Kitchen counter


It was midnight. I was tired, but I felt like drawing.

My eye fell on some things on the kitchen counter. Here was my pen...

This is what came through bleary eyes.

Parking lot conifer

I had a few minutes Saturday to practice some sketching. This short conifer was in a parking lot on an island between cars. A little scraggly, it looked like it had been pruned a few times. Only about three feet tall, it looks like it will have a good growing year.


Rapping on the plane

The world of commercial airline travel is one of fierce competition. 

Let's face it, the glamour days of civil aviation seem to be behind us.  When you fly in economy class these days, you really do feel like a sardine in a can sometimes.

In North America, reduced-rate airlines like Southwest in the U.S. and WestJet in Canada recognize that travelers have many reasons to grumble.  So, they try to at least lighten the in-cabin mood, and make the experience as humane as possible.  

On WestJet, flight attendants crack jokes with passengers in an attempt to get the idea across that, hey, we're all in this together and we feel your pain.  

On Southwest, David Holmes is making his mark in a different way.  Known as the rapping flight attendant, he invites audience participation in the on-board announcements.

Take a look at him in action.  National Geographic, in its Intelligent Travel web site, points to the YouTube video and follows up with an interview.

What would reserved passengers like the Japanese or the Canadians think of this?


Notes:
Photo credit: Daniel Kwok.  
Thanks for making it available on the stock.xchng photo sharing site.

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A house on a corner


A home in Mississauga. As the milder temperatures set in, buds on the trees begin to open and soon the deciduous trees will become canopies of shade again. At this time of year, homeowners in this suburb are buying dark topsoil to provide a healthy foundation for their lawns and to seed their flower gardens. Some companies deliver this soil in large containers which are delivered at the curb. Gardeners are getting busy so that May will bring an outburst of colour.
I'm listening to the relaxed Cuban sounds of the Buena Vista Social Club and thinking about the warm weather earlier today and how in the boat yards workers are preparing for the sailing season.

I walked by a wooden mast lying horizontally on blocks, freshly painted and varnished, drying in the sun. The varnish brought out the qualities of the wood. The mast drying in the sun contrasted with my thoughts of the woman I saw last night closing a nearby tanning salon. I was walking by when her face surprised me with its artificial hue and odd white lipstick.

This afternoon, latin music floated up from a yacht where other workers were doing some spring cleaning and repairs. Cars were parked on the dock. On the other side of the breakwater, the lake was still and transparent, looking docile and beckoning, like an immense swimming pool. It did not look cold. Has the ice left us for good?

Castles in the air

It's always great to move beyond barriers we perceive to be holding us back. As a new week begins, let us consider these words from Henry David Thoreau:

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."

Elves in Iceland stir comments

An item on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) radio program The Current (still living online) continues to generate some comment in the blog world because it's a somewhat serious current affairs story about -- um-- elves. That's right, elves.  

Picking up a reference in a recent Vanity Fair story about the economic crisis in Iceland,  the CBC explores the belief held by a sizeable percentage of the population that elves and "hidden people" are plentiful in that country. The host of the program also speaks to an Icelandic Elf School about all things elfin.   

Large companies like Alcoa and Ikea are said to have consulted local experts in psychic phenomena before building factories and paved parking areas in order not to disturb these "other" folk living among the human population of Iceland. No company, it seems, wants to be the target of vengeful elves.

The CBC program is quite interesting, because it takes a newsy approach to the story.

Judge for yourself.  

Read the introduction in Part 2 called Elf Assessments and click on the link labeled "Listen to Part Two" on The Current's web page here.
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