💥 Saturday And Wednesday Collided 💥

I have to confess, last night I completely lost track of the day of the week, and thus did not realize that today would be Wednesday, hence I did not prepare a ‘good people’ post!  Now, another feature such as ‘Jolly Monday’ or ‘Saturday Surprise’, I would just move on, not worry about it, and try to do better next week, but I know how you all count on Good People on Wednesday.  As it is late at night and I am not quite up to par tonight, I dug back through the archives and found this post that was actually posted on a Saturday back in 2018, but I always thought it qualified as a ‘good people’ post, too.  And so, without further ado …


Is it Saturday?  Or is it Wednesday?  There seems to have been a collision on this blog of Saturday and Wednesday … what shall we call it?  Satnesday?  Wedurday?  Friday evening, I was pondering whether to even do a Saturday Surprise post, as my heart truly wasn’t into it.  The blue light began flashing on my phone, indicating a private message from a Facebook friend who sent me a link that he ‘thought I might find interesting’.  I did, and my initial reaction was to flag it for Wednesday’s ‘Good People’ post, but as I was trolling news and pondering deep things like whether to have another cup of coffee or not, the article kept popping back into my head.  And then a thought hit me … this is such a heartwarming story about such a beautiful person … and we are all in need of something happy after this past week … so … who says I can’t feature a ‘good person’ for Saturday Surprise?  After all, it’s my blog and I can do what I want with it, yes?  The only rule about Saturday Surprise is no politics!  And so … without rambling any longer, please allow me to introduce you to a great man, Mr. Todd Kirnan!

Todd was born in 1972, and shortly thereafter was diagnosed with autism.  His mother was abusive, frequently tying him to his crib for hours at a time. Eventually the law intervened and Todd spent time in foster care before his father, then separated from his mother, assumed custody.  Now Todd lives in the town of Gresham, Oregon, population 111,523, where he is known to all as Mr. Gresham.  For twenty-plus years, Todd has dedicated his life to doing little things in the town to help out small business owners and others.  He delivers coffee and food, makes trips to the post office, empties trash cans, and other odd jobs, but most of all what he gives is smiles and hugs.  He spends some twelve hours a day meandering the downtown streets of Gresham, seeing if there is anything he can do to help merchants.

Todd now lives with his younger sister, Suzette Rackley, who says of her brother, “Todd is really miraculous. He is the love of everyone’s life.”todd-with-sister-e1538196166915.pngTodd attended special education classes at Gresham High School, where he became best friends with Shane Bemis, who was serving as a student-aide to the special ed classes. Bemis became a mentor for Todd, who says, “Shane would always stick up for me against bullies.” Today, Shane Bemis is the mayor of Gresham and he and Todd remain friends.todd-with-mayor.pngThe reason this story is in the news today is that last week, the town of Gresham threw a parade in Todd’s honour, culminating in the unveiling of a Todd Kirnan statue!  Right on main street!  Hundreds of people turned out …

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Just look at the crowd that turned out to honour Todd!!!

Well, y’know what?  I am going to let you see for yourself … this is a short clip, and it is so very heartwarming … Gronda, get your tissues!

I think that Todd Kirnan is the antidote to the week we’ve just had, and I also think the townspeople of Gresham deserve a round of applause, for they are some pretty special people. This, my friends, is what ‘community’ is all about.  I hope you all enjoyed meeting Todd and the good people of Gresham, Oregon!  Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Saturday Surprise — Musical Roads???

I came across something last night on the Amusing Planet website that I thought you might enjoy reading about … musical roads!

A Japanese engineer by the name of Shizuo Shinoda was digging with a bulldozer when he accidentally scraped some markings into a road with its claw. Later when he drove over the markings, he realized that the vibration produced in his car can be heard as a tune. In 2007, a team of engineers from the Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute refined Shinoda’s designs and built a number of “melody roads” in Japan. These roads have grooves cut at very specific intervals along the road surface. Depending on how far apart the grooves are and how deep they are, a car moving over them will produce a series of high or low notes, enabling designers to create a distinct tune. The closer the grooves are, the higher the pitch of the sound. The critical ingredient in the mix is the speed of the car.

The Civic Musical Road in Lancaster, California. Photo credit: roadtrippers.com

There are four melody roads in Japan, one each in Hokkaido, Wakayama, Shizuoka and Gunma. They all play different tunes. They stretch between 175 to 250 meters, and are carved with thousands of groves. Aside from street signs, the roads are marked by colored musical notes painted on the surface of the road which alert motorists of the incoming musical interlude. The grooves are laid down on the side of the road near the curb and not in the middle, so drivers have the option to either go over them or avoid them. In order to hear the tunes, they need to keep the car windows closed and drive at 28mph keeping one wheel over the grooves . Drive too fast and it will sound like a tape on fast forward. Drive too slow and it will have the opposite effect.

The first musical road, however, was not Japanese. It was created in Gylling, Denmark, by two Danish artists Steen Krarup Jensen and Jakob Freud-Magnus, in October 1995. Called the Asphaltophone, the street is made from a series of raised pavement markers, spaced out at intermittent intervals so that as a vehicle drives over the markers, the vibrations caused by the wheels can be heard inside the car.

Grooves on a melody road in Japan. Photo credit: Yusuke Japan Blog

The idea of musical roads has caught engineers in several other countries. There is one “Singing Road” in South Korea close to Anyang in Gyeonggi. It plays the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Unlike other melody roads, it was designed not to draw tourists but to help motorists stay alert and awake. The Singing Road is located on a particularly treacherous section of a highway where lots of accidents occur due to dozing and speeding. 68% of traffic accidents in South Korea are due to inattentive, sleeping or speeding drivers.

The U.S. got its first melody road in 2008. It was originally built on Avenue K in Lancaster, California, for a Honda commercial. The Civic Musical Road, named after Honda Civic, stretches for a quarter-mile and plays back a part of the Finale of the ‘William Tell Overture’. But the intervals are so far off that the melody bears only a slight resemblance to the original tune. Later, when residents complained that the grooves produced too much noise from nocturnal drivers, they relocated the strip to Avenue G.

Another musical road is located in the village of Tijeras, in New Mexico. Driving over the grooves at 45mph causes the car to play the famous song “America the Beautiful”. The project was funded by the National Geographic Society, and overseen by the New Mexico Department of Transportation who said that the real motive behind the musical road is to get drivers to slow down.

Grooves on the musical road in Tijeras, in New Mexico. Photo credit: drivenfordrives.wordpress.com

A sign ahead of the Civic Musical Road in Lancaster, California. Photo credit: roadtrippers.com

Photo credit: Yusuke Japan Blog

I guess you have to have better hearing than I do to hear the tunes, but even so, I think it’s a rather cool idea!

I hope you all have a wonderful, sunny weekend!

Saturday Surprise — Let’s Explore!

I am doing something today that I will not make a habit of, but this one time, I simply cannot do a Saturday Surprise post, for my brain is … tired.  So, I looked back in the ancient archives and found one from April 2018, when I had about half the readers I have now, and that was my most popular Saturday Surprise of that spring.  Today, I take you on a journey to some unique and interesting places that I think will bring a smile to your face, and maybe even a few chuckles!  So fasten your seat belts and off we go!  First stop … Thailand!


poo park 1Specifically we are going to the Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Yes, you read it right, and yes, it means exactly what it says.  It is where they make paper from elephant poop!  According to Atlas Obscura …

“Making paper from elephant poop is a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to traditional tree-based products. By not using trees, it helps reduce deforestation and makes sure the abundance of animal waste isn’t wasted. The paper is entirely sanitary and stink-free.poo park 3The process of transforming elephant poop into everyday paper is actually pretty straightforward. Once workers have scooped the poop and gathered it, they then wash the waste so that only the plant fibers remain. The fibers are then boiled and sanitized, then mixed with other non-wood pulp fibers. Finally, the intriguing mixture is screened and dried, just like typical wood-based paper has been for thousands of years.

poo park 2Visiting the Elephant Poo Poo Park gives people an up-close encounter with the whole process. You’re even invited to get involved, so be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. The park also has information about traditional paper making, which began in China nearly 2,000 years ago. In addition to the tour, people can check out the cafe and “poo-tique” to pick up souvenirs.”

Who knew?  I don’t think I would much enjoy working there, though.


I was planning for us to hop just a few miles north to visit the Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom, where visitors can actually snuggle with the tigers, but I learned some disturbing news and decided I would pass that one up for today.  And so … on to … Wales!

Now, I have a few great friends who live in Wales, and one of them I know loves his beans, but I had no idea that beans was such a … national treasure?  Here we are, then, in Port Talbott, where we find the Baked Bean Museum of Excellence.  A museum … baked beans … really?  The museum is owned and operated by a bean-obsessed superhero called Captain Beany, formerly known as Barry Kirk.  Now way back when, Barry was working for British Petroleum as a computer geek at one of their chemical plants. Capn Beany bathtubThen, in September 1986, Kirk decided to try for a new world’s record, and life has never been the same since.  What record, you ask?  Sitting in a bathtub filled with beans … for 100 straight hours.  And it was then that he first got his idea for a complete transformation into Captain Beany. Capn Beany tattoo It took some time, but in 1991 he quit his job, legally changed his name, and then he began the physical transformation, painting his head and bald pate orange, and donning a golden cape, pants, gloves and boots.  Since then, he has run marathons, pushed a can of beans along a beach with his nose, bathed in a bath of tomato soup, climbed a mountain, and had 60 baked beans tattooed on his head.

The museum is in the living room of his 2-bedroom apartment and is crammed full of baked bean memorabilia and orange furniture.  Since his apartment is a ‘council flat’, which I believe is similar to subsidized housing in the U.S., he is not allowed to charge admission, but he does accept donations from the 100 or so visitors he gets each year.  And Cap’n Beany is a generous man, donating all proceeds to charities such as Sport Relief, Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation.


And now, I really hope you brought your jackets,  for we are headed someplace quite cold … Norway!

You know what it’s like, traveling on the interstate highway system and after a few hundred miles, you really need to stop for a potty break and perhaps a cup of coffee to help keep your eyes open.  Those rest stops, though … you never know what condition you will find them in.  But this rest area, named Uredd Rest Area, is situated along a section of the Norwegian Scenic Route. It overlooks stunning views of the fjords and the open sea, and is a popular spot for visitors and locals to watch the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer. And, it is quickly gaining fame for being home to what may be the most beautiful public toilet in the world.Norway rest areaAs part of a project to enhance Norway’s scenic highways with innovative architecture, a sleek viewing area with marble benches and amphitheater steps leading down to the water were built along the roadside. And next to them, a striking, wave-shaped public restroom.

Uredd rest areaMade of frosted glass and concrete in a minimalist design, the structure seems to glow in the dark as the glass is lit at night. In the daytime, the facility offers just about the most breathtaking view you could hope to enjoy while taking care of business.  Just look at that scenery … makes you want to sit here forever … except that I’m getting c-c-c-old.


Let’s grab a quick bite to eat … and warm us up … before we head back, shall we?  As I realize that a number of my readers are vegan, I picked a place we could all find something to love.  So let’s head over to Madrid, Spain, for some barquillos.  You guys all like barquillos, right?  What … oh, don’t worry … it’s Spanish for waffles. These particular ones are very thin, rolled into shapes like cones, and ever-so delicious.  Now here in Madrid, we will get our waffles from a street vendor, but there’s a little something you have to do first.  First, you have to play a game of roulette with the vendor!  No, not the Russian sort … just the plain ol’ sort.barquillosThere’s one now!  See that red tin canister?  That’s the roulette game, and the wheel to spin is on the top of the canister.  You can pay once to spin for either one or two barquillos or pay more and spin as many times as you want, racking up waffles until you stop or the ticker lands on one of the four golden markers, at which point you lose everything. barquillos-2You are so going to love these … you can get them dusted with cinnamon or vanilla and covered or stuffed with chocolate and other flavors.  I love them with fresh strawberries, but it’s probably a little too early in the season for those.  Enjoy your barquillo!


Well, folks, I hope you enjoyed our travel today, and I hope you all have a terrific weekend!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!!!

Saturday Surprise — For The Birds!

Well, folks, it’s Saturday and time to give our brains a brief respite, to relax and find something enjoyable to focus on.  In that vein, I have discovered a wildlife photographer, Tim Flach, who has done some truly amazing work.  He has photographed endangered species, does commissions to photograph family pets, but the collection I want to share with you today is … birds!  Not just any ol’ birds, mind you, but some very unique birds that Flach has captured to perfection. 

For more about Tim and his other works, including his two books, Endangered and More Than Human, visit his website

Meanwhile … take a look at these gorgeous birds!

The Himalayan Monal is the national bird of Nepal.

Blue Tits are a common sight at bird tables in the U.K. Researchers found that the British put double the food in bird feeders than our European neighbours, which they believe is contributing to some bird species developing longer beaks.

This for me, is the Salvador Dali of the bird world. When it comes to the length of the Peruvian Inca tern’s moustache, longer is healthier. A longer moustache indicates a stronger immune system and therefore a more attractive proposition for courtship.

The Gouldian finch from Australia for me is one of the most colourful of all finches. I was fortunate to have a model on the day that permitted me to come so close, sometimes times too close, as it decided to land on my head a number of times rather than to stay on his perch.

Silver Laced Polish Chicken

Northern red cardinals are adept songsters, with individuals being able to produce more than a dozen song variations. This particular cardinal had a fair bit of attitude, as though he could have flown straight out of Angry Birds.

The beautiful crest on the heads of cockatoos is one of the things that sets them apart from other parrots. However, they share the longevity of many members of the parrot family, and have a very similar life span to humans.

I spend days travelling through the Mountains on the Philippine islands looking for this eagle, and in the end I photographed it at a rescue sanctuary. The Philippine Eagle has one of the largest wing spans of any eagle, at 2 metres, and is only found on the Philippine islands, where it is the national bird. IUCN: Critically Endangered

The Jacobins are one of the oldest domestic pigeon breeds in the world, originating from India. Their arrival in Europe during the 16th Century is what sparked their evolution into the fashionable exhibition birds we see today.

This long-tailed broadbill can be found from the Himalayas to South East Asia. He reminds me of a fighter pilot – but a lot of you seem to think he looks like Elvis – with his helmet-like black cap and sleek blue patch on their crown.

The Jacobin received its European name because it’s hood of feathers resembles the garments worn by the Jacobin order of monks. For others it resembles a lady in feathery clothing.

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is considered the largest of the living pigeon species, and can be found on mainland New Guinea. The only larger member of the pigeon family would have been the Dodo.

The Toco Toucan’s bill is the largest relative to body size of any bird and it can be used to regulate heat distribution similar to elephants ears. While sleeping, heat loss can be reduced by placing their bill under their wing.

The Jacobin’s probably the most regal pigeon, having been kept by the likes of Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria. It gets its name because of the hood of feathers enveloping it’s head.

During breeding male Cock-of-the-rock take part in “confrontation displays” which is rather like a dance battle with other males which gets more and more frenzied as the female approaches.

The Grey Crowned Crane, from Southern and Eastern Africa, has a reputation for being rather short tempered and can potentially take ones eye out with a single peck. When he started pecking at my camera and seemed intent to start on me, I didn’t hang around!

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The Mayans once believed that the King vulture was the messenger between gods and people. Contrary to the common association between vultures and deserts, the King vulture inhabits the dense forests found in South America up to Mexico!

Vultrurine Guineafowl hens can lay up to 40 eggs per season – this might be one of the reasons that this bird is not a threatened species! They are found in the bushy half-deserts of Eastern Africa and spend most of their time running rather than flying.

This domestic duck is a Crested Miniature. Comb-like structures around the edge of their beak allow them to strain through the mud for food such as insects.

The Nicobar Pigeon is the closest living relative to the Dodo. They are a threatened species hunted for food and their gizzard stones are extracted for jewellery. They are a nomadic species moving from places like the Nicobar islands in India to other coastal regions in Southeast Asia.

Bearded tits are the only British songbird to stay and breed in reed beds all year round. There are less than 600 breeding pairs of bearded tits found in Britain, most likely because they are limited by habitat, building their nests low down in the reeds. A group of bearded tits is called a ‘banditry’.

This Silver-Laced rooster has come to symbolise, in Polish literature and art, a country gentleman from medieval Poland. I took this photograph at the Federation Championship Poultry Show last week.

Hooded Vulture

Saturday Surprise — Something To Make You Smile

It has been one of those weeks from hell, hasn’t it?  I need something to bring a smile to my face, and I figured just maybe you do too!  Sometimes nothing softens the heart and makes us smile like those non-human species we call animals or critters.  I snagged these from The Guardian’s ‘Week in Wildlife’ feature last week …

Sambar deer cool off in shallow water at Yala National Park, some 250 km south-west of Colombo, Sri Lanka Photograph: Ishara S Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

A fox on Russky Island. The local population is rebounding after a fall in the 90s caused by poaching. Photograph: Yuri Smityuk/TASS/Getty Images

A reed warbler feeding a cuckoo, taken from a hide at WWT Martin Mere. Cuckoos lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, which raise the chicks in place of their own offspring. Photograph: Maggie Bullock/WWT/PA

A Formosan ferret badger at the Taipei Zoo, one of a number of animals to have been suggested as the intermediary carrier of the coronavirus. Photograph: Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images

A cardinal sits in a flowering tree at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC. Warm weather has led to blossoms blooming earlier than expected. Photograph: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

Brown hares are seen in a field near Niederleis, Austria, on Good Friday. Photograph: Georg Hochmuth/APA/AFP/Getty Images

A northern corroboree frog – one of Australia’s most endangered species – is seen in the breeding tank at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Its population in the wild was severely impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires. Photograph: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

A popular bald eagle nesting livestream from the Friends of the Redding Eagles, northern California, which rushed to install its webcam for the pandemic audience last summer after a five-year absence. Liberty, a 22-year-old female, is on her third “marriage” and her three chicks with seven-year-old partner Guardian were hatched between 21 and 24 March. Liberty has raised 22 offspring from egg to fledgling, including three sets of triplets. Photograph: Friends of the Redding Eagles

A royal Bengal tiger at Bardiya National Park in Nepal. Previously known as the Royal Karnali Wildlife Reserve in 1976, the park is famous for royal Bengal tiger sightings. Photograph: Niranjan Shrestha/AP

A grey whale is seen at Ojo de Liebre Lagoon in Guerrero Negro, Mexico. Each year hundreds of north Pacific grey whales travel thousands of miles from Alaska to the Baja California Peninsula breeding lagoons. Photograph: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

A leopard walks at Yala National Park, some 250 km southwest of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photograph: Ishara S Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

One of 185 seized baby giant tortoises, in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos, Ecuador, which had been stuffed in a suitcase to be trafficked. Photograph: Galapagos Ecologic Airport/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers follow a Polar bear in the Arctic Ocean during the Umka 2021 expedition organised by the Russian Geographical Society. It aims to research and monitor the polar bear population and assess the impact of climate change. Photograph: Gavriil Grigorov/TASS/Getty Images

Sambar deer at Bardiya National Park, Nepal. Photograph: Niranjan Shrestha/AP

A Lesser Antillean iguana (Iguana delicatissima), a lizard endemic to the Lesser Antilles, in its natural habitat on the French Caribbean island of Martinique. Photograph: Lionel Chamoiseau/AFP/Getty Images

Lutjanus bohar, the two-spot red snapper, is a species of snapper belonging to the family Lutjanidae, at the Rowley Shoals archipelago off WA, Australia. A study shows that fishing restrictions across the Rowley Shoals archipelago helped sustain threatened species and biodiversity during a time of ‘unprecedented’ decline. Photograph: Courtesy of Matt Birt/BRUV

Wasps on aruera flowers (Bidens bipinnata) at the Lunarejo Valley, in Rivera, Uruguay. The national park, in northern Uruguay at the border with Brazil, is seeing an increase in tourist traffic, as people look for less crowded places to visit. The valley is home to many species of flora and fauna, with at least 150 types of birds, snakes, amphibians, anteaters, armadillo, foxes and wild boars. Photograph: Raúl Martínez/EPA

Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) chick at Nafplio, Greece. Photograph: Bougiotis Vangelis/EPA

People watching migratory birds at a wetland near the Yalu River in Dandong, in China’s north-eastern Liaoning province. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Storks stand in their nest in Kizilcahamam, outside the Turkish capital of Ankara. Every year, storks migrate to Turkey for an incubation period as the weather gets warmer in spring. Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

An illegal bow trap set in Brescia, where bird poaching incidents are the highest in Italy. With 5 million birds a year illegally caught in Italy, activists are teaming up with local police to trap the hunters. Photograph: WWF Italy

Mandarin ducks on the Erdaobai River at the foot of Changbai Mountain in Jilin Province. Photograph: Sipa Asia/REX/Shutterstock

If you’ve got a minute more to spare, I highly recommend you hop over to Annie’s blog and check out the most adorable penguin and how he evaded the sharks that were determined to turn him into a snack!  It’s a short video, but I promise it will leave a smile on your face!

Happy weekend, my friends!

Saturday Surprise … Bits ‘N Pieces

My posts this week have been rather downers, and now here it is the weekend, so I thought you guys deserved something more fun than hearing me rant.  To start your weekend with an ‘Awwww’, I have just a couple of cute and fun things that I hope you’ll enjoy.


Fresh out of hibernation, this mama black bear is trying to get all four of her adorable cubs across a road and to safety, but two of them don’t seem to want to cooperate.  This video is courtesy of a man stopped in his car filming the cuteness …


The article was titled “Baboon, Bear, or Bison: Find Out Which Animal Personality Best Matches Yours in a Free Fun Quiz”.  Okay, it was only 10 questions, so surely that will only take a couple of minutes.  And it did, in fact, take less than 2 minutes.  But … fully expecting to find that my personality matches some cute little animal like a wolf, koala, panda, or bear, I was a little disappointed with the result:  a warthog!

Me … a warthog!  I must admit, though, that the description they give is pretty accurate:  Industrious • Bright • Brave • Blunt • Cranky.  Yep, I am all of those things, especially that last one.  Sigh.  A warthog.  If you’re interested in trying the quiz, you can do so here.  Let me know if yours is … um … cuter than mine!


A stray dog in North Carolina fell in love with a stuffed purple unicorn in a Dollar General Store.  He loved that stuffed unicorn so much that he kept sneaking into the store and trying to take the unicorn off the shelf.  Finally, after the fifth time, store employees called the Country Animal Services Department who sent Joe Newburn to investigate …

“The store called and said they had a stray dog in the parking lot that kept coming into the store.  He’d walk in, go to that unicorn and try to get it. He did it four or five times before they locked the door and called us to come get him. Maybe he had a stuffed animal like that in his original home. I don’t know, but he wanted that purple unicorn bad.”

The pup found himself at the local animal shelter, where he was booked in as a stray and given the name Sisu (a nod to a character in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon).  But on the bright side, the animal control officer who took him to the shelter, first purchased the purple unicorn and let Sisu take it to the shelter with him.

As of this writing, Sisu and the unicorn are pending adoption and will soon have a forever home.


And on that note, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday Surprise — A New Street Artist!

His name is Carlos Alberto GH, he is 31 years of age, lives in Guadalajara, Mexico, and is one of the most talented artists I think I have ever seen!  According to his bio …

“I am a street artist from Mexico. Mostly of my work is anamorphic painting, also knowing as 3D, but I like to do murals as well. The subjects I represents is on surrealistic scenes with nature, animals, and people, using bright colors and deep contrast. I can work out and indoors”

While some graffiti artists put questionable art and tags around cities, others are turning urban spaces into mind-bending art.  I did a Saturday Surprise post last April about Banksy, the internationally renown and extremely talented street artist whose fabulous art often makes a statement.  Though his style is different than Banksy’s, Carlos brings surrealistic scenes to life when viewed at the right angle. It looks like his creations are jumping out of the pavement or walls and the best part is that you can make it seem as if you are interacting with them! The artist masterfully plays with shadows and perspective to create colorful 3D optical illusions that would make any passerby stop for a second and rotate their head trying to figure out ‘how.’

Take a look for yourself …

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Carlos Alberto has been painting all his life but ended up as an art conservator until he fairly recently discovered 3D street art and proved that practice indeed makes perfect.

“I specialized in archaeological heritage, so I worked for some years in the Mayan Peninsula in Mexico with the restoration of mural paintings, but since I started to attend street art festivals (every year more often), I decided to pause my career and give 3D paintings a try. At first, it was a bit confusing, I didn’t quite understand how to create the perspective to make the illusion work perfectly, but as I started to practice more and more, it became easy and mostly automatic for me, so now it is part of my life and I can’t imagine myself doing anything different.”

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“It was fascinating for me that this kind of expression was not only outdoors, but this art was close to people, in public spaces, urban areas, so they were able to see the creation process and be part of it. It’s like a big performance. And at the end, they could interact with the final picture. This was impressive to me, so I had to try it.”

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“For me, the world around me is an endless source of inspiration. Nature is filled with wonders, so I try to represent the beauty of all the creatures I see, putting them into surreal contexts, like a magical dream. But not only that, I also find that human beings can be extraordinary and inspiring. Every time I read about someone doing good, it gives me hope that a better future can be built, so while I’m not painting people very often, their actions give me the inspiration to create and try to inspire others with my work.”

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Some of these … I find it so hard to believe they are just paintings on flat surfaces … walls or streets!  Amazing, aren’t they?  These are but a few of Carlos’ works, and you can see more at Bored Panda.   I hope you’ve enjoyed Carlos’ art … now go have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Saturday Surprise — Bubble Wrap Art!

Bradley Hart is an artist.  All his life, he has been intensely interested in art.  Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he was only 11 years old when he first enrolled into Thornton Hall, a private art school where he took classical art training including the replication of Renaissance masters works.  In 2002, Hart received his B.A. from the University of Toronto, Canada, with a double major in Visual Art and Semiotic Communication Theory (whatever the heck that is!) and a minor in Cinema Studies.  Soon thereafter, Hart moved to New York where he still lives today.

Bradley is an artist, but his canvas is unique … bubble wrap!  Yep, you heard right … bubble wrap.  He injects paint into bubble wrap, using each blob as a pixel to create his large-scale photorealistic images.  Says Hart …

“I load thousands of syringes with paint in preparation to begin the injection. I’ve done portraits of the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain Michael Jackson, David Bowie, John Lennon.”

Invented in 1957, bubble wrap was originally intended to be marketed as textured wallpaper. What turned out to be an epic failure from the decorator point of view turned out to be a boon to the shipping industry—and to Bradley Hart.

“Researching the history of bubble wrap and realizing that it was meant to be wallpaper brought me around to this great idea. What is a painting—short of the cultural significance and historical value it may obtain over time? It’s ostensibly a wall covering.”

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But there’s a flip side to Hart’s paintings … literally!  He injects paint into bubble wrap, using each blob as a pixel to create his large-scale photorealistic images.  After the injection the drops are removed from the backside of the plastic to reveal an imprint of the work, becoming yet another piece of art through the impressions from the injected paint.

Hart-6Hart-5

Says Hart …

“The injections are a metaphor for the ways we punctuate our lives with Google searches, selfies and Facebook posts. The antithetical idea of protection vs. fragility of the substance itself is also endemic to the work. On a personal level, the process of injecting ironically references the need to inject myself with disease-modifying medication for my own MS over the past decade.”

Watch him tell a bit about his work

When he started out, Hart was only able to inject a few cells at a time before having to step back to review his progress. He’s since invented a computer algorithm that gives him a working bird’s eye view. While it makes the process faster, it’s still time-consuming.

Now, I’m not saying these paintings are something I necessarily want hanging on my living room walls, but they are definitely unique, as is the artist’s method.  Bradley Hart has infinitely more patience than I have, taking days to fill all those syringes, then injecting the paint into the bubble wrap, one bubble at a time!  Talk about tedious!  Still, I thought you might enjoy seeing Mr. Hart’s work and technique!  Now, go forth and have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Saturday Surprise — 1917

I wrote this post in August 2017 … it was only my second Saturday Surprise, and the idea came from a suggestion by Gronda for a post about time travel, so I went back 100 years to see what life was like back then, and it was enlightening and fun.  Since many of you weren’t with Filosofa’s Word three years ago, I thought it would be fun to re-visit 1917 today!


The year is 1917, and I think you will find life was just a little different back then.

If you woke up in the morning, you could consider yourself lucky, for the average life expectancy in 1917 was 48.4 years for men and 54 years for women.  Once out of bed, you likely built up a fire in the woodstove to cook breakfast and heat water to wash your face with, for only about 24% of homes had electricity.  Then, if you were a man, you likely headed out the door to either walk to work or take the streetcar. The cost of a car was a mere $400, but since you likely only earned about $0.22 per hour, it is unlikely you owned one. However, 1917 was the first year that traffic counts in New York showed more cars than horses. Oh, and if you did own a car, you would want to watch out for those speed limits which were 10 mph in most cities!

streetIf you were a woman, most likely you did not work outside the home, but if you did, you were probably a elementary or high school teacher. School boards preferred female teachers not only because they were seen as more loving, but also because they would do what male principals told them while accepting less than a man’s wage. The world literacy rate was only 23%, and only some 6% graduated from high school, as most dropped out to either help on the family farm or enter the workforce.

It is doubtful that you owned your home, but if you did, it probably cost around $5,000 (about 14% of what a new car costs today!).  In fact, you probably lived with one or more older generation, if they were lucky enough to outlive the average life expectancy.  Oh, and speaking of the elderly … there was no Social Security, Medicare, etc. Since the women were outliving the men by some six years, widows moved in with their adult children and children lived at home until they got married, at the average age of 21. Made for a crowded household sometimes.

Now, on the weekend, if you could afford it, you might take your family to the beach for the day.  Beach attire was just a tad different back then …

A trip to the grocery … remember you are only earning $0.22 per hour … could be a difficult proposition with food prices so high. You would have to work three hours just to buy a pound of butter and a dozen eggs!

Bread (1-lb loaf)                $0.07
Butter (lb)                           $0.36
Eggs (dozen)                      $0.34
Ground coffee (lb)           $0.30
Potatoes (10 lbs)              $0.15

And speaking of food … 1917 saw the invention of the hamburger bun, and thus the hamburger was born.  Today, the average American consumes 3 hamburgers per week!  My family and I are definitely below average on this one. And to go with that hamburger … it was in 1917 that Coca-Cola introduced the formula that is still popular today. And where did you buy that food?  The first supermarket opened just the year before, in September 1916 – Piggly Wiggly.  No, I am not calling you a piggly wiggly … that was the name of the store … honest!  Actually, I think these are still around in the south.

piggly-wiggly.jpgIt is doubtful that you were among the 8% of people who had a telephone, and by telephone I mean

phone.jpg

Not …

cell-phone

One person who could afford a telephone in 1917 was John D. Rockefeller who became the world’s first billionaire on September 20th.

Not everything was rosy in 1917, for it was on April 6th that the U.S. entered into what would become known as World War I.

War-nyt-April 6.jpgThough women would not get the right to vote for another three years, they did score in 1917 when Jeannette Rankin, of Montana, became the first woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives!!!

Today we should be grateful for Mr. Gideon Sundback for his 1917 invention of the … zipper! Early on, zippers were mainly used on boots and pouches that held tobacco. It would be another 20 years before the fashion industry began to use zippers on clothing. So … how did pants stay … oh, never mind … not going there.

zipper.jpegAnd what music were Americans listening to on their ipods … er, um phonographs?

phonograph.jpgNora Bayes had the number one selling hit record titled “Over There”.

A sampling of the lyrics:

“Over there, over there

Sent the word, send the word over there

That the Yanks are coming

The ear drums rum-tumming

Everywhere

So prepare, say a prayer

Sent the word, send the word to beware

We’ll be over, we’re coming over

And we won’t come back till it’s over

Over there”

Others in the year’s top ten included:

At the Darktown Strutter’s Ball by Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Poor Butterfly by Victor Military Band

For Me and My Gal by Van and Schenck

And what were you watching on television in 1917?  Nothing, for television was still 10 years in the future.

Most of us have said, at one time or another, how we would love to go back to a simpler time.  We get frustrated with the hustle and bustle, with our electronic toys, and long for “the good ol’ days”. But when you think about it, life was hard (and short) 100 years ago.  I think I shall remain in this, the 21st century!

I hope you enjoyed today’s Saturday Surprise as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Quite honestly, I have been in a royal funk for a couple of days, but once I started researching for this post, I found I was having tons of fun!  Thank you, Gronda for this marvelous idea … one which we shall do again soon!

Saturday Surprise … On Sunday!

I don’t feel like writing about political issues or anything too serious tonight, and since I have skipped over Saturday Surprise this week and several other weeks in recent memory, I am doing Saturday Surprise on Sunday! 

I found an interesting form of art tonight … food art.  Italian artist Valeriano Fatica chose food as his medium. In his talented hands, watermelons, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, avocados, cheese, truffles, and even tiny coffee beans turn into incredibly detailed sculptures that look just too good to eat.  Bet you can’t guess what the one in the header image is?

According to Fatica’s bio on his website

“I am Valeriano Fatica, I carve mostly fruit and vegetables, but I also carve cheese, clay and rock.

I was born the 20th of november 1988 in Oratino, where I actually live, in Molise, a small and almost unknow region of Italy. Since I was a child I used to draw, and I dreamt of becoming a mangaka. But after I started the Art High School I realised that I had a true passion for sculpures. In 2011 I started working in my family’s restaurant “La Roccia”, and at the same time I started carving watermelons for the bouffets, after seeing my brother’s old carvings. After an year and a half, on Dargen D’Amicos advice, I opened my youtube channel Ortolano Production (now called Valeriano Fatica – Fruit Carver)and I started sharing my passion with all of you.”

And now, let’s look at a few of these amazing creations …

pikachu-avocado

Pikachu made from avocado

turtle-watermelon-1

Turtle carved from watermelon with a berry surprise under his shell!

 

santa-claus-watermelon

Santa Claus from watermelon

rose-watermelon

And from watermelon … a rose!

man-parmesan

Cheese man

woman-parmesan

Cheese woman

rabbit-watermelon

bunny wabbit from watermelon

mt-rushmore-truffle

Mount Rushmore from a 1.5 kg truffle!

monkey-watermelon

Watermelon monkey

joker-pumpkin

The Joker (from the Batman movie/series) carved from cheese

dragon-watermelon

watermelon dragon

t-rex-watermelon

‘nother watermelon dragon

dragon-parmesan

cheese dragon

dragon-banana

banana dragon

Guy-Fawkes-cheese

Guy Fawkes carved from cheese

coffee-bean-thanos

the head of Thanos, carved from a coffee bean … look how tiny!

Leonardo-DaVinci-coffee-bean

Leonardo Da Vinci from a coffee bean

And here’s a very short video clip showing how he created Mount Rushmore out of a 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) truffle (no, not the chocolate sort, the fungal sort).

Pretty cool, yes?  I encourage you to take a look at his website for more about the man and his art!  Meanwhile, have a happy Sunday!