Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Orchard

My favorite Clancy Brothers song -- for obvious reasons to some...

When I was nine, in harvest time, I crossed the orchard wall
The moon was bright, the apples ripe upon the garden did fall
We filled our sacks, we made our way back, more adventures for to find.

I crossed the orchard wall again when I was just thirteen
It was, I think, to be my first drink of cider and poitín
I remember well, it tasted like hell; I hoped the pain would end soon,
In an orchard green neath the Comeraghs in that sweet Dungarvan green.

When I was twenty-one years old I married my Annie there
The apple blossoms in the trees were better in her hair
And when the day was over there was a drunk for every tree
In an orchard neath the Comeragh by those sweet Dungarvan seas.

Now I'm forty-five, I am much alive and children I have four,
Three girls and one fine strapping son and I have hopes for more.
I'll teach them of what lies ahead, I have plenty to tell still
In an orchard neath the Comeragh in that sweet Dungarvan breeze.

Now I'm ninety-one, my days are near done, my Annie is long since gone.
Our days they were good as well they should, but it's time that I passed on,
And when I die, I want to lie in the air, land and foam
In an orchard neath the Comeragh by my sweet Dungarvan home.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordle! and then some

Here is a  Wordle from the last couple of months from this blog, A Bit of Silliness... Also, since I love word art and calligraphy, I've been looking into typography and micrography a lot lately.  You can check out my first go at it here on Cabbages and Kings where I used the text of the I Met The Walrus interview to create a picture of John Lennon. I just used layers and masking for this image, but eventually I'd like to do a real micrography project in which the words themselves make up the image, not just their colors.  Obviously this takes hours of planning and work for something that is very detailed, so I'll get to that when I get to that :)  For now, check out some truly astounding examples of this ancient form or art from LA Pop Art  :

<< This image of The Godfather is created out of the entire script of the film. (click to enlarge)

This one I found over at Hey Ok:  Notorious B.I.G and the lyrics of Hypnotize  >>

And finally, since I love John Lennon, here is a really great piece done by Dencii over at deviantArt:


Also: My thanks to Stephen Pael for joining the fray. Hello! and have fun! :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Quantum Mechanics

Super Cool! :)

Quantum Mechanics at Work in Photosynthesis: Algae Familiar With These Processes for Nearly Two Billion Years

ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2010) — A team of University of Toronto chemists have made a major contribution to the emerging field of quantum biology, observing quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis in marine algae.... read more here

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


My major achievement on this fine morning (or not so fine as the case may be; come back sunshine!): I happened to know that Richelieu was Louis XIII's adviser. Score. I don't have anything really interesting to say about him except that he was burned into my memory by my history teacher. When I think Richelieu I think France and Centralization. I have long wondered whether my teacher was in favor of Richelieu or against him. He was one of those characters that the teacher goes on about and seems to speak highly of, and yet in the back of my mind there is a seed of doubt as to whether he was truly as great a man as I understood him to be. Perhaps it was the fact that Richelieu sided with Protestant factions in his political struggles for the supremacy of France and that this was in direct conflict with his role as bishop and Cardinal of the Catholic Church. However, that was unclear to me at 14(?)... It may be that I had an innate bias against the Hapsburgs! ;)

There have been several similar things I wondered about throughout my K-12 years; things I misunderstood, or things that were left unexplained. Sometimes I wonder if teachers left us to wonder about these things because they recognized that we did not yet have the sophistication of discernment to understand the small nuances of a subject, and that understanding would come later, with more study. Take Blake's "The Tyger", a poem I learned in middle school. I could not understand how they got the metaphor of the poet out of the poem. Certainly this time they were stretching the whole allusion thing too far. Yet lacking an explanation I just went on about my schooling, only to discover it later. But could not the power of inspiration as represented in the power of the tiger be explained to a young teen? I wonder if it was a failing of the teacher or a failing of the student. We think our teachers gods, and hardly question that they could be wrong or confused themselves. At least I did, and even in my senior year, when I questioned everything, I ultimately believed that they had the answer for me. I wanted to know and I would not accept a sidestepping answer. I think this sort of trust in a teacher is a good thing, even if potentially dangerous. Is it better that a student come out of primary school with a certain set of ideas that will often be challenged in secondary school, than no certain ideas at all? I thinks so.

Perhaps I had too much confidence in my teachers. I see many students who were taught to doubt their teachers almost religiously, and it bothers me that I may have students who come to me with this frame of mind. I want to know the balance between the all knowing teacher and the teacher who can willingly admit ignorance, without compromising authority and respect. I grew to respect those teachers who could admit ignorance of something, but I always trusted that they had the tools to find the answer. But for those teachers who insisted on having no definite opinions I ultimately lost all respect. Perhaps that balance is one which comes with experience. Perhaps it is a certain frame of mind and the way in which one approaches the student teacher relationship. I'm wondering for now.

In the meantime, I knew who Louis XIII's adviser was, and that has to count for something! ha!

Motte's painting of Richelieu is the one which I always remember, reproduced here in LIFE.

embedded photo via Matthias Seifert
There was an error in this gadget