Archive for July, 2012

A [G]lass Performance!

July 31, 2012

I remember “playing” water glasses during my youth, but Robert Tiso has taken this artform to another level.  Here he is playing Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major on the glass harp!  Simply amazing (and beautiful)! 

Film Festival Gets Underway!

July 30, 2012

Yep, it is time for the Traverse City Film Festival and the pre-festival activities have already started.  Once again, the slate of movies is stellar and I will find a way to fit in as many as I possibly can.

Already on my list of movies to see (with tickets in-hand):

Let’s Mark This Spot!

July 29, 2012

On treasure maps, “x” marks the spot.  Utility companies often use spray paint to mark locations of buried lines, etc.  Dogs merely lift their legs and physically mark their spots (it really makes scents [groan]).  Headstones are used to mark gravesites . . . and speaking of gravesites, have you considered a stelae or a dolmen?


\stee-luh\, noun;

1.  an upright stone slab or pillar bearing an inscription or design and serving as a monument, marker, or the like;
2.  Architecture: a prepared surface on the face of a building, a rock, etc., bearing an inscription, or the like;
3.  In ancient Rome: a burial stone.


\dohl-men, -muhn, dol-\, noun; Archaeology

1.  a structure usually regarded as a tomb, consisting of two or more large, upright stones set with a space between and capped by a horizontal stone.

Traverse City Outdoor Art Fair 2012!

July 28, 2012

Here it is, the last Saturday in July, and that means that it is time for the Traverse City Outdoor Art Fair.  This event is always held on the lawn of the campus of Northwestern Michigan College, it is always the last Saturday in July, and I always make it a point to attend.  I have found many a treasure from this event over the years . . . some of my favorite artists include: Deborah Hoover, Katie K. Chichester Mester, Amy Perrier, and John Leben (to name a few).  Hmm, I wonder what treasures await me this year?

Some Like It Hot!

July 27, 2012

Here we are, amidst the dog days of summer, the hottest and most sultry days of the year (July and August) . . .  and there is no relief in sight.  But even when our temperatures reach the 100 degree mark, we have nothing to complain about compared to some of the desert regions of the world who have recorded some amazingly hot temperatures. Did you know there are only two of the fifty states that have NEVER had a temperature reading above 100 degrees? Can you name them? (Answer below.)

Wadi Halfa (Sudan) – 127 degrees (April 1967)
Ahwaz (Iran) – 128 degrees (average highs during July: 116 degrees)
Tirat Tsvi (Israel) – 129 degrees (June 1942)
Araouane (Mali) – 130 degrees (Summer 1945)
Timbuktu (Mali) – 130.1 degrees (average highs during May: 106 degrees)
Kebili (Tunisia) – 131 degrees
Ghadames (Libya) – 131 degrees
Death Valley (United States) – 134 degrees (July 10, 1913)
Azizia (Libya) – 136 degrees (September 13, 1922)

Some other interesting facts:
Dallol (Ethiopia) – the highest average temperature all year round (93.9 degrees).
Kuwait City (Kuwait) – the highest average temperature during the summer.
Yuma, Arizone (United States) – the most days above 90 degrees (177).

And now, the two states that have never reached 100 degrees: Alaska (obviously) and Hawaii (surprised?).

A River Runs Over It!

July 26, 2012

Here is quite the feat of engineering: a navigable channel (water bridge) that goes over a river.  The Magdeburg Water Bridge opened in 2003 (October) and is the longest navigable aqueduct in the world and crosses over the Elbe River (Germany).

The fun facts:

  • 918 meters long (3,012 feet) — 690 meters over land, 228 meters over water.
  • 34 meters wide.
  • The longest span: 106 meters.
  • The water depth: 4.25 meters.
  • The clearance below: 90.00 meters x 6.25 meters.
  • Length of construction: 6 years.
  • Cost: $500 million Euros.
  • 68,000 cubic meters of concrete.
  • 24,000 metric tons of steel.

Very cool indeed!

Lesser Known Wonder Number Three!

July 25, 2012

On the western coast of Madagascar is an area that was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 because of its unique geography as well as for some of its flora and fauna.  The Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park covers roughly 666 square kilometers (257 square miles) and occupies the southern end of the protected area.  The northern end has remained a strict nature preserve and encompasses 853 square kilometers (329 square miles).  This park was nopt opened to the public until 1998. The Bemaraha is best known for its tsingy — sharp limestone pinnacles that may reach 150 feet in height.

“The word tsingy is indigenous to the Malagasy language as a description of the karst badlands of Madagascar. The word can be translated into English as where one cannot walk barefoot.”  (Source:  Shea, Neil (2009 Nov). “Living On a Razor’s Edge: Madagascar’s labyrinth of stone.” National Geographic.)

Estas Enchiladas Son Faciles!

July 24, 2012

Supplement these enchiladas with refried beans and some tortilla chips (and perhaps a margarita or two) and you’ve got yourself one tasty meal.  This is definitely a recipe that I will be coming back to frequently.  And, I’m certain you could adapt the filling to fulfill whatever taste you have the hankering for (beef, chicken, pork, etc.).

Easy Enchiladas
1 pound ground turkey sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can (8 ounce) can of tomatillo salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 fajita-size flour tortillas
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
Vegetable cooking spray
2 cups fresh tomato salsa (medium to hot)
1/2 cup chicken broth
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro

1. Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally (10-12 minutes), until the meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove the sausage from the skillet using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels (I line a colander with paper towels).

2. Saute the onion and garlic in the hot drippings over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the drained sausage, 1/2 cup of tomatillo salsa, and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro.

3. Spoon 1/3 cup of this mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of the cheese. Roll the tortillas up and place them seam-side down in a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish. Lightly coat the tops of the tortillas with cooking spray.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the tortillas are crisp.

5. Meanwhile, stir together the 2 cups of tomato salsa, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, and the remaining tomatillo salsa in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4-6 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Pour the salsa mixture over the tortillas and top evenly with the remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until the cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish is desired.

Are We There Yet?

July 23, 2012

Where?  Middle age: the period of age beyond young adulthood  (around the third quarter of the average life span of human beings) but before the onset of old age (nearing or surpassing the average life span of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle).  Judging by this definition, I’m not even close to middle age yet (I probably have at least ten more years to go, if not more).  Here are a few quotations on the topic . . . the first one is on the more serious side, the ones following it are a bit more sarcastic opr cynical.

“A person taking stock in middle age is like an artist or composer looking at an unfinished work; but whereas the composer and the painter can erase some of their past efforts, we cannot. We are stuck with what we have lived through. The trick is to finish it with a sense of design and a flourish rather than to patch up the holes or merely to add new patches to it.” (Harry S. Broudy)

“The time of life when the most fun you have is talking about the most fun you used to have.”  (Gene Perret)

“The time of your life when, instead of combing your hair, you start arranging it.”  (Herbert Kavet)

“When your weightlifting consists of merely standing up.”  (Bob Hope)

“When you begin to exchange your emotions for symptoms.”  (Irvin Cobb)

“Middle age is when you age starts to show around your middle.”  (Bob Hope) — Hmm, by this definition . . .

“When you’re too young to take up golf, and too old to rush up to the net at tennis.”  (F.P. Adams)

“When your medicine chest is better stocked than your drinks cabinet.”  (Pam Brown)

“When a man is always thinking that in a week or two he will feel as good as ever.”  (Don Marquis)

“Having the choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier.”  (Dan Bennett)

Source: The Cynic’s Dictionary by Aubrey Dillon-Malone.


July 22, 2012

How many variations on this theme can you come up with?  Bubbles, bubbling, bubbly, castile, cleaner, detergent, foam, foaming, foamy, froth, frothy, lather, lathery, oily, soap, spume, suds, sudsy, unctuous, wash, or . . . how about


\sap-uhney-shuhs\, adjective;

1.  resembling soap; soapy.

And, while we’re at it . . . why not


uhngk-choo-uhs\, adjective;

1. characterized by excessive piousness or moralistic fervor, especially in an affected manner; excessively smooth, suave, or smug.
2. of the nature of or characteristic of an unguent or ointment; oily; greasy.
3. having an oily or soapy feel, as certain minerals.