Monday, March 27, 2017

the best medicine

Yesterday I was sick with a fever and cough. Today I feel much better, especially after getting a good laugh from this clip of the Canadian kids' show Nanalan. The sweet show moves rather slowly, but I just love the parts when the neighbor, Mr. Wooka, puts on puppet shows for Mona and Nana.  The puppet's puppets are always wonderfully crudely handmade, lively and hilarious, and even more adorable than the main characters. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

children's books

Here are some more fun books about mice, all written and illustrated in very different styles, yet all fun and visually pleasing in their own way.

Trubloff is the name of a mouse who lives with his family in the walls of the bar at an inn.  He loves to hear the traveling gypsies play music, and he runs away with one group to learn to play the balalaika. His mother falls ill from worrying about him, and his sister miraculously skis many miles and finds him.  They ski through intense storms back to the inn only to learn that the innkeeper is about to get even more cats to drive their family out!  That same night, the musicians are late, so Trubloff entertains the guests at the inn.  The innkeeper is delighted, and he lets the mouse family live there forever.  Trubloff's brothers and sisters learn to play instruments, too, and people come great distances to hear their band play.  Written and illustrated by John Burningham, the story is half a book upside down from the other half, Petunia, I Love You.
 The Mouse and The Egg, written by William Mayne and illustrated by Krystna Turska, is a funny story because the mouse is not really part of it.  Like the reader, he watches from afar and sees that Grandfather is discontent with his daily egg. The mouse nervously ties knots in his very long tail as he watches what happens when Grandfather asks the speckled hen for something different.
The Bravest Mouse, written and illustrated by Maria Barbero and translated by Sibylle Kazeroid, is the classic story of a timid mouse who bells the cat.  A cute addition at the end shows how all the little mice want to look just like their hero.  Even with a little tweaking, the colors in the images here don't come close to their real hues or vividness; they really glow more brightly, especially corals in the mouse ears.
Mouse Trouble, written by John Yoeman and illustrated by Quentin Blake, is a fun story of mice who save a cat.  The nasty miller is angry with his new lazy fat cat because his windmill is still full of mice. He tries to drown the cat in a bag in the river, but the mice fool the miller and switch the cat with a horseshoe and his wife's fur coat.  Now the mice have even more fun in the windmill!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

slinging slang

This little dictionary from 1944 is divided into three parts: American Slang, Military Slang, and Jive Jargon. It's interesting that most of the words and phrases have been adopted into normal language since it was published. Here are a few of the fun ones that haven't:
Embalming fluid was coffee and red ink was red wine.  
Blue pig, tanglefoot, and tiger sweat were all names for whiskey.
Piffle meant nonsense and pifflicated, drunk.
To grub and to bone were to study hard.  
Lunch hooks were hands and mudhooks were feet.
A knockdown was an introduction and low-down meant soft, sweet and slow, as music.
A sockdollager was something unusual or remarkable; a smashing success.
And that's the straight goods (the truth)!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

tuning in

It's fun to use the TuneIn app to listen to radio stations from all over the world, like Cove FM from Hubbards, Nova Scotia.  Then you'll need the Shazam app to remember the names of oldies you haven't heard in ages, like the fun 1977 Canadian hit "We're Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)" by Trooper.


I recently got a set of four neat little books at a bag sale, Japanese Art by Alain Lemiere published in 1958.  Curiously the second one is in French, but I can understand a bit of it. Here are just a few pictures to show a sampling of the interesting art inside. 
Amida rising behind the mountains by Konkai Komyo-ji (8th c.)
Sutra of causes and effects (8th c.)
Genji Monogatari Detail: Ladies of the Court by Fujiwara Takayoshi (8th c.)
handscroll of animals (7th-8th c.)
 The Kindaikyo by Hiroshige (1797-1858)
The wind-god by Sotatsu (17th c.)
Tree in Flower by Ogata Korin (1660-1716)