Vacationing, Part 2: Purchasing Pluto

(And what trip to California would be complete without a visit to the Getty Villa?)

I left off in “Vacationing, Part 1: Taking in the Tides” from Oregon.  We’re safely home now, having arrived last night after two long days on the road at 7pm.  But Oregon was more than a week ago.  What happened in the meantime?

First, we had another vomitous adventure.

Do you recall the last one?  I posted about it around the New Year; my son threw up in the middle of a Holiday Pops Concert at the Majestic Theater.  Yeah!  You heard correctly: a pops concert.  I’ll say!  Pop!  All over the person in front of him!

Needless to say, he has a sensitive stomach.

This time we decided to take a scenic route, a rather well-known windy road that hugs the California coast: Highway 1.


Awesome scenery!  That is, until we round the third 10mph hairpin.  Then it’s not so awesome.  That’s because the boy starts moaning and saying things like, “I’m thirsty,” and, “My stomach hurts!” followed by those telltale burps.

So I pull over lickety-split, and illegally, and get the boy out of the car.  And there, standing hunched over, leaning over an embankment, just like that, he projectile-vomits everything from the morning.

And by “projectile,” I mean neat and clean.  He didn’t even need a tissue!  And, just like that, thirty seconds later we were back in the car and the boy was feeling bucketloads better.  Such efficiency!  I’m so proud.

Additional adventures included the Santa Barbara Zoo, a Country Club dinner, and a day divided.


This zoo resident pretty much captures what I wanted to be doing on the day we went to the zoo.  Not that I didn’t enjoy it.  Rather, the SB Zoo is one of my favorite places on earth.  But the perfect combination of ocean breeze, sunshine, and lunch had its way with me.


And, yep, this is the dining room in which we dined country-clubly–for which I had to make a run to Walmart in order to meet the dress code (I packed lightly).  Ironic?

By “day divided,” on Thursday, our last full day in southern California, two of us went to the Getty Villa


while the rest of us (i. e., they) went to Disneyland (from which, due to my absence–this is my blog after all, meaning my perspective–I attach no photos).

A favorite exhibit at the Getty was “Byzantium: Heaven & Earth.”  It’s on display till August.  I highly recommend seeing this if you can.  Admission is free (but you need tickets, which you can get online); parking is $15.

So, check out this altar covering from about AD 1300.


Or check out this icon of St. George–you know, the knight who is supposed to have protected a town by slaying a dragon–probably written in the thirteenth century.


The Christian influence in Byzantium was large.  Much praiseworthy art, architecture, and music comes from this era indeed–an era that spans a thousand years, roughly from the fall of Rome in 431 to the fall of Constantinople in 1456.

However, there are also some things Christians did about which I am not happy.  This head of Aphrodite, probably from first-century Greece, has been vandalized by Christians.  Notice the cross etched into her forehead and the misshapen nose.  Her eyes have been gouged out also.  These defacings speak for themselves.


It seems that zealots appear in every age.

Today there are Christian churches that take issue with any image, including any image of Christ.  If you walk into one of these places of worship, you will find no stained glass, no icons, no crucifix, no paintings.  You may even be hard-pressed to find a cross.  It is a violation of the second commandment, they will say.  (“Do not make any graven images.”)  To which I say, “Yeah.  Whatever.”

With these thoughts in my mind, and as a gift to myself for Father’s Day, and to commemorate this vacation with a sort of souvenir, I purchased a figure of Pluto with his three-headed dog Cerberus from the Getty gift shop.  Notice the staff he’s holding.  It sort of looks like Neptune’s trident, but there are only two prongs, leading me to call it a bident.

It likewise leads me to wonder too, incidentally, if holding up your hand with only two fingers raised, the index and pinky, originated with this bident.  Some maintain that this is a sign of the devil.  But it’s not too far a stretch to go from the devil to hell to Hades, the Greek name of Pluto.  Any thoughts?


At any rate, my mom met the two of us (me and a daughter) at the Getty.  If I’m not mistaken, she shuddered visibly when I purchased Pluto.  But, Mom, I assure you this is not a graven image in the sense of an idol–just a decoration to supplement the mythology on my bookshelf.


2 Responses to “Vacationing, Part 2: Purchasing Pluto”

  1. Hi Timmy, I didn’t sudder because it represented a graven idol. I was just surprised that you could afford the statue. I love you. I hope you are enjoying your new piece from the Getty. What a wonderful place, I am ready to go back.

  2. Whew, that’s a relief! Actually, you’re right, I really can’t afford it. But it’ll be a long time before I’m back.

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