They pause for a drink or lunch, then catch the boat again. By late afternoon, the island falls into a somnolent peace. I was here 20 years ago. Little has changed. Wild purple allium spikes the weedy fields. A few souvenir concessions and places to stop for a bite have arrived. Otherwise, the island is caught in time—a time before a place such as Venice could be imagined. On the voyage out, I took a photo.
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I caught a flat expanse of glittering water, a milky sky with high wispy clouds, and between water and sky, the low horizon line of a distant island, so thin it looked like a green brushstroke dividing the two expanses. Among islands barely emerging from the water, you find yourself back at the beginning. The city of Venice once was like these, just an idea of land. How crazy to think of building where the water table percolates just under the surface of the ground.
Torcello goes way back. The bishop of Altino, not far away on the mainland, moved his followers here in a. Altino, which traces back to the eighth to sixth centuries b. Some say the low and marshy island called to the bishop in a vision. There, his people would be less vulnerable to attacks. In the shallow waters, channels had to be cut, and in times of danger the defenders pulled up the bricole, deep-water markers, leaving enemies to flounder in mud.
After eight centuries of a thriving civilization on Torcello, malaria and silt ruined life on the island. People migrated onto the equally undependable strands that gradually became Venice. Torcello, you might say, is the mother of Venice. Now Torcello claims only ten residents. I must have been in a thousand churches during my years in Italy. You might not be prepared for the stunning mosaics.
At the west end, a depiction of the Harrowing of Hell, the seven deadly sins, and the Last Judgment in gory detail. Serpents weave in and out of the skulls of the envious near a section of dismembered parts belonging to the slothful; the gluttons eat their own hands. The messages are complex. A small child is actually the Antichrist in disguise. Who imagined that Adam and Eve were down in hell? The mosaics form a graphic narrative as scary now as it was to the 11th- and 12th-century worshippers. The east-wall mosaic is startlingly different. If you have binoculars, you see that she is weeping.
Actually, the whole complex collapses time. Eliodoro, fragments of 13th-century frescoes, the ninth-century holy water font. This has been sacred ground as far back as memory goes. Santa Fosca, the adjacent brick church, is all architecture, a compact Greek cross base topped by a round structure that looks like a big iced cupcake with a flattened peak. Cunningly cast bronze probes, tweezers, keys, spoons open to us intimate glimpses of life on Torcello. From many islands in the lagoon you can see the campanile, the exclamation point of Torcello.
It was even taller before , when it was lowered after lightning lopped off the top. I would like to have seen the brick-ramped interior, which must make it easier to climb up for the view. I too checked into Locanda Cipriani, occupying the room next to his. You can sit under a pergola, sipping a Negroni, and plot the next year of your life. You can read by the window with the scent of roses and jasmine wafting through the curtains, or meander along paths lined with pomegranates and hydrangeas. The inn is, by now, a large part of the recent history of the island. All the British royals come and go in faded black-and-white photographs.
How young and slender Princess Diana was. And Steve Jobs was here too, though no photo records his visit. I would like to have stayed a week. The waiters loved to chat, the food was fresh from the sea, and the deep quiet made my tense shoulders relax within two hours. My favorite waiter had not been to Venice—only a half-hour trip—in five years. When I heard that, my perspective suddenly shifted. I left Torcello ready to explore as much as possible of the square-mile lagoon, only 8 percent of which is land.
I hopped on and off the vaporetti for a few days. They are working craft—the metro and bus routes of the lagoon. Their days are on water, and their dreams must be of water. A Franciscan monk on San Francisco del Deserto tends to a garden as his forebears have for eight centuries. Just large enough to contain the Armenian-Catholic San Lazzaro degli Armeni Monastery, the tiny San Lazzaro island once served as a medieval leper colony before Armenian monks sought political asylum here in Castrated because the prized first buds are cut off, encouraging fuller growth for the plant.
Next time! A stop close to Venice, San Michele with its dark cypresses is the cemetery island. This area seems cautionary for expats like me. Ezra Pound lies neglected and weedy, in contrast to the only tended grave in the section, that of Russian poet Joseph Brodsky, all covered in blooms. Not lingering on such thoughts, I board the vaporetto again for the island San Lazzaro degli Armeni, where another wandering expat found solace. Lord Byron came here, possibly to escape his imbroglio of amours in the city. He rowed over from Venice to study Armenian with the monks, who were given political asylum and the island in I arrived at a serene cloister and with a few others followed a copiously bearded monk around the complex.
There, you have to imagine Byron taking out volumes and trying to decipher various languages. San Lazzaro Lazarus previously was a refuge for sufferers of leprosy, as were other outposts in the lagoon. Kayaking in the lagoon looked fun and allows access to small islands. However, the loose rigging on a sailboat near my window dinged all night. I departed early. Across open water, the vaporetto speeds up to busy Burano, the island that explodes with color.
What store offers house paint in magenta, ocher, grape purple, forest green? A small bridge connects them. Mazzorbo sets me dreaming of restoring a particular oxblood-red house with white trim right on the canal. Or is the yellow one more appealing? Once it was, like Torcello, a prosperous ancient settlement. The Latin name was Maiurbium, large urban place. Also like Torcello, it succumbed to fevers and silt. It languishes now, but one family has staked a big claim to a positive future for Mazzorbo. The Bisols, known for their many fine proseccos made in other parts of Italy, are reviving a plot of land where monks in earlier times made wines and farmed.
By good fortune, the Bisols found the prized and rare Dorona grape—only five vines—on nearby Torcello. They discovered a few dozen others elsewhere in the lagoon, and from cuttings they started a vineyard. The family converted quayside buildings into Venissa, a small inn with an osteria and an innovative restaurant. The square pond of brackish water where the monks kept fish still exists in the shadow of the old campanile, last vestige of the religious complex. How inspiring to see an idealistic project done just right.
Dining at summer dusk on the edge of the vineyard in the quiet of these islands was bliss. And that golden wine! Maybe a bit of the setting sun melted into the glass. I was happy not to leave but to climb the stairs to a sloping beamed room with chic decor and a view of the canal.
I hope this lively project lures others to the island and a little utopia flourishes again. Mazzorbo, otherwise, lies quiet in the lagoon time warp. Just across the bridge to Burano, two bright wooden boats are moored near the vaporetto station. At the inn I was given the number of the skipper, who took me over to San Francesco del Deserto, the ultimate peaceful island.
One of them guided me. His voice was so soothing that I wanted to curl up under a cypress and nap. Francis returned. The monk related that when St. Francis visited in , he performed his miracle of the birds. Throngs of them held forth with mighty song at the moment Francis wanted to pray. He told them to stop singing until he finished, which they did. It seems an easy miracle—I clap my hands and the cicadas always hush. Still, I hope it happened. Whether it did or not, the story survives, threading together all the days since on this small world amid other scattered small worlds.
The water taxi sped me to my hotel on the Grand Canal, back to the glorious, gaudy, fragile city I have loved for many years. Pick up an ACTV vaporetto map. On it, the routes of the many vaporetti, the people ferries that ply the lagoon, are numbered and color coded. Numbers on the boats correspond to the route numbers on the map. Note that the letter N designates night routes. Vaporetto stations are all along the Grand Canal and at Fondamente Nove.
Rather than purchasing single tickets, you can buy an economical pass for a day or for several days. A three-day unlimited pass is 40 euros. Motoscafi, private water taxis, are plentiful.
Water taxis are expensive, but sometimes time is more valuable than money. From the airport to Torcello, I paid euros. From Mazzorbo to the Grand Canal, I paid 80 euros. The owner of the Pine Street Saloon in Paso Robles, California, had a problem and requested that my traveling companions and I drop by to solve it. His security cameras were picking up a presence, but was it a mere illusion or something more ghostly?
With that end goal in mind, our six-man entourage embarked on what just may be the most authentic and doable old-school saloon tour on the West Coast: a journey from the damp desires of Cold Spring Tavern in the hills above Santa Barbara to the Prohibition-beating trapdoors of the Elkhorn Bar in San Miguel near the Salinas River roughly miles north, with more ghost legends, dollar bills tacked to ceilings and animal heads on walls than you can point your dowsing rods at.
Our apparitional adventure kicked off bright and early Saturday, with a venison and buffalo chili omelet, coffee and perfectly spiced bloody mary at the Cold Spring Tavern, a stagecoach stop since the s located in a shady, spring-fed canyon between downtown Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Built in by the Swiss-Italian ranchero-turned-hotelier Felix Mattei as an inn and restaurant in anticipation of the coming railroad, today it is home to Brothers Restaurant, owned by cookbook authors and siblings Jeff and Matt Nichols.
Another stagecoach stop-cum-railroad station is the town of Los Alamos, about 20 minutes by car from Los Olivos up Highway On tap was their Ale, an excellent blond beer made especially for the hotel by the award-winning folks at Firestone Brewery, which was founded just a few miles away , as well as billiards in the enchantingly — some might say hauntingly — dark back room and shuffleboard in the front bar, where you can also order empanadas stuffed with beef, olives, and egg or bratwurst with sauerkraut from the saloon menu.
Upon reaching the bottom of our pints, we decided to leave our own mark in the saloon style, signing our names upon a dollar bill and employing a long pole to tack the greenback to the high wooden ceiling, where hundreds of other dollars flittered in the breeze. Though most of my companions had lived in Santa Barbara County for more than a decade, almost none had visited Guadalupe, a small city along the banks of the Santa Maria River near the endless dunes of white sand where Cecil B.
Taking in all the cowboy-hat-wearing Latinos who work the land in this rural northwestern corner of our county, a visitor to Guadalupe can be forgiven for thinking he meandered into a Mexican farming village. They sit empty, adorned with black-and-white signs to warn of the dangers of entry, an unfortunate sign that the whole town might slowly be turned over to the ghosts. Inside the Far Western Tavern, however, there was a lively lunchtime crowd. Minutes later, my friend was circling the upstairs with his ghost meter in hand, suddenly stumbling upon a spot above a table near the middle of the room where the device began beeping steadily.
I snagged the dowsing rods and the metal sticks reacted as they were supposed to upon finding an anomalous energy field, swinging slightly open. Or maybe the beer was finally starting to get to me. Image by Brian Hall. Founded in , Pozo Saloon still serves olives in its beer. Image by Ryan Grau. Founded as the Palace Hotel in , the Far Western Tavern has been attracting accolades for its Santa Maria-style barbecue from near and far. The Union Hotel features 14 rooms to rent—all appointed with Victorian-era niceties—as well as a bar.
A wide view of the Pozo Saloon and the dollar bills stuck to its ceiling. Today, there are antique guns on the walls, framed newspaper clippings from World War II across from the bar, modern day moonshines for sale, and constant ghost tales to entertain ale drinkers between sips. And then there were the multiple occasions of phantom grabs of posteriors, as various people have reported being touched down low.
That was just in time to avoid the massive Paso Robles earthquake of , which knocked down their old brick building but only tilted their new wooden structure. Once a centrally located hub with general store, hotel, blacksmith shops, numerous residences and its own school district along the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach route — which connected the San Joaquin Valley to the San Luis Obispo County coast — Pozo is now on the road to pretty much nowhere, with just a fire station and saloon left over, making it about as purely Old West as it gets these days.
The Pozo Saloon , founded in , still serves olives in its beer, and today hosts on its back lawn some big-time concerts, from Snoop Doggy Dogg to Willie Nelson. On our visit, the owner Rhonda Beanway and her son Levi were busy working the grounds and cooking up delicious blue cheese and mushroom burgers in the kitchen, but chatted it up with us as our group worked its way through a gallon of beer, served in a big jar, and listened to the live three-piece rock band out back. You have to come with a specific purpose and then fall in love with it.
But it is one of the last real things like that in San Luis Obispo County for sure. Properly back in the saloon saddle, we decided to brave the Pozo Summit road, a pretty easily passable dirt path through the Santa Lucia Mountains and down into the Carizzo Plain National Monument, where tule elk and pronghorn antelope frolic amid Chumash pictographs on a relict landscape that once typified the entire San Joaquin Valley. With clear, unimpeded views as far as the eye can see, the Carrizo is wickedly wondrous any time of year, but catching it in the green winter or the wildflower-popping spring just might change your life by reminding you that silent, solemn places still exist in our cluttered world.
We stuck to our last suds and some tasty cheeseburgers as the hour crept toward dark on this Sunday afternoon, and hit the road with a stunning sunset lighting the way. Image by Smabs Sputzer via Flickr. Image by Esther Westerveld via Flickr. Today, you can still pass through a series of exotic displays, like an Egyptian tomb-inspired passage guarded by a pair of sphinx. Image by Andrew Stawarz via Flickr. By also being home to spectacular monastic ruins, a medieval deer park, and views across neighboring River Skell. Image by Dave Catchpole via Flickr. Image by Glen Bowman via Flickr.
Image by Karen Roe via Flickr. Image by JR P via Flickr. The effect is a bit like walking through the maze in Alice in Wonderland—meandering stone paths, bright pockets of flowers, deep green lawns, a glasshouse, and an orchard all call out for exploration. Image by xlibber via Flickr. Image by Bob the Lomond via Flickr. Image by Paul Alex Reed via Flickr. Along with the surrounding orchards and formal Dutch gardens, the castle is best known for its limestone rock garden, a moss-covered paradise fed by trickling streams and pools, containing over species of conifer and fern.
Beyond the farm itself where youngsters can get acquainted with baby pigs, and even try milking a cow , the acres burst to life each summer with floral displays—think tulips, daisies and foxtail lilies—in the thousands. Image by Uglix. Image by ReflectedSerendipity via Flickr. Image by Hannah Hawke via Flickr. Image by Alistair Young via Flickr. Image by Roger Bunting. Image by Derek Winterburn via Flickr. Image by Hannah and Simon via Flickr. Image by deedsofthedanes via Flickr. Image by Sarah Horrigan via Flickr. Image by David Nicholls. Sheffield Park Garden original image. Swans swim in Sheffield Park Garden.
Image by Simon Ingram. The exotic and rare trees make it a top pick for families, who spend entire afternoons wandering the Ringwood Toll, which offers sights of burly Giant Sequoias, Great Oaks, and other less giant branches for climbing. Image by Dongyi Liu via Flickr. Anchored by the dramatic tower of Sissinghurst Castle, the property consists of a series of small enclosures, the most popular being the White Garden, which contains bleeding hearts a pink, heart-shaped flower , star jasmine, robust echinacea, and tulips among others.
Image by Mrs Airwolfhound. Exploring its long, polished lawns and delicately planted flowerbeds is like a crash course in high-style English gardening. Image by David Incoll via Flickr. Tall beech trees hang over the grounds with gnarled branches. On November 12, , in the remote northern highlands of Ecuador not far south of Colombia, a pair of grazing bulls lost their footing on a steep, muddy slope. They slipped down the sheer face of a deep Andean ravine and landed dead in the small stream gully below.
Some days later, a large spectacled bear picked up the smell of ripe flesh. The animal, a male, followed the scent trail down from its high cloud forest habitat and spent several days feasting on the carcasses—treasure troves of protein and fat for an animal that lives mostly on vegetables, fruits and tubers.
The event, seemingly just another day in the high Andes, where bears and cattle have crossed paths for centuries, would spiral into one of the most problematic sagas now affecting relations between local indigenous communities and the endangered spectacled bear. The male bear, Laguna says, quickly gained an irresistible taste for flesh and embarked on what has become an unstoppable and possibly unprecedented rampage of killings.
Months at a time do go by when the bear vanishes, but other times Yachak kills wantonly. In one week in , for instance, he killed seven head of cattle. Many local ranchers would be perfectly glad to see Yachak dead, and unknown individuals have broken federal law in attempts to kill him. But Yachak, believed to be more than 15 years old, remains alive while, instead, about a dozen innocent bears have lost their lives to the bullets. In Montana, grizzly bears—a threatened species—are regularly culled from the population when they become habitual sheep or cattle killers.
Just one bear, if you let it keep killing livestock, can cause dissention and cause people to start talking negatively. It can really drag down an entire recovery program. In the late s, when the grizzly population of northwestern Montana was crawling back from its historical low of about in the s, two grizzlies—a male and female living side by side for the short mating season—began killing cattle together. When the pair separated, they still wanted beef.
The female was relocated and successfully turned back onto a natural diet. The ranchers of the region had been supportive of the grizzly population—even happy, Madel says, to see it rebounding. In , the bear was finally trapped and euthanized.
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But the bear situation is very different in Ecuador. Here, the population of spectacled bears is not rebounding, nor is it holding steady. Rather, it is shrinking, recoiling from the expanding human population and the cattle herds that encroach further and further into the high country every year. Just 3, spectacled bears remain in all of Ecuador, and perhaps just 18, throughout their range, from the southern Panama isthmus to Argentina. Leading bear experts worry that the species might be extinct in 30 years. Image by Alastair Bland.
Researchers examine the carcass of a cow killed by Yachak in the Ecuadorian highlands in late January. The chewed end of the leg bone is just one sign that a large animal has been scavenging on the carcass. Andres Laguna, of the Andean Bear Foundation, with a bromeliad, a starchy-bulbed epiphyte that makes up a great portion of the spectacled bear's natural diet.
The village of Mariano Acosta, northeast of Quito, is home to livestock-herding farmers whose animals have been grazing higher and higher in the mountains each year. As a result, conflicts with bears are on the rise. Andres Laguna, left, and Manuel Rosero, right, of the Imambura province's Ministry of the Environment, talk with local rancher Asencio Farinango about strategies for avoiding bear-livestock conflicts.
The rainbow-colored flag behind Farinango is the unofficial banner of the Andean Quechua people original image. Laguna, along with Rosero and Carlos Racine, of the Semilla Ambiental Foundation in Quito, search a muddy mountain trail for recent bear tracks. Image by Courtesy of Andres Laguna. Caught in the act by a motion-sensing infrared camera, Yachak, nicknamed by local researchers, feeds on a cow carcass--just one of the plus livestock head the old male has killed in about three years. Image by Courtesy of Mike Madel. Montana bear management technician Lori Roberts measures the voltage of an electric fence surrounding a western Montana bee yard--a bear defense system that Mike Madel calls "percent effective" in protecting property from grizzlies.
Madel kneels by a tranquilized female grizzly in Fitted with a GPS collar, the animal was released and watched remotely for several months by researchers before the bear--a mother with three cubs--was killed in a surprise encounter with a pheasant hunter. He even wonders if eliminating Yachak from the population would make space for younger males to move into the region and begin causing similar problems. Almost every weekend, Laguna makes a four-hour trip from Quito to the bear country near the border, either to retrieve the memory cards from a pair of motion-detecting cameras or to locate newly reported bear kills and place his cameras on nearby trunks.
These meetings often take place informally by the side of the road, with sweeping views of Andean valleys and high treeless tundra leading up to the slopes of Cayambe. It is precisely these highlands into which cattle herds have been expanding in recent years as more and more local farmers switch from producing sugarcane and avocados to raising animals for milk and cheese.
As this shift occurs, conflicts with bears will only increase, Laguna predicts, whether or not Yachak is removed from the population. Laguna fears that, unless peace is attained between bears and ranchers, the spectacled bear will be gone from these mountains within ten years. Laguna, often accompanied by several colleagues, has frequently explained to ranchers that their actions—edging their cattle into the cloud forest—are ultimately causing the strife between them and the bears.
Laguna says deadly incidents between spectacled bears and livestock are almost always the result of poor herd management—not a propensity of the bears to kill. The Andean Bear Foundation has urged farmers to keep their animals to the pasturelands surrounding their villages. Also on the table is an idea to develop an ecotourism economy in these mountains, based, chiefly, on the opportunity for visitors to pay to see a spectacled bear.
Farinango is a rancher. He is also the unofficial mayor of the rural communities surrounding the central village of Mariano Acosta, set in a valley of sugarcane and fruit trees and flanked by steep mountain slopes. In this area, about 15 families have been affected by rogue bears. Farinango himself has only lost livestock to pumas they were alpacas , but he relays to Laguna the frustration of those whose cows have been killed. What Farinango says is true: There is no money to be made at the current time from tourists. The area is only accessible via a network of dirt and cobblestone roads so bumpy that area residents hitchhiking between village and home could nearly be tossed from the bed of a pickup truck.
There are no lodges here, or even campgrounds—and there has been no publicity or advertising. Moreover, the likelihood of seeing a wild spectacled bear is miniscule.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire
Laguna has visited these mountains almost every weekend for three years since he joined the Andean Bear Foundation; only ten times has he glimpsed a free-moving animal. Farinango says ranchers nearby who have lost cattle to bears have asked local officials for assistance or reimbursement. Six other bears known to occasionally kill livestock will, hopefully, be similarly tracked. This strategy, though laborious and cumbersome, should allow hired guards with dogs to respond when problem bears are detected approaching cattle and harry them back into the woods.
But Yachak has so far proven too sly to enter a baited box trap or place his foot in a cable snare—both methods that Laguna and many other researchers have employed to capture, then tag and release, bears. Even if a problem bear is trapped, and a radio collar secured around its neck, such animals can be very resistant to reconditioning back to a natural diet.
Then, there is the possibility that the bear will manage to remove its collar. The Falls Creek Male did exactly this in the late s after its first capture, Madel says, and thereby paved the way for years and years of unseen attacks on cattle herds. Madel is firm in his opinion that, if Yachak is captured, he should be euthanized. Madel says he would feel differently if Yachak was a female. Dominant males, he explains, are quickly replaced by subordinates when the older animals die.
Female bears, quite literally, carry with them the future of their species. Toward males, state trappers are less patient. On February 4, in his most violent outing to date, Yachak kills four cows and injures two others, bumping up his appalling tab by several thousand dollars. Another daunting problem has also arisen—something Madel says he has never heard of among grizzlies but which Laguna has verified through his motion-triggered cameras and from information provided by witnesses: A resident female bear has taught her cub to kill.
Laguna says he believes keeping the cattle herds out of the high country would be the surest, fastest fix to the matter. From the s to s, U. Three women on our staff share their personal connections with Selena and discuss why her legacy matters not just to them but to many Americans. On the evening of March 31, , we returned home to the blinking light of the answering machine. That someone turned out to be Selena Quintanilla-Perez—the year-old Tejana singer who had just become the first Latina artist to top the U.
And somehow we had missed the news that Friday morning. The World Wide Web was relatively new. There were no smart phones. So it wasn't until that night that we learned she had been killed by the woman who was managing the Selena fan club and the artist's boutiques. As I prepare to publicize the museum's Hispanic Advertising History initiative with the opening of a new display on that includes Selena artifacts, I can look back and see how my life intersected with hers and how I came to know and admire who she was.
It's a good opportunity to reflect on the impact she made on American culture and to mourn what could have been. At a time when she was popular across the Southwest and in Mexico but relatively little known in other parts of the U. That year's Hispanic Heritage Month provided a forum for members of Congress and Hispanic arts organizations to showcase the amazing talent in their respective districts. My memory is a little fuzzy as to the event we attended but it was most likely the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala as Representative Solomon Ortiz of Texas, whose district included Corpus Christi where Selena grew up, was the chairman responsible for the program.
But my memory is clear about the energetic performance Selena gave. In late September , my husband joined me on a work trip to New Orleans that ended up with us trapped in the city ahead of Hurricane Georges—flights were canceled and the city shut down. But we were lucky—our hotel was one of the few with its own generator and so we had power and cable TV.
We were soon immersed in the story of an American family, a family much like the ones we grew up in. And it is this movie that has ensured her legacy is passed down from generation to generation. Selena's family donated one of her performance costumes to the museum in , shortly after I arrived as the director of public affairs. Raised speaking English, Selena had to learn to sing Spanish phonetically. Ironically, her "cross-over" material for English-language radio was not released until the end of her career.
This summer, when "Despacito" reached the number one spot on Billboard's Hot chart, I could only wonder, what if she had lived? Would Selena have been first? Melinda Machado is the museum's director of communications and marketing and is a Texan of Mexican American and Cuban descent. If you were a teenage Latina in Texas in the mids, chances are you not only knew who Selena was, you were also a fan. Despite the fact that both my parents listened to her music and both attended what became her final concert at the Houston Rodeo, I was an exception.
As a kid, my dad introduced me to his Beatles albums and big band music. At 16, I was more interested in the Fab Four and Frank Sinatra than I was the young woman whose looks were more reminiscent of my own. Still, I have vivid memories of March 31, , and seeing the tears in the eyes of family friends when news broke that Selena had been shot. I remember spending the afternoon on that last day of my spring break watching the story unfold.
I also remember trying to understand what was so special about this person I knew so little about. Two years later when a movie about her life was released I went with some friends to see what I could learn about the Tejano music superstar whose death had catapulted her to legendary status. She was Mexican American, as was I. She loved disco and rock music, so did I. What surprised me the most was finding out Spanish was not Selena's first language.
My parents, grandparents, and relatives spoke Spanish but my generation of the family had not been taught it. We were never bothered by this. In fact, it never occurred to me to care until I was old enough to face other people's judgement and assumptions. The more I looked into the life of Selena, the more I realized that this young woman who had become a Latina icon faced similar adversity by not being as "culturally appropriate" as some thought she should be.
Selena's story is as American as one could get. She had hopes and dreams just like the rest of us. She had a family that supported those dreams and did what they could to make them a reality.
She may have achieved success as a recording artist but she never intended to limit herself. She was determined to enter the fashion industry and had begun to step into the realm of celebrity endorsements. Though she had been performing for the majority of her life, her career was only just getting started. In life, and in death, Selena meant many things to many people. Her significance to Tejano music and the efforts for her to "cross-over" to English music are not lost on anyone, but it is her impact as a businessperson that we are now able to get a sense of as we look back.
If her life had not been cut tragically short, there is no telling what she could have accomplished, but her ongoing popularity is a testament to her significance in American culture. Amelia Thompson is a museum communications specialist and a native of Houston of Mexican American descent. Selena means car rides with my mother and singing as loud as I could in our little green minivan. To me, Selena represents all the rough days that could be solved by popping in a wonderful mix of songs and spending time with my family.
The CD of my mother's own creation was always in the car. It featured Latina artists from Celia Cruz to Selena. Though Selena was murdered in , a year before I was born, she was and still is very relevant to young Latinos everywhere. To me, her legacy lives on. Her vivacity was infectious and she was a beacon of creativity and happiness. Her example is one of hope and determination to be the very best you can be and all it takes is passion, hard work, and surrounding yourself with people who love and care about you.
Listening to this music with my mom not only gave me an appreciation for the humility, talent, and passion of Selena. It also helped me to learn the language at a young age and made me curious about Spanish-language music as a whole. Artists like Selena popularized a different type of genre that the American public in many places wasn't always accustomed to.
Incidentally, it also served as a breakout for Jennifer Lopez, now an international music, movie, and television star. The company created the line in response to a fan-generated petition asking for the creation of this collection. In October, women and men were interviewed in the lines waiting for store openings.
It quickly sold out and it was relaunched just after Christmas, December 28 and 29—and sold out again. Despite the passage of time, Selena still has a huge impact on her original fans and on new generations of fans like me. The exhibit will give the public a chance to see pieces of who she was and the gorgeous music that she created. Having these objects on display in the museum gives me a sense of happiness and pride because of her music's influence on my life and the fact that she is being recognized for her contributions to America at the Smithsonian.
Even 22 years after her tragic death, her legacy is clear and many still love her music, music that has been passed down from parent to child as it was for me. While there is an outpouring of support toward representation of minorities in the country, there still aren't many who are as influential as Selena was in her day. She brought together many communities and people through the beauty of her music. Selena was one of my first introductions to the world of Latino artists and I wouldn't have it any other way. Chloe Reynolds is a native of Virginia and a graduating senior at Bucknell University.
She was a communications intern during the summer of The Patrick F. Electric refrigeration, introduced to American homes in the late s. In celebration of the first electric refrigerators and their tiny built-in freezers , intern Mary Kate Robbett tries her hand at an ice cream recipe from Spoiler alert: Deliciousness ensues! I thanked my brother for his astute commentary and began mopping up the sticky mess.
On my hands and knees in a puddle of ill-fated vanilla goop, I explained why I'd set out to replicate a ice cream recipe. Our trusty fridge and freezer are the unacknowledged heroes of our family's kitchen. They keep our food fresh, our leftovers edible, and the ice cubes flowing.
But, this was not always the case. Home electric refrigeration hit the mass market less than years ago. What better way to celebrate the refrigerator than with Americans' favorite frozen treat? Americans have loved ice cream right from the start. George Washington ate it at Mount Vernon. But, in the early days of the republic, making ice cream at home was strictly a luxury for the elite. The delicacy required a surplus of sugar, salt both expensive, imported products , cream, and labor—plus an ample supply of ice, which had to be cut out of rivers and ponds during the winter and stored with the hope it'd last until summer.
By the 19th century, folks wanting to make ice cream at home relied on manual freezers designed specifically for the task. One early example, patented by Nancy Johnson in , combined an inner chamber for churning with an outer pail for holding ice. Replacing the old method of turning a bowl full of ice cream mixture by hand in a bucket of ice, the machine used a hand crank for speedy results. And yet, this innovation still required quite a bit of hard work: first, chipping ice off of a large block and crushing it to pieces small enough to fit into the ice cream freezer Harland recommended chunks "smaller than a pigeon's egg" , and then nearly an hour of tedious cranking.
The electric refrigerator made the whole process exponentially easier: no ice chipping, no hand cranking. By keeping food reliably chilled at a consistent temperature, refrigerators came with a special perk—the novelty of "cooking with cold. Manufacturers offered their customers cookbooks full of recipes that took advantage of the refrigerator's cooling power.
These marketing tools recognized that home fridges and freezers provided not only utility and convenience, but an exciting new way of preparing and serving food in the home. It is almost like having an Aladdin's lamp and not knowing the right way to rub it. To assist these new refrigerator owners in discovering the wonders that awaited them, Bradley provided more than chilled recipes.
The book even includes a section on "Diabetic Dishes," listing desserts that can accommodate substitutions of saccharin tablets for sugar. With 27 flavors of ice cream to choose from, I stuck with the classics: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Bradley kept her promise of "simple recipes, easily prepared. The recipe calls for a small amount of gelatin, which congealed quickly when incorporated all at once.
I found that adding it in three parts and stirring each addition until dissolved fixed the problem. Next, a brief interlude in the refrigerator for chilling. Here was where I faltered. Bradley did not include a critical instruction—make sure you clear space in the fridge before you start cooking. If you precariously balance three containers of the precious mixture on top of leftovers and bowls of produce, you may pay the price.
After chilling, I beat in egg whites and whipped cream and then popped the final "ice cream formula" into the freezer for about an hour.
At that point, the recipe called for one extra stirring with egg beaters to keep the texture light and fluffy. After that, I left the mixture in the freezer for the afternoon. About five hours later, I recruited my family as taste-testers. The verdict? After the initial mishap, the vanilla came out creamy, but dense. Perhaps I didn't put enough muscle into beating the mixture?
I was admittedly less devoted to proper fluffiness on the second attempt. In the end, we all agreed that the strawberry concoction's sweet and fresh flavor won the gold. Today, perhaps the better question is, "why devote half a day to making ice cream when you could spend a few bucks at the grocery store for the same thing? When milk is scalded, stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add to milk and stir until thickened. Cover and cook ten minutes. Beat 1 egg yolk slightly, add a portion of the hot milk, return to double boiler and stir and cook one minute.
Strain into refrigerator pan, chill, then beat until very light. Freeze mixture for about 1 hour, remove from refrigerator pan, and put in large mixing bowl. Beat vigorously with a rotary egg beater. Return to refrigerator pan, place again in chilling unit and leave. When she isn't experimenting with vintage recipes, she attends the Museum Studies master's degree program at The George Washington University. Did you know camels were used in the s to deliver mail in the American Southwest?
We know that camels were used as beasts of burden in Australia, and even in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. However, as shown in this drawing, camels also were members of the U. Army's Camel Corps in the s. Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce, started the program, using camels to deliver mail, along with supplies, in the American Southwest. The carrier service was short lived though; the camels were too cantankerous, and the rocky terrain injured their feet. Relieved of their duties, the surviving postal worker camels were soon sent to zoos.
Reindeer were used to deliver mail in the North, with slightly better results. Ever seen how the Tuareg people of Eastern Africa saddled up their camels? This particular camel saddle, made of wood, leather and metal, was used recently in the late 20th century, by the Tuareg of Niger. This saddle, with its forked saddle horn and detailed leather decorations, is called a tamzak saddle. Most are made in Agadez, Niger, by blacksmiths.
Wood is lashed together with rawhide and covered with colored leather and metal ornaments. This modern light-colored camel bell is most likely from Somalia. It is made of wood and plant fiber and is a gift of Mrs. Duncan Emerick. The darker bell, also made of wood and fiber, came from Ethiopia. Large wooden camel bells in the museum's collections are attributed to pastoralists in Somalia, Ethiopia and northern Kenya. Not just an economic necessity to these peoples, the camel is also a symbol of a nomadic way of life.
In Somalia especially, camels—kept as milk animals or as beasts of burden ;are the subject of extensive poetry. Although the bells' lack of embellishment suggests a practical purpose, the bells also seem to hold a sentimental value. One anonymous poem uses the phrase " Like a she-male with a large bell. Conrad Gessner's Historia Animalium from the 15th century tempered the often mythical and inaccurate statements about the Asian beasts and illustrated a bactrian rather accurately. In the 15th century, an artist named Erhard Reuwich accompanied author Bernhard von Breydenbach on a journey from Germany to Jerusalem so that he could illustrate Breydenbach's book, Peregrinatio in Terram Sactam.
Most of Reuwich's illustrations are panoramas of the cities they passed through, but there is also this almost whimsical hand-colored woodcut that features the exotic animals they encountered at their destination, such as crocodiles, giraffes, salamanders and a camel. A unicorn is included as well, and according to the plate's caption, "These animals are accurately drawn as we saw them in the holy land. But it is likely that he did see the camel that is drawn most realistically here, equipped with saddle and bridle.
Pictured here is a woodcut of an Asian, or Bactrian, camel that was included in Conrad Gessner's Historia Animaliam , which he compiled in the midth century. Gessner gathered information from a variety of sources: ancient and medieval books, folklore, and the often mythical and inaccurate reports of travelers, which Gessner tempered with his own direct observations whenever possible.
In his book, Gessner also included a woodcut of the single-humped arabian, or dromedary, camel. Buffon served as the head of the collections, and his book included hundreds of such engravings. Le Chameau portrays the double-humped Bactrian camel. Although Buffon's text notes that the Bactrian camel is native to Turkey and what is now Uzbekistan, the artist has placed it in Egypt. It is shown with one of its humps temporarily depleted and drooping, an indication that the camel's reserves are used up. Here, camels carry the three wise men to the baby Jesus in this wood carving by self-taught artist Elijah Pierce Pierce's imaginative use of oils, paper and glitter on carved wood expresses clearly the long shadows of night, the men's exhaustion from the long and tiring journey, and the dazzling light of the distant star.
Pierce, a Southern African-American artist and preacher, is best known for his carved wooden panels inspired by Bible stories and fables. Camels, loaded down with people and possessions, sit and stand placidly among the dusty crowds of a Tangier marketplace in an painting by Louis Comfort Tiffany No different from any other curious bohemian of his day, Tiffany traveled widely to exotic places and was greatly attracted to the colors and customs of the Orient, especially Morocco.
The painting's lush details foreshadow the young artist's future fame for his opulent interiors, Art-Nouveau glass pieces and decorative objects. Where else would you climb aboard a camel in the United States—but on a children's carousel ride? Children have been climbing aboard delightful carousel animals since carousels, or merry-go-rounds, were first made in America in the late s. Hand-carved from basswood in the s by leading carousel maker Charles Dare in his New York Carousel Manufacturing Company, this camel is an "outside stander," unlike the jumping animals in the inner rings that move up and down.
The camel's modest lines and simple detail are an excellent example of Dare's popular Country Fair style. Camels are one of the most desired figures collected by carousel enthusiasts, along with pigs, lions and dogs. Ever wonder how the Sopwith Camel got its name? One of the most successful planes used by the British in World War I, the low-flying Camel got its name from the famous hump on its fuselage, which contributed to its round-shouldered appearance, accentuated by the fairing ahead of the plane's cockpit.
However, it was so difficult to fly, that more men lost their lives learning how to fly it than in actual aerial combat. Rolled out in by the Sopwith Company, the Camel was the first British aeromachine of its class to have two Vickers guns attached as standard flight equipment. Come visit Sake and Camille, a pair of camels who've been delighting zoogoers for years. Meet Brenda Morgan, their keeper. I'll never forget the first time I ever laid eyes on Bactrian camels. The animals were exotic and immense, dark brown and shaggy, and loaded with an absurd amount of baggage.
It was , and I was with my father who was on a Peace Corps assignment in Afghanistan. There, in that austere landscape with the mountains of the Hindu Kush in the distance, these towering two-humped creatures were serving their keepers as they had since before the time of Marco Polo. I didn't know then that I would one day count among my closest friends a pair of Bactrians, named Sake, a male, and Camille, a female.
Both are 14 years old and were born at North American zoos. I have worked with Sake and Camille for about ten years, and during that time I have come to know them and they to know me. The camels can pick me, and a few of their other keepers, out of a crowd of hundreds of Sunday afternoon visitors. My fellow keeper, Ann Armstrong, taught Sake to come up to the fence and open his mouth so that we could show visitors his teeth.
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Camels have canines, which you would not expect in an herbivore. They are ruminants and will chew their cud like a cow. They produce copious amounts of saliva, but I have only once heard of our animals spitting on a person. It was a veterinarian whom Sake was not fond of having around, and he let him know about it. For some reason Sake has this thing for pigeons. He doesn't hurt them, but when he has the chance, he gently corrals a pigeon in his stall, holds it down with his lips and then gives it a big sloppy lick, coating the poor bird with a load of sticky camel saliva.
I like pigeons, so I rescue the slimy birds, too gooey to fly. I wash them in the sink, put them in a box to dry, then turn them loose. As far as I can tell this is just something weird Sake likes to do. We camel keepers avoid going into the enclosure with the animals. Perhaps it is the way she was managed as a youngster, but Camille chases people from her enclosure, and trust me, it's best to avoid a chance encounter with 1, pounds of determined camel. Several years ago we had a tremendous ice storm that caused problems all around the region.
More than an inch of glossy ice blanketed the entire Zoo. Cold weather is no problem for fur-insulated camels, but the slippery footing was another matter. Camille had gotten stuck at the bottom of the hill in the camel yard. Sake had managed to get up the ice-covered slope by turning and walking up back-end-first, a neat trick. But Camille would slip and fall whenever she tried to negotiate the slope.
We were terrified that Camille would injure herself. Desperate for some way to help Camille, I found an old pair of cleated golf shoes in a locker. With these spikes I slowly worked my way down the ice-covered hill, all the while feeling a bit apprehensive of what the territorial female camel might try to do. While keeping a watchful eye on the nervous Camille, I was able to surround her with hay that she could eat and use for bedding.
The hay seemed to settle her down. As darkness approached, I looked around for something to lay down to improve traction on the ice. My eyes fell on a gallon garbage can of camel dung. As a keeper I never thought I'd see the day when I would shovel manure back into an exhibit, but I did. The following morning Camille was able to get back up the hill and into the stalls, where she and Sake stayed until the ice melted. To say Sake loves to eat would be an understatement. One look at that rotund belly of his rubbing both sides of a inch doorway is proof this animal is motivated by food.
When the commissary delivers bales of hay to the back gate of the exhibit, I move them by wheelbarrow to storage inside the camel barn. Sake's favorite is alfalfa hay, grown at the Zoo's Conservation Center near Front Royal, Virginia; and if a passing wheelbarrow stacked with alfalfa hay happens to catch Sake's attention, he'll snatch the pound bale in his teeth as effortlessly as picking up a grape.
In addition to the alfalfa, we feed grass hay, a pellet mix of grains, roughage and supplements; we give them tree limb browse, carrots and apples too. Sake eats lots of alfalfa, so he gets fewer pellets than Camille does, but Camille is reluctant to eat apples. I think it's because we used to hide wormer in apples, and she quickly figured out that we were messing with her food. Both animals love to eat fallen tree leaves, even dried brown ones.
They relish these crunchy leaves like they were potato chips, and it certainly makes for less leaf raking inside the exhibit. Our camels are oblivious to Washington's weather. They sleep outside on the coldest nights, and their remarkable coats insulate them from winter's chill. When I arrive on winter mornings, I sometimes find the pair asleep in their outdoor yard, having spent the night under the stars—the tops of their humps and the hair on the tops of their heads white with frost.
They are so well insulated that the snow or ice will not melt on their backs. When they shed their coats in the spring, the tangled hair falls off in mats. Visitors have seen this tangled pile of hair on the ground in the camel yard and then chased down a keeper to report a dead animal in the exhibit.
When you handle this soft hair, you have an immediate sensation of warmth. Its superb insulating ability prevents the loss of heat from your hands, and its effectiveness is instantly apparent. After the camels shed in preparation for summer, tiny flies can drive a ton of camel indoors—even on a beautiful sunny day.
When the flies are bad, the camels like to spend their time inside their darkened stalls, where fewer of the biting insects will pursue them. Of the two, Camille seems to be more susceptible to flies, which will often bite her forelegs until she bleeds. We use a citronella spray as a repellent. When these flies are feeding, I can sympathize with Camille, since they'll also bite a keeper in short pants.
This past summer, late in the season, we experimented with releasing ant-size wasps that parasitize fly eggs. With the help of these wasps, both Camille and I had fewer fly bites on our legs, and next year we hope to get an early start with this biological method of fly control. We will likely never have reproduction in our pair of camels. Camille has some medical problems that make breeding her unadvisable. She favors one leg, and as she has gotten older she has become a bit unsteady. Sake has always gotten around a little better.
Perhaps nothing is more unusual to see, though, than a male camel in rut. Sake comes into rut in midwinter, and it's easy to tell by the odor. I don't know if the urine becomes stronger smelling or if there is simply more of it to smell. When in rut, Sake squats slightly, holding his moplike tail between his legs urinating on it until it is saturated. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Stephen R. Oliver Sacks. Emotional Intelligence. Daniel Goleman. Malcolm Gladwell. The Road Less Travelled. Scott Peck. Man's Search For Meaning. Viktor E. Letters to My Future Self. Lea Redmond. The 48 Laws Of Power.
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