Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pyrite in the Snow

It snowed a few days ago but it was light accumulation. The icy and cold conditions did contribute to 100 or so auto accidents. Here is a picture of pyrite ("fools gold") found in the New Albany Shale found in the Louisville area.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I try to fit Charles Dickens 'A Christmas Carol' into my Christmas Eve or Christmas day.  My family ended up watching a variation of the story in the movie 'Scrooged' (1988).  The movie has some great lines that can be quoted throughout the year.  In addition, I got to hear the ending of reading of 'A Christmas Carol' on NPR, I think it was Iowa Public Radio.  I try to read it during Christmas each year but the radio show might have to do for 2009.

Here is a sketch of Charles
Dickens in 1842 around the
time A Christmas Carol was
first published.
Image from The Life of
Charles Dickens by
John Forster, 1907.

To quote the end of the story, "and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last of Billbergia nutans Flowers

Pictures of the Billbergia nutans (Queens Tears) flowers. There were 6 plants and 4 of them produced a red bloom stalk. Each stalk had between 6-8 blooms and they finished blooming in the second week of December.  I hope to see the plant bloom in 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Queens Tears Flower

More flower pictures of the Queens Tears (Billbergia nutans). Flower is located in Louisville, Kentucky and tends to bloom in late November or early December.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wolfe Creek Meteorite

Here are some pictures of a meteorite found at the Wolfe Creek Crater in Australia. It is on display on the second floor of the Louisville Science Center in the Sky Tracker exhibit area.

It is thought that it is part of large meteorite that hit the Earth over 300,000 years ago. It was discovered by science in 1947 during an aerial survey.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Monday, December 07, 2009

Exotic Queens Tears Flower

It appears this plant is a Billbergia nutans or "Queen Tears".   The flower is a rich array of colors (red, blue, green, purple, yellow).  First a red stalk emerges from the center of the plant.  Colorful "tear" shapes drop out of the stalk as the stalk leans parallel to the ground.  The purple/blue/green tears then begin to open into three petal flowers. Each petal has a purple outer rim with a greenish center.  This plant first bloomed for me right after I received it in November 2007.  The bloom stalks started to appear in late November and the blooms began to emerge on December 3, 2009.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Plasma Ball

Here are some pictures taken of a plasma ball at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. I must say that have some very nice science exhibits using some cool display technologies in the building. Most of the science center is aimed at small to grade school level children with the exception of the astronomy area.  Highly recommended if you have children in this age group or if you are interested in astronomy .

10 second exposure shot of the plasma ball in action.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Indiana Magazine of History Journal Database

Published since 1905, the Indiana Magazine of History is of the America's oldest historical journals. 

They have a great database that allows users to read the content of journals for the years 1905-2007.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Honey Colored Dogtooth Calcite

Honey colored dogtooth calcite crystals that form in clam shell fossils. These specimens were found in Okeechobee County, Florida.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Kentuckiana Digital Library


Here is a neat web site I recently found.  It contains over 550,000 items about Kentucky-Indiana area (Kentuckiana).  I am looking forward to when then have some older issues of the Louisville Courier Journal on-line in Fall 2010.

To quote the web site's mission statement, "The Kentuckiana Digital Library is your gateway to rare and unique digitized collections housed in Kentucky archives. These digital collections are built to enhance scholarship, research and lifelong learning."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nashville City Cemetery

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I visited Nashville, Tennessee. Some spare time became available, so I made a quick visit to the cemetery in Nashville that is home to the grave of Dr. Gerard Troost. Dr. Troost is tied to Louisville because his mineral/fossil collection is stored at the Louisville Science Center (former Natural History Museum of Louisville founded in 1871).  Dr. Troost was also active in the New Harmony, Indiana utopian community in the early 1800s.  New Harmony is about 131 miles driving distance from Louisville, Kentucky.

The Nashville City Cemetery Association should be commended for their work in maintaining and cleaning up this cemetery (established 1822).  I found it to be a clean and peaciful place that is the final resting place for a number of past residents of the city.  The website is excellent and the records there helped me find Dr. Troost grave in section 29.1 near the cross section of Pine Avenue and Maple Avenue (inside the cemetery).  The 1909 records show the grave at Section M-29, Lot 25 belonging to Mary Troost.

Panoramic images of part of the cemetery

The grave of Gerard Troost, M.D.; Ph. M. born March 15, 1776 (Bois-le-Duc, Holland) and died August 14, 1850 (Nashville, Tenneessee).  He was a Professor of Chemistry and Geology at University of Nashville, 1828-1850.  I think that university was merged into what is now Vanderbilt University.

Apparently, this grave marker is not the original and might be from 1905-1906.  According to The American Geologist A Monthly Journal of Geology and Allied Sciences, Editor N.H. Winchell, Volume XXXV, January to June 1905.  The article is in the February 1905 section entitled Gerard Troost by L.C. Glenn, Nashville, Tenn. pages 72-94.

To quote from the article on pages 89-90, "He sleeps in an unmarked and neglected grave in an obscure corner of the old city cemetery of Nashville.  The State will be asked at the coming session of the legislature to place an appropriate marker over his grave and thus rescue from oblivion the last resting place of one who gave much of his time and skill to the service of the State in making known the existence or extent of natural resources whose later development has brought wealth and prosperity to their fortunate possessors.  The portrait herewith reproduced is from a portrait in oil belonging to the Tennessee Historical Society."

I took this picture of the grave of Henry Langford, a War of 1812 veteran.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Louisville Kentucky Skyline

Skyline of Louisville, Kentucky as seen from the bank of the Ohio River on the Jeffersonville, Indiana side.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tropical Fish at Falls of the Ohio

Tropical fish seen at the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I found a pile of gravel locally and started to study the rocks within it. Here are some pieces of fluorite I picked up and photographed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Diet Coke in Paris

Of course, Diet Coke is known by a slightly different name in Europe. The product is Coca-Cola Lite. The very recyclable glass bottle is used with this one posing in a cafe near the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

It was nice to see the distinctive glass shape of the Coca-Cola bottle still in use.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mottainai -- Thrifty Mind

Here is a rug on exhibit at the Carnegie Center for Art & History located at 201 East Spring St., New Albany, Indiana 47150, 812-944-7336. It is part of the Stripes: United States/Japan Traveling Hooked Rug Exhibit III 2009 on display till October 24,2009.

After viewing this rug, I learned something new about Japan. The term mottainai which translates to "don't waste". Recycling should be a big part of our society and this rug reflects this sentiment.

The description card reads:
"Thrifty Mind
Keiko Ito
Okszaki City, Aichi-ken Japan
The Japanese idea of mottainai ("don't waste") is now known worldwide. I hope the spirit of a frugal lifestyle of giving new life to a disused article and of thanking will always spread. The materials used for this rug were all recycled wool."

A close up of some of the stitching work.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Harvest Homecoming Festival - New Albany, Indiana

The Harvest Homecoming Festival has come and gone for this year. I volunteered with the Habitat for Humanity booth which seems to doing a good job at collecting donations for its 20th and 21st houses now under construction.

Below is a picture of the Corydon Dulcimer Society getting ready to play another song. My cousin is one of their members and I always look forward to hearing them play every year. Also her parents usually attend as well but due to a scheduling conflict I did not get to see them. Fortunately, I saw them later in the evening at a wedding.

Learn more about the Corydon Dulcimer Society at their website: http://www.corydondulcimersociety.org

Sunday, September 27, 2009

IdeaFestival Sidewalk Art

Volunteered at IdeaFestival again this year. It is held in Louisville, Kentucky and the main hosting site changed to the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Due to scheduling issues I did not work as much as I have in the past. My first volunteer session was helping at Hotel 21c on Main Street. It is like an art gallery that moonlights as a hotel.

My second session was with artist Julian Beever on the festivals last day. This artist is world renowned for creating artistic illusions on sidewalks. This first picture shows the tent that was covering the sidewalk with an IdeaFestival banner. The artist is sitting down. The tent was needed because it has been so rainy these past days. He has worked on the mural from Wednesday till Saturday. Find out more about the artist at his website.

Here is the partially completed artwork. The main theme seemed to deal with floating flower planters. It incorporated one planter sitting on the sidewalk in front of the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

Here is the artist Jullian Beever preparing for a picture shot of him appearing to crawl along the edge of the pastel overpass he has created on the sidewalk.

My time helping him, he seemed like a very friendly and easy going person. I am glad he accepted a commission to do an artwork in our city over this last week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Flowers at Lake Cumberland Kentucky

Here are some pictures taken at Lake Cumberland, Kentucky last weekend. The weather was great and a lot of people were out on the lake to celebrate the end of the summer boating season.

The next set of pictures were wild flowers growing along the shore of the lake.