Category Archives: Toledo

Amazing Wonders and Creature Marvels

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“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.

Spring Ball Fever

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Baseball field walls have been adorned with catchy slogans and

advertising posters, practically since they started building them.

With the bigger stadiums, local news and television stations, major

automobile and other products have been featured and promoting,

along with paying money for the advertising. It is nice to be reminded

of Indianapolis’ being one of the first stadiums to display naturally

growing ivy at Perry Field. It sure would ‘cushion’ someone jumping

into the wall, to catch a long distance ball!

The Perry Field ivy is what inspired William Wrigley to decide to

decorate his new Wrigley Field, reaching its 100th anniversary this

year. A great book, written by George F. Will, better known for his

essays on politics was published in March, 2014. Its title is:

“A Nice Little Place on the North Side.” (Crown Archetype, a division

of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.)

The background story about Wrigley Field was they invested an extra

$200,000 to help make the bleachers reflect nature, along with the

idea of having the ivy walls. At the onset of building, they inserted

big cement tree boxes at the ends of the rows, where plans were made

to plant trees in each of these. Once they completed the stadium,

thy tried this, which sounded like a gorgeous natural setting,

with possible shade for some spectators, too. Unfortunately, the

trees were not able to survive. Gusts of wind off Lake Michigan,

repeatedly stripped the bark and leaves off the trees.

In the book, this simple description also shows Cubs’ owner,

William Wrigley’s frustration at the devastation:

“A week after we were finished, the bleachers looked like the

Russian Steppes during a hard, cold winter. Nothing but cement

and bark.”

George F. Will’s explanation:

“The forestation of the Wrigley Field bleachers was abandoned.”

The Boston Ivy was supposed to be planted and growing, when a call

was made to the ones in charge of this duty. They were only given

one day, so once agriculturalists were consulted, they chose to

plant a fast growing plant named, “Bittersweet.” It grew quickly

with lights strung along the wall. The ‘effect’ of green was able

to satisfy visiting guests to view the sight. Later, they inserted

into the bittersweet the Boston Ivy, since the original ‘quick fix’

for the presentation, still needed a more solid and denser growing

plant for the long haul. It took longer but is a magnificent wall

of flourishing ivy.

I have fond memories of going to the old cement stadium in Cleveland

to see both the Indians and Browns play. When they tore it down, to

build what was first named, “Jacob’s Field” I thought I would miss

the old one. It is a beautiful structure and ‘there isn’t a bad seat

in the house.’ I have never personally been to the Indianapolis Perry

Field or Chicago, Illinois Wrigley Field, but enjoyed seeing the

photos and reading about the history of the latter’s field.

Happy 100th Anniversary, Wrigley Field!

Congratulations for making it to one hundred years!

Since I know that Columbus Clippers is having a whole weekend of

playing against Toledo Mud Hens, I will say I am ‘rooting’ for my

home team of the Clippers!

I can hear the old song, “Take me out to the ball game,” and imagine

the old Cracker Jacks and peanut shells falling onto the ground…

Have a wonderful weekend and I am now off to Mom’s…

(We only worked a half day today, due to a lot of overtime this

week… Also, my eyes are doing much better, less pressure than

in the Fall and Winter months! Hip hip hurray!)