Tag Archives: animal

How Do You Like Them Apples?

20 Oct

IMG_3483 IMG_3485 IMG_3497 IMG_3500 IMG_3503 IMG_3509 IMG_3512 IMG_3532 IMG_3549

Every year my friend organizes an autumn apple-picking trip. It’s a nice break from fighting long lines in tiny aisles at grocery stores in New York City. Also, it always makes me think of helping my dad out on the garden in Greece. I took the bus out to Fort Lee, New Jersey, to meet my fellow apple-picking friends, and then we drove two hours or so out to Highland, New York. My friend is the definite “mom” of the group — she brought me an extra jacket because it was spectacularly cold out that day, which I wore on top of my lighter coat.

The farm we went to was called Dubois Farms U-Pick (209 Perkinsville Rd., Highland, NY), which we determined was pronounced like author W. E. B. Du Bois. We were immediately greeted by the smell of grilling burgers and apple cider donuts. The employees there were also super friendly, going out of their way to help us on our apple-picking mission. We were on the hunt for Fuji apples. Or, I should say, my Japanese American friend was on the hunt for that specific apple type. Hmm… does she perhaps have a bias when it comes to apple selection? I also got some Gala apples, which I picked up because they sounded fancy. The type of apples that would know how to throw a swanky party.

What I particularly liked about Dubois Farms is that you don’t have to pay an entry fee. Some farms make you pay to pick. So basically you’re paying to do the labor yourself on top of paying by the pound. At Dubois, though, you only pay by the pound — and the pound is cheaper than what a city dweller pays for apples. It’s a win-win for a starving artist. You can have your fun, and eat your apples too!

I have to admit, though, one of my favorite parts had nothing to do with the apples. I loved all the farm animals, especially that silly goat, who kept trying to my attention. Plus, it was my first time seeing an alpaca in real life!! Remember this scene in Napoleon Dynamite?!

The Trumpet of the Swan

27 Jul
Swan1 swan2
“Safety is all well and good: I prefer freedom.” 
~ E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan
We took the train out to Prospect Park and watched the swans paddling around the lake outside the boathouse. We watched the cygnets with their precious little wings fall in line, one after the other. Both their parents, elegant and regal, kept watch over them. Sitting under a tree, we talked about E. B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan.

Hemingway’s Weirdo Six-Toed Cats

24 Jul

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
~ Ernest Hemingway

 

I’ve known for a long time that Ernest Hemingway liked cats. A lot. Key West is said to be overrun with cats because of him, which is probably a bit of an exaggeration.

But here’s a weird fact I just found out: About half of the cats that hang out at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, Florida, have six toes! Normal cats have five toes in the front and four in the back, but not Hemingway’s cats. Hemingway’s cats have six toes.

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum explains why there are about 50 extra-toed cats running around:

Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, named Snowball. Key West is a small island and it is possible that many of the cats on the island are related.

Six-toed cats are called polydactyl cats, but today many people use the term Hemingway cat as a stand in. You can read more about polydactyls and the history of the author’s cats here.

Other famous literary cat lovers include Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.

Kerouac Goes Missing in Mali

18 Feb

I ran across a story of a dog named Kerouac that’s too good not to share.

If someone names their scruffy dog Kerouac, you know they’re an adventurer. Such is the case of Stephane, a Frenchman who doesn’t pay attention to those pesky travel warnings about dangerous countries. With Kerouac in tow, Stephane travels the world in search of On the Road-inspired adventures.

In Bamako, Mali, though, Stephane ran into trouble. Kerouac apparently ran off just as Stephane’s envoy was leaving, and the two got separated. What follows is the story of a journalist and the director-general of Mali’s national gendarmerie, and a happy ending despite the journalist’s fears of Malian government corruption.

You can read the full story on Global Animal.

You may also like:

 

Cat Hitchhikes for 10 Months

25 Jun

Hipsters love cats. But apparently cats don’t love the hipsterfied city of PDX.

A cat by the name of Mata Hairi hitchhiked its way out of Portland, Oregon, in September after her owner, Ron Buss, let him out. Michael King, a homeless man, found Mata Hairi and rescued her, taking the cat on his hitchhiking travels to California and Montana. Mata Hairi would ride on top of his rucksack.

As soon as he was able to take her to the vet and a microchip revealed her owner, King was able to get in touch with Buss about Mata Hairi’s safe return.

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see Mata Hairi get her own meme, a la LOLCats and Grumpy Cats.

You know who loved hitchhiking and cats? Jack Kerouac. Jerry Bauer took this photograph around 1965.

Here’s another photograph of Kerouac with a cat, plus a 1959 poem about his cat.

 

Election 2012: Hunting with the President

7 Nov

 

Hunting the Grisly:

One of the nation’s most beloved presidents, Theodore Roosevelt’s connection to nature continues to be seen today: 150 national forests, five national parks, and fifty-one wildlife refuges are a result of his conservation efforts.

I wrote an introduction to this Nook book.  It was interesting following the topics relating to the environment during the election debates.  Considering the plight of our wildlife and natural resources, I’d say we have more work to do.

Photobombing with Michael Cera

3 Oct

Have you seen the stingray photobomb that’s gone viral??

Well, here’s a flashback to an article I wrote back in 2010 about Michael Cera’s love for photobombing.

And for those Arrested Development fans out there…

find out who’s making cameo appearances on Arrested Development season 4

Liza Minnelli is one of them!

spoiler alert! plot details

Have you seen this Lucille and Mitt tumblr?!

Video from Collaboration with Jazz Musician David Amram

19 Sep

 

This is the video from my collaborative reading with David Amram at Cornelia Street Cafe on Labor Day.  If you missed my full recap, you can read it here.

In the video you’ll hear me reading a section on Jack Kerouac’s time in Mexico, which gives some perspective on Kerouac’s faith, his sensitivity toward animals, and his tumultuous friendship with Neal Cassady.  The book I’m reading from is my book with Paul Maher Jr. called Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

Special thanks to my videographer Liz Koenig.

The event also picked up some press!

Larry Closs mentioned it in his article “Transcending Beat with David Amram.”

The Pappas Post mentioned it in “Stephanie Nikolopoulos and Jazz legend David Amram pay tribute to Jack Kerouac.”

Greece Leading the Pack

2 Jul

So many people I talk to seems to have this idea, driven by the media and not personal experience, that Greeks are lazy and aren’t doing anything innovative.  This is simply not true.

  • Greeks were ranked third in Europe for the number of hours they work in a year, according to a poll surveying 1995-2005.
  • Greek healthcare is amongst the best in the world.  It’s universal.
  • The Greek maritime industry is recognized as incredibly powerful in the world economy.  It’s not as high as it was in the 1970s, but Greek shipping heirs still seem to be attracting the likes of Paris Hilton and an Olsen twin.
  • Greek companies, such as Korres and Apivita, are leading the natural skincare and makeup revolution.
  • Greece is leading animal rights activism by banning the use of animals in circuses.
  • Greeks are often considered the most hospitable people.  It’s no wonder tourism continues to thrive, despite the media’s ploy to scare people away from the country.  Time + Leisure magazine named Santorini “The World’s Best Island” last year.
  • Greece’s Peloponnese region hardly needs to market itself to attract surfers and golfers from around the world.
  • Greek wine is currently having a revival.  Greek wine is very trendy right now in the United States.
  • Greece is home to the longest cable-stayed bridge in Europe.

Greece is working hard to bridge the gap between its rich history and its present.  The country is respecting its past, its traditions, its natural landscape, and its flora and fauna, while simultaneously capitalizing on these strengths.