Thursday, April 21, 2016

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF TOYS AND MINIATURES, Part 2

In my first entry about this museum, I showed you pictures of some of the miniatures.  Now I am going to tell you about toys.

First of all, here are some strange-looking dogs, a cat, and a bear.  I especially like the dog with the ears that stick up.



This bear was really, really big -- like even taller than Mom!  It was made by a German company called Stieff.  This company was started in 1880 by Margarete Steiff, who later had help from her brother Fritz.  Stieff started out by making elephants, but later she made dogs, cats, and pigs.  She designed and made most of the prototypes herself.  In 1897, Steiff's nephew Richard joined the company.  He is the one who first created the teddy bear in 1902.  By 1907, the company had made 974,000 bears, and they have been making more ever since.



Stieff toys are designed to be safe for children.  The most common materials in them are alpaca, felt, mohair, and woven plush.  They are stuffed with wood shavings or polyester fibers.  All the Stieff toys have the famous "button in ear," which shows that it is authentic and not an imitation.

Here are some other toys that Mom saw in the museum:





These are the kinds of toys that boys played with the in the 1940s:


And girls played at being little housewives:

Here are some George and Martha Washington dolls.  They don't look as happy as Barbie and Ken, but they have fancier clothes.

There were a lot of doll houses in the exhibit.  They were sort of like miniatures, but they were made for girls to play with, furnish, and decorate.  Some of them were very large and fancy.  A chihuahua could go inside one of the rooms and curl up and take a nap -- if there weren't so many dolls and other things in the way.

I'm not sure what that black animal is, but it might be a goat.  At our house, Mom doesn't let goats come in the kitchen.

This is the doll house dining room, full of doll-sized furniture and dishes.


Here are the dolly children, playing in their playroom.


You can see several rooms of this doll house, almost as if the wall fell off.

So that's pretty much all of the Toy and Miniature stuff I'm going to show you.  If you want to see more, you should go to the museum in person.  My opinion is that there are some fairly good exhibits there, as far as I can tell from the pictures Mom took.  The two things I think they really need to add are: (1) dog toys, and (2) dog houses.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

PROBOSCIS MONKEYS

Male proboscis monkey, photo ©Ikki Matsuda
When it comes to monkeys, proboscis monkeys are probably the weirdest-looking ones of all, which is why I wanted to tell you about them first!  Their scientific name is Nasalis larvatus, which means "long-nosed."  In Indonesia, they are sometimes called "Dutch monkeys" or "Dutchmen" because the Indonesians noticed that the Dutch colonizers had large bellies and noses, just like the monkeys. 

In Ancient Egypt, proboscis monkeys were worshiped because they were unique and thought to be special to the gods.  Of course, cats were also worshiped, which I think, as a chihuahua, was another reason why the Ancient Egyptians were somewhat lacking in good sense!







Female and male;
 http://www.zoo.com.sg/exhibits-zones/proboscis-monkey.html#ad-image-0

Nowadays, the proboscis monkey can only be found on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo, which contains the nations of Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia.  Unfortunately, this monkey is considered to be an ENDANGERED SPECIES because its population has shrunk by more than 50% in just the past 40 years or so.  This is happening mostly because people keep cutting down the forests where the monkeys live.  When they are forced to come down out of the trees to get food, they are more vulnerable to predators such as jaguars and native peoples who consider the monkeys to be tasty delicacies.


http://www.factzoo.com/mammals/proboscis-monkey-one-big-nose.html

It is very easy to tell male proboscis monkeys from females because males have the really big noses, which can be as long as 7 inches.  Also, males are bigger than females.  They can weigh as much as 50 pounds, but the females are only half that big.  The monkeys' coats are long, with the fur on the back being bright orange, reddish brown, yellowish brown, or brick-red.  The underfur is light-grey, yellowish, or light orange.  Proboscis monkey faces are orange-pink.  Both sexes have bulging stomachs and webbed feet.  These monkeys do a lot of swimming, and their webbed feet help them swim faster than any crocodiles who might want to eat them.


http://www.monkeyworlds.com/proboscis-monkey/

Proboscis monkeys live in bands of one male, two to seven adult females, and their offspring.  There may also be all-male bands.  Because they are not very territorial, the smaller bands of monkeys often come together into larger groups near water to sleep. The monkeys prefer to stay up in the trees as much as possible, but if they have to, they look for food down on the ground.








Female Proboscis Monkey 
http://www.factzoo.com/mammals/proboscis-monkey-one-big-nose.html
 

Male proboscis monkeys use their big, sexy noses to attract females.  The noses allow them to make a louder call that impresses the females and scares competitors away.  However, it is the female who initiates mating, and she will only do that if there is plenty of food to support her offspring.  The gestation period is between 166 and 200 days.  Birth usually occurs at night or in the early morning.  Baby monkeys begin to eat solid food at six weeks, and they are weaned at seven months.  Noses on young monkeys grow slowly until the animals reach adulthood.  A mother monkey will allow other members of the band to hold her infant.  But when the leader of a one-male group is replaced, the mother may leave, fearing that the new leader will kill her baby.


Proboscis Monkey Family in Malaysian Borneo. Photo © HUTAN


The main foods for proboscis monkeys are fruit and leaves, but they also eat flowers, seeds, and insects. Basically, they have to eat whatever is in season, so from January to May, they eat mostly fruit, and from June to December, mostly leaves.  The monkeys avoid eating ripe fruit because the sugars in fruit can ferment in their stomachs and cause fatal bloating.  Their stomachs are complex, with several chambers, and sometimes monkeys chew their cud to help digestion.






"Does this tummy make me look fat?"
  https://whogivesamonkeys.com/2011/04/03/monkey-chews-its-cud/


Proboscis monkeys start each day by foraging for food as they travel inland.  Then they rest for a while and later move back toward the river as they forage again.  They must always watch out for predators such as crocodiles, clouded leopards, eagles, monitor lizards, and pythons.

Okay, so now you know all about the ugly proboscis monkeys.  Maybe next time I will pick a cute monkey to tell you about!





Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ONE WHOLE YEAR IN THE ANTIQUES BUSINESS!

It was a year ago this month that Mom first rented a booth at A Fabulous Find antique mall and started selling antiques.  She has sold a bunch of stuff, and there are some other things that nobody wanted to buy.  Several of these unwanted items have gone to the thrift store, but a few of them are still in Mom's booth.  Mom keeps lowering the prices, and maybe if she gets all the way to "free," someone will take the things away.  Or not.

Anyway, Mom put some new stuff in her booth yesterday.  Then she took pictures of it.  She does this so that if she goes in there sometime and sees an empty space, she can look at the pictures and figure out what got sold (or stolen, because a few things have gone missing and never showed up again).  So now I will show you some of the pictures Mom took yesterday.  If you see anything you want to buy, you should rush right over to A Fabulous Find, 5330 Martway St., Mission, KS.  Mom's booth is number 15.

Lots of pretty dishes and a really nice shelf unit thing.


Salt and pepper shakers.


More salt and pepper shakers, plus some nice pictures to hang on your wall.  There's even a Coca-Cola sign in Thai.


Lots of cute animals, a few bottles, and some other nice stuff.


More dishes, a Currier & Ives print of a steamboat, a bird feeder, and some votive candle holders.


A couple of boxes of photos and prints.  Also there is a wall rack that you can put your knick knacks on.


Mom sells lots of Kansas City postcards.  Of course, she usually sells them for less than she paid for them, so that is why she is not getting rich in the antique business!  Mom also has two seder plates for sale, but so far nobody has bought them.


Another thing Mom sells quite a bit of is silverware, like silverplate pieces and souvenir spoons.


Okay, so that's all I'm going to say about Mom's antique booth today.  Well, except I will just mention that Mom sure spends a lot of time going to estate sales and then getting her purchases ready to put in her booth.  If she wasn't doing all that stuff, she would have a lot more time to help me write blog entries.  Just sayin'...