Monday, July 31, 2006


Manhattan at twilight. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Vehement silhouettes of Manhattan - that vertical city with unimaginable diamonds." ~ Le Corbusier
As the sun sets over Manhattan the fading light accentuates the skyline and as darkness deepens, the lights begin to shine from skyscraper windows and along the rooflines. The city never really sleeps, just morphs from a city of business and finance by day to one of bright lights and playtime at night. I wouldn't call it "leisure" as nothing seems to move at the slow pace I equate with leisure; but it is a different feel. When we stayed in Times Square, the lights were always on, people always on the streets, taxi horns always blaring; it never stopped. Here in Brooklyn, at least in this neighborhood, life slows down. Neighbors meet and talk in the streets, on front porch stoops or at the corner stop sign; some gather around tables on rooftop decks to feel the night breeze and watch the city lights.

This is the new skyline of lower Manhattan. It's beautiful but changed. I noticed that the gift shops still sell postcards with the "old" skyline. From the Brooklyn side, there is an empty space just to the right of the Chrysler building where the two Towers stood. The night cityscape is still beautiful, but a little sad and forever changed.

(end of post)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Luau Anyone?

Orange Hibiscus. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Everyone knows that yellow, orange, and red suggest ideas of joy and plenty." ~ Eugene Delacroix
Orange is a happy color. In summer, the color of the setting sun, the taste of sweet citrus, or sherbet or sorbet, the smell of orange muffins or fizzy soda. In fall, it is the color of the falling leaves, the skin of a pumpkin and the bouncing basketball. And flowers, one cannot forget the lilies, from bright electric orange to pastel apricot hues; the almost red of the orange orchid or the thin petals of the orange daisy. Here the Hibiscus demonstrates her fiery dress; usually white or pastel lavender, this variety is bold, exotic and evokes feelings of tiki torches, leis and hot tropical nights. Luau anyone?

Submission for PXITE topic "orange". (end of post)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Brick And Mortar

Where? (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Instead of saying that man is the creature of circumstance, it would be nearer the mark to say that man is the architect of circumstance. It is character which builds an existence out of circumstance. From the same materials one man builds palaces, another hovels; one warehouses, another villas; bricks and mortar are mortar and bricks until the architect can make them something else." ~ Thomas Carlyle
I love this entryway! The slightly peaked arch all in white and the front door and side panels with the small windows; the sheer curtain coverings for privacy and that big brass "15" to identify the house number. The brick is so evenly spaced in a uniform pattern and the rounded porch steps appeared to be marble. Windows on either side of the doorway have a contrasting squared off framing in contrast to the smooth curves of the arch; and what lush landscaping with topiary and decorative urns filled with small evergreen and flowers. Each side of the walkway boasts lush green bushes, ferns, hosta and small flower groupings dispersed throughout add touches of color. Ivy vines its way up the brick wall and over the doorway adding a feeling of age. This feels cool, refreshing and inviting like the doorway to an antebellum mansion in the deep South; what one would see at the end of a long curving drive and inside, a cold pitcher of lemonade is waiting.

Where is this relaxing and welcoming home? (Click "read more" below for the answer)

This is the full house. It does appear to be a single family dwelling with at least three floors. It is sandwiched between two highrise apartment buildings with at least seven or eight floors each; Brooklyn, bordering on Prospect Park. I was surprised to find this here, maybe in Manhattan but not here. Yet when we were on 5th Avenue by Central Park and 7th Avenue, the apartment buildings were larger, taller and more modern with none of the quaint old fashion design touches found here. The ivy winds itself to the top of the building and see the lovely balcony and the large bank of windows on the second floor. I think this home is absolutely beautiful and charming. I could live here!

(end of post)

Tanya: Queen of the Cat Tree

Tanya in her cat tree tunnel.
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"There are no ordinary cats." ~ Colette
The ever elusive Tanya, sits in her kitty tree and looks down on her subjects. Sometimes she glares from the very top crows nest and other times from her tunnel half way down. She is the same age as her apartment mate, Tucker, but still hears well; she just lets it go, tunes us out. In younger days, Tanya has been known to hide in a box springs when faced with traveling cross country and hasn't always gotten along with Tucker. Usually everyone gives her space; well, everyone except Alec; when he came into her life, she hissed and he picked her up anyway. Alec forced her to share her space with him and now, she is his baby. Her one weakness is the hairbrush; tap on it and (if she is in the mood) she will come and sit on the couch, waiting to be brushed. Hold the brush under her neck and she rubs her chin all over the bristles; if you're lucky she'll purr or start in with the little kitty headbutts. Princess Tanya, ruler of all she surveys, subservient to none; waits patiently for Diane and Alec (her mom and dad) to come home from Germany, maybe with a surprise? Treats? Hint. Hint.

Tanya and Tucker will visit Friday's Ark this week as well as the Carnival of the Cats, hosted this week by The Scratching Post. This is their first visit. See you there.

Submission for PhotoFriday topic "portrait". (end of post)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Want To Be A Producer or, Subway Lullaby

A day in pictures. (Click all pictures for a larger view) Posted by Picasa
"The rumble of a subway train,
the rattle of the taxis."
~ Al Dubin (1891-1945), U.S. songwriter. "Lullaby of Broadway"
Today was our first venture out on our own on the subway system of New York. Yes, we've been on them before, but with my brother who has the presence and the confidence from past experience here. It was a big day with a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (more on that later as we may go back), then lunch on the way to the matinee showing of The Producers, and a trip to the Lower East Side to Katz Deli for supper. (Katz Deli was where the famous scene in When Harry Met Sally; you know, the one that ended with another customer saying, "I'll have what she's having!")
(Click "read more" below as there are more pictures and details to share.)

I do believe we rode most of the subway lines today. We started in Brooklyn on the "2", transferred to the "B" and got off at West 81st Street, Uptown Manhattan next to the Natural History Museum. We took the M79 bus "crosstown", really just through Central Park to East 80th and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This place is just too extensive for the four hours we had this morning, and I didn't realize you could take non-flash pictures until late in our visit. So more about that later.

We took a taxi from the Museum to West 44th street and grabbed a slice of New York Pizza to tide us over until after the show. The St. James theatre, home to The Producers was our destination. Across the street from the Majestic, with The Phantom of the Opera still playing and now billed as the longest running Broadway show in history. I thought Cats was, but perhaps since it closed a few years ago. (Side note to my brother who sometimes reads this: They are STILL lining up for tickets to Phantom. Sorry, I know hearing "Music of the Night" still makes you a little nauseous. The billboards say, "Can you remember your first time?")

It was cool in the theatre (and at the museum of art), a big plus today. I really don't know how to judge which seats are the best. Ours were first row orchestra, so we had to look up during the performance, but from this vantage we could see the little things often missed further back. Also, unlike Phantom there isn't any action going on in a large overhang that protrudes out over the audience, nor is there any falling chandelier. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick no longer play the leads, but the two today looked a lot like them and had many of the same mannerisms and facial expressions. While I was sitting there it occurred to me that the majority of Broadway musicals I had seen were dramas rather than comedy. Les Miserables, Sunset Boulevard, Phantom, Cats, and Showboat would be classified as dramas. Perhaps Beauty & The Beast or Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat would be considered comedy, but not the completely over the top comedy of Mel Brooks. So this was different fare; a bit strange, a bit bawdy at times, slapstick and laugh out loud at others. The music was catchy, probably will be annoyingly so if I can't get "Springtime for Hitler" out of my head. All in all a good time.

After the show, time for more subways. We went underground at 44th and 8th Avenue and walked to the station at 42nd street. It is like an underground city there with barber shops, gift shops, craft stores, clothes stores and newspaper stands. At 42nd we took the "C" line to Washington Square and transferred to the "F" line out to Houston Street and Katz Deli. It was only a couple of blocks from the subway but a markedly different feeling there than in Brooklyn; more graffiti on the buildings, none of the intricate and colorful architecture to the apartment buildings, but the food was good. The cute little Jewish waiter asked if I had an ID card when I ordered Root Beer. Nyssa thought it was funny, so they chuckled together.

Finally, back to the subway. Did you know there were more than one level to the system? We took the "F" line back Uptown to Broadway-Lafayette, transferred to the "D" line and headed back downtown and across the river to Brooklyn; finally transferring to the local "2" line back to Grand Army Plaza.

As I drug my tired puppies up that last flight of stairs at the subway station, I told Nyssa, "See, how did I do? Didn't get lost or get on the wrong train or bus all day!" She told me I did a great job; but if I hadn't planned with that Hop Stop site and had the directions written down on a little piece of paper, I would have been lost with just the map. I think maybe we will stay around here tomorrow... the Botanical Gardens beckons me to "come, come, and bring camera...."

(end of day)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Signs Of The Times

From the sublime to the ridiculous; ridiculous, yes, but practical.
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"Time is a circus--always packing up and moving away." ~ Unknown
Walking down Sterling Avenue in Brooklyn today I saw this variation of a U-Haul van; tip number twelve for making the moving experience successful was plastered on the side. Oh yes, the poor bird. I just had to pause and take a picture, especially for Vicki as her moving date is rapidly approaching. We haven't heard anything from her for over a week now as she is up to her eyebrows in last minute details. So here is hoping the moving experience is not too terrible. Personally, I've found that it is more and more stressful the older I get; and I know I have at least one more move ahead, just not sure when or where. Good luck Vicky, we are all thinking about you! And by the way, does anyone else wonder what the first eleven tips were?

(end of post)

Sunset Skies

Sunset over Manhattan (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Up in the heights of the evening skies I see my City of Cities float
In sunset's golden and crimson dyes:
I look and a great joy clutches my throat!
Plateau of roofs by canyons crossed: windows by thousands fire-furled --
O gazing, how the heart is lost in the Deepest City in the World."
~ James Oppenheim, "New York from a Skyscraper"
Every evening the sun sets in the west over Manhattan. The red disc sinks rapidly, within a span of ten minutes the light fades and the sky is left with rich blues, purples, reds and yellow. This evening the skies are for the most part clear and the skyline of the city stands out against this colorful backdrop. It is not yet twilight, that time when, one by one the lights begin to appear in the skyscrapers and the city starts its other life. There is a breeze, cooler here on the rooftop terrace than in the apartments below. The sounds in the street are different than those in the heart of Manhattan, Times Square; no noisy taxis or blaring horns, just people walking dogs, babies in carriages with parents carting groceries, men and women returning from work in the city, or bicyclists fresh from a turn in Prospect Park. Brooklyn has its own nightlife, some young and hip but other more family oriented. So close to Uptown, yet so different.

(end of post)

"Dime" Is Money

One thin dime. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"The whole value of the dime is in knowing what to do with it." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
There is a television channel here called the NYCTV that broadcasts programs all about New York. Diane told me about one called "New York on $9.99 a day." I've been checking the website and Nyssa and I are going to give it a try. Governor's Island is open to the public and you are free to explore to your hearts content. She told us of a graveyard here that is the home to exotic green parrots. Apparently many years ago several were set free and took up residence there. Now there are over fifty parrots living in the trees here. Prospect Park has a large antique working carousel with rides going for $1.00 a piece and the subway will take you from the far end of Long Island through Manhattan to the Bronx for $2.00. We have visitor's passes to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the library is free. Now that the girl is here we will be venturing out in the world more. I just hope my digital batteries hold out.

Submission for Tuesdays Photos topic "money". (end of post)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tucker: Antique Alarm Clock

Tucker tells me what to do.
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"Cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human mind. They realize...that we have an infuriating inability to understand, let alone follow, even the simplest and most explicit of directions." ~ Cleveland Amory
Dawn came at 5:30 AM this morning with clear skies and beginning light streaming into the window. This would not wake me but a loud "YOWWWWWW!" did. I stumbled into the living room to find a sky filled with reds, pinks, blues and yellows but no clouds. Sitting in the cat tree was Tanya and on the carpet in the center of the room was Tucker. It was he who woke me. He "YOWWWWed" again, "The food bowls are empty, time for breakfast!"

Tucker is one of my charges for the next two weeks; yes, I am a cat "nanny". He is an (shhhh! whisper this) "old man" and bless his heart, he's totally deaf so he can't hear his own meows or how LOUD they are. I guess we really don't have to whisper at all do we? Anyway, I fixed his food and then he touched his nose to my finger, ate his Iams and his treat (it's really his medicine but we won't tell him that) and has taken his place for the day. That would be under the futon bed in the room I use, curled up and sound asleep. Asleep until it's time to eat again.

Now, I can curl up on the sofa, watch the sunrise and get a few more zzzzzz.

PS: Tanya and Tucker will visit Friday's Ark this week as well as the Carnival of the Cats, hosted this week by The Scratching Post. This is their first visit. See you there. (end of post)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Seven Skins

Purple onion skin. (Macro) (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"A cat has nine lives, as the onion seven skins." ~ Proverb
The thin outer skin of a purple onion, so delicate with branching veins and variegated colors. Any skin seems so vulnerable, yet it's waterproof and a barrier to microbes and insects in the soil. Human skin, only a few microscopic layers in thickness is the first line of defense against bacteria, blocks excessive fluid loss and keeps bulkier muscles, tendons and bones in place and protected. Unlike the onion we don't have seven skins, just one; so don't forget the sunscreen!!!!

Submission for MacroDay topic "skin". (end of post)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

It's Brooklyn

Brooklyn Posted by Picasa
"At all events there is in Brooklyn something that makes me feel at home." ~ Marianne Moore (1887-1972), U.S. poet. "A Carriage from Sweden" from The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore.
This small town girl has lived in the country, the 'burbs', and in towns that bill themselves as 'the big city'. The latter were basically overgrown suburbs, particularly in the case of Dallas. While I have visited New York City for a week, that was a VISIT, with a hotel room, restaurants, plays every night, museums every day, glamour and glitz. This time I'll stay in a home, cook here, walk to the local grocer, the bakery, the farmer's market. This time it's a neighborhood with a gorgeous park, ponds, bridges, gardens and roof top evenings watching impromptu fireworks displays. It's seeing the skyline of Manhattan in the distance from the apartment window; and that gaping hole where two towers once stood, a stark reminder. It's a doorman who helps with oversized bags and points me in the right direction, expecting nothing in return. It's Chinese take out from a restaurant that also does Mexican and American food; free delivery to your door. It's watching the sky light up with continuous streaks of lightening, hearing wave after wave of rolling thunder as the rain soaks everything on the streets below. It's walking down the street and fighting the urge to stop at every highrise and every brownstone to capture the details of architecture, the variations of color and that gorgeous green flowing ivy that fares so well here. It's the light, the sound and the people. It's Brooklyn and I'm here.

(end of post)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Commanding Attention

Dandelion: A common weed commands attention.
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"When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world." ~ Thomas Carlyle
There must be thousands of these common dandelions that spring up in our yard every summer. Some go on to mature and produce seedlings that float gently through the air with the slightest breeze; many end up as crushed bouquets in the hands of grubby little boys and as cherished moments for those such gifted mothers; and some are rudely clipped by rotating blades and left to die. Yet, each is different, individual with subtle shades of color, texture and fullness. Common things enrich our lives, if we let them.

Submission for Photo Friday topic "common". (end of post)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Max: My Summer Do

Max: "I had a haircut and bath. I smell nice and I have a new toy!"
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"Our dogs, like our shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well." ~ Bonnie Wilcox, Old Dogs, Old Friends
Max was getting shaggy and itchy and hot. He went to the vet and had a bath and a hair cut and had his nails done. He got to talk with his doggy friends, catch up on the news at the fire hydrant, took a little medication induced nap and when he woke up, it was all done! No hysteria! Then the ladies loved on his handsome self and gave him a treat. Of course with a fresh new look and a baby powder smell, he had to have a new toy. It squeaks that long squeak he loves and he can hold it so many ways. Don't worry, he still loves his basketball although it is really getting tattered and dirty. Such a show off. He had his pacifier for only five minutes before tossing it up in the air and watching it bounce on the patio.

As for his lymphoma, it has been four months on chemo pills; one every three weeks. So far no lymphoma in site, good appetite, good blood counts and still high spirits. It is almost time for the figs to ripen and he makes his rounds looking for any that fall off the tree as well as gazing at the low branches. As long as he is happy and active, we will continue. To look at him, you would never know he had lymphoma.

Max will visit Friday's Ark this week and try to go see the dogs at the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickeys Musings. I wonder if she is back from her honeymoon? (end of post)

In One Ear, Out The Other

Miss Clover: Not interested and not amused. (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Cats' hearing apparatus is built to allow the human voice to easily go in one ear and out the other." ~ Stephen Baker
Me: "Hello, Miss Clover, beautiful Clover. May I take your picture?"
Miss Clover: "Hmmpf! Do you not see my ears? Are you stupid? You did eat that hot pepper last night."(Chuckle)

Miss Clover: "Can you not read my body language? This means go away!"

Miss Clover: "How many ways can I say 'NO PICTURES TODAY! I'm not in the mood!' I hear, oh yes, I do; I just don't listen."

Me: "Oh, well. I guess she got up on the wrong side of the bean bag bed. Perhaps she will be in a better mood when she sees all the animals at Friday's Ark this week and at the Carnival of the Cats. The carnival is hosted this Sunday by Creatures of the Earth. See you there!" (end of post)

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Miniature Bell Pepper? I think not!
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"No plan can prevent a stupid person from doing the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time - but a good plan should keep a concentration from forming." ~ Charles Erwin Wilson
I thought I had a good plan. I planted a bell pepper plant; I know the little plastic tag said "bell pepper". The plant is still small but there are two peppers growing, just not very big. They are green and perfectly shaped; the only problem is that they get to an inch and a half in length and just stop. More are growing on the plant but that lone little bell pepper is just sitting there. I put special fertilizer and watered and left it alone but it just sat there. Then I saw these "miniature sweet peppers" at Costco and thought, "Hey! Maybe that is a miniature pepper plant!" Of course, this is the one plastic tag I didn't keep. So tonight, I picked it and placed it on the kitchen counter along with the four cucumbers that appeared overnight.

Then Mom said, "Did you try that pepper?" So I washed it and cut it open. It looks like a bell pepper that just came out runty, thin wall, just too small. I bit into it, just a little bite. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOT! HOT! HOT! Flames erupted from my tongue and lips; the sizzling sensation of a chemical burn, of hot hydrochloric acid or worse, sulfuric acid on my tongue and all around my mouth and lips and face..... HOT! HOT!!!!!! Call 911!!!!!! Call the fire department!!!!! ICE! ICE! If I could have plunged my whole head into the ice bucket, I would have. I got cubes and sucked on them, rubbed my mouth with them.... IT IS NOT WORKING!!!!!! Aloe vera, yes, there's an aloe vera plant on the back porch!!!! Break it off and squeeze and rub all over lips..... IT IS NOT WORKING!!!!! Run to the bathroom and look in mirror... my lips and mouth look like I have been snowboarding on Mt. Everest for two weeks followed by wind surfing in the Sahara Desert!!! They are red and it is spreading!!! STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! Kiehls lip balm... OK but you aren't supposed to put oil on a burn. NOTHING WORKS!! Drink milk? Tongue a little better; as long as you keep on drinking it. Eat something else..... NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! That hurts worse! Finally, an hour and two 32 oz glasses of ice tea later the pulsing burn is subsiding! Mom loves hot peppers, but she was convinced to avoid this one by just touching it to her tongue; much better plan than mine. Dad cut a tomato with the same knife I cut the pepper and burned his tongue. These are DEFINITELY NOT miniature bell peppers.

Tomorrow, I pull the plant up. Perhaps I could offer the other one to the squirrel who's been eating my tomatoes; then again, he hasn't bothered this pepper for three weeks so I guess that makes him immensely less stupid than I am.

(end of post)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Can of junk nuts, washers, etc..... (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"As a 3rd year medical student I had to present a patient history, physical and lab results to our attending after each admission. Dr. Madison was the most intimidating man and in a flustered moment I became tongue tied and used the term "other stuff" in my presentation. I believe I heard all my cohorts audibly gasp, as Dr. Madison looked up and stared at me over the rims of his reading glasses. "Dr. P", he said, "Stuff and stuffing are things we do to and put inside turkeys, not patients." He spoke quietly, slowly and his words had the desired effect; I could have melted into the floor, disappearing forever and felt more comfortable. Thank goodness I didn't use the synonym 'junk'!!!" ~ srp
"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." ~ Thomas A. Edison
Well! If this is true then my dad is half way there! Last year we cleaned out the garage and had a huge garage sale with loads of "stuff" accumulated over at least 25 years, some from 50 years hence. Of course you couldn't tell it now, but that's a bit of everyone's doing. I tried to organize the drawers and shelves. In one hanging cabinet I found tin cans and glass jars filled with bent rusty nails, rusty washers, rusty nuts and bolts and rusty screws. Now, who would use a bent rusty nail to put anything together? His answer was that he might have a job that needed that particular nail and when he did he would hammer it straight. With all the "normal straight and new" nails around I cannot fathom this possibility. So over much protest I sorted his junk and threw a lot away; honestly, I waited until he was worn out and taking an afternoon nap to do it. Still over the span of one year it is beginning to accumulate; more rust, more bent nails and more junk. About that spoon? I have no idea why he saved it, how he came to get it in the first place or what he thinks he will do with it; but I'm sure in the back of his mind somewhere, he has a plan.

Submission for Thursday Challenge topic "stuff". (end of post)

Fence & Sky

Minimal: Better without boring. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"The more minimal the art, the more maximum the explanation." ~ Hilton Kramer
Maybe. I just thought the pattern of the aged fence darkened by the sunlight, against a bright blue sky was interesting. That contrast between color, light and dark, day and night. Made me feel as if I were back in the Old West when the outpost was surrounded by a high stockade fence. Well! It was just too sweltering for my brain to come up with much today, minimal activity. Today my brain waves probably wouldn't have shown up on the best EEG.

Submission for LensDay topic "minimal". (end of post)

Monday, July 17, 2006

I Never Saw.....

...a purple car. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"In less enlightened times, the best way to impress women was to own a hot car. But women wised up and realized it was better to buy their own hot cars so they wouldn't have to ride around with jerks." ~ Scott Adams (American Cartoonist, b.1957)
This is not a "hot" car. Well, today it might be hot simply because of the temperature but seriously, if this were a real car, how would you see over the engine to drive? That silver thing is the engine, isn't it? Give me a car that starts first time, every time; that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to upkeep; that has the safety features all around; and that doesn't break down easily. Add to that the ability to go for 200,000 miles before trade in and you've got a winner. So, I say....
I never saw a purple car,
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you anyhow,
I'd rather see, than be one!
Me: What's that, you say? It is supposed to be "cow", not "car"? Oops! Never mind.

Submission for Tuesdays Photos topic "car". (end of post)

Some Like It Hot!

Lizard "sunning" in 100 degree heat.
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"Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a flash, a moment - a little makes the way of the best happiness." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
This fellow seems to be the only one enjoying the heat; or rather the heat with humidity that makes 92 degree temperatures feel like 104 degrees. No need to bother with a hairdo, it wilts to nothing in twenty seconds outside. The dogs hide behind the trash can on a bit of concrete shaded from the sun, panting heavily even in sleep. Cats stretch out to full length in sleep; our purring thermometers. Leaves droop and the four o'clocks won't open at all today or tonight; too hot. Even momma mourning dove won't move off her nest; today acting more as a cooling blanket for her eggs rather than incubator. Humans slump, plod slowly, sweat profusely, feeling more like ragdolls than alive.
Everything limp
under the sun's whip -
yearning for darkness.
~ Michael P. Garofalo
Happiness!? Today it is defined as "air conditioning"!

Submission for Moody Monday topic "hot". (end of post)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Numbers, Strangely Odd

Extra strong fish hooks, Number 35. Very old.
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"Why do we believe that in all matters the odd numbers are more powerful?" ~ Pliny the Elder, Natural History
Thirty-five (35) fish hooks; not forty or fifty, but thirty-five. And extra strong fish hooks at that. Why? Why thirty-five? The little box only holds this many? Why not just make a bigger box? It's been done before. Advil comes in bottles of even numbered tablets; does this mean they are not a powerful as they would be if they came in bottles of 235 or 429? I don't know, but I hope these hooks are strong enough to handle that 20 pound catfish I'm going to snare one of these days!

Submission for PXITE topic "number". (end of post)

Christmas In July

...The lights on my tree, I wish you could see I wish it every day...
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"Faith is like electricity. You can't see it, but you can see the light." ~ Anonymous
Christmas lights; my favorite type of electric light. Think of what an innovation they were; instead of having to hand light a hundred little candles on the tree and having them burn down in an hour or two with the threat of a major house fire at any minute during that hour or two, we can now flip a switch or hit a push button and there in front of us are hundreds of tiny, brightly colored, twinkling lights and our home is transformed from the mundane to the magical. Christmas in July, a favorite time of year; yes?

Submission for MacroDay topic "electric". (end of post)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Stephen Gould: Bayreuth Opera Festival 2006

Stephen Gould, Heldentenor, 1962. Posted by Picasa
"If one has not heard Wagner at Bayreuth, one has heard nothing! Take lots of handkerchiefs because you will cry a great deal! Also take a sedative because you will be exalted to the point of delirium!" ~ Gabriel Faure (1845-1924), letter, 1884
It is time for the Bayreuth Opera Festival! In 2004 and 2005, my brother sang the role of Tannhauser to great reviews. This year he sings the title role of Siegfried in two segments of Wagner's Ring Cycle (Die Gotterdammerung & Siegfried). His performances begin July 29th and extend through the month of August. This year the Bayreuth festival received 492,000 ticket requests, nine times the 53,900 seats available; people wait up to ten years for tickets.
When discussing Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, or Ring Cycle, certain words and phrases commonly pop up: "massive," "ambitious," "seldom given," "pinnacle" and "the largest undertaking any opera company can do."

Indeed, running at more than 16 hours long and featuring an orchestra of up to 100 musicians, the German composer's magnum opus demands specifically trained singers, sets and costumes appropriate for its epic proportions and, sometimes, a staff of hundreds to mount.

Wagner is extremely difficult to sing and there are only a limited number of people in the world who can sing him. Why are there so few soloists who can perform the Ring? Stamina is one reason, Boswell says. Singers "have to be extremely strong because some of these roles go on forever." Another factor is the years of specialized training needed to successfully present Wagner's sound." ~ From CBC Online
Stephen's schedule may be found on his website along with pictures and sound clips of his various performances. After the introduction you have a choice of English or German. The various Bayreuth operas are usually broadcast on the internet through Operacast and a schedule should be posted soon.

....And today! (Click pictures for larger view)

Picture posted from Das Opernglas. This is part of an interview published in this months edition. To view go to Das Opernglas home page, then click on the magazine picture bottom left; then on "Interviews", also bottom left; and finally on "Stephen Gould", top right. This site did not give permalinks to each page and it is written in German. Stephen speaks German quite fluently now, I do not.

PS: The "doll" is actually a Wagner puppet given to him by friends. (end of post)