Sat, 29 March 2008
Aesop, according to tradition, was a Greek slave who flourished around 550 BC and told many fables, i.e. tales with a moral at the end. Many of these tales had animal characters, and many were actually much older than Aesop. In other words, if Aesop actually lived, or even if he didn't, he borrowed other stories in addition to possibly making up some of his own; additionally, it appears he wrote new stories long after his death, as many stories attributed to him were picked up from later generations and other cultures. We herewith present one of the stories he may have written during, before or after his lifetime, a simple fable about self-reliance that we, as you might notice, have embellished just a bit.
We thought this story appropriate for the moment, because it deals with vehicle problems of a sort, and we've just experienced vehicle problems of many sorts driving from Albuquerque to Las Vegas. We include a special guest, Zephyr's friend Koree, who is visiting us for a few days from Arizona. We include an account of our stay in the Glitz Capital of the world, where Zephyr attended a haunted attraction convention, and the prices are high enough to spook anyone.
Dennis (Farmer), Kimberly (Mule, Woman), Zephyr (Hercules, Man) and Koree (Woman)
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:14 PM
Thu, 20 March 2008
In episode 75 we announced the "Be A Character" contest. Here are the details:
Be A Character
We will name a folktale character after you or one of your friends in episode 80. You can be the hero! Or choose to be the villain if you prefer. All who comment will be entered into a drawing. You may enter as many times as you like. Comments do need to be relevant to the podcast (no spam) and may be posted about any episode or the show in general.
To enter all you need to do is leave a comment or review at one of the following sites.
Please leave a way that we can get back in touch with you. If you don't want to leave your email on a site just send us an email so if you win we can find out what your preferences are. Otherwise we'll just do what we want (insert evil laugh here). It is wise to send us an email just so we don't miss anything. We do not share email address with anyone.
We typically do a podcast every other week. But every now and then we are sneaky and throw in an extra one. We like to record them on Mondays and air them on Thursdays. So if we stick to a normal schedule you will have until May 19th to enter the contest.
Category:general -- posted at: 6:37 PM
Thu, 13 March 2008
The poor bat has an evil image that it doesn't deserve. Because it's active at night, and hides in dark places like caves, and has a rather sinister appearance, it has inspired fear for ages. And Dracula wasn't exactly a helpful public relations person, either. But in fact bats are quite harmless, unless they have rabies -- which would put any critter in a bad mood.
In Nigeria, folks long ago tried to explain the bat's reputation with a little story to account for its status among living things. In our version it's called, appropriately, "Why the Bat is an Outcast". It points out that bats don't appear to fit in with either birds or "animals" (i.e., mammals), though it has characteristics of both -- and by being reclusive, appears to be shunned by both. Scientists, of course, tell us that bats are indeed mammals, a sort of flying rat. But they're harder to keep as pets.
We encountered only one bat recently when we walked through the caves at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, and it was dead -- and encased inside a stalagmite! This was inside the Lower Cave, an optional tour that had us Indiana Jones-ing down a slope while hanging on a rope, descending three ladders, and then walking around with headlamps on our helmets. That's the real way to see a cave! Well, actually the real way to see a cave is in its natural lighting -- total darkness, which we also saw for about 5 minutes.
On our way to Carlsbad, we spent a day in Abilene, TX, where we stumbled upon the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) and talked to executive director Sarah Mulkey. She told us all about the Center's mission of exposing the public, and particularly children, to the original artwork of prominent children's book illustrators. The current exhibition features Gerald McDermott, who illustrated some of the stories that we've performed in the past -- and will be performing again.
Dennis (Bruce the Bat), Kimberly (Birds & Beasts) and Zephyr (Narrator)
Sat, 8 March 2008
Here is the video to accompany podcast #74. Watch Kimberly zipline through the Trees at Banning Mills on YouTube.
The camera had to be strapped to the outside of our hand and could not be held or focused when we were on the zipline. But we think it still turned out pretty well. Hope you enjoy the ride!
Category:general -- posted at: 3:18 AM
Sat, 1 March 2008
Dreams play an important role in many tribal cultures, providing a revered source of advice, enlightenment and law. Our rendition "The Dreaming Tree", a considerably "trunk-ated" version of a folk mini-saga from Brazil, illustrates how seriously indigenous peoples take this nocturnal activity. It also makes use of the tree as a symbol of wisdom, a motif common to many folk traditions. And there's a reminder that even a good thing can be carried to dangerous excess.
This story about a potent tree seemed especially appropriate because we recently got a very good bird's eye view of some very nice trees, not to mention beautiful Snake Creek (which we just mentioned) at Historic Banning Mills, near Whitesburg, GA. It's called Historic Banning Mills because historically there were mills here (textile, paper, wood and others), and the ruins still stand. But now there's a rustic lodge up on the hill overlooking the creek, a serene location for a romantic getaway, a conference, or a wedding. At certain times of the year, the place is also abuzz with all manner of outdoor activities, including hiking, horseback riding, golf, skeet shooting (what did those poor skeets ever do to us?) and kayaking. And there's a very intriguing-looking ropes course on the grounds -- or rather in the trees. (If you don't know, a ropes course is a series of physical obstacles that involve climbing, designed to challenge your courage and tenacity and resourcefulness. If you don't know the ropes when you start, you'll learn before it's over.)
Zipping Through the Treetops
But the piece de resistance is what they call the Canopy Tour, a guided walk through the treetops on bridges too narrow even for ballerinas (though Kimberly did a pretty decent impression of one) and even, in some cases, a single cable. But oh yes, we almost forgot. There are also four ziplines, which are cables stretched from trees and/or towers on which the truly daring and/or truly insane soar at speeds up to 60 m.p.h. at altitudes of up to 220 feet. And you don't even need a pilot's license. It was the most exhilaratingly terrifying experience we've had in ages, and we can't wait to do it again -- this time with Zephyr, who was off in Massachusetts at the time.
The Inns at Historic Banning Mills, and the Canopy Tour, are family owned and operated, by some right friendly folks. We highly recommend this place. (Note: When you visit their website, we recommend the multimedia tour, which uses an exquisite arrangement of a haunting Civil War-flavored waltz to provide a perfect mood for the slide show.)
Read Across America
In celebration of Dr. Seuss's Birthday and Read Across America week, we are bringing you this special podcast on a Saturday, even though Thursday is our typical air date. Find out what we are reading as we drive across America. How are you celebrating? You are invited to call in and share what is on your reading list(206) 202-3976.