Sunday, April 29, 2012

TITANIC ARTIFACTS

On Friday, Mom went to see an exhibit of stuff that came out of the actual Titanic where it is currently located at the bottom of the ocean.  This location is about 2.5 miles down, which is really, really deep.  The water pressure there is something like 6,000 pounds per square inch, and it would squash you like a bug, if you happened to be there in person.  So that's why it's really amazing that anything is still unsquashed down there, like dishes and eyeglasses and even pieces of paper.  And if stuff didn't get squashed, it seems like it would at least have rotted or dissolved by now.


But some things really were still lying around on the bottom of the ocean, even after almost 100 years, and they didn't even get broken when the Titanic came apart and sank.  So some people have been going down there in little submarines called "submersibles," and they were able to pick up items from the Titanic and bring them back to the surface.  After which, they preserved these things and put them in an exhibit and now they are making lots of money.  Or at least we think they probably are.

So like I said, Mom went to see the exhibit on Friday, and because she is so old, she got the senior discount, which made her happy.  And when everybody went into the exhibit, they got a Boarding Pass with a name on it of somebody who was really on the Titanic.  And at the end of the exhibit, there is a wall with all the names of people who lived or died, and you can find out what happened to the person on your Boarding Pass.


Mom's Boarding Pass said she was a lady named Mrs. Albert Francis Caldwell, whose maiden name was Sylvia Mae Harbaugh.  She was 26 years old, and she was traveling in 2nd class with her husband and 10-month-old boy, Alden.  The family had been missionaries in Siam (which is now called Thailand), and they were going to Roseville, Illinois.  When Mom saw that these people were in 2nd class, she knew right away that their chances weren't as good as the 1st-class passengers, but she thought at least Mrs. Caldwell and her little boy might make it into a lifeboat.

Then Mom went into the exhibit and looked at everything there, and she read all the little cards that explained what everything was.  And one of the things she saw was this pair of eyeglasses.  They are called pince-nez, which means "pinch nose" in French.  They don't have any ear pieces.  They just stay on by pinching your nose.  I don't think they look very comfortable to wear, which might be why people don't wear them nowadays.  Anyway, they were in somebody's luggage, and that's probably why they didn't get broken.


Another thing in the exhibit was money.  There were coins and also bills.  You could even mostly make out the designs and writing on the paper money.


Here is a very interesting thing called a gimbal lamp.  It was made so that it moved when the ship tilted, and the light always stayed level.


There were several types of dishes and silverware.  The blue-and-white Delft design was used in 2nd class, and it is still being manufactured today, at least according to the card on the display.


The blue-and-gold pattern was used in the 1st-class dining room.


And this type of plain china with the White Star logo came from 3rd class.


Here is what's called a "gladstone bag."  It has flexible sides and a rigid frame, and it opens flat to make two equal sections.  The gladstone bag was designed and marketed by a man named J.G. Beard.  He really admired British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, so that's why he gave the bag that name.


Hats like this are called bowlers. They were very popular at the time of the Titanic.  The reason why they were called bowlers was because they were first made by a family of hatters whose name was Bowler.  Mom also saw a silk top hat, but we couldn't find a picture of it.


When Mom got to the end of the exhibit, she looked at the wall of names to find out if she lived or died.  She was shocked to learn that she survived, her little boy survived, and so did her husband!  She decided that when she got home, she would go online to the Titanic site and see if she could find out anything else about the Caldwell family.

Then Mom went to the gift shop, and she was amazed to find out that there was an entire book written about Albert and Sylvia Caldwell by their great-niece.  It's called A Rare Titanic Family:  The Caldwells' Story of Survival.  And the author's name is Julie Hedgepeth Williams.  So Mom bought the book, of course, even though she doesn't know when she will ever find time to read it.

The worst part of the exhibit was that there was no mention of any of the dogs who were on the Titanic.  Mom says she can recommend the exhibit anyway, but at least she agrees that it would have been better to have something about dogs in it.


Friday, April 27, 2012

GIANT PANDAS

When I found out that pandas are mostly called giant pandas, I thought there must be standard pandas and miniature pandas, too, kind of like with schnauzers.  But I was wrong about that.  There is only one size of panda.  It turns out that the reason why they are called "giant" is to tell them apart from the red panda, which is silly, because red pandas don't look anything like giant pandas, and they aren't even related to each other.  But I didn't make up the rules.  I'm just telling you what they are.





Anyway, the scientific name for giant pandas is Ailuropoda melanoleuca, which means "black-and-white cat-foot."  Nobody really knows where the word "panda" came from, but it might have been from the Nepali word ponya.  The red panda was the first animal to be called "panda," and the giant panda was originally called the "mottled bear" or "particolored bear."

In 1901, people decided the red panda and the mottled bear were related, and that's when they came up with the name "giant panda" for the bigger, black-and-white animal.  The Chinese have about 20 names for giant pandas, including "spotted bear," "bamboo bear," "large bear cat," or just "bear cat."  The reason why people thought pandas looked like cats was probably because the pupils of pandas' eyes have a slit shape, like cats' pupils, instead of being round, like other bears' pupils.



So after telling you all that stuff about names, I will just say that whenever I use the word "panda" in this blog entry, I am talking about the giant panda, and not the red panda.  And I will also mention that the panda is a real bear, just like a grizzly or a polar bear is.  Except that you don't usually hear about pandas killing and eating people, like those other bears do sometimes.  And this is likely because pandas are only interested in eating bamboo, and not humans.  But I will talk more about their diet in a minute.













Pandas live in central China, in some mountain ranges in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces.  A long time ago, pandas lived in the lowlands, but then people came and started cutting down the trees and making farms.  So the pandas moved up to the mountains.  They live in forests where there is a lot of bamboo growing in the understory, below the bigger, taller trees.  Mostly, these areas are 5,000 to 10,000 feet in altitude, and there's lots of rain and mist and thick clouds there.

Since pandas have lost so much of their habitat and also because they have a low birth rate, they are said to be ENDANGERED.  In 1958, the Wolong National Nature Reserve was set up by the Chinese government, but people didn't really know much about how to help the pandas back in those days.  Which meant that the pandas had to live in cages in kind of icky conditions, and they didn't have very many baby pandas.



But nowadays things are much different.  There are more than 50 panda reserves, and they cover 2.5 million acres.  This is over 45% of what's left of the pandas' habitat, and more than 60% of all the pandas are protected.  No one knows exactly how many pandas are still living in the wild, but it might be as many as 3,000.  There are over 200 pandas living in captivity inside China, and another 30 or so live in zoos in other countries.

Pandas are classified as carnivores, just like other bears, but 99% of their diet is bamboo.  In the wild, pandas will sometimes eat other grasses, tubers, or even birds, rodents, or carrion.  Pandas in zoos might be fed honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas, plus bamboo, of course.


When pandas are eating, they usually like to sit upright, and they hold their bamboo with their paws.  Pandas have something called a "pseudo thumb," which is made of a specially shaped wrist bone with a fleshy pad of skin.  This helps them hold the bamboo while they crush it up with their strong jaws and teeth.





It's kind of weird that pandas eat so much bamboo, since their digestive systems are actually meant to digest meat.  So when they eat bamboo, they can't get very much energy or protein from it.  But during the millions of years that pandas have been around, they have worked out a solution to this problem, which is that they eat lots and lots and lots of bamboo.  The average panda eats 20 to 30 pounds of bamboo shoots every day.  And this means that a panda might poop as many as 40 times in one day!




Because of their diet, pandas have a very low metabolism, and they are not very energetic.  So they are happy just to sit around eating, and they try to avoid having to climb up steep hillsides.














When pandas get to an age somewhere between 4 and 8 years old, they are ready to start making baby pandas.  The female panda comes into season for only two or three days, only once a year, sometime between March and May.  After she has mated with a male panda, she has to wait 95 to 160 days for the cub to be born.  Sometimes there are two cubs, and if this happens in the wild, the mother panda usually decides which one is weaker, and she lets that one die.  Scientists think that a panda does not make enough milk for two cubs because she does not store fat in her body.  Of course, if two babies are born to a panda in captivity, both of them can be saved.




A panda cub only weighs between 3.2 and 4.6 ounces when it is born, which is really tiny, compared to the size of its mama.  The cub is born pink, blind, and toothless.  It nurses up to 14 times a day.  By the time the cub is a month old, the color pattern of its fur has developed.  It takes 75 to 80 days before the cub starts crawling.  Then at 6 months, it can begin eating a little bamboo.  But mostly it keeps nursing for the first year of its life.  A cub weighs about 100 pounds when it is a year old, but it will stay with its mother until it is 18 to 24 months old.



I think pandas are totally cute, especially since they are black-and-white, just like me.  I asked Mom if we could maybe get one of our very own, but she said no.  She said that since pandas are endangered, they need to stay in reserves or zoos where they can make baby pandas to increase their population.  Also she said there is no way she would want to clean up after an animal that poops 40 times a day!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

THE MOST EXPENSIVE KINDS OF PETS

Here is a list of the top ten breeds of dogs and cats that cost their owners the most in vet bills, according to PetInsuranceComparison.  The information they used to make the list came from the AKC, the Cat Fanciers' Association, ConsumerReports, and the ASPCA.  I don't know if this means it is a good list or not because I don't know how much data there was.  And also, some people don't even have insurance for their pets.  Plus I don't know if mixes of these breeds were counted or just purebreds.

So anyway, those are my disclaimers, and now that I have made them,  I can go ahead and tell you about this list because I think it is interesting.


1.  ROTTWEILER

Rotties suffer the most from allergies, gastric torsion, hypothyroidism, and elbow dysplasia.  Gastric torsion is often called "bloat," and it's when a dog's tummy gets all full of gas.  Sometimes the stomach twists, but not always.  Either way, it can hurt a lot, and it can even kill a dog if the dog does not get to the vet right away.

The average insurance claim for rottweilers was $568.






2.  BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG

These dogs can also get bloat, plus sometimes they get cataracts, mast cell tumors, and elbow dysplasia.  Average claim:  $413









3.  SIAMESE CAT

The biggest problems with these cats are gingivitis, upper respiratory infections, and liver disease.  Average claim:  $396









4.  GREAT DANE

This breed suffers from gastric torsion, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and cardiomyopathy.  Another term for cardiomyopathy is "heart failure."  It's when the heart muscle gets weak and doesn't work very well anymore.

The average claim for a Great Dane was $385.









5.  ENGLISH BULLDOG

These dogs are brachycephalic, which means they have a very short face, and that makes them have several respiratory problems.  One of these is called stenotic nares, which is a fancy way of saying "pinched nostrils."  The nostrils can be opened up by surgery, and then the dog can breathe better.

English bulldogs may also have an elongated soft palate, hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation (which is when your knee joints keep slipping out of place).

Average claim for an English Bulldog:  $371



6.  BENGAL CAT

Bengals can have sensitive stomachs and inflammatory bowels.  Also they are more likely to get feline leukemia than some other breeds.  Average claim:  $365








7.  FRENCH BULLDOG

Frenchies suffer from allergies, brachycephalic syndrome, stenotic nares, and hip dysplasia.  Average claim:  $356









8.  MAINE COON CAT

These cats can get polycystic kidney disease, hip dysplasia, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  Hypertrophic means "thickened," and it's when the heart walls get thick for no obvious reason, and then you can suddenly die from having your heart quit.

Average claim:  $314





9.  RAGDOLL CAT

Ragdolls are generally pretty healthy, but they can have a bad reaction to live vaccines.  Also, older cats  can get worms and diabetes.  Average claim:  $278






10.  HIMALAYAN CAT

Because they have shorter faces, Himalayans can have breathing problems.  Also they sometimes suffer from kidney disease or inflammatory bowels.  Average claim:  $216








So those are the top ten most expensive purebred pets that you can have, at least according to this pet insurance website.  Mom thinks greyhounds should be on the list because it seems like they always have some kind of intestinal thing wrong with them, and it's never easy or cheap to fix it.  Also their teeth are usually bad.  But Mom didn't have any say in making the list.

I'm just glad that basenjis aren't on the list, because I don't want Mom to get the idea that I'm too expensive to keep around!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

DANDIE DINMONT TERRIERS

Today is Earth Day, and when I thought about the combination of dogs and earth, I thought right away about terriers.  And this is because terriers were bred to "go to earth," which means they go digging down into the ground after foxes and badgers and rabbits and weasels and animals like that.  So I decided that in honor of Earth Day, I would tell you about a terrier breed.  And the one I chose is the Dandie Dinmont, mostly because I think the name of this breed is pretty hilarious.

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the only dog breed to be named after a character in fiction.  This character was in a novel that Sir Walter Scott wrote in 1814, and it was called Guy Mannering.  Dandie Dinmont was the name of a farmer in the novel, and he had several little terriers who were called either "Pepper" or "Mustard," depending on the color of their coats.  So this type of dog came to be known as Dandie Dinmont's terriers.


A Dandie from 1915
The character of Dandie Dinmont was based on a real farmer named James Davidson, who was also a terrier owner.  Mr. Davidson used dogs from several sources to breed his terriers.  Some of these were traditional hunting dogs that came from the Allans of Northumberland, and there may also have been Border Terriers, Scottish Terriers, and Skye Terriers involved.  Mr. Davidson wrote down everything he did when he was breeding his terriers, and he became known as the father of the modern Dandie Dinmont.

The British Kennel Club was started in 1873, and only two years later, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club (DDTC) was formed.  This made the DDTC the third-oldest breed club for dogs in the world.  Dandie Dinmonts were first registered with the AKC in 1888 and with the UKC in 1918.  During World War II, a lot of kennels in the UK didn't have enough food for their dogs because of rationing, so they had to send the dogs to other places or else destroy them.



After the war, several kennels got busy breeding Dandies again, so that there would be more of them.  In spite of this, there are still not a whole lot of this breed being registered.  In 2006, the Kennel Club said that the Dandie Dinmont was one of the rarest dog breeds native to the British Isles.  And Dandies were also put on a list called Vulnerable Native Breeds.

People in the border country between Scotland and England used Dandies mostly to hunt badgers and otters.  That's why they wanted their dogs to be fairly small and low to the ground.  Like dachshunds, Dandies have short legs and long bodies.  They have large heads, ears that hang down, and a sickle-shaped tail.  But the best way to tell a Dandie Dinmont is by the cute little topknot of hair on its head.








Dandies come in two colors.  The first of these is pepper, which ranges from a bluish black to a light grey.  And the other color is mustard, which might be anything from reddish brown to fawn.  The hair of the coat is about 2" long, with soft and hard hairs mixed together.


These dogs are good for families, since they are affectionate, intelligent, and undemanding.  They are good watch dogs and also good companions.  Because of their hunting instincts, they should not live in homes where there are small pets like hamsters and guinea pigs.  Usually Dandies are okay with cats, especially if they have been around cats since they were puppies.



The fact that Dinmont Dandies have such long backs means they are more likely to hurt the discs of their spines.  And older dogs may have trouble with stairs.  Other health problems that Dandies might have are hypothyroidism, glaucoma, and cancer.  Their life span is about 11-13 years.

One thing that some Dandies really like to do is dig holes in the yard.  Of course, they were bred to "go to earth" when they are chasing prey animals, so they are just doing what comes naturally.  My brother Nicky, the greyhound, also likes to dig holes in the yard, but he was not bred to do that, so we don't know why he does it.  Maybe it's just his way of celebrating Earth Day!



Saturday, April 21, 2012

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH



Guess what!  April is National Poetry Month, and I didn't write any poetry yet to celebrate this important event!  So when I realized that fact, I got all inspired and I wrote some limericks.  The subject of my limericks is kittens.  I wrote one limerick for each of our foster kittens and also one for Jason, since he isn't a year old yet, so that means he is still a kitten.

Anyway, I hope you will like these limericks because I think they are very clever and entertaining.




There once was a kitten named Jason,
Who into the bathroom went chasin'.
He jumped on the stool
And fell into the pool,
And then out of the room he went racin'!









Jeeves was a little Manx kitty
Whose coat was all stripey and pretty.
He saw no avail
In having a tail,
Since he was so clever and witty!








There was a sweet kitten named Janey,
Who lived out-of-doors, where it's rainy.
Now she's inside instead,
And she sleeps in a bed,
And she scampers around, acting zany!










A tortoiseshell kitten named Jilly
Found herself being spooked, willy-nilly.
A low profile kept she,
As demure as could be,
But she sometimes could act rather silly!

Friday, April 20, 2012

PRESIDENT WILSON'S DOGS

President Wilson did not have any dogs while he was actually the president, but this did not mean he didn't like dogs, because he did.  When he was young, Mr. Wilson's family had a greyhound named Mountain Boy, and Mr. Wilson liked to draw pictures of him.  But he did not want a dog romping around inside the White House, for some reason, so instead he had sheep outside on the lawn.  But I will tell you about the sheep in a minute.

First I will start at the beginning, which was when Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia.  His father was a Presbyterian minister.  He owned slaves, and started a Sunday School for them.  He used his church as a hospital for wounded soldiers, and he also served for a little while as a chaplain in the Confederate army.  Little Woodrow once got to meet General Robert E. Lee, and he remembered that occasion for the rest of his life.



The house where President Wilson was born
When he grew up, Mr. Wilson got a degree from Princeton and then later studied law.  In 1883, he started graduate school at Johns Hopkins University.  After studying for three years, he got a PhD in history and political science, and then he taught for several years.

Mr. Wilson got married in 1885 to Ellen Louise Axson, and they had three daughters named Margaret, Jessie, and Eleanor.

In 1902, Mr. Wilson became the president of Princeton University.  He had that job until 1910, and then he was the governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913.  In 1912, he ran for U.S. President against Teddy Roosevelt, who was trying to win another term as the "Bull Moose" party candidate, and William Howard Taft, who was the Republican party candidate.  Mr. Wilson ran as a Democrat, and he won the election.




The White House flock
President Wilson liked to have a flock of sheep grazing on the White House lawn, and this was because with the sheep munching on the grass, the cost of groundskeeping was less.  Which was especially important later on, during the war.  One of the rams was called Old Ike, and he liked to chew tobacco.

In 1914, Mrs. Ellen Wilson died.  This made President Wilson one of only three presidents to be widowed while in office.  The following year, the president married Edith Galt.



President Wilson's Pierce-Arrow
President Wilson was a big baseball fan, and he was the first sitting president to attend a World Series game.  Another thing that he liked was riding in automobiles, and his favorite car was a 1919 Pierce-Arrow, which he particularly enjoyed riding in with the top down.  The fact that President Wilson liked cars so much meant that he was always trying to get more funding for public highways.  And that was a good thing.

The president also liked to go cycling, and he went on several vacations to the Lake District in England, just so he could ride bicycles there.  But back in Washington, it wasn't safe for the president to go out cycling, so he started playing golf.  He really loved playing golf, even though he wasn't all that good at it.  He holds the record for the most rounds of golf played by any president, with over 1,000.  This averages out to almost one round every other day.  In the wintertime, President Wilson used to play golf in the snow on the White House lawn using balls that the Secret Service painted black for him.

Arriving in Paris for the 1918 Peace Conference
President Wilson just barely got re-elected in 1916.  His slogan was "He kept us out of war."  The war they were talking about was World War I, which was going on in Europe.  A lot of Americans did not want us to get into that war, but then the Germans started using their submarines to sink a whole bunch of ships, including an American ocean liner called the Lusitania.  So after that, President Wilson asked the Congress to declare war on Germany, and they did.

At the end of the war, President Wilson helped work out the armistice agreement.  He did not want the world to ever have another bad war like that, so he came up with some ideas about how such a thing could be avoided.  One idea was to make a group called the League of Nations.  President Wilson helped put the plans for this group together, and he also worked on the Treaty of Versailles, which drew a bunch of new boundaries for countries in Europe.



Sadly, when the president came home and tried to get all these ideas okayed by the Senate in 1919, he ended up in big fight with the Republicans, led by Henry Cabot Lodge.  In the end, the Senate never said yes to the League of Nations or even to the Treaty of Versailles.  But at least President Wilson got awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize because he had sponsored the League of Nations.

In the early part of 1919, the president caught influenza, mainly because he wore himself out by traveling around the country, trying to talk people into supporting the League of Nations.  Then on October 2, he had a stroke, and he ended up paralyzed on his left side and blind in his left eye.  He stayed in bed for many weeks, and only his doctor and his wife got to visit him.  During this time, Mrs. Wilson mostly took care of doing all the presidential stuff, but nobody really knew she was doing that.  Many years later, in 1967, the 25th Amendment was passed, and it was all about how to handle things if a president got sick or whatever.



Sergeant Stubby
The Republicans won by a landslide in 1920, so the Wilsons retired and moved to a town house in the Embassy Row section of Washington, D.C.  Mr. Wilson still went for drives every day, and he still liked to attend vaudeville on Saturday nights.

During the war, President Wilson was the first president ever to shake hands with a decorated war dog.  This dog was Sergeant Stubby, the little pit bull terrier that I told you about in another blog entry.  Also, President Wilson said one time, "If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience."





Not long before he died, Mr. Wilson got a dog as a gift from a breeder.  This dog was a white bull terrier named Whitestock Service Man.  That was his registered name, but his call name was Bruce.  This dog was meant to be a companion to Mr. Wilson, and he had been trained to behave himself in the house.  The breeder wrote a note that said he admired Mr. Wilson "for his wonderful gameness under suffering and adverse circumstances, and above all for his natural inherent love for his fellow man."  And then he said, "I, with my little Scotch wife, could not conceive of a better gift, or a more appropriate one than a dog that showed the same characteristics."

On February 3, 1924, Mr. Wilson died at his home, and he was buried in Washington National Cathedral.  He is the only president who has been buried in Washington, D.C.  Mrs. Wilson lived for 37 more years in the same house before she died there on December 28, 1961.  Her favorite dog, Rooter, was beside her bed when she died.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

THIS AND THAT

Mom survived her Big Birthday on Sunday, including a little party she had in the evening at Kokopelli's Mexican Cantina.  Nine people came to this event, and everybody ate Mexican food because that's the kind of food that is served there.  Mom had the crab enchiladas, which she said were very good.  But I wouldn't know whether they were good or not, since she did not bring any home for us dogs and cats.  Sigh.  Mom can be so selfish sometimes.


Aunt Jeanne bought Mom's dinner and also some dessert, which was made out of a tortilla filled with chocolate and a scoop of ice cream on top, plus a candle.  Then the server gave Mom a sombrero to put on so that he could take her picture.  The sombrero had a small head hole, so Mom had trouble keeping it on her big, fat head, but she kept it on long enough the have her picture taken.


Here's a picture of Mom and Aunt LaDene.


And here's one of Aunt Jeanne, Aunt Barb, and Mom.

Okay, well, that's all I'm going to say about Mom's birthday because I am tired of the subject.

Now I will talk about our foster kittens.  On Saturday, they got listed on the internet, and you can see them by going to the DivaPets site and then scrolling down to the kitties whose names start with "J."


On the same day that the kittens finally got put on the internet, Jeeves got conjunctivitis in his right eye.  Mom noticed that he was squinting, and that his eyelids looked kind of pink.  So she took him over to the shelter so that Dr. Regan could look at him and give her a tube of ointment stuff.  Now Mom has to put the ointment in Jeeves' eye two or three times a day.  Mom thought at first that Jeeves' eye was getting better, but then this morning she saw that his left eye was all pink, too.  So I guess he won't get to go to the adoption event at PetSmart on Saturday.


Sadly, nobody has filled out any applications about the kittens since they have been on Petfinder.  We feel kind of frustrated about this, but maybe someone will discover them soon and fall madly in love with them!

Last Friday, Mom and Aunt LaDene went to the art gallery to see a special exhibit about art from a whole bunch of World's Fairs.  There was a ton of very interesting and beautiful stuff in this exhibit, but people weren't allowed to take pictures of it, so Mom didn't.  Instead, she took pictures of a few other things.


This is the Rozzelle Courtyard restaurant, where Mom and Aunt LaDene ate lunch.  It was all decorated with flags of different countries where there had been a World's Fair.  And right in the middle of the courtyard, on top of the fountain, there was the Eiffel Tower!


In one of the hallways, there were some etchings, so Mom took pictures of them.  This first one shows a canal in China.  It reminded Mom of some towns where she had been in China, and there were very pretty canals there.


Mom took a picture of this etching just for me because it has several dogs in it.  The title was something about returning from hunting, but it didn't look like anything got killed, and maybe the people and their dogs would have to go hungry.

There was also an exhibit of work by Auguste Rodin, who was a famous sculptor and painter.  He lived in France from 1840 until 1917.  Maybe you have seen his famous sculpture that is called The Thinker.


Anyway, in 1891, a writers' organization in Paris asked Mr. Rodin to make a monument to honor the French writer, Honoré de Balzac.  Mr. Balzac lived from 1799 until 1850, and he was famous for his novels and plays.  Mr. Rodin spent 7 years studying the writer and trying to decide how to sculpt him best, since he was not exactly skinny.  So at the art gallery, there were a bunch of studies that Mr. Rodin did to try out different ways of making the statue.


The sculpture that Mr. Rodin finally came up with showed Mr. Balzac wearing a drape while he is looking fiercely into the distance.  The idea was to show Mr. Balzac at the moment when he had a brilliant idea for a new work.  But when Mr. Rodin showed the statue in 1898, nobody much liked it, and the newspapers made fun of it.  So the sculpture did not get cast in bronze until 1939.  Now you can see it at the Musée Rodin in Paris.


Mom took a picture of one other sculpture.  It was made by a famous modern sculptor named Isamu Noguchi.  I think this might be one of my very favorite things in the museum because it looks like two bones to me.  When I look at this sculpture, I start thinking about bones and how I wish they were real ones that were a little smaller, so that I could chew on them!