From the Stacks 12


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
:D

L for London Fog of 1952

As a child visiting relatives in San Fransisco in the 1960’s, I remember watching the fog roll in off the ocean. It was exciting for this Midwestern girl to see such an awe-inspiring thing, as if the ocean wasn’t amazing all on its own. The fog came rolling in like a cloud wall until you could only see a few feet in front of you. That’s basically what fog is — a ground cloud. It’s my understanding that the atmospheric conditions concocting a heavy fog only requires a 4° difference between air temperature and dew point. Air cooled to the dewpoint can no longer hold all of the water vapor it contains. Water droplets condense, and that makes fog. Were these ground clouds in the cold upper sky instead, we might have rain. Weather creates extraordinary phenomena.

The weather conditions that came into play over the UK in December back in 1952 created a fog of another kind — a killer fog.

Smoke + fog = smog

Earliest Roman accounts mention the fogginess of Britain. Islands often have heavy mists and fogs. They’re called advection fog — air that’s been warmed over land meets the cold surface of the ocean. As Britain is surrounded by sea, so common are fogs to this island, the fogs even have names. Along the Northumbrian coast the fog is called the fret. In southeastern Scotland it’s the haar.

With much of the land deforested in its long inhabitation, the populace turned to peat and coal to cook with and warm their hearths. This put soot into the foggy air. So heavy and persistent the smoggy fog of 1807, Charles Dickens wrote it into his novel Bleak House. A popular name for the fog during that time was the London particular. In 1813, a fog “smelling of coal tar” was so unrelenting, the prince regent on his outing had to turn his carriage around and go home.

Not just a bad smell

The economic recovery came slow during the post-war reconstruction and money was tight. Around 1952 London had just given up its electric buses for cheaper diesel. At the time, the nation’s high-grade cleaner-burning coal was exported and Londoners were left to burn a lesser-grade high-sulfur coal to heat their homes. From here I’ll paint you a picture…

The cold fog rolled in December 4th and Londoners paid it little mind. As mentioned above, fogs and mists were a regular feature in their lives. An early cold snap saw coal-fired plants and houses cranking up the heat. As midday approached, the fog mixed with thousands of tons of soot in the air and soon took on a yellowish cast. Little did anyone realize this fog wouldn’t be clearing anytime soon. A temperature inversion had formed 1000 feet above the city and acted like a dome that trapped the noxious air inside. But it was cold, and the factories and homes continued to burn their cheap coal. Before long a 30-mile wide blanket of sulfurous carbon monoxide stink enveloped London.

For four days the entire city was immobilized by this toxic fog. River traffic stopped as did all transportation outside of the London Underground. At one point, men walked with lanterns ahead of the buses for a time to keep traffic moving, but that too stopped cold. Schools closed. Movie theaters closed because patrons couldn’t see the screens. Accounts in some parts of the city say people couldn’t see their hand before their eyes nor their feet as they walked. Worse, death had come.

A black oily soot smudged faces and every corner of London. Several prize heifers died at the famous Sheffield Show. In desperation, farmers took to rigging makeshift gas masks for their animals. People too were beginning to perish. Initial estimates put the death toll at 4000, mainly those with respiratory problems, infants, and the elderly. On December london-smog9th, a cold wind blew the the smog out to sea. The after-effects lingered and the death toll rose to approximately 12,000.

Unbelievably, change came slow. Though an investigation determined they had a serious pollution problem, the government didn’t want to change things at first. It took nearly four years for Parliament to pass the Clean Air Act of 1956 that restricted coal burning in urban areas. Transitioning from coal to gas, oil, and electricity took years and during that time other deadly fogs would come. The killer fog of1962 claimed 750 lives.

 

~More~
They had an idea something was wrong before the tragedy of 1952.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6uylG4nkVQ

Here’s another clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSlwGIapFJI

More images

An extra 2⊄: Mankind is certainly a short-sighted creature. In my portion of the world we have politicians determined to repeal the Clean Air Act. As an environmentalist, this infuriates me because it’s all profit motivated. Yes, money talks. It always has. But what good is money if breathing, a process so necessary to life, becomes impossible? One need only look at China where air pollution is choking the populace even as I write this. We’d all better make some changes soon.

“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends,
have become global garbage cans.”
~ Jacques-Yves Cousteau

~*~
L — L for Lascaux.

cave2Art stems from man’s capacity to interpret and give meaning to his surroundings. The earliest evidence of this can be found in caves in France and Spain. It was in the 1940’s when 17 -year-old Marcel Ravidat and three of his companions stumbled upon one of the greatest paleolithic finds in the world — The cave of Lascaux.

Well-respected archaeologist Abbé Henri Breuil was one of the first to study the site. Along with bone fragments, oil lamps, and other artifacts, he found nearly 2000 artworks — paintings done with mineral pigments and engraved images of horses, bison, aurochs, mammoths, ibex, deer, bears, lions, and wolves. It is believed such images served spiritual needs or ceremonial purpose. Research puts most of the artwork done in Lascaux cave at around 15,000 ago. The oldest such paleolithic cave paintings are found at Chauvet cave in France. Discovered in 1994, these works were painted at least 32,000 years ago.

For the next few decades following WWII, the Lascaux cave was modified and opened to the public. It closed in 1963 after it was determined the carbon dioxide of thousands of breaths had created an environment of mold, bacteria, and fungi that were eating away at the precious artworks.

More~

Take the virtual tour.
http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/?lng=en#/fr/00.xml

Then stop at Chauvet cave.
http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/arcnat/chauvet/en/

Watch The Cave of Forgotten Dreams on youtube
It’ll blow your mind.
http://youtu.be/t39C3gLa1kA

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday is Author Polly McCrillis/Isabel Mere’s blog day.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

anniv2015I’m participating in the Romance Reviews month-long anniversary celebration on my satellite blog. Throughout March, 350 authors and industry representatives will give away at least 350 prizes, including a $100 gift card. My particular contest day is on March 30th. Though my post is up all month long, March 30th is when my Q&A goes live. Read the excerpt, answer the question, and you’ll have a chance to win! http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

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Fun Day Sunday & Weekend Happenings


funday smileIf you’ve been here before then you know Sundays on my blog are all about wonder and smiles. In honor of mentally kicking back once in a while, Sundays are Fun Days! Each Sunday, visitors will find a fun, interesting, or unusual something here. I’m a nerd with a complex sense of humor and absurd wit. It could literally be anything.

I saw this the other day and it gave me goosebumps. The soprano is Susanna Rigacci. That lady can sing! There comes a point where you almost expect her to fly.

Intense huh?

❋❋❋

My Other Weekend Happenings~

Weekend Writing Warriors
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

My Sexy Saturday & Sexy Snippets
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

Sunday Peek
**A promo op for you too!**
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday is Author Nicole Morgan’s blog day.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

all7books-smallSample my scorching love stories for free!


~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

anniv2015I’m participating in the Romance Reviews month-long anniversary celebration on my satellite blog. Throughout March, 350 authors and industry representatives will give away at least 350 prizes, including a $100 gift card. My particular contest day is on March 30th. Though my post is up all month long, March 30th is when my Q&A goes live. Read the excerpt, answer the question, and you’ll have a chance to win! http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

trrbanner

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From the Stacks 11


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
:D

K for Kokopelli

I’ve mentioned before that I am a world drummer. My husband and friends gather regularly to make music together. Besides a variety of drums, we have all sorts of percussion instruments, flutes, and unusual rhythm makers from all over the world. Sometimes we make music indoors, other times we drum and dance in the moonlight. As we have the largest yard to accommodate such a gathering, we host full moon drummings at my house. That includes the notable Blue Moon — those extra moons in the year. More times than not we entrain when we really get going — that is, our brains synchronize. Some future post I’ll explain the science behind that. One of the amazing things about entrainment is the ability to all stop together without any lead up to let you know the music is winding down. It also leaves you feeling rather high to have your brainwaves mingling with other brainwaves.

Gotta love science. :D

It was after such a brain bonding on a full moon night that I saw something on the moon. People often see things on the moon, images like the rabbit, the man in the moon, the sitting woman. Depending what image your culture says is there, that’s what you’ll see, just as we see things in cloud formations. This flight of fancy is called pareidolia. There’s  science behind this too. Humans are hard-wired to look for faces. I suspect it has to do with bonding, as in, baby and mother bonding. But I digress. Back to the moon…

So on that wild drumming night the moon was huge and bright, so bright in fact that at 2:30 in the morning you could hear birds making little chirping sounds as they tried to determine if dawn had come early. I looked at that moon and saw him. It wasn’t the rabbit, the woman or the man in the moon face. It was Kokopelli. I was seized with an overwhelming case of surety that told me that sometime in the past, an aboriginal storyteller in North America looked up and saw the dancing flute player.

Ive scoured the web looking for a comparable moon to show here and gave up after so many pages of images. Online images don’t show a clear Kokopelli. This is a rough attempt to show what I saw. It takes skill to draw with a computer’s mouse and that’s a skill I just don’t possess.

20110319-full-moon-622koko

Who is Kokopelli?

It’s said Kokopelli is a Kachina, a spirit being in the pantheon of Southwest Native American deities known for music, dance, and mischief. The ancient Anasazi considered him a god but his origins are thought to be older still. Ancient rock carvings and paintings, a.k.a. petroglyphs, date him at 3,000 or so years.

Depending on which peoples you ask, the humpbacked dancing flute player has different meanings attributed to him. Generally, this kachina is thought to carry a sack on his back like a traveler or trader. In legends, the sack carries everything from unborn babies to seeds to other gifts. His flute is said to be a nose flute (yes there really are such things). The melody on his flute would bring rain, melt snow, and the change the seasons.

In keeping with those babies on his back, he’s also associated with replenishment and fertility. Some of the petroglyphs show him dancing with a substantial erection. Legend says when Kokopelli played his flute everyone would sing and dance all through the night. Come morning every maiden in the village would be with child. There have been no such surprises for my drummer friends.

Here’s an example of the nose flute
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEOT_s0RCe8

~*~
K for Krakatoa

It began that May in 1883. In the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, a series of volcanic eruptions rocked western Indonesia. But one eruption mid-summer changed the face of the globe.

It came with a paroxysmal explosion – that is, a sudden and extremely violent explosion, that blasted the island apart with the force of 13,000 atomic bombs, and hurled a trillion cubic feet of pyroclastic (super-heated) rock, pumice, boulders, and ash into the air. The sound of Krakatoa’s eruption was heard 3,000 miles away in Australia and is considered to be the loudest sound the world has ever known. It even ruptured eardrums 10 miles away. Many were left deaf.

The release of volcanic pressure was followed by the cone’s collapse. When it formed a submerged caldera, it unleashed powerful tsunamis 136 feet high. According to different sources, the whole event killed between 36,000 and 120,000 people and destroyed 165 villages and towns. For months ships traveling across the Indian Ocean saw skeletons floating Map_krakatauon rafts of volcanic pumice. Most washed ashore on the east coast of Africa.

Ash clouded the sky and changed the weather around the world. It’s been estimated that 1% of the sunlight bathing the planet was blocked for two years. The resulting decrease in absorbed radiation caused the upper layers of the oceans to cool and thereby contract. This caused the sea level to drop worldwide. The lingering ash painted sunsets so red and ominous, it looked as if the sky was ablaze. For three months, firemen were regularly called out in New York City and nearby towns thinking they had evening fires to fight. Holy cow.

More~

Simon Winchester discusses his book Krakatoa with NPR’s Melissa Block.
All I can say is wow.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1234606

My Other Weekend Happenings~
Weekend Writing Warriors
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

My Sexy Saturday & Sexy Snippets
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

Sunday Snippet
**A promo op for you too!**
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday’s guest: Cris Brashear from Samhain Publishing
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

all7books-smallSample my scorching love stories for free!


~Coming Soon~

anniv2015

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Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

From the Stacks 10


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
:D

J for Jug Band

I heard a story recently about how an abundance of empty whiskey jugs from the bourbon-fragrant streets of Louisville Kentucky led to an American music form — jug band. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s a cute story.

The musical pastiche of jug band was at its root a poor man’s pastime. You didn’t need money when love of music and sheer joy played tunes on anything one could wrangle a tune out of. As a world drummer who finds music latent in all sorts of things, I understand this. I play a few odd instruments myself — spoons and bones, and a washboard with thimbles. I’ve even played tabletops, glass bottles, and the occasional iron gate! Needless to say, jug band intrigues me. :D

Instruments were mostly home made: washboards and scraping thimbles kept time. Mouths blowing into empty jugs produced tuba sounds. Washtubs or gut-buckets played bass while cigar-box or gourd-bottom fiddles, bowed saws, spoons, and paper-on-comb kazoos played melody. If you were lucky, a neighbor might join in with a real guitar, banjo, or harmonica. Jug band music was popular in the old vaudeville days between 1880 and the 1930’s, and often appeared in traveling medicine shows, on riverboats, and in southern honky-tonks.

I think one of the coolest things about this improvised music style was how it influenced other music such as Jazz, the Blues and eventually Rock. Examine it further and you’ll see American skiffle and that musical style eventually influenced the Beatles. Skiffle, by the way, was “rent party” music. Gathering musicians together and charging a few cents to hear them allowed you to make your rent payment — a popular idea in the 1920’s. I know a young couple who do that today, quite successfully too.

So many music greats started in jug band. Bands like Jimmy Bertrand’s Washboard Wizards, Clarence Williams’ Seven Gallon Jug Band and Washboard Five, The Mound City Blue Blowers, Ma Rainey’s Tub-jug Band, and many more, gave a start to several music legends. Greats like Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, and Glen Miller all cut their musical teeth here.

The USA and Great Britain saw a Jug band revival in the 1950’s.

Few people know the effect of jug band on the music we grew up on. The Even Dozen Jug Band had musicians John Sebastion and Steve Katz. John Sebastion went on to form The Lovin’ Spoonful and Steve Katz joined Blood Sweat and Tears. Zal Yanovsky of The Lovin’ Spoonful got his start in The Mugwamps Jug Band as did Cass Elliot and Denny Dougherty who later formed The Mommas and the Papas. Gerry Garcia from Mother McCree’s Jug Champions went on to form the Grateful Dead. My favorite, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, had John McEuen and is still pickn’ and grinnin’.

In the UK, the Midnight Special Skiffle Band had Van Morrison who was also in the Sputniks Skiffle Band. The Kingston’s Bucktown Skiffle Group had Mick Jagger. Singer Cliff Richards sang in the Dick Teague Skiffle Group. A whole slew of folk musicians played Skiffle and so did Rock musicians like Roger Daltrey, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, and Robin Trower. Graham Nash and Allan Clarke of The Hollies were all in lesser Skiffle bands. Ringo Star also played in the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group around the same time John Lennon was forming The Quarrymen Skiffle Band with Paul McCartney and George Harrison which eventually became the Beatles. From here on is a post for another day…

More~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5W924TwkS0

http://www.jugband.org/

Here’s an interesting trailer for a documentary called Chasin’ Gus’ Ghost about Gus Cannon and the impact of jug band on other music.

My washboard needs some spiffing up!

David Holt can teach you to play some unusual instruments, and youtube is filled with his videos. I could spend all day watching him. I once saw him play a bag of potato chips. Now that’s improvisation.

I had such a hard time choosing the visuals for today’s post. There are so many terrific examples online. If you want to smile, look up the Yokohama Jug-Band Festival on youtube.

~*~

J for Jungian Archetypes

Many years ago, while researching for my as yet unnamed, 5-book, 500,000 word, Magnum Opus, I read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces. The book discussed the journey of the archetypal heroes found in world mythologies. (One modern example of the archetypal hero is Harry Potter). Campbell’s book directed me to look into Jungian Archetypes.

What are they exactly? To begin, the origin of the word archetype comes from the Greek archétypon, which means first-molded. In essence, this is the original model of a person – a prototype which others emulate. In psychology, an archetype is a model of personality or behavior universally recognizable by all. In works of fiction, these become the personality traits for the characters.

After splitting from his one-time colleague Sigmund Freud,  Swiss psychotherapist and psychiatrist, Carl Jung, founded analytical psychology. It was Jung who named the personality traits we all know today – the outgoing extravert and the quiet introvert, for example. But he discovered there were more facets to human personality than just those two traits. Jung created some of the best known psychological concepts of all time, one of which was the archetype. In some respects, it was his interest in world folklore and literature spanning thousands of years, (including his study of prehistoric artworks), that led him to categorize.

Here’s what he came up with.  I tap into these traits when creating my characters for my stories.  See how many make instant connections in your mind.

I’ll start with the  ego and its four functions: Sensation, Thinking, Feeling, and Intuition. From there we have:

The Self: the regulating center of the psyche. The whole, unified consciousness and unconscious of a person.
The Shadow: the opposite of the ego image. Contains qualities the ego does not identify with but still possesses. The part of the unconscious mind consisting of instincts, repressed weaknesses, and shortcomings.
The Anima: the feminine image in a man’s psyche, aka, the unconscious feminine qualities that a male possesses.
The Animus: the masculine image in a woman’s psyche, aka the unconscious masculine qualities that a woman possesses.
The Persona: how we present ourselves to the world.
Within these, Jung determined the archetypes were limitless. Here are a few recurring ones:

The Child: or innocent, is more likely to suffer at the hands of others
The Hero: comes from a position of weakness, but in the face of danger or adversity will display courage and self-sacrifice for some greater good.
The Great Mother: the bountiful embodiment of the Earth. Refers to any mothering goddess associated with motherhood, fertility, or creation.
The Wise Old Man: usually a profound philosopher, who uses personal knowledge of the world to teach wisdom and sound judgment.
The Trickster: intentionally breaks the rules but unintentionally gets positive effects out of it.
The Devil: displays characteristics of pure evil. Typically self-centered and power-hungry, only interested in achieving personal goals.
The Scarecrow: Mysteriously knows everything about the world, yet has had no interaction with the world to gain that knowledge.
The Mentor: Are often imaginative people who are more intrigued by future possibilities than concerned with the here and now. A great source of inspiration to the people around them.

I write intelligent characters because I appreciate intelligence. The heroines in all of my stories are strong competent women. All of my equally sharp heroes walk through their world confident and unashamed to be tender and kind-hearted.  That’s what makes both interesting and loveable!

More~

Here’s an intriguing clip about the Anima and Animus ~
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN47s0mPfRU

What’s your type? Take the test and find out!
http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday is Author Janice Seagraves’ blog day. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

all7books-smallSample my scorching love stories for free!


~Coming Soon~

anniv2015

trrbanner

Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

From the Stacks 9


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
:D

I for iceman

Sometime in the mid-1990’s my husband and I went to a public presentation at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (a.k.a. Fermilab). Before CERN, Fermilab’s accelerator was the place to be for experiments on particle physics. (I did say I was a nerd) Researchers from around the world work there and to keep everyone happy and entertained in the off hours, they have guest speakers and concerts. This particular guest speaker was talking about something extraordinary. Climate change melting the 20-mile thick ancient ice off portions of the Alps had uncovered a prehistoric man who’d been buried in glacial ice for millennia. And he had his prehistoric clothing and tools with him!

OetzitheIceman-glacier-199109b[1]It all started when a pair of hikers walked the Alpine Italian-Austrian border that geographically divides the Alps and got more than an outing when they stumbled upon the mummified body of an ancient man in an exposed gully bed. At first the pair didn’t know what to think. Was this a missing hiker? Ice bodies do turn up from time to time. The snowy Alps can be a rough place. Even Napoleon’s frozen soldiers turn up on occasion. When authorities were called on the scene, they knew they had something different. Recent ice bodies, those lost in the last several years or so, go through this weird process where fat from inside the body somehow ends up on the outside. This body was freeze-dried. It didn’t have that typical lumpy coating of fat found on more recent ice bodies. Sure enough, they discovered this guy was old. 5,300 years-old, in fact. He came from the late Neolithic or early Chalcolithic period (Copper Age).

Nicknamed Ötzi, he would become the most otzithoroughly studied mummy ever found. Through intense scrutiny, scientists have pieced together an astoundingly complete view of this man’s world and his final hours in it. The image shown here was built upon physical data collected by CT scans.

Here’s a brief idea of what they’ve learned since I first heard about him back in the 1990’s.

  1. Ötzi was a progressive. Rather than a life of a hunter gatherer common at this time, his clothing made of domestic animals skins reflect he was shepherd who tended cows and sheep.
  2. He was a pastoralist. His woven grass cape and moss-packed hide boots suggests he slept out with his flock. His tools suggest a crafty man who could make whatever he needed on the spot.
  3. Ötzi had Lyme Disease, whipworms, and arthritic knees. He stood 5’3″ tall and weighed approximately 110 pounds. He was in his 40’s and also had tattoos. Originally artists had given Ötzi blue eyes. His DNA says brown.
  4. His last meal had been cultivated wheat (possibly bread), deer and ibex meat, and plums. It also suggests he wasn’t far from home when he died. Scientists also found an herb called hop hornbeam in the undigested mix. It’s known for treating upset stomachs. He was lactose intolerant.
  5. Though he may have fathered children, his DNA reflects his mother’s line is now extinct. He does have distant relatives, however. 19 men alive today share a paternal ancestor.
  6. He was murdered by an arrow in the back. His head wound and a severe hand wound when coupled with the fact the stone arrowheads in his pouch have the blood of four different people on them, all suggest he’d been in a rather savage fight over a period of three to eight days. Perhaps he retreated to the mountains after and was followed. The fact his stomach was full shows he had time to eat well. It also suggests his death was a result of a surprise attack. Someone pulled the arrow shaft from his back, leaving the arrowhead inside. Was it his murderer? That remains a mystery.

~More~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X05-uMWzAhA

Here’s a hands-on take on Ötzi’s world

http://www.icemanphotoscan.eu

http://www.iceman.it/en

~*~

I for Infinity Mushroom.

Writers understand a fundamental truth — that next creative spark often comes from something that has captured the imagination. The impetus could be something simple like a color, texture, or scent. It could come from a song, a breeze, or materialize out of a conversation with friends. My mind is like that warehouse scene at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie. I never know what my brain will want to store away for later. I love to learn things and often add such imaginative seeds to my stories. I’m a complex collector. What’s more, I have a very good sense of wonder… if I do say so myself. :) Out of all the weird pieces of information shelved in my head, this one has to be one of the oddest. But in its oddness, it makes sense. Judge for yourself.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, we have 287 toxic chemicals in our body — 180 cause cancer in humans, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects. From pesticides to preservatives, we’re loaded. When we die, our bodies release this garbage into the environment where it continues to pass on its nastiness to the soil, the things growing in the soil, the creatures eating those things grown in the soil and the ground water.

Enter visionary Jae Rhim Lee. Lee is training fungi to consume her own body tissue. Small amounts of skin, hair, nails, blood, bone, fat, tears, urine, feces, and sweat have been put in petri dishes and mushroom cultures grown on them. Why? To create mushrooms that can be used in what’s called Decompiculture — in other words, using mushrooms to decompose the human body quickly, rather than allowing those hazardous chemicals stored in the body, and the extra toxins from embalming, to leach into the ground.

I think it’s a grand idea. It’s also a great spark for that next sci-fi or horror novel.

mushrMushrooms might very well clean up our act on the planet. Mycologist Paul Stamets is a leading researcher on the use of mushrooms in bioremediation (the use of microorganisms like fungi to clean up pollutants). He says they can break down even the most stubborn pollutants like oil spills. He’s figured out that fungi transform contaminants into benign carbon dioxide and water, and that common wood-decay fungi, the ones that grow on trees, are particularly good at breaking down the toxic components of petroleum. And after that work is done, the mushrooms are edible!

Authors, just so you know, the Decompiculture mushrooms are edible too. Now there’s a novel in the making. Stephan King might have a go. (Paul DeLancey, if you’re reading today’s blog, I thought of your murder series when I posted this. :) )

More~
The groundbreaking work of Paul Stamets:

http://www.fungi.com/

The Infinity Burial Project and the Infinity Mushroom:
http://infinityburialproject.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7rS_d1fiUc?rel=0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AKi2krWNEw?rel=0

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday is Author Sam Cheever’s blog day. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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From the Stacks 8


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
:D

H for Hobo Nickels

People who know my family know my husband does his Quest. That’s his term for shopping for Christmas presents for me. His goal is to find the most unusual things he can find because as he said to me once, “the gifts have to be unusual because you’re an unusual person.” Yep, that’s me. One year he came home with seven Hobo Nickels. At their heart these are the old buffalo nickels (also called Indian head) with an American buffalo on the tail side and a Native American man on the head side. But Hobo nickels are more than just their 5⊄ value (or whatever value individual old coins have). They are micro canvases for artistic expression.3

As far back as coinage goes, if someone minted coins, there was someone defacing them. I’ve found reference to ancient Chinese coins being altered with images of puppets, horses, and elephants. The Victorians were big on love tokens I have two (from my husband’s quest) with faces smoothed away and flourished script carved in its place. These were worn as jewelry or on watch fobs. My husband collects Hard Times Tokens, those odd shop coins that stood in for currency when the nation had it’s first economic Depression in the early 1800’s. He has a few with holes drilled in them so they might be worn like a token or a pendant. In other words, defaced.

The Buffalo Nickel was minted at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mint facilities and was in circulation from 1913 to 1938. Hobo nickel carving as we know it began in 1913 shortly after they were released to circulation. Collectors know this because more are dated 1913 than at any other time before 1930 suggesting this interesting craft became a fad that year of release. That large face and buffalo on the easily manipulated metal just begged to be altered with penknives and nails. Lore has it these things were made by the hobos of the Great Depression to give in exchange for a bite to eat or a place to sleep for the night. According to some accounts of the time, the nickels were among other handicrafts traded exactly so. Others believe they are called hobo because one of the more 1common carvings is a bearded man in a shabby hobo-style hat. I’m sticking with the hobo story because some of the coins can be raced back to two artist hobos who met each other in one of the many hobo jungles a.k.a. camps along the rail yards. Bert Wiegand (carving from 1913 to 1949) signed his coins by carving away at L I B E R T Y until he got B E R T. Bert’s buddy and disciple carver was Bo Hughes (carving from1915 to 1980). Bo’s fun creations turned the buffalo into an elephant or a donkey.

No longer the artwork of the itinerant rail rider, modern carving is a popular hobby and coin show attraction. It’s estimated that upwards of 200,000 hobo nickels have been made since 1913. Some have sold for more than $2000 a piece. My husband gave me a roll of nickels and an engraver. I think I’ll carve an elephant!

More~
Useful to know: the oldest hobo nickels are the ones with the duosharpest coin detail, such as dates or lettering. Coins that spent a lot of time in circulation show wear in these areas.

So many hobos!

Modern carving (a youtube channel full of live carving)

 
~*~

H for Hadrian’s Wall

Between northern England and Scotland, running east and west for about 74 miles, Hadrian’s Wall marked the most northerly frontier of the Roman Empire. Named for Emperor Hadrian, it was an attempt to establish a defendable border between southern civilized Britain and the unconquered north. Manned by Roman troops and non-Roman citizen units, the barrier kept the barbarians away. These fearsome peoples were also known as the Picts or Caledonians. You might know them as the lowland Scots.

The initial construction took approximately six years, though expansions were made as need presented itself. Like the Great Wall of China, the wall was constructed of the ready materials of the area. Forty-one miles of the wall was built of stone, the rest of turf. Along the way, ditches were dug and ramparts raised, milecastles were added to house soldiers, and turrets were constructed to defend from.
hwallmapThe fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century ushered in the beginning of the Dark Ages. Large sections of the wall fell to ruin and the wall’s necessity to obsolescence. Over time, portions were scavenged for building materials. This piece of Roman occupation was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

More~
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1E6duB_usI?rel=0

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday’ guest is Author Lynn Rae. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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From the Stacks 7


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
:D

G for Gargoyles & Grotesques

Mention gargoyles and I think of those stoic winged sentinels on the lofty centuries-old architectural corners in Notre Dame cathedral. Why? Got me. Either Victor Hugo planted the image in my head with his novel Hunchback of Notre Dame, or it’s the fact there are 5000 Gargoyles and Grotesques all over the cathedral. 5000! Along with the architectural marvel of flying buttresses, I find that number pretty astounding. I believe most of the grotesques are found in the gallery. The gargoyles are mostly on the façade waiting for rain and quietly monitoring the comings and goings of Paris.

gargoylesThe name Gargoyle comes from gurgulio; Latin for gurgle. I assume the rainwater funneling through them off the roof makes a sound. Such water spouts were a regular feature in Ancient Greece and Rome and later in the Gothic constructions found throughout Europe. Some pour rainwater from their mouths, others from their backsides. But then they are demons and monsters. The idea was the gargoyles jutted far from the roof to prevent water from eroding the structure foundations. The more gargoyles, the less damage to any one section.

As for the symbolism on the necessary drainage, long-necked griffins, demons, and monsters are popular themes. I’ve read two lines of thought regarding the sculptures — they remind the populace that demons abound or they keep genuine evil away from the churches. Perhaps it was simply artistic license. Whichever they were, they were essential to the ostentatious glory that epitomized medieval church construction. Such outward abundance was necessary. Before Gutenberg’s press put knowledge into the hands of the common man, elaborate façades visually told stories of heaven and hell to the ignorant. To the Renaissance Humanists, such symbolism represented the world turned upside down, where monsters didn’t guard the church, they guarded the world from the monsters within. (Remember, the Renaissance had the Inquisition. And that’s a post for another day.) Gargoyles gained a new popularity in the Victorian Gothic Revival of the mid-1800’s.

If it isn’t a water spout, it’s not a gargoyle, it’s a grotesque.

People often confuse gargoyles with grotesques-gargoyles-10grotesques. Those twisted faces, beasts, and Chimeras that are either decorative (that does sound rather odd) or they serve a purpose such as a capital (column topper) or corbel (weight support). Even the jovial faces of Bacchus and the lovely caryatids, those goddess-like women supporting the roof line, fall under the grotesque category.

The more you study gargoyles and grotesques, the clearer their themes become. In fact, you’ll see the remnants of European paganism. One of the happier pagan figures is the overtly sexual Sheelagh-na-Gig.

More~
Here’s an interactive gargoyle map in Washington DC National Cathedral. There’s actually a Darth Vader grotesque up on the roof somewhere. The USA has other sites featuring these interesting sculptures. Look to older buildings and you might see the grotesques. Given their downspout task, the gargoyles might be harder to find. This list will get you started in the USA:

University of Chicago & the Tribune Tower
New York’s Woolworth Building & Chrysler Building
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Arizona
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York
San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral
University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh’s Calvary United Methodist,
& First Presbyterian Churches

Princeton University in New Jersey
The First Baptist Church, Lauderdale Street in Selma, Alabama

Lots of gargoyle info here

Gargoyles of Europe

~*~

G for Gobekli Tepe.

In the 1960s, Turkish and American anthropologists surveyed the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. In a land studded with history, they came upon limestone slabs jutting a few inches out of the ground and at a glance determined they were Byzantine grave markers. In other words, just another historical site in an area full of archeological sites.

In 1994, Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute of Istanbul read the initial findings. Visiting the site, he recognized something much older. The simple limestone-slab “Byzantine grave markers” turned out to be the very tops of intricately carved pillars, some standing 10 feet tall. Today this Neolithic site is called Gobekli Tepe and its discovery has rocked the known history of civilization off its comfortable foundation.

Believed to be a temple built long before the wheel was invented, Gobekli Tepe is at least 14,000 years old –  older than the oldest structures in Egypt, older than Stonehenge, and older than agriculture. The most puzzling piece of information – the site was intentionally buried! That’s more than 30 acres of monuments intentionally covered under one basketful of dirt at a time. Just imagine the scope of that undertaking.

I’ve been following the story since it came to light in the 1990’s. As an author, this mystery certainly speaks to me. New information arises as more of this deliberately hidden site is excavated. It’s definitely news worth following. You can start with these:

http://ghn.globalheritagefund.org/explore.php?id=1327

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/gobekli-tepe.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JaJuuq8dcU?rel=0

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday is Author Cara Marsi’s blog day. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

all7books-smallSample my scorching love stories for free!


~Coming Soon~

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