I admit that I came to Madagascar with a head full of preconceived notions, which mostly (thankfully) turned out to be false. My first thoughts of this forested island nation were of humidity, bugs and French–three things I dread. Continue reading “Mad about Madagascar”
The human species is incredibly adaptive. We have exploited essentially every ecological niche thanks to our large brains and tool-making abilities. In colonizing various habitats, humans have shown remarkable resiliency to a variety of climates, from hot and wet tropical forests to the cold arctic tundra and everything in between. Continue reading “A Nice Climate is Good to Have”
His parents were wise, building their nest high under the eaves of the house, where the downspout from the gutter formed a sheltered platform inaccessible to all but the most determined of predators. I noticed them early in the spring, flitting about the back deck, gathering materials for their home construction. Continue reading “The Little Cardinal”
Yesterday, as I was waiting for the train, I leaned against a column at the station and recognized it to be of the Ionic style of columns. From somewhere deep within the recesses of my brain I recalled the 3 basic styles of columns: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. We had been forced to memorize these in elementary school for reasons that escape me to this day. Perhaps the curriculum was a vestigial remnant of the classical education. Rather than teach us Latin or Greek, they taught us about columns instead. Maybe thinking that a smattering of knowledge about classical architecture would help us in some way down the road. Continue reading “Useless Information”
When you use a kerosene lantern every day the globe eventually becomes blackened from soot and starts blocking the light. It’s gradual, hard to notice. But slowly and surely, the light dims. So one day you tear off a piece of discarded newspaper and remove the globe and wipe it clean of soot. It’s not hard to do, the soot wipes away easily. Then you reinstall the globe and light the lantern and wow! It’s like you’ve been blind and had your sight restored. The lamp is now so bright that it almost hurts your eyes. The lamp hadn’t failed to burn, it was doing its job, but something had been blocking its output, keeping it from reaching its full potential. Continue reading “The Light”
Tis the season.
Hooray, it’s time again to celebrate the man who got lost, washed ashore on a land that had already been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, claimed it for his financier, the King of Spain, enslaved its inhabitants, left behind smallpox and syphilis, never really figured out whether he was in Asia or not, and was such an inept and brutal governor that he was jailed by his King.
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Actually the blog is staying right here, but the owner is moving to Botswana. So bear with me in the transition because I may not post as frequently until I get established in my new upscale shack in Gaborone.