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December MMXVI Volume IV, Issue XII ~ abusus non tollit usum ~ Copyright © 2016 5enses Inc. Contact us at 5ensesMag@Gmail.Com & 928-613-2076 Visit 5ensesMag.Com & ISSUU for more


In which: David Moll

4 16 18 5 6 7 + 16 10 8/9 Drag Review 11 20 12 21 14 22 Robert Blood

stands under the mistletoe and sets the mood by discussing semiparasitism

Sue Drown

stays on pointe and takes in a traveling ballet production with local talent

Paolo Chlebecek

spies an LBJ and takes notes on a surprisingly distinct avians

files away some info about trashing data and ... discusses a murder?!

Peregrine Book Co. staff

COVER IMAGE: A collaboration between Miriam Glad and Bridgitte Krupke.

pages bookish types and jots down their primary, principled print picks

Kathleen Yetman

Publisher & Editor: Nicholas DeMarino Copy Editor: Susan Smart Featured Columnist: Alan Dean Foster Staff Writers & Columnists: Robert Blood, Paolo Chlebecek, James Dungeon, Ty Fitzmorris, Reva Sherrard, Mara Trushell, & Kathleen Yetman

taps her root vegetable knowledge and picks a carrots-not-sticks approach

Alan Dean Foster

Left Brain/Right Brain

dredges the depths of shallow writing and takes on twittering twerps

Robert Blood

Discover events around Greater Prescott via a pop-sci metaphor

Community Hero

toys with the idea of woodwork and works with the idea of toywork

James Dungeon

Celebrate someone who’s making our community an even greater place

Get Involved

finishes holiday shopping and supports student art and dance education

Ty Fitzmorris

Coco’s New Year

Discover ways to make a positive difference in our community

Oddly Enough

bares the ever-barren-ing wilds and waxes poetic about waxing winterage

Smart, quirky comics about the strange-but-true by Russell Miller

7 & 9 p.m. Sat., Dec. 31, 2016

@ PCA Stage Too

(behind Prescott Center for the Arts)

@ PCA Stage Too

(behind Prescott Center for the Arts)

Tickets: $15 online @ DragTime.BPT.ME $20 door

Hosted by Aimee V Justice

Adorn Your Lifestyle Buy | Sell | Trade •



133 N. Cortez, Historic Downtown Prescott


ea es rs i n busin



brating Cele


@ Snap Snap


Plant of the Month

Mistletoe A Western Bluebird feeds on Oak Mistletoe berries. Photo by David D. Moll.


By David Moll

tt! displays in all of Presco ht lig t es rg la e th of e On ent! A must-see holiday ev

Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary

& animal sights Opening Thanksgiving Weekend!

November 25 and 26, 2016 And continues every Friday & Saturday night from December 2 through December 31

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

1403 Heritage Park Rd.; Prescott, AZ 86301 • Phone: 928.778.4242 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported by the community.


t one point in history, mistletoe was highly valued, even revered. Nowadays, in modernday America, mistletoe seems to have a reputation as a pest, a freeloader, and a parasite. (The accurate term is hemiparasite, since Arizona mistletoes are capable of some photosynthesis.) We may enjoy mistletoe as a holiday custom, but if you pay attention, you can see why mistletoe is still highly valued and plays a crucial role in Southwest ecology. So what is “mistletoe”? In Arizona, there are 15 species in two groups: one group simply known as mistletoe (Phoradendron) with seven species, and dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium) with eight species.


hese obligate hemiparasites won’t grow just anywhere; they need a host, sometimes speciesspecific, sometimes somewhat broader in scope. It’s dwarf mistletoes that require more specific hosts. In all our species, the leaves (reduced to scales in some) are paired opposite one another, there is no corolla, and the boys (stamens) and girls (pistils) are on separate plants. When pollinated, those girls produce berries. The aerial hemiparasitic lifestyle, however, has a unique problem to solve. Unlike most plants, if your seeds end up on anything other than a requisite host, they’re doomed. Our mistletoes have evolved to have the flesh of their berries be very sticky. As such, it can adhere the seed to a live branch of a host. Dispersal of

those sticky seeds is a big part of the challenge because of the relatively small target that allows proliferation. Birds such as Western Bluebird, Townsend’s Solitaire, Northern Mockingbird, and Phainopepla eat those berries and subsequently disperse the seeds. In dwarf mistletoe, the seeds are also explosively ejected from the plant to land where they may — on a branch, on the ground, on a bird, on a squirrel.


any mistletoe berries are available in winter which makes them a very important resource in a time of scarcity. Some animals eat the plants. Additionally, mistletoe provides a proven good site for many nesting birds. Mistletoe can actually increase biodiversity. Note the chain of relationships: host plants are considered autotrophs — synthesizing their sustenance using photons, water and carbon dioxide — but they live in obligate relationships with soil fungi. Mistletoes are hemiparasitic on the host, and have mutualistic relationships with pollinators and seed dispersers. Does an outright predator somehow have more integrity than a parasite? Nature doesn’t care if you’re a parasite, but it’s clearly selfdefeating to kill your host. **** Visit the Highlands Center for Natural History at 1375 Walker Road, 928776-9550, or HighlandsCenter.Org. David Moll studies nature in Arizona.

Bird of the Month

Lincoln’s Sparrow Photo by John West.


By Sue Drown irds display every color of the rainbow. They are art on the wing. Perhaps it’s not entirely fair, but sparrows got limited to the browns, rusts, and quiet tones of the avian color palette. But, if ever there were a sparrow who makes real artistry out of its limited choices, it’s the lovely Lincoln’s Sparrow. When they return to Prescott, dressed in their fresh autumn plumage, they are drop-dead beautiful. Lincoln’s Sparrows seem delicate, although they are just a tad smaller and lighter-weight than the familiar Song Sparrow — a very close relative in the avian family tree. Like most sparrows, Lincoln’s prefer to be in cover such as grasses or shrubs, but they are also curious. And a bit feisty. They will often pop out if you hold still for a bit. Their body language seems half afraid and half ready to fight. In the summer months, Lincoln’s Sparrows are found throughout Canada and in the Rocky Mountains, where they prefer to sing their upbeat, jumbled songs to the background music of mountain streams. Prescott is on the north edge of their winter range, and we can find them in any brushy spot, such as Watson Woods, this time of year. Listen

for a husky “pik” note coming from the brush, then hold still until the Lincoln’s pops up to see who has stopped near its winter home.


uckily, identifying a Lincoln’s Sparrow can prove fairly easy, at least as sparrows go. A soft buff y base color across its breast shows as a warm flush under the finest of brown streaking. The same buff y color forms the edge of the face. The tail is expressive, the bill is sharp, and that streaking over all — uniquely fine and refined. The face pattern, warm reddish wing tones, and breast spot might make you think of Song Sparrow, but the entire impression is finer-crafted and delicate. Yes, birds are art. The Lincoln’s Sparrow proves that this holds true even for those “little brown jobs,” our wintering sparrows. ***** Visit Prescott Audubon Society at PrescottAudubon.Org. Contact them at Contact@PrescottAudubon.Org. Sue Drown is a certified bird nerd and is seldom seen without her binoculars. She has thrived since moving to Arizona’s bird-rich region eight years ago.

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Peregrine Book Co.

Staff picks Catered by Reva Sherrard “Nausea” By Jean-Paul Sartre When the things you enjoy in life start to make you sick, you are free to choose how to accept or reject everything. ~Joe “Tintin: Hergé’s Masterpiece” By Pierre Sterckx A sublime art book & illuminating glimpse at the themes and consummate artistry behind the beloved comic strip’s seeming simplicity. ~Reva “Adulthood Is a Myth” By Sarah Andersen This made me LOL — a lot. And I’ve been an adult (supposedly) for a while now! ~Michaela “The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko” By Scott Stambach This book is filled with brutal honesty. It is a testament to being human. This book made me laugh, it made me think, it made me empathize, and then it made me cry. Happy tears, then sad tears, and then it made me think some more, and then it made me happy to be alive. If you are pondering reading this book, then, without hesitation, I plead with you to just do it. Read

it. Now. Forget all else and join Ivan in Belarus. ~Jon “The Secret Lives of People in Love” By Simon Van Booy Not only a story of love between men and women but a story that explores the love between parent and child, the bond between men in war, the brief love that can be found between strangers, and love that is lost. Beautiful short stories about love that can be found in a sometimes harsh world. ~Lacey “The Name of the Wind” By Patrick Rothfuss A wonderfully subtle and poignant book about one man’s extraordinary life. A fantasy novel that relies on great writing instead of wizard magic. From the love and familiarity of family to the often frightening transition to university. A

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prodigy, a survivor, a musician, a ginger: Kvothe. ~Jon “Touched with Fire” By Kay Redfield Jamison This landmark work on the connections between madness and creativity is essential reading for anyone affected by manic depression (bipolar disorder), and equally fascinating for those who aren’t. Extremely helpful and thought-provoking. ~Reva “Not My Father’s Son” By Alan Cumming When I started this I didn’t know anything about Mr. Cumming, but after reading his memoir, I can honestly say I’m a fan. This book is brave, honest, beautiful, heartbreaking, and in the end, full of hope. I borrowed this from a friend and thought about not giving it back; IT’S

THAT GOOD! ~Lacey (Reva says: I love it too! A surprisingly moving and meaningful book from a great artist.) “The Storied Life of AJ Fikry” By Gabrielle Zevin A book about a bookstore! How could I not like it? Seriously, this book will appeal to anyone who loves books; reading them, writing them, selling them, buying them. Relatable characters abound on pages that fly by. I slowed my reading speed near the end because I simply didn’t want it to end. ~Jon ***** Visit Peregrine Book Company at PeregrineBookCompany.Com and 219A N. Cortez St., Prescott, 928-445-9000.

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in organic matter and can be grown year-round in Yavapai County, although the sweetest, crunchiest carrots are harvested in the winter months. During the peak of summer’s heat, carrots may taste bitter and have a more woody texture. Fast-growing varieties produce good-sized carrots three months from their planting date.

Vegetable of the Month

Carrots Photo by Kathleen Yetman.


By Kathleen Yetman he carrot (Daucus carota) is a familiar root vegetable in the Umbelliferae family that is grown and consumed around the world. The modern day carrot was likely domesticated from wild carrot in Europe and/or Southwest Asia. The history of the carrot’s domestication isn’t clear, but it appears that humans have been eating wild and then cultivated carrots for thousands of years. While most people are accustomed to carrots being orange, they come in a variety of colors: white, yellow, red, purple, and black. The orange varieties gained in popularity in the 17th century and have stayed popular since.


range carrots are known for containing high amounts of vitamin A. They are also a good source of biotin, vitamin K, and fiber. The greens on top of the carrot root are also edible, however people rarely eat them. Carrots can be eaten raw or cooked in myriad ways. As winter approaches, it’s the ideal time to incorporate carrots into cooking— soups, roasts and curries are a great place to start.

The carrot plant is a biennial, which means that it requires two growing seasons in order to produce seeds. The family Umbelliferae is named as such because of the umbrella-shaped flowers its plants produce. Other plants in the family have similar flowers and seeds: cumin, fennel, dill, caraway, parsley and parsnips. The plant produces delicate, white, lacelike flowers in the second growing season, which when pollinated form hundreds of tiny seeds. Carrots prefer well-draining soils, high

***** The Prescott Summer Market is 7:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays at Yavapai College, parking lot D. Find out more at PrescottFarmers Market.Org. Kathleen Yetman is the managing director of the Prescott Farmers Market and a native of Prescott.

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Left Brain: December’s mind-full events Events


Prescott Audobon Society annual potluck • 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1: Sixth annual Prescott Audobon Society potluck dinner and volunteer recognition ceremony. (Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave., RSVP)

“Working in the Salt Mine” • 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1: Dr. Todd Bostwick discusses Native American salt mining in the Southwest, including tools discovered in the 1920s in Camp Verde. Via the Arizona Humanities Council. (Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500)


Watson Lake/Peavine Trail bird walk • 8 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2: Local, guided bird walk at Watson Lake/Peavine Trail with Eric Moore. (Jay’s Bird Barn, No. 113, 1046 Willow Creek Road, 928-443-5900, RSVP) “Board Game Night” • 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2: Open game night for enthusiasts of all ages and origin stories, facilitating all tabletop, card, and board games. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928-445-9000)


“Frontier Christmas” • 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3: Discover how local inhabitants celebrated the holiday and enjoy warm cider, cookies, activities, carols, and stories around the fire. (Sharlot Hall Museum, 415 W. Gurley St., 928-445-3122, $5)

“Starry Nights” • 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3: See stars through telescopes and binoculars at this public star party. Via the Prescott Astronomy Club. (Heritage Park, Black Canyon City)



Highlands Center holiday get-together • 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7: Highlands Center board, staff, and volunteers gather for merriment. (Highlands Center for Natural History, 1375 S. Walker Road, 928-776-9550, RSVP)

LGBT Book Club • 5 p.m. Wed., Dec. 7: Sharayah Hudson leads an LGBT-themed adventure in literature. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928445-9000) Prescott Astronomy Club • 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7: Last general meeting of the 2016 season. A monthly Prescott Astronomy Club meeting. (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Building 74 Lecture Hall 107, 3700 Willow Creek Road, PrescottAstronomyClub.Org)


Chino Valley bird walk • 8 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 8: Local, guided bird walk at Chino Valley with Ryan Crouse. (Jay’s Bird Barn, No. 113, 1046 Willow Creek Road, 928-443-5900, RSVP) “Death Cafe” • 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8: People gather to eat cake, drink tea, and discuss death with the objective “to increase awareness of death with a view to help people make the most of their (finite) lives.” Hosted by Dani LaVoire. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928445-9000)


“Don't Spend Christmas Alone” • 11 a.m. Sunday Dec. 25: 36th annual event with a full Christmas dinner and fellowship. Volunteers will also delivering meals to the homebound. Shuttle service also available. Last year, 725 people were served. Call to participate or volunteer. (St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 2000 Shepherd's Lane, Arizona 89, 928-778-4499) Courtesy photo.

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Goldwater Lake bird walk • 8 a.m. Friday, Dec. 16: Local, guided bird walk at Goldwater Lake with Bonnie Pranter. (Jay’s Bird Barn, No. 113, 1046 Willow Creek Road, 928-443-5900, RSVP)

Chino Valley bird walk • 8 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20: Local, guided bird walk at Chino Valley with Ryan Crouse. (Jay’s Bird Barn, No. 113, 1046 Willow Creek Road, 928-443-5900, RSVP)

Multi-day Game On • 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Dec. 7 & 21: Play European-style board games. (Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500) Prescott Valley Farmers Market • 3 p.m. Tuesdays: Enjoy local organic pro-

duce and goods from local farmers. (Harkins Theatres parking lot, Glassford Hill Road and Park Ave., PrescottFarmersMarket.Org) Prescott Farmers Market • 10 a.m. Saturdays: Enjoy local organic produce and goods from local farmers. (Yavapai Regional Medical Center's Pendleton Center, 1003 Willow Creek Road, PrescottFarmersMarket.Org) Drop in chess • 2 p.m. Saturdays: Play chess, all ages and skill levels welcome. (Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500) Prescott Public Library vieweries • December: Library viewery from CCJ, the Coalition for Compassion for Justice, featuring programs and projects that help benefit low-income Yavapai County residents. (Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500)

“The Soul of an Octopus” • 9:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 16: Discuss “The Soul of an Octopus: A surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness,” by Sy Montgomery, which explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus' surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature — and the remarkable connections it makes with humans. A monthly Natural History Book Club meeting. (Prescott College Natural History Institute, 312 Grove Ave., 928-350-2280) Courtesy image.


December’s art-full events :niarB thgiR



“Youth Art Workshop: Cork Horse Ornaments” •10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3: Kids design and outfit a wine-cork horse with an array of materials to brighten and adorn your holiday tree. (Phippen Museum, 4701 Arizona 89, 928-778-1385, RSVP)


Art “Holiday Wrap” • Through Dec. 18: Explore a festive holiday setting with hand crafted, one-of-a-kind art and gifts for all ages. (Prescott Center for the Arts, 208 N. Marina St., 928-445-3286) “Infinite Holes” • Through Dec. 19: Digital images and porcelain tea bowls depicting organic objects, structure, and space by Prof. Laura Bloomenstein. (Yavapai College Art Gallery, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2031)

“Have a Local Christmas!” • 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3: Fourth annual gathering of local artisans. Support Prescott artists and their families by buying natureinspired jewelry, small sculptures, functional pottery, homestead crafts, wood burl bowls, carved art, combed-wool animals, greeting cards, and much more. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928-445-9000)

“Contemporary Eclecticism” • Through Dec. 20: Annual art show featuring eclectic works in various media. (’Tis Art Center & Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., 928-775-0223)

Chrismas Parade & Courthouse Lighting • 1 p.m. parade, 6 p.m. lighting Saturday, Dec. 3: Annual holiday season kickoff parade and courthouse lighting ceremony. (Yavapai County Courthouse Square, 928-445-2000)

Fundraising show • Through Dec. 21: Show benefiting Skyview School’s Art and Dance program. All artwork donated by gallery members, Skyview children, and local artists sold goes 100 percent to the school. (Arts Prescott Gallery, 134 S. Montezuma St., 928-776-7717)

Contra Dance • 7 p.m. lesson, 7:30 p.m. dance Saturday, Dec. 3: Contra dancing. Via Folk Happens. Calls by Seth Levine, music by Traditional Blend. (First Congregation Church, 216 E. Gurley St., 928-925-5210, $4-$8)

7 9 10

“The Eyes Have It” • From Dec. 22: Annual winter photography exhibit. (’Tis Art Center & Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., 928-775-0223) “Holiday Gift Show” • Through Dec. 23: Annual holiday gift art show. (Mountain Artists Guild & Gallery, 228 Alarcon St., 928-445-2510)

Poetry Discussion Group • 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7: Monthly poetry discussion. (Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500)

“Artful Mirrors” • From Dec. 23: An Arts Prescott members’ celebration show. (Arts Prescott Gallery, 134 S. Montezuma St., 928-776-7717)

Acker Night Musical Showcase • 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9: Hear local musicians and enjoy good cheer while patronizing downtown businesses. (Downtown Prescott)

High Desert Artists • 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10: New art from the High Desert Artists. (Chino Valley Senior Center, 1021 Butterfield Road, Chino Valley)

“L’Amour De Loin” • 10:55 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10: Via satellite, The Metropolitan Opera’s production of “L’Amour De Loin.” (Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000, $12-$24)


“Midwinter Ghosts Story Night” • 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14: Help exercise the spirit of scary stories on Christmas Eve — the reason Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol”! (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928-445-9000) Open mic poetry • 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14: Monthly poetry jam presented by Decipherers Synonymous. (The Beastro, 117 N. McCormick St., 971340-6970)

28 30 Multi-day

Open mic poetry • 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28: Poet Dan Seaman emcees monthly open mic poetry. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928-445-9000)

“The Gift of the Nutcracker” • 7 p.m. Dec. 2 & 3: Ballet Victoria’s production in which a little girl’s curiosity conjures princes, snow queens, and sugarplum fairs on an enchanted Christmas Eve. Features local children with a professional

MAG Miniature • Through Dec. 24: Annual MAG miniature show. (Mountain Artists Guild & Gallery, 228 Alarcon St., 928-445-2510)

Coco’s New Year Drag Review • 7 & 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31: Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a drag show. Hosted by Aimee V Justice, via 4 AM Productions. (Stage Too, North Cortez Street alley between Willis and Sheldon streets, 928-445-3286, $15 online at DragTime.BPT.Me, $20 door) Photo by Scotty Kirby, ScottyKirby.Com touring ballet troupe. (Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000, $18-$38) “A Christmas Carol” • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, 10, & 15-17; 2 p.m. Dec. 11, 17, & 18: A delightful, faithful rendition of the Charles Dickens classic. Directed by Parker Anderson. (Prescott Center for the Arts, 208 N. Marina St., 928-445-3286, $10-$20) “Scrooge, The Musical” • 7 p.m. Dec. 9-11, 16, & 17; 2:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 11, & 17: Leslie Bricusse’s 1970 screen musical adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens tale, “A Christmas Carol.” (Prescott Valley Performing Arts Center, 2982 N. Park Ave, Suite G1, 928-583-4684, $12) “It’s a Wonderful Life” • 7 p.m. Dec. 15-17; 3 p.m. Dec. 18: A musical rendition of a classic holiday story. (Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000, $20-$30)

“Wildlights” • 6-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays: Annual holiday celebration featuring thousands of lights illuminating every corner of the park, festive decorations, and music. (Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary, 1403 Heritage Park Road, 928-778-4242, $4-$6) Yoga classes • Mondays, Tuesdays, & Thursdays: Yoga classes including Ayurveda, over-50, mindful, and dynamic flow yoga. (Flying Nest Movement Arts, 322 W. Gurley St., 928-432-3068, prices vary) Social dance classes • Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, & Sundays: Learn the Argentine tango, West Coast swing, tribal belly dance, Lindy hop swing, flamenco, and Latin dance. (Flying Nest Movement Arts, 322 W. Gurley St., 928-432-3068, prices vary)

“Handmade From the Heart” • Through Dec. 30: New art — clothing, jewelry, and surprises from the heart and hand — with love from the Laughing Giraffe and Friends. (’Tis Art Center & Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., 928-775-0223) “Wonders of Winter” • Through Dec. 31: Art show featuring winter-themed art. (Mountain Artists Guild & Gallery, 228 Alarcon St., 928-445-2510) O’Neill & friends • Through Dec. 31: New art from Mary Kaye O’Neill and friends. (’Tis Art Center & Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., 928-775-0223) “Fall 2016 STEPS Student Art Exhibit” • From Jan. 2, through Jan. 15: Artists ages 5-18 show their work from the fall 2016 STEPS program. Artists reception is 2-4 p.m. Jan. 7. (’Tis Art Center & Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., 928-775-0223) “Encore” • Through Jan. 8: Art show featuring work by 30 artists recently featured at The Raven Café including Stephanie Brown, Mary Lou Wills, and Nicole Sorenson. (The Raven Café, 142 N. Cortez St., 928-717-0009)

Performance dance/movement arts classes • Wednesdays & Thursdays: Learn contemporary dance, movement for life, and normative movement. (Flying Nest Movement Arts, 322 W. Gurley St., 928-432-3068, prices vary)


Enter: Backward

Deeper communication requires more than this sentence


By Alan Dean Foster ommunication has been in the news a lot recently. More so than ever with the selection of Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon as White House strategist. I mention him not because I agree with his positions (I don’t, but this column is not about politics) but because his selection only emphasizes how social media and the Net continue to slowly take the place of traditional means of communication. When people begin to turn for their daily information more to Twitter, Facebook, and online only news sites, it portends a real change in how ideas are exchanged and data is conveyed. I’m not suggesting that The New York Times, The Economist, or CBS News are going to disappear any time soon. But the winds of change, they are blowing. All three of those legacy news sites have active online equivalents. More and more people want their information delivered faster and in easier-to-digest bytes. The Net and social media facilitate both. This is convenient, but dangerous.


hen stories are reduced to headlines and knowledge to soundbites, it’s all too easy to miss the real ramifications of any decisions on which they may be based. Simplification precludes analysis. Communication becomes a function of time instead of thought. It’s fast and easy if you can just say “coal power is obsolete” vs. “clean coal is vital to power production” but it doesn’t explain, it doesn’t argue. It reduces communication within a society to an endless succession of simplistic us-versus-them. Quick communication offers no opportunity for discussion, evaluation, or judgment. You pick quick because you’re working at home, at your job, or (yes), working at “relaxation”, and you don’t have any time for … thinking. “I don’t have time for the news” is a refrain I hear all too often. (I’m talking particularly to the 45 percent of the electorate, regardless of preference, that didn’t vote in the last election.) “I don’t have time to read.” And who needs to read when someone else has already done the difficult job of perusing a subject, dissecting it, and reducing it to a tweet? That’s all one needs to make a decision, isn’t it? The basics? As filtered and compacted for you by … Someone Else.

Alan Dean Foster’s



eginning with grunts and wheezes, communication used to be strictly verbal. We advanced to more complex spoken language. Then writing was invented, which allowed for the dissemination of extended argument and complex ideas among an educated minority. When printing was invented, suddenly anyone who could read was able to discuss and debate the same multifarious notions as the hitherto privileged nobility and clergy. This earth-shaking advance in communication led to revolution, reformation, and the rise of the nationstate.


The development of radio suddenly allowed a single individual to share ideas with thousands, then millions of listeners. Television permitted the public to see the individuals propounding those ideas. The internet (at first) provided a means for one person to convey their ideas almost instantaneously to a substantial proportion of the planet’s population. It would seem that the ability to communicate has continued to expand beyond hitherto unimaginable boundaries. When it comes to reaching sheer numbers of people, it has. Yet in another way, communication has gone backward.


t does no good to be able to speak to your billions of fellow citizens if you have little to say, if you reduce the explication of important, complex matters to a few brief sentences. Compression and conciseness have their place, but not at the expense of discussion and debate. Where time is saved at the expense of comprehension, we lose. Alas, I think we’re seeing more and more of that. Advances in communication technology have saved us time, sometimes valuable time, but it has come at the expense of understanding and the sharing of actual knowledge. It is a development that was not foreseen. What it means is that our communication has regressed. We’re back to grunts and wheezes in 144 characters. Or worse, emojis. Birds tweet. Humans need to talk, and at length. Because without talk you have no explanations, and without explanations you have no communication, and without communication you have chaos. I choose not to tweet. I write. There are 34,483 bytes in this column. I hoped they’ve enabled me to communicate something. ***** Alan Dean Foster is author of more than 120 books, visitor to more than 100 countries, and still frustrated by the human species. Follow him at AlanDeanFoster.Com.

Image components public domain and fair use. Illustration by 5enses.

Notch on wood

Yavapai Toymakers craft toys for children in need By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Perry Breitenstein and Mike Foster, board president and secretary of the Yavapai Toy Makers, respectively. Find out more at YavapaiToyMakers. Org.] How did the Yavapai Toy Makers get started? Breitenstein: Ed Harrison, who passed away in October — he was our founder. He started the group about six years ago. As I understand it, he couldn’t sleep one night, went online, and discovered how many children were diagnosed with cancer every hour of the day and how much time they spent at the hospital. So, instead of making furniture for our homes, we started making wooden toys for children who are sick. From there it grew, and now we give toys to kids in foster care, with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), for children who’ve lost their homes from fires, and just children in need.... When we first started, it was in the wood shop at Yavapai College making 15 toys a month. Now, we make about 700 toys a month and deliver them all over the state. The first group we ever donated to was the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and we still donate to them to this day. I should mention we’re incorporated as a 501(c)(3). We also donate toys to CCJ (Coalition for Compassion and Justice) a couple of times a year, Stepping Stones, Yavapai Regional Medical Center, the Children’s Health Center in Flagstaff, The Arizona Burn Center, and others, too. Foster: I didn’t know what to expect when we started, really. Ed told us about it at the wood shop at Yavapai College, and I told him I wanted in, no matter what. Today, we’re really well organized and have about 50 members. There’s only about 15 of us who do the toys and distribute them regularly, though. The rest do specialty work or help out where they can. We put out about 7,000 toys a year. What are some of the toy shapes and designs? Foster: We’ve got it down to nine patterns or so now. There are a couple of race cars, a Volkswagen, a pickup truck, a whale, a little duck, and a couple of others. Breitenstein: We used to have a worm, but I think that’s gone, and there used to be a Flintstones car. Originally, we had a much larger line of toys, but we were having issue with the quality of the toys so we pared it down to fewer designs and our quality control increased dramatically. A lot of the patterns we use now are from the toy makers in San Diego and in Las Vegas.

Mike Foster assembles a Yavapai Toy Makers toy. Photo by 5enses. Foster: We had to actually build some of the toys, Ed, myself, and Perry, and a couple of others, to iron out the bugs, to see what was good and what was bad. We tried to make our own wheels — Ed wanted to try that — but it didn’t work out at all. We thought we could do it in a flash, but we couldn’t. So, that was kind of the first obstacle. The next thing was when we started to recruit people. Not everyone was on the same page. Some people liked making one or two designs more than the others and did more of them, which didn’t work. Other people wanted to do more of their own thing, but we had to tell them to stick to the pattern to create uniformity an meet the requirements that the hospital gives. Why wooden toys? Breitenstein: Well, that came from Ed. I think it was mainly because he’s a woodworker. We call the group the Yavapai Toy Makers but, honestly, there are the Las Vegas Toy Makers, the San Diego Toy Makers, the Miami Toy Makers. We aren’t really doing something new. We took a good idea and brought it here. There’s a group in another state that does almost exactly the same thing we do, down to the toys, except they use smaller wheels. Actually, the reason our wheels are

bigger is so kids can’t ingest them. A lot of our design guidelines were shaped by the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. It’s basic stuff like no cracks, no sharp edges, and no finish or paint. Everything has to be smooth, and no exposed glue. They may be the hospital’s guidelines or even federal guidelines. … To get back to the question, I think wooden toys are more interactive. Kids can push them around and play with them in a more tactile way. They have to put them in their hands. How does the group operate? Breitenstein: Well, we’ve got about 45 members. We pick up our wood at Ballard Truss. We take their cutoffs, and I’m one of the people that go Dumpster diving there for 2x6s and 2x4s. We bring them back to Yavapai College. We no longer make the toys there, but that’s where the wood is stored. It’s a great central location as some of our toy makers are in Chino Valley, P.V., and even Dewey. Now all the toys are made at the toy makers individual shops, garages, or shops. When a guy picks up wood to make toys, he doesn’t



Art arts for the

Arts Prescott Gallery raises funds for Skyview School arts By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Anne Legge, of Arts Prescott Gallery; Breanna Rogers, Skyview School dance and performing arts teacher; and Lisa Hendrickson, Skyview School visual art teacher. The Skyview School fundraiser show is Nov. 25-Dec. 21 at Arts Prescott Gallery, 134 S. Montezuma St., 928-776-7717.] Could you give us an overview of the show and fundraiser? Legge: Every year, Arts Prescott does a fundraiser for a communitybased charity, in other words, a charity based in the Tri-City area. We’ll have donated artwork on the guest wall for the entire month, donated by every member of the co-op as well as other community artists. The charity, itself, solicits work, so there’s an especially wide variety of art. This year,

we chose Skyview School’s art and dance program. 100 percent of sales go to them. Sometimes, for fundraisers like this, it’s open to a very small group of people who actually see the items donated. One of the nice things about this is that it opens it up to the public. It’s to be featured on our guest wall for Fourth Friday, which is Nov. 25. There are gift cards, prints, and original pieces. They range from $5 to $500. There are art cards of students in dance, as well as art cards of students’ art. The show includes art from students, cooperative members, and artists from the community. It includes jewelry, sculpture, painting, photography, mixed media — you name it. How did this show come to be? Legge: Proposals are given by members of the coop, and the member whose proposal is chosen usually becomes the mentor of that show. I knew about Skyview because my kids go there, and I truly believe in it.


When I walked into that school and saw they had their own art room — not a teacher coming into the classroom, but their own art room — I knew it was special. I wanted to make sure my kids had the same experience in arts programing that I had. … So, for coop, I researched their program and saw they had a financial need for salaries. We can’t raise all of that money, but we can help as much as we can. Budgets are hard and tight, and adding extra staff like aids is a hard thing to do. Those aids are already there, but this helps them continue to be there by making dedicated funds toward that, to keep it going. We’re a communitybased gallery, and we’re helping a community-based school. I think it’s important for the community to see how the program works. Any of the donated art that doesn’t sell becomes the property of the recipient, so they can continue the fundraising. You’ll also be able to see the donated artwork on Skyview’s website. What’s so special about Skyview’s art and dance departments? Rogers: It feels important because we’re one of the only charter schools in Prescott that has a real, complete arts program that includes dance, music, and visual arts. That’s pretty awesome and exciting. And since it’s a charter school, it’s a public school, so we have opportunities for students that they won’t have at regular public schools. As an artist, it feels amazing to work at a place and feel respected and cared for as a human being, that what I’m doing is important and valued in education. Skyview combines the arts, language arts, and science in a way that’s really integrated. That makes education more accessible for all students. We all have really different ways of learning, and this approach is more inclusive. Students get a well-rounded education that covers all the bases and gives everyone a way to shine. … We see every kindergartner through eighth-grader, so that’s 230 or 240 students. There are two classes per grade level, and one day I see one set and Lisa sees the other set, then we switch, so we see every student twice a week for 50 minutes. During that time, we’re getting ready for what we call celebrations of learning, which are performances that are summaries of what students are studying that quarter or throughout the year. It’s all formulated and crafted around the curriculum they’ve been studying. … Sometimes I have as many as

FROM LEFT: “Reach High,” student art card; “Togetherness,” by Karen Clarkson; “Elephants,” print carde by Victoria Arias, “Cowgirl Up” by Jody L Miller, “Treetop Trio” by Beth Neely; Breanna Rogers and Lisa Hendrickson; and Anne Legge. Courtesy images. 26 students in one class, all dancing. Dance is all about transitions and for students, especially K through fourth grade, transitions, in general, can be really hard. Having aids is invaluable to help keep those classes together. … Right now, I’m making costumes for the fifth and sixth graders. They’re studying ancient Egypt, so I’m making 34 pairs of Isis wings. It’s pretty insane. Having aids to help with that is really important. I remember the first year I was here and did this by myself. It was depleting, creating quality performances and original plays and making costumes by myself. It really is necessary to have an aid. Hendrickson: We’re a multiple intelligence school, the visual arts are valued as much as any other department. We integrate what they’re learning in social studies, math, and science. For instance, right now the fifth- and sixth-graders are studying ancient Egyptian culture. At the beginning of the year, I had kids bring dead beetles and we did drawings of them and looked at the symbolism of the scarab beetle in ancient Egyptian art. So, we did the drawing studies, then did final drawings on suede paper with color pencils with hieroglyphs around the border. They also did representations of an ancient god or goddess they were researching in social studies. Now we’re painting and incorporating some of the student’s facial features along with a god or goddess that resonates with them. Did you have a class in the arts that made a difference in your development? Legge: In New Orleans, I had an art teacher who really inspired me because of her unique art form. She worked with what she saw in front of her, and created ceramic tiles of the area. She wasn’t just my foundation in art. What she did was push me to look outside of what everyone else was doing and find my own way. Rogers: My education was pretty basic. I went to public school in Las Vegas and didn’t have any access to movement arts. We did some music in junior high, but it didn’t feel

consistent. In high school, I had the opportunity to go to an arts magnet school and take dance. It made me more excited about school. I felt connected to it. There’s a way you connect with your peers that you don’t get to do in anything other than movement arts. When you reach past your own boundaries and limits, and you’re just in your body, you connect with other people in a way that’s different. You make eye contact and you have to learn how to work things out that just doesn’t happen in a math classroom. It uplifted me, and I started doing better in my other classes. I had a higher expectation for myself and a striving that I didn’t have before I took dance. Hendrickson: I went to a magnet school for second, third, and fourth grade in Pittsburgh. At the time, the arts played a significant role in my education. We had visual arts and singing and dancing, and games were cooperative rather than competitive. Later, my family moved to southwest Virginia, the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I was still in elementary school, but there were no more visual and performing arts. My grades started dropping off. I couldn’t find a connection with the larger picture. Everything felt so distant from my life and interests. School was just kind of boring. … I can’t imagine my life without knitting, drawing, painting, and dancing. It would be lifeless and not colorful as well. Now, these kids have grown up here with a tradition of dance or music or visual arts as part of the curriculum. They have a natural feel for these things. I used to teach middle school and, when you go into the arts without a background in them from elementary school, it’s daunting and a bit jarring. Here, it’s part of their education and their lives. Why’s it important to see, take part in, and buy local art? Rogers: It’s important to support local artists, especially children and you should have art in your everyday life. It can inspire you to create your own art and it adds more beauty to the community. It can be thought provoking.

Hendrickson: I took a big, fat cross-country trip about 15 years ago, and I decided I wasn’t going to move for a job. I wanted to move to a place that had a beating heart in the center of town and had things going in the visual and performing arts. I wouldn’t be living here if those things weren’t alive. … I go to the Fourth Friday Art Walk every month, and I try to buy art from local artists. I just recently went on the Mountain Artists Guild’s Studio Tour, and it was just wonderful. The work people are putting out there is really innovative and pragmatic — stuff you can use on a daily basis, even, with an artistic aesthetic. ***** Arts Prescott Gallery’s Skyview School fundraiser show is Nov. 25Dec. 21 at Arts Prescott Gallery, 134 S. Montezuma St., 928-776-7717. Find out more at ArtsPrescott.Com and SkyviewSchool.Org. James Dungeon is a figment of his own imagination. And he likes cats. Contact him at JamesDungeonCats@ Gmail.Com.


News From the Wilds Skyward

Beavers, while often crepuscular or nocturnal, can sometimes be seen by day now gathering as many branches as possible before trees pull their energy into their roots. They then store the fresh-cut twigs in river bottom mud for midwinter provisions. Photo by Ty Fitzmorris.


By Ty Fitzmorris he coldest season has come round again, and the wilds have entered the depth of their quiescence. But though the nights are at their longest now — the longest of the year is on December 21, the Winter Solstice — the coldest (and, for many species, hardest) parts of the winter are still to come. December is slightly warmer and bears a bit less rain and snow than January, when the days will be already growing longer again. This lag between the darkest and the coldest times is a result of the thermal qualities of the air masses in the atmosphere which hold their temperature long after incoming solar radiation has declined, as they now begin to lose their heat to the rapidly cooling land. It is for this reason that the warmest parts of the summer are typically after the Summer Solstice and that the coldest parts of the winter are after the Winter Solstice. As a result of low temperatures and lack of sunlight, plants and insects now enter the depth of their winter diapause, when almost no activity is to be found. These two groups are the primary food sources for almost all of our species, so their somnolence brings extreme hardship for birds

• Dec. 11: Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. The planet closest to the Sun is at its highest in the evening sky next to the star Nunki in Sagittarius. • Dec. 13: The Geminid Meteor Shower at its peak after midnight. This shower is considered the brightest and most numerous of all of the meteor showers of the year with 60120 visible meteors per hour. The full Moon, however, will wash out all but the brightest meteors, though many will still be visible. • Dec. 13: Full Moon at 5:09 p.m. This is the last of three “supermoons” this year, the other two being in the last two months. The term supermoon refers to a full Moon when the Moon is at its nearest to the Earth, causing it to appear slightly brighter and larger. • Dec. 21: Winter Solstice at 3:44 a.m. The Earth is at one of its two yearly extremes with regard to the angle with which the poles face the Sun. The Northern Hemisphere is tilted at its maximum away from the Sun, causing what we experience as the shortest day and longest night of the year, while in the Southern Hemisphere the opposite is true. Every day after this one, until June 20, 2015, the days will get slightly longer (at higher rates around the equinoxes), while the nights get shorter. • Dec. 21: Ursid Meteor Shower. This usually small shower periodically undergoes a dramatic increase, from its usual 5-10 meteors per hour to over 100 meteors per hour. While astronomers are not decided on the cause of this periodicity, it seems that it happens every 8 years, and might occur this year. • Dec. 28: New Moon at 11:53 p.m.

and mammals, the two groups that remain most active. Only the most resourceful and innovative can find food during this time, and often creatures are more desperate because of this. Predators, such as Cooper’s Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Coyotes, and Bobcats, become more daring in their attempts to catch small birds and rodents, and as a result prey species become more adept at avoiding their predators. Many birds band together into mixed-species foraging flocks (see them at High Mountains, Ponderosa Forests, Pine-Oak Woodlands, and Riparian Areas), while rodents spend more time in near-hibernation in their dens after storing food for the last several months. Larger herbivores, such as Mule Deer and Pronghorn, live off of stored body fat for the next few months, and stay on the move to avoid predators. For all species, this season is the time of highest mortality.

riverbottoms, and wolf spiders hunting for other small arthropods in leaf litter. Our deciduous trees, though leafless now, have begun swelling at their leaf-buds, growing what will become their spring flowers and leaves, while some, such as the Arizona Alder, grow their entire pendant flowers. Female River Otters are nearing the end of their pregnancies, and moving towards their dens, while Black Bear wait in their hibernacula, also about to give birth. As in the great never-ending cycle of birth, growth, mating, dispersal, and death, the darkness of winter enfolds the seeds of spring.

ut even in this darkest time of year the astute observer can find the first glimmerings of spring. In the lowlands and deserts a few insects and relatives will appear on sunny days — harvester ants maintaining their colonies and gathering seeds, Mourning Cloak butterflies flying in

***** Ty Fitzmorris is an itinerant and often distractible naturalist who lives in Prescott and is proprietor of the Peregrine Book Company, Raven Café, and Gray Dog Guitars, all as a sideline to his natural history pursuits. He can be reached at Ty@PeregrineBookCompany.Com.



News From the Wilds, too A very brief survey of what’s happening in the wilds ... By Ty Fitzmorris High mountains • Pine Siskins, Red Crossbills, and Cassin’s Finches may appear from the north during especially cold years, often finding and flocking with House Finches and Lesser Goldfinches. This behavior helps migratory species learn the distribution of food in places with which they are unfamiliar. Visit: Dandrea Trail, No. 285. Ponderosa Pine forests • Dark-eyed Juncos arrive in force from colder lands to the north and join with Bridled Titmouse, Mountain Chickadee, Brown Creeper, and several species of nuthatches to form mixed-species flocks. These species stay together for months, and apparently gain protection from having many eyes of different types looking for predators. They avoid competing with each other by dividing up the microhabitats of trees — look for Juncos foraging on the ground, Chickadees in the tips of branches, nuthatches foraging in a downward spiral around trunks, and Brown Creepers foraging in an upward spiral. Visit: Aspen Creek Trail, No. 48. Pine-Oak woodlands • Bushtits are very active when the weather is calm. These tiny, mouselike birds are distinctive in that they forage in large flocks, but the birds trickle from one tree to the next in a slow but continuous stream, chiming continuously with beautiful calls. Once they have landed these birds search each tree assiduously, gleaning many thousands of insect larvae, thereby keeping many insect species under control. • Several species of harmless spiders move into human dwellings, the most obvious of which is the Giant Crab Spider (Olios giganteus), which can often be seen running on walls and ceilings. These spiders are totally non-venomous, and can easily be relocated to the outdoors by trapping them under a cup carefully so

Lesser Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, and House Finches often stay close to bird feeders during winter storms, puffing their feathers up for additional warmth, while they decrease blood flow to their extremities to avoid heat loss. Photo by Ty Fitzmorris. that they aren’t injured. Visit: Miller Creek Trail, No. 367. Pinyon-Juniper woodlands • Raccoons spend long periods, up to three weeks at a time, in their dens. Dens are typically in trees, though in the higher elevations Raccoons may excavate burrows. Dens can sometimes be found because of nearby latrines, i.e. large deposits of scat. This year’s young stay in the den with their mother for their first winter. Visit: Juniper Springs Trail No. 2 Grasslands • Hawks continue to migrate from the north, escaping colder temperatures. Look for Swainson’s, Roughlegged, and the very rare Northern Goshawk. • Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) begin their winter hibernation deep in their underground tunnels, to emerge again in March

or April. This is the smallest species of prairie dog in North America and the only one in the Mogollon Highlands, and is one of the most important of all species in maintaining the health of our grasslands. Their burrows both oxygenate and nitrogenate soils, which fertilizes grasses and forbs. Prairie dogs are also important sources of foods for many other species, such as hawks, snakes, and Black-footed Ferrets. They are a “keystone species” in that they are one of the species that forms the basis of their ecosystem. Visit: Mint Wash Trail, No. 345. Riparian areas • Waterfowl of many different species, including Pintail, Ruddy Duck, American Widgeon, Gadwall, Greenwinged Teal, Shoveler, Canvasback, and Bufflehead, have arrived in our lakes by the thousands, and are easily observed as they feed from now

until early spring. Rare birds, such as loons, ibis, some goose species, and several kites, appear in the lakes in midwinter, blown off course by winter storms sometimes thousands of miles away. Notice that some species dive while others “dabble,” or upend. The divers tend to feed in the deeper areas, while the dabblers stay closer to shore. It is partly because of the importance of Willow and Watson lakes near Prescott to North American waterfowl that they have been recognized as Important Bird Areas by the National Audubon Society, which affords them some protection. Both Watson and Willow lakes, however, carry extremely high levels of chemical and biological contaminants, and the effects of these on waterfowl are relatively unstudied. Visit: Willow Lake Loop Trail, off of Willow Creek Road. Deserts/Chaparral • Some very few last native flowers persist, such as Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) and Cliffrose (Cowania mexicana), providing nectar for a few species of butterflies, native bees, and flies. • Kit Foxes, the smallest and most furtive of our foxes, begin their mating season. Visit: Algonquin Trail, No. 225.

Weather Average high temperature: 51.7 F (+/-4.2) Average low temperature: 21.8 F (+/-3.5) Record high temperature: 78 F (Dec. 2, 1926) Record low temperature: -9 F (Dec. 24, 1924) Average precipitation: 1.66” (+/-1.62”) Record high precipitation: 6.96” (1965) Record high snowfall: 46” (1967) Record low precipitation: 0” (9.5 percent of years on record) Max daily precipitation: 3.13” (Dec. 30, 1951)


Fancy footwork

Local youth take the stage in touring ‘Nutcracker’ By Robert Blood [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Marina Rogova O’Brien, director and choreographer for the local portion of Ballet Victoria’s “The Gift of the Nutcracker,” 7 p.m. Friday & Saturday, Dec. 2 & 3 at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000, YCPAC. Com, $18-$38.] How did you get involved in the production? I’m a professional dancer and choreographer. I’ve been teaching at Yavapai College for the past nine years — dance and fitness classes. About two years ago, we got a new dean in the Performing Arts Department, Dr. Craig Ralston. Since Craig has taken that position, we’ve gotten a lot more musical theater. He’s gotten the staff involved in a lot of artistic performances. Last year, I was involved in “The Secret Garden” show, and this year we’re getting “The Nutcracker.” It’s an adapted

version called “The Gift of the Nutcracker” done by a professional troupe, Ballet Victoria company from Canada. They bring their professional dancers here, and they do most of the solo dancing and lifts, but the corps of ballet is local kids. Craig said it’d be a nice show for Prescott to feature local kids, but we needed to have a local choreographer. I agreed and started working with Paul Destrooper, the artistic/executive director on the Canadian end. I became 100 percent responsible on this end. Besides choreographing, I’m also directing and in charge of costumes, and a number of other things. How did local kids get involved and what’s the age range? Well, the first step was the Aug. 26 audition. There were many talented kids from Prescott, from P.V., from Chino, the whole Tri-City area, really. Some of them take classes from local dance studios and some of them have never danced before but they have a passion for ballet or for the story. It was so nice for everyone to show up


and audition. In the end, it was a hard choice to make. The age range is from 6 to 18. Besides being talented, we had to take into consideration the ability to commit. We only have two days a week for rehearsal and a limited availability of time on stage, so they had to be able to commit no matter what, rain or snow. We had 50-plus auditions, mostly girls and a few boys. We only needed 19 people. We ended up with 22, including some understudies who still wanted to be involved. So, we chose our cast and started working with them.

PHOT0: Director and choreographer Marina Rogova O’Brien and the local cast of Ballet Victoria’s “The Gift of the Nutcracker.” Photo by Adam Schmetterer Photography.

That’s a pretty chaotic group considering the age and ability ranges. It’s true. But I have the knowledge and experience. I have a master’s degree in teaching and bachelor’s in art from the Ukraine, and I’ve been dancing my whole life. Also, I’ve been working as a teacher with kids ages 6-10 since I was 18. Here, I’m teaching kids 15 and older. I enjoy it. I learn from them. I love working with kids. It’s fun for me and it’s fun for them. It’s a little harder on the technical side with kids when some of them have little or no dance experience. They’re not as technical dancers as the touring group preferred, but they’re taking it very seriously, and they’re growing with each rehearsal. The older kids, say 12 or older, have more experience, so it’s easier. But this show isn’t just ballet. There’s also folkloric dance involved, which is a challenge. For example, I’m teaching them a Russian/Ukrainian dance and a Chinese dance, and it’s a little different than traditional ballet. But they’re good. They’re learning. How does the show compare to the traditional tale? The traditional tale of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” is a long, beautiful show with beautiful costumes. You know, the German girl is dreaming of the nutcracker prince and him fighting King mice and her traveling through a fairy tale… This adapted one is a little different. I was a little surprised at first, but decided, hey, I can work with it. I like their modern take on it. Paul’s artistic vision is always interesting and changing. He adds new things to the shows every year. Last year there were Minions, a Princes Elsa, and a Macarena dance. It appeals to a more modern audience, especially kids. It’s different than the classical, traditional version of the ballet, but it’s more current.

A traveling cast with local support was used by classical Shakespeare troupes, but it’s not that common today. This is my first experience working remotely. Usually, you have a cast and you’re in charge; that’s it. This is a little harder because we will only have one dress rehearsal together with the professional dancers. My kids have to know, to the second, where to be on stage and what to be doing in that moment. It’s ballet, not theater, so you can’t talk or even whisper. You have to dance to express the story with your body language. It’s a two-hour show, so that’s a lot. Still, I know the music by heart, so I’m teaching my kids every sound in the music, where to be on stage, and what to do with the beat. Our only dress rehearsal is on Dec. 1, and I hope it’s going to go smoothly. We already had Paul come in over fall break to make sure we were halfway through the process and working on the right tasks with timing and presentation. He was pleasantly surprised. We were ahead of schedule and he liked my creativity. We have a lot of good local talent. These kids are working hard. He came in after only four weeks of rehearsals and I showed him our rough draft, and, since then, we’ve been talking over the computer. When they come here, we’ll be fully ready. It’s an amazing opportunity for these kids to share the stage with professional dancers. It is. They’re so excited, they can’t wait. Until that visit over fall break, everyone had been meeting 3-8 p.m. on Friday and 2-5 p.m. on Saturday. Since then, because we are on track, it’s been just the older kids on Saturday with everyone together on Friday. Because I have kids from different dance studios in town, it was difficult to juggle a rehearsal schedule. Some kids were already committed to other things, including master classes and a competition that happened in Phoenix on Nov 5. It is difficult to coordinate everybody’s schedule. The longer rehearsal hours are to help everyone overlap when they can. The owners of both dance studios, Mrs. Donna and Mrs. Summer, were very cooperative and helpful. Anyway, it’s been easier adjusting the schedule now. I also have two dancers performing in the main role of the girl, Clara, who in this version is called Pandora because she opens Pandora’s box. What can you tell us about those leads? It was a challenge to pick one girl who’ll be on stage from the first minute to the last minute of the production. The Canadian ballet company left it

FROM TOP: Claire Williams (left) and Brekyn Waples (next from left) are the local leads of Ballet Victoria’s traveling production of “The Gift of the Nutcracker”; Marina Rogova O’Brien; photos by Adam Schmetterer Photography. for us to pick her. It’s an honor for any local child to play that role — a dream come true for so many girls. The only guidance I was given was that she should be 12 to 13 and small, so she could fit in the magic box. I have many talented girls, and with the requirements, it was hard to pick and it got down to two girls. I didn’t realize it right away, but each one represents a different dance studio in town, too, one from Summer’s DanceWorks and one from The Dance Studio. When I told Paul we had two girls who would be perfect, he said no, I had to pick one. I couldn’t decide, though. And when he came and saw, he said we could have one lead girl on Friday and one lead girl on Saturday show. On Friday, it’s Claire Williams from Summer’s DanceWorks. On Saturday, it’s Brekyn Waples from The Dance Studio. This is a big opportunity for these girls, and it’s also a matter of prestige for the dance studios. And, really, it’s a big opportunity for all these dancers. I’m excited for them. ***** Ballet Victoria’s “The Gift of the Nutcracker” is 7 p.m. Friday & Saturday, Dec. 2 & 3 at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000, YCPAC.Com, $18-$38. Robert Blood is a Mayer-ish-based freelance writer and ne’er-do-well who’s working on his last book, which, incidentally, will be his first. Contact him at BloodyBobby5@Gmail.Com.


Diagnosis: Technology


By Paolo Chlebecek et’s step back for a moment to June of 1988. While essential today, back then computers were rarely in people homes and only a few were used to conduct business professionally for small business owners. Sadly, there was a man who used his computers to plan and execute a murder. He typed and printed notes and lists on his work and home computers to himself and eventually for the ransom letter that was delivered. He deleted those files from both of his computers thinking that the evidence was destroyed. He was wrong.


ut how can evidence be retrieved from a hard drive even if you delete it? Can you recover it if you do delete? Yes, with the right software you can. Now, it’s an easy method to search for many different programs that employ various methods to retrieve deleted data. I have successfully done so for many clients. Even, in one case, to help convict a criminal based on the recovered data found on the hard drive. How is this possible? What was the evidence that eventually lead to

Computer forensics ... in 1988?

Some things just can’t be trashed

the conviction of the perpetrator of this horrible crime? A standard hard drive that most every computer has works on the principle of magnetism. Much like a record player, the spinning metal disk gets written or magnetized in a very specific method like tracks on songs on that record. The arm and needle lays down a microscopic magnetic signature that the computer and hard drive keeps record of then they reassemble the data as needed. Like most data, a document is not stored all in one place on a drive. Pieces of it are stored in different sectors or areas on that magnetic drive. When a document is deleted, it’s not erased from the drive. The space occupied by that document is labeled available to reuse if needed. By careful review of the disc mathematically and finding the proper clusters based on the known drive interleaving — which is a technique of storage that puts data accessed sequentially into non-sequential sectors of the drive — you can piece together the entire document if has not been overwritten with other data.


ut in 1988, there weren’t programs that could reassemble documents that were deleted. The FBI computer department had to do the analysis manually. In fact, it took 33 days to scan two 20 Megabyte (not Gigabyte) hard drives. They knew a computer never really throws data away, so they tirelessly worked to rebuild the data. After this painstaking effort, they found bits and pieces of data that reconstructed the murderer’s vicious plan, ironically entitled “The plan.” It listed all the necessary steps to carry out the murder. The FBI computer experts recovered 80 percent of the document, and only 20 percent was unrecoverable because it was overwritten with other data. Even so, it became clear that this damning digital evidence connected the computer to the man, to the printed notes and to the crime. The document revealed that this was not his only intended target. He must be stopped. Based on the recovered evidence, both digital and physical, the suspect was arrested and charged with kidnap-

ping and first degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison, and eventually died on death row. It was considered a landmark case and the genesis of computer forensics. It is also one of the earliest convictions based partly on forensic computer evidence. Yet it provided key evidence in his conviction. Remember, crime doesn’t pay. They will find you. (Editor’s Note: If our columnist is, indeed, referencing the David Copenhefer case, there’s even more to the story including other interesting (and rather explicit) details. For true crime aficionado, it’s only a Google Search away.) ***** Paolo Chlebecek is founder and owner of PaoloTek, which he started in 2003. He loves to be helpful to people and our animal friends. Feel free to contact him at Paolo@ PaoloTek.Com.

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... FROM PAGE 11 typically turn that 2x6 into a toy. It’s kind of production assembly. One person uses a bandsaw, the next one uses the router table to route over the edges, then there’s sanding and drilling holes form the wheels, then there’s a another group of people who install the axle. That’s where a larger portion of our funds go, buying wheels and axles. Foster: I put them together. By the time they come to me, the woodworker has built the toy and one of the two people who do our branding have put the name on the bottom, and, all along the way, they’ve been inspected. I give them one last inspection and, if they still need holes for axles, I do that. Otherwise, I give them the final wheel assembly and box them up. Have you ever delivered the toys yourself? Breitenstein: I’ve delivered the toys, but usually drop them off with somebody. I’ve never had the opportunity to go on a tour, or, at least, I haven’t done one yet. Honestly, I don’t know if I could handle it. Ed told me I had to do one. … I’ve heard from some people who interact with the kids, though. There are children at a rehabilitation center that are in seclusion, who can’t have Yavapai Toy Makers toys. Photo by 5enses. anyone around them. I’ve been told that when they have a rough day in quarantine, they give them a toy to play with. They can mark them up with pens and markers, too. That’s another reason at $7, and I figured I’d tell the person there that ally, though we don’t always say yes. We’re not a we do wooden toys. Kids can paint them up and we made those and donated those. I figured he’d custom shop. We’ve done some stuff like that in really make them their own. There’s another say, hey, take it back, but that didn’t happen. That the past, but it really took away from the progroup that uses the toys to give a child when he kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Hopefully, if duction of the toys. This whole thing has been a or she gets a shot. They run the toy up and down people find our toys somewhere, they’ll eventually learning process for us. their leg to distract them when they’re giving get in the hands of a needy child. … We get offers them the shot. to buy them all the time. We also donate toys at What could you use as far as help from the Foster: The way it works, kids go in for say, a the end of the year to the Kiwanis Club for their community goes? surgery or some other sort of medical procedure auction, which I think is in March. That’s another Foster: We could use someone for trips up to and, often, they come out in way the toys get out into the com- Flagstaff to deliver toys to the Children’s Health tears, tired, or afraid. The toys munity. Center now and then. We haven’t delivered any are designed just to make them Foster: Lisa Dale, who owns CJ toys to them for a while, so I’ve got to get a hold of feel better. We got one letter Emporium and Barbershop in them and see what they need. We’re always lookfrom someone about a little boy town talked about her bringing for funding. Since Ed’s passing, I don’t know who went in for surgery and got ing in donations, and she gets how we’re going out and soliciting — he used to one when he got out. The person a box of toys that she gives out. send a big blanket email twice a year, and that wrote that he was napping right Initially, Lisa just wanted to deal was the primary way we got funds. … It probably now, but that as soon as he woke with donations, not the toys, but costs about 10 cents per toy. We buy parts twice up, he’d be looking for that toy she made the mistake of trying it a year. We buy about 10,000 wheels and 5,000 again. … Wooden toys are so and now she really likes doing it. or 6,000 axles, which costs around $870 if you basic, they’re simple to make, That’s the only case I can think of divide it out, so that’s, what, $1,600 or $1,700 a and they seem to work out. Kids where they’re out in the commuyear? We had one fellow who donated six liters of will paint them with watercolors nity, and that’s OK because we’re white glue, and we’re still working on that, so we or other paints or put glue and a nonprofit and we can’t sell don’t need any glue right now. Donations are our sprinkle glitter on top of them. them. We strictly give them away. bread and butter. We need that more than anyThey’re kind of atrocious, but thing else. that’s not the point. The kids are having fun. That’s the point. What’s typically your busi***** Perry Breitenstein. est time of year? Find out more about the Yavapai Toy Makers at Because of the diverse group Breitenstein: We’re busy in YavapaiToyMakers.Org. of people you donate the toys to, they no December because some of the places we normaldoubt crop up in surprising places. ly donate to have holiday gatherings or regularly Robert Blood is a Mayer-ish-based freelance Breitenstein: I don’t know how they end up give them away in larger numbers. There’s a writer and ne’er-do-well who’s working on his some of the places I’ve seen them. I’ve seen them church in town that usually requests 200 toys at last book, which, incidentally, will be his first. in antique shops downtown. In one, it was priced the end of the year. … We get requests, occasionContact him at BloodyBobby5@Gmail.Com.


Community Hero: Barry Barbe Who are you and how long have you been in the community? I’m Barry Barbe and I’ve been in town 18 years. I’ve had multiple restaurants in Prescott, including Belvedere’s, 129 1/2, and El Gato Azul, which has been around for 12 years as of December. I’m originally from Bristolville, Ohio. I met my wife at Hilton Head, and she’s from Mesa, so that’s how I ended up here. I was general manager at Zuma’s — that’s what brought us to town, more or less. We’ve got four kids, two in college, and two in high school. I was a music major in college with a focus in education, but had throat surgery and went into culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina. How did you get involved in volunteering and community outreach? A lot of it has to do with the way I was raised. I came from a big family of five kids in a small town. There were only 45 kids in my graduating class. Anyway, for Thanksgiving, my dad always delivered boxes for shut-ins — it was primarily for widows who were living alone — and it was just one of those things I grew up with. Bristolville felt a lot like Prescott; people take care of each other and you look out for your neighbor, that kind of thing. At Zuma’s, we carried on a lot of those same traditions and it became part of our culture here doing baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas up at the VA and the Pioneer Home. That’s why we created Z-Force. That was our community outreach program through the restaurant. … That’s not the name of it any more, but we still do things through El Gato Azul. I really look in our community for ways to get involved. It’s a way to give back a community that’s been so good to us. ... So, we really started this outreach idea at the restaurant as a team building program for the staff. It was something we could all to together in support of the community. It became more than a job. It was this other thing we could do that added this sense of value to what you did for a job, for the product you serve. We have 36 people employed at the restaurant right now, and people may say anybody can wait tables, but through El Gato Azul we indirectly support 125 to 130 people. As an owner, that’s a big responsibility. We’ve got people who’ve been here, at one of the restaurants or another, 15 to 16 years. The average tenure in the kitchen is 10 years. Courtney Osterfelt, who started The Launch Pad, a nonprofit teen center, worked as a waitress for me almost 20 years ago. It’s rewarding to see that tradition of giving in the community continue through people you know. What are you involved with today? In January, I joined the board of CCJ (Coalition for Compassion and Justice) and just this week, in mid-November, I began to rebuild their food ser-

There’s also a safe sleep program that has a new building. There are people who, through no fault of their own, through bad times, domestic abuse, or whatever, find themselves homeless. … You see some of these people take advantage of this program, come in the next day and volunteer to make food or help on the line. And the number of people who need the safe sleep program who have work during the day is astounding. They’re just not making enough to get fully sufficient. When you spend time around these people and hear their stories, it really touches you. … Without getting too corny or mushy, right now is probably the best point at my life I’ve ever been. This is where I’m supposed to be and this is what I’m suppose to be doing with this tool, this gift that’s been given to me.

Restaurateur Barry Barbe (left), poses with Rakini Chinery and celebrates a successful Lupus Palooza. Courtesy photo. vice program. I’m overseeing and developing that. The goal is to create a vocational training program for clients and volunteers. I reached a point in my business where I had the opportunity to either open another restaurant or do something like this. One feeds your soul and the other feeds your pocket. The list of organizations you’ve helped through sponsorships, donations, and more is too long to list. What are some highlights for you? Hmm. Well, we did an event recently at True Value and there were some people who talked to me about some of the things we’ve done. You know, I’m humbled by that. … We have a list of primarily smaller nonprofits that don’t get on the front page of the paper; those are the ones we target to assist. That’s the where you really see your contributions make a difference. That’s why we love Open Door at CCJ, who we’ve supported for years. Initially, I didn’t want to be on the board — I don’t like boards and I’m not good at it — but, now that I’m more involved, it’s been an eyeopener to see this segment of our population that’s been marginalized for so long, to see them coming in and and their lives actually changing. Six months ago, some of these people were living on the street and in their car and now they’re living in a mobile home that CCJ has either purchased or has been donated, and they’re paying rent, and they have a job and they’re getting back on their feet.


What would you like to see more of in the community? I think, as a society, we’ve lost that sense of community and interaction. You actually used to know the people who lived on both sides of you. And how many people are involved in the community? To get involved, you don’t have to give 20 hours a week or even 20 hours a month. You could give two hours doing one small thing that makes an impact. As far as a call to action, let’s get out of our homes and back into our community. One of the goals I have is to create a foundation to really direct our money going out into the community. It would focus on early childhood development. There are so many problems that can be solved in that portion of life. There’s already great work being down in that department by Big Brothers Big Sisters, food and education programs, and what Sally Maxwell is doing. And then there’s what Rakini Chinery from Allan’s Flowers is doing. Her daughter has Lupus and my sister has Lupus so we got together to to do something, Lupus Palooza. We just met the other day to wrap that up. She’s not a big organization; she’s just an individual who created a Facebook page, and so many people responded. And I’m also working on the library project. I got miffed the City Council cut funding for the library. For a lot of people, that’s their only way of accessing the Internet, and it disproportionately affects them. So, anyway, I printed 10,000 cards and we’re having people write messages to the city councilors and we’re giving them those in January. We’re not asking for anything. We just want them to know that there are people who use the library and that it’s vital for our community. There are small little projects you can do like that. It’s not that hard. You just do them. ***** Contact Barry Barbe at El Gato Azul, 316 W. Goodwin St., 928-445-1070, or via Facebook.

In these new features, 5enses will highlight individuals and organizations in the community that are making a difference. They were inspired by Alert Reader Aarti Pani and community leaders Sadira DeMarino and John Duncan. Thank you, Aarti, Sadira, and John. Want to nominate a do-gooder or a doing-gooder group? Email tips to 5ensesMag@Gmail.Com with “Do Good” in the subject line. Don’t like who we feature? Do some good deeds or start your own group and tell us about it. Remember, our community is whatever we make it.

Get Involved Community Cats & Catty SHACK Rescue Who are you and what do you do? I’m Susan Smart, founder of Community Cats and Catty SHACK Rescue. We’re a 501(c)(3) under the name Community Cats. We became a nonprofit in 2011. The name SHACK, our physical residence, stands for Sweetpea’s Haven for Abandoned Cats & Kittens. We got the house in 2014. All of our cats are rescues from the street. To most people, “community cats” means “feral cats,” but we don’t really do ferals. We just do friendlies that have been dumped in the community, pregnant cats that have been dumped, and kittens that are strays. They’re all friendlies that’ve been with people until whatever happened to them happened to them. So far, we’ve taken 365 cats off the street. … The first thing we do when we take a cat off the street is have them tested for FIV (Feline immunodeficiency virus) and FeLV (Feline leukemia virus). Those are highly contagious and cause potentially fatal diseases. As soon as we know they’re OK, we bring them to the Catty SHACK or to a foster. We foster the pregnant moms and any young kittens until they’re old enough to wean, after which the mom and kittens are spayed or neutered. If a cat has FIV or FeLV, we try to place them in a home that either has no other cats or has cats that already have those viruses, or, in some cases, in a sanctuary situation. Right now, we have over 20 cats at the Catty Shack and 30 cats in fosters. That’s pretty much our normal number. I don’t know how many kittens we’ve placed this year, but it’s been easily 100 cats in 2016.

How can we help? We need volunteers to come and socialize with the cats. That just means coming in and being with them so they can get used to being with people again. They’re not feral, but some of them haven’t been around people in a long time. Some people spend an hour a week here. Some people spend eight hours a week here. There are people who come in to feed the cats and people who come in to clean. There are people who’ve volunteered to do electrical and carpentry work. A lot of people donate food and supplies like cat beds, carpets, and toys. Some people donate cleaning supplies like vinegar, non-toxic soaps, and paper towels. We really like things that are really clean and gently used. There’s someone who sews for us who makes these really awesome two-sided fleece blankets for crate pads that we send home with cats when they get adopted. If anyone’s interested in adopting a cat, there’s a screening process, which you can start during our regular hours. The more cats we adopt the more cats we can rescue. There are always more cats. Money is helpful and, because we’re a 501(c)(3), it’s a tax deductible donation. ***** Find out more about Community Cats and Catty SHACK Rescue at CattyShackRescue.Org or via Facebook at Catty SHACK Rescue. The Catty SHACK is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 609 S. Granite St. The mailing address is Community Cats; 127 N. Cortez St.; Prescott, AZ 86303.

Chino Valley Gay-Straight Alliance Who are you and what do you do? I’m Camden Martinez, president and founder of the Chino Valley GSA, which stands for Gay-Straight Alliance. It’s a student club at Chino Valley High School, where I’m a senior. I was born and raised in Chicago, Ill., and moved to Chino Valley when I was starting my freshman year of high school. … After a year here, I started identifying as a member of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/ questioning) community. I tried researching groups in the community and couldn’t find much. Through the GSA Network, I found out how t0 start a group at my school. I also got support from other people and groups in the area, especially John Duncan, of the Q Collective. Basically, a GayStraight Alliance is a student-led organization led by any student or community member that identifies as a queer youth or an ally to queer youth. It gives them a place to hang out, learn and express who they are, and make connection. I started the group last school year, as a junior. At first, there were probably only two members showing up each week. This year, though, after the first couple of weeks of school, the group grew to 12 or 13 regular members. We meet in the library ever Monday after school.

for all community members — not just high schools students, but home school students, too. I also want to mention the other relatively new GSA in the area, which was started out of The Launch Pad, a teen center in Prescott. As of yet, we don’t have any funding for the Chino Valley GSA, but we’re working with the Q Collective on some ideas now. I’d like to see a group at the middle school, too, if there are some people who are motivated to start one there. I definitely believe in student-led organizations, in general. I think it creates a stronger bond and more respect between the students and teachers and administrators. … As far as negative attitudes in the community go, I haven’t really heard of any harassment of youth in Chino Valley, though I’ve heard from others there have been issues in Prescott and Prescott Valley. Having said that, there’s some language like saying “that’s gay” or calling someone a “faggot” that’s … well, not grandfathered in, but seems to be acceptable now. But we claim those words for ourselves, too. We’d be open to people coming in as public speakers or to know about more LGBTQ-friendly or -cooperative businesses. If there’s anybody in the community who can hep with contacts, that’d be great.

How can we help? The biggest thing is just spreading the word about us in the community. We’re here as a resource. In our constitution, we say we want to keep this group and space open

***** Contact the Chino Valley GayStraight Alliance Club through Chino Valley High School, 928636-2298. Ask for Mike Fogel, the librarian.


Not-asholy days


here are plenty of reasons for the season in Arizona’s ReligionSpecific-Holiday City. Still, there’s no reason to limit yourself to citysanctified festivities. Consider celebrating ... Dec. 5: Bathtub Party Day • Rub-a-dub-dub. Dec. 5: Repeal Day • Steve Buscemi sends his regards. Dec. 7: Letter Writing Day • Penmanship is, indeed, a lost art. Dec. 10: Human Rights Day • No joke here, folks. Dec. 17: Maple Syrup Day • Blame Canada. Dec. 19: Look for an Evergreen Day • Not a difficult objective here.


he common cod is a very adaptable fish. By eating nearly anything, they’ve been able to survive in a wide variety of waters throughout the worlds oceans and have been a rich human food source for centuries. Cod are also particularly resistant to parasites and diseases. Some have reached more than 200 pounds. The actual size, not age, of the female animal determines the fecundity of its egg production. Laying 3 million to 9 million eggs at one spawning isn’t uncommon. ODDLY ENOUGH … The Pilgrims of the U.S. were starving in the early 1600s even though, just off shore, fishing vessels were harvesting record numbers of cod and had been for dozens of years.



he Arkansas was a Confederate ironclad ship that experienced a stellar career during the American Civil War while fighting on the Mississippi River. She was cobbled together with scraps and hastily painted brown to cover the rust on her uneven sheet metal paneling. Even her 10 salvaged guns were comprised of four different calibers. Amazingly, the Arkansas disabled Union ironclads, crippled and destroyed at least nine Union vessels, and did most of it with one engine room completely out of commission. Even after enduring a constant two-day pounding by the Mississippi Union fleet, the Arkansas continued to remain afloat and fight. ODDLY ENOUGH … The entire length of time the Arkansas was commissioned was only 23 days from the beginning of her fighting history — until her crew scuttled her by setting her on fire after she ran aground due to complete engine damage.

Dec. 21: Humbug Day • Bah. Dec. 23: Festivus • A Festivus for the rest of us. Dec. 28: Card Playing Day • Dealer’s choice. Dec. 31: Make Up Your Mind Day • Time is running out.


***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King.

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