Amazing Talent, Art from Wood


53-year-old Sergei Bobkov has patented a unique technique of creating amazing sculptures out of Siberian cedar wood-chips. “It’s not very interesting to do what others can. To create something out of nothing in a completely new way is far more inspiring”. This is how Sergei Bobkov explains the unique form of art that he created. He says many people compare his artworks to taxidermy, because they both look so much like the animals they replicate, but Sergei believes they are as different as light and darkness. Whereas taxidermy is all about death, his wood-chip art symbolizes life. This resident of Kozhany , Russia , has developed his very own technique, that prevents wood-chips from falling apart in time. After creating about 100-150 chips, from 2-3 inch long cedar stick, he puts them in water for several days. Then, making use of his surgical precision, he carves the chips into any shape he needs. Sergey has been doing this for some time now, but he has only created 11 wood-chip sculptures. That’s because just one of these incredible artworks takes around six months to complete, at a work rate of 10 to 12 hours a day, with no days off. Sergei Bobkov focuses on wildlife creatures, and he studies their anatomy for months, before starting work on a  read and see more  here



Why I just love the Cape Town Wine Route



Wine and art go together purrrrrrrrrrfectly


The Story of a Foot


The Story of a Foot

In today’s issue of the journal Nature a new discovery is detailed – the partial remains of a foot of belonging to a hominid that lived between 3 – 4 million years ago. Not only did it walk upright but it could climb trees too. Amazing.

How do they know?
Its big toe is set apart from the rest of its foot, allowing it to grip tree branches, and it had no arch. There are signs in the bones and joints that it walked on two legs.

Over the past millions of years, the human foot has changed to give us a springy step. We have a stout big toe that lines up with the other toes. We also have a stable heel and an arch that distributes our weight when we walk, run or jump according to William Harcourt-Smith of the American Museum of Natural History in New York

‘This find is the first good evidence that there was a second, different species lineage’ at that time, said Tim White, director of the Human Evolution Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley

There are many branches to this large tree!

You can read more here http://www.nature.com/nature/journal

Stuff that Nightmares are Made of.


One has to be careful what you read before bedtime. I was reading that magnificent book – Catherine the Great – Portrait of a Woman, written by Robert K Massie when late at night I came to the chapter on the French Revolution which had an  enormous effect all over  Europe and even so far as  Russia –  especially the beheading of  Louis V1 and Marie Antoinette (which had a great effect  on Catherine).

See Picture in my sidebar  for some or other reason photo uploading is out of order

Then Massie discusses the guillotine which was supposedly a more humane manner of execution because  this sudden ‘chop’ is a quick death BUT there are those who  believe the brain does not die immediately and that awareness still lasts for a while. He mentions  the case of a doctor that did an experiment where he called the persons’ name and saw the eyes focus and the fludder of the eyelids for a moment. And apparently there were more cases of this kind. *shudder*


From its first use, there has been debate as to whether the guillotine always provided a swift death as Guillotin had hoped. With previous methods of execution intended to be painful, there was little concern about the suffering inflicted. As the guillotine was invented specifically to be humane, however, the issue was seriously considered. The blade cuts quickly enough so that there is relatively little impact on the brain case, and perhaps less likelihood of immediate unconsciousness than with a more violent decapitation, or long-drop hanging.

Audiences to guillotinings told numerous stories of blinking eyelids, speaking, moving eyes, movement of the mouth, even an expression of “unequivocal indignation” on the face of the decapitated Charlotte Corday when her cheek was slapped

Read  Here  if you dare!

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2011: Once upon a time, there was a minor German princess named Sophia. In 1744, at the age of 14, she was taken by her ambitious mother–removed from her family, her religion, and her country–to a foreign land with a single goal: marry a prince and bear him an heir. Once in Russia, she changed her name, learned the language, and went on to become the world’s richest and most powerful woman, ruler of its then-largest empire. She is remembered as Catherine the Great.

There may be no better author than Robert K. Massie to take on the daunting task of documenting this most rare of human lives. Massie, a former president of the Authors Guild, is a seasoned biographer of the 400-year Romanov dynasty, most notably with Peter the Great: His Life and World, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1981 and remains one of the most arresting biographies I’ve even encountered.

In his page-turning chronicle of Catherine II, Massie (now 82) compiles the most complete and compelling narrative to date of this singular woman. Married to an incompetent man-child who was unwilling or unable to help her fulfill her primary role–giving birth to a son–she ultimately grew to become a trailblazer among monarchs: friend of philosophical giants, incomparable patron of the arts, prosecutor of multiple wars, pioneer of public health, maker of kings, and prodigious serial lover.

Indeed, her accomplishments and shortcomings as an autocrat and a woman make for a remarkable saga, but that’s not to say that just any author could do justice to Catherine’s lasting legacy. (Many have tried.) Massie situates Catherine’s early life and three-decade reign as empress amidst the tumult of the European Enlightenment, enriching his own narrative with telling excerpts of her letters and rich discussions of her political environment and personal motivations.

Put simply, Massie is just the man to take this endlessly fascinating life and craft an utterly memorable book. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman is a towering accomplishment, one of the year’s best books in any genre. –Jason Kirk

just Marilyn


It is said that a man who is tired of London is tired of life!


But what would you call a man who does not think she is simply beautiful?


Taken by a trusted friend on location while she filmed her first leading role for Niagara in 1953, this picture has never been seen by the public before. It shows the 27-year-old actress on the brink of international stardom. The man behind the camera was Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder, Monroe’s make-up artist .

See more here    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120983/Marilyn-Monroe-poses-27-trusted-make-artist-seen-pictures.html#ixzz1qMENM6DX



I have the book and also the DVD of ‘My Week with Marilyn’ but somehow the fact that another actress was chosen to play this star bothers me tremendously. Almost sacrilege.

 In the early summer of 1956, 23 year-old Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), just down from Oxford and determined to make his way in the film business, worked as a lowly assistant on the set of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. The film that famously united Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams), who was also on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Aurthur Miller (Dougray Scott). Nearly 40 years on, his diary account The Prince, the Showgirl and Me was published, but one week was missing and this was published some years later as My Week with Marilyn – this is the story of that week. When Arthur Miller leaves England, the coast is clear for Colin to introduce Marilyn to some of the pleasures of British life; an idyllic week in which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from her retinue of Hollywood hangers-on and the pressures of work. — (C) Weinstein

Fact or Fiction?


Fact or fFction?

The legend:-
In the mid-eighteenth century, hunters in the Ochamchir region of Georgia (a Province of Russia on the edge of the Black sea) captured a ‘wild woman’ who had ape-like features, a massive bosom, thick arms, legs, and fingers, and was covered with hair. This ‘wild woman’, named Zana by her captors, was so violent at first that she had to spend many years in a cage with food being tossed to her. Eventually, she was domesticated and would perform simple tasks, like grinding corn. She had an incredible endurance against cold, and couldn’t stand to be in a heated room. She enjoyed gorging herself on grapes from the vine, and also had a weakness for wines, often drinking so heavily she would sleep for hours. As Colin Wilson points out in The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Mysteries, this is likely how she became the mother of many children to different fathers. These children usually died when she tried to wash them in the freezing river. The villagers started to take her children away from her and raise them as their own; unlike their mother, the children developed the ability to communicate as well as any other villager. Zana died in the village about 1890; the youngest of her children died in 1954. Her story was researched by Professor Porchnev who interviewed many old people (one as old as a hundred and five) who remembered Zana, as well as two of her grandchildren. The grandchildren had dark skin, and the grandson, named Shalikula, had jaws so powerful that he could lift a chair with a man sitting in it. It is believed that Zana may have somehow been a surviving member a previous evolutionary state of man




Real Friends and Enemies, Who needs Facebook?


When we were kids there was no Facebook We had real friends and yes even  real enemies.

You could see them and talk to them in person. We fought and made up and all was soon forgotten because it was probably just a storm in a teacup. Nobody committed suicide because other kids were spreading nasty rumors that reached the whole school and the neighbourhood with just a click of a button.   We were real kids too. Maybe in a way we learned to deal with real  ‘stuff’.

It did not linger out there in cyberspace to come back at you with vengeance. Because what you say on the internet will float around until the end of time, Google will see to that. (I once read that some will have to change their identity at a later stage because of all that was written by them on FB – when they mature they may  regret it).

But now I see (with some amusement) that you can ‘Not like’ on Facebook and make it known.  No wonder that hate and dislike and aggression take over with the use of social media ? I am just wondering out loudly!

I saw this  in the Daily Mail


EnemyGraph is a new app which lets you add Enemies to your Facebook profile – including real victims from your friends list, or from other users of the app.

You can also declare war on any product, person or company that has a presence on Facebook.

As soon as you have declared someone – or something – an Enemy, they appear on your profile on your Enemies list, visible to other users of the app.

What a Pretty Boy!



This fossil comes from rocks in Northeastern China that are about 130 million years old.


Clothes maketh man?

The uniform that attracts the ladies?


Well the same applied to Microraptor – a pigeon-sized, four-winged dinosaur that lived about 130 million years ago. It was all just to attract the opposite sex.

The mystery of whether feathers evolved to aid flight or attract mates has been solved by researchers studying the flashy plumage of a meat-eating dino-bird.

Scientists from the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Paleontology revealed the colour and detailed feather pattern of Microraptor – a pigeon-sized, four-winged dinosaur that lived about 130 million years ago.

It’s the earliest record of iridescent feather colour and the researchers believe their finding shows that the Microraptor’s plumage was used as a way of demonstrating sexual prowess.

There’s been a lot of speculation about how the feathers of Microraptor were oriented and whether they formed airfoils for flight or whether they had to do with sexual display.

‘So while we’ve nailed down what colour this animal was, even more importantly, we’ve determined that Microraptor, like many modern birds, most likely used its ornate feathering to give visual social signals.’



Photo Jason Broughan


Now go and check the birds in your garden! And imagine the colorful Cretaceous period. Or check parrot on the right side bar. It explains a lot.


Blog Award and Possibility of changing appearances?


Blog Award and Possibility of changing appearances?

Blog Award – My First and Only! Thank You to Roly!

Listen to  the drums.

And I can only pass this on to All of those who comment on my blog because they make me feel so welcome here.
I could not possibly  give this award to only 6 or 7!
Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you
(And now Parrot on my sidebar will perform for you.)

I am still learning this WP blog thingie, but with the slow internet speed it took my about an hour and a half to put up a blog last night. (In the mean time I had a bath, a chat with a friend, read a chapter form my book, wnet outside to get the dogs quiet… etc.)

What I need to know is what happens if I change my appearance regularly, will my widgets and stuff still work? I love to change my environment, cannot change the furniture around (I get serious complaints here) so I can change the appearance of my blog? Or can I?

And how the heck did I end up liking my own post? *shaking my head, rolling my eyes*

The Decision


Was not mine but boy am I glad somebody made it.

(Check View from the Side’s Challlenge.)

I am talking about getting a Kindle.


Loved reading all my life and as a child went to the library and read almost all the books. Even in class, especially in class. Stopped reading novels when I went to varsity because my social life was too important. Took it up when I started to work.

But of late I found that I am an impulsive  book buyer and a lot of the books I did not finish simply because they were not that good. And if you have an obsession like I have, leaving one book for the next before completing  the first one is quite difficult.  It took me 3 months to get through Dan Brown ‘s daVinci Codewishing I never bought the stupid book.

So I read little. And I missed a lot. Never considering a kindle –  a Kindle if you are in love with books?

Then in August 2010 this box arrived with one Kindle .


My reading habits have changed , I used to read mostly non-fiction now I love fiction  too. I can pick and choose and I get to read whatever takes my fancy . You can get the first chapter on appro and then you know.

And I am saving forests! I don’t have to dust . I am green. And happy!  Visitors may borrow my books and never return them,  I don’t mind.


Just one of the book shelves in the house. I can have 3500 books on my kindle. More than I can read in a lifetime for sure. I am slowly boxing  up the paperbacks because the SPCA shop can sell it for proceeds.

Textbooks? No I am not ready for that one yet.



http://sarchasm2.wordpress.com/ will tell you where you can find ‘my’ books.

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