Thursday, April 28, 2011


Watercolorist Carol Gillot

Stand back and then look at this.

Most hated baby names


  1. Nevaeh ("Heaven" spelled backward and one of the most divisive names around, according to Wattenberg.)
  2. Destiny (People dislike names that confer a virtue onto a child, Wattenberg said — and many felt associated this name with exotic dancers.)
  3. Madison
  4. Mackenzie
  5. McKenna
  6. Addison (An example of a masculine named turned feminine, which many people dislike, Wattenberg said)
  7. Gertrude (People said this name is "ugly.")
  8. Kaitlyn (For its "made-up" spelling.)
  9. Makayla
  10. Bertha
  11. Hope
  1. Jayden
  2. Brayden
  3. Aiden
  4. Kaden (These rhyming names struck many as overdone, Wattenberg reported.)
  5. Hunter (Too much like a last name or "too violent.")
  6. Hayden
  7. Bentley (People dislike brand-name names, Wattenberg found, calling them "trashy")
  8. Tristan
  9. Michael (Too boring, according to some.)
  10. Jackson

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Photographer Felix Lupa

Poster artist Leonetto Cappiello 1875-1942

"...he is best known for his work creating posters during the heyday of the poster in the early 20th century. His style differed dramatically from those who had preceded him, with their brightly colored designs leaping out of the black backgrounds he preferred. He went on to create iconic posters for well-known brands, and created over 530 advertising posters that fetch (increasingly) high prices today."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Michael Murphy: Aonach Eagach Ridge, Scotland

 Michael Murphy

Aonach Eagach Ridge, which means jagged or serrated, is located near beautiful Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. The rare view was likely captured, no doubt, after along and arduous trek.

Saturday morning craft time

Serpent attack
By Aaron, 2nd Grade
Olathe, Kansas

Thursday, April 21, 2011

French painter Henri Fantin-Latour 1836-1904

Vase de Pivoines 1881

It's the season for my favorite flower, the peony. 
Well, not quite yet — my bush is only about a foot tall.

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
   and softly,
      and exclaiming of their dearness,
       fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
    their eagerness
      to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
        nothing, forever?
 ~ excerpt from Peonies, by Mary Oliver

I have a very hard time pronouncing "pivoines."

Bratz doll KO's Barbie in $89 million win

Mattel Inc., the maker of Barbie dolls, lost an $89 million verdict today that ended seven years of litigation against the maker of the popular Bratz doll line.

The question was whether a former Mattel designer violated his non-compete agreement to create a zillion-dollar new doll line at another company. Apparently he didn't.

Mattel also unsuccessfully argued that Barbie's enhanced body features were trademarked, but the jury said that the dolls look nothing alike. Mattel was also guilty of corporate spying.

Barbie had class. Mattel does not.

Chinese Lorem ipsum


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Astronaut Bruce McCandless 1937-present

Former Navy pilot Bruce McCandless was, 1) aboard the FIRST space shuttle, Challenger, 2) made the FIRST untethered free flight, captured in this famous 1984 photo above, 3) and in doing so, was the FIRST person to use the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) that enabled him to travel 300 feet away WITHOUT A TETHER, PEOPLE! He is a 1958 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. We applaud.

Stepping stones

Aren't you glad spring is here?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Russian-born Marie Vorobieff, 1892-1984

Acclaimed as the first female Cubist painter, she moved from Russia to France in her 20s and was friends with Chagall, Modigliani, Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. She befriended the poet Jean Cocteau and had a life-long relationship with painter Diego Rivera. She is buried near him in Mexico.

Ukrainian-born painter Maria Bashkirtseff, 1858-1884

The Umbrella
Maria Bashkirtseff painted this portrait a 
year before she died of tuberculosis at age 25.

It's unfair to call her Ukrainian, for she lived most of her life in Paris. Her mother did not let her marry, and not surprisingly, she became a feminist of her day. She was best friends with Jules Bastien-Lepage, and corresponded with Guy de Maupassant and Alexandre Dumas. 

Huntington Beach, California, 1930s

Oil derricks along the coastline of Orange County, Southern California in the 1930s.

The Huntington Beach oil field was discovered in the 1920s by a petroleum engineer for Standard Oil of California. The biggest rig was called Bolsa Chica No. 1, and it delivered up to 2,000 barrels a day. Today the oil field is mainly depleted, but there is an offshore well still producing oil.

The Giant Buddha Statue at Leshan, China

The Buddha was created in the 9th Century A.D. during the Tang Dynasty, and sits at the confluence of three rivers. Access is either by boat or down a steep trail off the the left side. The statue is 233 feet tall, and took nearly 100 years to carve. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

In the news

Fifteen students from a Massachusetts prep school broke a world record by folding a 13,000-foot roll of toilet paper in half 13 times. They used an 800-foot corridor at MIT to accomplish the feat.

A naked man in Florida used an AK-47 rifle to disable a SWAT robot after he threatened suicide and refused to come out of his house. The man was apprehended, and the robot was sent to the manufacturer for repairs.

A New Mexico man drove a "sick friend" to the emergency room at a local hospital, but instead the staff found a decomposing body in the passenger seat. His friend had been dead for 48 hours.

A Virginia man was grossed out when a boa constrictor slithered out of a chair recently given to him by a friend. Police estimate the snake was huddled in the coils. It was returned to its owner unharmed.

A Cincinnati man was arrested for barking at a police dog. Police were investigating a disturbance at a bar when an intoxicated patron stepped outside and spotted the dog in the back of the cruiser. He began barking and "hissing" at it and caused it to become agitated. He was charged with teasing a police dog.

A Kansas woman was charged with assaulting a TSA officer at a Philadelphia airport when she cracked a plastic, confetti-filled egg across the agent's head. The former DJ and traveling clown, known as "The Bunny Lady," was asked about the eggs at the airport, so she gave them a demonstration. She was held for 3 hours and released into police custody.

Finally, a Cincinnati police officer on bike patrol was sent flying through a plate-glass window when he was startled by an aggressive goose. Experts say the goose was protecting its nest.

That's all for now — stay safe out there!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


The Motoruota monowheel, from Motorcycle magazine, 1927. 
It was a hit in Paris and Rome.
Motoruota is Italian for motorwheel.