Really neat video that David Hyde Costello created with just a camcorder and iMovie. All of the content is created with physical objects, mechanisms and puppetry. My friend Erica shared this after learning about his work at the Simmons Children’s Lit Program. Her favorite part of this video is that she learned that when the mouse pulls the string, it happens finger by finger; each is attached to a string that David pulls one by one to make the fingers curl around the string and then pull. Pretty amazing!
A Japanese collective is turning old phone booths into aquariums! I love how this repurposes outdated structures and breathes a new life into them rather than letting them rust and become unnecessary eyesores. (This sort of urban revitalization has appealed to me before, too.)
This Asian elephant foetus after 12 months in the womb is catching some shut eye before she takes her first heavy steps in the world in just under a year’s time. The gestation period for an elephant is 22 months. This and other animals in the womb were captured on camera by scientists for a National Geographic documentary. I think it’s really neat to see how similarly all mammals start, and an elephant that is ‘floating’ is simply mesmerizing. Check out more photos and details here.
Three rodents with defective visual perception
Three rodents with defective visual perception
Visualize how they perambulate
Visualize how they perambulate
They all perambulated after the agricultural spouse
Who severed their appendages with a kitchen utensil
Have you ever visualized such a spectacle in your existence
As three rodents with defective visual perception?
Flesch Score = 0. This is why Three Blind Mice was written as it was and NOT like this!
by Eric Newton of the Knight Foundation, as shared in Clarity for Charities by Big Duck. Great article.
One of my favorite things about my Prospect Heights neighborhood is how much it feels like a lived-in community. People enjoy interacting with each other, and its quirky character is unparalleled.
This garden on Carlton Ave. between Prospect Pl. and Park never fails to make me smile. Everyone who walks by pauses to look, often smiling or snapping a picture. It changes in appearance sometimes (animals get rearranged, accessories are added…) but the shared delight in the space remains the same.
There’s a beautiful history too of how the menagerie of animals started and grew outside of Laura Keith’s home. Right now, this tree bed is a leader in the Beautiful Tree Bed Contest, and I urge you to vote! This is what being a good neighbor is all about.
Ladybug Mimic Spider! Cool!
Job Hunting, Children’s Book Style!
You Can Do It, Bunny! is a fun and encouraging tale about staying positive while job-hunting, starring cute and endearing animals.
Bunny is a recent graduate from Animal School. She’s smart, capable, and determined. However, she is not totally sure what the right job for her is. On top of that, the economy is very bad in Animal World, making each job she applies for very competitive.
With persistence, determination, and the support of her awesome friends and family, Bunny will find a creative solution to her problem of finding the right job despite the poor economy … though it might take a little bit more time and trial and error than she was expecting.
I was on a Canadian radio show because of a neat segment on bedbug reproduction that I did with Matt Long-Middleton. The sex positive show, Audio Smut, airs on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal once a month. The audio clip here is just my science-informed, comedy-enhanced segment, but if you have time, listen to the full episode because it’s super interesting and it gives context!
[Editor’s note: The faint of heart and mind should be aware of potential danger in this clip.]
Interview with Susan Rodriguez of the North Rockland Rowing Club
After receiving the invitation to the March 2 free and amazingly fun-sounding gallery opening called “The Great Painted Paw Brigade” in Haverstraw, NY, I had to learn more. Susan Rodriguez, the Secretary and Director of the sponsoring North Rockland Rowing Club, talked to me about the art, the nonprofit, and the city.
Jen Bokoff: Why cats and dogs as a fundraiser? Why not cows, whales, or horse?
Susan Rodriguez: Cats and dogs occupy 86% of all households…and people are very passionate about their cats and dogs! We first made a list of nonprofits to choose from who would benefit from our efforts, and after learning that Hi-Tor Animal Care Center was struggling with finances and County budget cuts, we thought it would be a natural fit given our chosen cats and dogs motif. A nonprofit helping a nonprofit is good idea.
JB: So where did you find all of the artists? You got some great ones!
SR: I have a Drawing and Painting Masters Degree and taught art for 24 years in the public school system, so I’m very connected in the art world. I was receiving e-mails from Andy Golub, so I contacted him and asked if he would paint one; he was delighted to get involved (see “Transformed Dog” at right). Andy Golub connected me with Andy Stewart, Director of KEEP ROCKLAND BEAUTIFUL. Mr. Stewart sent out a “calling all artists” blast; they responded. Finally, a retired Art Coordinator from a local school district approached the Rockland County Art Teachers Association, and many are practicing professional artists.
JB: This project is to benefit the North Rockland Rowing Club, which has been active since 2004. What inspires you to volunteer your time to run the organization?
SR: The North Rockland Rowing Club, Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit community rowing program created by three local high school students in 2004. Our group’s mission statement explains much of what keeps us going: “To aid, encourage, foster, support, and promote the development and growth of rowing as an inclusive sport on the Hudson River in Rockland County, N.Y.” The benefits of our program include: good health and exercise, access to top colleges and universities across the country, character building & leadership skills; the inspiration is passion for the sport, beauty of the Hudson River, and the overall benefits to young and senior adults. We try to educate community members about the benefits of being physically active and experience the real beauty of the Hudson River firsthand. We are all volunteers with a passion for what we do.
JB: What is something you’ve learned about starting and running a community-based nonprofit?
SR: A community-based nonprofit allows people from various backgrounds and ethnicities to work together closely to achieve a common dream. You learn that there is a lot of educating involved that targets a small group of people who do not understand simple concepts. Not knowing creates fear, control, and power issues.
JB: The gallery and the Rowing Club are both in Haverstraw. If someone were to go for the gallery opening, what are three other places they shouldn’t miss seeing?
SR: Come and see unobstructed views of the Federally designated historic Hudson River. It also has possibly the last group of 19th century architecturally significant buildings like that depicted in “House by the Railroad” by Edward Hopper and twin Second Empire Italianate mansions on Clove Avenue, which are the last twin mansions of their kind in the United States. Visit the Brick Museum on Main Street (did you know Haverstraw was the brickmaking capital of the world?), Bella Rose Restaurant, Union Restaurant, and other unique fusion, Latin, and South American Restaurants.
Join me at the gallery opening to preview the dog and cat sculptures before they go off to their hosts. (Note that Haverstraw is easy to get to from NYC on the ferry). The Great Painted Paw Brigade leads to a final auction and gala in early June, and the proceeds will support the Rowing Club and Hi-Tor Animal Center.
Exclusive: ThingCreatures Artwork
I love playful and affordable ($30!) artwork, and I’m pretty sure I found the next big thing in ThingCreatures, which portray enigmatic shadows of unknown creatures against their natural habitat’s brilliant background. With Arthur and Walter already spotted in the wild and available for purchase in multiple settings and colors, ThingCreatures are sure to sell like popcorn at a movie theater in no time.
Still not convinced you should get one? I sat down with the artist to hear his creative (accidental?) process explaining how ThingCreatures was born.
It’s actually completely random. I recently began painting as an outlet after work, and it’s been quite therapeutic. One of my paintings was a play with bold colors mixed with amorphous forms. I showed a friend who saw figures in the black forms, which I hadn’t seen before then. But there was “Arthur” - the first of the Things.
So the next time I painted, I set out to give the form some life and I came up with the Arthur character, defined by his skulking, mouth-agape, head and small, beady white eye. I really liked him, and so I gave him a back story - the gullible hovering post-apocolyptic creature.
Then I thought I should give him friends. And so I created the website, and fleshed out some structure in how I would introduce the world I was creating. New creatures will be discovered as I discover them, and I’ll depict them - depending on their rarity - in any number of scenes. On my own walls I like to hang art that covers multiple canvases, and so displaying the Things becomes an artform in itself.
This photoset and post is from my friend Kate, who is currently traveling through parts of Africa. This post struck me as simultaneously sad and beautiful.
One of my highlights last week was my trip to the Elephant orphanage in the Nairobi National Park. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/ is a center where they take care of orphaned elephants. Many have been orphaned due to the illegal tusking industry that has killed their mothers. The center is an important place because baby elephants require a very specific kind of care from their mothers that is extremely hard to emulate. For example, they consume only their mother’s milk for the first 2 years of life. The milk content also changes over time to adapt to the baby’s different growing needs. So to rear baby elephants, the center has to make sure there is someone available to feed them milk every three hours of their first two years of life.
However, the problem is that elephants are emotional and get attached, even to humans. If the baby gets too attached to a human, then it will not be able to readjust to the wild. So, the elephant orphanage has a system in which there are 24/7 caretakers that rotate so that someone is around the elephants at all times, but it is always a different person. This means that even at night, a caretaker sleeps in the elephant’s stall so that he can feed the baby every three hours. In addition, the baby elephants are only open to public viewing for one hour each day, 11am-12pm, so that they do not get too accustomed to crowds of humans.
The one hour I got to spend watching them was utterly entertaining and adorable. Here is a taste of what it was like.
Cows: what you never knew. Check out that stomach!
All this and more unnecessarily wonderful knowledge at the website that knows everything (or that I at least assume to be generally correct). Wikipedia gives different sorts of info; I’m pretty sure you never actually have to meet a cow if you consume both fact-laden webpages. But that would be the saddest thing, so go meet a cow.
Yvonne has truly fought for her freedom. She has shown the world that her urge to be free is strong – even for a cow.