HAPPY NEW YEAR 2008!


“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”
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A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR 2008,
FULL of WONDERS!
HUGZ from Rii

I put this photo of mine, taken in the spring, looking through a window,
for to me the new year always feels like one is trying to peek through into something,
that for the moment, is still unknown, unfamiliar…

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“A new year is unfolding –
like a blossom
with petals curled tightly
concealing
the beauty
within.”

ThinkExist site

Photos: Riihele. All rights reserved.

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Moment of VAN GOGH: SUNFLOWERS

“You may know that the peony is Jeannin’s, the hollyhock belongs to Quost, but the sunflower is mine in a way.”

Vincent van Gogh
(written in a letter to his brother Theo)

Vincent van Gogh was a great painter. I did not really like his work until I went to the museum bearing his name in Amsterdam where his work is displayed and saw with my own eyes the mastery of his paintings and read many of his letters to his brother, Theo.

Yellow and Sunny

The Sunflower paintings of Vincent Van Gogh show a mental connection not only between the artist’s name and the painting, but also between the artist and the influence of Sunflowers on the development of art through these paintings. Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings have altered mankind’s perspective of art and life. (Van Gogh Gallery site)

Full of golden yellow

Did you know that Europe and the USSR produce over 60% of the world’s Sunflowers. Sunflowers make up the genus Helianthus. In Greek helios means sun and anthos means flower, thus Sunflower. The genus, which contains about 67 species, is thought to be native to the Americas (North, South) originally, and were domesticated around 1000 B.C. Although, Sunflowers are now distributed almost worldwide. (Sunflower Plant, Care, Growing site)

Opening up

Sunflower is the national flower of Russia and the state flower of Kansas, USA. Sunflower is notable for turning to face the Sun, a behaviour known as heliotropism. Sunflowers were cultivated by Native Americans well over 1000 years ago. Sunflower heads consist of 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base. The large petals around the edge of a sunflower head are individual ray flowers which do not develop into seed. Sunflower seeds have lots of calcium and 11 other important minerals. They do have 50% fat, but it is mostly polyunsaturated linoleic acid.

Sunflowers can be eaten, would you believe? The flower is best eaten in the bud stage when it tastes similar to artichokes. Once the flower opens, the petals may be used like chrysanthemums, the flavour is distinctly bittersweet. The unopened flower buds can also be steamed like artichokes. (New Hampshire Magazine online)

Yellow and Sunny

“We spend our whole lives in unconscious exercise of
the art of expressing our thoughts with the help of words.”

Vincent van Gogh
(New York Times online article has more on this)

Weather is such at present that we in Finland need reminders of the sun in the form of SUNFLOWERS!

Tis for now, Rii xx

Photos: Riihele. All rights reserved.

A great site for all things Vincent van Gogh.

12-Days of Christmas: A Novel Take

This particular Countdown for Christmas has been our special favourite for decades aka since it first appeared in the 1980’s in Ireland. We are known to quote parts of it at all seasons in our family.

The countdown is read by Frank Kelly who is better known nowadays as the heavy drinking, foulmouthed priest in Father Ted. Here in this link there is more on him.


Tis now for Rii xx

Photo: Riihele. All rights reserved.

PICTURE PERFECT: FESTIVE

FESTIVE

is the theme

This Festive Season

on

PICTURE PERFECT

Moon & Crane

This is my take on the theme FESTIVE with the Moonlit Crane all covered in pink decoration of lights to show that tis the festive season of goodwill to all and sundry.

Tis for now, Rii xx

© Photos: Riihele. All rights reserved


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Here is a bonus:

LITERACY or Love of Reading

“What I can think about, I can talk about. What I can say, I can write. What I can write, I can read.
I can read what I can write and what other people can write for me to read.”

Professor Roach Van Allen

The picture, – do click at it to make it clearer, please – that I used as the lead photo, is the list of countries by literacy rate as included in the United Nations Development Programme Report 2005. Four countries lead the chart of literacy world wide with 100 per cent literacy rates Georgia, Finland, Luxembourg and Norway. Both The USA and UK are on # 21 with 99 per cent; as are Australia, France, Ireland and Germany. India is # 145 with 61 per cent. China is # 67 with 93,5 per cent.

The UNESCO literacy estimates provide basic information on the number and percentage of adults (aged 15 years and older) and youth (aged 15 to 24 years old) who are literate and illiterate. They indicate the dimensions and patterns of illiteracy within each country according to gender and age-groups, so as to aid in policy- and decision-making with regard to measures to be taken to raise the literacy level of the population. These estimates in a way reflect the performance of the national education system, as well as the quality of the human resources within a country in relation to their potential for growth, contribution to development, and quality of life.

What constitutes literacy aka literacy as defined by UNESCO:

1. A literate person is one who can with understanding both read and write a short simple statement relevant to his everyday life.
2. Literacy is not the simple reading of a word or a set of associated symbols and sounds, but an act of critical understanding of men’s situation in the world.
3. Literacy is not an end in itself but a means of personal liberation and development and extending individuals educational efforts involving overall inter-disciplinary responses to concrete problems
4. A literate person is one who has acquired all the essential knowledge and skills which enable him to engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning in his group and community and whose attaining in reading, writing and numeracy make it possible to use these skills towards his own and his community’s development.

The United Nations defines illiteracy as the inability to read and write a simple sentence in any language. So, these literacy rates refer only to basic, not advanced, literacy. UNESCO Portal for the International Literacy Day. September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. It was first celebrated on 1966. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies with celebrations taking place around the world.

An estimated 781 million adults live without basic literacy skills, of whom two-thirds are women. In addition, approximately 103 million children have no access to school and are therefore not learning to read, write or count. All these figures mentioned in the previous sentence total more or less one billion so to put in a way that it is easier to fathom: 1 in 6 in the world cannot read, write nor count! How very tragic that the wonderful pleasure of literacy is ’denied’ these folks, methinks.

This is an extract of an old article called ’Gestures not enough to teach the world’ on Guardian online site dated September 8, 2000, but still it is very relevant:

“We have been here before. The high-level conferences, the firm commitments, the hand-wringing, the international agreements that promise the earth and deliver next to nothing – all have been part of the backdrop to the campaign for debt relief. Now there is a threat that the campaign for universal primary education could go the same way.

One third of the world’s population — that is 2 billion people — live in countries which have fewer telephone lines in total than Italy — with a population of less than 60 million! Around 90% of telecommunications traffic takes place between rich countries, while 50% of the world’s population have never made a phone call. As the knowledge economy takes root in the coming years, this lack of access will take a heavy toll and widen the divide still further.

A computer is not much use to a child who cannot read. Out of a global population of 6 billion, 880m adults are illiterate, two thirds of them women, most of them in south Asia. All these figures underestimate the full extent of the literacy problem, perhaps by as much as half. They are based on school attendance figures, and ignore the problem of the numbers of children who leave school functionally illiterate. In Africa, where increasing numbers of children will be out of school unless there is emergency action by western institutions, a new generation of adult illiterates is set to create a dangerously marginalised section of society.

Even in the industrialised world illiteracy is a problem, with almost a quarter of young adults in the US having difficulty reading all but the simplest of texts. In the developed as in the undeveloped world low literacy invariably means poverty and the spiralling problems of drugs, violence and insecurity which go with it.”

Debunking myths about the “Third World” (This video has most fabulous graphics)

“If we talk about literacy, we have to talk about how to enhance our children’s mastery over the tools needed to live intelligent, creative, and involved lives.” (Danny Glover)

Tis for now from Rii – who loves to read & write. xx

These are some of the great links that I used in this article and for further reading:

http://www.literaturepage.com/
http://www.uis.unesco.org/en/stats/statistics/literacy2000.htm
http://dir.yahoo.com/Education/Literacy/
http://www.literacyconnections.com/InTheirOwnWords.php
http://www.literacyconnections.com/
http://www.vocabvitamins.com/

Literacy Exchange: World Resources on Literacy
Nation Master site that has all kinds statistics on all kinds of things!

Pearls of Wisdom…

“ALL ART IS AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL;

The Pearl
is the oyster’s
autobiography.

Federico Fellini (1920-1993)

(Picture off the net)

NOTE:

Fellini had a great knack of saying things so concisely and yet with such great depth.

All art is saying something about the person making the art. A pearl is the oyster’s story about the oyster.

(An oyster is a mollusc with two shells. A pearl is a beautiful round white thing that grows in the oyster and is used to make beautiful chains that a woman wears around her neck.) — according to Wikiquote.

BLONDE JOKE: TREE

Question:

How do you get an one-armed Blonde down from a tree?


Answer:
By waving…!!

Tis for now from Da Blonde, Rii

Photo: Riihele. All rights reserved.