lost boys

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lostboyI was watching a version of Peter Pan when I drew this.  It might have even been the Disney animation.  But I realized that I have seen many many versions of the story…

I do not yet have many many versions of the story as I do for Alice and Wonderland.  And some versions of Peter Pan are just annoying.

Speaking of many many versions, I have yet to do my Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles marathon wherein I watch all the different versions of the Hound of the Baskervilles story, but it is on my list.

Bryophyllum pinnatum

Bryophyllum pinnatum

Francisco Manuel Blanco | USA Public Domain

Here is where I laugh at myself and this is the story. I am dreaming of gardening lately and, of course, I had to do some research into native and hardy plants. While snipping a plant description my Evernote told me I had a similar note, namely one snipped from the Wikipedia page for Bryophyllum pinnatum.

So, way back when my mysterious alien plant could’ve been a Lychee tree seedling (in my mind anyway), I did some research on the leaves and found Kalanchoe pinnatum, related to the Mother of a Thousand Children, called cathedral bells by the USDA and Sweetheart plant by the University of Florida’s Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.  Are you laughing at me with me yet?  Because, apparently, I figured out what my mystery alien plant was a while ago only I didn’t know I did, or I just promptly forgot about it.  I wonder what else is tucked away in my Evernote.  All of my years of OneNote use are merged in there too.

The Wikipedia page has a few other names for my plant:

Bryophyllum pinnatum, also known as the Air Plant, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, and Goethe Plant is a succulent plant native to Madagascar.

Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to call it.  I think I like Goethe Plant the best.

Wine review

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http://www.bevindustry.com/ext/resources/October_2012/DeadBolt_281high.jpgI have been enjoying a tour of wine maker’s blends, and I can occasionally be talked into a purchase because of a catchy name and interesting description.  This is how I ended up opening a bottle of Dead Bolt red winemaker’s blend.

I like a strong flavored wine.  In fact, I like strong and challenging flavors in many things, and this part of me was delighted to be drinking Dead Bolt.  I am also pretty indiscriminate when it comes to wine varieties.  I notice flavors in the wines I drink but few ever stick out enough for me to remember a brand or why I wanted to get it again.  My consumption of wine is based on geographic availability and pricing, mostly.

Dead Bolt will not suffer from my poor wine memory.  I will forever remember the wine that tasted like liquified summer sausage with a hint of pepperoni.  The taste was so convincingly meat and spicy that I fancied I’d develop heartburn.  Though impressive, Dead Bolt, for me, will not be an all the time kind of wine.

changing passwords

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You too can protect your online identity without hiring a company to do it.  You will need to 1.) change your passwords, 2.) change your passwords, 3.) don’t share your passwords with anyone, and 4.) change your passwords.

Just a friendly reminder.  There’re always security leaks and system bugs out there so making password changing a routine is always a good idea.  Just think how strong your brain will get with constant memory challenges!

Vintage prints and small worlds

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diningroomwall I inherited a strange little picture from my grandmother of two horses frightened by a storm, perhaps, or running towards some lightening.  I remember staring up at the horses’ pop eyes during nap time, and am terribly satisfied having it in my house.  This terrible cell phone picture is of my dining room wall, horse picture included.

It never crossed my mind to find out more about it, even though I had never seen its like anywhere else.  You can imagine my surprise when I saw it included in the gallery wall of interior designer Lauren Liess | Pure Style Home  while flipping through a home decorating magazine.  Liess’ style is much more polished and muted, but the horse picture has the same kind of punch, I think.  It is an oddity:  something banal enough to look past and yet odd enough to furrow the brow upon closer inspection.

Lauren Liess | Pure Style Home.

After a little searching I found that it is called Spirited Horses by Henri LeRoy (1851- ) a still life painter in France.  LeRoy’s catalog, as far as I could find, revolved around prints of fruit and flowers with a few landscapes thrown in.  All of his pictures have the same feel:  a controlled and factual reproduction of the subject, but strange–like looking through a warped glass.  They are just a little bit naive.

I wanted to find out more about Henri LeRoy, but have been unsuccessful.  He, like several other Victorian chromolithograph artists, produced much in a new and flourishing world of consumer driven art.  Many chromolithographs were known for their publishers over their artists.  They found a champion in Harriet Beecher Stowe who lauded them as an asset to interior decoration (Rotskoff).  Perhaps because of Stowe’s support, and perhaps because a new and thriving middle class had grown from industrialism, consumption of these prints soared between 1840-1900.  They were so popular, as was using the technology for cards and advertisements, that the time period became known as the “chromo civilization” (according to Wikipedia).  Like any pop-art, they were not made to last and the numbers of undamaged prints out there have dwindled over the years, which is probably why I’ve only just seen Henri LeRoy’s Spirited Horses on anyone else’s wall.

cited:  Lori E. Rotskoff (1997) Decorating the Dining-Room: Still-Life Chromolithographs and Domestic Ideology in Nineteenth-Century America. Journal of American Studies, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Apr., 1997), pp. 19-42

The sexiest accordion player

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myronI have a crush.  Richard and I watch tons of Lawrence Welk (only not recently because PBS has stopped playing it for some reason).  Myron Floren always steals the show, and over the years more and more of the show seems to be given to him – as if the producers know that he is the sexiest accordion player on the planet.

I am speaking as someone who likes the sound of a well played accordion; but I imagine his chops would be appreciated even by those who don’t.  What’s more, he always has the happy little grin on his face while playing and seems completely at ease being in front of a crowd and/or camera.

When I mentioned that more and more of the show is given to him through the years, I didn’t mean more accordion spots.  Eventually he starts to MC half the show in place of Mr. Welk.  And he does this better than Mr. Welk.

evolutionary diversion

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Raccoon Dog at Fukuyama, Hiroshima prefecture, Japan, 663highland, GFDL+creative commons2.5

So, I was learning about Trophic cascade and how reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone changed everything, down to the land and rivers.  And then I was sharing this knowledge with a co-worker when her mind turned to coyotes and then to their interbreeding with wolves.  And now I am learning something else.

The  Coywolf is a coyote-wolf hybrid.  They have been in the north eastern part of the country for near a hundred years and are sometimes lumped in with the group of Eastern Coyotes (DNA testing has shown that most Eastern Coyotes have Wolf genes).  This canid is one of the rare, successful, natural hybridizations, probably due to depleted wolf populations and lack of mates for wolves (Wikipedia entry).

I find it especially interesting that this hybridization combines the strongest behavioral characteristics as well:  a coyote’s comfort with populated areas and a wolf’s tendency to move in packs.  This is kind of creepy.  Especially since coywolves are bigger than coyotes.
As interesting as the coywolf is, my favorite canid is still the raccoon dog (pictured above).  Raccoon dogs, aka tanuki, have the most ancient canid DNA for a living species today, and they have a wealth of legend and story.

And since we’ve gone to Asia with the raccoon dog, it would be remiss of me to not mention Pallas’s Cat  (pictured).  This fuzzy, solitary, house cat sized felid, looks to me like someone mixed a cat and a monkey, specifically:  a tamarin.  They also remind me of my cat, Sparkles.

If canids and felids aren’t your thing, perhaps you are a bird person.  I know quite a few of those.  The Potoo bird is native to Africa, and looks like some trick of taxidermy, or as if it under went a treatment with Kai’s Goo.  Ya’ll remember that program, right?

In any case, muppets are real people too (images from a Google search and unfortunately without attribution anywhere I could find them posted).