Monthly Archives: November 2011

Flash Mob Dancing In Mumbai

It’s another internet sensation, and I got such a kick out of it. I hope you do too. Just watch:

A bit of explanation: I “know” a guy named Arvind Says who lives in Mumbai, India, with his wife Minal. He’s a friend of other friends — trace the connection far enough back and you would find some people I’ve actually met in the Real World — or at least one! Arvind posted the link to this video on Facebook.

I marveled and wondered as I watched this exuberant video. How did such an event happen? Who was responsible? The train station administrators evidently co-operated. Not a trace of arrogant cops with pepper-spray!

Arvind later posted a link to a Wall Street Journal piece which answers these questions:

Meet The Woman…

I enjoyed the reactions of the passers-by almost as much as I did the choreographed dancing. Just citizens on their way to catch a train or to meet someone at the station, and then this unexpected extravaganza happens!



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Scalzi, Smeagol, Etc.

I’m pretty fond of John Scalzi. He’s a deft and witty writer, and every now and then I go to his site and see what he’s been up to. This is a sequence of tweets he posted while watching a Lord Of The Rings cable-TV marathon; I thought it was quite amusing, but wouldn’t make much sense if you haven’t seen the movies:

Lord Of The Tweets

Only a few minutes later a dubstep treatment of a Gollum scene which Scalzi had mentioned appeared on Youtube:


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Creek-side Encounter

I was running late this morning. I won’t go into the details, which would only be of interest to those who know me, but they included oversleeping and a flat tire.

I was in a hurry, as certain rural folks really do like to get their Sunday papers before noon. I can picture a scene in a farm kitchen:

“That guy in the Ford pickup finally showed up! Here’s the paper, Maude. Look at the obituaries; it seems that Elmer finally kicked the bucket – I’ll bet that Norma is breathing a sigh of relief! Never did like that man.”

At one point I just had to pull over and pee. I stopped at a concrete bridge spanning a creek which had been eating its way through limestone outcroppings ever since the glaciers retreated ten thousand years ago.

During my forced time-out, as golden urine arced over the bridge railing, I saw what looked to be falling leaves fluttering down from the trees which arched over the creek. No, they weren’t leaves, they were birds! A flock of black-capped chickadees was feeding upon red berries of understory trees which still retained their leaves, though the leaves were colored a motley mix of green and yellow, and a winter storm will soon bring them down to join the soft maple and sycamore leaves in the annual compost heap which keeps the creek-side forest nourished. A few of the chickadees in an early-winter tableau:

And here’s a shot of the trees the birds were feeding upon. Best I could do!

I appreciated the way that the young soft maple trunks curve and intertwine!


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Filed under Essays and Articles, Natural History, Photos, Quincy

More Music From Playing For Change

I really don’t know much about this organization of far-flung musicians, but I like the music they play. Here’s another example:

“Stand By Me” is a classic soul song, first recorded by Ben E. King many years ago. The song uses a classic pop chord sequence, sometimes called “the fifties progression”: I vi IV V — in the key of C that would be C Am F G. I’m going to go try it out on my guitar!

Here’s another great one, the Playing For Change people playing a classic Rolling Stones song; Taj Mahal, one of my favorite musicians, contributes!:


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Crime Scenes

A couple of scenes of violence I have encountered recently while out on my newspaper route, way back in the hinterlands of Adams County in West-Central Illinois.

It was just after dawn when I pulled up to a mail and paper box near Payson. The boxes and supporting post had been demolished! Evidently somebody, probably a drunken adolescent in a too-fast pickup truck, had run right over the post not long before, leaving a scene of destruction in his (most likely) wake. The residents of the house seemed not to be awake, as I got no response when I knocked on their door. I didn’t want them to suspect that I had done the deed! A shot, a bit blurry, that I got before I left:

The rectangle towards the upper left is the metal mailbox, while the blue plastic newspaper box can be seen still attached to the uprooted post.

The day before I had stopped at a favorite spot to pee and wander around a bit. In my mind I think of the spot, which is about at the halfway point of my route, as either “Mushroom Dell” or “Break-rib Hollow”, the latter cognomen a reference to an unfortunate incident a few weeks ago. I had been looking at a sycamore tree growing on the bank of a dry creek-bed. One of my feet became entangled in a cunningly-created trap, a network of exposed oak roots, and I fell down into the creek-bed, cracking two ribs when my torso encountered a tree trunk. It took a month to recover from that incident! Oh, well, I’m willing to endure such travails in the interest of getting some good photos!

Here’s a scene of slo-mo violence. Willow trees don’t get very old around here. After about forty or fifty years they succumb to wind or fungus attacks. This willow got blown over and a young clump of basswood received the upper part of the willow’s trunk between two healthy young shoots. The two trees are now engaged in a perhaps unwilling relationship:

I liked how the sun was partially blocked by one of the basswood trunks.


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Filed under Essays and Articles, Photos, Quincy

East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

East St. Louis… not a place to get lost, especially for a white boy like me. Duke Ellington must have had some good experiences there, though. Listen to this classic piece of music:

The plunger-mute wah-wah trumpet is played by Bubber Miley, a pioneer of trumpet tones. Thirty years later the innovative rock band Steely Dan did a cover of the tune, with wah-wah guitar replacing the trumpet:

Here in America, with all its egregious and overly-consumptive faults, we do have rich and varied musical traditions. It’s a shame that oppressive behaviors had to serve as seeds of much of this music!


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A Dramatic Launch

I just loved this animation by UK-based artist Desrumaux Celine. Thanks go to Jennifer Ouellette, one of my favorite science writers, for bringing this to my attention. Jennifer tends to write wittily and well at her blog:

Cocktail Party Physics

Countdown – HD from Desrumaux Celine on Vimeo.

I liked the music as well.

I became curious, a malady to which I am all too prone — what else has this artist done? This one just fascinated me, a WWII phantasmagoria, just take a look:

Yankee Gal from Desrumaux Celine on Vimeo.

It is so interesting that the advent of fast and powerful computers along with supercharged and cheap video software has enabled artists to produce such works!


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