This Couldn't Have Ended Well

Another, in the continuing story of Russian dash-cam recordings.

SUV wants in the lane ahead of Blue car but Blue Car won't let SUV in ahead of him. SUV speeds off ahead and we think that's the end, but lo! SUV pulls onto the shoulder. For what purpose? At this point it would be good to point out the Blue has his windows rolled down...

Sorry Frank, I Don't Like Fallingwater

Pennsylvania's iconic Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright
You hear words like "brilliant" and "exceptional" in reference to Fallingwater. Sorry, no. Yes Frank Lloyd Wright was a great architect yada yada, I'd be an idiot to call his body of work into question, I just don't like this house and I dislike that this house has become linked to FLW as the crowning achievement in a career spanning decades and that it is the most famous of his designs.

In all fairness I should go and see it before I make such a pronouncement but I can tell by pictures I don't like the design. It was built with the idea that it would blend in and compliment the surrounding landscape in keeping with Frank Lloyd Wright's later organic style of architecture.  In my opinion it does not accomplish this.

Isn't organic design less about imposing horizontal and vertical concrete lines on nature and more about working with the landscape that already exists? Nature is rarely about right angles. It undulates. He certainly became aware of this later and while he incorporated rocks found above the waterfall within the house's interior, he enclosed it in a harsh series of blocks that interrupt the surrounding lines like gashes on tree bark. However his Guggenheim Museum design is all about curving and spirals in a field of stern right angled high rises and city blocks so maybe he was all about making something stand out in its surroundings.

As is stated on the plaque, this is Fallingwater's very blendy entrance.

Creating a wow in the structure to accommodate existing trees hardly qualifies as organic although in the 1930's I suppose it was cutting edge. Saving any tree would be cutting edge back then.

Wiki says:

Hailed by Time shortly after its completion as Wright's "most beautiful job", it is listed among Smithsonian's Life List of 28 places "to visit before you die."  It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. In 1991, members of the American Institute of Architects named the house the "best all-time work of American architecture" and in 2007, it was ranked twenty-ninth on the list of America's Favorite Architecture according to the AIA

Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built Fallingwater for the Kaufmann family between 1935-1939, it is situated 43 miles southeast of Pittsburgh  In 1938 it had already seduced the country and was on the cover of Time Magazine.

Fallingwater in the act of blending
If you read the article in Wiki it's easy to see that the people who sang the praises of Fallingwater were not the ones who actually had to live in it. The Kaufmann's only used it as a weekend get away and eventually donated it to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963. In 1964 it was opened to the public as a museum which is about the only calling it was destined to answer successfully.

Perhaps this would be answered adequately if I visited personally but
am I truly expected to wade through the water to access this stairway?
IS it a stairway or is it a series of lateral lines designed to
imitate the gills of the fish in the creek below?

Fallingwater was humid. Mr. Kaufmann referred to Fallingwater as "a seven-bucket building" because of its many leaks. He also nicknamed it "Rising Mildew". Fallingwater lacked moisture proofing and thermal breaks. Clearly a problem for a house built over water.

Oy, I had so much more but it's all just a rehash of my trying to explain why I don't like Fallingwater and frankly it's boring. Like bearing children, admiring Fallingwater is something I think people think is required of them because it's The Right Thing or so their knowledge of design is validated. I'm looking at you Brad Pitt. In the end, beauty is subjective and for me, Fallingwater is not practical, does not blend in with the nature around it and is not beautiful.

I thought The Unbearable Lightness of Being was over-rated also. Also I hate everything Thomas Hardy ever wrote. I'm glad I have that off my chest.

Today Is International Mousse Day

I bet you were expecting chocolate, eh?
I don't like chocolate. That is all. [lets pour]

It seems I missed International Lemon Creme Pie by one day. Today we will combine our semi-regular International [random food] Day with our semi-regular French Word of the Day/Learning French with Frimmy. I really could have squeezed out two posts with this but meh, tomorrow is my Monday.

In French, mousse is pronounced: moosss with a long drawn out 's'. The emphasized 's' represents "style". [I made that up]

In English we say: moos

We don't draw out the 's' sound because we don't have time for that crap.

Mousse means froth or foam. Therefore any foam is a mousse and that includes soap lather, foam hair care products, champagne bubbles, beer head or even fire extinguishing foams ie; mousse au carbonique. Yum! 

If you want to qualify what type of mousse you mean it will be understood in the context of your sentence or you can say: mousse au chocolat, as in 'mousse au chocolat is not my favourite flavour'.

FINE! Here is your mousse au chocolat! Happy now?

Here is a recipe for Frozen Chocolate Mint Mousse which is simplicity itself with four ingredients and which even I will eat mostly because I love mint, sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream.


1      can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

2/3   cup chocolate flavored syrup

3/4   teaspoon peppermint extract

1      cup whipping cream, whipped. (real whipping cream, not cool whip or the stuff from the aerosol cans)


Combine sweetened condensed milk, syrup and extract in a large bowl and mix well.

Fold in whipped cream.

That's it.

Cover and freeze 24 hours. Serve anyway you want, I recommend a spoon and the original bowl. Return any leftovers to the freezer. As if there will be any left overs.

School Band Does Rage Against The Machine

George Mason University band, Green Machine, plays Rage Against the Machine which is worth noting simply because it breaks away from what you expect from a school band. I could see this inspiring some crowds but I don't see any accordions... Here is their website.

Shakespearean Three Little Pigs - John Branyan

Wolfe: Pray thee little pig, grant me entrance

Swine one recalled with sage foreboding that; 'he is mad who trusts in the tameness of a belly-pinched wolf' and responded immediately:

Pig 1:  Nay it shall not be! Not by wit or whiskered jowl! 

Me: ahahaha!!!!!

Verily it passes that the wolf encounters the third swine who is from...[dah dah DAH] the Colonies.

The Lad gave me a heads up on this video, which has been around since forever he tells me, I hope you get a laugh

Want to know how many words are in your vocabulary? Click here or here or here for a short test.

The Mystery of Oak Island

I've started to write this post several times. In fact when I was thinking about writing a blog, Oak Island was one of the posts I thought would be interesting to write about. I was wrong. It's not interesting at all. Even the photos are boring. 

It's not even on the interesting side of Nova Scotia which we all know is the Bay of FUNdy

Recently Bones did an episode (The Man With The Bone, I didn't see it) which featured a story line based on the same archaeological features mirroring those of Oak Island. After the show aired, local radio personalities commented they were unaware of Canada's famous Oak Island Treasure story - really?! - and it occurred to me that there may be one or two other people out there who are also unaware of Oak Island so, paraphrasing wiki from the article found here, here is the story for the two of you.

Booth: Treasure! Bones: Why must humahns embark on futile quests for [blah blah]

Daniel McGinnis, an impressionable youth of 18, saw lights coming from the island one night. Lights being a sign of suspicious activity in 1795, he went to discover what was up and found a circular depression on the southeastern end of the island. No word on whether he found the source of the lights. There was a tree beside the depression with a tackle block (since lost) on an overhanging branch. (since lost).

He went and got friends and started excavating and discovered evidence that someone had intended to create a pit there. Pick marks and flag stones a few feet down being the main evidence. They continued to dig and found a layer of logs every 10 feet but abandoned the digging at 30 feet.

This will be the most interesting thing about my Oak Island post

This launched what has now become the longest quest for treasure and the deepest archaeological excavation site ever in the history of mankind in our galaxy, probably. 

Eight years after Daniel McGinnis, another company began excavations and found charcoal, putty and coconut fibre every ten feet down to 90 feet. It is claimed that at 90 feet they found a stone (now lost) with strange symbols which were translated as saying "forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried" but we'll see later that someone else has a theory that it doesn't say that at all.

Symbols on the stone found at 90 feet where they would have us believe
the code is a simple letter substitution cryptogram...yeah right

And then? The pit flooded with sea water up to the 33 foot level. No amount of bailing reduced the amount of water in the pit and it was abandoned once again.

The pit was re-excavated back down to the 86 feet where it flooded again. Next they drilled into the area below the bottom of the shaft and passed through: "a spruce platform at 98 feet, a 12-inch head space, 22 inches of what was described as "metal in pieces", 8 inches of oak, another 22 inches of metal, 4 inches of oak, another spruce layer, and finally into clay for 7 feet without striking anything else.

That right there sums up the whole Oak Island Treasure Hunt experience. Lots of digging and drilling and finding foreign materials at regular intervals all leading up to a great big huge nothing. Or water filling the entire excavation again. That happens a lot too.

Here lies water and a lot of nothing for which men have died

In 1861 another attempt was made which resulted in the collapse of the bottom of the shaft into a natural cavern (probable) or booby trap (fanciful theory) down below. This excavation attempt was marked with the first of six deaths relating to the Oak Island Treasure when the boiler of a pumping engine burst.

Further excavations were made in 1866, 1893, 1909, 1931, 1935, 1936, and 1959, none of which were successful.

It is interesting to note that when red dye was poured into the flooded pit the dye exited at three different points around the island. But is this the work of an engineering genius with treasure to hide or a sink hole due to the natural formation of caverns and channels below the surface and is found all over this area?

Various parties through the years have tried their hand at excavating the pit and all were unsuccessful. Often the company involved just ran out of money.

According to wiki:

It was announced in April 2006 that partners from Michigan had purchased a 50% stake in Oak Island Tours Inc., for an undisclosed amount of money...The Michigan group...has said it will resume operations on Oak Island in the hope of discovering buried treasure and the mystery of Oak Island.
In July 2010...the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources/Tourism, Culture and Heritage had granted them a temporary Treasure Trove License, allowing them to resume activities until December 31, 2010. After December 2010, the department repealed the former Treasure Trove Act and replaced it with a new "Oak Island Act". The new Oak Island Treasure Act came into effect as of January 1, 2011 and allows for treasure hunting to continue on the island under the terms of a licence issued by the Minister of Natural Resources.

So what's happening on Oak Island now? According to this update permits were acquired and digging was planned for this past summer. There has been nothing in the news about treasure being found but I, for one, am not surprised.

There is one person who has another theory. He believes the Oak Island site is a decoy and the markings on the stone tablet found in 1804 do not say "forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried" but are directions to the actual treasure on nearby Birch Island.

Interestingly, Birch Island also looks like a peace symbol.
I hope that's not a sign

Birch Island has a strange triangle on it. That's gotta mean something! 

I'm sure there is some sort of mystery around Oak Island. Where do the coconut fibres come from, for example? 

What treasure is down there, if any? Information on who really wrote Shakespeare's works (Francis Bacon)? Pirate treasure? Marie Antoinette's jewels? It's become more than just fun to speculate, it's become a business. A serious business that has taken lives. In the end, whatever is found, I don't think it will have been worth it.

Picture Dump


This is why I have always read

(don't do it)

They kind of all look like the same person


Wouldn't it be fun to have just one place at the table with a set of these
when you have people over for dinner?

It totally does!!!



Got this on a parenting fail site. Raccoons will eat your face off

From the same parenting fail site except this is a bronze sculpture so, not a fail.
All zoos have these don't they? Bronze orangutans know the ones?

Mr. Dressup Would Be 85 today

In Google's tradition of continuing to acknowledge birthdays of someone after they are long dead, today they honoured Ernie Coombs (1927-2001) who would be 85 if he were still alive.

Weird...He always seemed that old when I was a kid. Anyway, the show was never the same once Casey and Finnigan left. Also, I always thought Casey was a girl.

Pink Lakes Around The World

With a few exceptions pink lakes around the world owe their colour to the presence of an algae that thrives in salty conditions. The same by-product of this algae is responsible for the orange ring around this well known geological feature:

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park [photo: Brocken Inaglory]

Caratenoids are produced by, dunaliella salina, a type of halophile green micro-algae found in sea-salt fields and are an anti-oxidant so their presence in the water is not a bad thing. To survive in these salty conditions the algae contains high concentrations of beta-carotene which is used in cosmetics (colouring) and dietary supplements (vitamin A) and is the pigment responsible for your red and orange fruits and vegetables.


Lake Retba, Senegal, Africa (photo at the beginning of this post
 is also Lake Retba)

During the dry season, Lake Retba is at its most colourful. Depending on the conditions, the water can range from purple to peach in colour.


Hutt Lagoon, Australia [photo: L. Lodwick]

Lake Hiller, Western Australia
[photo: Jean Paul Ferrero/Ardea/Caters News]

Salinity levels vary at different points in the year and depending on certain conditions, like temperature, the intensity of the colour will vary along with those conditions. Australia has many pink lakes so I'm going to move on to other parts of the world but before we do here is one more image of Australian pink lakes:

Each lake is a different shade of pink owing to different levels of algae
[photo: Louise O'Grady]

Dusty Rose Lake, British Columbia [photo: AlpineClimber]

This is the only picture of this British Columbia lake that I could find. The person who took it had heard about it through a travel article and wanted to see it for himself. He linked to the article on his flikr page but I couldn't find anything relating to this lake through that link.

The colour of the water in this lake is due to the particulate in the glacial melt waters feeding it. The surrounding rock is purple/pink in colour and the photographer says the water feeding the lake had a lavender hue to it in much the same way the purple sands of Pfeiffer Beach get their colour. He posted this picture in 2006 with the intention of getting back to it to get a closer look. It doesn't look like he did, but I'd love to see close-up photos of this lake.


Salt flats are seen as pinkish areas in the southern portion of San Francisco Bay
Salt Flats, San Francisco Bay [photo: DocSearls]

[photo: yvan h]
Showing the range of colour possible in pink lakes
depending on algae and salinity levels

Western Asia

Masazirgol, Azerbaijan

Salt collecting, Masazirgol, Azerbaijan


Salina de Torrevieja, Spain, one of the largest salt lakes in Europe

Except for the one in British Columbia, all of the pink lakes I found had some kind of salt industry connected to it. So what do you find if you google "pink+salt"? Himalayan pink salt which, if I'm not mistaken, is mined since I see it in slabs and great huge hunks with candles or light bulbs in them. Is salt harvested from pink lakes actually pink? I'm happy to say it is.

And it's very expensive too! I think I'd be quite taken with a pink lake if I saw one even though pink is one of my least favourite colours. Which means I'm at my saturation point with pink and I'm off to look at serene images of blue and green.


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