Category Archives: What Nots

Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: Nature Walk

About halfway down the west side of the Field Museum’s Stanley Field Hall, the three-story central atrium of the Museum, there is the beginning of a boardwalk with a sign announcing the “Nature Walk” (not to be confused with Lincoln … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Brewseum/Field Museum of Natural History: Brewing Up Chicago

If you happen to be in Chicago before January 5, 2020, be sure to catch a small gem of an exhibition at the Field Museum: the Chicago Brewseum’s Brewing Up Chicago, their first exhibition, hosted by the Field Museum. It’s … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: The Elizabeth Hubert Malott Hall of Jades

When one thinks of jade, one almost automatically thinks of China. Well, there’s some justification for that, given the Chinese fondness for jade going back thousands of years, but the Chinese weren’t alone, as we discover in this small but … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: What Is An Animal?

When I was a small child (as in, about five years old), my father would take me to the Field Museum; I always wanted to look at the “stuffed animals.” (And I should note that the “stuffed animals” on display … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: The Alsdorf Hall of Northwest Coast and Arctic Peoples

I’ve come to think of the Field Museum as the “everything museum” — from evolution to paleoanthropology to conservation to meteors: it’s all here. Granted, some exhibitions are more rewarding than others, but the Museum seems to be committed to … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: The Ancient Americas

When I offered to take my cousin to the Field Museum, showing off my new membership, and suggested that we see the permanent exhibition “The Ancient Americas,” she said, “What’s that?” “Indians,” I said, “from Day One.” She said later … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets’ Raccoon in a Garbage Can

The latest Folkmanis hand puppet to come my way is the Raccoon in a Garbage Can, which seems appropriate — garbage cans are one of raccoons’ favorite places. (Trust me — I know this from personal experience. I also know … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Sea Serpent Stage Puppet

We’re not sure who wrote this review as that seems to gone walkabout. Folkmanis has gained an excellent reputation in recent decades for its overwhelming array of puppets. The plushies range from eerily lifelike to utterly fantastical. Right now I’m … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Jabberwock puppet

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” I remember hearing about the Jabberwock in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.  He sounded spooky and dangerous.  Something I would never … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Narwhal puppet

Sea creatures are wonderful.  I absolutely love anything having to do with the sea, except for cleaning fish.  But that’s a tale for another time; right now I’ve got a puppet with an actual tail; the Narwhal puppet from Folkmanis. … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ American Kestrel puppet

I love raptors.  No, not the ones you seen in Jurassic Park.  Those are terrifying, even though I know they’re nothing but CGI.  I’m talking about the types of birds that are also called Birds of Prey.  From Owls to … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets’ Rat In a Tin Can

I seem to have another Folkmanis puppet lurking around, this one the Rat In a Tin Can. The Folkmanis website describes him as being ready for a playful picnic (note the napkin in one paw). However, it seemed to me … Continue reading

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Groot and Rocket Raccoon statue

Accurate representations of Rocket Raccoon, best known from the two Guardians of the Galaxy films are difficult to find without spending  a lot of cash on the accurate one-sixth scale models costing in the hundreds of dollars. I wanted one … Continue reading

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Quantum Mechanix’s Pinky & The Brain Q-Fig Toons Figures

Pinky and The Brain are two laboratory mice that were enhanced to be smart but only one ended up being a genius and one ended up, well, not insane as the intro to the show puts it, but definitely odd and hyperkinetic to … Continue reading

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Pilot’s Varsity Disposable Fountain-Pens

I do a good bit of writing by hand, usually in a large hardbound sketchbook, although I sometimes like the feel of a nice narrow yellow-lined pad or the sprawl of an enormous expanse of drawing paper. And to write … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: Evolving Planet

The Field Museum of Natural History was founded in 1893 as the Columbian Museum of Chicago; the building was part of the 1893 Columbian Exposition (read “World’s Fair”). It is devoted to just about everything that has to do with … Continue reading

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Complaints Choirs

Let me pour you a shot of a Finnish vodka on me so I can tell you the tale of these Chiors… The story as it’s told now is that on a winter’s day walk, Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Mini Brown Mouse Finger Puppet

The entry for the Mini Brown Mouse Finger Puppet at Folkmanis’ website reads: “The Folkmanis Mini Brown Mouse finger puppet is a pocket pet perfect to surprise your unsuspecting friends.” I can see it. This little guy (barely four inches … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Dove Puppet

I’m sitting here looking at the latest critter from Folkmanis to hit my desk, and to tell the truth, I’m a little unnerved. It’s their Dove Puppet. The tag is quite definite that it’s a white dove, a color variant … Continue reading

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NECA’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Body Knocker Groot

Unlike the mainstream media, the Marvel fans and, well, nearly everyone else who thinks every Marvel Comics Universe (MCU) is fantastic and the DC Comics Universe films sucked, my opinions are more mixed. Hey I like Suicide Squad, which is … Continue reading

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A Travels Abroad story: A Visit to St. Petersburg (A Letter to Ekaterina)

G’Evening Ekaterina, It’s after four in the morning and I’m wide awake as my leg injury’s keeping me from sleeping long, long after your sister Catherine has turned in for the night. So I’m doing needed correspondence as I’ll get … Continue reading

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Pierpont Morgan Library’s Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi

The history of the Tarot is more than a little murky. According to some scholars the cards as a system for divination had originated in India and came to Europe with the Romany by way of Eastern and Central Europe. … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the United States, is brand-new – again. Over the past ten or fifteen years, the Zoo has undergone a major update, with new exhibits, better quarters for the collections, and a … Continue reading

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Lincoln Park Zoo’s South Pond Nature Boardwalk

If you’re visiting Chicago and need a break from the museums, architecture tours, shopping, and theater, check out South Pond in Lincoln Park, just south of Lincoln Park Zoo, for a nice relaxing hour or two. It’s another restoration project … Continue reading

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Figures of Speech Theatre’s Anerca

Figures of Speech Theatre (FST) is, first and foremost, a puppet theater. For most of us that designation creates an immediate impression far removed from the incredibly complex theatrical artistry of this world-renowned group. In the Western World puppets are … Continue reading

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Chicago, Lincoln Park: North Pond Nature Sanctuary

Chicago, perhaps surprisingly to most people, has a number of nature sanctuaries in Lincoln Park, which stretches along the lakefront from North Avenue in the south up to Hollywood Beach in the north. I say “perhaps surprisingly” because Chicago’s lakefront … Continue reading

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Unabridged Bookstore

Chicago has a rich trove of bookstores, all the way from the legendary Kroch’s and Brentano’s on Wabash Avenue, once a magnet for book lovers visiting the Loop (or in the case of some of us, visiting the Loop to … Continue reading

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North Pond

Chicago, perhaps surprisingly to most people, has a number of nature sanctuaries in Lincoln Park, which stretches along the lakefront from North Avenue in the South up to Hollywood Beach in the north. I say “perhaps surprisingly” because Chicago happens … Continue reading

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A Travels Abroad story: Goblin’s Balls

Goblins and faeries everywhere, dancing, laughing, playing wild music and pranks . . . witches and wizards, casting spells and illusions . . . music and magic everywhere. Against the flickering low light, masks and books for your admiration or purchase; masks, in fact, everywhere you look, along … Continue reading

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Circa 1894 B&B

Pretend you’ve had a Very Rough Year. Pretend you’ve faced some challenges like never before. Pretend your health and wits have decided to take a sharp veer toward a figurative cliff, your plans (dreams, hopes, aspirations) all continuing in one … Continue reading

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An Interview with Robin Williamson

Tim Hoke conducted this interview  in 2008. You’ve been described as a Scottish multi-instrumentalist musician, singer, songwriter, and storyteller, who first made his name as a founder member of The Incredible String Band and The Merry Band. That was over thirty … Continue reading

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Cirque du Soleil’s O at The Bellagio

Anyone who has seen the Cirque du Soleil seems to struggle with the same “superlative glut” when they try to describe the experience afterward. “It’s amazing, superb, out of this world, fantastic…” Their voices trail off, and finally they say … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Lincoln Park Conservatory

Lincoln Park Conservatory is another one of those nineteenth-century treasures still to be found in Chicago. It’s a glass house built between 1890 and ’95, located just east of Stockton Drive about a block south of Fullerton Parkway, off the … Continue reading

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Brian Froud and Ari Berk’s The Runes of Elfland 

I’m a librarian, so by training and habit (and just because I’m made that way), I always read all pre- and post- material in a book — and I usually read it first. Jacket flaps, colophon, acknowledgements, introduction…. I even glance through … Continue reading

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Eugenie Bird’s Fairie-ality: The Fashion Collection from the House of Ellwand

This book is a trifle, a whimsy, a delightful confection. I was going to call it a “delightful bit of fluff,” but as a ten by twelve inch hardbound volume, it’s a wee bit too substantial to be called fluff. … Continue reading

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Hand-To-Mouth Theatre’s Piggery Jokery and Punch & Judy

Ladies and Gentlemen, pray how you do? If you all happy, me all happy too. Stop and hear me merry little play; If me make you laugh, me need not make you pay. — Punch in a Punch & Judy script … Continue reading

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Folkmanis puppets: Baby Dragon

Like every Folkmanis puppet I’ve so far seen, the Baby Dragon Puppet is a marvel of workmanship for the price: carefully stitched seams, articulated wings, darts along the inside of the limbs and belly to allow for movement and keep … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets: Basset Hound

Basset hounds seem to generate the kind of passion normally reserved for sports teams, and looking at Folkmanis’ Basset Hound puppet, it’s easy to see why. This little guy (well, not so little — 14 inches from nose to rump) … Continue reading

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CBGB Punks: Bad Apple and Maxx

OK, do you remember CBGB, the club in New York City that became the archetypal club for punk music and punks? Found at 315 Bowery Street, it was the birthplace of the punk rock scene in the States and would … Continue reading

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Guido Zibordi Marchesi’s Bruegel Tarot

I have been using Tarot cards for divination and personal insight for more years than I care to admit. I have tried many variants on the standard Tarot deck and have a few favorites that I use regularly. I’d like … Continue reading

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Roald Dahl’s The Gremlins: The Lost Walt Disney Production

Dark Horse Books, a division of Dark Horse Comics, recently released Roald Dahl’s The Gremlins in commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the United States Air Force. In a slightly melodramatic and over-sentimentalized introduction, Leonard Maltin gives a nevertheless fascinating … Continue reading

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Karen Mahony’s The Tarot of Prague

I picked up this beautiful Tarot deck when it arrived in the Green Man mailroom a year or so ago. I had to use it a few times before I established enough familiarity to review it. Now I’m ready! As … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets: Piglet

My second Folkmanis puppet is the Piglet. I have to confess, as I sat here looking at him reclining on my bed — he’s rather large, about 14 inches from nose to curly tail (not corkscrew curly, but it’s making … Continue reading

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Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth’s The Faeries’ Oracle 

Andrea S. Garrett penned this review. Before this review gets underway, let me say that I am writing about this work as a book and a set of cards, not as an Oracle — having never manifested any skill in … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets: Little Hedgehog

Well, I finally got my first Folkmanis puppet to review, and appropriately enough, it’s the Little Hedgehog — and let me tell you, he’s a real charmer. The construction is up to Folkmanis’ usual standard. The body is covered in … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets: Baby Sea Otter

Well, another cutie from Folkmanis came across my desk — or maybe I should say, “swam” across my desk: it’s their Baby Sea Otter hand puppet, and it’s a real cutie. As is the norm with Folkmanis, the workmanship and … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets: Alpaca

I have another puppet from Folkmanis — the Alpaca. It strikes me as rather odd to make an alpaca puppet, but this one is not without its charm. First off, it’s a very woolly little critter, and fairly large — … Continue reading

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Adult Coloring Book Omni

Colored by © Alessandra Carvalho http://www.projetodiy.com.br/ Colored by © Alessandra Carvalho http://www.projetodiy.com.br/ I got back into coloring a few years ago, after students in my sociology of education course designed a team learning activity based on a day in preschool. … Continue reading

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