Monday, June 28, 2010

All Creatures Great and Small - The Pygmy Marmoset

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

hymn by Cecil Alexander

On a scale of 1-10 what "Aww" rating would you give these little guys? When this picture was taken at the Froso Zoo in Sweden, they were a few days old. They were about the size of a coin when they were born.

A mommy pygmy marmy usually gives birth to twins, and shortly afterwards the papa makes himself useful by sharing in carrying the babies around. Their family group is called a troop. Though sociable, they will make noisy calls and chase other marmoset troops away from their territory.

An adult pygmy marmoset weighs about a half a pound, and is about 14 inches long and that includes a black ringed tail which is about 8 inches. Let's see, 14-8 = 6, wow. Their coat is a tawny shade and even has green striations making them fairly camouflaged in the forests.

They live just under the canopy of the evergreen forests of South America. Most monkeys have nails but these marmosets have claws, with the exception of their big toe. With claws and long flexible fingers they scamper up and down tree trunks, clinging on to the trees to feed on sap, one of their favorite foods. They have specialized incisors allowing them to gnaw through the toughest tree bark. They also like to eat fruit, leaves, and insects.

Joan Embery served as the goodwill ambassador of the San Diego Zoo in California for 32 years. During those years she was often a guest on the “Tonight Show,” with host Johnny Carson (the best host the show ever had - my opinion). The following YouTube clip is from one of the animal episodes.

photo credits:
1. Froso Zoo Family Park in Sweden
2. Flickr bossejonsson59's photostream
3. Flickr SrimanAravind's photostream
4. Flickr SrimanAravind's photostream

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You can join the fun. Go to the blog site "Some Days Are Diamonds" and find out all the details.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mozart - Ave Verum Corpus

Leonard Bernstein conducted the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra and Choir in their performance of Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus in the Basilica of Waldsassen, Bavaria, April 1990. At first glance you might think that Mr. Bernstein is sleeping -give him a second - I think he is just preparing.

Hail, true body,
born of the Virgin Mary,
Who truly suffered, sacrificed
on the cross for man,
Whose pierced side overflowed
with water and blood,
Be for us a foretaste
in the test of death.

This translation is only to provide a meaning, and is not intended for substitution.

The basilica, built between 1682 and 1704, is thought by many to be one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Bavaria. Encircling the entire nave is decorative plaster work and statues. The angels on the high altar are carved in white marble, and the choir stalls are also hand carved. There are additional altars in the transept and also in the six side chapels. The dome of the nave is 28 metres high. Some day we might talk about the skeletons of Waldsassen.

In 1803 the church became the Parish Church of Waldsassen, and then in 1969, Pope Paul VI, elevated the status of the church to “Basilica Minor”. The Papal Coat of Arms above the main entrance proves this honour.

photo credits:
Leonard Bernstein by Jack Mitchell
Basilica - Wikipedia
Altar angels - www.kuk-verlagsanstalt

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Night Magic

It's a lovely summer night with shades of coral still visible in the western sky. Lightning bugs are flitting about in time to their own magical tune and the little kids across the street are darting to and fro trying to catch them and ease them into a jar so they can enjoy nature's lanterns.

I remember doing the same thing. After we were suppose to be asleep I would, ever so quietly, get up, reach under the bed and pull out the jar with the lid that Daddy had fixed with air holes. You know what happened; the same thing might have happened to you, time after time. Unless more than a few got away, when I opened the jar (just to get a better look), my wonderful parents never said a word. I think my dad, in particular, understood that summer nights were magical.

When I was a kid you did not have to be on a dark beach or a mountain top to see many stars in the night sky. From our yard my father would point out the constellations and tell us the stories about them, sometimes adding his own tales to the list of myths. Dad's stories were often more fantastic and imaginative than the noted ones, and I rarely remember his telling the same one twice. But it was summer and there was magic in the air.

For some reason it was our street that the kids would usually gather in after supper. Kids from even blocks away showed up to play games under our street lights. Do you remember May I, Red Light, and Steal the Bacon? We played those and some that I can not remember at the moment. Later the kids would be summoned to their homes and I would take a deep breath, smell the fragrant honey suckle and reluctantly begin the short trek to my yard, my steps, and my porch, not wanting the evening to end. Very often Dad would meet me at the door and suggest that we sit on the front porch swing awhile and have a glass of iced tea that Mom would bring out to us. Yes, the summer nights were hot, yes, I was tired from playing, but mainly, Dad understood that I wanted to stay outside listening to the katydids, cicadae and peepers, watching the lighting bugs, and looking for that occasional shooting star, to prolong all the sights, sounds and scents that weave their threads into a magical summer night.

Daddy, I do remember and I am so thankful for you; just wish you could hear me.

photo credits:
1. fireflies - Flickr, A Delicate Mind photostream
2. stargazing - Flickr, Background Music's photostream

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Schubert - Der Lindenbaum

Franz Schubert/Friedrich Silcher - music
William Muller - lyrics

Die Meistersinger conducted by Klaus Breuninger

trans. Brian & Anna Cole

By the spring outside the city
there stands a linden tree,
and I dreamed in its shadow
so many lovely dreams.

So many words of loving
into its bark I'd score.
In joyful mood or sadness I
it drew me back the more.

Today I had to travel
right past that tree by night,
and even in the darkness
I closed my eyes so tight.

Its twigs and branches rustled
as if they called to me:
Come here to me, young fellow,
you will find peace, you'll see!

The ice-cold winds were blowing
into my freezing face,
my hat flew off my head, but
I did not lose a pace.

Now I am many hours' ride
distant from that spot,
and still I hear the rustling:
Here peace would be your lot!

Walter A. Aue - notes:

The Linden Tree, with Franz Schubert's melody from Die Winterreise (Winter Journey), is one of the few examples where a great classical composer - two other ones that come to mind are Mozart and Brahms - wrote a song that, perhaps in slightly simplified form, becomes a folk song (Volkslied). There is no greater honor in the German tradition.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What a Wonder or Wonderful Vine

About two weeks ago Sunny Wieler, in Stone Art Blog, posted some very funny, photoshopped snaps of giant Gunneras taking over the world. These Gunneras can grow over ten feet tall with a leaf span of six feet.

For information and pictures of Gunneras you can click on Stone Art Blog, a professional, very informative and interesting blog.

In America's southeastern states we have a kudzu (Pueraria lobata) vine that was originally imported in 1876, from Japan for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition as an ornamental plant, or was intended to control erosion. Regardless of which reason was the first, the plant was imported and is thriving in, or as some would say, growing over the south. Under the right conditions, which the southeast usually provides, kudzu can grow one to two feet a day. Kudzu has become a problem in other countries also. This plant does not seem to have any natural enemies, as long as you do not consider man.


Whether its swallowing a car,


climbing a pole,


taking possession of a bridge,


or creeping up a hill and encapsulating a house (yes, there's a house in there), these photos are not photoshopped.

While kudzu is a forage for livestock and a vine for making baskets, you can enjoy it yourself by making tea, bread and jelly, lotions and soaps. Why folks have created recipes for kudzu bread, quiche and even fried kudzu leaves to name a few. It is being studied for its medicinal use in treating cancer, headaches, tinnitus, allergies and other health issues. Kudzu may become a valuable asset for the production of cellulosic ethanol.

Perhaps this pesky, pervasive plant will become a cultivated, cash crop.

photo credits:
Thank you, Sunny, for the use of your photos from Stone Art Blog.
Rome, Taj Mahal, Sphinx/Pyramid.
1. Dickel Sippers
2. Writers Forensics Blog
Lady in Basket, "Queen of Kudzu" from Max Shores

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Time Out - The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Please sit back and listen to "Take Five" from the album "Time Out," first issued in 1959. It was the first jazz album to go platinum making it a classic.

On the 1959 album were Paul Desmond playing saxophone, who also wrote the music; Gene Wright on bass, and Joe Morello on drums.

This is exactly what I am going to do - take Time Out. See you in a few days.