Monday, April 20, 2009

I need a vacation

Animal Fun: which photo is natural and which is photoshopped?
Hyena ...


Which of those animals is most closely to related to the cat family and which to the dinosaur family? Am I likely to see either of them on my camping trip this week into the wilds of Nevada?

Animal Art Fun: which of these pieces is by Andy Warhol and which by Jeff Ham?

And now for something REALLY scary:
Sometime ago, I used an artistic website (long since forgotten) to alter a photo of myself sitting in an empty cafe into a "Modigliani" style. The above is what they came up with. Yes I guess the horse-face features are Modigliani, but where is the beauty so evident in the following Modig clip? (warning: female nudity)...

If you just can't enough Modigliani, here's a longer clip (at apprx 4:35, I swear Shirley McClaine's ancestral twin is posing, or maybe she really has lived previous lives?) ... Why did he elongate faces, why is his perspective of the nose and neck so odd? Why are the eyes so dead and/or sad? Why are the mouths so squinched up? Maybe someone with an art background has a clue. I certainly don't.

I have not forgotten about my MMM series. After we return from this week's camping trip, I hope to get back into it. Sometimes you just have to walk/run/hike away from it all for awhile.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Hare

jackrabbit image credit: painting by artist Jeff Ham

Since I can't seem to get back into MMM right now (MMM is hardly Easter material at any rate), and since I tend to stay away from traditional Easter bunnies (here's my last year's easter animal), I thought I'd "share the hare" ... the Easter Hare, that is!

There are many folklore tales about hares. Instead of a human face, some see a Hare in the Moon. The hare is often associated with female dieties. There's a legend about a bow hunter shooting a hare in the leg with his arrow and following it as it disappears into the woods. He never finds the wounded hare, but does find a beautiful woman sitting on a fallen tree pulling an arrow out of her leg! The ancient Celts considered hares to be so close to the spirit world, they would not eat them. In Ireland they said they would not eat a hare for fear of eating their own grandmother! For some very interesting rabbit and hare symbolism, click here.

As a symbol of springtime and fertility, I think the Hare is as good a symbol for Easter as the bunny rabbit.

A Hare is different from a bunny rabbit in many ways. Hares live in the open, not in warrens or burrows. Hares are born furred and with their eyes wide open. A fully grown Hare is about 2-ft tall, even taller if the legs are fully extended and the ears are fully erect. They are longer-legged and have much longer ears than bunny rabbits. Bugs Bunny looks more like a hare than a wascally wabbit to me!

Desert Jackrabbits are actually hares. They have intelligent long faces. For a photo by Laura Hughes that really captures a jackrabbit's face, click here (it won't blog load).

Relying on speed and leaping ability to evade predators, you won't normally see a hare until you get too close.

On desert hikes, I've been surprised by hares springing straight up out of a bush and leaping away in 15-ft bounds. That'll start your heart, for sure! After a few quick leaps, the hare will jump ever higher as it gains momentum to sail over the desert brush.

Since hares are primarily nocturnal and mostly hiding during the day, seeing one in the daytime like the above photo is quite a treat.

Hares can be very social, too. I've seen large groups of 25-50 congregating out in the desert, their long ears especially visible on a full moon night as they busily nibble sagebrush.

In a happy coincidence for 2009, the moon will still be pretty full on Easter Sunday. Many cultures have names for each month's full moon (for the few months with two full moons, the second one is the Blue Moon). Some of the names for April's full moon are The Pink Moon, The Seed Moon, The Planting Moon, and in some places, yes ... The Hare Moon ...

So, I will be looking for Easter Hares under the mostly-full moon tonight and tomorrow night. If I see any, it will truly be an Easter Hare Moon. Wish I had a night-vision camera!

Happy Easter, everyone!