Category Archives: astronomy

Spots Make Me Dotty

Standard

I was looking for my favorite umbrella, which is black, with little spots all the same

size, in all kinds of colors. I loved that it had an overall bright look to it, along with

the main color of black mellowing it out. I felt dressy and fashionable with it, never

‘gaudy,’ despite its colorful polka dots of lavender, bright pink, turquoise, yellow, lime

green and orange. I retraced my steps and while doing this small town tour, popping

into the library to check its lost and found, stopping at the coffee shop on the corner,

going into the gas station, where I sometimes set my umbrella down to open one of

the refrigerator cases. Finally, going up the stairs of my apartment to ask the manager

if anyone had turned it in. I started thinking of the dozens, no more than that! Lots of

ways we use spots and dots in our everyday lives.

 

So, let me get us started. . .

When you get into a ‘jam,’ you are in a ‘spot.’  If it is a financial ‘spot’ you are in, you

may ask someone to ‘spot’ you some money. You may even ask a friend, “Can you loan

me a ‘spot’ of cash?”

 

Mom mentioned, as I was telling her about my lost spotted umbrella, over the phone,

“Stars are mere dots in the sky.”

I asked her if she remembered my old Reader book about Jane and Dick, didn’t they

have a dog named, “Spot?”

She replied, “Since Spot is one of the most common names (in the U.S.) to give a dog,

it may have been named, ‘Spot.’ I don’t remember.”

Do you?

 

It made me smile when she reminded me to tell my ‘blogging friends,’ that my brother’s

spotted Dalmatian was named, “Galaxy.”  When he wanted her to come, he would say,

“Come on, Gal.”

Wordplay is always something our family enjoys.

 

The children’s animated film, “101 Dalmatians” really had a lot of ‘spots’ in it.

Do you like spots on dogs?

 

Did you ever see ‘spots?’ Did this experience cause you to faint?

 

Many times, when thinking about food, you may imagine spots to be ‘bad,’ as when a

banana has ‘brown spots’ or an apple has ‘soft spots.’ Those darn mushy fruits make you

dislike ‘spots.’ I have a ‘soft spot’ for pineapple, which while choosing it, you do wish

the outer layer of green with brown triangles, to ‘give’ a little, showing it to be soft and

sweet inside, along with being ripe.

 

When I think of a positive way of thinking about ‘spots’ I change it to ‘dots’ and I do like

those chewy candy “Dots.” I also like the dark chocolate saucer-shaped candy with white

sprinkles on them which are called, “Nonpareils.” I used to buy a strip of white paper with

different pastel colored ‘spots’ or dots, made of sugar for pennies.

 

When I think of an ice cream with spots,

I think of chocolate chips or nuts sprinkled on it. One of my youngest daughter’s favorite

ice creams is Graeter’s Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream. My younger brother, Rich, just

tried and enjoyed “Blue Moo Cookie Dough Ice Cream” at UDF.  “Spots” placed on vanilla

ice cream in a cone become “eyes” in some children’s minds. Have you ever eaten

an ice cream cone with “eyes” on it? I used to order these for my children at Friendly’s

and also, our local Dairy Depot or Dairy Point with my ‘grandies.’

 

My favorite dress of all time, was one my Mom hand sewed. With its fabric being

called, Dotted Swiss, it was a light peach color. Those white soft, tufted spots

made me feel quite happy wearing and looking at it. The texture was one which

enticed me to smooth it down, running my hand across the surface, while sitting

in church.

 

When you have a ‘blemished record,’ you may have a spotty record.

(But you also could have a ‘checkered’ past.)

 

The positive thing about having those raised acne ‘spots’ or ‘zits’ as a teenager is,

you may have nice moist skin now, which appears young for your age.

 

Another set of ‘spots’ on your face, while we were growing up, would cause some

alarm, since it could be measles.

 

“X” marks the Spot, which is what is one of the best parts of a Treasure Map.

Have you played this with your children or grandchildren?

 

While driving in your car, you need to remember to check your blind ‘spots.’

 

Other ‘down’ sides of spots are when you have used the wrong dishwasher

detergent and your beautiful pieces crystal has ‘spots’ on them. The labels

to almost all of these products claim to produce “Spot-Free” dishes, silverware

and glasses.

 

In games, spots are often featured. There are ‘spots’ of white on black Dominoes.

The double colored spots in Candy Land, mean you get to travel past two of those

colored spots. You must beware, there is a sticky spot on the game board, too.

 

The saying, “Leopards never change their spots,” generally means that people

are also not likely to change.

 

In Art,  a technique of painting spots or dots next to each other, making it look

from a distance like they are connected is called, “Pointillism.” George Seurat made

this a famous way of painting, along with  Paul Signac. (Late nineteenth century.)

The style of making spots on canvas is a branch off the larger art category or genre

labeled,  “Impressionism.” When I was teaching Language Arts in middle school,

there was a fantastic, creative art teacher who connected art with music. She played

the Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, where it goes “Da da da daaah!” Those pounding

notes on the piano, brought the children to make dabbing splashes of spots on

their paper in art class to create their own pointillism examples. I enjoyed hanging

these up along the hallway, leading up tomy class for parents’ Open House Night.

These turned out awesome, as was the period she had paired sunflowers of Van Gogh

with the music of Electric Light Orchestra.

 

You may get into some ‘tight spots.’

Hope they are as fun as getting into a crowded VW or an old phone booth with your

boy or girlfriend.

 

Freckles look like the cutest ‘spots’ ever on the faces of red-haired children.

 

Young animals often have faint spots, like the robin on the white feathers under

the beak. The fawn, like Bambi, has white soft spots on their coats.

 

In England, at a British tea party, you might hear someone ask you,

“Would you like a ‘spot’ of tea?”

 

When you think of Lawrence Welk, do you think of polka dots?

 

When someone cooks a great country dinner with all the fixings,

you may exclaim, “This dinner really hit the ‘spot!'”

 

On a stage, there are certain “spots” that actors stand on, so the

lime lights will light them, while they deliver their lines. A director

may yell, ‘Everyone get on their spots!”

 

In marching band, you march to create patterns and it is very important

to ‘stay in formation.’ The band director may also yell, “Everyone get on

your spots.”

 

When I think of iconic “spots” I think of Lucy with a black and white

spotted skirt and Minnie Mouse, with her red and white spotted skirt.

 

When you think of a sore “spot,” you may picture your muscles or a canker

sore on your mouth. But, you also may think that someone talking about

a particular subject is rubbing a ‘sore’ or ‘touchy’ spot.

 

 

 

The Ink Spots may entertain you with one or all of these

songs:

“If I Didn’t Care”

“I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”

“I’m Making Believe” (with Ella Fitzgerald)

“Into Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall” (with Ella Fitzgerald)

“The Gypsy” their # 1 song.

By the way, they were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame in 1989.

 

What tight or tough “spots” have you been in during your life?

For fun, what is a spot you like to head to on vacation?

Or please give us another example of the word, “spot.”

 

Finally, did I make you slightly ‘dotty’ over the usage of the word, “spot?”

Would you mind sharing about the bright “spots” in your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rare Books

Image

The unique, exquisite first edition rare books collection is awe-inspiring.

This includes many books you will know and love. It includes international

books, on loan for a brief period, from September 29 until November 9, 2014.

A man named Stuart Rose, started collecting books that were special to him.

Rose’s collection began when he found in 1992, the First Edition of,

“Tarzan,”

by

Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Rose went on collecting past 2000 First Edition or

“One of a Kind” books.

There are 49 featured books,

displayed on

University of Dayton

campus,

in the

Roesch Library

First Floor

Gallery.

 

I love the title of the exhibition:

 

“Imprints

and

Impressions”

 

Part

of

the

“Milestones

in

Human Progress”

Program:

 

Highlights

from the

Rose Rare Book

Collection

 

There are directions online

you may follow to get to

the place you need to go.

 

Jane Austen’s

“Pride

and

Prejudice,”

Quote:

“The spoken word passes away, while the written word remains.”

 

Paul H. Benson,

essayist for the

Dayton UD Alum

Magazine

reminded

us of the

Essence

and

Importance

of:

Preserving books while time marches forward

some day society may feel we don’t ‘need’ them.

These are our own printed legacy and heritage.

(Not quoted, but read and digested. Explaining

and passing on my feeling of urgency to see this

magnificent book collection before it goes away.)

 

Here are some favorites of mine:

The

“Qu’ran”

Copied

in

Beautifully

Intricate

Calligraphy

by

Aziz

Khan

Kashmiri

(1864)

 

Galileo,

“Starry Messenger”

(1610)

 

Mark Twain,

“Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

(1885)

 

Isaac Newton,

(Misspelled words,

intentionally copied as

Newton

chose to do.)

“Opticks

or a Treatise

of the

Reflexions, Refractions

Inflexions and Colours

of

Light.

Also,

Two Treatises

of the

Species and Magnitude

of

Curvilinear Figures”

(1704)

 

Ralph Ellison,

“Invisible Man”

(1952)

 

Virginia Woolf,

“A Room of One’s Own”

(1929)

 

J. R. R. Tolkien,

“The Lord of the Rings”

Hand-written

Proofs,

with final edits

done in pen.

(1953 – 1955)

 

Geoffrey Chaucer,

“Canterbury Tales”

(1492)

 

Rene Descartes,

“Discourse on the Method”

(1637)

 

William Shakespeare,

“Comedies, Histories and Tragedies”

(1632)

 

Nicholas Copernicus,

“On the Revolution of Celestial Spheres”

(1543)

 

*I would love to see*

Artistic

Illustrations

drawn by

Salvador Dali,

“Alice in Wonderland”

(1969)

 

There are more books to examine and admire.

 

There is a special informative talk by former

UD graduate and famous person,

Daniel De Simone,

about the Rose exhibit on:

October 16, 2014,

7:00 – 8:30 p.m

 

Daniel De Simone is

Librarian at the

Folger Shakespeare Library,

Washington, D. C.

(Formerly worked at

Library of Congress)

Lecture topic:

“Why the Stuart Rose Book Collection

Matters in the Age of Digital Surrogates.”

 

Since I have two First Edition books that are not ‘rare’ nor very great condition,

I felt the power of words would be expressed better personally, if I told you about

my books.

“Magnificent Obsession,”

Lloyd C. Douglas

(1929)

P.F. Collier and Sons, Company

New York, New York.

The book begins with a physician given as, “Doctor Hudson.” His mental and physical

condition is described as “on the verge of a collapse,” along with “all but dead on his feet.”

We can all relate, in one way or another, to this man who is trying to be the best doctor

he can. Reminding us of that often expressed, “Physician heal thyself.”

Then comes a “twist of fate.”

I love this book, which was made into a movie. (Although, it changes some of the details,

making it a different story entirely.)

In the end of the book, another doctor is mentioned, if you were not aware of the accident

you might wonder who this character is. “Doctor Hudson” is no longer the focus. The reader

has come to know and love a different man, you see.

This story has turned from a solitary life of medicine to one where there is someone named,

“Bobby.”

He plans on boarding a train, then disembarking to go on a big steamer ship.

The love of his life, (you need to read the book to find out how he met her!)

“Mauve” approaches with what the author describes as, “a snug, saucy, cloche hat” on

her head and she is wearing, “a tailored suit of mauve that sculptures every curve of

her body.” She embraces him and the rest of the happy ending comes in his plans for

their future, where the Captain will marry them on their trip abroad.

 

My other favorite book, which my good and dear, deceased friend, Bob gave me. I have

written how I met him and our friendship grew, from playing games on a picnic table

in the park, to his watching my two grandsons playing on the gym equipment there.

This is an everlasting gift, his memory pervades into my soul, which is perfectly fitting

in the book he gave me:

“The Keys of the Kingdom”

A. J. Cronin

(1941)

Little Brown and Co.

Boston, Mass.

This is a Scottish tale, with a priest named Father Chisholm. It begins with his limping up

a steep path from St. Columbia’s Parish (church) to his home that is walled in by gardens.

He looks out on a beautiful view described by the author,

“Beneath him was the River Tweed, a great wide sweep of placid silver, tinted by the low

saffron smudge of Autumn sunset.”

What a way with words you have, Mr. A. J. Cronin!

You can picture his wonder in the lovely description.

The book is filled with simple treasures, nuggets of wisdom and throughout it,

deep philosophy. The book takes a crooked path, through periods of time,  where

you need to re-read at time, to orient to what part of Father Chisholm’s life you

are in. There is never any doubt in Father Chisholm’s love, belief and faith in God.

His encounters and adventures are vast and absorbing, including danger and

Eastern culture, too.

 

At the end of the book, it closes with the Father going trout-fishing with a poor,

country lad named, Andrew. There is less infirmity in his step. There is added

purpose for living implied. His path has come full circle, back home again.

His adoption of Andrew has given him a

second chance on life.

 

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my books I shared today

along with the fascinating examples to view,

Online tour given through photographs,

or in person at University of Dayton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing Wonders and Creature Marvels

Standard

“Across the sea of space,

the stars are other suns.”

(Carl Sagan)

In August, a 440 pound Galapagos Island, wild-born tortoise joined the Toledo Zoo.

This tortoise, Emerson, is estimated to be 0ver 100 years old. His acquisition caught

my Mom’s eyes, in the friendly photograph she found buried in the mound of papers

she calls, “blog-worthy.” While reading about the history of tortoises, you find out

the horrible reason why sailors kept them in their ships while on long sea journeys.

These amazing creatures can live for almost a year without food or water, delicious

in soups, when there is no ‘meat’ available.

This made me sad, since the carefully cut out article that my Mom included in her

letter this week, had written in the side column by Mom, “Why didn’t the sailors

just eat fish?” Really good point! I learned that Emerson had a first negative

impression of his new environment, so his head was in the corner, not at all

interested in ‘making friends.’ But within hours, he had turned around and was

slowly, methodically moving towards people. He wanted to know about this new

location and nibbled on fresh vegetables. The photograph has him eating a carrot.

Somehow, the fact that he had his head in the corner, showing his reaction to a

new place to live, made me visualize human reactions to our own having to make

moves or transitions in our lives. This human feeling can be turned around with a

new food offered, a person warmly greeting him and calling him by name. I like

the way the journalist, Alexandra Mester, mentions that when he gets up in the

morning, he seems “to pause and soak up the sun”. They further made me ‘like’

Emerson by explaining how he likes his neck rubbed, shown by the way he stretches

his neck out for this daily affection given him.

Sadly, statistics given from the 1800’s when an estimated 100,000 to 200,ooo

tortoises lived in the Galapagos Islands have shrunk in species to 10,000 to

20,000 left. There are 4 of 14 sub-species now considered extinct.

 

Speaking of extinct subjects, Rachel Feltman, for the Washington Post, wrote

about the Spinosaurus. This is possibly the only know ‘swimming dinosaur.’

This is also the dangerous dinosaur that may have ‘chomped down on sharks!’

My grandsons were fascinated by this story, passed on by my mother in the

mail. They still like the variations of the animated children’s movies called,

“The Land Before Time.” New fossil evidence may be found in the September’s

copy of, “Science” magazine.

The speculation of the dinosaur out-ranking the T-Rex in size is also amazing.

It may be a record-breaker, largest predatory dinosaur to have existed on Earth.

Scientists believe that it was mainly a water creature, due to these facts or clues:

1. Tiny nostrils placed far back on the middle of the Spinosaurus’ skull. This

makes it appear like the water-crawling and swimming alligators and crocodiles.

2. The skull’s head has teeth that have interlocking connections that can be good

for catching fish, while trolling in the deep oceans.

3. The hook-like claws would be ideal for catching slippery prey, in the water.

4. Big flat feet- bones that could have connecting skin, making them ‘webbed feet.’

5. Legs and pelvis were unlikely ‘built’ or connected to land animals, more likely

resembling water creatures.

6. It would be easier to carry their own weight in water, paddling around, than

on land.

Over one hundred years ago, a German paleontologist, Ernst Freiherr Stromer

von Reichenbach, found giant “Spinosaurus” fossils. He found them in the Sahara

Desert, where from current satellite’s far out in Space, can determine rivers existed.

Unfortunately, records on paper exist but the “Spino” bones were destroyed during

WWII. I would like to look at the river channels from Space. Wouldn’t you?

I think the greatest part of this story is, you may go to the National Geographic

Museum in Washington, D.C. There you can view the fossil bones structured into

what the researchers and scientists believe to be the ‘spino-saurus aegyptiacus’

in all of its marvelous glory. This is available for the public to see until 4/14/15.

 

Speaking of satellites and Space. . .

NASA’s Mars land rover discovered in 2012, rock-eating microbes. This Mars

rover named, “Curiosity,” had  new details released to the public recently.

It has reached the layered rock area known by scientists as Mt. Sharp on Mars.

The exploring vehicle is getting a little rickety but had been able to begin

drilling into the rocky location. Samples may be soon analyzed by the unique

ability to transfer information back to Earth.  I am very interested in this

further details, since we still have hopes of finding a compatible environment

for human life to exist in the future.

On December 4, 2014- a new gumdrop shaped capsule known as, “Orion,”

will be launched 3600 miles  from Earth. This is four times farther than our

International Space Station and will ‘careen back’ into our atmosphere at the

incredible speed of 20,000 m.p.h. Why? Because this is testing the thermal

dynamics. This would be considered a possible future human (astronauts-

bearing) space ship. It looks like a huge coffee thermos to me, in its drawings.

If it ‘bears up’ in entering our atmosphere without burning up, this would be

a future manned flight that managed to have a strong protective shield. I am

always pleased when NASA is making progress in going farther into the unknown

in Space.

 

“A blade of grass is a commonplace on Earth,

it would be a miracle on Mars.

Our descendants on Mars will know the value

of a patch of green.

And if a blade of grass is priceless,

What is the value of a human being?”

Taken from, “Pale Blue Dot:  A Vision of the Human Future in Space,”

written by Carl Sagan.