet wide, very heavy, and solid brass. This is the chandelier that a couple of friends did a dumpster dive for in Boston's South End and then realized it was wildly out of scale for either of their condos. When offered, I grabbed it for the great room. The owner of Cranberry Hill was able to identify it as French, circa 1875, and worth somewhere between $1500 and $3000 on the antiques market.

All the work was excellently done, particularly the resoldering of the Moorish Star pendant. I know now it’s all safe and ready to go when it’s time to hang everything in the new house.


We began the day today interviewing the first of the stone masons we need to contact to get estimates for covering the concrete piers across the front of the house. We wound up at a local stone and brick yard confirming our choice for sawn New Hampshire field stone. The masses of stone we blasted out of the hillside will work very well for building the planters that run around the entire front of the house and for raised planting beds, but aren't suitable for facing a vertical structure. We'll be looking for at least three estimates and the work could start as son as April 1st depending on the weather.


Many of you guys join me, I know, in relishing it when some of our biggest homophobes—the ones who work to bring legislation against us or prosecute [persecute] gay people in the courts simply for being gay are caught in their own hypocrisy. Here’s an especially satisfying example from Texas:

Texas Prosecutor Who Castigated Gays In Landmark Sodomy Case Embroiled In Sex Scandal
(Houston, Texas)

The district attorney who defended the Texas law criminalizing homosexuality before the US Supreme Court is desperately trying to keep his job following the discovery of e-mails containing sexually explicit videos, racist jokes and what is described as torrid love notes to his executive secretary.

Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal (R) is facing a state investigation into the emails which were discovered on his office computer. If he is found in violation of "official misconduct'' he could be removed from office. The office computer also contained evidence he had used it for political purposes.

Rosenthal, who is married and portrayed himself as a "family values" candidate, ended his re-election campaign last week after the sexy emails to his secretary were discovered. His current term runs out at the end of 2008.

The e-mails were found during discovery in a federal civil rights lawsuit. The plaintiffs in the case forced Rosenthal into a deposition where he was required to answer questions about the e-mails under oath.

But in 2002 it was "family values" Rosenthal who argued before the US Supreme Court that the Texas law against sodomy was upholding the moral values of the state and was in place to protect families. The case was Lawrence v Texas. In his arguments he condemned adultery and homosexual acts.

"I think that this Court having determined that there are certain kinds of conduct that it will accept and certain kinds of conduct it will not accept, may draw the line at the bedroom door of the heterosexual married couple because of the interest that this Court has that this Nation has and certainly that the State of Texas has for the preservation of marriage, families and the procreation of children," Rosenthal told the justices.

"Even if you infer that various States acting through their legislative process have repealed sodomy laws, there is no protected right to engage in extrasexual - extramarital sexual relations, again, that can trace their roots to history or the traditions of this nation."

In the end the Supreme Court overturned the sodomy law, releasing its opinion in June of 2003. In a 6 - 3 decision, the court said that states cannot make laws regarding the private sexual conduct of Americans.

The ruling said the Texas law violates the Due Process clause of the Constitution. Writing for the majority Justice Anthony M. Kennedy called the ban on gay sex an "unconstitutional violation of privacy." "[It} demeans the lives of homosexual persons," Kennedy wrote.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

The ruling negated not only the sodomy law in Texas, but those in a dozen other states.

The case involved two Houston men, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner. They pleaded no contest to breaking the sodomy law in 1998, after police broke into Lawrence's home in search of an armed intruder and discovered the two men engaged in intercourse. No intruder was found and police later said the tip there was an intruder came from an anonymous source.

Both men were arrested under the Texas sodomy statute and imprisoned overnight. Following their conviction they were fined $200 each and ordered to pay court costs. They appealed and fought all the way to the Supreme Court.

© 2008

You light up my life.
Nice lights, I need to work on my own fixture situation.

And no, my blog post about having 20 prostate exams in one day wasn't a fantasy...that's how I spend yesterday morning, and got paid well for it, too!
i want to believe that what goes around comes around
and negatism will come back to a person.
things like this are comforting

love the lights!
Dude, you have me all hot and bothered from your shameless display of light fixture porn. Teh hott.
Is it wrong to covet a fellow blogger's light fixtures? They are all beautiful, but that cast iron chandelier with the Tiffany glass is just gorgeous!
Your post brought back some nice memories. I love the south coast of Maine and used to go there all the time with my family when I was younger. Did you stop for Goldenrod Kisses saltwater taffey in York?
What a great, eclectic mix of fixtures!

And yes, I love it when one of the lying hypocrites gets in "moral" trouble. I hope he's in agony.
Light your China palace lantern on the first full moon of the Chinese New Year. It's coming up in a month from now.
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