Wednesday, May 26, 2010

These two animals generally avoid each other.

This is an amazing level of synchronicity, posted in the order the photos were taken. I don't know what they were looking at. (Incidentally, both of them are adults and the same age. The small one, Natasha, is tiny but fierce.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Discovered? Are you sure that's what you wanted to write?

Last week I read this on the Weyerhauser web site for The Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, which has been closed since Spring, 2009, and will be reopening this Spring for a temporary exhibit.
"Did You Know?
U.S. soldiers discovered bonsai in Japan during World War II."
I hope that I don't need to explain to anyone now reading this what is wrong with that statement.

I do like these two unusual bonsai that are part of the Weyerhauser collection, though.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ketjak, the Ramayana Monkey Chant

A tangent related to something I was looking for led me back to the Ketjak, generally referred to in English as the "Ramayana Monkey Chant." Balinese Gamelan has had a profound influence on Western academic music, which is understandable given its complexity. There's something pretty fabulous about the compelling rhythm of those metallophones and gongs...

While the ketjak is a creation of this century, it is descended from something much more ancient — the trance dance, the dance of exorcism called sanghjang; its ancestry is clear. Ostensibly, the ketjak is a reenactment of the battle described in the Ramayana epic — in which the monkey hordes came to the aid of Prince Rama in his battle with the evil King Ravana — complete with a chorus imitating monkeys, as they chant the syllable tjak.