Tuesday, April 24, 2018

School Yard Fences

Why do schools have fences?  To keep children in or to keep intruders out?  When I started primary school, the school yard was open to the street.  There was also a big ditch that we would run down towards the street.  Later on, they filled in the ditch and put a fence there - separating the playground area from the road.  I thought it was for child safety to stay off the street.

School yard fences are chain-link.  The process was developed in England in 1844.  It is a staple of fence building around the world, and comes with many names:  wire netting, wire-mesh fence, chain-wire fence, cyclone fence, hurricane fence, or diamond-mesh fence.  

Fences have been with us since prehistoric times.  What are the famous fences around the world?

1. The Great Wall of China is not technically a fence...but it seems to be number 1 on the list - it is 13,000 miles long.

2. The Dingo Fence of Australia is next - 3,400 miles long.  The Guinness Book of Records considers this the longest fence in the world.

3. The Fence at Buckingham Palace - beauty is its distinction rather than length.

4. Aquarium Fence in Turkey - another art fence with sea creatures.

5. Lock Fence in Pari's Pont des Arts - the weight of the thousands of locks on a 6.5-foot section of the bridge's fencing collapsed.

6. Bra Fence in New Zealand - hundred of brassieres mysteriously appeared on a stretch of wire farm fencing in 1999 becoming a tourist attraction


7. The Fence of Carnegie Mellon University is considered "the most painted object in the world" by the Guinness Book of World Records. The article on this fence is HERE.  A wooden fence  it seems to have a history of being painted for more than 70 years. It had 609 coats of paint between 1993 and 2007.  It collapsed under the weight of the paint so was rebuilt in concrete. Painting continues.

There is one repeatable joke about fences - I have given it the /e to indicate both genders on this blond/e joke:

Why did the blond/e climb the chain-link fence?

To see what was on the other side.

Today's purple flower is the Paulownia Tree.  It is an invasive tree further south in the U.S. , but here it isn't very hardy, so is considered special.  There's a large one at Vineland Research Station at the Foreign Affair Winery. Let's see if it blooms this year.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Earth Day Turns 48

Yesterday was Earth Day.  Google's contribution is a doodle made in partnership with Jane Goodall.

The founder of Earth Day was Gaylord Nelson, who wanted to make the environment a political issue in 1970.  Remember the rivers burning?


We never guessed then that the environmental issue this year would be plastics.  The measure being used for the crisis is that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

Earth Day marked a new Guinness World Record set in Dubai - with the longest line of bottles to spread awareness about plastic pollution.  That was 58,477 bottles and the line was 3,842.5 metres long.

If you were in Toronto, you could have gone to the Earth Day Festival at Downsview Park, and made Garlic-Mustard pesto! Its new shoots are edible in cool weather.  It turns bitter with the warm weather like many greens.

In British Columbia they celebrated by broadcasting 24 hours of wetland noises.

The UN News site had various articles. Of interest was  the coverage of new agricultural heritage sites:  farming in harmony with nature.  The article is HERE.   Their coverage of climate change is HERE.  


Our pictures today feature purple flowers - Verbena Bonariensis at the Denver Botanical Garden and Wisteria with bees in it.  Purple is the flower colour of the year in 2018.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Conventional Wisdom

People are talking about: "Last year compared to this year" weather differences.  Our fitness instructor mowed the lawn three times by yesterday's date last year.  I'd sent out pictures of orchards in bloom, having spotted the first orchard trees blooming in mid-April.  The Magnolias were in bloom in Queenston, a beautiful town on the Niagara River.  

I was thinking of what conventional wisdoms have become common practice in the 20th century. I expected to find things like the 80-20 principle.  While the term dates back to 1838,  it is associated with John Kenneth Galbraith in his 1958 book The Affluent Society in which he displayed his contrarian view of economic theories of the day.

Conventional wisdom is considered a derogatory term - it is defined as "ideas so accepted that they go unquestioned".  The example that is cited is that it was once believed that the Earth is flat, and that at the Earth is the centre of the universe.  

Wikipedia puts it more specifically:  "It is widely believed that prior to Christopher Columbus people thought the world was flat, but in actuality, scholars of that time had long accepted that the earth is a sphere.  The above sentence is true; people today often think that Columbus discovered the world to be round, when in fact the world's roundness was already widely known by Columbus' time. However, if enough people read and believe the above sentence, the above sentence will eventually supplant the old belief (the old belief in past belief in a flat earth). The above sentence would become the new conventional wisdom. (Ironically, however, this would also turn the above sentence, the new conventional wisdom, into a false claim; because the new conventional wisdom would propose that people are confused about past beliefs in a way that they actually wouldn't be.)"

So complicated a term to consider.  In seeking a list of typical conventional wisdoms, I find lead-in paragraphs to research studies and their results and financial investors and their advice.


My sense is that this expression has been hijacked by writers. If it is a serious area of investigation, perhaps it is obscure rather than popular.

And now what we experience is that it is conventional wisdom to challenge conventional wisdom.  There's something circular about this concept!


The fascinating Canada Blooms' wall sculpture is today's subject.  The second picture shows it interpreted by the Flaming Pear plug-in "India Ink".  The third one interprets it with the Topaz Labs plug-in "Glow".  Both interpretations show off its wonderful design structure.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Velvet Sounds, City Views

We went to Jazz Lives last week.  It took place in Koerner Hall.  I consider this to be Toronto's premier music hall.  Built in 2009,  its location on Bloor Street with the lobby facing south, makes for a wonderful view of Philosopher's Walk below.  It has beautiful views of the downtown and the CN Tower in the distance.  

Inside the hall, the architecture is stunning.  The curved lines of the ceiling wood were described in the Globe and Mail's review when the hall opened:

"Twisting, undulating ribbons of wood that seem to swim according to their own hard-driving rhythm have been suspended below the 65-foot-high ceiling. Looking up, a visitor sees the ribbons speed along the ceiling like a school of fish. Apertures for lights and rigging points are placed within the split of the wooden ribbons."

We've been present for some amazing performance spaces being built in Toronto.  As the Globe and Mail article indicates:  "The unveiling of Koerner Hall marks the final chapter in the massive program of cultural SuperBuild projects in Toronto. Launched in 2000, the Ontario SuperBuild program provided significant kick-start funds that allowed for a major redesign of the Royal Ontario Museum by Studio Daniel Libeskind; the Four Seasons facility for the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet by Diamond + Schmitt Architects; the reinvention of the Art Gallery of Ontario by Gehry + Partners; a new home base for Canada's National Ballet School by Goldsmith Borgal & Co. with Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg; and two other projects by KPMB: an addition to the George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art and an updating of Roy Thomson Hall."  The entire article is HERE.

These halls will be joined by Massey Hall - soon to close for two years for its rebirth.  The Massey Hall Revitalization is a seven-year project.  It will get an expanded footprint along with the full restoration of the exterior and interior of the building.  you can send 'renderings' of what the hall will be like HERE.

The notice says no photographs and no recordings whatsoever in the Hall, so an ubiquitous iPhone has captured the scene.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Do you want to click the screen and see what they look like now?  The heading is: Remember these celebrities?  Take a Deep Breath Before You See What They Look Like Now.  

I definitely want to take a look.  Even though I don't know who this celebrity is.

The picture beside the celebrity has this heading:  20 Haunting Photos Taken Just Before Tragedy Struck. The picture shows a young woman hanging handily from the other side of a cliff with the ocean far down below.  We can assume she fell off.  I definitely don't want to click on this article.


There's one that got my attention a while ago and I did scroll through:  Father and Son took the same picture for 29 years, but in the last photo everything changed.  This comes from lifebuzz.com and various others - many sites picked it up.

There's a fast scroll at 
cnn.com  It is the story of a yearly picture of Tian Li and his father starting in 1986 on his birthday.  The last photo shows three generations in 2015 with Tian Li's son Timothy.  

Something to notice are the differences between the photos in the different sources.  I wonder how that happens and whether there's a bit of foolery going on.  I even admit that I wonder if these sorts of stories are true or fabricated, etc.  

So I did a little more work and find that Tian Li, the son,  is now a film director.  It has a quote from him.  I found the Poitiers Film Festival listed COLOUR WATER by Tian Li. You can see the listing HERE. 


I found a similar story on this theme. It comes from chinadaily.com.cn and is the story of a father and daughter posing together for 35 years. 

Today's a train day with two remarkable models in the contest room at Denver last year.