Tuesday, November 14, 2017

From ‘running away to home. Our family's journey to croatia in search of who we are, where we came from, and what really matters’ by jennifer wilson

The region my family is from is called the Gorski Kotar, or Mountain District, and is in the northwest corner of the country, the “handle” of Croatia’s odd wishbone shape……In the Gorski Kotar, Zlatko said, one of the most ancient dialects of Croatian is spoken ….So bizarre is the Gorski Kotar, in fact, that every region surrounding it had been affected by the Balkan wars from 1992 to 1995, and yet it had remained oddly untouched. He had no explanation for why this was.

Croatians are always lighting cigarettes.

……..Risnjak National Park, 1,600 acres of beech and fir undulated over hard waves of limestone and dolomite – the geological glue between the Alps and the Balkan mountains…

…..Your first cousins are the people in your family who have the same grandparents. Second cousins are people who have the same great-grandparents. Third cousins share great-great-grandparents. The word ‘removed’ means that two people are from different generations…….

“What’s the secret of happiness?” I asked, fishing for something meaningful, half joking.
Baka Ana cackled loud
“Use cow shit on your garden!”

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thoughts … … …

Torture the data and it will confess to anything
-          Ronald Coase

Next to torture, art persuades most.
-          George Bernard Shaw

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without a war
-          Sun Tzu

Wear a shoe from your hometown, even if its patched
-          Greek saying

Death is the only god whom gifts cannot appease.
-          Greek saying

If they call me the mayor’s wife, I don’t care if I die of starvation
-          Greek saying

The donkey has one set of plans, and the donkey herder has another
-          Greek saying

Her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood
-          James Joyce

If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans
-          Woody Allen

Something in me dies, when a friend does well
-          Gore Vidal

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go
-          T. S. Eliot

Fredrich Nietzsche, the famous German philosopher once said, “Beware, when fighting monsters that you yourself do not become one . . . ”

From ‘The Penguin Lessons. A True story’ by Tom Michell

In the water, penguins are transformed. When swimming on the surface a penguin resembles a rather deflated duck, with only head and tail above water, but below the waves they are simply sublime. No cheetah, stallion, albatross or condor is more elegant or graceful. Nothing is more masterful in the water.

Penguins have enormous and extremely strong feet, which are equipped with very sharp talons not unlike those of an eagle, and can shred human skin. Interestingly, the undersides of penguins’ feet are not a bit bird-like but are more like a monkey’s: fleshy, muscular and dexterous.

Only seeing penguins in their natural environment can give one a real understanding of the meaning of ‘gregarious’…….penguins crowd together in untold numbers with no apparent concept of personal space.

….thin air of the high Andes …….Those mountain ranges provide better views of the night sky than anywhere else on earth, which is why so many international observatories are situated there. The firmament, I discovered, is the most perfect inky-blackness from which the Milky Way blazes………I was amazed to discover that to the naked eye there are no really dark parts of the Milky Way at all…….stars shine out fiercely from the darkness….Even without a moon there is sufficient light to navigate on foot along the roads and paths without difficulty. But without the thick blanketing atmosphere, which at lower altitudes obscures most of the brilliance and beauty of the cosmos, the bitter cold can be unendurable.

On the surface, penguins swim like neckless ducks, propelling themselves with their feet. They bob about competently, but not elegantly – hardly compelling viewing. But underwater, penguins show a consummate mastery of their element that can transfix an audience.

The quality of Argentine food hasn’t changed at all ……..it is still possible to eat better in this country than anywhere else on earth and, interestingly, I saw very few people who were significantly overweight, which gave me food for thought, too.

……staff at Mundo Marino have…become experts in rescuing marine animals from pollution……….Magellan penguins ……a single penguin stood out…I was told he was a single rockhopper from a group of rescued birds and, although he had now fully recovered, he couldn’t be released until another rehabilitated rockhopper was ready to be set at liberty. ‘You cant release penguins on their own,’ the keeper explained. ‘Like sea lions, come to that, they simply wont go without a fellow creature of their own kind; they wont leave.’
What a revelation! Suddenly, after all the years of wondering why Juan Salvado had so persistently refused to leave me on that beach in Punta del Este. I felt I had a satisfactory answer at last. Oh, the relief!