With the Smithsonian closing its famed dinosaur exhibit this month what’s a budding paleontologist to do?
Our own Joe Bruns, a frequent Trail Mix contributor, comes to the rescue in The Washington Post, where he offers a thorough guide to alternatives for dinosaur fans until the renovated Smithsonian exhibit reopens in 2019. With such a long wait, Bruns features ideas from Baltimore’s forty-foot T. rex to a prehistoric snake fossil in Delaware and in Philadelphia a green-screen display that allows children to walk among the dinosaurs.
Many children develop an interest in dinosaurs between the ages of 5 and 7. They’re becoming aware of, and interested in, the natural world around them, and the idea of big, lumbering beasts roaming the world and creating havoc — well, what’s not to like? Even better, they really existed, unlike the monsters from the fairy tales.” — Joe Bruns, Washington Post (4/18)
As I was pumping water out of my basement this week, I was thinking, “Spring is FINALLY here.” We had a lot of snow this year in northern Maine, and the “Spring Melt” was delayed by unusually cold weather.
The date of the beginning of Spring: In the USA, we define it as the Spring Equinox (about March 20th, but the ancient Celts in Europe thought that spring began half-way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice (about June 21st). So, according to Celtic sensibility, Spring doesn’t start until about May 10). Other cultures use different dates for the beginning of Spring.
The meaning of the word “Spring.” This refers to the idea that “new life springs forth.” Trees bud, flowers bloom, germination occurs, seeds are spread, and most species of animals give birth. Why now? Because the young organisms need to time to grow to be as large and strong as possible to survive winter.
Fertility rites and/or human sacrifice. Many cultures around the world, especially in temperate zones where the differences in the seasons are more pronounced, have festivals to honor the arrival of spring. Some of these cultures focus their celebrations on either symbolic or actual …. SEX. In ancient European rural peasant cultures, spring was one of those rare times when unmarried young people got a “free pass” to fool around, for a day or two. For centuries, this has provided poets, novelists, playwrights, composers, and film makers with ample material guaranteed to improve their sales. For audiences who wanted a bit of violence mixed in with their sex, some cultures (like the Celts) also practiced the sacrifice of animals or humans. Yes, spring has been a thematic goldmine for artists.
Here are a couple of my favorite “Spring” videos…
The Courtship of the Centaurs scene From Disney’s ”Fantasia.” This is as sexy as Disney gets.
The trailer for the 1973 version of “The Wicker Man,” a film about a remote island off the coast of Britain where the local inhabitants have renounced Christianity and have reverted to the ancient Celtic religion. Plot: a policeman arrives to investigate the disappearance of a young girl and becomes convinced that she is being held in captivity prior to becoming the victim of a human sacrifice.
Finally, I ask my fellow Trailmixers, what does Spring mean to you?
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he’s got a free pass to heaven thanks to his work protecting city dwellers from themselves.
I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.” – Bloomberg (New York Times)
Curbing obesity, smoking, salt and sugar did the trick, he thinks. But just in case he needs a few more credentials Bloomberg is putting up $50 million to build a grassroots organization for stronger gun laws, such as expanding background checks for gun buyers at state and national levels.
Even the persistent Bloomberg has given up on getting Congress to pass an assault weapons ban. They probably have those in heaven too, or maybe the NRA can’t get in.
Free Guns for Voters
On the other side of the issue we have politicians giving away guns in their campaigns. Mother Jones lists several — a few examples:
Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), 2014: The US Senate candidate gave away a Colt AR-15 and a Colt Marine Corps 1911 Rail Pistol to two members of his email list.
South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright, 2014: Bright, who is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), is handing out an AR-15 from Palmetto State armory to a member of his email list.
Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr, 2014: Sen. Lamar Alexander’s tea party challenger enticed voters to sign up for his email list by gifting a Beretta 92A1.
Steve Wagner, 2014: The Hendricks County, Indiana, sheriff candidate is raffling off four shotguns.
Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), 2014: The former presidential candidate and current Colorado gubernatorial contender is teaming up with Ted Nugent—who once told his rivals to “suck on my machine gun”—to hand out an AR-15 to one supporter (no donations necessary).
Paul Krugman is making sense:
“While supposed Obamacare horror stories keep on turning out to be false, it’s already quite easy to find examples of people who died because their states refused to expand Medicaid. According to one recent study, the death toll from Medicaid rejection is likely to run between 7,000 and 17,000 Americans each year.”