The Silk Road at the The Corning Museum of Glass

I love glass and glassmaking. Glass is fire and imagination combined. Long have I loved watching craftsmen at historical sites blow air into a molten mass to form a useful bowl or bottle, or see the artisans of Murano twist and sculpt it into a decorative statue. When I was a child, I played with prisms and suncatchers – throwing rainbows around my room. Years … Read more

Games of the Great Silk Road – Mancala

Most parents will be quick to agree that they learn a lot from their kids. When you have kids, you cease to be the center of your own life and the lessons range from the mundane to the profound. When they are little, you realize how little they know when they come into the world and how much you, as an adult, have come to … Read more

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For this was on seynt Volantynys day Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make. It’s all Chaucer’s fault! He was the first major writer to begin associating Valentine’s Day with romantic love as seen in the passage above from The Parlement of Foules, written in 1382 to honor the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. His seasonal reference … Read more

Hail Cleopatra!

Mother, goddess, harlot, sister, stateswoman, linguist, assassin, daughter, diplomat – Cleopatra, the last Queen of Egypt. Rarely has a woman been so revered and reviled at the same time, and even more rarely have so many half-truths been handed down through the centuries about one.  Ask someone in the west what springs to mind when they think of Cleopatra and they will probably cite a … Read more

Two Faces of Egypt

I remember being mesmerized by this scene as I walked through the maze of temples on the Eastern bank of the Nile. The harsh mid-morning light blazing down on the monument made the contrast of the centuries all the more obvious. Into the ancient rocks a record of the triumph of the Egypt over an Assyrian army was scored – the pharaoh holding his spear … Read more