Monday, August 14, 2017

See Rock City

"See Rock City"

 Does that phrase above look familiar to you? It would if you grew up in the South as I did!  Rock City is in Georgia and has been a tourist destination since 1932 and was developed by Garnet Carter and his wife, Frieda.  Giant rock formations are on the very top of Lookout Mountain and the park was built to showcase the natural beauty. (It is only 6 miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee and as the park is on the Georgia side of Lookout Mountain, I can claim it for Georgia!)   Since advertising was a bit difficult in those days, Mr. Carter asked a young sign painter by the name of Clark Byers to travel the highways and offer to paint a farmer's barn and in exchange the farmer would agree to having the barn's roof painted with these three words: SEE ROCK CITY.  
Now, I only knew that I had seen them growing up in Georgia but reading about it, I have learned that they were painted as far north as Michigan and as far west as Texas! He painted over 900 roofs in 19 states from 1935 to 1969.
The signs were a great success and people flocked to Rock City!

Where did Mr. Carter get the money to develop this park? You would never guess! In 1927, he was the first to patent a game that he called "Tom Thumb Golf", he is considered to be one of the fathers of miniature golf! He sold the rights to the patent and used this to fund the Rock City Gardens.

Originally, there was to be a residential neighborhood on the top of Lookout Mountain and because his wife Frieda was from Germany, she wished for it to be called "Fairyland".  Luckily, the development for houses fell through but the idea of Fairyland was not! Frieda decided to develop it into a rock garden.  She took a string and carefully laid out a trail around the giant rock formations, ending at the giant outcropping known as Lover's Leap.
She planted wildflowers and other plants along the trail. Frieda imported statues of gnomes and fairytale characters from Germany and positioned them inside a tunnel in one of the giant rocks. How much I loved this! Fairyland Caverns, I think it was called and along with Mother Goose Village,  it is one of my favorite memories of my childhood, seeing these fairy tale figures! It seems that I remember Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs and that the dwarfs were on a little bridge. (Just looked it up, and I remember it correctly!)  "Rainbow Hall" was another area I liked, looking through colored gels apparently, I didn't know what it was as a kid, for me it was magic!

Now, the trail love of walking among rock and flowers must have started at a very young age at Rock City. (There are 400 native plant species on the trail...thank you Frieda Carter!) I well remember the Fat Man's Squeeze (like the name implies, a stretch where the rocky mountain sides are close together and you have to squeeze through!)  Also, that there were two bridges across a very deep was a beautiful sturdy stone bridge and the other one was a ...wait for it, a swinging bridge, that was very scary to me! The views from the top were amazing...and you could see why it was called Lookout Mountain!

I wish I could proclaim from the rooftops...see nature and enjoy it wherever you are!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

An Algorithm For Natural Beauty?

For anyone who reads my blog, you should know that I like to read the BBC online. Recently, I was surprised to read a story about beauty... you may read it yourself just here.  Now, for those of you who can't be bothered to click on that link, I will tell you anyway! (Also, I have a thing to say about the electronic music used on is dreadful!) Researchers at the University of Warwick have developed an algorithm to rate images from one to 10 for natural beauty. This will supposedly be helpful in the preservation of places of beauty.   Okay, that is fair enough...but all of that work and bother when honestly, there is a much SIMPLER way to know...they should have called me!  You know I would tell them, right?

Years ago, I read that the most successful blogs have a "theme" and for those that are lacking a central focus, they are doomed to failure.   Oh dear, I thought, my little blog will be a dud.   I asked my son what would he say my blog was all about.  His reply was prompt: "That's easy, Mom.  You search for beauty."  

Who needs an algorithm for determining scenic beauty?
Not me!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Glen Campbell "Skippin Over The Ocean Like A Stone"

So sad to hear that Glen Campbell died today. I have written some posts about him before.  Even though he is no longer with us, we still have his music and that is forever!  His last album was released earlier this year, "Adios".  I am glad that he liked the Harry Nilsson song "Everybody's Talkin' At Me" too.

Everybody's talkin' at me
I don't hear a word their sayin'
Only the echos of my mind
People stop and stare
I can't see their faces
Only the shadows of their eyes
I'm goin' where the sun keeps shinin'
Through the pourin' rain
Goin' where the weather suits my clothes
Bankin' off of the northeast winds
Sailin' on summer breeze
And skippin' over the ocean like a stone
I'm goin' where the sun keeps shinin'
Through the pourin' rain
Goin' where the weather suits my clothes
Bankin' off of the northeast winds
Sailin' on summer breeze
And skippin' over the ocean like a stone
Everybody's talkin' at me
Can't hear a word their sayin'
Only the echos of my mind
I won't let you leave my love behind
No I won't let you leave
I won't let you leave my love behind

 "Everybody's Talkin" by Harry Nilsson was a big hit in 1969.  It was in the Dustin Hoffman/Jon Voight movie, "Midnight Cowboy".  I always loved the song even though I was too young to see the film. 

"Skipping over the ocean like a stone"... I couldn't understand  that last word but came to know that must be the lyric when I was in England and was taught how to throw stones across the water.
The photos above are from the beach in England in 1985. Can you recognize us?  That would be Richard and myself with his parents, who have always looked like models! 

Let me know if you remember the posts that I did about Glen Campbell.  Take the time to find the videos of him playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. What an incredibly gifted man. There is an obituary from a newspaper from England, "The Guardian" that is well worth reading.  You may find it just here.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Fractured Fairy Tales/Talky Tina/ Cindy Lou Who-June Foray

Last week, June Foray died at the age of 99.  She was known as the "Cartoon Queen" as she voiced so many characters over several decades.  I knew that she had been the voice of "Rocky" from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" and also the voice of "Granny" from Sylvester and Tweety.  I now know that she was also the voice behind the wonderful Cindy Lou Who on "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"!  Not only did June Foray use her voice on cartoons but she was ...wait for it...the voice of the doll "Chatty Cathy"!  (This was hugely popular when I was a young girl. I didn't have one and I can't remember wanting one...but you can guess that I was glad my name wasn't Cathy growing up, I was CALLED Chatty Cathy sometimes. Hmm...I wonder why?  HA!)
Anyway, when Rod Serling wanted to write a story on his "Twilight Zone" show with a talking doll ...who do you think he called? Why, that would be June Foray, of course! (Remember the episode of the scary doll with Telly Savalas?  I sure do, it scared me so!)

June Foray was the voice of "Rocky", as I told you above. It made me of my very favorite things on that show was "Fractured Fairy Tales" and I wondered if she might have done some of the voices on those marvelous clever stories, where they took a well known fairy tale but put a twist upon them. Sure enough, she was!  They were wonderful and very funny.  You are able to watch them on YouTube, that is fantastic! Look some up and see what I mean!
Hey! I found the episode of "The Twilight Zone" with "Talky Tina" (I didn't remember the doll's name.)  Watch it if you dare!
June Foray was a very talented woman.    What a lot of work she did in her long life.  You may read her wonderful obituary just here.
                          This photo looks like something from a fairy tale, but not a fractured one!  Richard can get some of the best shots on our walks! I love the light just around the corner...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Spicebush Swallowtail On A Button Bush (And On Our Impatiens)- My Butterfly

Let's look at butterflies, shall we?  Take some time and take a good look.   The pattern is just stunning and so detailed that it is a marvel to behold.  On the Spicebush Swallowtail above, notice the white dots on the wings and then, the pattern changes into light blue half moon kind of shapes.  The blue on this butterfly? That should mean that it is female whereas the male has a more greenish blue color there.  Notice that the head and rest of the body is black and completely covered in those white dots.   You can see that in the first photo that I have shown you here.  THIS description is just on the top side of this butterfly...

On the underside of this butterfly on the hindwing you can see the most beautiful orange pattern!   This photo was taken through our glass window but the others were taken beside a lake on the wonderful native bush, the  buttonbush!

Did you know in the USA many of the states have an official butterfly?  In Georgia, it is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. ( I took the photo of the one above when I was at home during my lunchtime.  It is a female also...once again because of the blue. )  Want to see the list of all the state butterflies? Sure you do!  You may see the list AND their photos right here!)

Have you ever noticed what people type into a search engine to get to your blog?  Once someone typed this for mine:  "Does it get hot in Georgia?"  The answer to that is: YES, it gets very hot, especially chasing after butterflies!
I have more butterflies to show you but that will have to wait until next time!  Let's have a bit of music now, what do you say? 

These are two videos of the same song but the first one has better photos of butterflies but the second one has the lyrics listed in French and in English, so you know me...I gave you both of them!
Look at the butterflies and enjoy their beauty!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Miranda Hart- Such Fun!

Let's be honest, you like to laugh, don't you? You like the people who make you laugh, right?  Then, you should like Miranda!
"Miranda" is a fantastic comedy from England starring Miranda Hart. She is not only the star but also the creator and writer!
(You might remember Miranda Hart from some episodes of "Call The Midwife". The very tall one, I think her character's name was "Chummy".) 

 This show is so funny!  Very often, I will chuckle over it and giggle,  but sometimes it makes me howl with laughter! The writing is very clever and Miranda with the other actors make up such a great ensemble. It is a pleasure to watch and listen to witty dialogue.  And Miranda...well, what can I say...for someone to go on a job interview and then to begin SINGING...why no, I have never done that myself, but if you know me, you know I have wanted to!

Another thing about the music...sometimes at the end of the show, they will have a song that all the actors will somehow join in...either singing or dancing, and it just makes the perfect ending.

"Miranda" ran from 2009 until we haven't seen all the episodes here in the USA!  Why, I just read that Miranda MARRIED her gorgeous Gary (played by Tom Ellis) at the end of the last season! What! We missed that one!
Also, I have been reading that maybe, just maybe, the series will be renewed and new episodes will be made.    Such fun! is a word that I must say..."plinth".  It just sounds good doesn't it?   (This is the sort of thing that Miranda will say, and it might not seem that funny but it is the WAY that she says it, it makes it very giggle worthy.)

I don't wish to put anyone on a pedestal or plinth. (Yes, I had to say it.) I just wanted to let you know that this is one British comedy that is most certainly my cup of tea.  

Let me know if you like Miranda Hart as much as I do! Not only witty and intelligent, she is also very involved with charities and that is the kind of person that I most admire- a nice one. You may read more about her just here.  It sounds as if she comes from a wealthy background but hey, I won't hold that against her! Laughing out loud! (When is the last time anyone typed that out, I wonder?)

"Thank you and kind regards".

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Great British Baking Show/Goldfinch

Looks like I am not the only one who finds comfort from my British shows, I have a link to a writer urging Americans to watch "The Great British Baking Show" may read it just here.

"The Great British Baking Show" is being shown on our public television stations just now in the USA, so check your local listings!  It is AMAZING! If you miss it, you will be sorry even if you don't normally watch cooking or baking shows, you should like this one.  (Soggy bottoms, makes me giggle every time.)
Oh, and by the is called "The Great British Bake Off in the UK...I guess the networks just had to change the name for us just to be different!

Keep in mind, the show that we are watching just now in America will be completely changed next year...the witty hosts and the marvelous judge, Mary Berry will no longer be with the show.  It won't be on the BBC but instead on their rival network, ITV.   I mourn this fact!  I very much have enjoyed watching "The Great British Baking Show".  Not only are the bakers very good but they are just so doggone nice to each other, it is a pleasure to watch.  So much better than watching...well, just about anything else on American TV right now! Hey, don't fuss at me, I am not the only one to say that link that I gave you above and you will see!

                                      American goldfinch on sunflower seedhead ( This photo is from last year!)
During the filming of this show from England, right after the break and before they get back to the bakers, they will often show what is outside the baking tent: cheerful yellow buttercups, green grass and if you are lucky, you might see a bird that lands close by on a tree. Today, we saw an American gold finch on my Dad's sunflowers.  When we got home and watched "The Great British Baking Show" that we had recorded, we saw a bird on there that Richard THOUGHT was the European goldfinch and looking it up, he was right!  It somehow looked familiar to me, and I couldn't think why that seemed I had seen it in a painting somewhere.  I realize now that I know it was because it featured on the book by Donna Tart, "The Goldfinch".  (Has to do with a painting at the Met in NYC, apparently.)    

You all know that I hardly read any fiction, so it is surprising to me that I recognized the bird from the book cover!

The fact that I have mentioned the name "Donna TARTT" just goes right along with this post about a baking show, don't you think? And if you know how "punny" the hosts of the show can be, you will see what I mean!

  "The Goldfinch" by Carel Fabritius , 1654 (The painting at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.)       From Wikipedia.

Remember, try and see this season of "The Great British Baking Show" if you can.
It must have already been shown in England, so you all might know who won...but don't tell me! (I have seen some of the shows while I was in England, visiting there...and you must know that is one of the most popular shows on the TELLY! My relatives in England say "telly"!)

Right now, it is has gotten down to the last four bakers!
Also, if you watch the show, look at everything that they show you, even the nature bits in between!  We love our gold finches, in America and in England!