When my brother Bill visited from New Jersey last month, one of the places I took him was the Phoenix Zoo. Here are some highlights:
My camera battery conked out before we saw the giraffes, one of my favorite animals at the zoo.
Found on Twitter:
Available as a poster from Electric Lit.
So, I’m guessing a lot of the bloggers participating in the A to Z Challenge will be posting about xylophones today. I’m looking forward to visiting a bunch.
Most people, when they hear the word xylophone, probably picture something like this:
and know it sounds something like this:
And a whole segment of society (Orff-Schulwerk trained teachers and their elementary school students) visualizes something like this:
and expects them to sound like this:
(To be accurate, the above ensemble also includes glockenspiels and metallophones.)
The xylophone is a musical instrument consisting of wood bars struck by mallets. It is ancient, at least 1500 years old, and it originated in Africa or possibly southeast Asia; or perhaps developed in multiple locations.
Last month, my brother Bill visited me from New Jersey, and I took him to the incredible Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. While we were there, I took photographs of as many xylophones (and xylophone-type instruments) as I could, knowing I would need them for this article. (Click on any image below to scroll through enlargements.)
One of my favorite pieces of music featuring the xylophone is Fossils, from Camille Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals.
And who could forget this:
although technically, Brian Jones is playing marimba (which has resonator tubes hanging below the bars to amplify them).
If you have not yet had your full of xylophones today, watch the delightful concert below.
This gallery contains 6 photos.
To be completely accurate, the product commonly referred to by that name is actually called hook and loop fastener. Velcro is the name of the manufacturer. (Disclaimer: In the course of this article, I will probably continue to incorrectly call the product Velcro.)
The ubiquitous hook and loop fastener has hundreds of applications. My favorite use of Velcro is on small children’s sneakers. I bought Velcro shoes for my own five kids (well, maybe not for the oldest; I don’t think they made them then), and as an elementary general music teacher, I spent several hours a week tying shoes of kindergarteners and first graders whose parents were not as forward-thinking as I.
Back in the day I also bought nursing bras equipped with Velcro closures. Pro: they can be operated with one hand while holding a hungry baby. Con: the lovely ripping sound they make when detaching guarantees that you can’t surreptitiously breastfeed your baby in public. All eyes will move toward you as curious bystanders try to locate who just tore their clothes.
Click on this video to learn how hook and loop fasteners were invented:
Velcro can be found wherever sewing notions are sold.
Some of the many uses of Velcro include
And, of course, Velcro can be used to create artwork:
A friend who was a nurse told me that the invention of Velcro revolutionized the taking of blood pressures. Are you old enough to remember blood pressure cuffs with a row of metal hooks and rows of metal slots?
What about you? What is your favorite use of Velcro? Share in the comments below.
Cee Neuner hosts lots of challenges on her blog. I especially like her Share Your World Challenge, and participate whenever the questions speak to me. Here are my responses to this week’s queries:
When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?
I love writing with a pen that flows well, and that would be my first choice. However, I grab a pencil if I think I might be making changes. And if it’s a work-in-progress, like a book or a blog post, all bets are off–edits are so much easier on computer.
What’s your choice: jigsaw, word, maze or numeric puzzles?
I do the sudoku in the newspaper every morning. They get progressively harder during the week (easiest on Monday, most difficult on Sunday). Many weeks I can’t complete any puzzle after Wednesday. Occasionally I’ll get through a whole week of puzzles, only to get stumped again on Thursday.
Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself?
I kind of like it long. My hair is very straight; I’d just as soon not fuss with it. Lately, my hair has been breaking and I’ve been thinking about going shorter. But my hair was long and straight when I met my husband forty-four years ago, and he definitely prefers it long.
List five some of your favorite blogs.
Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
Friday marked the end of an era for us. My husband traded in his 1979 MG Midget for a new Nissan Sentra.
When Greg bought it ten years ago, the Midget was his dream car. However, old cars are labor intensive, and we decided not to continually put money into a car that can’t be counted on to start. I am grateful he now has a vehicle that is reliable, and he won’t have to borrow my car on a daily basis.
As for the coming week, I have a wonderful life, and I look forward to every day.
This gallery contains 10 photos.
Originally posted on ARHtistic License:
Last month I promised I would post about the Unicorn Tapestries that hang in The Cloisters (see my post Cloister Me). They have special meaning for me. I first saw them as a freshman in high school on a field trip. And they figure largely in the mystical fantasy I…
I’m participating in Weekend Writing Warriors, sharing a snippet from the opening of my YA mystical fantasy-in-progress, The Unicornologist:
“You’ve got to give Kate a chance.”
Hillary crossed her arms. “I wish you never married her. We were just fine, the two of us alone. I don’t need a new mother.”
“She’s not trying to take Mom’s place. No one expects Kate to replace Mom in your heart, Hillary. But I love her and she’s my wife. I expect you to treat her with courtesy.”
Hillary blew a raspberry in disgust.
I know it’s short (the limit is ten sentences), but what do you think of this small excerpt from Chapter 1? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please leave your comments below.