Friday, January 30, 2009

My Chef, Flipper

I'm getting a chef! Yeah, that's right, my own chef. Take a look:

In case you didn't know it, dolphins are talented chefs. According to researchers in Australia, dolphins are quite clever and precise when it comes to preparing calamari. They have tried and true prep methods for killing, de-inking and de-boning cuttlefish (squid), leaving tasty, tender calamari as the finished product. Furthermore, they've been observed using sponges as tools to cover their noses while they forage along the ocean floor. Do you know what this means? My dolphin will be fixing my dinner and cleaning up afterward! How awesome is that?

Living quarters might be an issue....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Speaking of Cows and Religion . . .

I don't recall where or how I first heard about this particular little gem but I was reminded of it recently and am compelled by something greater than myself to share it with you. This tune hails from Canada - from some folks who call themselves Arrogant Worm. The organ music and choral harmony in the latter part of the song make listening to this masterpiece a quasi-religious experience.

Isn't it great?! Humor me please and say, "Yes, you're right! This is the stuff of which greatness is made!!"

I want to sing this song in a choir. You know, after a couple of 'normal' songs. Just a little surprise for the audience. Go ahead and play it a couple times and feel free to sing along - I do.

I am cow, hear me moo, I weigh twice as much as you
and I look good on the barbecue
Yogurt, curd, cream cheese and butter's made from liquid from my udders.
I am cow, I am cow - hear me moo!

I am cow eating grass, methane gas comes out my ass
and out my muzzle when I belch.
Oh the ozone's getting thinner from the outcome of my dinner.
I am cow, I am cow - I've got gas!

I am cow, here I stand, far and wide upon this land
and I am living everywhere!
From B.C. to Newfoundland you can squeeze my teats by hand
I am cow, I am cow - I am cow! I am cow, I am cow - I am cow!

Your Welcome!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Amphibians, Children and Love

How adorable is this tiny frog?! I love it! I may have mentioned in a previous post (or not) that my siblings and I once lost a baby frog in my parents car. We had been out to visit the grandparent's farm and per the usual had found some frogs to have races play with. At the end of the day we decided to take one of the wee babies home. Only it got loose in the car. My mom was concerned it would turn up at an inopportune moment and startle my dad, thus causing a crash. Sounds like the stuff I tell my kids when they misbehave while I'm driving. Only with the girls it's not frogs, it's various objects being tossed/wrestled with between the front and back seat.

I left the girls alone in the car one time while I ran inside. I mistakenly thought they were old enough (10 and 14) to be trusted for 30 seconds. When I came out I found them having soft-drink spit wars with their straws. There was soda splattered all over the place. This sort of behavior is one of the reason's parents are programmed to love their offspring. Survival of the species depends on it. Sure they're all cute and stuff when they're tiny, like this frog baby. We get sucked in and attached. Then come the trials and tribulations. And the law says we can't kill them when they splatter coke and sprite all over creation. Or when they turn frogs loose in our cars.

Wee baby frogs grow in to big frogs quickly and go on about their frog business. Kids grow up fast too. Sometimes that seems good, sometimes not so much. One thing is sure: if my children have children they will be complaining to me one day about what their daughter/son did in the car. I will just laugh and remind them of the soda war of 2006.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Armida and Rinaldo

I bought this painting, The Death of Armida, several years ago. I first saw this painting on display in a bakery that featured a different local artist each month. It was done by Melinda Copper. She and her husband are extraordinary artists, who are adept at a variety of arts including sculpture and painting. One of her dog portraits was so precise it could have passed for a photo.

Melinda had a selection of her animal paintings on display that month, which consisted of beautifully rendered reproductions of famous works of art. For example there was a lovely copy of the Mona Lisa featuring a cat. I knew I had to have one of her pieces(I just had to!!) and it took me a few days to make up my mind. I finally chose this painting because (in no particular order)

a) I used to have pet rabbits;
b) The colors are so beautiful; and
c) The subject matter was intriguing.

I didn't really know anything about the story of Armida and Rinaldo, so I dreamed one up of my own. Obviously (obvious to me, anyway) the soldier in red has come to tell Armida that her love-bunny has died in battle (proof being the armor dropped on the ground). Overcome with grief,she wants to die too, as evidenced by the arrow she holds to her chest. As she is about to plunge the arrow into her heart the soldier bunny stays her paw. I suspect he has motives of his own and is hoping to become her new love-bunny. That's my version, anyway.

Wanting to know the real story about Armida, I took it upon myself to do some research. On the internet of course, because that's where you can find anything, right? Maybe even the truth. Hah! Following is a brief description of some of what I have gathered:

Armida is a beautiful enchantress in "Jerusalem Delivered" (one of those epic poems from the 1500's about the crusades). She intends to kill Rinaldo (a great crusader) but falls in love with him and bewitches him instead. When her spell is broken by his buddies (they bring him a mirror of diamonds, wherein he sees the truth), he either

a) goes back to crusading,leaving her heartbroken and suicidal; or
b) overpowers her with his love and persuades her to become a Christian.

There are other variations from opera and depending on who is interpreting. Whatever the story and it's outcome, this painting is enthralling and I adore it!

If you are interested in seeing more of Melinda's outstanding artwork take a look here: Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's Cookin?

This weekend I thought I'd do some baking. My youngest has shown an increasing interest in cooking and baking so I suggested we make cinnamon rolls. She promptly replied that she would like to make donuts. My taste buds were set on cinnamon rolls but donuts are good too. I was feeling accommodating so I started looking up recipes for donuts. She wanted to make krispy kreme style donuts - which means yeast dough with lots of rising time. When I explained how long that would take she quickly agreed that cake donuts would be just fine. Now the thing is, I rarely deep fat fry anything. We're talking once a year, twice max. Since I so rarely fry anything I don't have any kind of deep fat fryer. I've thought about getting one - just for this sort of occasion, but I don't want to encourage myself to fry that much food. So, we pulled out a large, deep pan and melted about 2 inches of shortening in it. We mixed our dough, cut our donuts and began cooking them.
This is where a deep fat fryer would be handy. See, you need a good hot temperature - my recipe called for 375. If your fat isn't hot enough your donuts will absorb more of it. I have a candy thermometer but it didn't fit onto my pan quite right so I just held it in there now and then.

We dropped in our donuts, three at a time (didn't want the fat temp to drop too much) and watched them puff up and turn to gold. Which they did rather nicely, as you can see. In a couple minutes they were ready to come out. After they drained on paper towels we dipped them in plain glaze, chocolate glaze, cinnamon-sugar and plain sugar. Hmmm, we didn't do any powdered sugar...
And here's our finished product: a nice variety of fresh, tasty home-made donuts! It occurred to me afterward that we could have bought canned biscuit dough and made donuts from that. Now that would have been even quicker and simpler. Ah, what the heck - part of this whole process was a cooking lesson for my daughter. She can learn the short cuts later...

My Graph

Well I finally did it. Having been inspired by my oldest child, I made my very own creation on Graph Jam the other day.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

You see, she just had to pick the day when our place was at the peak of messiness to have some friends over after school. I know it's just random chance that dictates what house they wander to each day, but couldn't fate have picked a neater day? Oh well, I doubt they care as much as I do.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hey Diddle, Diddle, There's Methane on Mars!

I've read in the news recently of confirmation that there is methane on Mars. Methane is an important indicator of the potential for life on a planet. There are some theories as to how that methane is being produced, which is important because the cause of production could indicate Martian life forms of some sort.

Well, I have my own theory about Mars and it's methane. Cows. That's right, subterranean cows. I'm not talking about your average, run of the mill cows. I'm talking about the super intelligent bovine beings alluded to by Mother Goose. What, you didn't know that the Mother Goose nursery rhymes were actually based on the realities of life? Just as "Ring Around the Rosy" is about Bubonic plague, "Hey Diddle, Diddle" depicts the eyewitness account of cows leaving Earth to inhabit Mars.

You see, the Earth once had a race of super-intelligent cows. These 'smart-cows', if you will, realized that they could not live in peace here due to the beef eating nature of people and animal predators. Sure, they were safe enough in India, where they were revered for their brains and Godliness. But in much of the rest of the world they were not so lucky. So they did their homework and using advanced technology beyond our current understanding, they 'jumped over the moon' as the people in the 1600's described it, and established subterranean colonies on Mars.

Why subterranean? Well, they couldn't very well live on the cold, desolate surface! Using more of that yet to be understood technology, they set up shop underground (like the book/movie City of Ember) and out of sight of our prying eyes. Now, however, our own technology has advanced to a point where we have discovered their methane. It's only a matter of time before we send up some space ranchers to extract the Martian beef and import it back to Earth.

Hey diddle, diddle the villagers were distracted
The cat and the fiddle this was the distraction
The cow jumped over the moon the cows made their escape, thanks to distraction
The little dog laughed at the distracted villagers
To see such sport foolish villagers and space bound cows
And the dish ran away lots of gossip afterword
With the spoon. by the 'silver' tongued witness who wrote this rhyme

I rest my case.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Impossible Dream

I received an email today with a powerpoint slide-show in it. "The Impossible Dream" was playing in the background. I haven't heard this song in a long time and it brought me back to my high school days when we sang this in choir. We sang a lot of popular tunes, and some not so popular. I mostly enjoyed performing them all, but there are some - like "The Impossible Dream" - that were especially good. The version on the slide show was instrumental but I had another version stuck in my head, so I went over to Imeem and listened to about 10 different versions and this is what I came back with. I guess it's overkill to put more than one - but what the heck! The first is the one that was stuck in my head, the second is longer but wonderful as well, and the third is a choral version (a tip of the hat to my choir days).

The Impossible Dream - Man Of La Mancha


The Impossible Dream (From-Man of La Mancha) - Steve Amerson

Choral: I didn't realize until I posted this that this one plays only a portion of the song! Rats! If you want to hear the full version just hop on over to Imeem. In fact, you can create an account (free and easy) and listen to all sorts of stuff...No, I'm not getting paid to promote them, I just find it a useful site.

The Impossible Dream - Ray Conniff and The Singers

"The Impossible Dream"

from MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972)
music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Go out now and reach for your star!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday Graph Jam

When I think back on all the charts and graphs from my school years I shudder a bit. They weren't anywhere near as fun as the charts on Graph Jam. Back then if someone had told me I would one day enjoy looking at graphs and charts I would have given them a blank stare. Now the blank stare is what I'm trying to get rid of by looking at Graph Jam! So here's a sampling of some recent entries made by people like you and me. People who have generously spent their valuable time creating graphs and charts for our enjoyment!

From time to time one of my daughters will exclaim, "Hey! That's a Guitar Hero song!" They seem so surprised that these songs existed before the game....

song chart memes
more music charts

This is a recurring theme at home. "I need help..." is usually preceded by, "Don't get mad, but...."

song chart memes
more music charts

You know this one is true. Cruel and true...

song chart memes
more music charts

One of these days I'm going to create a graph/chart myself. If you get one done before me be sure to send it my way!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

How to Resuscitate a Lizard

Several years ago (well, actually it was about 20 years ago...ahem!) I was working in an office cubicle in California. I used to post all kinds of things on my padded walls for the amusement of myself and my fellow workers. Today, as I was going through a box of junk important documents, I came across the image you see to the right. I believe my dad got this most helpful sign from a pool supply company in Phoenix and then I got a copy of it from him. I colored it in (never too old for coloring, I always say) and immediately posted it where everyone passing my cubie could see it. This became one of my more popular 'posts'. The print is tiny so I've reproduced these very important steps for you below - in case you ever have a drowning lizard emergency.

1. Scoop lizard from pool.

2. Shake out lizard.

3. Massage lizard's torso, applying on and off pressure, directly behind frontal legs.

4. Apply mouth to mouth resuscitation to lizard's mouth, breathing slowly and forcefully.

If you're squeamish about human to lizard mouth-breathing you could blow up a balloon, put it over the lizard's mouth and release the balloon air into the lizard. Just a thought. You know, in case lizard's carry salmonella . . . .

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Debut

Forty-eight years ago, at 1:30 in the afternoon, I made my debut. At five and a half pounds, my arrival shouldn't have been a big deal, but even my mother paced the floor. Sorry mom! My mother had a few babies before me and her labors were fairly short so everyone expected I would come right along. Not saying I was stubborn - I just wasn't quite ready. I've been known to put off a thing or two until I'm darned good and ready. It was Sunday and my dad and grandparents had a tough time deciding whether to go to church or wait. I guess they made it to church and back with plenty of time to spare.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Significant Snail is 100 Posts Old!

Welcome to my first post of 2009, which also happens to be my 100th post! I know many bloggers do something special to commemorate their 100th post. For example, I thought about writing a special poem:

Today is my 100th post
and for you, dear reader,
I want to raise a special toast

Ok, that's just undeserved punishment for all of us, isn't it? I suppose I could dress it up with colorful language and gratuitous sex and it would read much better, but I'm just not feeling all poetical.

Then I thought about a giveaway. More specifically, wouldn't it be awesome to give $100 each to the first 100 people who leave comments? Yes, it would be awesome, but quite expensive as well, so that one's out of the question. Not to mention I've never had 100 comments. That could change if I gave away money!

Instead of poetry and money, I'm keeping with time honored tradition and (since this is a long weekend and I have plenty of time) I'm going to post a list of 100 pieces of useless information bits of trivia about myself.

Before you dip out on me without reading the list read the list, let me just take a moment to thank you for coming by to read my posts. Do come again!

1. I have 5 sisters and 2 brothers.
2. The first time I cried at a movie I was in the 4th grade. Yes, I got teased.
3. I recently cried when I saw the movie Marley and Me. No one teased me this time.
4. I have lived in five different states.
5. I collect frogs. Not live ones, although that's an interesting thought...
6. I spent the Saturday after Christmas watching a billion part series about World War II. It ran from late morning to 11ish at night. Does this make me a geek?
7. I'll take a good cup of coffee over a glass of champagne any day.
8. I've had a variety of pets, but currently own two cats.
9. I once had two fire-bellied newts. They were adorable.
10. I tried smoking as a teen but I was clumsy and broke the cigarette in half trying to tap the ashes off. I didn't want to use my money that way anyhow.
11. I like snow.
12. I like to sew.
13. I can knit a little and crochet not at all.
14. I love to bake and enjoying cooking in general.
15. I'm a middle child.
16. I like my steak medium rare.
17. I'm a word person - I enjoy word puzzles and reading.
18. Conversely, I am not much of a math person.
19. But speaking of math, I did do better at geometry than algebra...
20. I like sushi, escargot and caviar.
21. Don't ask me to eat liver. Ok, I might if I really had to. But only if.
22. I'm pretty good with directions/maps. That time in Albuquerque doesn't count.
23. I tend to procrastinate.
24. I can be organized. Depending on how you define organized. Let's just say I know where things are.
25. I like rocks. A lot. I sometimes wish I'd majored in geology.
26. I've been to 32 of the states in the U.S.
27. I would eventually like to see every state in the U.S., especially Alaska (cruise) and Hawaii.
28. I prefer coke to pepsi.
29. Years ago I repelled off of a 100 foot cliff. Yes, I swore the first time...
30. Spiders creep me out. And cockroaches are disgusting too.
31. I learned to ice skate in college.
32. I think Kristi Yamaguchi is one of the most amazing skaters ever. I wish I could skate like her!
33. I've never been in a fist fight, but I've thought about it a time or two.
34. Only my ears are pierced and I intend to keep it that way.
35. I don't have any tattoos and doubt I ever will. But hey, if I make it to 90, who knows?
36. I had a French pen pal in high school. He sent me an edelweiss (his mother was a florist).
37. McDonald's makes the best fast food fries.
38. I'll turn 48 this month..soon....
39. Once upon a time I collected Swamp Thing comic books.
40. I don't have a Facebook account, but my mom does.
41. When I was a teenager I had a dress with roses all over it. I wore rose oil every time I wore that dress 'cause I thought it was cool to smell like a rose and look like one too.
42. I believe you can be too rich and too thin.
43. I hate when a good movie has a sequel and you have to wait 2 or 3 years to see it. What if you die before then?? You'll never know what happened next!!!
44. I wish I were a couple inches taller.
45. I have been to Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas.
46. There is not any place in the world I would not wish to see. But there are some places I would be afraid to visit.
47. I just don't get NASCAR. Or boxing.
48. I prefer feather pillows.
49. My bra size is - HAH! I wouldn't actually tell you that!
50. One of my favorite childhood stories was about a dog who belonged to himself.
51. I love avocados.
52. Artichokes are delicious too.
53. My watch battery died a year and a half ago. I just look at my cell phone or computer to tell time. Or the clock in my car.
54. Frank Lloyd Wright was an awesome designer.
55. Robert Frost was an awesome poet. Emily Dickinson too. Among others ...
56. Love pecans.
57. I once broke my toe smacking into a toilet...I was running...the rug slipped...
58. Once I was walking backward and turned around and walked into a pole.
59. I rode a bike into the back of a car because I was looking behind me.
60. I was run over by a bike in college. There was a perfect tire mark across my ass.
61. Numbers 57 through 59 occurred before college. Thankfully.
62. I'm not much of a bowler, or golfer for that matter.
63. I have worn glasses or contact lenses since 3rd grade.
64. I've never broken any major bones. Only toes a couple times.
65. I've driven 13 hours straight a couple times. I don't recommend it.
66. Red is one of my favorite colors to decorate with. As an accent color.
67. I have a beautiful painting of two rabbits. I'll post it someday.
68. I can't paint or draw well but I wish I could.
69. I've gotten a couple of ribbons over the years for photos I've taken.
70. I wrote a lot of poetry in jr. high and high school.
71. I have a hard time writing 'serious' poetry. Humor is more my type.
72. This past year I had to break down and buy reading glasses.
73. I collect old recipe booklets put out by various companies. The oldest one predates gas and electric stoves.
74. I love to go barefoot.
75. A good pedicure is a lovely thing.
76. I saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Only play I've seen on Broadway.
77. I cried when I saw Phantom of the Opera. It was wonderful.
78. Once I got a tiny metal crochet hook stuck in my finger. Probably one reason I don't crochet.
79. I have two daughters. They both play soccer.
80. My kindergarten crush was named John.
81. In grade school I knew a boy named Daniel Boone. I had a huge crush on him.
82. I've had at least 2 other boyfriends whose names began with J.
83. My ex-husband's name starts with a J.
84. My ex and I get along pretty well.
85. His girlfriend is Filipino and she and I also get along quite well.
86. Mosquitoes are horrific insects. They should all go away.
87. When I was a teen I imagined myself being a rich old spinster with nieces that I would take on trips to Europe.
88. Actually, that's still not such a bad idea....I still have to achieve the rich and old part. Spinster went out the window some time ago.
89. I wouldn't want to leave my nephews out, so I'll take them too.
90. I think a good sense of humor is one of the most valuable assets a person can have.
91. One time I had to perform the Heimlich on my dog. Thankfully it worked. My girls were watching.
92. I wish I were a stronger swimmer.
93. I got my first grey hair at 30.
94. I've only ever gotten one ticket. For speeding. I was headed to the airport.
95. I don't like prop planes.
96. I love to rummage through antique stores.
97. My first car was a used Gremlin. The main seal blew. Not an experience I would recommend.
98. When I was a kid I made a house out of toothpicks so the ants could get out of the rain. The ants didn't appreciate my work.
99. I also tried to fix an injured worm with a bandaid. Not successful.
100. Gravy. MMMMmmmmmm.....

That's all your gonna get. Which is probably way more than enough. Next time I hit some milestone I'll find a shorter way to mark the event!

Thanks for stopping by!