Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oh, You Animal!

sculpture by John Buckley, photo by Henry Flower

An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language.
~ Martin Buber

Hmm, it looks like their backsides do, too.

My new The Opposite of Indifference project: putting together themed collections. There are over 600 posts on this blog, so there's a lot to cull from. Hope you find something you like!

First up, animals. Although I'm aware that humans are animals, I am not including them in this list, as that would make a not very interesting or useful list...

The Opposite of Indifference
Animal Collection

* Owls
* Turtles
* Bees
* Monkeys
* Mice and Rats
* Frogs
* Dinosaurs
* Spiders
* Unicorns (what? they don't count?)
* Beatrix Potter
* Carousel animals
* Seal Lullaby
* The Lark Ascending
* A Dream of Horses
* To A Skylark
* Redwall poetry
* This Is A Poem That Heals Fish
* Holy Cats
* The End of the Raven, as told by E.A.Poe's cat
* When I Was (multiple animals)
* The Spider's Web
* The Sage (Turtles)
* Macavity, the Mystery Cat
* If you turned up your nose at unicorns, you probably don't think I should include this either: The Kraken

Monday, August 29, 2011

Musical Science Projects

Today's Music Monday post offers science projects in honor of the new school year. I don't mean to imply, though, that the only time we do science projects is in school. Most people don't consider themselves to have an everyday connection to science or to be scientific, but aren't we? Don't we all do little experiments of our own (on ourselves) all year long?

We try to figure out what medicines or vitamins or exercises have the most favorable effect. We evaluate which hair product works best, which pillow or mattress allows us a better night's sleep, which routes take the shortest amount of time. Many of us have determined that certain kinds of music have predictable effects -- for instance, listening to certain songs before a sports event can help you get pumped up. We might find particular music best for studying, writing, or meditating.

Anyway, here are the musical science projects and articles:
* All Science Fair Project's Music section

* Science Buddies' Music Science

* Julian Rubin's music science projects

* Music Science Fair ideas from Ehow

* Exploratorium's Science of Music: The Accidental Scientist

* Brian Wesley Rich's Sound Experiments

* Robert Krampf, the Happy Scientist, has a number of sound-related projects. He generously made one of his subscriber-only videos available for us: Noisy String: Explore the importance of sounding boards for guitars and other stringed instruments. Thanks, Rob!

* PBS's The Music Instinct (Science and Song)

* Psychology Today's music blog

Friday, August 26, 2011

Out Of The Book-Bottle

At Your Command
by Tabatha Yeatts

Warily I look away
from the book
as it sits,

If I pull it open,
let the genie
of the book-bottle,
there will be no work,
no sleep
for me,
until the last word
has been set free.


Visit Live. Love. Explore! for the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Minding Our Beeswax

For so work the honey-bees, creatures that by a rule in nature teach the act of order to a peopled kingdom.
~ William Shakespeare


by Robert Bradford, Eden Project
Photo by Penny Mayes

from Studies on Animal States
Carl Vogt, 1851

The bear and the honey
by Wenzel Hollar (1607–1677)

The Wietzendorf beekeepers
by Claus Homfeld (sculpture) / Huhu Uet (photo)

The Beekeepers
Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Official Russian Empire coat of arms of the Tambov Governorate

Bee Footprints
by Harry W. Yeatts, Jr.

* Historical info about bees in art
* A bee poem: Intimate Detail by Heid E. Erdrich
* Bee resources from Bees in Art
* Buzz about Bees: Things You Can Do To Help

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stone of Destiny

It was only a rock. A big lump of sandstone, you might pass right by it. But to us it was the symbol of our freedom, of our independence. We didn't realize it, of course. We learned as children, how it was the Scottish stone of kings. But they took it from us. And as a nation, I suppose we've forgotten about it. Time does that. It was history.
~ Ian Hamilton in Stone of Destiny

You can see the Stone of Destiny (a.k.a. the Stone of Scone) in the above picture. It was used in the coronation ceremonies of Scottish royalty until it was taken by the English in 1296 and placed in Westminster Abbey. English kings and queens are coronated seated above the Stone and are proclaimed the ruler of Scotland as well.

The movie Stone of Destiny tells the story of some nationalistic students who decided in 1950 to take the Stone back to Scotland. My family enjoyed it. Just wanted to mention it to you in case you hadn't heard of it!

* A Time article from 1951 about the Stone of Destiny.
* Side-note: There's also a Stone of Destiny, the CD, unaffiliated with the movie.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Elijah Rock

I heard this song at a Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary concert. It impressed everyone in my family from the youngest to the oldest. Here are a couple performances of it:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Literary Cooking

by Carl Spitzweg

Recently, I mentioned Maya Angelou's cookbooks. Like to cook? If you'd like to try some story-related cooking, you have a LOT of choices!

* Library Thing has a compilation of Literary Cookbooks that includes everything from Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes to Food To Die For: Secrets from Kay Scarpetta's Kitchen.

* Jama Rattigan (whose whole blog is food and literature-based) has a list of her favorite literary cookbooks.

* About.com offers a Top 10 Literary Cookbooks.

* A site about Chaucer's Cookery.

* Harry Potter recipes

* An interesting food time-line, Mesopotamia through Shakespeare, with info about what Romeo and Juliet would have eaten, among other things.

* Recipes from Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. (Reading that book was so mouth-watering! I should really try one of these...)

by Jos Goemaer

Friday, August 19, 2011

Our New Poet Laureate

Each year, the U.S. Library of Congress appoints a national poet laureate to serve from October to May. I like the position's description as "the nation's official lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans."

The latest U.S. Poet Laureate is Philip Levine, who is 83 years old. He is well known for being a "working man's poet." Some excerpts of his work:

The Mercy
by Philip Levine

The ship that took my mother to Ellis Island
eighty-three years ago was named "The Mercy."
She remembers trying to eat a banana
without first peeling it and seeing her first orange
in the hands of a young Scot, a seaman
who gave her a bite and wiped her mouth for her
with a red bandana and taught her the word,
"orange," saying it patiently over and over.
A long autumn voyage, the days darkening
with the black waters calming as night came on,
then nothing as far as her eyes could see and space
without limit rushing off to the corners...

Read the rest


Last week, Amy LV shared a bit of On My Own. It's a gem of a poem, one that the Writer's Almanac has returned to three times:

On My Own
by Philip Levine

Yes, I only got here on my own.
Nothing miraculous. An old woman
opened her door expecting the milk,
and there I was, seven years old, with
a bulging suitcase of wet cardboard
and my hair plastered down and stiff
in the cold. She didn't say, "Come in,"
she didn't say anything. Her luck
has always been bad, so she stood
to one side and let me pass, trailing ...

Read the rest


Excerpts from Clouds
by Philip Levine:


When the night comes small fires go out.
Blood runs to the heart and finds it locked.

Morning is exhaustion, tranquilizers, gasoline,
the screaming of frozen bearings,
the failures of will, the TV talking to itself

The clouds go on eating oil, cigars,
housewives, sighing letters,
the breath of lies. In their great silent pockets
they carry off all our dead.


The clouds collect until there's no sky.
A boat slips its moorings and drifts
toward the open sea, turning and turning.

The moon bends to the canal and bathes
her torn lips, and the earth goes on
giving off her angers and sighs

and who knows or cares except these
breathing the first rains,
the last rivers running over iron.


* Library of Congress' Online Resources on Philip Levine

*More poems by Philip Levine, New York Times

* A non-Philip Levine-related side-track: a bonus editorial about the benefits of poetry for the U.S. Congress. "Poetry is no substitute for courage or competence, but properly applied, it is a challenge to self-certainty, which we currently have in excess. Poetry serves as a spur to creative thinking, a rebuke to dogma and habit, an antidote to the current fashion for pledge signing."

Visit Dori Reads for today's Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Garden Photography

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.
~ Hanna Rion

Each year, Garden and Landscape Photographic Arts Ltd and the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens hold an International Garden Photographer of the Year competition for photographers of all ages, which attracts striking images such as these:

The Purple Carpet and Black Trees
by Gerard Leeuw
Finalist in the Trees category

by Jamie Unwin (who placed in two other categories)
Age 15
Finalist, Wildlife in the Garden, Youth category

Pointed Topiary in Winter
by Jeff Eden
First place winner in 4 Seasons: Monochrome category

The First Scene
by Leszek Paradowski
Finalist in the Trees category

Drosera Capensis unfurling
by Stephen Studd
Finalist in the 4 Seasons: New Mornings category

An older winner:

Kenrokuen gardens, Kanazawa, Japan
by Claire Takacs of Australia
Overall Winner Garden Photographer of the Year

Monday, August 15, 2011

La Boutique Fantasque

Sharing some album covers (and a costume) with today's music.

First, the music. La Boutique Fantasque is a ballet about a magic toy shop that comes to life at night. The music is by Ottorino Respighi and is based on piano works by Gioachino Rossini, which is why the music is listed under "Rossini-Respighi."

And now the album covers:

This costume for the ballet is by Leon Bakst, who I will have to feature someday on Art Thursday because he is fabulous!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Just read Mary Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox, and I'd like to re-read it already. I don't do that very often.

To be honest, I wouldn't have read this book if I hadn't heard it was good. The copy I have is not the one I included above; it has a girl's face on the cover, and I usually don't read books with faces on them. Kind of a silly bias, I admit, but I tend to assume they are teen dramas. So I am partly mentioning this book in case anyone else shares my bias! It's worth picking up. I hear there's going to be a sequel released later this month, too.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Poetry-Inspired Clothes

Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
~ Pablo Neruda

Honduran designer Carlos Campos created a Fall/Winter 2011 menswear collection inspired by the poetry of Pablo Neruda. Campos used muted colors, with an emphasis on green because Neruda wrote with green ink. Campos said, "This collection is inspired by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in every sense: from the way I used his hat to how he wore his coat." Neruda was a breathtaking poet, and it is gratifying to see this attractive collection honoring him.

While I'm at it, here are a couple of musical outfits from Three As Four, Fall/Winter 2011:

* A poem by Pablo Neruda that I posted a few years back.
* For more literary clothes: Miles to Go clothing (my favorites are the Bell Jar, the Invisible Man, and the Cost of Ideas).

Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Sistine Chapel

A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.
~ Michelangelo

We've all heard about Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but we might not have really looked at much of it beyond a couple of commonly known pieces, such as The Creation of Adam:

Let's see some more:

The Prophet Daniel (before and after being restored)
by Michelangelo
The Prophet Joel
by Michelangelo

The Libyan Sibyl ("sibyl" is another word for prophet)
by Michelangelo

The Delphic Sibyl
by Michelangelo

The Prophet Isaiah
by Michelangelo

The Prophet Jeremiah
by Michelangelo

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Life is a Huge Dream

Poetry Tags
by Agustina Woodgate

Musement Berlin
Musement, a group of US-based cultural instigators, together with a network of Berlin-based artists, collectives, and organizations (including Agustina Woodgate), are imagining Kulturbahn, an interactive, integrated ride through Spreepark’s landscape of memories, ideologies, systems, and sensations.

by Agustina Woodgate
786 Numbers
in collaboration with Primary Flight
This site-specific street installation is inspired by the ancient popular street game, except this one is hundreds of numbers long. The original hopscotch courts were over 100 feet long. Roman foot soldiers ran the course in full armor and field packs, and it was thought that Hopscotch would improve their foot work. Roman children imitated the soldiers by drawing their own boards, and creating a scoring system, and "Hopscotch" spread through Europe, Asia, and quickly across the globe.

No Rain No Rainbows
by Agustina Woodgate
Stuffed Animal skins
16 ft x 9.5 ft
Hand-sewn and designed rugs made from recycled stuffed animals skins. The process starts with the departure of the loving life objects have when they are in the hands of their owners.The rugs not only reference the personal histories of the toy's owners, but investigate the rug as an object organizing and displaying memories and lineages.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Just Like Life

Sometimes a body needs to hear from Ms. Angelou:

Did you know she has written cookbooks? I enjoyed her Great Food, All Day Long a lot. Especially the recipe for Sweet Potatoes McMillan.

Also, here's her recipe for Banana Pudding.

Lastly, a list of her books on her web site.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Wisdom for Today

Smart Cookie
(After Wallace Stevens)
by Richard Schiffman

The fortune that you seek is in another cookie,
was my fortune. So I’ll be equally frank-- the wisdom
that you covet is in another poem. The life that you desire
is in a different universe. The cookie you are craving
is in another jar. The jar is buried somewhere in Tennessee.
Don’t even think of searching for it. If you found that jar,
everything would go kerflooey for a thousand miles around.
It is the jar of your fate in an alternate reality. Don’t even
think of living that life. Don’t even think of eating that cookie.
Be a smart cookie-- eat what’s on your plate, not in some jar
in Tennessee. That’s my wisdom for today, though I know
it’s not what you were looking for.


After the Opera
by Richard Schiffman

The curtain parts one last time
and the ones who killed
and were killed,
who loved inordinately,
who went berserk, were flayed alive,
descended to Hades,
raged, wept, schemed--
victims and victimizers
smile and nod and graciously bow.
So glad it’s finally over,
they stride off
suddenly a bit ridiculous
in their overwrought costumes.
And the crowd-- still dark,
like God beyond the footlights of the world--
rises to its feet
and roars like the sea.

Also, here's Richard Schiffman's Small.

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is at A Year of Literacy Coaching.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Secret of Kells

Brendan: You can't find out everything from books, you know.
Aidan: I think I read that once.
~ The Secret of Kells

Last month I saw The Secret of Kells for the first time. What a visually stunning movie! See what I mean?

* Details about The Secret of Kells

* The Book of Kells at Trinity College, Dublin

* The First Page of the Gospel of Mark from The Book of Kells

* The First Page of the Gospel of Matthew from The Book of Kells