Contest 564: Maison Fournaise, Chatou, France

Maison Fournaise is a restaurant and museum on the Île des Impressionnistes. It is the backdrop in many of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s paintings, including what is, arguably, his most famous.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Luncheon of the Boating Party - Google Art Project.jpg
By Pierre-Auguste Renoir Google Cultural Institute

Once upon a time, your humble contest admin here had the experience of standing in the presence of Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party”.

I was 21 at the time, home on Christmas break from college, and woefully uneducated in appreciation of art, but the Philips Collection was on tour and this amazing painting somehow ended up on exhibit for a couple of weeks at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. My best friend’s big brother, who we all looked up to, convinced a small group of us to go to the show.

Most of the paintings there were interesting, but not anything to hold a young man’s attention. Then I turned the corner and saw this massive canvas. I was completely transfixed, transported into the scene. You could almost smell the smoke from the cigarette in Gustave Caillebotte’s (sitting backwards in his chair) hand. If you’ve never seen the painting in person, you wouldn’t know that his cigarette has a bright tiny red dot of paint for the “cherry”, a fact I’ve never been able to see in any photographs or prints of the painting. In person, this minuscule bit of red draws your eye directly to it. It becomes the launch point from which you experience the rest of the painting, adding a 4th dimension of time into the viewing. I’ve been a huge fan of Renoir and the other impressionists, as well as art in general, ever since this experience.

If you ever find yourself in Washington DC, I HIGHLY recommend a trip to the Phillips Collection to see this for yourself. I hope your experience is as life-affirming as it was for me all those years ago.

Those who located this site before the hint were:

  • hhgygy
  • Phil Ower
  • Abcdefg Hijkl
  • Garfield
  • Martin de Bock

And after the hint:

  • Ashwini Agrawal
  • Rob de Wolff
  • Walter_V_R
  • Jesus Rodriguez
  • Hilde Lambeir
  • BC11
  • Wista

Contest #563: Kennedy/Kasolo/Plum Pudding Island

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a brash young handsome Lieutenant, Junior Grade, in the Navy in 1943. He had used his father’s connections to rise quickly in the Navy and was offered command of a small “Patrol Torpedo” (or “PT”) boat with a crew of 11 sailors and another officer, Ensign Leonard J. Thom. The designation on that boat was “PT-109”

PT-109 crew.jpg

On August 2, 1943, while engaged in a large battle against Japanese forces in the area, PT-109 was run over and cut in half by a destroyer named Amagiri.

2 of Kennedy’s crew died immediately. The other 11, many severely wounded, clung to life aboard the remains of the boat. As the wreckage began to sink, the crew had to make the decision to swim about 3.5 miles (a little over 5 km) to this island, then known by non-islanders as “Plum Pudding Island”. One of the sailors, Machinist’s Mate Patrick McMahon, was so badly burned that he couldn’t swim himself. Kennedy, who was also injured, dragged McMahon attached to a life jacket strap clenched between the future president’s teeth — for 3 and a half miles. Two days later, the crew swam to nearby Olesana island and 4 days after that, with the help of a couple of native scouts and a message scratched out on a coconut, all were rescued.

JFK PT-109 Coconut.jpg

JFK’s bravery and leadership on this mission were used extensively in his campaigns for the US House, the Senate, and later the presidency.

Those who found this rather tough site before the hint included:

  • Phil Ower
  • Yakubi Dergahi
  • hhgygy
  • Abcdefg Hijkl

And after the hint:

  • Ashwini Agrawal
  • Gillian B
  • Garfield
  • Martin de Bock
  • Walter_V_R
  • Rob de Wolff
  • gscrp
  • Hilde Lambeir
  • BC11

Site broken again — well, not really this time.

We’ve gotten some complaints that the site is, once again, not allowing people to see their contest entries once they have entered them.

After some research, we have determined that this, yet again, a direct result of changes that WordPress has made in connection with the GDPR rules.

For those who are interested in the details, the GDPR update to WordPress (the one that broke our previous form) included the option to display a checkbox on the comment form to allow for explicit authorization to store a cookie on your browser. Under GDPR, the system cannot assign cookies without your explicit approval, so it can’t tell that the browser requesting the screen is the same browser from which the comment was entered. As a result, it won’t display the entered comment to you because it is still in moderation. This “feature” was, apparently, left out of the previous version of the code and when we performed an upgrade of the site to the latest WordPress and theme versions, it caught up with us.

The fix is pretty easy. We have enabled this checkbox on the comment form.

Clicking this checkbox will indicate your permission to store cookies in your browser which will allow the site to recognize that you are the same browser that entered the comment, which will allow the site to show you the comment before it is moderated (at the end of the contest).

For those of you who are cookie averse, I direct you to our newly modified privacy policy. As always, if you have any questions or comments, we welcome them by either e-mailing me (my address is on the privacy policy) or commenting here.

Contest #562: Santa Cruz del Islote, Columbia

With about 1250 people living in an area approximately 1 hectare in size, Santa Cruz del Islote is one of the most densely populated islands on the planet.

Those who found this location before the hint were:

  • hhgygy
  • Phil Ower
  • Rob de Wolff
  • Garfield
  • Glenmorren
  • Walter_V_R
  • Abcdefg Hijkl
  • Lelie
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Luís Filipe Miguel
  • Yakubi Dergahi
  • Martin de Bock

And after the hint:

  • Ashwini Agrawal