Archive for April, 2015

  • Families: Chalk It Up! bridges generations through street art

    Apr 3, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio5,640 CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood Trisha Anderson was running errands with her daughters maybe three years ago in Prescott when it happened. “I saw all these people in a parking lot,” Anderson said. “It was fascinating. It was amazing. We ended up hanging out for a couple of hours.” They discovered legion people huddled over a sprawling pavement canvas. They discovered perfect strangers of all ages exercising art and community with chalk. They discovered good ol’ fashioned family fun. “We’re lucky to have this here,” said Anderson, who previously taught art to area home school students. She was instantly hooked on Chalk it Up!, Prescott’s premier public street art festival. She’s gone every year since. And so have her children. “It’s really cool,” Kayla Champlin said. “Every year you see something different, and you can draw something different.” Her sister Shae Champlin, a prolific doodler, agreed. “There are a lot of different people, and everyone’s really nice,” she said. “It’s fun.” And — despite the updates, anecdotes, and details to follow — that’s probably the bottom line when it comes to Chalk It Up! The seventh annual Chalk It Up! festival is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19 at the National Bank of Arizona parking lot, 201 N. Montezuma St., Prescott.     Chalk, full of fun Yes, the chalk’s free and, yes, you can take it home

  • Weather or not

    Apr 3, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's Perceivings5,266 CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster Major networks, online specialty sites, radio, print — all compete with one another to present the news in ways that they hope are sufficiently individualistic and compelling enough to induce watchers and listeners to choose them as their information source. With general news there isn’t much they can do beyond varying video and images. That’s one reason why TV news broadcasting is such a game of musical chairs. New anchors don’t have much of an anchor, which must lead them to dwell in a constant state of paranoia as they obsessively consult their Q scores. There’s only so much a news presenter can do; ranging from reading copy in a stately and steady manner à laWalter Cronkite, to Phoenix channel 3’s energetic Brandon Lee, who reports every fender-bender and car chase as if he’s describing the downing of the Hindenburg. Such newscasting is often at its worst and most excessive when reporting on matters of science. It’s hard to generate viewer or reader interest when describing yet another government revision of dietary guidelines. (Personally, I distill these to a single line from Woody Allen’s “Sleeper”: “What!? You had no chocolate cream pies?”) But there’s one bit of science that’s in the news every day, in every format, be it in print, on the air, or online. I refer, of course, to meteorology. When I was a

  • News From the Wilds: April 2015

    Apr 3, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds4,100 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris April arrives in a thunderous proliferation of life, a raucous, enlivening yawp in the wilds after the long quiet of winter. While snowstorms are still a remote possibility, the majority of the month is sunny and warm, with butterflies, returning migratory birds, native bees, growing and flowering plants, and mammals in the thrall of mating and bearing young. There is more activity in the natural world than can be easily followed, and the flowering of plants, emergence of insects, return of migrant birds and bats, and the appearance of mammalian young all typically follow a somewhat regular schedule. This year, however, that schedule is moved somewhat earlier. This past winter was the single warmest in Prescott’s recorded history, and this meant that the roughly 7” of precipitation that fell came in the form of rain, some of which ran off in the largest floods that our rivers and creeks have seen in over a decade. On March 3, Oak Creek ran at over 8,000 cubic feet per second, or 240 times its base flow, while the Verde River near Camp Verde ran at over 20,000 cfs, 120 times its base flow. When water moves through our landscape this rapidly, and in these types of torrents, much of it is essentially useless to plants and animals, and doesn’t recharge aquifers, so it is only the smallest percentage of

  • Oddly Enough: April 2015

    Apr 3, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly Enough4,175 CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Frog-eating bats are found throughout Central and South America. Their primary targets are the Tungara frogs found in ponds and the still waters of rivers and creeks. Hunting in the dark, these bats hone in on the mating calls of the Tungaras. Even if the frog senses the bat is near, and stops his courtship crooning, the bats can still locate the frogs by picking up on the ripples created on the surface of the water through echolocation. ODDLY ENOUGH … Some Tungara frogs deliberately clutter their ponds with debris disrupting the surface ripple effect which confuses the bat’s bio-sonar. ***** Sponges grow into the shape of bowls, flaps, antlers, ropes, baskets, bushes, sheep’s wool, and velvety arabesque contours. They can be green, gray, black, brown, beige, or even startlingly bright red, blue, purple, or yellow. They live in both salt and fresh water and filter feed by pumping water through a porous frame. They have no internal organs. Amazingly, the sponge is one huge complex of mouths. ODDLY ENOUGH … A recently discovered cave-dwelling sponge was found to be a carnivore. It has external filaments armed with hooks (like Velcro) that snare nearby fish or crustaceans. Once it’s captured its prey, the sponge grows around it and eventually absorbs it. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he

  • The bellybutton man: A business fable

    By Gene Twaronite His only dream was to sell belly buttons. Admittedly, it was a difficult sell when there was no demand for the product. It was a long time ago, when people still came into the world with no belly buttons. Indeed, so long ago was it that people had not even learned to laugh. The only laughter in the land was from the hyena and the mocking call of the jubal bird. People still cried, however, and there was plenty to cry about. But you don’t need a belly button for crying. The world was filled with stony faces, streaked with tears. People went about their lives each day, performing their duties, and that was that. Things were either sad or not sad, with no in between. The salesman first heard about the invention from a sailor in the Weeping Dragon Tavern. With many drinks under his belt, the sailor slumped over the bar. Suddenly his shoulders began to convulse. He raised his head and looked at the salesman. The sailor’s mouth started to upturn in a most peculiar fashion. Then he broke out into a strange cry. It started with a series of high-pitched twitters that slowly rose in volume to something that sounded more like the grunts, howls, and choking sounds of some great beast. No one in the tavern had ever heard such a sound

  • Been there, done that: History sorts through souvenirs

    Apr 3, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Jacy Lee The Grand Canyon. The empire State Building. Caesar’s Palace. Gatorland. I’ve been to them all. Mt. Rushmore. Disneyland. The Mall of America. Pikes Peak. I haven’t been to any of those. But somebody I know —a friend, a relative, or maybe nobody I know — has been there. But how can I prove that? These days, you can prove things by taking countless pictures with your digital camera or smart phone. But, 100 years ago, 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago, Americans didn’t have those options. Indeed, 100 years ago, many Americans didn’t have a camera. So what did people do? How did they record and captures and share memories of the amazing places they visited? They had postcards and souvenirs. The golden age of postcards was in the early 20th century, and they remained strong until the 1970s. The genre of postcards that deals with traveling and vacations was completely distinct from holiday postcards and the silly, inane postcards meant to just say hello. Travel postcards documented where a family had been and captured a picture — whether a copy of a photo or a copy of a painting — of a memorable sight that the family had witnessed. In the early 1900s, most of the sites depicted were east of the Rockies due to the fact most of the American population was, in

  • ‘Tell me a story’: Matt Santos talks art, culture on ‘The Mile High Show’

    Apr 3, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature15 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Matt Santos, host of “The Mile High Show.” Connect with “The Mile High Show” at MileHighShow.Com and Facebook.Com/MileHighShow. Contact Santos at MileHighShow@Gmail.Com.]   From photography to newspaper columns, you’ve done a lot of media in the area. Why launch a podcast? Everywhere I go, I’m always listening to podcasts. I really enjoy them. I like Jessy Thorn’s show on NPR, some national comics, and all kinds of things really. I just enjoy listening to things that are in-depth, not 30- to 45-second news stories. I’ve worked for everything from print to broadcasting, and I thought a podcast would be fun. I like stories, basically. I look for them when I’m doing photography, when I’m writing, when I’m doing anything. I was doing a show, “Chino Valley Talk of the Town” for Prescott Valley Broadcasting once a week, and I really enjoyed that. I’d talk to people for these little stories that were 10- to 12-minute blocks, but I’d want to sit down for a whole hour with these people. The show was for the Chamber (of Commerce) here in Chino, these little spots with chamber members. It was quick: just folks come in say their website, hours, contact info, services, and thank you. I’d burn through that in three to four minutes and get

  • Painted Redstart

    By Karen O’Neil The Painted Redstart is arguably one of the most beautiful birds found in the U.S. It is one of 51 wood-warblers found in the country, and its range here is restricted to the Pine-oak forests in the mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, and southwestern Texas. In the U.S., it is a migrant (meaning it comes here to breed), but it is a resident in similar habitat in the mountains of Mexico. It usually arrives in early April and returns to Mexico by early September. The Painted Redstart is 5.5 inches long, black with a bright red breast and belly, large white wing-patches, and white under-tail feathers. It also has white lower-eye crescents. Both sexes look the same, but the juveniles have black, not red, breasts and bellies. You could call the Painted Redstart a show-off. While foraging for insects through pine and oak trees, it constantly turns this way and that, flashing it white wing and tail patches. And, it forages from the ground to the tree-tops. It may also hover briefly. They have also been reported at hummingbird feeders. During courtship (from late April into May), both males and females sing an unusually loud song that can ring through the forest. Roger Tory Peterson described it as “weeta, weeta, weeta, chilp, chilp, chilp” (or sometimes a shorter version of same). Its nest is hidden on slopes

  • Wax Current

    Apr 3, 15 • ndemarino • Plant of the Month4,529 CommentsRead More »

    By Mara Kack Spring can be a confusing time in Prescott. One day it’s bitter cold, and the next is warm and soothing. Even some plants can get confused — like the fruit trees in full bloom — but, as we know, spring has not arrived. Native plants aren’t tricked quite so easily; most remain dormant, waiting for the true spring to come. Some native plants though, like the Wax Current, are not being tricked but have a natural early flowering period. The Wax Current (Ribes cereum) is a bush that grows in the forest and is especially common near riparian areas. This bush can be identified by its small, unique leaves, fragrant flowers, and bright red fruits. Get close and see that the leaves are sticky with three to five lobes rounding the top. Then, look with a loop or a hand lens to find small white dots and glandular hairs creating a complex surface adapted to retain water and discourage animals looking for lunch. The flowers come in early spring, but can be difficult to spot unless you know what to look for. These inconspicuous flowers come in hues of white to pink, are long and tubular, and have a potency which may be smelled even before the flowers are noticed. Beware, though: The fragrance may not be a welcome spring smell, but rather a strong, somewhat smelly

  • Found in translation: Experience Prescott through the eyes of robot translators

    Apr 3, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature4,665 CommentsRead More »

    By Markoff Chaney It’s in poor taste to patronize free services. Still, any product that touts its efficacy and authority is probably fair game for satire. That’s doubly true when the company behind the service unabashedly mines your inputs for every cent they’re worth. Given that flimsy rationalization, let’s have some fun with Google Translate. … ***** Source material: “Prescott: Everyone’s Hometown.” Process:  English to Arabic, Arabic to Yiddish, Yiddish to English. Result: “Preskott: Muscat everyone.” ***** Source material: “Prescott: True West, Real Adventure.” Process:  English to Bengali, Bengali to Zulu, Zulu to Dutch, Dutch to Gujarati, Gujarati to Icelandic, Icelandic to English. Result: “Prescott: West course Adventure Time.” ***** Source material: “Prescott usually has unusually pleasant weather.” Process:  English to Haitian, Haitian to Hausa, Hausa to Hebrew, Hebrew to Hindi, Hindi to Hmong, Hmong to Hungarian, Hungarian to English. Result: “Prescott generally good time.” ***** Source material: “Some things, such as this nifty sentence, are best left to professional translators, right?” Process: English to Chinese, Chinese to Korean, Korean to Japanese, Japanese to English. Result: “Beautiful sentences, such as, the best of several such things in a professional translator, right? ***** Source material: “I trust Google for accurate, nuanced translations.” Process: English to Serbian, Serbian to Catalan, Catalan to English. Result: “I think Google needs interpretation, nuanced.” ***** Markoff Chaney is an Earth-based whodunit pundit and (Fnord) Discordian Pope

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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