Monday Reader: Astronomy – Amelia Earhart Gets a Moon Crater

Famous aviator Amelia Earhart. Credit: Leonard David

Famous aviator Amelia Earhart.
Credit: Leonard David

Scientists have named a crater on the moon for perhaps the most famous female aviator of all time: Amelia Earhart.

The massive crater, provisionally named Crater Earhart, was found thanks to to data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission (GRAIL). The crater is 124 miles wide (200 kilometers).

A team from Purdue University has been testing a new technique that sharpens the GRAIL observations of the moon to see smaller-scale features, like ridges and valleys. Diving into the data, they noticed an unusual circular feature, said Rohan Sood, a graduate student in Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics who worked on the project.

“The feature turned out to be the rim of an ancient crater, but it was so big we did not even recognize it as that at first,” Sood said. “We were zoomed in on one little piece of it. We first tried to model it as a small crater, but we had to go bigger and bigger and bigger to match what the data was telling us.”

Sood presented the moon crater findings in Texas at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference held from March 16-20.

The Earhart crater, a previously unknown lunar crater, is outlined in the magenta dash circle. A team of researchers at Purdue University found the crater through an analysis of data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission. The team provisionally named the crater Earhart, after the famous aviator Amelia Earhart. ( Credit: Purdue University image/courtesy of Rohan Sood

The Earhart crater, a previously unknown lunar crater, is outlined in the magenta dash circle. A team of researchers at Purdue University found the crater through an analysis of data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission. The team provisionally named the crater Earhart, after the famous aviator Amelia Earhart. (
Credit: Purdue University image/courtesy of Rohan Sood

The Purdue group plans to extend the search to the entire moon to reveal other buried craters and small-scale features beneath the surface.

That search could uncover underground tunnels formed by lava flows — called lava tubes – that have been proposed as a possible shelter forhuman habitats on the moon.

Crater Earhart is the provisional name as names of planetary features must be submitted and approved by the International Astronomical Union.

Notable alumni at Purdue include astronauts Neil Armstrong, Gus Grissom, and Eugene Cernan. Earhart was a Purdue career counselor and adviser to the Department of Aeronautics from 1935-1937.

Purdue is also home to the world’s largest compilation of Earhart-related papers, memorabilia and artifacts.

The collection includes documents related to Earhart’s 1932 solo Atlantic flight, her second and fatal attempt at a world flight in 1937, and items related to her time at Purdue.

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Crash Notes: Freaky Friday News

ffn-cover

Witness Protection

Even dangerous felons sometimes serve short sentences, but Benito Vasquez-Hernandez, 58 — guilty of nothing — has been locked up for nearly 900 days (as of early March) as a “material witness” in a Washington County, Oregon, murder case. The prosecutor is convinced that Vasquez-Hernandez saw his own son, Eloy, murder a woman in 2012, and the case is on hold until the victim’s body is found. The judge has given Vasquez-Hernandez two opportunities to leave, both impractical (pay a $500,000 bond or give a video deposition, but he speaks no English, is illiterate in Spanish and, said his lawyer, might be mentally incompetent). (Consolation: Material witnesses in Oregon earn $7.50 a day.) [The Oregonian, 3-12-2015]

The Continuing Crisis

The trendy St. Pauli neighborhood in historic Hamburg, Germany, suffers its share of uncouth revelers who wander out from nightclubs seeking restroom facilities but too often choose walls of storefronts and private homes, reported London’s The Guardian in a March dispatch. The solution, according to the civic group IG St. Pauli: paint jobs with an “intensely hydrophobic” product known as Ultra-Ever Dry,” which somewhat propels liquid aimed at it right back toward the source by creating an air barrier on the surface. In other words, said an IG St. Pauli official, it’s “pee back” time, and shoes and trouser legs should expect splashes. [The Guardian, 3-4-2015]

We have “139 frogs, toads, lizards, turtles,” Ms. Thayer Cuter told Seattle’s MyNorthwest.com in March, touting her Edmonds, Washington, amphibian rescue shop, especially the heroic job done recently on Rocky, the Texas toad who came with stones in his tummy. “He had to have a lot of enemas (but) Rocky is rock-free now” and, after passing all the pebbles, is finally able to eat. Added Cuter, turtles are underrated pets, “very social” and love massages and “cuddl(ing).” [MyNorthwest.com, 3-11-2015]

The Job of the Researcher: Cockroaches can be bold explorers or shy and withdrawn, according to recent work by researchers at Belgium’s Universite Libre de Bruxelles, who caught a bunch of them, affixed radio tags and studied their movements. “Explorers” are necessary for locating food sources, although, obviously, they are also most likely to find Roach Motels; “shy, cautious” roaches are necessary for survival and group stability, and a mixture of the types ensures cockroaches’ legendary survivability. A Mother Nature News commentator wrote, hopefully, that understanding roaches’ personalities might make us “less quick” to “grab a shoe.” [Mother Nature News, 2-6-2015]

Can’t Possibly Be True

Ranson IB Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina, has a strict dress code (requiring, for example, only “hunter green” outerwear). Thus, on Jan. 27, when parent Chanda Spates dispatched her three kids in improperly hued coats, Ranson officials confiscated the “contraband” clothing, leaving the three (along with 20 other sartorial miscreants) to make their way home after classes with no outerwear at all — though the temperature that afternoon was in the 30s. (Following parental outrage, the administrators apologized.) [Fox News, 2-1-2015]

A female teacher working for the Arizona Department of Corrections was brutally assaulted in prison by a sexual predator and has sued the department, but in February the state attorney general’s office, contesting the lawsuit, told the judge, basically, that the teacher understood all along that she could get attacked in prison. She was administering inmates a GED exam, but that day had no guard support, not even one to hear her screams, and was given an emergency radio tuned to an unmonitored frequency. Nonetheless, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Weisbard essentially shrugged: “The risk of harm, including assault, always exist(s) at a prison like Eyman.” [The Arizona Republic, 2-4-2015]

Compelling Explanations

Clueless in Florida’s Panhandle: (1) Debra Mason, 58, was arrested for theft of a pickup truck in Destin, Florida, in January — and according to police, Mason said she knew it was stolen property but “didn’t think it was ‘that’ stolen.” (2) Ten miles away in Mary Esther, Florida, in February, Robert Pursley, 54, was arrested for DUI and was asked about items in his truck. According to the police report, Pursley insisted that everything was his — “except for anything illegal.” A baggie of cocaine was in the truck’s center console. [Daily News of Northwest Florida, 1-24-2015, 2-25-2015]

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Americans Abroad: (1) American sisters Lindsey, 22, and Leslie Adams, 20, were convicted, fined and deported by Cambodia’s Siem Reap Court in February after taking several nude photos of each other at the Preah Khan temple, apparently for their social media “friends.” The Angkor Archaeological Park, where the temple is located, is reportedly the world’s largest religious monument. (2) Two other American women were arrested in March for carving 8-inch initials into a wall at Rome’s ancient Colosseum and then snapping selfies for their friends. [Phnom Penh Post, 2-9-2015] [CNN, 3-9-2015]

Recurring Theme: Among the most recent lives ruined by badly botched prosecutions: (1) Joseph Sledge, now 70, was released from prison in North Carolina in January after wrongly serving 36 years for a double murder; hair samples (revealing another man’s DNA), long thought to be lost, were discovered in a court clerk’s storage room. (2) Kirk Odom, 52, served 22 years after his wrongful Washington, D.C., conviction for rape and robbery; a court in February awarded him $9.2 million in compensation, but on the other hand, after several prison rapes, he had contracted HIV. (Odom is one of several D.C. men convicted of rape or murder based on erroneous analysis by an “elite” FBI hair-analysis unit.) [Los Angeles Times, 1-23-2015] [Washington Post, 2-28-2015]

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) Tyler Lankford, 21, attempting a robbery of Minerva’s Bakery in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, in January, committed (according to police) the rookie mistake of laying his gun on the counter so he could pick up the money with both hands. The clerk grabbed the gun, and Lankford fled but was arrested in March. (2) There are expert counterfeiters, and then there is Cass Alder, 22, convicted by a court in Canada’s Prince Edward Island of trying to pass $100 bills that had been printed on napkins but affixed by Alder onto thicker paper. [KDKA-TV (Pittsburgh), 3-4-2015] [The Guardian (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island), 2-25-2015]

Is This a Great Country, or What?

“America’s Game” Is Gaming the Government: The U.S. Treasury recently took in more than $40 billion by auctioning off part of the wireless spectrum, but one buyer — the Dish satellite-TV provider — got a discount worth $3.25 billion by convincing the Federal Communications Commission that it is a “very small business” (despite its market value of $34 billion). Using awe-inspiring loophole-management, Dish created a separate company in partnership with a small Alaskan Natives’ group, which theoretically “managed” the company — though the Alaskans’ hands were tied by an earlier Dish-friendly contract. Thus, Dish got the benefits of being “very small” while retaining control — a “mockery” (said one commissioner) of the FCC’s simple-minded attempt to help small businesses. [New York Times, 2-25-2015]

Seeing Jesus the Christ and the Mother Mary

Recent Personal Appearances: Swansea, Wales, January (Jesus in fur in a Yorkshire terrier’s ear); Crowthorne, England, January (Jesus as bird poop on a car); West Kilbride, England, December (Jesus on a stone in a garden); Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania, November (Jesus on a serving of chicken breast); Polk City, Iowa, November (Mary on a tree trunk); Memphis, Tennessee, September (Jesus on a tree trunk); Fresno, California, October (Jesus in a plume of smoke in a house fire); Ecorse, Michigan, September (Jesus on a pierogi); Liberty, Texas, September (Jesus on a downed tree); Jackson County, Mississippi, May (Jesus in a rusted air-conditioner unit). Swansea: [Metro.co.uk (London), 1-19-2015] Crowthorne: [Metro.co.uk, 2-2-2015] West Kilbride: [BT.com (London), 1-2-2015] Pocono Summit: [WNEP-TV (Scranton), 11-14-2014] Polk City: [KCCI-TV (Des Moines), 11-14-2014] Memphis: [WMC-TV (Memphis), 9-24-2014] Fresno: [KSEE-TV (Fresno), 10-29-2014] Ecorse: [WXYZ-TV (Detroit), 9-7-2014] Liberty: [KHOU-TV (Houston), 9-16-2014] Jackson County: [WLOX-TV (Biloxi), 5-30-2014]

Have a GREAT weekend!

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Crash Course: Little Known History – Marilyn Monroe

lkh

Little-known history that somehow got missed by the history books.

Pictured: July 1942,  A rare picture of 16 year old (Norma Jeane Mortenson) Marilyn Monroe along with husband James Dougherty, West Virginia

In 1943, during World War II, Dougherty enlisted in the Merchant Marine. He was initially stationed on Santa Catalina Island off California’s coast, and Monroe lived with him there in the town of Avalon for several months before he was shipped out to the Pacific. Frightened that he might not come back alive, Monroe begged him to try and get her pregnant before he left. Dougherty disagreed, feeling that she was too young to have a baby

While Dougherty served in the Merchant Marine, his wife began working in the Radioplane Munitions Factory, mainly spraying airplane parts with fire retardant and inspecting parachutes. The factory was owned by movie star Reginald Denney. During that time, David Conover of the U.S. Army Air Forces’ First Motion Picture Unit noticed her and snapped a series of photographs, none of which appeared in Yank magazine

In September 1946, Monroe filed for divorce. Dougherty, served with divorce papers while aboard a ship on the Yangtze river in China, reported that he tried to persuade his wife against the divorce upon his return, but she refused.

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Wednesday Reader: NASA Finds Nitrogen on Mars; Astronomy’s “Big Crunch”

space the final...

The good news: there is nitrogen on Mars.

The bad news: the universe will collapse on itself, according to a new study.

First, the good news…

This (really gigantic) self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager on Feb. 3, 2013 plus three exposures taken May 10, 2013 to show two holes (in lower left quadrant) where Curiosity used its drill on the rock target "John Klein". Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This (really gigantic) self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager on Feb. 3, 2013 plus three exposures taken May 10, 2013 to show two holes (in lower left quadrant) where Curiosity used its drill on the rock target “John Klein”.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds Biologically Useful Nitrogen on Mars

A team using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover has made the first detection of nitrogen on the surface of Mars from release during heating of Martian sediments. The nitrogen was detected in the form of nitric oxide, and could be released from the breakdown of nitrates during heating. Nitrates are a class of molecules that contain nitrogen in a form that can be used by living organisms. The discovery adds to the evidence that ancient Mars was habitable for life.

Nitrogen is essential for all known forms of life, since it is used in the building blocks of larger molecules like DNA and RNA, which encode the genetic instructions for life, and proteins, which are used to build structures like hair and nails, and to speed up or regulate chemical reactions.

However, on Earth and Mars, atmospheric nitrogen is locked up as nitrogen gas (N2) – two atoms of nitrogen bound together so strongly that they do not react easily with other molecules. The nitrogen atoms have to be separated or “fixed” so they can participate in the chemical reactions needed for life. On Earth, certain organisms are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen and this process is critical for metabolic activity. However, smaller amounts of nitrogen are also fixed by energetic events like lightning strikes.

Nitrate (NO3) – a nitrogen atom bound to three oxygen atoms – is a source of fixed nitrogen. A nitrate molecule can join with various other atoms and molecules; this class of molecules is known as nitrates.

There is no evidence to suggest that the fixed nitrogen molecules found by the team were created by life. The surface of Mars is inhospitable for known forms of life. Instead, the team thinks the nitrates are ancient, and likely came from non-biological processes like meteorite impacts and lightning in Mars’ distant past.

Features resembling dry riverbeds and the discovery of minerals that only form in the presence of liquid water suggest that Mars was more hospitable in the remote past. The Curiosity team has found evidence that other ingredients needed for life, such as liquid water and organic matter, were present on Mars at the Curiosity site in Gale Crater billions of years ago.

“Finding a biochemically accessible form of nitrogen is more support for the ancient Martian environment at Gale Crater being habitable,” said Jennifer Stern of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Stern is lead author of a paper on this research published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science March 23.

The team found evidence for nitrates in scooped samples of windblown sand and dust at the “Rocknest” site, and in samples drilled from mudstone at the “John Klein” and “Cumberland” drill sites in Yellowknife Bay. Since the Rocknest sample is a combination of dust blown in from distant regions on Mars and more locally sourced materials, the nitrates are likely to be widespread across Mars, according to Stern. The results support the equivalent of up to 1,100 parts per million nitrates in the Martian soil from the drill sites. The team thinks the mudstone at Yellowknife Bay formed from sediment deposited at the bottom of a lake. Previously the rover team described the evidence for an ancient, habitable environment there: fresh water, key chemical elements required by life, such as carbon, and potential energy sources to drive metabolism in simple organisms.

The samples were first heated to release molecules bound to the Martian soil, then portions of the gases released were diverted to the SAM instruments for analysis. Various nitrogen-bearing compounds were identified with two instruments: a mass spectrometer, which uses electric fields to identify molecules by their signature masses, and a gas chromatograph, which separates molecules based on the time they take to travel through a small glass capillary tube — certain molecules interact with the sides of the tube more readily and thus travel more slowly.

Along with other nitrogen compounds, the instruments detected nitric oxide (NO — one atom of nitrogen bound to an oxygen atom) in samples from all three sites. Since nitrate is a nitrogen atom bound to three oxygen atoms, the team thinks most of the NO likely came from nitrate which decomposed as the samples were heated for analysis. Certain compounds in the SAM instrument can also release nitrogen as samples are heated; however, the amount of NO found is more than twice what could be produced by SAM in the most extreme and unrealistic scenario, according to Stern. This leads the team to think that nitrates really are present on Mars, and the abundance estimates reported have been adjusted to reflect this potential additional source.

“Scientists have long thought that nitrates would be produced on Mars from the energy released in meteorite impacts, and the amounts we found agree well with estimates from this process,” said Stern.

The SAM instrument suite was built at NASA Goddard with significant elements provided by industry, university, and national and international NASA partners. NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess ancient habitable environments and major changes in Martian environmental conditions. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, a division of Caltech, built the rover and manages the project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The NASA Mars Exploration Program and Goddard Space Flight Center provided support for the development and operation of SAM. SAM-Gas Chromatograph was supported by funds from the French Space Agency (CNES). Data from these SAM experiments are archived in the Planetary Data System (pds.nasa.gov).

Okay, now the not-so-good news…

This is the "South Pillar" region of the star-forming region called the Carina Nebula. Like cracking open a watermelon and finding its seeds, the infrared telescope "busted open" this murky cloud to reveal star embryos tucked inside finger-like pillars of thick dust. Credit: NASA NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured a new, infrared view of the choppy star-making cloud called M17, also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula.  The cloud, located about 6,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius, is dominated by a central group of massive stars -- the most massive stars in the region. These central stars give off intense flows of expanding gas, which rush like rivers against dense piles of material, carving out the deep pocket at center of the picture. Winds from the region's other massive stars push back against these oncoming rivers, creating bow shocks like those that pile up in front of speeding boats. Three of these bow shocks are nestled in the upper left side of the central cavity, but are difficult to spot in this view. They are composed of compressed gas in addition to dust that glows at infrared wavelengths Spitzer can see. The smiley-shaped bow shocks curve away from the stellar winds of the central massive stars. This picture was taken with Spitzer's infrared array camera. It is a four-color composite, in which light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns is blue; 4.5-micron light is green; 5.8-micron light is orange; and 8-micron light is red. Dust is red, hot gas is green and white is where gas and dust intermingle. Foreground and background stars appear scattered through the image.

This is the “South Pillar” region of the star-forming region called the Carina Nebula. Like cracking open a watermelon and finding its seeds, the infrared telescope “busted open” this murky cloud to reveal star embryos tucked inside finger-like pillars of thick dust. Credit: NASA
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has captured a new, infrared view of the choppy star-making cloud called M17, also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula.
The cloud, located about 6,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius, is dominated by a central group of massive stars — the most massive stars in the region. These central stars give off intense flows of expanding gas, which rush like rivers against dense piles of material, carving out the deep pocket at center of the picture. Winds from the region’s other massive stars push back against these oncoming rivers, creating bow shocks like those that pile up in front of speeding boats.
Three of these bow shocks are nestled in the upper left side of the central cavity, but are difficult to spot in this view. They are composed of compressed gas in addition to dust that glows at infrared wavelengths Spitzer can see. The smiley-shaped bow shocks curve away from the stellar winds of the central massive stars.
This picture was taken with Spitzer’s infrared array camera. It is a four-color composite, in which light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns is blue; 4.5-micron light is green; 5.8-micron light is orange; and 8-micron light is red. Dust is red, hot gas is green and white is where gas and dust intermingle. Foreground and background stars appear scattered through the image.

The Universe may be on the brink of collapse (but don’t worry – you have about 10 billion years to make other plans)

Physicists have proposed a mechanism for “cosmological collapse” that predicts that the universe will soon stop expanding and collapse in on itself, obliterating all matter as we know it. Their calculations suggest that the collapse is “imminent”—on the order of a few tens of billions of years or so—which may not keep most people up at night, but for the physicists it’s still much too soon.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, physicists Nemanja Kaloper at the University of California, Davis; and Antonio Padilla at the University of Nottingham have proposed the cosmological collapse mechanism and analyzed its implications, which include an explanation of dark energy.

“The fact that we are seeing dark energy now could be taken as an indication of impending doom, and we are trying to look at the data to put some figures on the end date,” Padilla said in an email. “Early indications suggest the collapse will kick in in a few tens of billions of years, but we have yet to properly verify this.”

The main point of the paper is not so much when exactly the universe will end, but that the mechanism may help resolve some of the unanswered questions in physics. In particular, why is the universe expanding at an accelerating rate, and what is the dark energy causing this acceleration? These questions are related to the cosmological constant problem, which is that the predicted vacuum energy density of the universe causing the expansion is much larger than what is observed.

“I think we have opened up a brand new approach to what some have described as ‘the mother of all physics problems,’ namely the cosmological constant problem,” Padilla said. “It’s way too early to say if it will stand the test of time, but so far it has stood up to scrutiny, and it does seem to address the issue of vacuum energy contributions from the standard model, and how they gravitate.”

The collapse mechanism builds on the physicists’ previous research on vacuum energy sequestering, which they proposed to address the cosmological constant problem. The dynamics of vacuum energy sequestering predict that the universe will collapse, but don’t provide a specific mechanism for how collapse will occur.

According to the new mechanism, the universe originated under a set of specific initial conditions so that it naturally evolved to its present state of acceleration and will continue on a path toward collapse. In this scenario, once the collapse trigger begins to dominate, it does so in a period of “slow roll” that brings about the accelerated expansion we see today. Eventually the universe will stop expanding and reach a turnaround point at which it begins to shrink, culminating in a “big crunch.”

Currently, we are in the period of accelerated expansion, and we know that the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old. So in order for the new mechanism to work, the period of accelerated expansion must last until at least this time (needless to say, a mechanism that predicts that the universe has already collapsed is obviously flawed). The collapse time can be delayed by choosing an appropriate slope, which in this case, is a slope that has a very tiny positive value—about 10-39 in the scientists’ equation. The very gradual slope means that the universe evolves very slowly.

Importantly, the scientists did not choose a slope just to fit the observed expansion and support their mechanism. Instead, they explain that the slope is “technically natural,” and takes on this value due to a symmetry in the theory.

As the physicists explain, the naturalness of the mechanism makes it one of the first ever models that predicts acceleration without any direct fine-tuning. In the mechanism, the slope alone controls the universe’s evolution, including the scale of the accelerated expansion.

“The ‘technically natural’ size of the slope controls when the collapse trigger begins to dominate, but was it guaranteed to give us slow roll and therefore the accelerated expansion?” Padilla said. “Naively one might have expected to have to fine-tune some initial conditions to guarantee this, but remarkably that is not the case. The dynamics of vacuum energy sequestering guarantee the slow roll.”

The idea is still in its early stages, and the physicists hope to build on it much more in the future.

“There is much to do,” Padilla said. “Right now we are working on a way to describe our theory in a way that is manifestly local, which will make it more conventional, and more obviously in keeping with some of the key principles behind quantum theory (namely, linear superposition). We would also like to devise more tests of the idea, both cosmological and astrophysical.

“Over the longer term, we would like to understand how our theory could emerge from a more fundamental theory, such as string theory. It is also important to ask what happens when we consider vacuum energy corrections from quantum gravity.”

If there was ever a justification that more work is needed, it may be in the paper’s conclusion:

“The present epoch of acceleration may be evidence of impending doom. . . A detailed analysis to better quantify these predictions is certainly warranted.”

As I said, you have plenty of time to make other plans.

Pack well.

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Art Wednesday: Frederic Edwin Church

F E Church

Frederic Edwin Church (b. 1826, Hartford, CT; d. 1900, New York City, NY)
Image courtesy of the Church Estate

Frederic Church (1826 – 1900) was an American landscape painter of the Romantic period. He was a pupil and close friend of Thomas Cole (American Romantic landscape painter, and a founder of the Hudson River School) and continued the preoccupations of the HRS with the most spectacular aspects of natural scenery.

Church looked and traveled beyond his native country, however, painting not only the Niagara Falls, for example, but also the tropical forests of South America, icebergs, and exploding volcanoes, often on a huge scale. He was immensely popular in his day, and after a period of neglect is returning to favor again. His house, Olana, on the Hudson River, is now a museum.

Autumn 1875 Oil on canvas, 39 x 61 cm Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Autumn
1875
Oil on canvas, 39 x 61 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Autumn landscapes were often painted by Church, who exploited the possibilities autumn gave for brilliant coloring, from the blue sky in the upper left to the intense reds of the leaves. Characteristic of Church and other artists of his school is the light source coming from the center of the canvas, which illuminates the scene from the background in a deliberately theatrical way.

The Heart of the Andes 1859 Oil on canvas, 169 x 303 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Heart of the Andes
1859
Oil on canvas, 169 x 303 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Frederic Church was Thomas Cole’s star pupil, and as Cole was the major figure in the first generation of the Hudson River School, so Church dominated the second. He did not confine himself to views of New York and New England; in the 1850s, influenced by the great explorer Alexander von Humboldt, he traveled to South America and made sketches that were the basis of a great Andean panorama.

Church painted nature with uncanny fidelity and an abiding sense of awe. His landscapes embodied America’s belief that the opening of frontiers and territorial expansion were the nation’s destiny. When this monumental painting was first shown to the public in 1859, in a darkened room and illuminated by hidden lights, it caused a sensation. In many ways, the painting carried the ideas of the Hudson River School to their most dramatic culmination.

Niagara Falls 1857 Oil n canvas, 108 x 230 cm Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington

Niagara Falls
1857
Oil n canvas, 108 x 230 cm
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington

As Cole’s most significant successor of the Hudson River School, Church’s landscapes represented unsullied nature as an embodiment of his faith in the God-given strength and mission of the New World, “America’s sacred destiny,” as he put it.  An example is Niagara Falls, an icon of American painting. The extremely wide format, the horseshoe shape of the falling masses of water, and the horizontal stretch of land in the background, visualizing the incredible extent of this natural wonder, lend the picture the monumentality of a gigantic panorama.

The falls and the immense, untouched landscape become a natural symbol of the political energy of a people and nation devoted to making the world a better place to live in. The violet hue of the sky and the rainbow blur in the rising mists, conveying a sense of mystery that lends the natural motif a symbolic aspect.

Cross in the Wilderness 1857 Oil on canvas, 41 x 62 cm Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Cross in the Wilderness
1857
Oil on canvas, 41 x 62 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

“Cross in the Wilderness” depicts a wild and desolate landscape developed around the central motif of the painting, the cross, which, though placed in a central position, is overshadowed and passes almost unnoticed among the grandeur of the natural setting.

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Art Wednesday: Claude Monet, French Painter, Founder and Leader of Impressionism

Self-Portrait with a Beret, 1886. Oil on canvas, 46 x 56 cm. Private collection

Self-Portrait with a Beret,
1886.
Oil on canvas, 46 x 56 cm.
Private collection

Art Wednesday is a continuing series of articles about various artists and their works from various nationalities.

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was a French painter, founder and leader of the Impressionist movement in France; indeed the movement’s name, Impressionism, is derived from his Impression, Sunrise (1873; Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris). He adhered to its principles throughout his long career and is considered the most consistently representative painter of the school as well as one of the foremost painters of landscape in the history of art.
Impression, Sunrise 1873 Oil on canvas, 48 x 63 cm Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris. In France, public and critics both had a great deal of fun at the expense of the independent exhibitions organized in Paris. It was a journalist, Alfred Leroy, who coined the nickname "Impressionist," having used the word in his famous satirical article in Charivari on April 25, 1874. The trigger had been a work that Monet had painted in Le Havre two years earlier and that was listed in the catalog as Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant). As early as 1877, the initially pejorative term was adopted by the artists themselves and used as a rallying cry.

Impression, Sunrise
1873
Oil on canvas, 48 x 63 cm
Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris.
In France, public and critics both had a great deal of fun at the expense of the independent exhibitions organized in Paris. It was a journalist, Alfred Leroy, who coined the nickname “Impressionist,” having used the word in his famous satirical article in Charivari on April 25, 1874. The trigger had been a work that Monet had painted in Le Havre two years earlier and that was listed in the catalog as Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant). As early as 1877, the initially pejorative term was adopted by the artists themselves and used as a rallying cry.

As a youth in Le Havre, Monet was encouraged by the marine painter Boudin to paint in the open air, a practice he never forsook. After two years (1860-62) with the army in Algeria, he went to Paris, over parental objections, to study painting.
Farm in Normandy c. 1863 Oil on canvas, 65 x 80 cm Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

Farm in Normandy
c. 1863
Oil on canvas, 65 x 80 cm
Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

In Paris, Monet formed lasting friendships with the artists who would become the major impressionists, including Pissarro, Cézanne, Renoir, Sisley, and Bazille. He and several of his friends painted for a time out-of-doors in the Barbizon district. Renoir and Monet began painting outdoors together in the late 1860s, laying the foundations of Impressionism.

Monet soon began to concern himself with his lifelong objective: portraying the variations of light and atmosphere brought on by changes of hour and season. Rather than copy in the Louvre, the traditional practice of young artists, Monet learned from his friends, from the landscape itself, and from the works of his older contemporaries Manet, Corot, and Courbet.

Fishing Boats in Honfleur 1868 Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon.

Fishing Boats in Honfleur
1868
Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon.

Monet’s representation of light was based on his knowledge of the laws of optics as well as his own observations of his subjects. He often showed natural colour by breaking it down into its different components as a prism does. Eliminating black and gray from his palette, Monet rejected entirely the academic approach to landscape.

Wiindmill at Zaandam 1871 Oil on canvas, 48 x 74 cm Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

Wiindmill at Zaandam
1871
Oil on canvas, 48 x 74 cm
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

In 1874, with Pissarro and Edgar Degas, Monet helped organize the Société Anonyme des Artistes, Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs, etc., the formal name of the Impressionists’ group. During the 1870s Monet developed his characteristic technique for rendering atmospheric outdoor light, using broken, rhythmic brushwork.

View of the Tuileries Garden 1875 Oil on canvas, 53 x 72 cm Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris.

View of the Tuileries Garden
1875
Oil on canvas, 53 x 72 cm
Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris.

In 1874 Sisley, Morisot, and Monet organized the first impressionist group show, which was ferociously maligned by the critics, who coined the term impressionism after Monet’s Impression: Sunrise, 1872 (Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris). The show failed financially. However, by 1883 Monet had prospered, and he retired from Paris to his home in Giverny.

Wheat Field 1881 Oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm Museum of Art, Cleveland.

Wheat Field
1881
Oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm
Museum of Art, Cleveland.

In his later works Monet allowed his vision of light to dissolve the real structures of his subjects. To do this he chose simple matter, making several series of studies of the same object at different times of day or year: haystacks, the Gare Saint-Lazare (1876-78), poplars (begun 1890), the Thames, the celebrated group of Rouen Cathedral (1892-94), and the last great lyrical series of water lilies (1899, and 1904-25), painted in his own garden at Giverny.

Haystack in the Snow, Morning 1890 Oil on canvas, 65 x 92 cm Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 1890-91, Monet created no fewer than 25 "haystack" paintings. His aim was to demonstrate that the same objects, viewed from the same angle, change their form and colors at different times of the day and in different seasons.

Haystack in the Snow, Morning
1890
Oil on canvas, 65 x 92 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
In 1890-91, Monet created no fewer than 25 “haystack” paintings. His aim was to demonstrate that the same objects, viewed from the same angle, change their form and colors at different times of the day and in different seasons.

In the last decade of his life Monet, nearly blind, painted a group of large water lily murals (Nymphéas) for the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.

Water Lilies 1906 Oil on canvas, 88 x 93 cm Art Institute, Chicago. During the first decade of the twentieth century, Monet painted a series of canvases in his water garden in Giverny, including the present painting depicting water lilies on the surface of the pond. Forty-eight of these canvases were exhibited in 1909. From 1899 to 1926 Monet worked on the theme of the water lilies with unremitting determination, using different formats and viewpoints, adopting an increasingly flexible treatment, and culminating in a fusion with the motif that seeks to encompass the entirety of the artist's vision. Monet painted a cycle of water lily paintings, known as the Nymphéas. The eight paintings of the cycle are displayed in two oval rooms in the Musée de l'Orangerie, located on the bank of the Seine in the old orangery of the Tuileries Palace on the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The paintings were donated by Monet to the French government in 1922.

Water Lilies
1906
Oil on canvas, 88 x 93 cm
Art Institute, Chicago.
During the first decade of the twentieth century, Monet painted a series of canvases in his water garden in Giverny, including the present painting depicting water lilies on the surface of the pond. Forty-eight of these canvases were exhibited in 1909.
From 1899 to 1926 Monet worked on the theme of the water lilies with unremitting determination, using different formats and viewpoints, adopting an increasingly flexible treatment, and culminating in a fusion with the motif that seeks to encompass the entirety of the artist’s vision.
Monet painted a cycle of water lily paintings, known as the Nymphéas. The eight paintings of the cycle are displayed in two oval rooms in the Musée de l’Orangerie, located on the bank of the Seine in the old orangery of the Tuileries Palace on the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The paintings were donated by Monet to the French government in 1922.

Water Lilies c. 1920 Oil on canvas, 200 x 425 cm Museum of Modern Art, New York. This is one of the three large water lily paintings by Monet housed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It shows a pond covered with water lilies with reflections of clouds overhead.

Water Lilies
c. 1920
Oil on canvas, 200 x 425 cm
Museum of Modern Art, New York.
This is one of the three large water lily paintings by Monet housed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It shows a pond covered with water lilies with reflections of clouds overhead.

Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies 1899 Oil on canvas, 93 x 74 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In 1893, Monet purchased land with a pond near his property in Giverny, and he built here his water lily garden with a Japanese bridge spanning the pond at its narrowest point. In 1899, he began a series of eighteen views of the wooden footbridge over the pond, completing twelve paintings, including the present one, that summer. The vertical format of the picture, unusual in this series, gives prominence to the water lilies and their reflections on the pond.

Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies
1899
Oil on canvas, 93 x 74 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
In 1893, Monet purchased land with a pond near his property in Giverny, and he built here his water lily garden with a Japanese bridge spanning the pond at its narrowest point. In 1899, he began a series of eighteen views of the wooden footbridge over the pond, completing twelve paintings, including the present one, that summer. The vertical format of the picture, unusual in this series, gives prominence to the water lilies and their reflections on the pond.

Monet’s work is particularly well represented in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, the Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, the National Gallery, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago. It is also included in many famous private collections.

On the Web:

“The Cliff, Etretat, Sunset”: The Exact Minute Claude Monet Created It

Art In Itself: The Home of Claude Monet, Giverny, Normandy, France

Art Wednesday: Trophy Art by Monet and Kandinsky Now Getting Top Prices

Crash

Crash Course on Politics: Ted Cruz Bears Down on the Usual Suspects

CCP header

23

The best part about Senator Ted Cruz tossing his hat in the ring? It’s that the people responsible for the mess we’re in can’t stand him!

That is, Dems of course, the lib media and establishment Republicans.

May we remind all those already labeling Cruz as “too extreme” that JFK’s economic policies today would be considered mainstream conservative.

Cruz in his opening video: “The divide that exists in this country isn’t between political parties, it’s between Washington and the rest of us” then adding, “If you want more of the same, there’ll be plenty to choose from.”

That’s for sure.

Ronald Reagan: “Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?”

Agree with him or not, the one thing about Senator Cruz is that you’ll get no “pale pastels.” And “pale pastels” won’t begin the journey of turning America around.

21

You partied a little too much and aren’t feeling real great the next day. On your way to work you make a quick stop for a caffeine fix to rid the cobwebs. The last thing you want is to discuss “race relations” with some twenty-something moron working at Starbucks. You remind the skull full of mush that “talking about race” is what America’s been doing for 50 years! Then you tell him what it’s produced:

1. Fed policies that have destroyed the black family.

2. Teachers unions that stop kids from attending better schools.

3. A lib media who for months lied shamelessly about “Hands up, don’t shoot.” A president who once said, ”If I had a son he would look like Trayvon ” and whose economic policies have especially hurt minorities.

4. And last but not least, 50 years of “talking about race” has given us race-baiters like Holder & Sharpton. Figured out whom I’m voting for in 2016.

I’m voting for any candidate who NEVER uses a hyphenated term to describe Americans. Here’s an idea Starbucks: Get me my damn cup of coffee and then SHUT UP!

19

Hold on tight, the next two years is gonna be a bumpy ride! Zerobama in Cleveland last weekend: “Other countries have mandatory voting. It would be transformative if everybody voted.”

Sure Mister Zero:

1) WA Times 2006: “College students fail civics test” Including a huge % of Ivy League students who missed very simple questions. Our schools & colleges are an absolute joke!

2) Pew Survey 2010: “41% Can’t ID Biden as Vice President”

3) WA Post 2014: “Barely half of Americans know the political party of their representative”

4) Also WA Post 2014: “Only 36 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government” WOW!!!

5) Newsmax 2015: “Poll: 77% of Millennials Can’t Name a (U.S.) Senator From Their State” Conservatives always outperform libs in these surveys so of course Zero wants mandatory voting, an uninformed electorate is a more govt. dependent electorate.

Hey Zerobama, want to mandate something? Then mandate that all voters first pass a basic civics test. It’s too late to stop you but this would definitely stop Hillary!

18

CNN was very despondent that Netanyahu won big. Boo hoo!

Last week’s primetime ratings for all cable networks:

Fox News (1st), MSNBC (26th) & CNN (35th).

Now this ”Clinton News Network” headline today: “Poll: Hillary Clinton still tops in 2016” The article says that “none of the top (Republican) candidates in this field gets within 10 points of Hillary Clinton in a series of hypothetical general election matchups.” Doubt many are buying a poll from a cable news channel that had fewer primetime viewers last week than the “Game Show Network” (34th).

In 2007, when the presidential election was only a year away, CNN reported this: “In an October CNN/Opinion Research poll, Clinton was supported by 51 percent of Democratic voters and had a 30 point lead over Obama.” 30 points! Then the corrupt, condescending, and dull as dishwater “Shrillary” Clinton started campaigning. Today she’s 8 years older and even less likable.

Hillary & CNN are very much alike, they’re both way past their prime and incapable of telling the truth!

17

It would seem as though the “Chicago Way” doesn’t play so well in Tel Aviv.

From Breitbart’s Joel Pollak: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apparently defied the mainstream media and the Obama administration with a stunning, come-from-behind victory in Israel’s elections on Tuesday.” Pollak writes that one of Netanyahu’s closing arguments was “that foreign donors and governments were mobilizing Arab voters, including some who oppose Israel’s existence, to turn out.” O’s behind-the-scenes scheming and directing U.S. tax dollars to throw the Israeli election worked about as well for him there as it did here in 2010 and 2014.

If the results hold the biggest losers are: O, Jarrett, Kerry, Pelosi, the lib media, Iran, Hezbollah & Hamas. The biggest winners? All those who believe that this tiny and democratic country has a right to exist.

May God Bless the nation of Israel!

16

Big surprise, more foolishness from a California university…

From Breitbart Friday: “Students and faculty members at UC Irvine defended the six student council members who voted to ban the American flag from a building on campus, creating an online petition stating their express support of the underlying reasons behind the short-lived ban. The vote to remove the flag stemmed from an attempt to prevent ‘triggering’ hurt feelings among illegal immigrants, namely ‘racism and xenophobia,’ according to language in the online petition. The petition received over 1,200 signatures, including 60 from UC Irvine professors and faculty members, and condemned ‘nationalism’ in every form, including ‘U.S. nationalism.’”

Fine, as long as they also sign this petition: “Any university that bans the American flag agrees to also ban the acceptance of federal financial aid of any kind and will inform its student body immediately that all tuition procured through federal student loans will no longer be accepted.” Maybe it’s time America “divested” from California and we’ll take their 80% stake in growing winter veggie with us!

15

Back in the 90s the late NY Times’ columnist William Safire called Hillary Clinton a “congenital liar.” Last week Hillary said that none of her emails contained classified materials, all of them were automatically archived by the State Dept. and that she and Bill emailed regularly. Every day there are new revelations proving that Safire was 100% correct.

As was pointed out on “The Kelly File” earlier last week form OF-109 is Hillary Clinton’s “Catch-22.” Every State Dept. employee (no exceptions) must sign this document swearing to have provided ALL of his/her official records upon leaving (and certainly not two years later). This includes non-classified materials and emails.

So if Hillary signed this form she’s committed a felony. And if she didn’t then why not and who authorized her special exemption? It would take less than five minutes to discover the truth and yet State Dept. spokesperson Jen Psaki has been giving reporters the runaround for three days and counting. Sorry Hillary. Sorry Zeroboy. Sorry State Department. BUT NOT THIS TIME!

12

Barack Zerobama’s “post-racial” presidency is about to give America a long and very hot summer. Let’s assume that Eric Holder’s report is correct (though it’s been factually discredited by many) and the Ferguson PD is completely racist. Then why didn’t Holder work quietly to improve matters behind the scenes instead of once again fanning the flames?

We all know the answer. Just hours before the shooting last night of two police officers this headline from Tom Nolan appeared at the Daily Beast: “Ferguson’s Police Chief Resigned, Now Fire the Rest of the Cops” Okay Mr. Nolan, and then what?

This isn’t just about Ferguson Tommy, Eric Holder has created a toxic environment where every police event in every city will now be first seen through a racial lens. Holder did condemn the shooting today but it’s way too late Eric, your chickens have come home to roost! From this day forward blood will be on your hands for every officer harmed as a result of your six plus years of despicable race baiting.

11

Zerobama unconstitutionally made changes to Obamacare. By a vote of 9-0 SCOTUS ruled that Zero’s NLRB recess appointments were also unconstitutional. And Zero correctly said 22 times he had no legal authority to issue executive amnesty. But he did so anyway which is why it’s so darn adorable that Obots suddenly think they’re legal scholars.

This WH website petition has over 175K signatures: “File charges against the 47 U.S. Senators in violation of The Logan Act in attempting to undermine a nuclear agreement.”

Teddy K pushed the Soviets to undermine Reagan, Dems wrote a letter of support to Nicaragua’s Ortega, Dems flew to Baghdad causing mischief and Pelosi met with Syria’s Assad behind W’s back … yet for libs all ZZZZZ. But Repubs reminding Iran that the Senate must ratify any TRUE nuke deal? TRAITORS who must be locked up! Even Kerry admitted today that O’s deal wouldn’t be legally binding.

So Obots, go watch some old episodes of Schoolhouse Rock. You might learn something and the cartoons are a big hit with stoners!

10

We all know that Hillary’s path to the White House is to dupe enough low info single women. With our colleges & media today this shouldn’t be too difficult.

So old Hil gave a UN speech this afternoon on “women’s rights.” Gimme a break … this woman rose to power solely because of her husband, used the “nuts and sluts” defense to protect Bill, pays Clinton Foundation female employees less and takes millions of dollars from Middle Eastern countries that ruthlessly subjugate women.

Last year Kathleen Willey, one of the dozens of Bubba’s sexually abused victims, said this: “Hillary Clinton is the war on women.” Bullseye Kathleen! After her speech today Hillary addressed her email controversy, saying she used private email for “convenience,” admitting she’s deleted lots of emails (personal of course) and insisting that her private “server will remain private.” Translation: We peasants must take Hillary’s word that she didn’t delete any damaging emails and that the State Dept. now has them all.

Bravo Killary … Richard Nixon would be so proud!

9

George & Laura Bush were in the front row of marchers during the 50th anniversary of Selma this month. But the Bushes were “mysteriously” cropped out of the NY Times cover photo.

Sixties civil rights activist Diane Nash refused to march simply because W was there. Ms. Nash must be unaware that a higher % of Republicans than Dems voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. House: Ds 61%, Rs 80% Senate: Ds 69%, Rs 82% Hate to break this to you Diane, but W isn’t responsible for the decades of single-party rule that has given us cities like Detroit. And it’s not W who’s fought against school choice, which provides inner-city kids an escape from failing schools. Nor did Bush cause (since Selma) the black out-of-wedlock birthrate to jump from 1 in 4 to now 3 in 4.

Finally, W didn’t sign the strict gun laws preventing urban residents from defending themselves. No Ms. Nash, you can thank your beloved Democratic party for all of this. Fifty years of lib policies have destroyed the black family. White families too. Want real freedom Diane? Then leave the Dem plantation!

8

It’s a good thing Zerobama gets CNN or he’d be clueless!

Let’s recap:

1) Fast & Furious – O: “I heard on the news about this story.”

2) DOJ seizing phone records – Jay Carney: “He (O) found out about the news reports yesterday on the road.”

3) IRS targeting – O: “I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this.”

4) NSA spying – O: “I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report had been leaked through the press.”

5) VA waiting lists – Carney: “We learned about them through the (news) reports.” So when Bill Plante of CBS News asked Zero this month when he first learned about Hillary’s private email system this was no surprise – Obama: “The same time everybody else learned it through news reports.”

Unbelievable, only Hillary Clinton with Whitewater, cattle futures, lost billing records, the WH travel office, “sniper fire,” Benghazi, foreign donations, private email & MORE has Zero beat as the most dishonest politician ever! Dems, you sure know how to pick ‘em!

Other political cartoons worth noting:

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Crash

Trumbull – Dear Lumbermen (1) – The BIG Storm – Sept., 1944

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

Trumbull House - Maple tree taken down in Hurricane of 1944 - view towards litle drive way

Trumbul house - Maple tree taken down in hurricane of 1944 - loking towards road

Trumbul house - Maple Tree taken down in Huricane of 1944 (front porch steps

Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 17, 1944

Dear Lumberman at large:

Return immediately. Poppa needs you. The wind she blow like hell in Trumbull and the place formally yelept (I have no idea what he meant by this) Babbling Brook seemed to be right in the path of the storm. Anyway, this morning, inspired by the good neighbor policy, Messrs. Laufer, Reynolds, John Kurtz and A.D.G. with ax, saw, crowbar, block and tackle, plus Buick horsepower lifted several tons of maple tree off the roof of the apartment, after a big section of the big maple tree in the back of the house ripped off and crashed down on our domicile. What internal damage was done I have not yet been able to ascertain, but here is a brief review of the other tree damage on the property;

1 – The aged maple tree between the barn and the old chicken coop…

View original post 893 more words

Crash’s Kitchen: Giverny French Toast Croque Madame

French Toast Croque Madame

This is the perfect combination of sweet and salty, perfect for a post-workout with the mastery of a Monet.

Total Time: 1 hr 5 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy breezy

Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
12 slices very stale thick white bread (about 1/2-inch thick)
1 pound gruyere, grated
12 thin slices Black Forest ham (about 8 ounces)
10 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
Pure maple syrup, warm, for drizzling

Directions
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

Lay 6 slices of the bread in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish (trim if needed). Sprinkle 2 heaping tablespoons of the gruyere on top of each slice. Then top each with 2 slices of the ham, folding the ham if needed to fit on top of the bread. Place the remaining 6 slices of bread on top of the of the ham to form 6 sandwiches. Sprinkle the remaining gruyere on top and on the sides of the sandwiches. Set aside.

Whisk together 4 of the eggs, the half-and-half, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour on top of the sandwiches. Use your hands to lightly press the sandwiches down into the custard.

Spray a large piece of foil with nonstick spray. Place the foil, sprayed-side down, on top of the baking dish, crimping the sides of the foil around the dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the custard is set but still slightly jiggly, about 10 minutes. Switch the oven to broil and broil until the top is light golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Allow the casserole to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Crack 3 eggs into the pan (it’s ok if they stick together) and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the whites start to set, 2 to 3 minutes, and then cover and continue cooking until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 1 to 2 minutes. Place each on top of a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs.

Use a metal spatula to remove a sandwich with egg from the casserole and place on a serving plate. Serve with warm maple syrup for drizzling.

Enjoy!

Crash