Magna Carta, nature and the lobster


TODAY’S WORD is katabatic. Example: The katabatic gusts rushed down the mountain, burying the village with the snow they carried along.

WEDNESDAY’S WORD was Jugendstil, a style of fine and applied art characterized by curvilinear motifs, as practiced in German-speaking countries. Example: The old movie theater’s lobby reflected Jugendstil, with bold curves and detailed flowers adorning the wallpaper.

Magna Carta Day

Today is Magna Carta Day. The phrase is in Latin and means Great Charter and serves to be one of the most important documents in the political history of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, not to mention many governments around the world.

King John signed the Magna Carta on this day in 1215. The document outlined the rights of the common people and the limitations of the monarchy. Over 800 years later it still serves as the basis for civil liberties around the world.

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Nature Photography Day

Today is also Nature Photography Day, a day to celebrate the people who are able and enjoy capturing nature’s beauty in the eye of a camera.

Doing so allows the rest of us to appreciate the moments of beauty in the world and it’s preservation in a picture of the amazing power of nature.

The North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) established Nature Photography Day as a way to help bring awareness to the photography of nature. So use this as a good excuse to get out in nature today, take a closer look and then capture the moment for the memories.

Lobster Day

The Stroller just has to mention that today is also National Lobster Day. The Stroller loves lobster, one of the most decadent and delicious seafood items that money can buy. Served with an abundance of lemon and butter, lobster ranks as one of the most delectable dishes in modern cuisine.

The lobster today is considered a luxury food, a delicacy, but that’s not always been the case. Prior to the 19th century, lobster was shunned by all except the lower classes and often eaten by the servants and prisoners.

At one time, the lobster was considered hardly fit to eat and considered best used for fish bait or fertilizer.

Restaurant for sale

The Martinsville-Henry County EDC has posted notice that the old Ridgeway Drive-In is for sale. Famous for its short-order grill with burgers, hot dogs and milkshakes, the unique characteristic of this place is that it was take-out only, no dine-in.

The business is in a high-traffic area and a loyal customer base and the purchase includes equipment in good working condition, the building, a small lot and, of course, the business itself.

WEDNESDAY’S TRIVIA ANSWER: Italian explorer Christopher Columbus made landfall in the New World first in what is now the Bahamas.

TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION: Which U.S. President ended our participation in the Vietnam War?


Part One’ Photography Book Delivers Intimate Glimpse At Denis Villeneuve’s Arrakis (First Look)


With Dune hype riding high off the trailer for Part Two of Denis Villeneuve’s film adaptation, publisher Insight Editions has offered up an exclusive peek inside a new book of stunning imagery taken on the set of Part One by veteran film photographer, Chiabella James (Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Wonder Woman 1984).

“I’ve spent my whole life on film sets, but the difference on Dune was the atmosphere amongst the cast and crew,” James tells me over email. “The tone of the whole experience was of respect, collaboration, and creative expression, which gave space and opportunity for crew like myself to work with the freedom to push our boundaries and show our best.”

Hitting stands this August, Dune Part One: The Photography comprises an assemblage of production and candid stills meticulously culled from the thousands snapped during the film’s Sandworm-sized shoot around the globe.

Principal photography took the cast and crew from the precarious cliffs of Norway (serving as Caladan, the Earth-like home world of House Atreides) to the expansive deserts of Jordan (standing in for the spice-filled wastelands of Arrakis). While stunningly depicted onscreen, these real-world locations posed the greatest challenge for James, who found herself in a constant battle with the elements.

“The most difficult images to get are usually the ones in extreme conditions like the sandstorms or the rain,” the photographer recalls. “It’s hard enough to find a great angle when you’re squeezing your way into a film set, trying to stay out of the way of the cameras and crew working to shoot the scene, but add in the practicalities of sand or rain whipping your face, seeping into your equipment and obscuring your image, and the challenge to get a great image is intensified exponentially!”

As for choosing which stills would make the cut for publication, James selected “a few hundred images from the thousands,” and then winnowed it down from there. The goal, she explains, was to show that an on-set photographer’s job goes well beyond the usual collection of assets included with a press release.

“I went through multiple rounds of selections to narrow down to the best. I wanted to incorporate the whole experience of the production … while also shining a light on the fact that, on a film like Dune, unit photography is an art — not just a marketing tool.”

Hailed for its dense and world-building and influence on the likes of Star Wars and Game of Thrones, the seminal source material written by Frank Herbert takes place in a far-flung future where royal houses live in tenuous harmony throughout the cosmos. This interstellar civilization thrives on Spice Melange, a precious and mind-altering substance only found on the desert planet of Arrakis. When his father, Duke Leto Atreides, is betrayed by the ruthless Harkonnens, young Paul seeks refuge among the Fremen (the native folk of Arrakis) and fulfills his destiny.

Dune Part One: The Photography goes on sale from Insight Editions Aug. 15. The book features a foreword by executive producer Tanya Lapoint, a preface by cast member Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica), and an afterword by author Brian Herbert (son of Frank Herbert and curator of the Dune legacy).

Dune: Part One is currently streaming on HBO Max (or just Max, if you prefer). Part Two arrives on the big screen Friday, Nov. 3. While nothing’s been confirmed yet, Villeneuve has voiced interest in a trilogy by adapting Dune Messiah.