Sunday, July 8, 2012

Gargoyle

Well, now that Wimbledon has wrapped up with a scintillating men's final I can devote some time to the blogging again. I don't generally watch sports much, however I make exemptions for the tennis Grand Slams and the Olympics. It's great that this is available streamed without commercials on my computer.

I will be returning shortly to those various loose ends in the threads I have started, but for the moment wanted to share some pictures of a sweet little gate located in Williamstown MA, about 45 minute's drive away: The Gargoyle Gate which guards the football grounds of Weston Field:


This gate was built, from what I have been able to determine, around 1904, and was a presentation to the town, the location of Williams College, by the Gargoyle Society. I gather it is some sort of secret society founded in 1895. NY Yankee GM George Steinbrenner was one alumni.

A cute li'l building, and very solidly made -  I wish I could find out more about it. This is a view of the front:


The back also has an eyebrow, and one could describe, I suppose, the gable end as having a form akin to a Japanese minoko:


One more:


All for now - should be back to more regular posts this week. Thanks for swinging by the Carpentry Way.

9 comments:

  1. Hi Chris,

    We share tennis as well as woodworking. As a long term and avid Federer fan, I have to say, today's performance was utterly satisfying. A master hitting on all cylinders, utilizing a repertoire you won't see again. Nothing better to see in this world when it happens, personally, and that includes architecture!

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  2. Tico,

    after the past couple of years where the Fed has struggled and has slipped in the rankings, I also found it utterly satisfying to watch his performance in this year's final. too bad for Murray of course. He had his chances, and tennis really is a game of millimeters at times and the outcome didn't go his way. I'm sure his coach, Ivan Lendl, will relate to the struggle involved in winning a grand slam final, having also lost his first four attempts.

    Thanks for your comment.

    ~C

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  3. Chris,

    It's all high tech power, bullet servers, and baseline games now, with players needing to be over six feet tall. Let's again see the wooden composite tennis racket with it's smaller sweet spot, and add some rallies, net play, and strategy back to the game. More jobs for woodworkers!

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  4. Dennis,

    you know, interesting you say that. It sounds a bit like you haven't watched pro tennis in a while, as what you describe sounds like tennis from the 1990's.

    I have a different point of view. I recently went on U-Tube and watched segments of the Wimbledon finals from 1974 until 2001, including the first and only meeting of Pete Sampras, the King of Grass, and a 19 year-old Roger Federer. The 1974 match was rather slow and un-athletic and not quite so interesting, at least not to me. Serves were slow too, and players weren't sprinting anywhere. By the early 1980's the racquets had allowed for a faster game, yet there were players who did well who had a subtle touch - like three-time winner John MacEnroe and 5-time winner Borg. There were some great matches.

    By the late 1980's through until early 2000's, the power game at Wimbledon was in full swing, and the serve-volley method was what won matches. First with Becker, and later to perfection with Sampras. The matches were boring, as far as I was concerned, as points were usually over in a few strokes. Watching Fed and Sampras I was surprised to see Fed playing in the serve and volley style - and he beat Sampras in 5 sets.

    Then Wimbledon changed the grass and the soil quality so that the balls didn't skid quite so much and would bounce a bit higher and the era of serve and volley largely came to an end. Today's matches have fairly fast serves (though Roscoe Tanner in the 1980s served close to 150 mph with the 'old' technology racquets, and the average top pro male today serves around 120mph). Today's matches, to my way of seeing, having watched the game for a long time, are much more exciting, and the players have to be far fitter and have a balanced set of skills. Points are constructed gradually, like in the pre- 1975 days, but the pace is quicker and much more dynamic. There are some long rallies. There are aces. There is net play. I like the quality of play by far compared to the old style and the 1990's style.

    There was an era of racquets with huge heads and sweet spots 20 years ago, tools like the Prince racquet, but I don't see anyone using those these days. Most players have a mid-size racquet head. I think they may have made rules to limit head size. I don't see what difference the technology makes so long as the playing field is an even on and all athletes have access to the same tech. The game should come down to the shot making prowess and the crucial psychological aspects of how a person behaves under stress and pressure, not a racquet material.

    As for having to be over 6 feet tall to be successful, tell that to world number 5 David Ferrer, who is 5'-9". There are several women in the top 10 would are under 6' in height. Serena Williams, who won the trophy at Wimbledon this year, is 5'-9". The really tall players often have great serves, but their game is not well-rounded enough for them to become champions most of the time.

    ~C

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  5. The major breakthrough in tennis technology is not the composition of the rackets or their size. It is the new strings:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/01/the-new-physics-of-tennis/8339/

    Without these strings you wouldn't have Djokovic and Nadal playing anywhere near the level they perform at. Federer, with his timing, balance, and complete arsenal of shot making, less so.

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  6. Tico,

    thanks for that - very interesting!

    "Copoly strings—slippery and stiff—generate more spin not because of more friction, but because of less. “The old argument was that the better the grip between the strings and the ball, the more spin you would get. But that’s not true,” said Rod Cross, an Australian physicist and co-author of Technical Tennis."

    Who woulda thunk it?

    ~C

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  7. Thanks for this great blog I just found, especially the ming table, I´m a carpenter in Germany and I love these chinese furniture and was looking for years for such a description of making furniture in that quality. Thank you!

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  8. I've always admired the look of the richardson romanesque style buildings. They do seem to hold up fairly well over the years too

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  9. Zumvom,

    thanks for your comment and I hope you visit again.

    Jg,

    hmm, sounds like you might know something about the building? Please do share.


    ~C

    ReplyDelete

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