Friday, August 29, 2008

Vegetables are good for the ears - the carrot clarinet

Linsay Pollak drills out a thick carrot, fasten his clarinet mouth piece on top, and a kitchen funnel at the other end, then plays a fine and precise duet - with himself.

Who this guy is? He is an Australian instrument maker.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Flickr photo on Copenhagen map service for iPhone

Schmap is a city map service illustrated with people's pictures. Last summer they got my permission to use one of my photos from Copenhagen from my Flickr album (makred as Common . I think it is a fine photo, showing a statue of a famous artist, Svend Wiig Hansen in the foreground, and on the other side of the canal, in the background the government building of Christiansborg castle church, with its new roof after a recent fire (caused by careless, playful fireworks, not a terror raid).

Schmap sent me a link to a sample page , the photo shown there has my name and with a click, brings you to my Flickr album. I know, they are doing a budget version with no costs for the professional photographer, but that was my choice to put up my photos with Common rights.

This is my masterpiece :-)


Incredible cream egg installation

I found this crazy home grown factory installattion for transport and final breaking of - chocolate cream eggs.
This could have found inspiration by world renowned, at least in Denmark, H. Storm P. satirical philosopher and last but not least inventor.

I'm in the nostalgic corner because this Monday we had a farewell get-together (not funeral)for my father who passed away a month ago. And, in the true spirit of his absurd minded character, our little ceremony took place in the very museum for Storm P. on Fredeiksberg in Copenhagen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My knowledge bank - how to combine fact with own insight

After a long life's information gathering,some of this has become shelfware, stored in my brain repository for eventual later retrieval. Botany and the medical uses of plants has a special instant acceible shelf, that is even sorted alphabetically by name, by touch , by characteristics (such as roots,leaves, flowers and even perfumes that may trigger my memories).

In last blog post, I shared a favorite story from the past, about a holiday 25 years back in the past. The flashback happened when I saw a photo of a single potted salvia plant, shared on Facebook by a photographer and virtual friend from Texas, Dusty. I had just finished a fine herbal harvest from my garden, a big basket of salvia leaves, spread out on a clean cloth downstairs, because I've just made my husband want to drink this tea, and taken up the good habit of doing so, too.

I commented on Dusty's photo, and he asked for more information about the usage and preparation of salvia tea.

The prescription would be, from how I use the plant:
Take some fresh leaves, or a teaspoon fulll of dried leaves. Put them in a mug, pour over with boiling water, let draw for 10 minutes, use a strainer, or a paper filter. Sweeten with good honey or maple syrup, and drink in little sips, one cup a day.

So I went on Google to find out more details, and stumbled on a 23 pages long report by Dweck on the many usages of Salvia. This was known already by the ancient Egyptians, with more that 120 variants found all over the world! A group of these are known as Salvia Officinalis, proving the old medical reputation as a remedy. The plant was used in a secret recipe that was protecting thives stealing from plague contanimated households, in the medieval times in Europe where the epidemic minimized the population.

Beneficiaries acknowledged today by research range from anti-inflammatory to sweat reducing, two effects that I can recommend from personal experience, to the prevention of Alzheimers'disease because of the content of acetylcholine. Now this makes me even happier that me and my husband have made one cup of this healthy, home grown tea a good regular habit.

Another Google search, however, also revealed that an acient native American habit of smoking sage has had a modern revival. Some crazy videos up on YouTube with people on pipes, performing mad laughter spells, documentation which I will not promote here as I have no personal insight in this usage; however those that I skimmed did look very authentic. Apparently in the US, some variants of this ancient, traditional plant used this way, are by now under the drug restricion laws! Mighty medication industries do not want competition on drugs - but that's the usual story with roots that date back to the times where protestants wanted to remove the power of the Catholic church, banning their monasterial wisdom of medicine, and replacing these with pharmaceutical monopolism ...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nature's wisdom - how salvia officinalis saved our holiday

Do you know the herb called salvia, or sage?

25 years ago, when my kids were 10 and 11, we were invited by friends to hike mearby their summer habitat in Franche-Comté, the Jura mountains. This was our first and only holiday abroad, and their first flight ever. Starting from Copenhagen, landing in Genève and by train far, far out in the countryside where we were picked us in a jeep. The shepherd was crossing the muddy road so that we had to wait for a long, golden moment enjoying the breath taking view over the valley. He was a cartographer, mapping the area, she was our very dear friend from Denmark who had married this French guy, and her daughter age five was excited to have her best friends around, finally being able to speak her own language with kids again. And they found a new friend, too - a little girl from the village, I forgot the name of this village but I remember that she was called Josée, about 8 years old and hungry for company. The children spent much of their time with her, and her parents - in the cow stable. She was a laborious lady, helping her father walk the cows every morning and evening th the common field, les communailles. As the cottage had only one bedroom, we borrowed a tent, that was placed a good walk away, on a cow's field with dung here and there, and often some cows passing by in the early morning just beside our tent, with their bells around the neck. The two weeks passed in relaxed slow motion; we went for long walks every day in the mountains, bringing our lunch, lemonade and tea. Her husband was away for days with his jeep, marking up land, and my friend and I had such great times sharing our thoughths, while the kids enjoyed life in their own ways. The little fearless one always in front, running father and father away so that we had to keep an eye on her, while the boy age 10 was constantly observing something, that demanded him to slow down and lagging behind, such as a snail trail, or a grasshopper. And the girl age 11 wanted to follow the more adult woman's conversation, holding hands for comfort and love. And, she was busy taking her first photos with a new camera. When we came home I realized how kids experience their world; the majority of pictures were showing cows, dogs, flowers or grasshoppers; no landscape eceneries and almost no persons in them.

And then, thiking back on these past days of shared life: the boy became ill, right out there in the nowhere, small village with absolutely no doctor, the jeep and its driver was away on duty. I felt terrible at night when the poor kid coughed more and more desperately and had trouble breathing; the tent was damp, the rain was pouring every night while we had sunshine all day long - a perfect climate for grass and cattle, but not good for a boy with bronchite. This was close to a pneumonia and he had already had too many penicilline cures. His fever was really worrying me, but the next day he was a little better so we decided to let him come along with us for the daily walk, and keep him under observation, And then all of a sudden, I had this sensation in my nose - a special perfume that I felt I should know - there were wild salivia (or sage) growing all over the place! Our little patient immediately started sucking the small, violet flowers for honey, as if he recalled haing had the taste before from this classic medical herb with many good qualities, so I picked a good bag full, and used this for infusions the coming days. He drank several cups a day amd also by night when he started coughing, with honey sweetening the bitter taste. Two days later, he was healed and fresh for fight - although still with some pain in his ear, that gave him a problem when we flied home.

Today, my son is the father of three, making me a granny which is the best that has happened in my life, ever since I had kids of my own breed. This summer we were on holiday together, and on a walk in the rocky landscape of Bornholm (where my kids grew up), he and I recalled this story, and how the herb had cured his illness. And, of course, about the cows and grasshoppers, too.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Connectivism lived - Lee Baber in memoriam

sad news which I only heard today, first from Stephen Downes' stream, then later found out that Lee Ann Baber passed away some days ago. She was a legend,my friend and mentor and trouble shooter every once in a while when my mac was making trouble, or when I tried (even hard) to get to grips with the Webcast Academy experiments on live streaming audio. Lee was a multitalent, she was a teacher and a musician, but first of all I think she was just a kind and helpful person whose imapct on hundreds of people's lives and work is - well, legendary. Connected here and there and ecerywhere. I met her first of all at Tapped In, where she also found her way to the Webheads in Action community, such as myself. I was invited as a guest teacher in her students' class more than once., on one unforgettable occasion, she was having a class of eight students and I was telling some just plain everyday stories, while all of a sudden, our Worldbridge host invited a teacher from North Iraq as a second guest! This fired up under the students with many intelligent and curious questions that were improvised on the fly! What I really admired on this occasion was hot easily Lee justincluded this surprise guest into her virtual classroom. She blogged about this somewhere, I think. We never met in real life, but I had a dream of this would happen just once, and if so we would agree so well. Perhaps in our next incarnation...

BUsy and active Lee was deeply engaged in Tapped In, the webheads, Worldbridges, Second Life and so on and so forth, the last project that I heard of, was the actual 2008 K12online conference where a special memorial page has started.

Connectedness in a given life - making contacts in all directions, and being of help. That's how I will always remember you Lee, and, of course with your banjo on your knee, ready to tune in! Blessed be your work which will enlighten many more people even after your last breath was taken after your earthly body gave up the fight against evil cancer, your star will keep shining.
There must be good karma floating around...