Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm sorry August . . .

... how I've neglected you.  But I needed a break.  I was seeking inspiration.  Haven't found it yet.  But here's something inspiring - local talent about to go BIG TIME.  I will be able to say I knew her when...  Enjoy

Monday, August 1, 2011

the jig

Dan and I went to the Scottish Highland Games yesterday, near the base of Mt. Rainier.  What should have been a spectacular view from the (former) King County Fairgrounds, was clouded over and gave us no reason to believe the 14,000+ ft wonder even existed.  Some commented it truly felt like Scotland.  The rainy mist swayed no one.  Just my photo taking.

We spent a bit of time inside one of the pavilions, watching the Scottish dancing competition.  The particular dance we watched was the Jig.   It differed much from Irish dancing.  "What's with all the fist pumping ?", we both asked each other.  A handy smart phone and good coverage answered that before we left the building.   

The Scottish version of the Irish Jig is another caricature dance depicting an Irish washerwoman who is angry with her erring husband. The costume worn for this dance is either a red or emerald green skirt and bodice and a full white petticoat, with a white blouse, with a white apron. Red or green jig shoes are worn and there is much stamping and facial grimacing in this dance. In the male version, the dancer wears a red or green tailcoat with a waistcoat of the opposite colour, brown knee britches of corduroy, with a paddy hat and he carries a shillelagh, which is a club made from the forked branch of a tree.

Here's some video I shot.  I was trying out a new 8mm video app on my phone - sorry for the quality.  

Sunday, July 31, 2011

RIP, Tony

prom, 1986

I received some bad news that a friend from high school had passed away yesterday morning.  A fairly benign arm break after a car accident turned into something much worse.  Life ripped away too soon. I hate that it takes tragedies like these to remind me to live every day to the fullest, as if it could be my last.  Because it could.  I need to remember that daily.   

This was on Tony's facebook page, in his "about me" section:

I think the country could be in alot better shape if we all started caring about our neighbors instead of being afraid of them.

Good words to live by.  Rest in peace, buddy.  Thanks for all the laughs.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

google doodles

I really like today's google doodle honoring the 189th birthday of Gregor Mendel.  One of my best reports in grade school was about Gregor and his peas.  

These are some of my favorites doodles from the past few months:

200th birthday of Robert Bunsen

50th Anniversary of the first man in space 

Canadian Election Day 

Columbian Independence Day 

Les Paul's 96th Birthday 

Richard Scarry's 92nd Birthday

Monday, July 11, 2011

free slurpee day !

Today marks the 84th birthday of the 7-11 convenience store chain.   To celebrate, they are offering free 7.11 oz slurpees at all locations (up to 5 million total).  To find your nearest 7-11 store, click here.    .........what flavor to choose ??

Saturday, July 9, 2011

nothing like a summer street fair ...

This weekend was the annual West Seattle Summer Fest.  It's a quintessential part of my summer fun and it never disappoints ...


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

we stayed up

Due to our normal early-to-bed schedule, we've missed Seattle's 4th of July (live) fireworks display for the past couple of years.  Watching the dvr version the next morning doesn't quite count.  But we made it this year - and it was really a spectacular one.  Although live photos would be much better, here are some I took from the couch:

And a few of some sparklers in the backyard:

Friday, July 1, 2011

you gotta bag it up !

A new PSA for Seattle dog owners ...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

worst blog month yet

Wow.  I have really been slacking on posts this month.  But I have been feeling really uninspired - unimaginative - unmotivated - uncreative.  Pick any "un".  I hate to blame my current mind frame on the weather, but it REALLY doesn't feel like summer right now.  Not when people are still wearing fleece and stocking caps at the end of June.  There's always hope for July.  In the meantime, I leave you with some clips of classic summer movies I like ...

(profanity warning !)

Friday, June 10, 2011

UW Corpse Flower

(from UW Today: Sandra Hines)
The UW corpse flower bloomed overnight June 8. The greatest stench occurred around 3 a.m. Thursday and has tapered off since then.
An Amorphophallus titanum, also known as a corpse flower in its native Sumatra and elsewhere because of its foul odor, is inching closer to blooming in the University of Washington botany greenhouse. The event is expected to occur within the next several days.
Corpse flowers get their nickname because when they bloom they emit a stench like rotting meat. The smell is the way the plant attracts insects such as carrion beetles and flies to pollinate the plant.  The aroma is strongest the first evening it blooms but residual fragrance may be present the morning of the next day, something visitors have likened to the smell of latrines, gym bags or overcooked cabbage.
The corpse flower has been cultivated by UW botany greenhouse staff Doug Ewing, Paul Beeman, Jeanette Milne and Erin Forbush. UW’s first corpse flower bloom was in 1999 and it was the first in the U.S. west of the Mississippi. While coaxing the plant to bloom has become more common, much about how to trigger a bloom remains unknown. Ewing says he and his team have been fortunate to have 14 previous plants bloom, which may be more than any other university or botanic garden in the United States. Not all the UW blooms have been publicized. The last UW bloom was in 2008.

Additional facts:
  • Amorphophallus titanum is also known as Titan Arum, corpse flower or Devil’s Tongue.
  • The plant is native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
  • While the aroma is produced only briefly, the blossom can last two to four days in reasonably good shape.
  • The “blossom” is more properly called a compound flower, or an inflorescence, because it consists of many flowers.
  • Individual flowers are grouped around the base of the spadix, the columnar structure rising out of the center of the plant. Unfolding around the spadix like an upside down umbrella is the maroon-tinged spathe.
  • During blooming the mitochondria that power cell growth in the spadix change function and, instead of starches being used to grow plant material, those starches create heat that triggers what the UW botanists term “exquisitely smelly oils.”
  • There are more than 170 species in the genus Amorphophallus, many with distinctive odor and heating properties.
  • As of Monday, the UW plant was about 55 inches tall, and could grow taller before it blooms.
  • This plant was started as a seed in 1995, flowered in 2003 and then went dormant as a 50 pound tuber. Corpse flower tubers can weigh up to 150 pounds. One unusual aspect of this bloom is that the tuber remained dormant for 2 ½ years before starting to grow early this spring, Ewing said.

I went over to the Greenhouse yesterday to get a view, but the line was really long.  I was able to take a photo outside the glass (see above).  I went back early this morning  and was able to go inside and see it close up.  Not much smell emitting now and was only noticeable when I was very near.  It looked unreal - maybe even from another time.  Prehistoric.  I'm glad I got a chance to see it, just wish I'd had my better camera with me.  It will be another few years before it blooms again.  

More photos can be found on the UW Biology facebook page.  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Frankie Blue Eyes

This is the newest homeless kitty that showed up about a week ago.  He's been living on our porch and we call him Frankie Blue Eyes.  I've never seen such intense blue eyes on a cat before.  He is the sweetest kitty - purrs the minute you touch him, loves to be held, gets along great with our youngest dog.  I'd bring him inside, but we are at full capacity on pet hair in our house already.  I'm trying to find him a nice home.  But for now, he has a great setup under the grill and feels pretty comfy on the padded chairs.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

the first of the season

We have ten strawberry plants all together - five different varieties.  I can't wait for the rest of the crop.  Nothing like the taste of a home grown strawberry !  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

yard sale BOMB

Yesterday was the annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day.  Instead of my normal participation as a buyer, I decided to be a seller this year.  What better way to liquidate things ??  I'd been gathering stuff for a couple weeks and came up with what I considered to be a pretty good selection of yard sale goods.  

I'm not sure if we were too far on the geographical fringe of the sale - or if our street is too busy - or if it just wasn't my day for a yard sale.  But I actually lost money.  I made $11 (thanks to my neighbors) from selling 10 vhs movies, a food saver machine and a tea pot - but it cost me $12 to participate as an official seller. Sigh.  At least it was finally a nice sunny day to sit outside.  For six hours.  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I said I was going to be better about posting more often -- but last week's posts are non-existent.  Sigh.   

A BIG shout-out to all the moms out there - and especially to my mom ! Hope everyone has a fabulous day.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

five eight eight, two three hundred . . .

an icon from my television youth ... RIP Empire Man.

Elmer Lynn Hauldren created the Empire Man character and wrote the carpet company's nationally recognized jingle, which made a lasting imprint of a phone number: "5-8-8, 2-300, Empire!"  Mr. Hauldren, 89, died Tuesday, April 26, of natural causes in his Evanston home, according to family.

"He has made an indelible mark on advertising history with his creativity and warmth," Steve Silvers, chief executive officer of Northlake-based Empire, said in a statement.
Empire's former owner, Seymour Cohen, hired Mr. Hauldren as the on-air talent for commercials in 1973 after dozens of actors auditioned for the role. Mr. Hauldren created the Empire Man and also wrote and sang the jingle in the commercials along with the a capella group The Fabulous 40s.
"Lynn was just a joy all the time," said Tom Felgen, a bass singer in The Fabulous 40s. "He was a neat and special guy who was really wrapped up in music and words. He had a very natural way of writing things. When we were singing together, it was total fun all the time."

In 1994, Pearl Jam belted out the jingle at a Chicago concert.
For nearly four decades, Mr. Hauldren portrayed the folksy, bespectacled Empire Man in more than 1,000 commercials. More recently and until shortly before his death, the company broadcast animated commercials with Mr. Hauldren continuing to provide voice-overs.
Mr. Hauldren's son Joseph said the idea for a soft-spoken carpet salesman emerged because Mr. Hauldren thought there was too much shouting and screaming in commercials.
"I think he appealed to people because he was so genuine," said his son. "He was a great father, a great family man, very mild-mannered and friendly. He was a lot like that character on TV."
In a 1997 interview with the Tribune, Mr. Hauldren commented on his unexpected fame.
"People are good-natured," he said, "but once in a while they'll grab at you and say, 'Here's that carpet dude!' or 'Hey! Aren't you somebody?' I always hope folks understand I'm not a celebrity. I'm just a TV pitchman, a glorified salesman."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I'm sorry, blog . . .

... I know I've been rather neglectful.  It's not that I don't love you, it's just that I've been really busy this month.  (and partially uninspired)  Maybe if I could multi-task like the lady in the bathroom stall next to me today, I could get more things done.  

I promise to be better in May.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day !


How the First Earth Day Came About
By Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day

What was the purpose of Earth Day? How did it start? These are the questions I am most frequently asked.

Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.

I continued to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences in some twenty-five states. All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation's political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not.

After President Kennedy's tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me - why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?

I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.

At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.

Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events:

"Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...."

It was obvious that we were headed for a spectacular success on Earth Day. It was also obvious that grassroots activities had ballooned beyond the capacity of my U.S. Senate office staff to keep up with the telephone calls, paper work, inquiries, etc. In mid-January, three months before Earth Day, John Gardner, Founder of Common Cause, provided temporary space for a Washington, D.C. headquarters. I staffed the office with college students and selected Denis Hayes as coordinator of activities.

Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.