Thursday, October 31, 2013


Our whole life is solving puzzles.
~Erno Rubik

The tangram is a puzzle invented a thousand years or so ago in China. It consists of seven geometric pieces: five triangles (two small, one medium and two large), one square, and one parallelogram. The pieces can be arranged in the shape of people, boats, animals, buildings, trees, and so on, but figuring out how to do it can be pretty tricky. You can make your own tangram pieces with just a piece of paper and some scissors.

Tangram on the Water
photo by Henk van der Eijk

Highland Square Tangram, Ohio
photo by Mark Turnauckas

Tangram Falling
photo by 麻里紗

Camel Tangram Earrings
by Antlitz Design
photo by Brianna Laugher

Tangram Bookcase
photo by 麻里紗

It Can Be Done
photo by Dalio Photo

Untitled (Woolly Bully)
by Morgen Bell

Mesa Tangram
photo by Paula Simoes


* Tangram links for all ages from Mathematics
* An online tangram game on the Children of the Lamp book series site
* Magnetic DIY Travel Tangram Puzzles
* Make a Framed Tangram
* A Tangram Pinterest board
* Tangram United States
* Abstract Tangram Painting
* Porcelain Tangram Stickers

Monday, October 28, 2013


I want to see the smile
that I've been dreaming of
~Old Mountain Line, Po' Girl

A song by the Canadian group Po' Girl for Music Monday:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Velvet Shoes

I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
~Elinor Wylie

Snow Balls by blmiers2

A bit of silky stillness this Poetry Friday:

Velvet Shoes
by Elinor Wylie

Let us walk in the white snow
   In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
   At a tranquil pace,
   Under veils of white lace.

I shall go shod in silk,
   And you in wool,
White as white cow's milk,
   More beautiful
   Than the breast of a gull.

We shall walk through the still town
   In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
   Upon silver fleece,
   Upon softer than these.

We shall walk in velvet shoes:
   Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
   On white silence below.
   We shall walk in the snow.


Live Your Poem... has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

We need one more person to make the Winter Poem Swap group an even number. Want to jump in? Email me at tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com. (Thanks, Irene -- you complete us!)

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Style is when they’re running you out of town and you make it look like you’re leading the parade.
~William Battie

Taking a look at men's accessories today: tie clips, stick pins, cuff links.

Tie Pin from an exhibition at Moscow State Historical Museum
photo by shakko

Hamlet Cuff Links
photo by Roberta Cortese

Foxhead Cuff Links
photo by PrettySaro

Stick Pin with Grapes
from the Walters Art Museum

Film Noir Cuff Links
by Margaret Almon

Stick Pin with Hound's Head
from the Walters Art Museum

Socrates Tie Clip
by Jamison Jontry

Skull Cuff Links
by Adrinna (Plum and Posey)

Propeller Tie Clip
by MetalsHeart

One more quote:

The boor covers himself, the rich man or the fool adorns himself, and the elegant man gets dressed.
~Honoré de Balzac

Monday, October 21, 2013


Sometimes I think my papa is an accordion. When he looks at me and smiles and breathes, I hear the notes.
~Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Angels and Accordions by Robert Judge

An accordion orchestra? I didn't realize there was such a thing. Several accordion videos today, including one about a little girl who became the Accordion Queen:

I've found that music allows years to fold like an accordion over each other, so I guess you don't feel the passage of time as much.
~Amy Grant

Friday, October 18, 2013


“Scientists may have sophisticated laboratories,
But never forget 'Eureka' was inspired in a bathtub.”
~Toba Beta

I've been savoring Joyce Sidman's Eureka! Poems about Inventors. Joyce crafts believable voices for her inventors, who range from Ts'ai Lun (paper) to Walter Morrison (Frisbee). Some of my special favorites, in addition to the poem below, are The Light––Ah! The Light (about Marie Curie) and Winged Words (about Johann Gutenberg). Thank you, Joyce, for giving me permission to share this guess-the-inventor poem from Eureka today!

Do Ya Know 'Em?
by Joyce Sidman

Do ya know 'em? Can you guess
what they invented? Can you? Yes?
If you can, you'll get a jolt a'
James Watt and Alessandro Volta
or tap along with Samuel Morse
and Wilhelm Geiger (Count, of course).
And while you're at it, do not fail
to give a cheer for Louis Braille
and his countryman – le bon docteur
the great esteemed Louis Pasteur.

To Graf von Zeppelin, a large balloon,
with sticking pin, to make it BOOM!
And to Rudolf Diesel, clouds of smoke
to make him wheeze and gasp and choke.
Kudos to Amelia Bloomer
who must have had a sense of humor,
and to proper old Charles Macintosh
who hated rain and snow and frost.
Jules Leotard, while very vain,
flexed his muscles to stretch his brain,

while poky old Joseph Jacquard
inspected fabric by the yard.
Ever hip is Levi Strauss
whose name is known in every house;
but John McAdam – would you greet him
if on the pavement you did meet him?
And Alexandre Eiffel might,
beside his tower, seem awfully slight.
Let's hear it for Sylvester Graham
who tried to make us give up lamb

and more unhealthy stuff, in favor
of crackers that had not much flavor.
To the lusty Earl of Sandwich, cheer!
He liked his gambling and his beer
too much to stop! And so instead
he ate his meals twixt slabs of bread.
And finally let's raise our clapper
to the unforgettable Sir Thomas Crapper
who gave us something truly great:
a place to sit and contemplate.


Did you get all of those? I wasn't sure about jacquard.

James Watt – This Scottish engineer perfected the steam engine in the late 1700s and invented other devices important to the Industrial Revolution. The "watt," an electrical unit, was named for him.

Alessandro Volta – Volta, an Italian physicist, invented the forerunner of the electrical battery in 1800. The "volt," an electrical unit, was named in his honor.

Samuel Morse – Morse invented the electromagnetic telegraph in 1836, and devised a system of communicating with short and long taps (dots and dashes) known as the Morse code.

Wilhelm Geiger – In 1903, German physicist Hans Wilhelm Geiger created the "Geiger" counter, a device that detects dangerous radioactive substances invisible to the naked eye.

Louis Braille – Blind from age three, this Frenchman became a teacher, musician, and scientist. In 1853 he modified an army coding system to invent "braille," a series of raised dots and dashes that enabled the blind to read by touch.

Louis Pasteur – This influential French chemist founded the science of microbiology by proving that germs cause disease. He developed vaccines and invented "pasteurization," the method of killing bacteria in milk still used today.

Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin – A German military officer, Zeppelin developed the rigid dirigible in 1900. This cigar-shaped passenger balloon, the "zeppelin," could be steered.

Rudolf Diesel – In 1872, this German engineer invented the internal-combustion engine, and later built the first successful "diesel" engine, utilizing low-cost diesel fuel.

Amelia Bloomer – This self-educated American reformer founded a women's rights newspaper in the 1850s. She appeared at her lectures wearing trousers gathered at the ankle (under a short skirt), which became known as bloomers.

Charles Macintosh – Throughout Great Britain, mackintosh is another word for raincoat. Macintosh invented, among other things, the first waterproof fabric in 1823.

Jules Leotard – In 1859 this French trapeze artist pioneered a tight-fitting, stretchy, one-piece garment for his circus acts. "Leotards" are now used in all areas of dance and performance.

Joseph-Marie Jacquard – The son of a French weaver, Jacquard developed a loom that could weave complex patterns mechanically, using a punch-card system. Today, the word jacquard refers to a single-color fabric with a raised, intricate weave.

Levi Strauss –- Perhaps the single-most important influence on twentieth-century fashion, Strauss invented denim blue jeans (known as Levi's) in 1873. He used innovative rivets at the pocket corners to reinforce points of strain.

John McAdam – This Scottish engineer devised a practical system of road building in 1815. Instead of expensive blocks of stone, he used several layers of crusted, compacted rock, which absorbed the weight of large loads. This type of pavement, still used today, is known as macadam.

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel – To celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution in 1889, this world-renowned French engineer designed and built the Eiffel Tower in Paris. He also helped construct Frederic Auguste Bartholdi's colossal Statue of Liberty in New York.

Sylvester Graham – Possibly the first health-food fanatic, Graham advocated cold showers, hard mattresses, and loose clothing, in addition to the unsifted whole wheat flour that still bears his name. Graham crackers are those made with graham flour.

John Montagu, earl of Sandwich – This English statesman was said to have invented the "sandwich" during an epic, twenty-four-hour gambling stint in 1762, in which he called for bread and meat to keep up his strength.

Thomas Crapper – England led the world in toilets in the 1800s, and Thomas Crapper led England. In 1872 he developed a quiet-flushing toilet utilizing a water cistern, which was known as the crapper.


We have a good group of swappers for the Winter Poem Swap. Want to join? It is a one-time swap and, in addition to sending a poem, you give a little present. Email me soon if you haven't already.

The Poetry Friday round-up is at Merely Day by Day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hands On

There is a wonder in reading Braille that the sighted will never know: to touch words and have them touch you back.
~Jim Fiebig

A bit of Braille today:

A hand reading wood-carved Braille code
photo by Christophe Moustier

Braille on an old model of Lüneburg
by Egbert Broerken
photo by Martina Nolte

Braille Texture
photo by Jason Pearce

A blind man writing with the Mauler machine

Braille at the Musee, Calais
photo by Miko59

Lit Braille
photo by Tim Collins

Louis Braille's birthplace
photo by Renaud Camus

Braille Calendar
by the green squirrel

Makerbot=Dorm Room Braille Factory
photo by langfordw

Deer, Wildlife Foundation
by Ogilvy
photo by Site Marca

Google Braille T-shirt
photo by Glenda Sims


* A short biography of Louis Braille
* Braille lessons
* Braille alphabet poster
* Louis Braille Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit
* Free Braille and Talking Book App from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download Service
* Creating Tactile Books (for parents and caregivers)
* Braille Challenge, the national reading and writing contest in braille for blind and visually impaired students
* Braille Scrabble game

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In the Dark

I miss Global Astronomy Month every year because it's in April, which is also National Poetry Month, and I can't keep up with both. I also just missed World Space Week (October 4-10). Drat!

The First International Conference on Artificial Lights at Night will be October 28-30, 2013 in Germany. In its honor, here's a video about Dark Sky Awareness. (Is that Morgan Freeman narrating?)

* How to take action to prevent light pollution
* France to turn off office and shop lights at night
* The City Dark dvd by Ian Cheney
* International Dark Sky Association
* The World At Night

Monday, October 14, 2013

Muppet Monday

Having a Muppet Monday today instead of a Music Monday. I couldn't resist getting in the Halloween spirit, Muppet-style:

“I wish everyday could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.”
~R.J. Palacio

Friday, October 11, 2013


Something peaceful for Poetry Friday. A moment on the farm.

by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

When supper time is almost come,
But not quite here, I cannot wait,
And so I take my china mug
And go down by the milking gate.

The cow is always eating shucks
And spilling off the little silk.
Her purple eyes are big and soft—
She always smells like milk.

And Father takes my mug from me,
And then he makes the stream come out.
I see it going in my mug
And foaming all about.

And when it's piling very high,
And when some little streams commence
To run and drip along the sides,
He hands it to me through the fence.

The Poetry Friday round-up is at Writing the World for Kids.

A word from Wendell Berry: “Husbandry is the name of all practices that sustain life by connecting us conservingly to our places and our world; it is the art of keeping tied all the strands in the living network that sustains us.

And so it appears that most and perhaps all of industrial agriculture's manifest failures are the result of an attempt to make the land produce without husbandry.”

Today's Poetry Friday round up is at Writing the World for Kids.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

True Blue

“If a little kid ever asks you just why the sky is blue, you look him or her right in the eye and say, 'It's because of quantum effects involving Rayleigh scattering combined with a lack of violet photon receptors in our retinae.'”
~Philip Plait

Mystic Stones, São Vicente, Madeira Island.
photo by Eric Wüstenhagen

photo by Carl Jones

The Turquoise Room
photo by Megan Allen

Turquoise Skull
photo by Teofilo

Blue Skies, Blue Ocean: fishing boats, Provincetown
photo by Liz Kelleher

Study in Blue
by Jennie

Well Covered
photo by Emmanuel Huybrechts

Blue Angels, Idaho Falls
photo by Charles Knowles

Starry night over the Rhône
by Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890)

Another quote about the blue sky:

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
~e. e. cummings

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More Malala

Malala Yousufzai speaking about the Taliban: "They must do what they want through dialogue. Killing people, torturing people and flogging people ... it's totally against Islam. They are misusing the name of Islam."

The response from the Taliban? "We will target her again and attack whenever we have the chance," Shahidullah Shahid, who represents the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan umbrella group.

Read the NPR article about it here.


I can't just present you with that and leave, so let's linger over some poems. Yahia Lababidi gifted me with his latest poetry book today (Thank you, Yahia!). He was on NPR yesterday himself, talking about upheaval in Egypt.

by Yahia Lababidi

Words need not be the opposite of silence,
they might be its ambassadors
Would that we could rescue the profundity,
and eloquence, of silence for speech.


by Yahia Lababidi

You can’t bury pain
and not expect it
to grow roots.

But you can try
and tend tenderly
to its subtle fruits.


Other recent posts:

To Congress
Let Us Be Loved Ones

Monday, October 7, 2013

Brandenburg Concertos

If one were asked to name one musician who came closest to composing without human flaw, I suppose general consensus would choose Johann Sebastian Bach...
- Aaron Copland

This is not the first time I've posted about J.S. Bach. See here and here. There are also mentions of him here and his son here. Odds are good that he'll be Bach.

Bach Brandenburg Concertos, Title Page
photo by Jason Weinberger

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1- 6, Harmonia Mundi

J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 - 6, Jordi Savall

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Dunedin Consort

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos nos. 1 - 6, Richard Egarr

J.S. BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, Stuttgart Orchestra

Bach, 6 Brandenburg Concertos, Zurich Barock Ensemble
photo by Hans Thijs

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos/Orchestral Suites, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Wikipedia on the Brandenburg Concertos