Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Dinnertime," an original short...by me!



            I am exhausted! All this puttering about, I’m getting frustrated. Yes, it’s definitely time for a bite. I must catch the smell, and quench my hunger. It’s such an invigorating smell, delicious, tantalizing, and intoxicating. I need blood!
          Circling about the creek, I deduce there is nothing palatable there. Wait, yes, in the distance, a faint sweetness. I’m drawn to the delicacy.
          The young fisherman raises his hand, he brushes something near his ear and swats absent mindedly at the object of his annoyance. He is concentrating on keeping his eye on the lure.
          How dare he swat me away! I must try a different more subtle approach then...…buzzzz. Ah, a tender ear, nah, too obvious. I could be swatted away again with more disastrous results than the last time. How about on the neck, hmmm? See, his eye is fixed only on the water’s surface.
          I approach as silently and stealthily, as I am able. That splashing I hear at the water’s edge may aid my stealth. I’m salivating at the thought of dinner, at last! Crawling ever so carefully along the flesh, I approach. Hairs on the back of the neck impede my progress, and I make haste so I do not lose my chance. Dinner smells alluring, enchanting. Anticipation is half the fun of eating, oh the warm tangy goodness of it all.
          A little pinch here and he’ll never know it. Alright! Delightfully delicious! Smacking my proboscis, I am contentedly full. I slink away into the evening.
     Gee, maybe I overdid it, I’m quite bloated it seems. Smack! It seems like that hand is after me again. Whew, that was close. I guess I was a little too greedy; it was foolish of me to over-eat, again. It was such a good meal but being so full does have a tendency to dull my wits a bit and slow my flight. I’ll just rest here awhile, away from that smacking hand, right here, on this nice leaf. Wow this leaf is rocking me gently to sleep, floating, as it is, on the water’s edge. 
           Snap! The lights go out and it’s 
 all over. That fish wanted dinner, too.











(If you are looking for a fun family read aloud book, about mosquitoes, of course, try "Why Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears", a West African folktale.)


Friday, June 22, 2012

Philosopher Quotes II


Art by Raphael, Brown hair and younger is the depiction of Aristotle.



Quotes from Aristotle:

“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.”

“Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.”



 
Quotes from Democritus:

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.”

“The wrongdoer is more unfortunate then the man wronged.” 









Quotes from Plato:

“All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.”

“All men are by nature equal, made all of the same earth by one workman; and however we deceive ourselves, as dear unto God is the poor peasant as the mighty prince.”


Art by Raphael, depiction of Plato.



 


Quotes from Plutarch:

“Character is a long standing habit.”

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde and words of Irish wisdom from his Mum!


I have a quaint volume entitled “The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde”. I became interested in this author after seeing a PBS movie of his work, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. It was quite an intriguing story. Then I purchased a cd by a favorite musician of mine and noticed that a quote of Oscar Wilde’s was used as the inspiration for one of the songs on the CD. This peaked my interest even more. I looked at my quaint volume of fairy tales with new interest. Here is a listing of the nine stories in my fairy tale book and it has wonderful illustrations inside by Michael Hague.

The Happy Prince         The Selfish Giant

The Devoted Friend      The Remarkable Rocket

The Nightingale and the Rose      The Young King

The Birthday of the Infanta         The Star-Child

The Fisherman and His Soul


Then, while surfing for information about Mr. Wilde, I learned that his mother was also quite an interesting person, Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde, and she compiled a unique little book of Irish folklore, superstitions, etc. called Irish Cures, Mystic Charms & Superstitions. Always curious, my quest for information was now becoming very interesting and irresistible! I will be happy to share with you some gems of wisdom I found in Lady Wilde’s little book.

To Cure Warts (quoted from Lady Wilde’s book)
“On meeting a funeral, take some of the clay from under the feet of the men who bear the coffin and apply it to the wart, wishing strongly at the same time that it may disappear; and so it will be.”

How to have Money Always (quoted)
“Kill a black cock, and go to the meeting of three cross-roads where a murderer is buried. Throw the dead bird over your left shoulder then and there, after nightfall, in the name of the devil, holding a piece of money in your hand all the while. And ever after, no matter what you spend, you will always find the same piece of money undiminished in your pocket.”

The Evil Eye (also quoted from Lady Wilde’s book)

“THERE is nothing more dreaded by the people, nor considered more deadly in its effects, than the Evil Eye.
It may strike at any moment unless the greatest precautions are taken, and even then there is no true help possible unless the fairy doctor is at once summoned to pronounce the mystic charm that can alone destroy the evil and fatal influence.
There are several modes in which the Evil Eye can act, some much more deadly than others. If certain persons are met the first thing in the morning, you will be unlucky for the whole of that day in all you do. If the evil-eyed comes in to rest, and looks fixedly on anything, on cattle or on a child, there is doom in the glance; a fatality which cannot be evaded except by a powerful counter-charm. But if the evil-eyed mutters a verse over a sleeping child, that child will assuredly die, for the incantation is of the devil, and no charm has power to resist it or turn away the evil. Sometimes the process of bewitching is effected by looking fixedly at the object, through nine fingers; especially is the magic fatal if the victim is seated by the fire in the evening when the moon is full. Therefore, to avoid being suspected of having the Evil Eye, it is necessary at once, when looking at a child, to say "God bless it."

(I’ll mention here that my Italian relatives, evidently along with the Irish, also have this same little superstition and even in the 1990’s were saying “God bless” while telling me how lovely my children were.)

If you cannot go another minute without learning more of Lady’s Wilde’s collected wisdom, you can have a look at the site “Sacred Texts” to read it all for yourself at http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ali/index.htm
Or, you could pick it up used at Amazon for as little as $0.01. http://www.amazon.com/Irish-Cures-Mystic-Charms-Superstitions/dp/0806982004

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cloning the Mammoth




We live in an age of scientific wonders. Not long ago I read about some scientists that were going to try cloning the Mammoth. The mammoth is a prehistoric elephant with enormous tusks. The genetic code or genome of the mammoth was published in the journal, Nature, in 2008. Scientists extracted DNA from fossil mammoth bones and were able to obtain genetic sequences particular for that animal. The genome is a blueprint for an organism; the chromosomes can contain a million base pair sequences. The fragments which were extracted from the mammoth bones were about 200 base pairs long. That may not seem like much where a million is concerned but considering the age and the sample they had to work with, it seems like an amazing feat to me.


The way they planned the cloning was that they were going to obtain an egg cell from an elephant and replace the elephant embryo with mammoth DNA embryo. Now granted, some of this should probably be taken with grain of salt, because the South Korean scientist (Hwang) saying this was found out to be lying about cloning a human from stem cells not too long ago. The same scientists though have actually already cloned the cat,  dog, pig, cow and a wolf. Do you think they could really clone the Mammoth? Should we even think of cloning a mammoth? Where would it live? Could it live? Interesting to think about.


 
To learn a bit more about cloning check out this genetics page from the University of Utah: