Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In the Family

My niece Natalie and my nephew Gavin love to draw and paint. Not surprising, since everyone in my immediate family is artistically inclined. (Many in the extended family too) Gavin has a penchant for drawing little houses in a triangular shape, with windows floating in the air around the house. He's also gotten into drawing multiple versions of his family--- Mom, Dad, Zack, Gavin, Natalie, etc. Usually the 3 cats are not listed. Natalie seems to enjoy more color in her paintings. She seems to be a natural in combining striking colors. My sister takes their drawings very seriously and has a gallery of their framed works.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Bah Humbug Christmas Sing-a-long

Tonight some friends and I got together and sang some Christmas and holiday songs. It was great fun. My favorite part of the evening, though, was when we drifted to the darker side, crooning out some deep and dark rock and roll favorites. Here are three I sang out with all my little heart.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thank Goddess For PBS!

Recently I ditched my cable T.V. service. Since, I've been entertaining myself with a combination of DVDs from Netflix, and online television programs. I've seen some fantastic PBS programs online lately, and had forgotten how wonderful PBS is. To think I was watching endless episodes of 'Ghost Hunters' (not that there's anything wrong with that), while missing Nova and Masterpiece Theater! If you are bored and holed in for the winter, I recommend these!

1. American Experience: The Assassination of President Lincoln

2. Masterpiece Contemporary: Collision Pt. 1 &2.

3. Secrets of the Dead: The Airmen and the Headhunters
4. Secrets of the Dead: The Hunt for Nazi Scientists

5. Nova: Alien From Earth
I suppose you can see that I have some special interests?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe

My dastardly fellow blogger and friend J.D. will be pleased to know that an 1827 volume of Edgar Allen Poe's first book sold for 662,500 dollars last week. A collection of poems that Poe compiled at age 18, it's entitled: "Tamerlane and Other Poems." At the time Poe only published 50 copies. Apparently, there are only 12 first editions left in the big wide world.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Evil Woman

I came across these vintage advertisements about venereal disease. I was pretty struck by the fact that the ads are all slanted towards blaming the women for spreading the disease. I'm not a biologist, but, can't VD be spread by men too?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Antique Telephone Stand

The H.T. Cushman Manufacturing Company was founded in North Bennington, VT by Henry Theodore Cushman, after his service in the Civil War, about 1867. The company was famous for its oddity inventions and unique furniture. For example, the Cushman Company invented erasers, to place at the end of lead pencils. In the late 1800's the company also made coat hangers, pencil boxes, coat racks, towel racks, and foot rests and stools.

At the turn of the century Cushman began manufacturing more substantial furniture. For example, they made 'smokers,' which were stands to store smoking supplies, and the Shynezy chair, which had a storage space for shoe shining supplies. Another piece was the 'Betumal' 'Beat em all" telephone stand, which I acquired from my friend the other day. This unique piece has a hinged stool which fits under the small stand when not in use, and has a glass top inset. I would surmise my telephone stand was made between 1911 & 1913. Underneath the table there's a label that says: "H.T. Cushman. #207."

H.T. Cushman Manufacturing Co. was in business until 1980, and was largely family owned and operated.
MK enjoying the chair.

Friday, November 27, 2009


It was a somber Thanksgiving weekend for the nation 46 years ago today, as Americans mourned the loss of JFK. I was only a few months old, but my father has told me many times about that weekend. He was devastated, as were so many other Americans of all creeds. Here is a compilation of television news reports of that day, from local Dallas stations. It's pretty amazing to me how often the newsmen make foreboding comments about something happening. Too bad JFK didn't opt to use the 'bubble' that day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chicken Soup With Rice

"Chicken Soup With Rice," by Maurice Sendak, is a children's favorite. Though "Where the Wild Things Are" is getting more attention lately, it bodes well not to forget Sendak's other classics. My friend was feeling sick today, and I thought of this poem/ song for her.

We were also talking about Carol King the other night, while singing karaoke. She turned Maurice Sendak's story into a great song.

In January it's so nice
While slipping on the sliding ice

To sip hot chicken soup with rice

Sipping once, sipping twice

Sipping chicken soup with rice

In February it will be
My snowman's anniversary

With cake for him and soup for me!
Happy once, happy twice

Happy chicken soup with rice


In March the wind blows down the door

And spills my soup upon the floor
It laps it up and roars for more
Blowing once, blowing twice

Blowing chicken soup with rice


In April I will go away
To far off Spain or old Bombay

And dream about hot soup all day
Oh, my, oh, once, oh, my, oh, twice

Oh, my, oh, chicken soup with rice


In May I truly think it best

To be a robin lightly dressed

Concocting soup inside my nest

Mix it once, mix it twice

Mix that chicken soup with rice

In June I saw a charming group

Of roses all begin to droop

I pepped them up with chicken soup!
Sprinkle once, sprinkle twice

Sprinkle chicken soup with rice


In July I'll take a peep

Into the cool and fishy deep
Where chicken soup is selling cheap
Selling once, selling twice
Selling chicken soup with rice


In August it will be so hot
I will become a cooking pot
Cooking soup of course-why not?
Cooking once, cooking twice

Cooking chicken soup with rice


In September, for a while
I will ride a crocodile
Down the chicken soup-y Nile

Paddle once, paddle twice
Paddle chicken soup with rice

In October I'll be host

To witches, goblins and a ghost

I'll serve them chicken soup on toast
once, whoopy twice

chicken soup with rice


In November's gusty gale
I will flop my flippy tail

And spout hot soup-I'll be a whale!

Spouting once, spouting twice

Spouting chicken soup with rice


In December I will be
A baubled, bangled Christmas tree

With soup bowls draped all over me

Merry once, merry twice

Merry chicken soup with rice

I told you once, I told you twice
All seasons of the year are nice

For eating chicken soup with rice!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What Kind of Thinker Are You?

Multiple Intelligences Theory, developed originally by psychologist Howard Gardner of Harvard University, is one of the coolest theories about intelligence. Traditional intelligence tests (such as the Stanford-Binet) assess only spatial and verbal intelligence. These areas are typically the areas (vocabulary, listening skills, memory, math, spatial skills) that are emphasized in school.

Gardner's theory expanded human intelligence to include other areas such as artistic,
kinesthetic, and musical. Of course these areas are more difficult to test, but exist as strengths and weaknesses in all of us. For example, many of the students I work with have linguistic weaknesses, and reading and learning problems, but have have superb artistic, musical, kinesthetic, or interpersonal skills. Here are the various aspects of Multiple Intelligences, according to the BBC Science & Nature Homepage.

Logical-Mathematical Thinkers

Logical-Mathematical thinkers:

  • Like to understand patterns and relationships between objects or actions
  • Try to understand the world in terms of causes and effects
  • Are good at thinking critically, and solving problems creatively

Other Logical-Mathematical Thinkers include
Isaac Newton, Archimedes, Albert Einstein

Careers which suit Logical-Mathematical thinkers include

Physicist, Chemist, Biologist, Lawyer, Computer Programmer, Engineer, Inventor

Linguistic Thinkers

Linguistic thinkers:

  • Tend to think in words, and like to use language to express complex ideas.
  • Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.

Other Linguistic Thinkers include
William Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Anne Frank

Careers which suit Linguistic thinkers include
Journalist, Librarian, Salesperson, Proof-reader, Translator, Poet, Lyricist

Interpersonal Thinkers

Interpersonal thinkers:

  • Like to think about other people, and try to understand them
  • Recognize differences between individuals and appreciate that different people have different perspectives
  • Make an effort to cultivate effective relationships with family, friends and colleagues

Other Interpersonal thinkers include
Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa, William Shakespeare

Careers which suit Interpersonal thinkers include
Politician, Psychologist, Nurse, Counselor, Teacher

Intrapersonal thinkers

Intrapersonal thinkers:

  • Spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to understand themselves
  • Reflect on their thoughts and moods, and work to improve them
  • You understand how your behavior affects your relationships with others

Other Intrapersonal thinkers include
Sigmund Freud, Gandhi, Grahame Greene

Careers which suit Intrapersonal Thinkers include
Psychologist, Teacher, Pilot, Child Care worker, Explorer, Drama therapist

Naturalist Thinkers

Naturalist Thinkers:

  • Like to understand the natural world, and the living beings that inhabit it
  • have an aptitude for communicating with animals
  • You try to understand patterns of life and natural forces

Other Naturalist thinkers include
Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Johnny Morris, David Attenborough

Careers which suit Naturalist thinkers include
Biologist, Meteorologist, Forester, Farmer, Astronomer, Alternative therapist

Existential Thinkers

Existential thinkers:

  • Like to spend time thinking about philosophical issues such as "What is the meaning of life?"
  • Try to see beyond the 'here and now', and understand deeper meanings
  • consider moral and ethical implications of problems as well as practical solutions

Other Existential Thinkers include
The Buddha, Gandhi, Plato, Socrates, Martin Luther King

Careers which suit Existential Thinkers include
Philosopher, Religious Leader, Head of state, Artist, Writer

Musical Thinkers

Musical thinkers:

  • Tend to think in sounds, and may also think in rhythms and melodies
  • Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.
  • Feel a strong connection between music and emotions

Other Musical Thinkers include
Mozart, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix

Careers which suit Musical Thinkers include

Musician, Music teacher, Sound engineer, Recording technician

Spatial Thinkers

Spatial Thinkers:

  • Tend to think in pictures, and can develop good mental models of the physical world.
  • Think well in three dimensions
  • Have a flair for working with objects

Other Spatial Thinkers include
Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo, Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Careers which suit Spatial Thinkers include
Mechanic, Photographer, Artist, Architect, Engineer, Builder, Set designer

Kinaesthetic Thinkers

Kinesthetic thinkers:

  • Think in movements.
  • Like to use their bodies in skilful and expressive ways
  • Have an aptitude for working with your hands

Other Kinesthetic Thinkers include
Houdini, Rudolph Nureyev, David Beckham

Careers which suit Kinesthetic Thinkers include
Sportsperson, Craftsperson, Surgeon, Actor, Dancer, Coach, Physiotherapist

I took the "What Kind of Thinker Are You?" quiz to find out which multiple intelligence is my strength. Here is the result.

You are an Intrapersonal thinker

Intrapersonal thinkers:

  • Spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to understand themselves
  • Reflect on their thoughts and moods, and work to improve them
  • You understand how your behavior affects your relationships with others

Other Intrapersonal thinkers include
Sigmund Freud, Gandhi, Grahame Greene

Careers which suit Intrapersonal Thinkers include
Psychologist, Teacher, Pilot, Child care worker, Explorer, Drama therapist

Take the quiz yourself!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Separation of Church and State

The separation of church and state, and religious freedom, are sacred American principles. The founders of the United States constitution saw these principles as sacred because these ideas were the antithesis of all the experience and history they knew in Europe.

When the state uses religious beliefs to govern, tyranny ensues. Think of Queen "Bloody" Mary in England in the late 1500's. When she became the Catholic queen, hundreds of Protestants were burned at the stake and persecuted. The opposite occurred when her sister, Elizabeth I, became queen. Throughout history, very few positive examples of a church dominated state can be found, in which certain minorities or groups are not oppressed or even murdered. Think of the Inquisition and the Crusades.

Along with religious belief comes deeply held moral thoughts about right and wrong, philosophical beliefs about the origin of life, and beliefs about how to conduct one's life. (By the way, nonreligious people have these ideals too!) I am
passionately in support of an individual's right to decide what those religious beliefs might be. However, at the same time one person's religious fervor should never infringe on another person's access to state and federal institutions.

Should a religious majority be able to vote to strip away civil privileges from a minority? Any American's answer should be a resounding
no way! However, this is exactly what just occurred in Maine last week, and has occurred in 30 other states. The voters of Maine repealed a bill that allowed gay people to get married legally in their the state. This law was passed by the Maine state legislature in the spring of 2009. The vote to repeal gay marriage passed by a 53% to 43% margin. When polled later, the majority of folks who voted to repeal gay marriage rights cited religious reasons for their vote.

Marriage is indeed an 'institution' associated with religious rites, but
that is a matter of choice. Many people do not marry in a church, nor do they have to. Yet, along with marriage comes many civil benefits from the state and the government. Throughout history, this may not have been the case. At one time marriage was just recognized by one's chosen church (in the 17th and 18th centuries). Today, however, there are over 500 civil benefits, rights, and privileges associated with marrying a spouse. The solution is either to allow all people access to state benefits, or have marriage only be a church rite with no civil associations.

Would heterosexual married folks be willing to give up all the state and federal associated with their marriage? Hardly likely. Some people scoff and belittle the importance of these rights, and say, "Well, some of those 'rights' are burdens too! Gay people are lucky not to bother with them!" Still, I do not see any heterosexual couples lining up to ask the state to strip away their 'burdensome' property, tax, legal, medical, and child-care privileges once they marry. Of course people wish to keep these privileges. How many widows are begging the government to stop paying them their deceased husband's social security benefits!

It is the purpose of the state and federal courts and legislatures to act as neutral and non-religious parties to interpret the state and federal constitutions, and to make laws to protect the rights of all-- minority or majority. The Maine legislature did its just job by granting a minority group equal access to an institution that provides civil and federal benefits to its citizens. Civil rights issues should not be subjected to the popular vote. In fact, all throughout American history most civil rights advances have been the result of court or legislative rulings. In most cases, the court has deemed a group's lack of equal access to certain state and federal institutions (schools, universities, voting, marriage) unconstitutional. If women's rights, property and voting rights for people of color, and equal access to schools and public facilities for minorities had been put to the popular vote, America would still be in the Dark Ages regarding civil rights.

It may be okay for the majority to rule in cases of trash collection, electing representatives, raising taxes, or changing the name of the state, but the popular vote should not determine citizen's access to state and federal benefits. To me, this is a gross injustice. It is especially ironic when people (usually the majority) vote to take away a right from others, that they themselves possess and enjoy! How pompous and self-righteous!

The fact that the United States is a 'Christian' nation is simply a matter of historical consequence. For the sake of example, how would Maine voters feel if the tables were turned? What if Maine suddenly became dominated by an influx of Buddhists? Would the people mind if yoga and meditation practices were instituted in all schools? Would the people mind if the Buddhist majority voted that the state would not recognize any marriage conducted in a Christian church? Of course these propositions seem absurd, yet this is exactly what has occurred in many states.

We are left with the words of the great Thomas Jefferson, who is quoted as writing: "though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression." Amen sister!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Trinket Drawer

A couple of weeks ago in Vermont I went antiquing, and bought an old printer's drawer. My friend also bought one. These old drawers are magnificent, and can be easily transformed into a trinket art display. Last week I was going to start on cleaning and staining my drawer, but I wasn't feeling well. Here is a drawer that is similar to mine, and some examples of what others have done.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Many Faces of Mona

Starting with Duchamp's version painted in 1919, I've enjoyed many of the 'bastardized' Mona Lisa renditions.

Hilary & Monica were definitely amusing in the 1990's.

But, this version is by far the most brilliant commentary of the times!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Recently, there have been some exciting discoveries and advances in the study of human evolution. Tim White and others have finally published information and analysis about Ardi, the nearly complete humanoid skeleton they found in Ethiopia in 1997. It has taken 12 years to fully analyze the find. Ardi is the oldest hominid skeleton ever found.

Ardi, a 3.5 foot female Ardipithecus that walked on two feet and lived 4.4 million years ago, predates Lucy by a million years. Some revelations about Ardi are that she did walk on two feet, and yet had feet which could also grip tree limbs. This makes bipedalism much earlier for hominids than thought. For whatever reason, bipedalism must have had a tremendous evolutionary advantage for primates that evolved into humans, since it is a poor way to amble. Scientists are theorizing that bipedalism freed the hands for carrying food. (I thought also perhaps for carrying infants) An upright position then paved the way for other advantages such as social interaction, tool use, and speech, and was reinforced.

Though I don't quite understand,
Ardi also separates humans from the ape and gorilla branch more than once thought. Although we come from the same root as apes and gorillas, I guess the first hominid creatures developed on the hominid branch, not on the same branch as the gorillas and apes. They evolved separately. Still, we share 99.9% of the same genetic material as our primate friends. Another revelation is that Ardi has small teeth, unlike chimpanzees.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Big Sky

It's difficult to imagine that once upon a time I spent a week in Montana. It's taken me a long time to upload these photos. One, I did lose the USB connector for my camera, but two, I think I did have that 'can't go back there again' feeling. It was a beautiful experience for an outdoor lover. Hard to imagine. Here's our first day hike at Glacier National Park. I've also included our travel diary entries for that day.

August 22, 2009 Today was an incredible day. This park is amazing! We stayed in West Glacier the first night. Accommodations were rustic but we slept. Then we drove to Apgar Village and did some shopping and got a map. We parked at the Avalanche trail head then entered the trail of the cedars. It was very similar to the trees we saw in Olympia National Park, but smaller. We continued on to Avalanche Lake. The trail was a little climbing of 2 miles. We got to the lake and it was amazing! We stayed there a couple of hours, ate lunch, took pictures, walked around. The water was that glacial turquoise in parts. I found an injured bat and tried to help, but he was doomed with a clipped wing. What fascinating little creatures! He was so small and had this tiny dog-like face and teeth! We also saw a mink! CT

Indescribable beauty..... Spectacular views open up at every turn. Everything is big and spread out and high up. The water is melted ice but refreshing on the hands and feet. I'm out of shape but just did 4 miles of hiking. Loved every minute of it. The boat ride on Lake McDonald was relaxing and I'm hoping to get some color from the brilliant sun. A million stars shown down tonight! Hoping to see some more wildlife before the week is out. The mink was so adorable! MK

Monday, October 12, 2009

Killing Me Softly

Roberta Flack is a goddess walking upon the earth. Her signature song, "Killing Me Softly With His Song," was released in 1970! I noticed recently, working in Market Basket with the constant piped in music, that "Killing Me Softly" was being played frequently. At first I thought it was Roberta, but then I realized it was a modern version of the song by 'The Fugees'. Not bad, but not Roberta.

Below is Roberta Flack singing "Killing Me Softly" in the early 1970's. (Unfortunately I can't tell if this studio footage is live, or matched with a recorded version of the song) The second video is 'The Fugees'" version, with Roberta Flack, 39 years later, joining them on stage.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shroud of Turin Debunked

The authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, one of my favorite unsolved mysteries, has been solved. The shroud originally came to my attention in the early 1980's. There were many books about it and I was very intrigued. Science could not easily explain away this amazing piece!

The shroud is a long (14 ft.) linen cloth with a ghostly 3D image of the body and face of a man (both back side and front) that looks a lot like our depiction of Jesus, and a man that has been crucified. To make matters more convincing, there is also blood caked on the cloth, and the image is not painted on.

In 1988 scientists did carbon testing on the shroud, and dated it to the Middle Ages (1260-1390). At this point I put the shroud out of my mind, and deemed it a medieval forgery. During the 1300's, Europe was rife with the display of religious relics and icons, in order to encourage pilgrimages and raise money for the church. In addition, the
provenance, or historical record of the piece, was dated to the 1350's.

Recently some scientists challenged the accuracy of the earlier carbon dating. Burns on the shroud, which we know occurred in the Middle Ages and were fixed by nuns with patches of cloth, may have affected the outcome of the carbon testing. Most importantly, no one had yet to duplicate or explain how the image was created. It was intriguing to wonder: "How could people from medieval times have such sophisticated methods that even modern scientists can't explain?"

Last week an article appeared, reporting that an Italian scientist Luig
i Garlaschelli had duplicated the image by rubbing pigment on a model with a mask, then baking the pigment off (very simplified version). This technique leaves a faint stain similar to the shroud image. Others scientists have now successfully used other methods, that have also produced eerie images.

I must say that I'm slightly disappointed, but bow down to the God of science. One thing that always bothered me about the shroud was that Jesus looked exactly like Jesus. We know in reality the real Jesus living in the Middle East at the time probably would have been short, with an olive complexion, and curly dark hair. This is what always made me suspicious that the shroud was of
European origin.

--------------------------------Garlarschelli's Recreation

Saturday, October 3, 2009

High Maintenance?

Not surprisingly, I am not high maintenance, but quite low maintenance. Sometimes I think my independence and self-sufficiency borders on frightening.

I should be paired with the right, fairly high maintenance person. Only one friend called me high maintenance once, in reference to my 'emotional intensity.'

Click on the image to take the quiz yourself.

Anne Frank

There isn't a young girl on the planet that hasn't been profoundly moved by Anne Frank's diary, once she's read it. I remember reading it as an adolescent, but I haven't read it since. I'm afraid if I read the diary again I can't experience that innocence and heavy heart that can only be felt at that time in life.

Second to the bible, Anne Frank's diary is the most translated document in history. When I went to Anne
Frank's hiding place in Amsterdam, I was amazed at all the translated versions of her story, which the museum had on hand.

I hate that her father originally censored parts of her diary, deeming them improper. Just like an authoritative middle-aged man to squelch out a young woman's budding sexuality. At the same time, kudos to Otto for recognizing the miracle of his daughter's words, and sharing them with the world. Fortunately the full version of her diary is now available.

Anne Frank beat out Hilter's "Mein Kampf" by millions of copies. What utter irony. Who wants to listen to the rants and ravings of that old black heart? The man that murdered her. What a contrast between beauty and evil--- Anne Frank and Hilter.

Some moving pictures of Anne Frank have been released on the internet. Would she ever dream these images of her would be available worldwide in such a format, 60 years later? I think she would have been delighted.

I have seen these images before. Anne is up on the balcony watching a neighbor's wedding, a year or so before her family is forced into hiding. In the film, you catch a little of her spirited personality.
Click on link.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

10 x 10 Superlatives

I saw an article in National Geographic Magazine listing all of the second biggest, fastest, oldest, tallest animals, cities, languages, oceans, mountains, etc... of the world. The article inspired me to check out the 10th largest, smallest, heaviest, deepest, etc... animals, humans, oceans, mountains, etc...., of the world and the United States.

Just curious. This list compiles the unsung heroes of the World Book of Records.

San Jose, Ca. population 939,000 as of 7/1/2007

Mount Bear, Alaska 14,831 ft.

Percheron Draft Horse 7ft.

Bison 1,764 lbs.

Shanghai, China 16,650,000

Kamato Hungo, Japan 116 years, 45 days

Eunice Sanborn, Texas, US 113 years, 68 days born in 1896

John F. Carroll 8ft. 0 in.

Japan Sea 12,276 ft. deep

Judith Polgar Chess Champion IQ 170

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's the Eye of the Cougar

Having just visited Glacier National Park in Montana last month, I have had close encounters with mountain lions recently on my mind. Though more likely to see a grizzly bear at Glacier (cougars are very 'reclusive'), mountain lions, or pumas, do reside in Glacier National Park.

Apparently these fine wild cats have made somewhat of a resurgence in the past decades in the United States. The puma has always resided in Florida, but now lives in the mid-area of the U.S. stretching from Texas to North Dakota. The largest population of cougars aggregates in the Dakotas and Nebraska. However, more mid-Western states have had sightings. Last year a mountain lion was found in Chicago!

A few sightings have occurred in the Northeast. In fact, my friend J.D.'s Mom is pretty sure she saw a puma meandering in the hills of NH. While others may have thought she was going "off the deep end," she was later vindicated by an article in a nearby newspaper confirming that other folks had seen a mountain lion in the area. Naturalists, however, do not think there's a viable population of mountain lions in New England. The cats are likely escaped pets.
________________________________________National Geographic Data

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cool Funk Ain't Old Junk

Wow! Chaka Khan in the late 1970's. I've always loved this old funk song--"Tell Me Something Good," and never realized the great Chaka Khan was the lead singer! Check her out!