Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cats, Herons, Egrets, Chickens

A Great Blue Heron has joined the egrets at the rapidly shrinking pond. The heron caught supper: I was too far away to see clearly what was on the menu. It may have been a frog. I noted the heron, egrets, ducks share the diminishing habitat, and none fought the heron for the meal. As I walked up the hill toward the football field, in the berm of Queen Anne's Lace, milkweed, and aster, a cat leaped high in the air. For joy or for prey, I don't know, but once he saw me, he crouched below the foliage, still, and I saw no more cat. On a grassed rise along the walk path, far ahead, I saw what looked like two giant pigeons pecking at the grass. Huge iridescent birds. Closer, it was a hen and a rooster, fantastically feathered, dining busily as I walked past. Wild chickens? Or escapees on a culinary adventure? I did not have to spend the day collecting my dinner, as my wild friends had, or risk being dinner myself. As the sun said good night to the horizon, I hoped we'd all sleep well.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Don't Buy Hershey's Chocolate

Hershey Company gets most of its cocoa from West Africa, from Ivory Coast, notorious for using child slave labor. Hershey has a new Corporate Social Responsibility Report. On page 18, under "responsible sourcing," Hershey reports "due to the breadth of our product lines, we source more than 10,000 different ingredients from suppliers throughout the world." Obfuscation. Too big to is not transparent. Hershey writes the checks: the company knows where and how the cocoa is sourced, and is hiding it. Read the report, take the online survey. And buy chocolate from genuinely responsible manufacturers.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Offshore Wind

The world's largest wind farm is online off the southeast coast of England in the North Sea. Covering the span of 4,000 football fields, the 100 Vesta V90 wind turbines will generate enough power to power 200,000 homes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bicycle Journals - Great Egrets

Great Egrets (Ardeidae), Casmerodus albus. Finally identified by searching white wading bird + yellow bill + black legs. Neither crane nor heron, as I've misidentified these beauties before. Flies with neck in "S" curve, like the heron. Lucky me to catch one in flight! The others quickly followed. I bicycled to my next favorite green swamp (with a wooden walkway over) and arrived just as 6 hot air balloons were moving in from the right, and one of the flying Great Egrets was winging from the left. More luck! I dropped my bike, got out the camera, tiptoed toward the confluence. Balloons and birds coming into frame - I was shivering with excitement. The closest balloon belched, a kajillion dogs started barking - the egret took off. Bye-bye National Geographic prize winning photograph. Next time!

Stop Michigan HIB-6319

Michigan has beautiful rivers, Great Lakes, and paddle-worthy streams that attract tourists and seasonal residents who spend their vacation money in Michigan. Rep. Richard Ball (R) introduced a bill to require registration of canoes and kayaks in Michigan. He has since un-endorsed his own Bill, but the Tourism Committee is mulling it still. Our neighboring States have no such registration, as do 40 of the 51 States and DC. This Bill is bad for Michigan, bad for tourism, bad for small business (paddling sports) and bad for my attitude. A similar Bill was defeated soundly 20 years ago, and needs to be again. This is lousy legislation and a bureaucratic nightmare. Kill House Bill HIB-6319. Write your Representative, find that person at the Michigan government site. Less government! Not bigger government! Carry registration papers? If I remember to carry my car keys, I'm a lucky woman. I picture an enforcer, standing on a riverbank, trying to pull me over: first high speed chase on a no-wake river. I'll match my paddle against that gendarme's legs in the water any day.

Lazar, The Good Deed Dog

Written by Myrna Gelman Shanker, illustrated by me! Lazar, The Good Deed Dog makes his literary debut with Books & Authors at Leon & Lulu on Sunday, October 10. Meet Myrna and Linda in Clawson. 39 other authors will be there with their books from 11 am to 5 pm. Excellent, fun store to find all your holiday gifts. Watch the younguns on roller skates deliver free coffee and snacks, and listen to the live music, talk with authors and illustrators, and pet the dog! Percentage of all sales for the day will benefit Beyond Basics, a nonprofit literacy community project. Buy books! Read!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bicycle Journals

Riding my underutilized bike to rest my overutilized knee. I like having choices. I know that aging limits physical options so I'm going to switch hit as much as I can. Noticed last week the fast food joint detritus outnumbers the beer cans and cigarettes on the roadside. Could be the route was along the middle school path, and kids can't go home with the remains of a drink they weren't supposed to have. One day archeologists will consider the soda straw shoved through the plastic carry-out lid a religious icon of significance and power.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Granny's On The Roof

Is there a joke here?

DIA in South Lyon

The painting is Reading the Story of Oenone, 1883, oil on canvas by Francis David Millet. It is installed on the Lake St. side of the South Lyon Herald/Milford Times building. The plaque reads, in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the DIA, in partnership with SM/Art Editions, will feature 40 of its most famous works on buildings in Wayne, Macomb, Oakland and Washtenaw Counties. You can click on the interactive map on the DIA site to see where you can see the art. Named DIA: Inside/Out, the exhibit runs from Sept. 10 to November 30, 2010. An incredible idea! The plaque continues that the project "aims to connect with audiences outside of museum walls." I'm going to find some partners to see all the art by bicycle.

Rape Is Rape: Not a Clever Turn of Phrase

Scott Mendelson, in a Yom Kippur "let's forgive some cinema sins" column uses the phrase "debate about whether George Lucas raped our childhoods." This sentence fragment is foul on a couple of levels. Rape is a brutal act, perpetrated generally against women, often against children, and the media needs to stop using the word because it's handy and some journalists are too lazy to think of another turn of phrase. In the spirit of Erev Yom Kippur, I'm asking Scott Mendelson for atonement. Find another word. Contribute to a women's shelter. Write a column about how women are portrayed in cinema. Meanwhile, Scott Mendelson gets The Boot.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Art Workroom

Where art can happen: as jammed full of useful, necessary and bewildering stuff as any artist's creative side. Heaven.

Viktori and Mariah

We were on Drummond Island this week and I remembered to bring home this picture of my great-grandparents. It hangs near the stove and the kitchen window. The light has faded it, and cooking spattered the glass. I've wanted to scan it and preserve the picture digitally, then return it to its berth. They look happy. I wonder who took the picture? Someone in another boat? Where are the children? Is this water in Finland or Canada? Was it a lovely day, or overcast? Was the rest of their day as pleasant? I love this serene moment for the pair, can hear the water against the oars, and smell Viktori's pipe. Ah, the pleasures of a quiet trip on the water with someone you love.