Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bridges

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Each week Cee of Cee’s Photography challenges bloggers with a fun prompt. This week we’re to share photos of roads, boulevards, avenues, streets, alleys, you get the picture. What delightful photos will you share?

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From the Tavern Club at 333 N. Michigan

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Sydney Harbor Bridge

If you want to see more fun fotos of  signs, click here.

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In a Sunburned Country

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I just finished listening to Bill Bryson narrating his book In a Sunburned Country. This tale of traveling around Australia made me want to return to see the Devil’s Marbles, Ayer’s Rock, Shark Bay, Bondi Bay and even the Telegraph Station museum in Alice Springs, a town Lonely Planet proclaims, “won’t win any beauty contests.” Bryson includes lots of background information on nature and history and its all flavored with his dry wit.

Even when things go wrong and he and his old friend arrive late, have to pay too much or can’t get a hotel room, the story entertains. I learned so much about the origins of the aborigines, how many extraordinarily poisonous creatures populate Australia and how incredibly diverse the flora and fauna are — and I knew there was a lot of natural diversity. I hadn’t known that a 19th century explorer discovered the only species that gave birth through its mouth and then soon ate the only two specimens or that there are so many animals, insects and plants that haven’t been discovered in Australian and that many are few in number and have or will go extinct before they’re discovered and catalogued. I was amazed to learn the theory that because of the extreme climates and conditions in Australian, it’s hard for plants to survive. The earth in a particular place may contain and extraordinary amount of nickel or copper and thus a plant that can thrive in such a spot has taken root there. Then the unique plant life was most fitting for exotic animals to thrive.

I learned what stromatolites are and how they seem dull and inconsequential but were instrumental in increasing the oxygen on earth and hence should not be scoffed at.

The human history and anthropology was as fascinating as the natural history. It’s believed that humans have lived in Australia as far back as 65,000 years ago with some experts putting the date back 100,000 years. The history has its share of tragedy and exploitation, but there’s also plenty of courage and exploration. I learned that the first European explorers to go to Australia were the Dutch and that Napoleon had sent an explorer to claim Australia for the French but he arrived just a couple weeks after the British.

In a Sunburned Country was a joy to listen to (or read) and I didn’t want it to end. While Bryson wanted to stay on to see the mountains of Bungle Bungle, obligations back home made him put off that desire. All detours seem to be long in Australia and alas, Bryson couldn’t make time for the bee hive-like mountains of Bungle Bungle.

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Bungle Bungle

Some favorite quotes:

“Australians are very unfair in this way. They spend half of any conversation insisting that the country’s dangers are vastly overrated and that there’s nothing to worry about, and the other half telling you how six months ago their Uncle Bob was driving to Mudgee when a tiger snake slid out from under the dashboard and bit him on the groin, but that it’s okay now because he’s off the life support machine and they’ve discovered he can communicate with eye blinks.”

“It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. …It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as the players-more if they are moderately restless.”

“In the morning a new man was behind the front desk. “And how did you enjoy your stay, Sir?” he asked smoothly.
“It was singularly execrable,” I replied.
“Oh, excellent,” he purred, taking my card.
“In fact, I would go so far as to say that the principal value of a stay in this establishment is that it is bound to make all subsequent service-related experiences seem, in comparison, refreshing.”
He made a deeply appreciative expression as if to say, “Praise indeed,” and presnted my bill for signature. “Well, we hope you’ll come again.”
“I would sooner have bowel surgery in the woods with a a stick.”
His expression wavered, then held there for a long moment. “Excellent,” he said again, but without a great show of conviction.

“Australia is mostly empty and a long way away. Its population is small and its role in the world consequently peripheral. It doesn’t have coups, recklessly overfish, arm disagreeable despots, grow coca in provocative quantities, or throw its weight around in a brash and unseemly manner. It is stable and peaceful and good. It doesn’t need watching, and so we don’t. But I will tell you this: the loss is entirely ours.”

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Unusual Perspective

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At the Barracks Museum, Sydney

Each week Cee challenges bloggers to share black and white photos based on a theme. This week she’s challenging us to share black and white photos of things related to music. I’ve shared some string instruments I saw at a market in Urumqi, in western China.

For more black and white photos, click here.

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Sepia Saturday

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Merry Christmas!

Sepia Saturday is celebrating the holiday and I’m sharing photos from the archives on Flickr Commons. If I have time, I’ll see what old family photos I can dig up.

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A real Christmas tradition, Marshall Fields’ Christmas tree

Above is the giant Christmas tree at Marshall Fields’ department store. My grandmother would take us all for lunch under the tree. When we were small, we’d follow this with a visit to Santa. The lines were long, but we went every year till the store was bought by Macy’s. The chicken pot pie, Field’s Special Salad followed by their hot fudge sundae was the way to go.

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Marshall Fields long ago

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Dutch Archive, Flickr Commons

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Florida Memory, two siblings at Christmas, circa 1950

And a carol for you

Sepia Saturday

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When I saw the prompt for this week (above), I immediately thought of Laurel and Hardy. Surely, there must be some fun photos of them with bikes. Here’s what I found.

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To see them in action, I’m sharing this clip with them evading someone who’s on to whatever trouble they’ve created. The duo commandeer a donkey costume and hop on a bicycle. Now that’s old time comedy.

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Sepia Saturday

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I’m thrilled that libraries is the theme for Sepia Saturday this week. I’ll probably post again tomorrow, but here is a start.

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State Library or New South Wales, 1955, Flickr

One reason libraries are terrific is how they introduce children to reading.

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Of 2WU music Library. Source: Library of New South Wales, 1944, Flickr

Such organization!

melvil_dewey Melvil Dewey (left) the originator of the Dewey decimal system had his share of critics int the world of libraries. Not only was he known for designing a famous system to organize libraries, he was known to be a serial harasser. Shame, Mr. Dui, shame.

(Dewey was a proponent of phonetical spelling and preferred his name was spelled “Dui.”

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Places People Go

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Peoria Civic Center

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Sydney Opera House

Each week Cee of Cee’s Photography challenges bloggers with a fun prompt. This week we’re to find photos of Places People Go.

Join the fun.

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Junior High School


 

If you want to see more fun photos, click here.

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