Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Shape Shifter

Big Blue

My kind of fun

Stéphane Breitwieser robbed nearly 200 museums to amass his secret art collection.

An amazing, if unhappy, story.

Hat tip: American Digest

The set of thefts he describes as the most exquisite of his career are a study in simplicity and sangfroid. They take place in Belgium, his beloved target, at the vast Art & History Museum in Brussels, which Breitwieser estimates employs 150 guards. There he and Kleinklaus spot a partly empty display case, with a laminated card inside that reads "Objects removed for study." Nothing in the case interests them, but Breitwieser has an idea and steals the card.

Breitwieser understands how security guards think. At age 19, he was employed for a month as a guard at the Historical Museum of Mulhouse, near his home. Most guards, he realized, hardly notice the art on the walls—they look only at people. Breitwieser's brashest thefts, like the Adam and Eve ivory, are spotted in minutes, but when he's furtive, hours often pass, and sometimes days, before anyone realizes what's happened.

In the Brussels Art & History Museum, he carries the "Objects removed" sign to a gallery with a display case of silver pieces from the 16th century. To break into this case, Breitwieser uses a screwdriver and levers the sliding door off its tracks. Other times, he carries a box cutter and slices open a silicone joint. For museums with antique display cabinets, he brings a ring of a dozen old skeleton keys he's amassed—often one of his keys is able to tumble the lock. Also handy is a telescoping antenna, to nudge a ceiling-mounted security camera in a different direction.

He selects three silver items, a drinking stein and two figurines; then he sets the "Objects removed" card in the case and re-attaches the sliding door, and they leave the museum. They're already at the car before he realizes he's forgotten the lid to the stein.

Breitwieser detests missing parts or any sign of restoration. The items in his collection must be original and complete. Kleinklaus knows this, says Breitwieser, and she abruptly removes one of her earrings and heads back to the museum, her boyfriend in tow. She marches up to a security guard and says she's lost an earring and has a feeling she knows where it is. The couple are permitted back inside. They return to the case and he takes the stein's lid and, why not, two additional goblets from another case.

Two weeks later, they're back. Kleinklaus has changed her hairstyle, and Breitwieser has grown out his beard and added a pair of glasses and a baseball cap. At the display case, the "Objects removed" card still there, he grabs four more items, including a two-foot-tall chalice so breathtakingly gorgeous that Breitwieser suspends his size-limitation preference and, with nowhere else to put it, stuffs the item up the left sleeve of his jacket, forcing him to walk unnaturally, his arm swinging stiffly like a soldier's.

On their way to the exit, they're stopped by a guard. They feign calm, but Breitwieser has a terrible feeling that the end has come. The guard wants to see their entrance tickets. 

Breitwieser, unable to move his left arm, awkwardly reaches across his body with his right to fish the tickets from his left pocket. He wonders if the guard senses something amiss.

A guilty person would cower and try to leave, so Breitwieser boldly tells the guard that he's heading to the museum café for lunch. The guard's suspicion is defused, and the couple actually eat at the museum, Breitwieser's arm held rigid the entire time.

They rent a cheap hotel room and wait two days and return yet again, newly disguised, and he steals four more pieces. That's a total of 13, and such is their level of euphoria that on the drive home they can't contain themselves and stop at an antiques gallery displaying an immense ancient urn, made of silver and gold, in the front window.

Breitwieser enters, and the dealer calls from atop a staircase that he'll be right down, but by the time he descends no one is there. Nor is the urn. They return to France plunder-drunk and giddy, and for fun, Breitwieser recalls, Kleinklaus phones the gallery and asks how much the urn in the window costs. About $100,000, she's told. “Madame,” says the dealer, “you really must see it.” He hasn't yet noticed it's gone.

Trump orders Navy to rescind awards given to prosecutors who lost case against Eddie Gallagher

Trump is bad ass.

"Not only did they lose the case, they had difficulty with respect to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers and for giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion," Trump tweeted one day after Task & Purpose first reported prosecutors had received the awards in a July 10 ceremony.

"I have directed the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer & Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson to immediately withdraw and rescind the awards," Trump continued. "I am very happy for Eddie Gallagher and his family!"

A Navy official confirmed to Task & Purpose on Wednesday that Spencer would be rescinding the awards.

Well, that's four votes at least that won't be going to the Orange Man.

It's lunchtime in Redding, for everyone. Came home and saw this Osprey in a tree out back ripping up a giant fish he had to have flown in from the Sacramento River a few miles from here.

Gonna take a while to eat that big of a fish.

Tearing out the fish's head.  Sushi!

Can anyone identify the fish he's eating?

Gyroscopically Stabilized

Amazing Damascus

And it was a big one!

She's probably never seen that Hitchcock movie

That instant, frozen in time, before all hades broke loose

The purest water

Because she's entertaining, if not presidential

Spiritual guru and author Marianne Williamson topped the Drudge Report’s instant straw poll following the second 2020 Democrat presidential debate in Detroit, Michigan on Tuesday night.

Like Ay-awk, she's also easy on the eyes, if full on crazy.  All that's missing is for her eyes to start spinning in opposite directions. Where do the Dems find these chicks?


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Explain this behavior

Route 66, 1953. Photographed by Andreas Feininger.

Cute, but I don't think it's a good idea to teach a kid that age to do back flips lest he try it somewhere dangerous

Belly laugh on this one

Tuesday Night 1911

Not a Snowflake

Moon Puss

America the Beautiful

Putting the hurt on the shaheeds

Exotic Beauty

It even comes with a sharpening stone and guide.

Generating some heat

Skills, he has them

Rolling. Got sealegs?

Monday, July 29, 2019

Who let Trump on the course?

Freckles, well, you know.

Always useful

Dodge Madness

The American Lizzy Key


Play, play, play?

It's all bucolic in China until....the Communist Commissar shows up and demands the seed corn.

Or, in the midst of all this clean, peaceful activity, a bit of reality intrudes.  Li Ziqi ( can that really be her name?) sets down her bowl of fruit, walks to the outhouse, closes the door, and then we hear a loud "Brrrrt" followed by an angry shout of "Who took the toilet paper!?? in Chinese, which still would sound like the gentle patter of rain on clean stones from her ruby lips ( in this story, at least).

Lee Zee Key. Or Lizzie Key as she's known in teeming Hong Kong, where she works as a highly compensated Import/Export Finance Manager, when she's not making ice cream for her elderly sainted grandmother up in the mountains.

Faroe Islands - I wonder what that looks like in Winter?

Mondays, they're like that