Here are two gems from blogsisters Beth and Kathleen:

The Smell of the Future
http://hillcountrymysteries.blogspot.com/2009/07/smell-of-learning.html

Fire Lines
http://www.switchedatbirth.us/2009/07/fire-lines.html

If you haven't already discovered Hill Country Mysteries and Switched at Birth, now's your chance. Be prepared to fall in love.

 
 
Every now and then, we have to go to New York or Boston.  We kind of dread it, but often it turns out to be a great day. A different kind of beauty.
Here's a little postcard of shots taken several weeks ago from a cellphone through the windshield. Yes, that is the Empire State Building and that is Macy's on 34th Street, New York.  Enjoy!

 
 
Thomas L. Friedman, perhaps best known as author of "The World Is Flat," sees golf as a metaphor for life. In today's New York Times, he says:

Golf is played on an uneven terrain designed to surprise. Good and bad bounces are built into the essence of the game. And the reason golf is so much like life is that the game — like life — is all about how you react to those good and bad bounces. Do you blame your caddy? Do you cheat? Do you throw your clubs? Or do you accept it all with dignity and grace and move on...

To read Friedman's entire op-ed, see 59 is the New 30, at: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/opinion/29friedman.html?em


 
 
From The Sunday London Times

July 26, 2009

Women are getting more beautiful
Jonathan Leake, Science Editor

FOR the female half of the population, it may bring a satisfied smile. Scientists have found that evolution is driving women to become ever more beautiful, while men remain as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors.

The researchers have found beautiful women have more children than their plainer counterparts and that a higher proportion of those children are female. Those daughters, once adult, also tend to be attractive and so repeat the pattern.

Over generations, the scientists argue, this has led to women becoming steadily more aesthetically pleasing, a “beauty race” that is still on. The findings have emerged from a series of studies of physical attractiveness and its links to reproductive success in humans.

In a study released last week, Markus Jokela, a researcher at the University of Helsinki, found beautiful women had up to 16% more children than their plainer counterparts. He used data gathered in America, in which 1,244 women and 997 men were followed through four decades of life. Their attractiveness was assessed from photographs taken during the study, which also collected data on the number of children they had.

To read the entire story, go here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article6727710.ece


 

 
 
Although the days aren't hazy because the soggy ground just hasn't heated up, we find late-July days still make us lazy. Our maybe it's just us. Our bodies keep telling us to slow down and relish the season, but our brains remind us it's unusually cool and wet. So, what season are we talking about?

Saturday was our first real gift of a summer day. Dave and I spent the morning at Tanglewood, soaking up some rays (so to speak) to the glorious sounds of Brahms' German Requiem. If you're going to sit around in lawn chairs and knit, read and drink coffee, you might as well sit within earshot of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, right?   

After a picnic, we took the scenic drive home, stopping briefly to watch a motorcyclist get yanked from beneath a car on a very winding mountain road. Later, we saw more people in rafts on the Deerfield River than there are people living in the towns that line it. Quite a sight.

On Monday night, Alash, a group of Tuvan throat singers came to town to perform outdoors between rain showers. What are throat singers, you ask? They're people who manage to sing multiple notes at the same time. Sometimes they sing chords; other times they whistle, imitate birds, frogs or insects and sing a melody line, all at the same time. These incredible Mongolian musicians toured with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones last year. In fact, we were mesmerized by the sounds they made at an extraordinary holiday concert in Northampton. 

Go here for a closer look at Alash, information on throat singing, and samples of their wild -- yet strangely familiar -- sounds.

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The Shed at Tanglewood Music Center
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Mt. Greylock from near Williamstown
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Floating down the Deerfield
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Montague Book Mill, hanging over the river
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Louise Minks' art studio, Montague
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Alash comes to Greenfield

 
 

We have a 24/7 cable news channel on our cable, covering all of New England. It's a great news service, especially for weather. Their forecasts are generally quite reliable.

Last night, meteorologist Tim Kelly said his long-range forecast for New England was (tah dah!) rain until Labor Day, then snow.  

I want my (summer) money back.


 
 
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There are two interesting things I’ve learned about aging in the last few days:

1.    You can use it as an excuse for anything, as in, “you can’t expect me to run that fast, after all I am 65,” and  “sorry I forgot your birthday, but sometimes dates are just too much for my 65-year-old brain to handle." 

2.    On the other hand, if you look at the process of aging as ripening, it doesn’t seem so bad. I'm not getting older, just riper!

I look forward to being sweet and juicy, but am not quite ready to be picked, thank you very much. 


 


 
 
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Aquarium, California Academy of Science, May 2009
If we added up all the sunny days we’ve had this summer, I bet we could count them on two hands, maybe one.

Without hesitation, I've crossed off from my must-see list Seattle, Ireland, and anywhere else it rains 4 days out of 5. Yes, it’s nice to have lush grass and flowers that never need additional water. I’m happy for the white-water river rafters. What I worry about is rust, on me! 

If we must live underwater, let us have fish and coral and lifelines to the surface.  
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My neighbor's grandkids have the right idea.

 


 
 

Beth Westmark, publisher of the blog Switched at Birth, calls Birds on a Wire Blog terrific, with "lots of eye, mind and heart appeal." This superb writer, based on Pensacola, Florida, has been kind enough to add Birds to her blog roll. 

Read her bio for an explanation of the name of her blog. It says a lot about the blogger. What a spirit!

If you're looking for great writing, some of the best on the web is at Report from a Visitor to Heaven and Pay Phones .


To enjoy the full blog, click on:
Switched at Birth


 
 

I guess it took the near collapse of the American auto industry for at least one of The Big Three to take its women customers seriously.

I remember not being able to get a salesman at a Chevy dealership to sell me a car I desperately wanted to buy. Maybe he thought my money wasn't green?

I also remember a letter I sent to GM (in the 1980s?) complaining about Pontiac commercials I found close-to-pornographic. Maybe you remember them: They took place on a beach, where -- using very quick cuts with a blaring disco soundtrack --a drop-dead gorgeous, scantily-clad young woman was thrown on the hood of a sporty car that was surrounded by a gang of obviously spirited guys in bathing suits. The "admirers" flung themselves the woman, who writhed in apparent pleasure on the hood. 

I told them I came from a long line of Pontiac buyers, but the line stopped here. The commercials stopped. 


Today, on the other hand (when fewer women are at risk of job loss than men), auto designers have begun building cars from the ground up, with female customers in mind.

Maybe it’s because there are more women engineers. Maybe it’s because there are more women in marketing and finance. Whatever the reason, I’ll take it.


Can it be long before we are able to buy cars with built-in trash compactors, air vents that double as blowdryers, and floor mats that don't wreck your good shoes?  

Check it out, in today’s NY Times: 


For the complete story, go to:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/automobiles/19design.html?_r=1&8dpc