Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Elephants

Who doesn't love elephants! There's so much to say about them - you've likely heard it all before: their sense of family, their caring, intelligence and memory. Their shrinking habitat, their vulnerability to poachers, their decreasing numbers.....

We humans need to take steps now to ensure that elephants continue to be cared for both in the wild and in captivity. Of course around the world are many already doing just that, zoos and sanctuaries, both here in North America and in Africa and Asia, people like former TV game show host and animal rights activist, Bob Barker and my niece, Wendy who uses part of her busy retirement to volunteer with elephants at the zoo in Portland, Oregon. This zoo recently opened a new habitat and pool for their elephants. See videos and more about that here (the making of Elephant Lands) and here (a baby elephant's first swim in the new pool) and on the zoo's YouTube channel.

There are so many wonderful elephant videos to watch, This is one that Judy sent me awhile back. It's about a remarkable cooperation between man and beast at Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia. More info here.



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

Polar Bears

Here in southern Ontario, we're still waiting for snow. The other day snow came as a Christmas treat for the polar bears at the San Diego zoo.

Of course, they were delighted!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Librarian Christmas!

Librarians and library patrons around the world will relate to this creative video from the Shoalhaven Library staff who really get into the spirit of the season.


For those interested in details, Shoalhaven is in New South Wales, Australia. A coastal city on the Tasman Sea, not too far south of Sydney, it's a popular vacation area, close to more than 100 pristine beaches of white sand. Of course, it's summer there now and I'll bet it's crazy busy.

This group of Aussie librarians at Shoalhaven are a wild and crazy bunch. Here's an earlier video they also collaborated on to promote the various services offered there.



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Tuba Christmas!

Recently I learned about an event that started in New York City's Rockefeller Square in 1974 and that has since spread to nearly 300 cities around the world. Tuba Christmas.


Every year during the festive season, people of all ages who play the tuba, sousaphone, euphonium, baritone and their several variations gather for a rehearsal followed by a concert of Christmas carols that have been specially arranged for these instruments of the low register.

These events happen mostly in the US, but there are also Tuba Christmas concerts in Switzerland, several provinces in Canada (though, sadly, none in Ontario) and in Costa Rica. They are joyful events, often performed outdoors, even on ice, and draw many appreciative spectators.Somebody said that listening to a choir of tuba players is like having a sonic hug.

Here's a short video of the most recent concert in NYC, still at Rockefeller Square.



The next video is a bit longer. It tells the story of the beginnings of Tuba Christmas in Baltimore.



Friday, December 18, 2015

Candide Thovex Doesn’t Wait for Winter.

It's a week before Christmas and it looks like there will be no snow for Christmas. Ontario ski resort operators are laying off staff and avid skiers with pre-purchased season passes (you know who you are!) are starting to worry. Enter Candide Thovex.

Candide Thovex.jpg

Professional skier, Candide Thovex has been featured on this blog before. Remember? Click here, in case you missed it.

He's at it again, only without snow! Check this out!









Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bookish Humour

"Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn't carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life."    Stephen King


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book Art

I'm beginning to realize that there are a lot of artists out there using books to create sculptures. Just over a year ago I featured some book art by Brian Dettmer.

And why not use books as material for art? Many people believe that the days of books are over, that they are being replaced by digital devices. Even if you don't agree and still prefer to pick up a book, as I do, there are so many books being published every week that it's hard to keep up with them all. So what can we do with all the books, newspapers and magazines piling up everywhere that people have read and are, for the most part not going to re-read? What about all those encyclopedia sets and dictionaries that have definitely been surpassed by all the information on the Internet? And then, there are all those manuals for elderly devices and software that is already out-dated. Thank heavens many manuals are now on-line, but I'll bet most people still have some old ones hanging around.

How wonderful that some creative people are inspired by all the obsolescence.

Here are some works by another few page sculptors.

SUNSET

Cara Barer

SPELL CHECK


SUNBURST OF BOOKS

Frederico Uribe
By the way, if you click on Frederico Uribe to go to his website, you'll be in for a treat - it's very innovative and fun.


We know that books have, for centuries, formed the basis of learning. How about the basis of leaning? 

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fragile Knitting

These "in-progress"  knittings are colourful....and delicate. They're made of glass!




In a complicated procedure involving a bit of knitting as well as casting, mold-making and baking in a high-temperature kiln, the artist, Canadian-born but Seattle-based Carol Milne, has created some fascinating one-of-a-kind works of art.

If you're as fascinated by these wondrous tongue-in-cheek sculptures as I am, have a look at This is Colossal where there's a bit more information with photos and a great Vimeo video where Milne explains a bit about the "knitting" process.



Baskets & Bowls - Dream Kiln-Cast lead crystal knitted glass

See more photos and get more detailed information here. Her website features some interesting videos
and her Facebook page keeps us up-to-date on her events.

  • Where can I see her art?
    Check out the galleries page, videos page, and there is always her Seattle studio, by appointment.
    She has also created a few art books.
  •  contact Carol Milne
    Send an email: carol@carolmilne.com 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Moosebridge and Murdoch

Those of us living in Canada are familiar with the CBC's long-time (over 40 years!) institution, journalist and news anchor, Peter Mansbridge who has just been inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame. Like many other Canadian "fixtures" Mansbridge has had his share of being the target of jokes and pokes, all good-natured of course.

This time, Mansbridge has agreed to have a laugh at his own expense when he voices a character in the upcoming movie, Zootopia.

Peter Mansbridge

Yup! He's going to voice the character of Peter Moosebridge, created intentionally with Canada in mind. How kind is that!

It's only a cameo role, so don't blink when you're at the theatre. Apparently P.M.'s grandkids are pretty excited by his upcoming role. Opens in March 2016.

Here's the trailer (P.M. not included) for Zootopia, so you can get a feel for it:




Oh, and by the way? For all the Murdoch Mysteries* fans out there, Mansbridge also has a small part coming up on that series' very first Holiday Special, A Very Murdoch Christmas. Also appearing on the same show will be veteran actor Ed Asner, British actor, Brendan Coyle (valet John Bates on Downton Abbey) and Kelly Rowan (the O.C.) along with the regulars, Yannick Bisson, Hélène Joy, Jonny Harris and Thomas Craig. It will be a 2-hour special airing Dec. 21 and will also feature a very special connection to the Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) in Toronto which is celebrating 140 years of excellence.

A Merry Murdoch Christmas

It's little things like this that make me a very happy Canadian.



*Murdoch Mysteries: extremely popular Canadian detective series, now in its 9th season. Set in Victorian Toronto, the series has excellent writing and is all the more interesting thanks to the use of period persons of note, such as Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier, US President William McKinley,who was assassinated in nearby Buffalo, New York, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle and others, often played by prominent contemporary actors.

MakingMurdoch902MarkedTwainPreview


MakingMurdochDiscoveringOntarioMain

The series also brings early 1900's current affairs, issues, inventions etc. into the plots, so there are many layers to the series, making it all the more amusant. The hairstyles and costumes are also noteworthy. The dialogue is often tongue-in-cheek.

MakingMurdoch802OntheWaterfrontPartTwo_main

When I went looking at the Murdoch Mysteries website to check facts, I also discovered tons of extra behind-the-scenes clips and also an interactive episode called The Infernal Device
which is still available online.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Movember


It's December 1 and what that means, among many other things, is that Movember has come to an end for another year. Movember is the global movement for men to draw attention to issues of men's health, both physical and mental, by encouraging each other in the growing of a mustache each year during the month of November.

Moustaches In Movember

Some guys really get into the spirit of it all.

Image result for movember photos

Image result for beard and mustache photos


Image result for beard and mustache photos

though I suspect some of these works of facial art are done for special competitions for such things.

Anyway, now that Movember has morphed into December, thoughts are moving ahead to the holidays, with these kinds of photos starting to show up on  Instagram.

Glitter Beard

Glitter Beard

Glitter Beard

What do you think? Fun? Do you like the look? Makes you feel festive?


Monday, November 30, 2015

A Great Canadian Story

These guys, brothers, Michael and Neil Fletcher in the Sudbury area were out in the woods with their dog the other day when they found a mature bald eagle caught in a trap. Like so many modern heroes, they made sure their handy device was ready to record and then took care of the problem.


Of course they had to take a selfie when it was all over. 




Thursday, November 26, 2015

Stomp with the Harlem Globetrotters

We've all heard of the Harlem Globetrotters. Did you know they're celebrating their 90th year? 

Stomp is a 20+ year old percussion group that has performed to rave reviews around the world. Here they combine their talents in a wonderfully entertaining video. Enjoy!



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holton Rower

Holton Rower is a New York-based visual artist who jokingly says he probably uses more paint than any other artist. He creates amazing pieces by pouring concentric pools of acrylic paint onto wood and allowing them to flow downwards.

Image result for holton rower bio

Image result for holton rower bio

The results are organic and always interesting. A video from 2010 shows the process:


Looks like fun, doesn't it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rushing the Season

Apparently the Christmas cactus in our breakfast room has not been paying attention to all the hype about starting the Christmas season too early. There have been buds and the occasional bloom on the plant for several weeks now and, at just under 6 weeks until Christmas, it's looking pretty festive.


This is the plant that Magnus brought for a house-warming gift 11 years ago.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Autumn Illumination

Tuesday afternoon was so dismal and dark, but the tiny ornamental apples on these trees were shining away happily with their own interior light.  










The brilliant yellow shrub right of centre is Witch Hazel.


Wonderful way to brighten up a dark fall day.





Wednesday, November 11, 2015

In Remembrance

Poppy power

Thinking also of our Wounded Warriors


Wounded Warriors

Honour the Fallen, Help the Living


A plaque honouring soldiers who die by suicide is seen at the National Military Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa. (Dave Chan for the globe and mail)
Soldiers of Suicide plaque at the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Orly Faya

Last week we spent Halloween in North Carolina where almost everybody, kids and adults alike, enjoy getting into the spirit of the night.

Our little family went out as the characters/emotions from Inside Out, the movie in which Pixar shows us the emotions that live within each person, driving our speech, actions and decisions. Here's the trailer:



These are the five emotions from the movie: 

Joy  Joy  Disgust Disgust Fear Fear

Anger anger  Sadness Sadness

Perfect! One for each of us to be for Halloween. There might have been a little face painting involved!


Don't worry, it all washed off easily. 

When I came across something on social media about Orly Faya, an Australian body painter/photographer, I knew I had to share it here. This takes face and body painting to a completely different level.

Inspired by nature, Faya paints people into landscapes and lighting, with astonishing results. Here's her intro for her Gaia Project which is being crowd-funded.



Another video:




Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Science of Baking

I wish we'd thought of cooking science 40 years ago when the kids needed some good ideas for science fair projects.



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bubbles

Amazing expertise with bubbles. I wonder if the stage gets wet/slippery by the end of the show.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Orcas

Off Galiano Island, British Columbia on a sunny day in August 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Le flashmob des Prodiges



The kids watching who weren't participating looked like they wanted to.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Free the Whale

This video is about 4 years old, so maybe you've already seen it. Difficult to watch, but rewarding in the end.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fine Dining

Le Petit Chef. The next experience of fine dining: 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Discipline?


Haha...do you relate to this as you look back on your former life as a kid?