Archive for December, 2015

  • Every thing & everything else: The Art of Dana Cohn

    Dec 4, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, PortfolioNo CommentsRead More »

    By Markoff Chaney A story goes here, but I didn’t write it. It’s not that I didn’t try. I swear I did. I met with Dana Cohn once a month for half a year in pursuit of this. There’s so much to tell but as far as writing goes — and I’m butchering an Ira Glass quote here, so bear with me — my taste exceeds my ability. (See? Less than a hundred words in, and I’ve already invoked a tangential reference (and am using parenthesis gymnastics to explain said reference) despite self-reference and having forgotten that if I can count the words then I should use “fewer” not “less” in this aside, even though the latter is more conversational (as well as the larger issue of my flagrant abuse of the first person (Plus I’m not sure how the use of em dashes affects otherwise necessary commas)).) And, of course, there’s that giant run-on sentence I just wrote. Maybe you should just read my notes. … 2015-05 8 a.m. @ dana’s studio smoking cigarettes and gardening outside. Lots of plants. Big smile. “Hey man, come on in.” talkedabout plant.s STUDIO front room of apartment is his studio tracing paper, sketches, photos, on wall pieces of wood, shells feathers, nature. Plus saints, Greek statues, “It’s a prototype. Kind of a guide for it.” “it” — the big painting on the

  • The science of (selling) sleep: OR A bed of roses is a bed of roses is a bed of roses

    Dec 4, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster The worst sleeping experience I ever had was in Manu National Park in 1987 in the Peruvian Amazon. I spent a week in a surplus canvas tent by the side of a cocha (an ox-box lake) where a tenacious young Peruvian, Boris Gomez Luna, was struggling to build the first place in the vicinity, much less inside the park itself, for tourists to stay. The air mattress I was given didn’t hold pressure and the heat and humidity inside the tent was stifling except for a few hours just before dawn. But you had to keep the tent zipped shut lest all manner of unwelcome nocturnal critters, from giant spiders to wandering fer-de-lance, pay you a nighttime visit. Also, I couldn’t get out of my mind Boris’s story of having a column of army ants eat through his own tent one night, waking him from a sound sleep as they made their way across his body and out through the other side of the tent. Bites and stings woke him and sent him plunging, in pitch-darkness, into the nearby caiman and piranha-filled lake to get them off. As one contemporary bed manufacturer might put it, on that night his “sleep number” was about a minus 12. Which gets me to thinking about the number of mattress stores I see around town. Just driving around Prescott, one

  • News From the Wilds: December 2015

    Dec 4, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris The coldest season has come round again, and the Wilds have entered the depth of their quiescence. But though the nights are at their longest now — the longest of the year is on December 21, the Winter Solstice — the coldest (and, for many species, hardest) parts of the winter are still to come. December is slightly warmer and bears a bit less rain and snow than January, when the days will be already growing longer again. This lag between the darkest and the coldest times is a result of the thermal qualities of the air masses in the atmosphere, which hold their temperature long after incoming solar radiation has declined. It is for this reason that the warmest parts of the summer are typically after the Summer Solstice, and that the coldest parts of the winter are after the Winter Solstice. As a result of low temperatures and lack of sunlight, plants and insects now enter the depth of their winter diapause, when almost no activity is to be found. These two groups are the primary food sources for almost all of our species, so their somnolence brings extreme hardship for birds and mammals, the two groups that remain most active. Only the most resourceful and innovative can find food during this time, and often creatures are more desperate because of this. Predators, such as

  • Oddly Enough: December 2015

    Dec 4, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller John Henry Anderson was born in 1814 in Scotland. He was orphaned by 10 and apprenticed with a blacksmith until he was 17, when he joined a traveling entertainment group and became a magician. Being a bit of a marketing genius, his promotional techniques filled public houses so successfully that he eventually built the Glasgow City Theater in 1845. Sadly, it burned down five months after completion. The fiduciary loss for Anderson was considerable. Though the first magician to take the craft from the street and parlor and elevate it to the realm of theater, Anderson suffered from many financial woes. He was once taken to court and sued over the illegal purchase of trade tools and illusions from the prop mechanic of none-other than the well known performer Robert Houdin. (Houdin was the magician whom Harry Houdini took his stage name.) Anderson died in 1874 broke and desperate and was buried next to his mother in Aberdeen. Born that same year was the world renowned and future escape artist Harry Houdini.  In 1909, Houdini visited Anderson’s grave site and was alarmed by its state of disrepair. Houdini immediately had the headstone restored and endowed a trust to perpetually keep the grave maintained. ODDLY ENOUGH … Anderson is also credited with being the first man to pull a live white rabbit from a black top hat. *****

  • Bird of the Month: American Coot

    By Sue Drown “What’s the duck with the white bill?” It’s a question many a Prescott Audubon field trip leader has answered on a birding outing. The short answer: an American Coot. Coots are actually rails, but they’re the most visible and aquatic of this otherwise reclusive family. Coots float around our reservoirs, Willow and Watson lakes, like unremarkable gray ducks. When on land, they show their large, greenish-yellow feet with lobed toes, so they walk like you might with flippers on — with cumbersome strides to lift that big foot without tripping. Coots are grapefruit-round, with smallish wings, so they must run along the water, splattering and flapping, to get airborne. Still, many migrate quite a distance, from the northern prairie-pothole regions to our lakes for the winter. They migrate at night. They prefer fresh water, and don’t mind if it’s a bit mucky. They’re mostly vegetarian, finding plenty of algae and aquatic matter in reservoirs like Willow and Watson. If you watch birds in the fall or winter on our lakes, you’ve seen American Coots. It’s a safe bet that, on any winter day, coots outnumber all the other aquatic birds put together. This might lead you to guess that they are very successful breeders and that they’re a species — like ravens, gulls, and vultures — whose needs are benefited by human activities. And you’d be right

  • Vegetable of the Month: Spinach

    By Kathleen Yetman Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is thought to have originated in ancient Persia, or modern-day Iran, and its neighboring countries. From Persia, spinach was brought to India, then China, where its cultivation was first recorded in the seventh century. In the ninth century it was introduced in Italy and quickly became a staple in Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Over the next six centuries, spinach spread across Europe and, eventually, to the United States. The leaves of spinach vary in size from 1 to 12 inches long and up to 6 inches in diameter. Baby spinach, which is commonly found in bags at the grocery store, is just that: spinach leaves harvested when they’re young. There are three types of leaves: savoy, which has dark green, bumpy textured leaves; flat-leaf (or smooth-leaf), which is as its name describes; and semi-savoy, which is a hybrid of the two. Spinach is an annual plant that grows best in cool, damp weather and rich, moist soil. Plants thrive between 60 and 65 degrees. In Yavapai County, spinach should be planted between August and October and again in late February through April. Spinach can withstand light frosts, making it ideal for lightly protected winter gardens. Spinach doesn’t tolerate heat and will bolt (go to seed) as soon as summer arrives. Spinach is an extremely nutritious food and is often referred to as a “super

  • Listen up, people: How something invisible spawned goofy furniture

    Dec 4, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Jacy Lee There are so many things in our day-to-day life that we totally take for granted. We flick a switch, and lights go on. We turn a tap, and water comes out. We hit a button, and we hear radio. Whether it’s in your car or home, radio is pretty much taken for granted. But not even 100 years ago — more like 90 or so — radio didn’t exist. The reproduction of voice through Edison or Victrola machines had been around for a few decades, but the transmission of voice through thin air was a modern miracle. Instead of boring you with the historical details of such radio pioneers as Maxwell, Hertz, or Marconi, let’s jump to the 20th century. Early in the 20th century, wireless was reserved for nautical, military, and school use. There were radios in the hands of private people but no commercial radio stations. In 1920, KDKA, Pittsburgh, went on the air, just in time to cover the election of Warren Harding. This spurred an explosion of popularity in home radios. The Radio Corporation of America, formed in 1919, was one of the first large companies to manufacture home radios. Their popular line of Radiola was the rage in the ’20s. These were table-top models, long, low and boxy, and made of wood. They were quite heavy for their size, with vacuum sealed

  • You read me?: Word games for observant logophiles

    Dec 4, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Jacy Lee [Editor’s note: These are word puzzles. Read the stories then follow the directions after them.] Gardening My gateway to adventure started with some heroic attributes. I always do good, but I live on the cusp. I’d error in family matters, but nothing to really malign us. Then one day my brother Roger told me that to use all my potential, I should start gardening. I saw some seeds that I just had to get. I germinated them using water and a full ion system. Soon I saw one little leaf. Roger said it looked like a beet. Leave it to Roger to bring up beets, which I abhor. See, I was forced to eat them when I was young. I just threw everything away and went to the farmer’s market. Try to find the names of 11 different animals/bugs/amphibians/birds in the story above. [Hint: Read between the words.] The Hotel I went to a fancy hotel out of town. I walked up to the desk clerk and noticed on her chin a scar. I wondered how an ex-con got this sweet job. From the back room, the manger man yelled. He knows we dented his car when we parked. I feel his pain, but just then William Holden walks into the lobby. Holden marks his spot for tonight’s dinner and states, “The last time I was here,

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: December 2015

    Dec 4, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    By Peregrine Book Co. staff “Stories in the Stars” By Susanna Hislop Though this book calls itself an atlas, it’s really a collection of stories. Constellations and asterisms recognized by cultures all over the world are included accompanied by short stories, poems, and histories detailing the stories that human imagination has created for the stars. ~Sean “Eating Animals” By Jonathan Safran Foer As a reluctantly recovering vegetarian, Foer helped me reflect on my meat-eating urges and how to consume meat more intentionally. From meatful folklore to harrowing accounts of factory farming, Foer’s artful writing is both entrancing and informative. You will never eat animals the same way again! ~Emma “Voracious” By Cara Nicoletti You will be hungry the entire time you read this. I promise. Nicoletti is a baking genius and will have you rushing to the kitchen to create the recipes that inspired her throughout her life. ~Lacey “Notes on the Assemblage” By Juan Filipe Herrera In this newest collection of poems by America’s newest poet-laureate, Herrara embraces the world of contemporary politics in poetic form. Fired by anger, but guided by love, this wise bard from Southern California blends empathy, eulogy, and existentialism with Buddhism and magical realism to give his readers a ride through his grounded, soaring cosmos. ~Mark “The Wake” By Paul Kingsnorth Kingsnorth delivers an astonishing, visceral howl of rage and grief from an Anglo-Saxon

  • Plant of the Month: Ponderosa Pine

    Dec 4, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Plant of the MonthNo CommentsRead More »

    By David Moll People who only imagine Arizona might consider the Saguaro to be the icon of the state. In sharp contrast, those of us who actually live in the highlands of the state are enamored of the Ponderosa Pine — perhaps to the point of taking it for granted. After all, despite its wide distribution in the West, Arizona contains the largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest in the world. But really, we love them, if only as a comforting stand-in for the treed habitats of our cherished childhoods. Such a dominant organism offers much more than psychological comfort to the environment it commands. Manifest resources of food and shelter sustain many organisms in a web of fascinating detail, intricate beauty, and informative history. Hundreds of species from fungus to flowering plants (mistletoe) to invertebrates to vertebrates feed on the trees. In turn, they are fed upon by their predators and associates, and so on. Even in death, the Ponderosa is full of life: a granary for Acorn Woodpeckers, a home for numerous cavity-dwelling birds, a perch for herons, flycatchers, swallows, raptors, and many more. Fungus lives in mutual benefit underground. Understory plants have adapted to the shade and poor soils of the forest. Temperature, precipitation and drought, and topography come together with history and time to prescribe the Ponderosa Pine’s natural boundaries. Fire shapes its character. Humans shape its

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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