Look homeward – hey! This captured our attention a few nights ago: scientists think that the bit of iron present in the beaks of homing pigeons might serve as a compass, allowing these totally cool birds to fly straight home from recorded distances of up to 1,100 miles. Well! How interesting is this? We checked this morsel of information (from “Animal Kingdom” – a neat infographic book by Blechman and Rogers) with the Homing Pigeons entry in Wikipedia, where we learned that pigeons might also be guided by odors and low frequency sounds. We are such fans of homing pigeons (seriously, everything about these sweet birds is so A+ on our interest scale) – we first learned about them last March (mentioned in the blog entry, “Flying, Farming, and Felix”).
A new poetry unit – we are learning about poet, e.e. cummings (1894-1962). We have read so many biographies about people with harrowing childhoods, it comes as a relief to read about somebody from a thoroughly delightful and supportive family. For heaven’s sakes, the family vacation home was named “Joy Farm” (happy all the way with this family)! First-rate book: “enormous SMALLNESS”, by Matthew Burgess, charmingly illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo.
Story problem from Le Fictitious Local Diner – the diner is ringing in 2016 by gifting all dog-owning customers with organic dog biscuits! The diner is baking up 20 dozen dog biscuits every Monday for the month of January. Leftover biscuits from each week will be given to the town’s pet shelter. If 15% of the batch is left over each week, how many biscuits will be delivered to the shelter by the end of the month?
(ooooh! UCLA colors!)
Music – we bid farewell to 2015 by viewing our favorite videos from the many we had watched this past year:
- Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E minor”, movement 3, showcasing the beyond great Itzhak Perlman. We call this the “cat and mouse” movement (we hear “advance/retreat, advance/retreat” and imagine a cat crouching outside a small opening in the wall, toying with a mouse on the other side of the wall who is anxious to make his escape and hunt for cheese). This is an old recording, but the violin performance CANNOT get better than this.
- Bach’s “Invention No. 8”, 44 seconds of pure pleasure, played by the astounding Simone Dinnerstein. Watching Ms. Dinnerstein’s fingers fly over the keys is mesmerizing; we have watched this over and over.
- Camille Saint-Saens’ fabulously fun “Danse Macabre”, played by a Polish youth orchestra. I am sorry that we cannot decipher exactly which Polish youth orchestra, but this performance is jaw-dropping perfection. In fact, it is so outstanding that I forced my mother (“The Peach”)(a most reluctant classical enthusiast) to watch.
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH