Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Citizen Scientists

Interested in participating in scientific endeavors as a private citizen? There are a wide variety of ways to get involved. For instance, I've heard about amateur astronomers making important contributions to their field. Amateur paleontologists, too. On a more personal level, last year our family did the Great Backyard Bird Count.

On their Citizen Science pages, Scientific American collects information about projects that non-specialists can join. (The projects are not U.S.-specific, so international citizen scientists are encouraged to check them out.)

For instance:

GO Fight against Malaria

There is no reliable cure or vaccine for the prevention and treatment of all forms of malaria—particularly the drug-resistant strains caused by Plasmodium falciparum, which kills more people than any other parasite and is of particular interest to the researchers.

Scripps Research and IBM are encouraging anyone in the world with a personal computer to join World Community Grid, which will crunch numbers and perform simulations for GO Fight against Malaria. World Community Grid, an initiative of the IBM International Foundation, is fed by spare computing power from the nearly two million PCs that have been volunteered so far by 575,000 people in more than 80 countries. It gives each PC small computing assignments to perform when the devices aren't otherwise being used by its owners, then sends the results to scientists seeking a faster way to cure disease, find renewable energy materials, create clean water techniques, or develop healthier food staples.

By tapping into World Community Grid Scripps Research scientists hope to compress 100 years of computations normally necessary for the effort into just one year.


Also, visit SciStarter ("Science We Can Do Together") for more ideas.

A page about great amateurs in science

Monday, November 28, 2011

Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben

I worked hard. Anyone who works as hard as I did can achieve the same results.
~ Johannes Sebastian Bach

"Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" means "Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life," which seems like a lovely way to describe this song, the 10th movement of Bach's Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben cantata. It's also known as Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.

For more info on J.S. Bach
For more info on Sissel, who sings in the video

Friday, November 25, 2011


common book of prayer
by Chris Clardy

all the ways which women pray
have yet to be forgotten—
the way you fold the shirt (between your hands)
        is a folding of your hands,
the way you bow your head over the head of the person
lying fever-small in your bed
        is a bowing of the head,
the way when that is done you listen with your eyes closed, wait for dawn,
        lift the latch, raise the shade, pour the tea,
        and, turning toward the mirror,
        see all things coming
because you
are willing to say all things can come and are coming
        is a willing of all things—
and all these ways
are pages in your book (your body is the book)
with no words or words inside it
is praying is your body is a book
every time you move—
all the ways which women pray with their bodies
have yet to be recalled—
        forget words—
this will happen (any way)
and your book of prayer will be praying,
praying in the way
women always
have prayed


Posted with permission of the poet.

My Juicy Little Universe has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bells, Bells, Bells

The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.
~ Matsuo Basho

The Bells
by Rima Staines

Chinese bells from the ancient Warring States
Hubei Provincial Museum, Wuhan, China
photo by Calton

Hanging of the Sigismund bell at the cathedral tower in 1521 in Kraków
by Jan Matejko (1838–1893)

"The Temple Bells" near Kanchanaburi Thailand
by Christopher Beikmann

journal Die Gartenlaube for 1873, pg.101

Illmensee, Landkreis Sigmaringen

Das Abendläuten, Öl auf Leinwand
by Bernhard Stange (1807–1880)

A bonus:

The Craft of Bellringing DVD

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sports and Art Markets

Two calls for submissions today. One is for children's poetry and the other is for visual arts.

The first is from Carol-Ann Hoyte & Heidi Bee Roemer, co-editors:

Submission Deadline: April 30, 2012

On your marks, get set, write!

An independently published ebook anthology of poetry for children dedicated to the wide world of sports is in the works.

We're looking for original, unpublished poems aimed at 5- to 12-year-olds that deal with various aspects of athletics:

Olympics and other major international sports events (i.e., FIFA World Cup)
winter/summer, individual/team sports
winning and losing
amateur/professional athletes
sports fans and those behind the scenes (coaches, refs, etc.)
equipment/uniforms and places where sports are played
sports history and other miscellanea (halls of fame, records, trivia, etc.)
Poets whose work is selected for the collection will receive a small honorarium.

Only adults who write children's poetry are invited to submit their work. Emerging children's poets are strongly encouraged to send their work.

We invite you to submit poems written in a variety of forms including but not limited to the following: couplet, triplet, limerick, haiku, tanka, cinquain, diamante, mask poem, apostrophe poem, list poem, etheree, palindrome, etc.

We will contact you no later than early August 2012 if we plan to include your poem in the anthology.

A portion of the anthology's proceeds will be donated to Right to Play, an organization working with volunteers and partners to use sport and play to enhance child development in areas of disadvantage.

Please email poems to Carol-Ann Hoyte at kidlitfan1972@yahoo.ca.



The 2012 edition of the U.S. Olympic Sport and Art Contest is currently underway with submissions being accepted through Feb. 1, 2012. The theme of the 2012 competition is "Sport and the Olympic Values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect." Winners of the U.S. contest will be entered into the International Olympic Committee Art Competition for a chance to win $30,000 and to have their art displayed at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Submissions will be accepted in the two categories: sculptures and graphic works (paintings, drawings, engravings, etc.). Both categories include abstract art and there are no restrictions on techniques utilized by the artist. All submissions must be free of any third-party rights; works that already belong to a museum or private collection are ineligible.

Sculptures cannot exceed 44 pounds and 4x3x3 feet, including packaging. Graphic works cannot exceed 4x3 feet, including frame.

For detailed information, including the official rules and regulations, click here.

Art submissions must be mailed to:
United States Sports Academy
Attention: ASAMA
One Academy Drive
Daphne, AL 36526

Friday, November 18, 2011


Poetry Friday is here!

A poem to get today's round-up started:

A Beanstalk for Eva

by Tabatha Yeatts

Jack's little sister Eva
wanted her own magic beans --
green, speckled with brown,
nothing special, not hopping or anything --
just the sort that would boom roots
into the soil, just enough
to hold a house for a giant,
deep enough to bear the sky.

Treasure, for Eva,
didn't involve castles,
or geese that laid golden eggs
every time they sneezed.
The gems she longed for
were a wind no one had ever felt before,
a day that blossomed with surprises.

As she carried water (her own chore),
and fed the pigs (lazy Jack's chore),
Eva pictured herself having an adventure:

her feet pushing off giant stems
as she climbed up to the clouds.
What would she find there?
She relished not knowing.

As she scuffed along the dusty path to town,
on her way at last to find those beans,
Eva considered how amazing it was
that you could tuck something
inside the earth
for the express purpose
of taking you away from it.


Please leave your links in the comments!

For openers, Jone gives us a review of Spinster Goose.

Gregory K is making me a little nervous this morning with his "An Ode to Air Travel." Safe journey, Greg!

Laura shares some great photos (love that hat!) and Terrance Hayes' gentle love poem, "Clarinet," in honor of her middle school daughter, a devoted clarinetist.

Tara offers two cinquains by their inventor, Adelaide Crapsey.

Ruth brings a history lesson for us today and a Wordsworth poem about Haitian hero Toussaint L'Ouverture.

For your Mary Oliver fix, visit Maria, who has Why I Wake Early.

I am impressed that Heidi is doing MyPoPerDayMo. She shares #17: "scaled."

Random Noodling is feeling piggy today.

Kids of the Homefront Army explains what parades are for.

Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet has May Sarton's "Luxury" and Kurious K's Kwotes has a May Sarton quote.

The Write Sisters looks at "November" by W.D. Howells.

Hope is the Word writes about "Goody O'Grumpity" by Carol Ryrie Brink.

November seems to be on our minds today... TeacherDance contributes poets' thoughts on November.

Robyn shares flat tire stories and poetry by Tess Taylor.

Mandy is thinking about one of the most important parts of writing today: revisions.

Marjorie has me sold on Anything But A Grabooberry.

Over at Musings, Joyce Ray posted a treasured Thanksgiving poem written by her daughter.

I like keeping up with poetry news through Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults posts. Stephen Withrow encourages everyone to join and take part!

Liz in Ink shares Maria Hummel's "Station" with us today.

Karen Edmisten has Books by Billy Collins.

Teaching Authors gives us new poetic forms to try.

Go to Gathering Books for Joel Toledo’s Other ‘Heart.’ (Sounds mysterious, doesn't it?)

Janet Squires visits our own Heidi M.'s "Pumpkin Butterfly: poems from the other side of nature" today.

Irene is oohing and aahing over poet-she's-just-discovered Anna Akhmatova.

Dave is back on the Poetry Friday horse with a sort of ode to the long-play record.

Jeannine posted about poetry exercises involving shuffling and contrasts.

At On Point, Lorie Ann shares a Jack Frost haiku to make you smile.

ReaderTotz recommends Over and Under the Snow.

Enjoy giving thanks with Amy LV.

Donna has me feeling all illowy with her original poem.

Tanita and C.S. Lewis bring us our daily bread.

Magic 8-Ball says "Yes," you should go to Adrienne's site for an Adrienne Rich poem.

Poetry Friday wouldn't be the same without Mary Lee, who cruises in with Emily Dickinson.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Calligraphy and a Calligram

We all start out with the same alphabet.
~Robert Cormier

Initial Letter S
East: Notes of Travel in Southern Europe (1877)
From Old Books

Letter T
Old English Country Cottages (1906)
From Old Books

Initial letter “t” as flower in a pot
Magazine of Art Illustrated (1878)
From Old Books

Decorated (Historiated) initial letter D
by Valerio Spada, Italian Etchers of the Renaissance & Baroque (1989)
From Old Books

Decorative initial letter “M” – Roman military standard
South by East: Notes of Travel in Southern Europe (1877)
From Old Books

The letter I
From Old Books

by Guillaume Apollinaire

A bonus:


Learn World Calligraphy
Penmanship lessons
The Boston Calligraphy Trail
A family tree of alphabets and evolution of alphabets
Origami of the alphabet
Mail-Art Across the World

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tell It Your Way

This contest took place a while ago but my email about it was unopened until this morning. What can I say? Sometimes I'm slow.

Philips Cinema held a film competition with interesting rules. Entries for the Tell It Your Way contest could be in any genre and follow any storyline, but were required to follow an exact six-line dialogue.

That's just SIX lines of dialogue. The entries could not be longer than three minutes either. So they had to tell a complete story in three minutes with pre-set dialogue. What a great challenge! The filmmakers really rose to the occasion. Here are two of the winners (People's Voice and the Grand Prize):

Monday, November 14, 2011


I like Georges Bizet's score for L'Arlésienne, so I looked for a video for it and I found this Ballet de l'Opéra National de Paris clip. You can either just listen, or watch some very lovely dancers:

A description of the story:
Drawing on a true event that occurred in the family of his friend, the Provençal poet Frédéric Mistral, [Alphonse Daudet's play, L'Arlésienne] tells the story of two brothers, Frédéri and Janet. The former is hopelessly ensnared in an amour fou for a girl from the neighboring town of Arles (hence the work's title L'Arlésienne) who, although she never actually appears on stage, dominates the action like an early precursor of Du Maurier's Rebecca. Janet, nicknamed "L'Innocent" because of his apparent simple-mindedness and arrested development, has an intuitive understanding for the sufferings of his elder brother.

The "Arlésienne" is discovered, however, to be the mistress of a local grandee. Distraught, Frédéri agrees to marry the first eligible young woman appointed by his overbearing mother. On the day of the wedding, however, he chances to meet the grandee; overwhelmed by the onrush of memories, he commits suicide. Janet is jolted by the event to recover his senses: the mother loses one son only to gain another.
~ Bradford Robinson
Speaking of tragedies, did you know that Bizet was only 36 when he died? He died thinking that Carmen was a failure.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Winter/Holiday Collection

One kind word can warm three winter months.
~Japanese proverb

The Opposite of Indifference
Winter/Holiday Collection

* Huddled Masses by Victoria Rivas
* Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel
* The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper
* Snow-Flakes by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
* Spellbound by Emily Brontë
* Winter Lights by Anna Grossnickle Hines
* Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson

* Four Christmas songs
* In the Bleak Midwinter
* John Rutter (The Shepherd's Pipe Carol)
* Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring)
* A Christmas Carol, illustrations by P.J. Lynch
* tangentially about A Christmas Carol
* The Gift of the Magi, plus Giving by Kahlil Gibran
* Handel's Messiah
* Little Tree by e.e. cummings

Any holiday with gifts:
* Gift-making

New Year's:
* 3D calendar of the month club
* The New Year by Dana Gioia
* Wassail

Other Collections: Military/War, Words, Halloween, African-American, Drama, Food, Humor, and Animals.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Military/War Collection

On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.
~ Dan Lipinski

The Opposite of Indifference
Military/War Collection

Landing Zone by John O. Wehrle, 1966
courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Army

National Veterans Creative Arts Festival
Edward Shanks, WWI poet
Music by U.S. military bands
Music and Vets
Veterans and Writing

WWII posts:
Prose Poem and Art: Winston Churchill
Warsaw Ghetto poetry
To My Brother Killed in Battle
Blackout and All Clear
The Holocaust Survivors


Wife, Spy
Spy Poems
A Civil War spy movie

Shorn by Marie-Elizabeth Mali
Vets and Meditation Therapy
A Veteran's Day post
Poetry, Politics, and Culture Around the World

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kay Nielsen

Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion.
~Mark Twain

Danish-American illustrator Kay Nielsen is our focus today. Nielsen, who was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1886, had a pretty tumultuous career. It started out well -- his work was popular. So popular that he had exhibits in other countries and was asked to come to Hollywood, where he worked on various projects, including Disney's Fantasia. When World War II erupted, staying in the U.S. seemed like a good idea...but making a living turned out to be hard. Eventually, a fan helped him land a job making a mural in a junior high school library. He worked three years on it, and it was described as "one of the most beautiful wall paintings in America" by The L.A. Times. The mural was taken down a year later. There's more to his story -- read it here.

She Was Forced to Produce the Key
by Kay Nielsen

Hansel and Gretel
by Kay Nielsen

In the Night, the Dog Came Again
by Kay Nielsen

The Tale of the Fisherman and the Genie
by Kay Nielsen

The Lovers Perish in the Fire
by Kay Nielsen

Tin Soldier and Dancer
by Kay Nielsen

The Man Who Never Laughed
by Kay Nielsen


* The Unknown Paintings of Kay Nielsen (used copies of an out-of-print book)
* Nielsen's Fairy Tale Illustrations in color (book)
* Another bio of Nielsen

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Freebies, Part Two

Have you ever tried your hand at making gifts? This year, my family is making each other presents (although we're still giving purchased stuff as well). I'm excited about it. I hope I can keep my excitement through the whole process!

Cathe Holden's Just Something I Made freebies page has tons of printable digital images that you can use for gifts or art projects. For instance, she mentions using this stamp sheet as a cigar box doll bed quilt! Very creative. The stamps also reminded me of the bowl in this post.


* My first Freebies post has art that you could frame as a gift or use to make a journal cover, among other things.
* Instructables, Craft, and One Pretty Thing have lots of handmade gift suggestions.
* While I'm at it, here's a post about 10 ways to decorate with sheet music, which includes links to printable vintage sheet music. (Some of the decorations would make nice gifts.)
* A post about gift-giving from last year
* Making your own address labels, which could also be a gift

Updated on Nov. 11 to add: The Owl Barn lets you make your own customized owl calendars. Love!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thank You!

Even though times got rough,
you never turned away, you were right there,
and I thank you.
~ Boys II Men

Each year our family makes a Thanksgiving Tree poster and everyone writes what they are thankful for on the leaves. Our new one just got started last weekend. This Music Monday seems like a good day to say thank you to all the people traveling down this road with me. Also, Veterans Day is this week, so I'd like to give a tip of the hat to our veterans:

I think of it as "the thank you song," but it's actually called "Kind and Generous":

A thankfulness tree leaf

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Alzheimer's and Art

I saw this touching story on Writing Without Paper and wanted to share it with you:

* Art Boosts Alzheimer Patients at LiveScience
* The Pablo Picasso Alzheimer's Therapy at The New York Times
* Advice about music, art, and pet visit activities from the Alzheimer's Association

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mon Frère, Saint-George

Have you heard of Joseph de Bologne, the chevalier de Saint-George?

Born in the 1700s to a French gentleman and a Senegalese slave, Joseph de Bologne (a.k.a. Saint-George) could have been a slave himself. Instead, his father made sure Joseph was allowed to develop his gifts – and what gifts he had! American president John Adams described him as the “most accomplished man in Europe in Riding, Running, Shooting, Fencing, Dancing, Music.” Was there anything Saint-George couldn’t do?

Joseph's story captured my interest and I wrote fifteen poems about his life, from the point-of-view of his real-life friend, Antoine de Boëssière. Joseph de Bologne lived with Antoine de Boëssière when Joseph was attending Antoine’s father’s fencing academy and they remained friends their whole lives.

Here is the first poem from the Saint-George series:


Mon père put this journal in one hand
And a foil in the other. You understand
He is the greatest fencing master I can
Imagine; I am a grateful son.

I am a fortunate son as well,
To learn with a boy like Joseph; I tell
Ma mère every day that I excel
More, pushed higher by what he has done.

Higher than I could go with another –
Any other – you might think this brother
Of my heart makes me boast like a mother,
But I make no exaggeration.

His talent for everything he tries defies
The expectations of all Paris, belies
The beliefs that dark skin is like dark skies
When he is bright and warm as the sun.

Joseph hails from the Americas, a hot isle
Where his wealthy French father smiled
Upon finding beauty and gentle style
In the Senegalese slave known as Nanon.

Together they came to Paris, where George
Intended his son’s future would be forged
By his education, propelling him toward
A noble life – someone whom no one could shun.


I always include a little glossary with the poems (père – father, mère – mother, George – Joseph’s father). The rest of the series discusses Joseph's fencing, various duels, romances, musical career, and the Revolution, among other things. You can hear one of his compositions here:

Thanks for letting me share my Joseph de Bologne fascination with you!

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted by Laura at Writing the World for Kids.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


If the perfume is an art, the object, which contains it, must be a masterpiece, the masterpiece of a craftsman.
~ Robert Ricci

Jean Paul Gaultier butterfly lady perfume bottle

Ambre de Delhi
a perfume bottle for Babani, circa 1920

Peacock Perfum Bottle
by Robert Held of Vancouver, Canada

Flower Cane Perfum Bottle
by Robert Held

Perfume burner in the shape of a lion
Khurasan (Iran), 11th–12th century, the Louvre

Metal perfume bottle with flower design
The Tropenmuseum

Art Nouveau Perfume Labels

The cover of Perfume Bottles Auction is always amazing:


* The International Perfume Bottle Association Virtual Museum
* A New Orleans Museum of Art exhibit: Scents and Sensibility (Perfume Bottles & Related Accessories from Antiquity to Present)
* The Vintage Perfume Vault blog
* American Scent Bottles: 1770 to the Present
* Guerlain perfume bottles: from past to present
* A guide to silver overlay bottles (by someone who has written a lot of perfume bottle guides!)
* Making your own perfume
* Making a citrus pomander ball

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

At Our House, Everyone Reads

Wondering what caught Emma's eye? It's The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt.