Sunday, August 26, 2012

Patrick Thompson's Sculpture

Today we installed the sculpture by Patrick Thomson, local artist,in our garden. The piece was included in the 2012 Art Walk Central exhibit and could be seen at the Veterans Memorial Library in Mt. Pleasant.

Click image to enlarge...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Final mural

Panel 8


A complex systems is hard to understand unless we build a model of it that helps us see what is happening. For example, if we put a magnet on a table with a piece of paper over it, we can see the magnet’s force field by carefully sprinkling iron filings on the paper. The filings follow the lines of force. The magnet is an attractor. When you are in High School, you will perform this experiment. The attractor shown in our panel is much more complex. It is a four dimensional field of energy.

The blue lines moving in every direction flow into and out of the attractor, which mixes them and sends them in new directions, over and over. The attractor may change over time. Imagine your brain as an attractor. Your senses bring information to your brain. You process it, save some of it, or send it to someone else. This is how you learn about the world and how to deal with it.

Click image to enlarge...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mural 7 of 8

Panel 7

This picture is like a dream. Dreams often tell stories that make us happy. I hope this one does. What strange things appear. We are high in the sky (see the airplane far below us?). The bird is a long tailed Bird of Paradise which has flown out of a cage with an open door. If you look steadily at the cage something special happens: the bottom of the cage moves toward us and the dome moves away. This is called an “optical illusion.” The cat looks on steadily, musing about where the bird will go. Perhaps the answer is in one of the books she sits on. Look, one of the books has a ribbon. That may be a clue. The statue of an old philosopher has grown a stone beard. The other statue of a rhinoceros doesn’t know what to make of his being here. The candy cane floats lazily toward us. What time is it? We can’t tell, because the sand in the hour glass is flowing up-side-down. There is nothing in this dream that threatens us. We are safe.

Click image to enlarge...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The 6th Mural

Panel 6

Humans began over two million years ago. We are all related as a single species, just as flowers of a specific plant are related. As people spread over the earth, minor changes occurred when groups stayed in a climate for a long time. Dark skin protected people near the equator from the sun. Those in cold climates did better with lighter skin to absorb some heat from the paler sunlight.

Now these people wear clothes appropriate to the weather and can go anywhere. In the panel, the young African American in the upper left lives in Detroit. Next to him is a young native American child from the South West. In the lower right is an Asian girl whose picture was in the newspaper. Next to her is a young girl from Mount Pleasant.

Click the image to enlarge...

Friday, August 17, 2012

The 5th mural of 8

Panel 5


0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are “numerals” or counting numbers. There are ten because that’s how many fingers we have. Since 9 is the largest, we gave it half the panel. Since 8 is the next largest, we gave it half of what was left. We kept doing this until we got to zero, near the middle of the panel. The space for each numeral has objects in them. Starting with zero find the objects. Note that each duckling except one is taking a walk. Find the duckling just about to start a walk.

Colors of light include black (the absence of all colors), white (the presence of all colors), grey (a mix of black and white), and the visible spectrum (thousands of different colors). If we shine white light through a special piece of glass, the spectrum appears. Some of the colors are red, red orange, orange, yellow, green, blue green, purple and violet. These are all used in the panel. Can you find them?

4th Mural

Panel 4


Hey! Diddle Diddle                     
The cat played the fiddle                        
The cow jumped over the moon              
The little dog laughed to see such sport                
And the dish ran away with the spoon

Hidden in the picture are a paint brush, two key holes, and two keys. Can you find them? Behind the cow and moon is the Milky Way, the galaxy we live in. If this were a photograph, which stars would we NOT be able to see? Which direction would the sun be?

If you ask the cat, he might play your favorite song. What would that be? Where do you suppose the dish and the spoon are going? If you had the dog, what you name him?

Click the image to enlarge

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mural 3 for Women's Aid

Panel 3


Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall                                 
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall              
All the King’s horses  
And all the King’s men                         
Couldn’t put Humpty together again

Our Humpty is a lot happier than the one in the rhyme. Here the word “fall” means “autumn,” a season of the year. Name some things in the picture that relate to autumn. How about winter? What is your favorite season? Name a holiday that occurs in the fall and another in winter. How many leaves are blowing from the tree?

Do you like to ski or ride on a sled or skate in the winter?

More murals to come...
Click image to enlarge.

Mural 2 of 8

Panel 2


It looks as if we are under the sea. But this just cannot be! While fishes, crabs, star fish, and kelp (sea weed) live under water, the birds and the wallaby don’t. Yes, some birds swim on the surface or dive for food, but these silly birds are walking. The wallaby is a marsupial from Australia. Australians love hot tea. Why is the crab crying “Ouch”? Maybe someone in the sea weed pinched him. Which of these creatures would you like as a pet? Why? How many star fish can you find?

More murals to come...
Click the image to enlarge.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mural 1

Panel 1
It is fun to pretend animals could be different than they are. Unfortunately, if we made the changes shown here the animals would not be happy.
Giraffes come from Africa where it is hot and dry. They are the tallest animals on land, some growing to 18 feet. They are related to deer. Over millions of years they evolved long legs and necks. This allows them to eat leaves from very tall trees. With short necks they would have to find leaves on bushes, now eaten by other animals. If they could not find enough short bushes they would go hungry. Having to carry their babies in a pouch would make them slow, easy prey for lions.
Kangaroos live in Australia, and are marsupials with powerful hind legs that let them jump very far. Marsupials give birth to tiny babies which must stay close to their mothers, such as being in a pouch. Without a pouch the babies would not be safe. Having a long neck would make jumping very awkward. They are better off the way they are.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Murals for Women's Aid Shelter

Reproductions of murals painted for the Women’s Aid Service’s shelter serving domestic violence victims in Clare, Gratiot, & Isabella counties.

Edward Fisher ©Copyright 2007

8 to follow soon.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


June 28, 2002

Foreword to Johnathan: Two human characteristics that do us great harm are Superstition and Ignorance. They are deeply imbedded in many of the people and dogma that surround us. It takes years to root them out. Therefore, the things I write to you have within them tonics meant to decrease one, the other, or both of these undesirable elements (no, not the people). Take these mental medicines, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and hope the elixirs do you well.

We have lived in this house in Mount Pleasant, Michigan more than twenty-five years. If you look at a map, the state consists of two peninsulas, the Upper and the Lower. The Lower looks like a mitten worn on the right hand. If the mitten should ever make a fist, we should certainly be crushed, because that is where our town is located. If this occurs you will note a decided drop in mail (in whatever form) from us.

  Our house is on the northwest corner of two streets. It is not particularly distinctive on the outside, from the other houses in the neighborhood, except in one regard. When it was a little house it ran away from its mother, playing hide and seek. It came into the lot to hide not as the others had. They were taught to line up straight with the road. Ours, not knowing better, set itself down at an angle to the streets! Its mother never found it and so it stayed. By this circumstance we made a lovely discovery.

  The two windows in the master bedroom are such that one faces northeast and the other southwest. During the delicious cool evenings of late spring and early autumn we can leave these open, and what a breeze wafts through the room over the bed! Joyfully, we can snuggle under just a sheet, or one, or two, or even three blankets if we wish. Then wondrous things occur, but need explaining.

  Sol, our star, throws off trillions of photons every nanosecond in every direction. A photon is the smallest particle of light. This vast storm sweeps through the solar system constantly. Sol is at a focus of planets, moons, comets, meteorites, dust and debris. When the light from Sol strikes one of these bodies, the side of the object toward the great star is lit. The other side is in darkness.

  Some evening when the sky is clear of softball-size hail or other nasty things go out and try to find the moon, our planet’s only natural satellite. If you see it, perhaps only part of it shines brightly (on truly dark nights you may also see the rest of the moon’s surface in very faint light: this is reflected light from the Earth called “googenshein”). The contrast between the lighted and unlighted parts is very clear. The line between the two is crisp. This line is called the terminator.

  On earth the line between night and day is not as clear because of the atmosphere. Water and dust scatter the incoming photons. Nonetheless, this smudgy line separating sunlight and starlight is also called the terminator. When we can still see Sol, the terminator has not passed. At the end of night, if Sol has not risen, the terminator has not passed. How, then, can we tell?

  If you live on a farm, you know the rooster crows at the first light of morning. Our house is not near a farm, but we have those wonderful open windows in the bedroom.  When it is very early but still rather dark outside, far to the east the birds give out their morning song. They sing for about twelve minutes. Closer birds pick up the song. When they are through, our neighborhood birds begin. This morning there were robins, cardinals, blue jays, doves, a single blackbird and others in the chorus. When they were done, birds to our west took over, and so the song moved from east to west.

  Each group’s start occurs when the terminator passes over them. On clear mornings, such as today, sound travels well, and the whole sonata lasted forty-five minutes (to my ears). On overcast, or rainy days, the ambient noise drowns out some of the sound. The songs seem shorter.

  Before the summer equinox the songs began very early, say 4:30 a.m. and the local songs occurred before 5. After the equinox the days grow shorter; the sun rises later and so to do the songs’ beginning. Today the terminator crossed our yard at 5:10.

  Our birds also have an evening song coincident with the other terminator marking the onset of darkness. Unfortunately, people are out and about, laughing, playing, mowing their lawns, and all but drowning out the concert. We may hear the local birds bidding us goodnight, but often we miss even that.

   Morning and evening songs are common to many diurnal birds. The evolutionary advantage is to alert the others in one’s flock to start foraging, and to remind them of one’s territory. The early worm is often caught by an awakened bird. The evening song helps locate the other members of the group as it settles into a safe haven. This does not seem to apply to owls, being such solitary creatures, lovely prowlers of the night, but they are well aware of the passing of the terminators.

  Our town is very close to the 45° north parallel of latitude. During 45 minutes of song, the earth has moved about 728 miles from where it started, as the earth rotates on its axis. Hold on to those tree limbs, birds!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Important Message from LWV

Dear Local League Member,

The League of Women Voters is opposing HB5711, a bill that would limit Michigan women's access to reproductive health care. It has been voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be acted upon by the Senate on August 15.

Please contact your Senator by phone or email before August 15, using the following suggested message.

Thank you,

Sue Smith, President

Dear Senator ,

I oppose HB 5711, the bill to limit Michigan women's access to reproductive health care. This bill will not protect the health or well-being of Michigan's women; instead, it would create unnecessary barriers to women being able to obtain a safe and legal medical procedure.

This legislation will adversely impact access to obstetricians and gynecologist in Michigan by adding more regulations for doing business in Michigan. It is important that women continue to have access to comprehensive medical services. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists testified that Michigan already has a shortage of physicians.

The bill also requires women who have accidental miscarriages to involve a medical director and a funeral director as well as to publish death notices in the newspaper. This is an unnecessary intrusion of privacy at a very difficult time in a woman's life.

Further restrictions to safe and legal medical procedures are not needed. Instead we need legislators to focus on programs that reduce unintended pregnancy, such as family planning and sex education.

I urge you to vote NO on HB 5711.