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Parsnip Pie: an assortium of sites on Architecture, Theater, Books, Art, and Family

Updated on January 21, 2014

All the Arts and Design under one Crust!

All the good stuff in life - art and design - and people (like kids!) to share it with.

It's a bit of a puzzle to know what category to put this Lens under, since there doesn't seem to be one labeled "Everything Worthwhile." A strange omission, really.

Here you, Dear Reader, will find a strange assortment of links to an assortium of architecture, art, design, film, and theater sites plus a few kid/family ones. Full of unexpected goodies - like that parrot's parsnip pie - tasty stuff and good for you! A few sites will be kid-friendly or at least useful as research sources for home-school or after-school projects, but artists aren't always PG, so peek under the crust first, huh?

Enjoy! More servings coming along all the time.

(PS The image is from - 'till I messed with it)

Alphabet blocks (by the author) all rights given to the Public Domain
Alphabet blocks (by the author) all rights given to the Public Domain

How to Cook and Eat this Pie

Let's tackle this Turnip Pie alphabetically. Why not?

Start with C for crust and work our way to P for Parsnip or T for Turnip. Or start with A for - - -

the Pantheon
the Pantheon


AKA the Mother of the Arts

This was back in the days when most of the other arts were handmaidens to architecture: when painting, sculpture, stained glass, and all the "applied" arts like furniture design, weaving, etc. were integral parts of any important building. Alas, times have changed - what with Modernism kicking decoration out of buildings, like Christ sending the money-lenders packing from the temple.

But you know what? Decoration and art may be sneaking back in. Welcome!

Andrea Palladio - Renaissance Architect

Palladio's architecture is breath-takingly beautiful.

It's influenced everyone from the British and French neo-classicists to Thomas Jefferson. (Palladio may be the real reason the U.S. Congress and the White House are classic in style rather than, say, Gothic.) His work is still influencing us today.

This book looks equally gorgeous, filled with Giaconi's watercolor renderings and original woodcut illustrations from Palladio's Four Books of Architecture. (See more at Palladio's own book is in the row of suggested books a bit further down. Kinda cool to be continuously in print since 1570, huh?

Favorites for Architecture

Toys, favorite books, and the best desk lamp in the world.

The Architecture of Happiness
The Architecture of Happiness

Love this thoughtful book!

art studio
art studio


Under Art I'd include anything "artful" including crafts - in fact, I think the border fences between Fine Art, Applied Art, Industrial Art, and Craft etc. are pretty silly. Who cares anyway?

So my list includes all sorts of art - mainly visual.

Art Explained - Sister Wendy

It's an unexpected thing, that one of the best teachers of Art should be a cloistered English nun, living an isolated, contemplative life, who appears on TV (she'd never seen TV until she was on it herself). Ineffable indeed.

Sister Wendy explaining Bernini's sculpture "Apollo and Daphne" - shows how perfect she is to interpret for us.

Favorites for Art

Fun stuff to read or experiment with - don't you just love little wooden poseable mannequins?

The Art Book
The Art Book

I like that this (beautifully) illustrated book is organized alphabetically by artist... you get some interesting and unlikely neighbors!

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 72-Count
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 72-Count

Even more fun than the BIG box of crayons!


Books and Writing

Only the single most important invention of Man

(and Woman - she's been known to pick up a pen too). At least since fire...

It's practical time-travel, isn't it? Working telepathy? Pretty cool technology!

Books and Writers on YouTube

Here's a favorite poem from John Siddique, nicely animated.

Favorites for Books

Ah! books. And ways to write or e-read them.

Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen (Weldon, Fay)
Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen (Weldon, Fay)

Great explanation of Jane Austen... and of how a novelist works.

The Truth (Discworld)
The Truth (Discworld)

one of my all-time favorite Pratchett books!

Barnes & Noble NOOK Color eBook Tablet
Barnes & Noble NOOK Color eBook Tablet

i prefer NOOK for e=reading because it supports epub texts.



Okay, maybe sometimes this laps over into Art or Architecture or... well, all these borders are unclear.

But cool design-y stuff of all kinds that didn't quite fit - so I had to add this giant letter D. More to come I betcha.

Design Books

A few intriguing books on design and designed objects. Check 'em out!

Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design
Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design

I was just reading about this unconventional design book - which seems to throw out the matchy-matchy rules. Yeah, rah!

Aeroscope film camera 1910
Aeroscope film camera 1910

Film and TV

If you love story, if you love books, you're pretty well doomed to like the movies. Doomed, doooooomed! to spend hours in the darkness watching that silver screen flicker, eating all that popcorn. (Read Terry Pratchett's Moving Pictures yet? A funny take on sorta-Hollywood.)

Here are some of my favorite links to the world of the silver or blue-flickery screens.


The Granddaddy of film and probably of books too, live people in the same room or cave, telling stories and acting them out. Some of our species' best stories and story tellers (Shakespeare anyone?) work on-stage.

"All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts"

Like he said.

I spend my days playing in theaters, so naturally I'm a bit partial. Beware: it's even more fun to get involved with the stage, than to merely sit watching it. Addictive.

Mask Italia
Mask Italia

Maybe it's my theater love talking, but I think masks are fascinating. I collect them.


Parsnips (okay, TURNIPS 'cause the picture was better, so there):

Who knows what category these belong in?

All the weird and wonderful uncategorizable stuff.

The stuff it takes minutes to explain, and then your friend stares at you, puzzled. "Huh?"

YouTube Turnip-y Glory - Purdue University's Rube Goldberg-esque Machine

Rube Goldgerg designed fanciful over-complicated machines to do simple tasks - he would have loved this, um, clock? history? It does tell time, sorta. Maybe it's a turnip-y time diorama? Whatever it is, it's huge fun.

Rube Goldberg Pencil Sharpener

Rube Goldberg image borrowed from the Huffington Post
Rube Goldberg image borrowed from the Huffington Post

Simplified pencil-sharpener: Open window (A) and fly kite (B). String (C) lifts small door (D) allowing moths (E) to escape and eat red flannel shirt (F). As weight of shirt becomes less, shoe (G) steps on switch (H) which heats electric iron (I) and burns hole in pants (J). Smoke (K) enters hole in tree (L), smoking out opossum (M) which jumps into basket (N), pulling rope (O) and lifting cage (P), allowing woodpecker (Q) to chew wood from pencil (R), exposing lead. Emergency knife (S) is always handy in case opossum or the woodpecker gets sick and can't work.

(I believe this image is in the public domain, if this use infringes on copyright, please let me know and I'll remove it.)

Rube Goldberg

If ever there was an inventor of turnips, parsnips, or strangely twisted carrot-mechanisms, it has to have been Rube Goldgerg.

Favorites in turnips, parsnips, carrots, other root vegetables

Weirdities. What can I say?

slot machine
slot machine

Turnips on eBay?

(cherry, turnip, turnip, parsnip)

Let's not get silly.

Children and Family

What fun is all this without loved ones to share with? Go have adventures, then talk about it all at dinner.

Children on eBay?

Please, no!

I wouldn't dare even type "children" in, would you? (Unless followed by: " 's socks")

Hope you enjoyed this list of oddities and favorites. Please visit again as the lists grow.

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