Thursday, June 28, 2012

Top 10 Mountain Songs with pictures of the Mountains in Colorado

1. Rocky Mountain High  John Denver

The Rocky Mountains with the Continental Divide in view on the snow capped mountains.  The Great Divide of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

2. Ain't No Mountain High Enough Diana Ross and the Supremes

Independence Monument first climbed by John Otto.  The traditional climb to place the American flag atop takes place every year on July 4th.


3. River Deep Mountain High Tina Turner

A train ride on the Royal Gorge begins in Canon City and spans 60 miles along the Arkansas River for breathtaking views

4. Thunder on the Mountain Bob Dylan

Who needs roller coasters when you can have the thrill of the real deal, high in the mountains?

5. Mountain Song Jane's Addiction

Red Mountain is a set of three peaks in the San Juan Mountains of western Colorado in the United States, about 5 miles south of Ouray. The mountains get their name from the reddish iron ore rocks that cover the surface. Several other peaks in the San Juan Mountains likewise have prominent reddish coloration from iron ore and are also called "Red Mountain".

6. Climb Every Mountain from the Sound of Music

7. Go Tell It On The Mountain (Christmas Song)

Ship Rock, New Mexico, a view from the Mesa Verde Visitor Center

8. Fire on the Mountain

Sunset over Pikes Peak from Colorado Springs

9. I Want To Stand With You On A Mountain

Garden of the Gods

10. Last but not least the most popular song inspired by a mountain "America the Beautiful" the words written by Katharine Lee Bates while standing on top of Pikes Peak in Colorado and the music
music composed by church organist and choirmaster Samuel A. Ward.

Bates originally wrote the words as a poem, Pikes Peak, first published in the Fourth of July edition of the church periodical The Congregationalist in 1895. At that time, the poem was titled America for publication.

Whereas the landscape may have changed a little since then, I have included pictures throughout the blog of what the Rocky Mountains look like in June 2012.

Top 10 Wildlife in Danger from Colorado fires

It is really hard to imagine how fortunate one can be when they travel.  I was in Colorado for 12 days and returned on June 9th, the day the lightning struck and started the devastating fires that are now burning out of control.  I was lucky to be able to visit some very beautiful spots in our country.

National Parks, National Monument and National Forests, Colorado has them all.

The magpie was the first critter I was able to get a photograph of.  He was on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy.  Someone said "oh that's just a magpie".    I have never seen a magpie.  I thought he was beautiful.

This Great Horned Owl was spotted by a local in Estes Park on our way to Colorado National Monument, in a parking lot of all places.  He was by far the coolest bird I ever saw. Don't let those squinted eyes fool you, he was awake and fully aware of his surroundings.  He would slowly turn from the right to the left.  He was tucked into the ledge and there was no way any human could get to him. The color of his feathers blended in with the rocks so perfectly it was hard to find him.

 This Lizard at Mesa Verde National Park also was in camouflage blending perfectly into the soil.  If he had not slithered my way, I would have never jumped and screamed to acknowledge I saw him.  He just smiled.  He and a buddy were playing a game of hide and seek and then they would chase each other.  I wasn't the attraction at all.
 Chipmunks at  Colorado National Monument are just about the friendliest creatures I came across.  Not only do they readily pose for pictures, they will come right up to you and nibble on your fingers looking for food. Marmot hang out in Rocky Mountain National Park also.

 In Rocky Mountain National Park Wapti, the white tailed elk were spotted.  Male elk have large antlers which are shed each year. Males also engage in ritualized mating behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling (sparring), and bugling, a loud series of vocalizations which establishes dominance over other males and attracts females.  Our tour director went into a very long descriptive explanation about rutting.  I can never use the word rut again without the visualization. This guy looks so innocent.  (photo by Ray Rolls of Chula Vista, California, a fellow tourist in Colorado).

 Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center has the bears and that is a good thing.  I met a woman at one of the hotels we stayed in and she feeds bears in her backyard and knows you are not supposed to.  She showed me pictures on her IPhone.  The bear was hanging on the railing of her back porch eating peanut butter.  Shakin my head, how many times in your life have you seen the sign, please don't feed the bears?  I'm guessing she never got the memo. (photo by Ray Rolls of Chula Vista, California, a fellow tourist in Colorado).

This donkey was located at a ranch near Grand Junction where we boarded rafts for a wild ride down the Colorado River. Rafters identify the rapids by number, our ripples were a minus 1. I however survived to tell the tale.  The donkey was cool. He also was in a relationship, I didn't need Facebook to know that.  There was this lady donkey hanging near by, eyes focused on hi at all times.  I wasn't sure if she was disgusted with him or it was just plumb hot that day.  He mosied over my way and she was close behind.   We were just chatting.

Also along the Colorado River during that near fatal trip we saw a Blue Heron.  How could a minus 1 ripple ride be so dangerous you ask?  Lunch was served prior to the one hour ride down the river.  We had pulled pork, beans and potato salad.  The meal was every cowboys dream and no bathrooms on board. Cheeks hung on to the side of the moving watercraft.  One false move and we could have all gone down. I believe the heron knew what was going on.  Storm clouds were a brewin but we manage to make it to dry land safely.

  A feral horse at Mesa Verde National Park. Feral is a common word used to describe a lot of animals in Colorado because they still run wild and free.  I think this one was playing possum.  He did not make a move and tried his very best to blend it with his environment.  There is not a lot of that happening in my neck of the woods but we have had a fox recently.
They are many beautiful birds and I could make a guess at the name of this bird and have a 1% chance of getting it right.  He was near the visitor center at Mesa Verde National Park and if I can just give you two words to describe him or her it would be beautiful and patient.  This big allowed me to take several photos as I approached closer and closer.  Eventually, he had enough but he let me get this great photo.

Turkey Vulture spotted while traveling along the Royal Gorge Railway.  I know this from the red head on him. This was a cue given to us by our tour director.

It was hard to believe a ladybug at such high elevations, but there she was.

 Animal Tracks Garden of the Gods
 Bison (Buffalo) at Garden of the Gods.  I did see a group off in a distance they were farm raised and I also had my first bison burger. in Silverton.  It is suppose to be very lean meat and good for you.  It tasted like a regular burger to me.

 Great Horned Ram statue at Garden of the Gods.  I was told by this kid in a bookstore in Durango that I would see a lot of Great Honed Sheep at the Garden of the Gods.  I only saw this statue.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Philadelphia's Top 10 According to Travel and Leisure

 According to visitors, this is how Philadelphia ranked in 2011 at Travel and  It is an interesting list and I find it pretty accurate.  You can click on the Travel and Leisure link and take the 2012 survey.  Cast your vote, you know how competitive we are! Even though, I technically grew up in the burbs, I am proud to say I am from Philadelphia.

 1. Historical sites/monuments, Sports-crazed - Washington D. C. came in 2nd for site/monuments, now that is saying something. We may not have as many but what we have is pretty dang impressive. As far as sports-crazed, anybody wanna argue? The funny thing about sports fans in my opinion, if we are winning you won't find a more loyal fan.  "The boys playin tonight?"  Everyone knows by the sea of red shirts strollin about town exactly what time the game starts. If they are on a losing streak you will hear, Eagles, gotta catch the ball, those Phillies are bums,  Flyers, I can't watch, "did the puck go in?",  Sixers win or lose?, BUT don't let any outta towner utter an opinion, our teams are family and we claim them ALL.

2. Classical music, Street Food (interesting, the soft pretzel, maybe? would cheese steak be a street food?) and Hamburgers. Peter Nero and the Philly Pops will be playing a free concert in front of Independence Hall on  July 3rd.

3. No number 3's so I will go to 11. It is a Philly thing, we make our own rules, sometimes : ).

4. Best Time to Visit July 4th. Welcome America, we do it right!
Type of Visit Cultural Getaway

5. Diverse
Museums/galleries I am a member and a huge fan of the Philadelphia Art Museum.  There is always something new to see.
Theater/performance art From the Avenue of the Arts (large and small) to the many other theaters and talent dispersed around the city, we have it all.

6. Best Time to Visit Fall  There is always something going on year round, however songs have been written about it. Ever hear of Fall in Philadelphia by natives Hall and Oates. There are a few great versions on YouTube look them up,"Fall in Philadelphia, Hall and Oates".

7. Antique stores/flea markets, Ethnic Food, Wireless Covered

8. Cocktail Hour
Coffee (going out on a limb here but I gotta have a Wawa, it is a personal favorite and a great way to start the day).
Base for Day Trips location, location, location Washington D. C. to the south, New York to the north, Jersey shore to the east and Pocono mountains slightly to the northwest.  All within a 2 hour drive.

9. Home decor and design stores.

10. Independent Boutiques
Affordability Some stuff is free, but you do get what you pay for anywhere you go in the city.  It just depends on your taste and what whets your appetite.
Architecture/Cool Buildings Take a tour, more info at Philadelphia Center for Architecture. This is on my bucket "yet to be fulfilled" list.

11. Offbeat, Singles bar scene, luxury store, cafe, public transportation, pet friendly vacation, family vacation.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top 10 National Mosquito Control Awareness Week

It does seem there is no way to take these buggers down but there are ways to exercise control.

1.  No it is not time to bring back those machines that drove through our neighborhoods when we were kids and gleefully run behind the cloud of DDT and laugh and scream with delight.  This is partially to blame for what is wrong with our generation. "We got all bugged out and thought it was the coolest thing". Years later we realized, that was just plain stupid!

2. Citronella oil is also a renowned plant-based insect repellent, and has been registered for this use in the United States since 1948. The United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ considers oil of citronella as a biopesticide with a non-toxic mode of action. Research also shows that citronella oil has strong antifungal properties, and is effective in calming barking dogs. These references were found in wikipedia but if you have a barking dog issue I think it just may be worth a try.  Who knew? I would venture to say a vast majority of us have a citronella candle melting in the sun on the patio.

3. The biggest predator is not the slap happy, it is the dragonfly.  However, mosquitoes are easier to catch and swat then a regular housefly.

4. Mosquitoes are members of a family of nematocerid flies.  If they are not directly related to the horsefly they went to the same school of bite.  They are just nasty, nasty critters and their bad habit of sucking on your blood can cause the transmission of some deadly diseases.  West Nile Virus seems to be the latest threat in recent years. WNV is typically not a deadly disease but it can cause serious complications. Malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever are rare occurrences in North America but it never hurts to be aware, especially traveling to other locations with a greater risk,

5.  What is the attraction?  They want to drink your blood.  Female mosquitoes are the bloodsuckers and they need the blood meal for reproduction. Attraction perspiration (lactic acid), octenol (found in human breath and sweat) and carbon dioxide.  Some people just have a more attractive odor then others.

6. The CDC believes that products that contain the active ingredients DEET and pitcaridin provide the most effective treatment.  Other names sometimes uses are N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) and KBR 3023, sometimes known as “Bayrepel” (pitcaridin) outside the US.

8. Best prevention is to avoid infested areas, wear protective clothing and use repellent.

9. Most mosquitoes feed from dusk to dawn.

10. Around the house clear the clutter lying around outside, mosquitoes breed lay eggs in stagnant water.  Do not leave empty containers that collect water lying around.  Abandon tires and tire swings seem to be an ideal breeding ground.

I read two things of interest found at wikipedia in the mosquito section

Mosquitoes are adapted to ignore side-to-side movement, so a resting female permits a finger to approach slowly if the finger moves several centimetres from side to side about once a second. With practice one can use this stratagem to squash resting mosquitoes with high frequency.


Using a brush to scratch the area surrounding the bite (but not the bite itself) and running hot water (around 49 °C or 120 °F) over it can alleviate itching for several hours by reducing histamine-induced skin blood flow.

and that is the buzz.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Top 10 Sneak Peeks on the Road to London Olympics 2012

The USOC (United States Olympic Committee) is part of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that selects the host country for the Summer and Winter Olympics, a biennial event. This year the Summer Olympics are scheduled to begin in London on July 27th.  How does one get there?  We all have to start somewhere.

There are three major Olympic Training facilities in the United States.  Lake Placid, New York which was the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics is mostly for winter sports. Chula Vista, California is ideal for on the water sports. Colorado Springs covers just about everything else.  The high altitude in Colorado is also believed to be conducive to athletic performance.

Colorado Springs is the main training facility and also the location of the USOC Headquarters.  The United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit organization that manages the National Olympic Committee and the National Paralympic Committee in the United States.  Many of this year's hopefuls are training or have trained at this location. They depend on corporate sponsors and you.

The Olympic Torch has been a long standing symbol of the Olympic Games, one of the highlights of the festivities is to see who will be the person to light the Olympic Flame that will burn brightly and continuously throughout the games.  This has always been kept top secret and is one of the greatest honors bestowed on a citizen of the Olympic hosting country.  Any guesses?  There has been much spotlight on the Brits in recent years.  It will be interesting to see just who will get the nod.  David Beckham received the torch on the day it arrived, so he's out of the running. Perhaps Adele will "Set Fire To The Rain".  I look forward to seeing the host countries as they bring out their stars to shine, the British have quite a musical collection. It may be the best concert of the year!

The 1984 Olympic Cauldron was lit by Rafer Johnson. He won silver in the1956 Olympics in the decathlon and never came in 2nd again in that event.  He took gold in 1960.  He along with football great Rosey Grier, both big Kennedy fans was standing next to Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated in 1968.  In 1996 Muhammad Ali had the honors of lighting the flame; he took gold as a  Light Heavyweight champion in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.  Even though he made many public outbursts and did a lot of trash talking, he is still referred to as, "The Greatest".  Was that Ali that started that? You know he could sting like a bee. In 2002, the flame was lit by the 1980 United States Hockey Team who won gold and performed "The Miracle On Ice". That is the stuff movies and dreams are made of.

Inside the visitor's center, you can find the U S Olympic Hall Of Fame. It was made possible by a grant from the Gates Family Foundation, a business that originally began in Colorado and their contribution was a way of giving back. The Hall of Fame has momentous pictures along with stats inside a circular wall and a listing of inductees by year..  Looking up from the center of the circle your eyes travel up to the second level of the building rooftop where you will find an Olympic cauldron.  It was not lit on the day I was there but from the smell of the fumes in the area and the caution signs, it had potential.

Looking through

It is a pretty cool design.

Bob Beamon set an Olympic record in long jump at the Mexico Olympics in 1968 by leaping 29 Feet and 2 1/2 inches.  The Olympic record still stands. The world record stood for 23 years until Mike Powell born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania broke the record at the World Championships in Athletics (Tokyo) in 1991 by jumping 29 feet and 4 1/4 inches. Seeing the distance in front of you, one can not even imagine the discipline it would take to accomplish such a feat. I couldn't even do it with a hop, skip and a jump. You can try this at the visitor's center.  I would have but other legs were in my way.  Olympians overcome these challenges.

The Irvin Belk Olympic Path is located in the center of the complex.  It feels like a prestigious area as you walk past many buildings just knowing any one of them could hold the next medal winner or perhaps several of them.  I could feel the glow of gold.  I must admit I was looking around for a few favorite athletes.The flags along the walkway represent the countries that participate in the Pan American Games, the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics. Only countries from the Americas compete.

A sculpture of Michael Phelps titled The Dolphin sits just outside the auditorium where you can watch a short film on great Olympic moments and his record breaking stats adorn the Hall of Fame Wall.  I was later to find that Michael Phelps was there! I discovered an interview he did with Ryan Seacrest in front of the one of the resident athlete buildings on Youtube and he mentioned being on the campus for 4 weeks now. I am however a bigger fan of Brendan Hanson, who grew up in Haverford Township.  I actually got to time him in a race during the summer of his senior year in high school at Karakung Swimming Club in Havertown. I was there as a parent on the opposing swim team, Creekside.  I do not remember his exact time it was just fast. I did not see Brendan on campus either, but I know he is back in the competition this year.

I found another anonymous swimmer practicing his routine at the Aquatics Center. He acknowledged our tour group of approximately fifteen people with two thumbs up. The 2012 Olympic Swimming Team Qualifying Trials begin June 25th thru July 2nd in Nebraska. Opening ceremonies of the Olympics start on July 27th. The fastest swimmers will make the Olympic Team. I am hoping to see them all on the Road to London.  I find it incredible that they wait so long to determine the teams. I am hoping to see Mr. Anonymous on the front of the next Wheaties box I see in the supermarket because I think that is what it is all about "recognition".


The Shooting Center is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and the third largest in the world.

 The specially designed red mats used in this gymnasium just before the athletes step onto the larger  floor mats in this area are called The Germinator. It is a shoe sanitizer device used to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. When used as directed it is said to be certified and proved to be 98.9% effective in killing mat related bacteria.

The Olympic Truce logo stands outside one of the living facilities for resident athletes.  It symbolizes the dove of peace and the Olympic flame.

 With all the amazing things man is capable of you would think peace would be an easy one. A truce is a step in the right direction.

Citius Altius Fortius Swifter Higher Stronger

The  most recognized symbol of the Olympic Games is composed of five interlocking rings, colored blue, yellow, black, green, and red on a white field. This was originally designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. Upon its initial introduction, de Coubertin stated the following in the August, 1912 edition of Olympique:
The emblem chosen to illustrate and represent the world Congress of 1914...: five intertwined rings in different colours - blue, yellow, black, green, and red - are placed on the white field of the paper. These five rings represent the five parts of the world which now are won over to Olympism and willing to accept healthy competition.

Tour Ambassadors at the Colorado Olympic facility are future Olympic hopefuls.  Our guide had interest, knowledge and pride.  You wouldn't know it by looking at her, but her event is wrestling and I will be looking for her in 2016.  She was awesome and has me all pumped up for this year's events. One revealing quality she was unable to conceal was confidence and I would think that would be number one on the list of qualifications to be an Olympic athlete.


Good luck to all athletes.  You have my support and I will be watching with pride.

Raise Our Flag is the official United States Olympic Committee fundraising program.
Donate a stitch for $12 before July 12th at TEAMUSA.ORG.
Donate 10 stitches or more and receive an American flag.
C'mon Pennsylvania, as of June 24th, we are in 9th place. Let's show our pride.

Further information:
Where is the torch now? Follow this link
List of people who have lit the Olympic cauldron. 2012 TBA

Friday, June 22, 2012

Top 10 Photos from Great Seats at the Radiohead Concert, Philadelphia, PA

Radiohead Concert, June 13th, Philadelphia (Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, New Jersey)

Photographs taken by Lauren Fiebert

Setlist can be found at


Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Colin Greenwood (bass), Phil Selway (drums, percussion) and Ed O'Brien (guitar, backing vocals).

Thom Yorke is the lead vocalist and principal songwriter for Radiohead.  He also plays guitar and keyboard. 2005, a poll organised by Blender and MTV2 saw Yorke voted the 18th greatest singer of all time, and in 2008, he was ranked 66th in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" list.

Jonny Greenwood is the band's lead guitarist and keyboard player.  He also plays viola, harmonica, glockenspiel, ondes Martenot, banjo and drums.  He is a computer programmer who writes music software used by Radiohead and works with computer generated sounds and samplings. He serves as composer-in-residence for the BBC Concert Orchestra and he is the younger brother of Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood

Pictured, Thom Yorke and Colin Greenwood . Colin is the bass player for the band.  He also plays keyboard and syntheisizers.  He is the older brother of Jonny Greenwood.

Thom Yorke on vocals with Phil Selway in the background on drums. Phil is a singer songwriter and drummer for Radiohead.  He provides backup vocal and occasional lead vocals and guitar. He has
named the 26th greatest drummer of all time by Gigwise in 2008. He has worked with Samaritans charity since 1991.

In 2005, Radiohead were ranked number 73 in Rolling Stone's list of "The Greatest Artists of All Time".
Ed O'Brien is a songwriter and guitarist for the band and provides harmony vocals.  He is the founding director of Featured Artist's Coalition. O'Brien and Jonny Greenwood ranked 59 and 60 on David Fricke's picks of 100 Greatest Guitarist respectively.

I love this picture it looks like Thom Yorke is looking directly at my daughter.  As her mother I say, he better watch out lol but she is a cutie. I can't blame him.

Where as I belong to a different generation of music "Creep", "High and Dry" and Fake Plastic Trees are three of my favorite Radiohead songs that are on my IPOD.  They invoke a certain mood.  They are also my son's favorite band, hence how I was introduced to their music.

I believe their music and lyrics have a strong and unique meaning.  It was a great tragedy that happened during the setup of their stage in Toronto last weekend, three stage crew members were injured and one was killed and the concert was cancelled.

I heard the Philadelphia concert was phenomenal.

The first time I heard Creep, my own son was singing it and I thought it was an awful song for him to be singing in middle school, and then I really listened to the words.  It is such a relative song for a kid that age.  It made me relate to my own creepy years. Sometimes we forget what it was like. It is such a great song!