Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Daisy, Daisy- First Song Sung By A Computer

Quick...I must type this post before my eyes give out!

Remember the song the  HAL computer sang in the movie, "2001, A Space Odyssey"?  The song was "Daisy Bell" but most people know it as "Daisy, Daisy".

"Daisy, Daisy...give me your answer do...
I'm half crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage.
But you'll look sweet
Upon the seat of a bicycle built for two!"


In 1961, the IBM 7094 was programed to sing "Daisy Bell" which was the first demonstration of computer speech synthesis.  Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke was one of those in attendance. 

I thought it was interesting to know that Arthur C. Clarke was there to hear a computer "sing" a song for the first time.  As a nod to this, he had his HAL 9000 sing the same song in his book and movie, "2001: A Space Odyssey".  See the things you learn from me?  What, you all knew this?  You should tell me these things!

Have A Nice Daisy!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pineweed- Yellow Blossoms Like Star Jewels



The pineweed is in bloom!
Pineweed, Hypericum gentianoides, has tiny yellow star-like flowers and they are so small that they can be easily overlooked.
Against the grey rock of our local monadnocks, like Stone Mountain, Panola Mountain and Arabia Mountain, they are like small jewels.

You might think that since these leaves look like pines, they would be hard like pine needles, but they are soft to the touch and bend easily in the hot breeze of a July day in Georgia.  What little breeze we have anyway! (My car said 106 degrees today.)


See the photos above?  This is a sign of the flowers that can be found at Stone Mountain in the Quarry Exhibit. (Why isn't this in the Nature Garden there? Who knows?) I think Richard took a better photo of the pineweed than the one they have displayed on the photo!  AND dear reader of this blog, if you have been reading this blog for very long, YOU will know all the names on this sign!
(P.S. We call spiderwort "tradescantia" because that is the botanical name and Richard likes that name better! I must admit, it does sound nice with his accent.)
See the coreopsis and the Yellow Daisy? People will confuse the two, but hey, just look at them! Can't tell the difference? Come and find me, I will set you straight!  HA!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Best Musical Moment- What's YOURS?

Christopher is on the left!

Hey! What is your best musical moment?  Have you seen a band or a singer that you will never forget, one that you will recall with pleasure for the rest of your life?  Do tell, I want to know!

I have heard Paul McCartney sing "Yesterday" on the stage with just his guitar.  That is a fantastic memory for me but that is not the BEST one!  My most treasured musical memory is seeing our son play at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta, Georgia!   Christopher is not only a good singer and guitarist but he is also a songwriter.  If there is one thing you might have learned from my blog, I have a very high regard for songwriters!  

It was two years ago that Christopher was on stage and it is my hope that I will be a member of the audience again and see him perform once again!  What a joy! 

P. S.  Love you son!   And you know another BEST musical moment is the song that I sung to you after you were born! You know the one!  xx 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

London - The Hardy Tree - Where's Kay?

Richard and I like to watch our British TV shows.  Quite often, there will be a mention of some historical landmark and we find it quite interesting.  On an episode of "New Tricks",  we were shown a train station in London and very close to it, a church with the gravestones stacked against an ash tree in the church graveyard.  It is called "The Hardy Tree" because the gravestones were placed there by Thomas Hardy. (Yes, the famous author of "Far From The Madding Crowd").  Before he became a writer, Thomas Hardy studied architecture in London and it was his job to supervise the removal of bodies and tombstones from the church graveyard of St. Pancras Church in order to build a railway station there. 

When I looked at more photos of this, the black fencing in the churchyard grounds at St. Pancras looked very familiar to me.  The Beatles were photographed there on July 28, 1968 to promote the single "Hey Jude" and the White Album. (It was really their album entitled "The Beatles" but since it had a solid white cover, everyone called it "The White Album"!)  Does anyone else remember the photo that I am talking about?  You would only know this if you studied all the albums from that decade!  Note: After looking at our Beatles albums, we found the photograph inside the red album
The Beatles/1962-1966 and the blue album The Beatles/1967-1970.

Perhaps the photos were taken at the time the White Album was released but they are in the albums I just told you about!  

Okay then, back to Thomas Hardy before the famous four lads from Liverpool came into the picture.  I have always found the writings of Thomas Hardy to be a bit melancholy. Perhaps this is due to the fact that he never recovered from his first wife's death.  It was his wish that he would be buried in the same grave with his first wife.  (He later re-married his much younger secretary.)  His family and friends wished to fulfill his wishes but his executor wanted him buried in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey.  They compromised and his heart was buried with his wife, Emma in Dorset but his ashes are in Poet's Corner. 

If you are ever in London, you must see Westminster Abbey! You know those "Where's Waldo" books?  (In England, they are called "Where's Wally"!)  See if you can spot me in the photo below!

See, I told you I loved the Beatles and children's books...I almost always think of one or the other!

Once again, my friends, I have been very busy at work and have been typing so much that I am thinking of wearing my arm in a kidding!  Take care, everyone and hope you are all well and enjoying the season wherever you are. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bright Pink Flower/Horton Hears A Who


On one of our recent walks, we came across a native plant.  It was the sensitive briar (Mimosa microphylla) and the color was amazing!  (NOTE: The mimosa tree that grows in Georgia is NOT native and is actually considered an invasive species.)
 This flower reminds me very much of one of my favorite books by Dr. Seuss, "Horton Hears A Who".  In the book, Horton the elephant believes that he hears a small voice from a speck of dust. He carefully places the speck upon a pink clover and he tries his best to make others believe that there is a small creature who is in need of help. (This mimosa really looks more like the flower in the book rather than a pink clover!)

Wait, you don't know this story?  Well, everyone should!

"A person is a person no matter how small."


I love Dr. Seuss and his books.  I read "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" to my little sister so often, that I know it by heart! AND of course I had to try and read it in a fake English accent but you know I couldn't read it like Boris Karloff!

So, my friends, tell me...have you been surprised by beauty lately?
And have you ever read a book to a child so often that you know it from memory?


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Till There Was You/Chicken Fat Song

"Till There Was You" is a song written by Meredith Wilson for the musical "Music Man".  (A musical which was made into a great movie starring Robert Preston...if you don't know it, find it and watch it!)  The Beatles had this song on one of their first albums and if you have never heard Paul's sweet vocals and George Harrison's great guitar solo, then please listen to it now, you know I have it here for you!  (This song also reminds me of the movie "The Wedding Singer"...a must see comedy!)

Interesting to know, Sir Paul McCartney controls the rights to Wilson's song catalog.  Just goes to show, if Paul likes your music, he really likes it!  Meredith Wilson wrote a great many songs, among them "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" and "Chicken Fat", a song to help promote fitness under President Kennedy's Presidential Fitness Program, which was used recently in a TV advert for i phone.. (And if you think the voice sounds like Robert is!)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tempus Fugit- High School Reunion


 Hello, my friends!  Guess what?  Richard and I will be going to my high school reunion next month!  It should be fun.  What year did I graduate? Why, 1975!  That means the 40th!  Our yearbook name was "Tempus Fugit" and since that is Latin for "time flies", we at least graduated from high school knowing at least one Latin phrase!  (And it is true, time really does fly.)

Sad to say, many in our class have already passed away and I am sure that there will be fond remembrances of our friends who are no longer with us. 

 I remember almost all the words to our alma mater...if only everything could have been put to music, maybe I would have been a better student.

"High school life at best is passing
gliding swiftly by...
let us pledge in word and deed
our love for Rockdale High.
ALMA MATER, now and ever,
deep graven on each heart,
shall be found unwavering true when
we from life shall part."

Please take a minute to look a the video I have here for you!  It is an ad for Southwest Airlines and shows a woman going to her 20th reunion.  Hey, I might not look like her but I will have the same attitude.  You gotta just smile and charge ahead through whatever!

Georgia Girl With An English Heart on Arabia Mountain!


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Enjoy The View

No matter where you are in the world, take some time to enjoy the view!  That photo above is of Peter in England with his dog, PeTe by his side. (PeTe is spelled that way, but it is pronounced Petey...and you know I say PeeDER instead of Pe-tuh, the way I am supposed to!)  Peter is my dear father-in-law and doesn't he look elegant gazing wistfully from his front door?  Quite dapper, I would say! 
The photo was taken by Joan, Richard's mother and you could say that Richard got his photography skills from his Mum.  I think he might have!  Good one, Joan!  We love this!

Remember my post about Brasstown Bald?  When we walked back up the trail when the sun came out suddenly, Richard snapped a quick shot of the white clouds and it looked so much like this postcard that I wanted to show you the card. 
Also, we saw a lovely sunset that evening and we could only imagine how lovely it would be to view it from Brasstown Bald.   
Here are just a few views that Richard and I have seen lately...

This is steeper than it looks, TRUST ME.

Grandiflora coreopsis....they are GRAND indeed!
All of these are from Stone Mountain from last weekend except that first one of the pink flower...that is a "glad" from our front yard (or GARDEN, if you are British!)
Hope you are finding beauty wherever you are!
And to my friend Pat on the Isle of Lewis, hope you enjoyed the views of OUR Stone Mountain!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Brenda Lee And Peter Noone/ At GA Mountain Fairground!

Please forgive me if I keep telling you about our trip to Hiawassee a few weeks ago.  I really don't get out much!  I noticed some signs there for the Georgia Mountain Fair.  I looked it up to see who might be performing this summer.  To my surprise, Brenda Lee will be there on July 18th and Peter Noone with Herman's Hermits will perform on July 24th.  Gee, I wish I could see them both. 

Brenda Lee is also a Georgia girl. She was born in Atlanta and she  lived much of her childhood in Lithonia, which is very close to Conyers! Brenda Lee began performing at a very young age.  When her father died she became the main financial support for her family at the age of ten.  During the 1960's she had 47 US chart hits, being ranked 4th during that time only surpassed by Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Ray Charles.  Pretty good company!
Brenda Lee has always enjoyed great popularity in the United Kingdom. In fact, her opening act in the UK in the early 60's was,,, The Beatles!

THE BRITISH INVASION!  If you don't know what that means, you didn't live during the 1960's.  I loved all the British bands!  The Beatles were a huge favorite, but I loved them all including Herman's Hermits.  The most wonderful thing, we also had great American bands and singers and all of this was playing on the radio, all at the same time!   It was wonderful, truly it was and even as a kid, I thought it was a special time for music.

Peter Noone has been the lead singer and front man for Herman's Hermits since the age of 15.  Born in Davyhulme, Lancashire, he attended college in Manchester and was on a very popular soap opera in England, "Coronation Street"!  He won the Outstanding Young Musician Award at the Manchester School of Music.
I wonder if Brenda Lee and Peter Noone are friends?  They should be, they have the background of being in the music business from a very young age!

Peter Noone.jpg
 The mountains are calling to me again, in more ways than one!
P.S.  The Georgia Mountain Fairground does not know me from a hole in the ground. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Brasstown Bald, Georgia

Parking lot at Brasstown Bald...where is everybody?
Brasstown Bald is Georgia's highest mountain with an elevation of 4,784 feet.  On a clear day, you can see four states...on a cloudy day, you MIGHT see four feet in front of you!  

The name is really from a Cherokee word that means "place of fresh green' but since it sounded similar to the word used for "brass", it was called Brasstown Bald. 
There is a fee of $5.00 per person.  This includes a shuttle from the parking lot which takes you to Brasstown Bald.  Now, if you don't want the shuttle but prefer to walk the trail instead, does this mean you don't have to pay? Fat chance, you pay anyway!  Oh well, we need our exercise and if it helps to keep it as a park, it's worth it.  Here is how it is described on the Georgia Trails website...

 It would probably be better to call this footpath up and down instead of in and out. Although difficult, this is an excellent hike for most people. Frequent stopping places along the path make it achievable for most hikers. As you climb from the parking lot to the summit the change in flora is the equivalent of walking a thousand miles further north. 

There is a large observation tower on the top of the bald and it is so big that it feels as if you are on a ship at sea.  On this day, like a ship at sea in a heavy fog.  It felt very nice to us though, it had been in the 90's but look at this....

We enjoyed the cooler weather!  There is a museum at the top telling you about the history of Brasstown Bald and it is well worth a visit. Remember my post about the trout and I mentioned Arthur Woody?  Turns out, HE is the man who is also responsible for the Brasstown Bald observation tower. You may read more about this one man who made such a difference to this area just here. 

  We were there for two hours hoping that the clouds would blow away.  When we decided it was time to go, we left, watching some people arrive dressed in bright Hawaiian shirts wearing leis (they were there for a wedding) and we started back down the very steep path. 
We had walked for about 200 yards and the sun came out! You know what we did.  We promptly turned around and raced back up!
(I say we raced, we walked back up as quickly as we could. We did not want to miss seeing the views!)

                         It went from this...

To this!


You can see that it was still quite hazy with cloud but at least we could see the valley below and a bit of blue sky!  We want to go back and hopefully see it on a clear day.  That Georgia Trails website said that in the autumn, "it is a wonder to behold".  I believe it! 

We couldn't stay much longer, we had to get back to our hotel and get gussied up for the wedding that night.  Great day on a mountain and that evening, a lovely wedding beside a mountain stream!

In March, 1997, the Hale- Bopp Comet was photographed from the top of Brasstown Bald.  We were in England at the time and we saw it there, but not as clearly as this!


Friday, July 3, 2015

The Appalachian Trail In Georgia

The Applachian Trail is a hiking trail in the eastern United States from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia.  (About 2200 miles total).  When we were in the North Georgia Mountains recently for a wedding, I thought we might be able to spend a few minutes hiking on the famous Appalachian Trail...

In places, the AT is very much like a ditch, it must get very muddy in the rain!

See the white mark on the tree, just above that shaft of sunlight?  That is what you look for to make sure you are on the trail!
It is hard to convey how lovely this really was early morning, there was a cool breeze blowing and the sun dappled trail was so inviting but this was also Father's Day and we had to get to my Dad's!

The Holiday Inn in Hiawassee is close to the AT and they have a hiker box for the hikers when they are in the area.  I thought that was a nice touch. 
This is the lobby of the hotel...can you imagine hiking for miles and miles and stopping for one night to stay in a hotel and how nice it would be to sleep in a bed?  And think of those comfy sofas and chairs and how grateful you would be to rest there after a long hike!

One really do have to be careful about bears.  In 2009, my brother-in-law did a charity run on the Appalachian Trail at night.  He and his buddies mixed up some power-ade type drinks on the back of his car.  When he returned to his car the next morning after his run, the car looked as if someone had been at it with a giant can-opener!  Those long scratches that you see on this vehicle were made with bear claws!  (The only bear claws that I want to see involve pastry!) 

Hope all my American friends enjoy the 4th of July weekend, from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam!
And to all my other friends in the world, hope you have a great weekend too!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sad News for Bird Watchers/Have A Happy 4th

A few years ago, I mentioned that my husband and I like to look at a live cam of an osprey nest. This is the fourth year that this has been done and it is on Hog Island in the state of Maine. Beginning in April,  one can watch the ospreys build the nest, lay the eggs and wait for the eggs to hatch.  You watch the babies grow as the parents work very hard to feed them.

 A very sad thing just happened... the osprey parents had two baby birds in the nest and when they both left the nest, a bald eagle SWOOPED down and took the babies! Gee, that makes me sad but that is nature for you. 

You may read about it on the Audubon website here.

On my last post, I showed you a flower that bloomed from a plant that my brother had given us.  I am showing you some flowers from a few years ago that also bloomed on our front porch.  We had these plants for years but just this past year, we had some very cold weather and they did not survive their winter home in the garage.
They were amaryllis and we had red ones, white ones and a very pale pink one. We had them for years and I mourn the loss of them.
Once again, that is nature for you.


As you can see, Richard is not only a talented photographer but a gifted gardener as well!  In America, we would say that he has a "green thumb" but in England, they say "green fingers"!
By the way, did you see the guard that was taunted by a tourist at Windsor Castle and his reaction?  It's priceless.  I notice that it is an American tourist. Dang it.  I keep finding bad news to tell you.

On a happy is almost the 4th of July and I hope to watch one of my favorite movies, "Yankee Doodle Dandy".   That is such a great movie, it is perfectly cast. I love that the actress who plays Jimmy Cagney's sister was his sister in real life.
(My sister has been visiting here and she just saw Tom Cruise filming a movie in Madison, Georgia!  If you see a pretty blonde in the background of the movie "Mena", that might be Pam!)