Sunday, August 28, 2011

Apple #544: Cummerbunds

Simply put, what the heck are cummerbunds for? I know a lot of men find them annoying and pretty useless.

(And yes, that's spelled correctly. A lot of people pronounce the word "cumberbund," but that's incorrect. The word is "cummerbund.")

Cummerbund, front and back
(Photo from fashionmanifesto)

  • Cast your mind back to the days when the British were in control of India. This would be in the 1850s. Back home, it's the heyday of Victorian England. Lots of stuffiness, etiquette, and above all, lots of clothing.
  • In India, however, it's freakin' hot. Formal dinnerwear that one would normally wear back home in England is black-tie dress: double-breasted jacket, black tie, waistcoat (a.k.a. vest), trousers -- all that is simply way too much clothing to wear in India.
  • So the British officers hit upon an alternate solution. They noticed that Indian men wore a sort of sash thing around their waists when they dressed formally, and they looked quite dashing when they did so. The British men imitated them and substituted the sash for the waistcoat.

British officer in India wearing the sash typically worn by Indian men.
(Photo from The Ohio State University Press)

  • The Indian sash was called, in Persian, a "kamarband." Kamar means "waist," and band means "to enclose." So it's a garment that encloses or wraps around the waist.
  • Side note: in India today, a "kamarband" (or kamarbandh or tagdi) refers more commonly to a jeweled belt that Indian women wear to their wedding or some other formal occasion.

This woman is wearing her kamarband above her waist. She's also wearing a kamarband saree, which has a decorative border at the top of the part that wraps around her waist.
(Photo from ras_kattaria on Photobucket)

  • All right, back to India in the 1850s.
  • Not only did the British officers start wearing the kamarbands, they also took to wearing them with a great many folds, or pleats in it. The pleats were worn facing up; that is, so that the open part of the pleats faced upward.
  • Wearing the pleats facing upward turned the sash into a kind of utilitarian version of the waistcoat. The waistcoat often came equipped with pockets. The sash had none. But worn folded into many pleats, the sash suddenly became a useful receptacle for ticket stubs, receipts, and other little necessaries.

This is pretty terrible -- heads of cotton depicted on both the necktie and the cummerbund -- but at least the cummerbund is shown with the pleats up. I had a lot of trouble finding a photo with the pleats up, so apparently people are wearing them pleats down these days. But traditionally, cummerbunds were worn pleats up.
(Photo from Southern Proper)

  • Some people have since noted that the pleats facing upward have the added benefit of catching any stray crumbs that may fall while you're eating your oh-so-fancy and delectable dinner. But that was not the original intent.
  • Finally, the sash could be tightened in such a way as to act as a male corset, tightening that wine-assisted waistline.
  • Now, today's cummerbunds probably don't do a whole lot to contribute to a slimming appearance. Some men wear colorful or flashy cummerbunds, but drawing attention to a body part typically makes it look larger.
  • The classical approach to wearing cummerbunds is as follows:
  • If at all possible, the cummerbund should be made of silk. Makes a difference over polyester, appearance-wise. It also won't be as hot.
  • In terms of colors, the cummerbund should not match the tie.
  • For black-tie formal-wear, the cummerbund should be in one of the classic colors: black, midnight blue, maroon, or red.
  • So for black tie formalwear, your trousers will be black and your tie will be black too. If your cummerbund isn't supposed to match the tie, then it had better be some other color than black. So thank goodness for the options of midnight blue, maroon, or red. But wouldn't those other colors draw attention to ye olde waistline?

Here, the cummerbund and bow tie match, but the cummerbund is wine-colored, close to the originally recommended darker colors for cummerbunds. You still notice the color, but it's not so garish it pokes your eyes out (see below).
(Photo from

  • If it's summer time and your jacket is white, the cummerbund will often match the jacket. (I've seen photos of white jackets with black trousers and black cummerbund, and that seems to work, too.)
  • All this said, many tuxedos worn to proms and weddings have cummerbunds that match the neckties.
  • In fact, I found zero photos of men wearing suits with cummerbunds where the cummerbund was a different color than the necktie. So I guess that rule about cummerbund colors is so classic, nobody follows it anymore.
  • Generally speaking, however, the matching garish tie and cummerbund doesn't do a man many favors.

See? Your eye goes straight to that garish yellow and orange thing on his waist. Thus his waist, which really isn't that big, seems much more prominent.
(Photo from Wikipedia)

This guy has the misfortune of ranking high on the doofus scale, but that matching bright blue cummerbund and tie aren't helping him any.
(Photo and cummerbund available from

Brad's necktie and cummerbund are in matching plaid, which seems about right for him. Dammit, Janet.
(Photo from Columbia's Closet)

This beats just about everything I've seen. These are camouflage-colored skull and crossbone cummerbunds worn, not with bow ties, but with neckties. No wonder that kid on the right looks like he wants to strangle somebody.
(Photo from Santana Formal Accessories)

Oh dear. Where did he come from?
(Photo from

  • All right, if those are the nos, what are some yeses?

In this photo, sans jacket, it's easier to see how a dark cummerbund can make you look thinner.
(Photo from The modern gentleman)

Black and white. Clean lines.
(Photo from Moss Hire)

Yes, the black tie and black cummerbund are about as traditional as it gets, maybe to the point of yawnsville for many people. But what I like about it is that it allows the eye to go first to the face, which is the part of the human anatomy I find to be the most fascinating of all.
(Photo from

Bows 'N Ties, The History of the Cummerbund, October 11, 2010
WiseGeek, What is a Cummerbund?
Fine Tuxedos, Tuxedo Cummerbunds: What are They?

Shopbeat, Freaky Fashion Friday: The Cummerbund

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Apple #543: Bathing for Soldiers

I was out walking yesterday and it was pretty hot out and I was glad I could go home and take a shower. I started thinking about people for whom that wouldn't be such an easy thing, and I found myself wondering, how do soldiers bathe.

I know that, when soldiers are on the march or in the midst of battle, they don't really get the chance to do wash. But surely after a while you'd get royally stinky and uncomfortable, so what do you do? Do you try to clean yourself somehow or do you just stay stinky and live with it? And are bathing conditions for soldiers better now than they used to be? I'm guessing from the pictures I've seen of soldiers in Afghanistan, it is easier to get a bath in today's US Army than it once was. But I'm still curious.

This question got me reading various narratives from soldiers who lived and fought through all sorts of wars. I could summarize what I found and just give you the facts, ma'am, but what turned out to be the most interesting part of researching this question was reading various people's accounts of their situation. So I'll give you both -- the highlights and the commentary.

US WWII soldiers bathing in the Mediterranean. This fairly chaotic scene is probably about what bathing facilities amounted to for most soldiers throughout the centuries.
(Photo from Moments with Clyde)

By the way, if you want to see lots of pictures of naked men, type "soldiers bathing" or "soldiers showering" into a Google search. Ai yi. I tried to keep the nudity at reasonable levels here. Naked is, after all, how people take showers and baths. But I didn't want to overwhelm you with a lot of bare bottoms either.

First of all, bathing is pretty important to the health of an army.
  • One example of how illness can debilitate an army is that when Rommel was in the midst of his campaign at El Alamein in North Africa during World War II, he was seriously hamstrung because, not only were his troops slowly starving for supplies, but also none of his best generals were available. They'd all been evacuated due to illness of the dysentery kind. Rommel wound up losing that battle, and that loss in turn led to the German surrender in North Africa.
  • Keeping yourself and your clothes clean can also help keep away the lice, which were pretty common among soldiers for centuries, but super-annoying nonetheless.
  • Lots of time and energy was spent on trying to "delouse" the troops because lice could also be disease-carriers, turning an annoyance into a potential troop-decimator.

But while you're in the field, either marching or fighting, you don't really get a chance to bathe. So soldiers have been encouraged, in various ways throughout the years, to keep themselves as clean as possible on the fly.
  • Here are instructions from the US Calvary Association in 1914 about how to bathe in the field:
Besides bathing the feet the men should bathe their whole bodies frequently. Anyone familiar with our "regulars" on the march and who has seen them break for the water to bathe as soon as possible after a day's march knows that it requires no order to get this done. But sometimes we must camp where there is no water available for bathing. Men should at least wash the crotch with a wet towel, especially if there is a tendency to chafe. Talcum powder should be used in such cases.
  • Now here are instructions from 2011 to soldiers in the US Army deployed in cold, mountainous regions. Not that much different. Sucks that they can't even use alcohol wipes.
    Soldiers should wash their entire body weekly (at a minimum). If bathing facilities are not available, Soldiers can wash with two canteen cups of water, using half for soap and washing and half for rinsing. Soldiers should clean feet, crotch, and armpits daily. They should also clean their teeth daily.

    It is important that Soldiers do not use alcohol-based wipes (commonly known as baby wipes) in the field. These wipes contain alcohol that conforms to the same temperature as the ambient air. If Soldiers use these products in an environment where the temperature is below freezing, then they risk contact frostbite, especially if the temperature is below 0 °F.

      It's hard to tell but it looks like this soldier is shaving using snow he's melted in his helmet.
      (Photo from

      One of the reasons it can be difficult to bathe while in the field is because water may not be available.
      • Apparently, the British during World War I were known for their attention to providing clean water to their troops. Also note the technique by which soldiers washed themselves, given the limited water supply.
      The water supply of Northern France was dangerous and scanty. A corps of chemists and inspectors established the status of all wells and sources of supply before troops could use the water. Carts provided for hauling water were handled by men trained for the work and all water hauled received a proper sterilizing treatment usually with chloride of lime. Bathing, washing and delousing facilities commensurate with the fuel and water supply were diligently and ingeniously operated.

      Cases were observed where water supply was so short that it was necessary to save waste water, treat it chemically, settle it, and use it over again. It took some time for our troops to adjust themselves to these conditions, but eventually, when the necessity arose, a man could wash face and hands, shave and rinse his tooth brush in a half canteen cup of water.

      Canadian soldiers shaving at a WWI training camp in Valcartier, Québec, 1914.
      (Photo from the National Film Board of Canada)

      Just because soldiers can't bathe doesn't mean they don't want to. In fact, account after account describes how soldiers take any chance they can get to bathe, and they relish it.
      • One Infantryman who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in December and January 1944 was transported with his company to the rear of the lines for showers, food, and rest. On the way, his truck hit a mine and he was blown up to the roof of truck and fell back to the truck bed flat on his back. Because it was January and so cold, he had on six layers of clothing. Beneath the enormous hole in his overcoat and subsequently smaller holes in each layer was just a small trickle of blood on his back. He was asked if he wanted to go to an aid station, but he said no, he wanted a shower. He had to go to the back of the line, and he didn't get to the showers in time. He didn't get another shower until the end of the war.

      If an army camps near a body of water, chances are, the soldiers will make a beeline for it as a place where they can wash.
      • During the Civil War, the Massachusetts volunteer infantry camped along the James River. Officers reported that "several hundreds" of enlisted men were bathing in the river "at all hours of the day and in large numbers. So many of them were bathing all the time that the order was given that the enlisted men were not allowed to bathe during daylight.
      • Even after this order was given, two officers sneaked off to wash in the river. But the place where the went happened to be in front of the cottage where the General had made his quarters. He waited until they had stripped and then he had the Sergeant of the Guard arrest them and bring them naked to his quarters. By this time, other soldiers had found out what was happening, so several of them watched, laughing, as the two young officers were brought naked to the General. He told them, "If you choose to bathe naked and expect to be recognized as officers, pray have your shoulder-straps buttoned on to you. Go to your quarters."

      Union soldiers bathing in the North Anna River near the Richmond & Fredericksburg Railroad, May 1864.
      (Photo from the Library of Congress. Brenda Hamilton on Flickr claims that this image is copyright-protected, but it's in the public domain.)

      • At the end of World War II, in May 1945, one infantryman remembers this bathing experience that occurred after the Germans had surrendered a few days earlier:
        Mac McAuliffe recalls that on or about May 8 or 9 Company M, 347th Infantry,which was located near Jägersgrün and Tannenbergsthal, also had pitched their tents on a hillside nearby. Mac remembers that he and several other members of Company M decided to go for a swim in a pond on the other side of the hill. Arriving at the pond, they were surprised to hear a number of German soldiers signing "Lillie Marlene"--that great song of the war equally loved by American as well as German soldiers--while bathing and washing up on other side of the pond. Mac stated "I cut the legs off my 'long johns' that I was still wearing and used my 'johns' for trunks. We then dove into the pond and thrashed about reveling in the warmth of the spring day. The German soldiers, who were bathing approximately 20 yards away on the other side of the pond, paid no attention to us and WE paid no attention to them ... the weather was great. The water was fine and refreshing and, best of all, the war was over ... for both the Germans and ourselves ...

      German soldiers bathing themselves and their horses in a lake during WWII.
      (Photo from Miss Magnolia Thunderpussy)

      • In fact, sometimes the officers counted on a nearby body of water to be the primary bathing source for their troops. For the British during World War I in Brest,
      Facilities for bathing and washing clothes were absolutely lacking, and such results as were accomplished in this area developed from the use of streams. Units not engaged in freight handling were taking practice marches, bathing and washing clothes in way-side streams.
      • A similar situation was also the case during the Spanish American War at Fort Macon, North Carolina:
      The regiment remained at Fort Macon from July 19 to September 14, where it was well drilled and disciplined. The sanitary conditions of the camp was most excellent, there rarely being a case of sickness among the men. The bathing facilities could not be surpassed. The camp was within two hundred yards of a fine beach.

      WWII US soldiers bathing in the Pacific Ocean during a break in the fighting on Saipan, Japan.
      (Photo by Peter Stackpole, originally printed in Life magazine. Art print available for $49.99 from

      But for the most part, soldiers have to wait until they're away from the front lines to bathe.
      • During World War II in the Pacific, the rifle companies followed this practice of trading "on" and "off" time:
      Two rifle companies fight and advance for 48 hours, then the two rear companies move forward to relieve them in place. The two fatigued companies move to the rear to eat hot chow, "use" toilet paper, receive medical care for minor injuries, hopefully get a few beers, then sleep. The next day its more hot chow, weapons cleaning, bathing and more sleep.
      • Here is one Infantryman's recollection of his regiment's arrival at Guadalcanal.
      One of the first things we were able to do when we landed on the Canal was to take a bath in Lunga River to wash off the salt water... (Our baths aboard ship were with salt water as the ship could not carry enough fresh water for bathing purposes.) While the men of Co. F, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. were taking their baths, a Photographer from Life Magazine took their pictures it appeared in a copy of Life the 1st or 2nd week of Feb. on their cover. We were then deployed to Bloody Ridge until the rest of the Div. arrived in late Dec. 1942.
      • I tried to find the photos he mentions, but apparently Life doesn't have that issue up on their website. But I did find a few others from Guadalcanal in 1942, including this one:

      Original caption: Exhausted US Marines sprawl all over beaches waiting for the landing craft which will take them off the island following four months of fighting the Japanese.
      (Photo from Life magazine)

      • Over in Europe, another infantryman remembers the few days' rest that his division got during the Battle of the Bulge. This was the end of January, so it had been nearly two months since he'd last had chance to bathe:
      While the generals regrouped the divisions and planned the next operations, the combat troops rested and cleaned their equipment. There was also an opportunity to clean ourselves, and I was able to take a hot bath, my first since early December.
      • Another Infantryman who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, this time from the 345th Regiment, remembers the days after fighting in the Saar River basin in December 1944:
      The 345th Regiment lost more men in the Saar in ten days, then three-plus weeks in the "Battle of the Bulge."

      [When we were pulled out,] We climbed onto big flatbed stake-bodied trucks. You had to sit or lie down and cover up with a blanket. As a result of stress and lack of sanitation, everyone had diarrhea. Every time the trucks stopped, we bolted to the side of the road, pants down. After a long, cold, miserable ride, we arrived on the outskirts of Rheims. The 87th Division was SHAEF Reserve, the only organized force between the German advance and Paris. We had showers, a change of clothing, and were issued worn galoshes. We thought the men encountered at the showers were part of elite troops. They were Quartermaster personnel wearing new shoe pacs.

      • Again, from World War II, another Infantryman fighting in the Po valley in Italy remembers a four-day rest period in October 1944. His division was moved to "assembly areas" near a small town called Vergiano.
      Our soldiers spent their time wisely. They took hot showers at the 34th Division Bathing Unit and Clothing exchange, donned fresh underclothes and uniforms, secured badly needed haircuts, cleaned their equipment, caught up on their correspondence to loved ones at home, ate hot food regularly, refreshed their minds by reading, enjoyed motion pictures and band concerts, and embraced every opportunity to rest and relax in anticipation of their imminent return to combat.

      Makeshift showers for Japanese soldiers in the South Pacific during WWII.
      (Photo from WWII: Through the Letters of My Ojichan)

      But sometimes even the facilities behind the lines are sub-optimal.
      • During the Spanish-American War in the 1890s, the US military did a kind of survey of its troops to see what their hygiene practices were like. They noted that in the Fourth New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, they were sometimes bathing in the ocean, sometimes bathing in the mess hall:
      During the warm season the men were required to bathe between 3 and 4 pm in the ocean. After it got too cold for ocean bathing a large mess hall was set up with bath tubs in one end thereof, and all of the men returning from guard duty were required to bathe under the direct supervision of an officer.
      • The fact that they used the same building for eating as well as bathing probably accounts for the spread of disease, specifically, typhoid fever.
      • But using the mess hall for bathing wasn't that uncommon in those times. In 1868 at Fort Wallace, Kansas, where the soldiers pretty much built the thing from the ground up at the direction of their officers, they had a similar arrangement:
      The soldiers at the fort suffered additional discomforts because few of the company barracks had washrooms and the facilities for bathing were inadequate. On the northeast end of the building used as a [combined] mess, kitchen, and quarters for the laundresses was a washroom for the enlisted men. Here, the roof leaked, the sewer was plugged, and no wash tubs or heating facilities existed. In the winter the washing of hands and faces was difficult, and bathing was entirely out of the question. Thus, due to lack of proper facilities, the cold weather produced negligence in the personal habits of the men. In fact, personal cleanliness became so lax the post surgeon complained to the commanding officer who in turn ordered all sergeants to superintend a weekly scrubbing of each soldier.
      • By World War II, behind-the-lines facilities for bathing and washing had improved, but there was still a catch-as-catch-can approach:
      The quartermaster bath and laundry units that were assigned to support the 80th would set up operations somewhere in our area. A few men at a time would be trucked to the bath and laundry point. There, each soldier would turn in the clothing he was wearing, keeping only his weapons, helmet, boots, and personal belongings. After a hot shower he would be issued clean clothing. His dirty uniform would then be laundered and reissued to someone else. Often the fit of the "new" uniforms was somewhat bizarre, particularly if a soldier was unusually big or small, but we made the best of such things by swapping clothing with one another. It was such a pleasure to get a hot shower and have clean clothing that no one complained.

      Original caption: An Afghan national police officer showers and washes his uniform at the same time at a police substation in Kandahar. May 26 2010
      (Photo from the Los Angeles Times)

      Today, US troops in Afghanistan still need to go behind the lines to get their showers. But the facilities behind the lines are practically plush by comparison:
      [near Kabul is] a forward operating base equipped with a large, clean dining facility offering very good quality and selection; permanent barracks with round-the-clock hot showers; and a recreation area with daily access to phone and Internet.

      The interior of a Containerized Housing Unit (CHU) which is where many US soldiers lived while in Iraq. Each CHU has a door, window, top vent, power cabling, and air conditioner for summer heat. Each living space in a CHU has a bed, end table, and wall locker. Sometimes soldiers get refrigerators and TVs. Some have a shower and toilet between the rooms.
      (Photo from Army Mom Strong)

      Complicating the shower situation today is the fact that some of the soldiers and officers are women.

      • The fact that women and men require different bathing facilities has posed some new problems for the military. Here is how one Company in Afghanistan dealt with the situation:
      an Army regulation states that female soldiers must be provided with showers every few days. That was a problem during Charlie Company’s first few months in Afghanistan, because the spartan outpost lacked running water. Male soldiers often went weeks without bathing, but company leaders had to ensure that [female Pfcs] Conger and Redinbaugh made it back to a bigger base so they could wash up. The women usually could find seats on supply convoys already headed to the bigger base. But the company occasionally had to send four-truck convoys out on the rough drive because Minard had to comply with the hygiene rule for the women. The drive takes up to an hour, and each trip carries the risk of a truck being blown up. “So rules like that really would have to change,” Minard said.

      Temporary shower and shaving set-up not in Afghanistan but here in the United States. This is in North Dakota during the flooding of the Sheyenne River. The temporary shower and shave unit set by the National Guard was connected to a septic tank system.
      (Photo by Sgt. First Class David Dobbs, North Dakota National Guard, on dvidshub)

      Regardless of what war you're fighting in or whether you're male or female, it's simply a reality of being a soldier that you might not get to bathe until after the war.
      • Here's what one soldier recalls about his long-awaited shower in France, just after World War I had ended:
      On the afternoon of November 11th, the 308th [infantry] celebrated the occasion with suitable solemnity. It took its first real bath since the beginning of the Argonne. True, only one minute was allowed under the steaming showers, scarcely time to wash off the soap beneath a tantalizing trickle, and then the cry of "Into the drying room with you! Make way for the next lot!" Scarcely a wash. Certainly only the hyperbole of enthusiastic exaggeration could call it a bath. Still what little water there was certainly possessed the blessed qualities of warmth and wetness--and the War was over!

      Bradley W. Hudson, Field sanitation teams, preventive medicine measures key during deployments,
      Infantry Magazine, Nov-Dec 2008
      History Learning Site, The Battle of El Alamein
      John Frank Morrison, US Cavalry Association,
      Training Infantry, 1914, page 107
      J.F. Oakleaf, Notes on the Operations of the 108th Infantry Overseas, April 13, 1921
      William H. Osborne, The History of the Twenty-Ninth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the Late War of the Rebellion, 1877, page 85
      Tom Stafford, 87th Infantry Division Legacy Association, The Mass Surrender of German Troops to the 347th Infantry Regiment on May 6, 1945
      Spanish-American War Centennial Website, William R. Navey, A Brief History of the 3rd North Carolina Volunteer Infantry
      G2mil, The Infantry Square
      35th Infantry Regiment Association, Frank L. Marks, "Getting Ready, Destination Unknown," Cacti Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 1942
      Turner Publishing Company, Battle of the Bulge, 1995, page 80
      87th Infantry Division Legacy Association, Richard C. Manchester, K Company, 345th Regiment, Communications Section, WWII Memoirs - Part 2
      34th Infantry Division Association, History 133rd Infantry 34th Infantry Division from 1 October 1944 to 31 October 1944, inclusive
      US Army Surgeon General's Office, Report on the origin and spread of typhoid fever in U.S. military camps during the Spanish War of 1898, volume 1, 1904, page 434
      Santa Fe Trail Research Site, Fort Wallace, Kansas, 1865-1882
      Mark Larson, Lattes and Hot Showers in Afghanistan, The New York Times, July 15, 2010
      Tony Leys, Female soldiers say they're up for battle, ArmyTimes, April 24, 2011
      L. Wardlaw Miles, History of the 308th Infantry, Chapter 9 Last Days in France

      Sunday, August 14, 2011

      Apple #542: Bachman-Turner Overdrive

      Anyone else hear "Michelle Bachmann" and think "Bachman-Turner Overdrive?"

      Honestly, I couldn't tell you what songs they did. I'm sure I know the songs, but if I heard them I wouldn't be able to identify Bachman-Turner Overdrive as the artist. So let's find out about the band.

      • The front man in Bachman-Turner Overdrive is Randy Bachman, originally from The Guess Who.
      • Bachman is Canadian (Winnipeg) and so were the rest of The Guess Who.
      • They had a bunch of hits. American Woman. No Time. These Eyes.

      • Somewhere in there, Bachman converted to Mormonism. After that, he and the rest of the Guess Who didn't get along so well. So he left.
      • After some solo work and teaming up with a couple other people briefly, he formed another band called Brave Belt. That included Chad Allan from The Guess Who and Bachman's brother Robbie on drums.
      • Allan left to get married and go to school, and a couple other guys joined: another brother Tim Bachman, and Fred Turner, who was recommended by Neil Young and was also Canadian.
      • They named this band Bachman-Turner and added the word "Overdrive" after Tim's trucker magazine which was called Overdrive. Thus Bachman-Turner Overdrive was born.
      • They didn't have much success until their second album which was released in 1973, and then Takin' Care of Business hit the big time.
      • In 1974, their next album included You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, which was distinguished by the stuttering ("b-b-b-baby, you just ain't seen n-n-n-nothin' yet"), and which was a huge hit.

      This is weird. The song You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet originally appeared on the album called Not Fragile. Maybe this is the cover of a single, not the full LP. But besides that, they spelled the name wrong. It's supposed to be Bachman with one n, not two.
      (Photo from nostalgia and retrospection)

      • Randy had written the song years earlier in imitation of his brother Gary, who apparently stuttered. Gary said he always liked the song but he had no idea it had anything to do with him until he read about it in his brother's autobiography.
      • Randy originally submitted a non-stuttering version to the label, but they rejected it.
      • The Stuttering Foundation recently named it the greatest rock song featuring stuttering lyrics. They chose it over Bennie and the Jets by Elton John, Changes by David Bowie, and My Generation by The Who because only You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet hit number one and was about a real person.
      • After 1974, the band started going through what would become typical: one guy would leave, another join. One guy leaves, another joins, and the name changes only slightly. Rinse and repeat.
      • Randy wanted the band to go more country-rock. Fred Turner wanted it to sound heavier. The two disagreed and eventually, in 1977, Randy left.
      • After Randy's departure, the band changed their name to BTO.
      • The minus-Randy BTO version of the band released two albums, Rock n Roll Nights and Street Action. Neither one did very well.

      Album cover of Rock n Roll Nights. Screams success, doesn't it?

      • I'd tell you some of the song names from those two albums (Amelia Earhart, Rock n Roll Hell, You're Gonna Miss Me, Takes a Lot of People), but I doubt you'd recognize them.
      • In 1983, they reunited as Bachman-Turner Overdrive, mostly touring as the opening act for Van Halen. They recorded a studio album and a couple of live albums.

      The late 80s version, or the "new BTO." Robbie's not in the band and Randy's not pictured here. Of the Bachmans, only Tim.
      (Photo from

      • Since then, there have been a lot of lawsuits and even more confusion over the name. The lawsuits have to do whether the band could call themselves BTO and they've had to pay lots of money to keep using it.
      • Many fans shorten Bachman-Turner Overdrive to BTO, even though they're supposed to be different bands. Or the bands have been slightly different versions with a few different people, who often play songs that the original Bachman-Turner Overdrive released in the 1970s.
      • So, yeah, it's probably better just to talk about their glory days. Hey, remember that song, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet? That's a good song to sing along to when it comes on the radio, isn't it?
      I met a devil woman, she took my heart away
      She said I had it comin' to me, but I wanted it that way
      I think that any love is good lovin'
      And so I took what I could get, mmm
      Oooh, oooh, she looked at me with big brown eyes
      And said

      You ain't seen nothin' yet
      B-B-B-Baby, you just ain't seen nothin' yet
      Here's something that you never gonna forget
      B-B-B-Baby, you just ain't seen nothin' yet

      Turns out, this entry has nothing to do with Michelle Bachmann after all. Her eyes are blue!

      Sources, Driving Music: Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bachman-Tuner Overdrive biography
      Aldo Santin, "Stuttering Foundation salutes BTO hit You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," Winnipeg Free Press, August 8, 2011

      Friday, August 12, 2011

      Apple #541: Yawning and Stretching and Hearing

      The other day, my friend Jehoshaphat came to talk to me when I was in the middle of something. The interruption made me yawn and stretch my arms above my head. I don't know why that happens, by the way, but when I'm tired that does seem to be a necessary transition when switching my attention from one thing to another.

      This is the kind of yawn & stretch I'm talking about.
      (Photo from Bio Break)

      Anyway, he was trying to tell me something while I was yawning and stretching. I said, "Wait a second, I couldn't hear anything just then. Say that again?"

      Instead of repeating what he'd just asked me, he said, "Now that's a Daily Apple right there. How come you can't hear anything while you're yawning and stretching?"

      Jehoshaphat, here is that Daily Apple.

      • I couldn't find any one source that explained this exactly, but my theory is that the reason you can't hear while yawning and stretching is two-fold.
      • First, when you yawn, your Eustachian tube opens.

      Sound normally enters the ear through the ear canal and the ear drum. The Eustachian tube beneath the middle ear opens and closes to regulate air pressure in the middle ear.
      (Diagram from WebMD)

      • When you yawn under regular circumstances, there's no issue related to pressure imbalance, so it's not pressure difficulties that are obstructing your hearing. It's the opening of the Eustachian tube itself.
      • The top of the Eustachian tube opens into the middle ear. But the bottom end of the Eustachian tube leads to the pharynx, or the back of the throat. So when the Eustachian tube opens, you get input coming into the middle ear from two sources: from the ear canal and off the eardrum as usual, but also up from the pharynx. Having that other opening into the middle ear reduces the middle ear's ability to amplify sound and everything takes on a hollow, echoing sound.

      Lots of stuff on this diagram, but I'm including it only to show you that the Eustachian tube connects to the pharynx. There are surprisingly few diagrams that depict this very well.
      (Diagram from James on the CPAP forum)

      • Another thing that happens when the Eustachian tube is open is that you have less of a buffer blocking out the internal sounds from your body.
      • People who suffer from a rare condition called a Patulous Eustachian Tube have their Eustachian tubes open all the time. They have trouble hearing because, with the tubes open, the sounds of their own body are a lot louder: the sound of their own breathing, the sound of their own voice, even the sound of their blood flow. It can be so unbearable, they can suffer from depression and even thoughts of suicide.
      • Fortunately, when we yawn, the Eustachian tube is open only briefly, so it's only temporary and not a persistent condition. But to summarize, yawning makes the sounds of our interior workings get a bit louder.
      • I also noticed, though, that this can happen even if there's no yawning involved. Sometimes if I only stretch -- no yawn, just my arms above my head and stretch mainly my torso and my neck and my arms -- I experience the same thing. A deep, rushing rumbling begins in my ears and gets louder as the stretch extends. Once I drop my arms and the stretch stops, the noise in my ears stops and I can hear again.
      • This is where the second part of the process comes in, and this is my theory. I'll take you through my logic step by step.
      • Yawning increases blood flow to the brain.
      • Stretching increases blood flow, even more than yawning.
      • All kinds of huge arteries run up the neck, right along the ears.

      Arteries in the head and neck, sending blood up past the ears to the brain.
      (Image from The Home Cyclopedia of Health and Medicine)

      • When you stretch, especially if the stretch involves the neck, a lot more blood than usual rushes up those arteries, right next to your ears.
      • So I think that when you stretch, your hearing gets blocked out because what's happening is exactly what it feels and sounds like: tons more blood than usual is rushing past your ears and all you can hear is that.

      Yawning and stretching like this, she really wouldn't hear a thing.
      (Photo from dailybooth)

      • So, putting it all together, when you yawn and stretch, you're opening the Eustachian tube which increases your ear's sensitivity to internal sound to begin with. Stretching increases the blood flow and thus the noise of the blood rushing past your ears. With the Eustachian tubes open, all that blood rushing past sounds extra-loud, and you can't hear anything else.

      That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

      Science Ray, Why Can't We Hear Well When We Are Yawning?
      CafeMom, Why can't your hear when you yawn or stretch?
      Blausen Med,, How Does Ear Pressure Work?
      Mark C. Loury, MD, Eustachian Tube Patency
      Finding a Solution for Patulous Eustachian Tube
      Gallup & Gallup, Yawning as a Brain Cooling Mechanism,
      Evolutionary Psychology, 2007. 5(1): 92-101

      Sunday, August 7, 2011

      Apple #540: Kosher

      A friend of mine got a box of that new Smurfs cereal the other day. I was looking at the nutrition information and the box in general when I noticed the Kosher symbol on the box. I said, "At least it's kosher."

      My friend laughed and said, "Of course it is. There's no meat in there."

      I said, "I think kosher is about more than just meat. I think it's actually kind of complicated."

      He was skeptical, but since I couldn't remember any details, I couldn't bolster my argument further. So it was time to call on the Apple Lady. (Who is me, yes, but just go with it for the sake of the phrase.)

      • Kosher, or Kashrut, is a series of dietary laws as indicated by the Torah (to us Gentiles, that's the first five books of the Bible). These laws are supposed to be kept year-round.
      • Kosher does cover many more foods than just meat. A lot more.
      • Kosher laws can be broken down into two main categories: foods you can and can't eat, and how the food you can eat must be prepared.

      Foods You Can and Can't Eat
      • You can eat the meat, milk, and eggs of some animals but not of others.
      • Land animals are kosher if they have split hooves and chew their cud. Both of these things must be true.
      • --Examples of kosher animals are cows, sheep, goats, various types of deer, and bison.
      • --Animals that don't meet this criteria include pigs, rabbits, squirrels, dogs, cats, horses, camels, etc.
      • The rules covering birds are fairly complex, but basically you can't eat predatory or scavenger birds.
      • --Birds you can eat include chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and pigeons.
      • --Birds that are restricted include hawks, crows, vultures, etc.

      This is a sheet of stickers of kosher animals. A helpful way to remember which meat and poultry are kosher.
      (Photo and 10-pack of sticker sheets from And Thou Shalt Read)

      • Fish and seafood must have fins and scales.
      • --Tuna, salmon, pike, flounder, carp, and herring are all kosher seafood.
      • --Shellfish, lobster, catfish, sturgeon, and all water mammals are not kosher.
      • No reptiles, amphibians, or worms are kosher.
      • No insects, except for four types of locusts, are kosher. This last law is one of the things that makes food preparation complicated.
      • From all of the above kosher animals except fish, no blood can be eaten. This is another law that affects food preparation.
      • Wine or grape juices made by Gentiles are not to be eaten.
      • --Long ago, lots of non-Jews used wine as sacrificial offerings to their gods. The Jews wanted nothing to do with this idolatry, so to be sure they had no part in it, they didn't want to drink any wine or even grape juice that had been made for pagan purposes.
      • --Whole grapes are OK
      • --Any fruit juice flavored with grape juice may not be OK; it must be certified kosher.
      • --Baking powder is made with cream of tartar, which is a by-produce of wine-making. Baking powder therefore must be certified kosher.
      • --Beer flavored with fruity grape products must be certified kosher.

      Most people think of Manischewitz as the only kosher wine. But there are lots of kosher wines. Here are just a few.
      (Photo from

      How Food Must be Prepared
      • Animals and birds that are kosher have to be slaughtered in specific ways.
      • --They have to have been slaughtered; they can't have died of natural causes or have been killed be another animal.
      • --The slaughter must be done using a very sharp blade with no nicks, and the animal must be killed with one quick, deep stroke of the knife across the throat. This is to ensure that the death is as humane as possible.
      • --If there are any signs of disease, the animal cannot be eaten.
      • --The animal must also be inspected for "flaws in the organs." Flaws may include adhesions or punctures in the lungs, or adhesions or holes in the stomach. If the animal has these or other flaws, the animal cannot be eaten.

      The shochet, or butcher, checking the knife in between each slaughter, or shechita. It's hard to see here, but the knife is flat and broad and rectangular.
      (Photo from Pidyon, which has photos of the entire shechita process)

      • Since no blood can be eaten (this doesn't apply to fish), the blood must be removed from the meat.
      • --Most of the animal's blood drains out with the quick knife-stroke to the neck.
      • --Still there may be some blood left. The best way to remove the rest is either to broil, soak, or salt the meat. This has to be done within 72 hours of the slaughter.
      • --No blood also means that blood spots in eggs are not to be eaten.
      • The sciatic nerve and its adjoining blood vessels are also not to be eaten.
      • --It takes a lot of time and effort to remove these, so usually the entire hind quarters of the animal are removed and sold to non-kosher butchers.
      • The fat surrounding the vital organs and the liver may not be eaten.
      • Because of all the rules surrounding the slaughter of animals, in rural communities, the rabbi and the butcher are often the same person.

      Anything Kosher that Touches Non-Kosher Becomes Non-Kosher
      • This is another rule that falls within food preparation, but it gets so pervasive, I thought it deserved its own heading.
      • Once you've got your kosher meat slaughtered and butchered appropriately, you then must make sure that meat and dairy are to be kept separate.
      • --Fish and dairy together are OK (e.g., lox and cream cheese bagels are OK). Red meat and dairy or poultry and dairy together are not.
      • --This means they can't be on the same plate at the same time, nor can they be prepared using the same utensils or pans.
      • --Dishes used to prepare each must be washed in separate dishwashers, and sponges or towels used to clean the dishes must be kept separate.
      • --You should also ensure that all the meat and its fats are removed from your mouth before eating dairy.
      • --You can do this by rinsing your mouth, eating a neutral food like bread in between, or else by waiting three to six hours in between.

      Setting up your kitchen so that it's in compliance with the laws of kosher, including the separation of meat and dairy, can be an extremely involved, extensive process. For a list of things to do to make this happen, see's page on Koshering Your Kitchen.

      • Because separating meat and dairy becomes so extensive that it affects pretty much everything in the kitchen and in the laundry, food and utensils are often labeled to indicate to which they belong:
      • --fleishik = meat
      • --milchik = dairy
      • --parve or pareve = neutral
      • In general, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and grains are parve.

      Various ways of labeling a food parve.
      (Images from Anagrammer)

      • Parve becomes a pretty important indication.
      • --It means the food is neither meat nor dairy, so you can eat it between the two and allow yourself to eat one within 3-6 hours of the other.
      • --It also means that this neutral food has been handled in a way that it's within the laws of kosher. That is, it hasn't touched a non-kosher food and thus become out of bounds.
      • Fruits and vegetables seem like they'd automatically be kosher/parve, but bugs like fruits and vegetables too, and remember, all insects (except for 4 types of locusts) are not kosher.
      • --Fruits and vegetables therefore must be inspected for bugs and carefully cleaned prior to eating.
      • With modern, processed foods, you've got people making foods in huge batches in huge kitchens with utensils that could have touched all sorts of non-kosher foods, or situations in which meat and dairy products could have been prepared using the same equipment. So lots of ingredients that you might not think of as affected by the laws of kosher actually can become questionable, if not problematic.
      • --Shortenings and oils. Are they animal or vegetable? Are they produced in a plant that does both? If so, are the utensils for animal and vegetable oils kept separate?
      • --Emulsifiers. These may also be animal or vegetable and the same questions apply. They're named as polysorbates or glycerides or sorbitans, most often the things on a label that you can't pronounce. They're in all sorts of processed foods, from margarine to doughnuts to cake mixes to ice cream to peanut butter to breakfast cereals (ahem) to candies.
      • --Flavorings. Sure, the label says "all-natural." But is it animal or vegetable? How was it prepared? Same questions apply.

      The fact that this rice-based cereal has a kosher symbol on the box actually means a lot. A great deal of thought and effort and inspection is behind that certification.
      (Photo by Joshua Coughlin at Flickr. He says this is the 80s version of the cereal, but it's not. It's the 2011 version.)

      In sum, these laws are quite extensive. I'm sure I haven't even captured all of them here. The ramifications of the rules extend throughout kitchens and the laundry. With modern food manufacturing and processing methods, it's nearly impossible to know if a food has been prepared according to kosher standards.

      There are companies whose sole purpose is to send kosher investigators to food manufacturers to inspect their methods and utensils to determine whether the laws of kosher are being upheld or not. If a manufacturer's product line passes the inspection, these companies then certify the company's product with the kosher or parve labels. This is done on a product-by-product basis.

      The K in the circle is the most widely-known symbol for kosher food. But there are all sorts of symbols that indicate kosher certification.
      (Image from Burton 2 at MIT)

      Many of these rules turn out to be beneficial to your health, for one reason or another. Some non-Jews choose kosher-labeled packages because to them, that's an indicator that the food was made according to procedures that are healthy and clean. But the sites I consulted about this were very careful to say that health and cleanliness are not the primary reasons why Jews keep kosher. They do it because the Torah says to.

      Judaism 101, Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws, Kosher, Kosher Basics and multiple subsequent pages
      Orthodox Union, How do I know it's Kosher?

      Monday, August 1, 2011

      Apple #539: Owls

      It is high time I talked about owls.

      Growing up, I never saw a single owl in the wild. I saw maybe one in a zoo. When I was in college walking through campus, my housemate who was knowledgeable about such things grabbed my arm, pointed at some big bird flying overhead and said, "Do you know what that is?! That's a snowy owl! Do you know how rare those things are?" I didn't. I also didn't really get a very good look at it.

      Then about five years ago, I saw an owl. For real. It was a little one with yellow eyes, standing in the middle of a busy road across from a high school. Some kids were trying to shoo it out of the road with their skateboards so that it wouldn't get hit by a car, but boy, that owl looked MAD. I was in my car waiting to turn onto that road, and at one point, the owl swiveled its head and aimed its bright yellow super-angry eyes right at me. Whoo, that was intense.

      Since then, I've seen four other owls, two of them in the past week.

      Some people are freaked out by owls. I happen to think they're really cool.
      (Photo from Just Bird)

      • Worldwide, there are 215 species of owls. Only 19 live in North America. (There are 2 others but they've each been seen only twice ever.)
      • Michigan and Ohio are tied for the highest number of owl species: 12.

      Believe it or not, there is an owl in this picture. It's a barred owl, and you can see it blurrily in the distance. This picture was taken in mid March when the buds are just barely beginning to show. It was late afternoon, and I remember being surprised to see an owl in the daytime.
      (Photo by the Apple Lady)

      • Owls can't really rotate their heads 360 degrees. They can turn them 270 degrees, though, which is pretty dang far. They can do this courtesy of their 14 neck vertebrae. Humans, by comparison, have only 7.
      • The visible "ear tufts" don't actually have much to do with hearing. Owls' ears are actually located underneath their feathers on either side of the head, just below the eyes.
      • The fact that their ears are under their feathers does not impair their hearing. On the contrary, their hearing is superb. Some owls can hear sounds so tiny and distant, they can detect prey moving beneath the snow.

      What an owl's actual ear looks like. In this photo of this Northern Saw-whet Owl, you can see the black beak of the owl and, in the shadow of her middle finger, where the eye is. That will help you get a sense of where on the owl's head the ear is located.
      (Photo from ohio birds and biodiversity)

      The other weird thing about owl ears is that they're asymmetrical. The ear on one side is higher than the other. Since the sound arrives at each ear at slightly different times, the owl is able to pinpoint the source of the sound much more accurately.
      (Diagram from Tucson Citizen)

      • As you may recall from the entry about birds in the rain, the way a lot of branch-perching birds' feet work is that their toe and leg muscles are at rest in the branch-clutching position. The same is true for owl feet.
      • Their toes, equipped with very large and sturdy talons, are at rest in a clutching position, which makes it much easier for them to latch onto and pick up prey. Where we would have to clench our hands very hard to hang onto a small animal, owls really aren't clenching that hard at all. That's simply what their feet do when they're resting.

      Talons of a Great Horned Owl. They have three forward-facing "toes" and one back-facing toe, kind of like a thumb, which together make a very effective claw. The feathers hanging down over the toes help the owl "feel" the prey as they get close.
      (Photo from Jim Williams at the StarTribune)
      (There's an even more impressive photo of talons in the Owls of Ohio PDF)

      • Owls' eyes are relatively enormous. In some species, they represent 5% of the bird's total mass. The fact that their eyes are so large is one of the reasons they're able to see so well at night. Think: if you want to take a photo in low light, you have to open the aperture very wide. An owl's eyes are like very wide-open apertures.
      • Owls do most of their hunting at night, but not always. They may also hunt at dawn or at dusk. Snowy owls, who live so far north there are days when it doesn't get dark, hunt during the day.
      • People often say that owls fly soundlessly or silently. The last two owls I've seen, both in flight, weren't perfectly soundless, but they were pretty close. It's a little disturbing to see a bird that huge take off from a branch and fly through close leaves and branches and make barely a sound.
      • The reason owls are so quiet in flight is because of the way their feathers are made. The leading edge of their primary flight feathers have comb-like or fringe-like extensions called "flutings" or "fimbriae." The flutings break the air turbulence that rushes over the wing into smaller groups which effectively shifts the sound of the wing beats to a higher frequency that is harder for most animals to hear. See a close-up of the comb edge of an owl feather here.
      • Owls also don't weigh very much for their size. This means they don't have to flap their wings as much as other large birds would, which also keeps their flight quieter.
      • It's not that hard to hear owls call, on the other hand, if you know where and when to listen. Find someplace rural, free of other ambient noises. Go on a windless evening. Your chances will be best in early winter through spring, which is when owls are nesting and most likely to call to each other.
      • Female owls have higher-pitched voices than male owls. If you hear two owls calling back and forth, the higher-pitched is a female, the lower-pitched is a male.
      • Since many owls commandeer the nests of other birds, most other birds don't like owls. If you see a bunch of crows "mobbing" something and all of them are cawing and going after something, it may be an owl in the center of the mob that they're trying to chase off. Smaller birds like chickadees and nuthatches will do the same thing.

      Some Common Species of Owls

      Barn owls

      Barn owls with their apple-peel faces, maybe getting their polygamy on
      (Photo from Just Bird)

      • Their faces look to me like peeled apples.
      • Other people say they are "monkey-faced" or have a "heart-shaped face"
      • No ear tufts
      • Almost entirely nocturnal
      • They eat mice and voles
      • They like grasslands, marshes, and meadows, areas which are often converted into farmland
      • They do like to nest in barns
      • Barn owls are polygamous

      Barred owls

      This is a barred owl in early May. I was surprised to see an owl out and about during the day time, but apparently this is not so uncommon. This owl sat and stared at me while I took picture after picture. I took about 10 pictures, and this owl kept an eagle eye (har har) the entire time. But it didn't fly away.
      (Photo by the Apple Lady)

      • Named for the variegated-colored feathers across their chests which look like bars
      • Are the only other species besides barn owls that have dark eyes
      • Like to live in forests near ravines or swamplands
      • They like to eat mice and voles but also occasionally amphibians or fish
      • They're very vocal, especially shortly after nightfall
      • Their most recognizable call sounds like who cooks for you

      Here's a better picture of a barred owl. You can really see the bars, or variegations in color.
      (Photo from Birds242)

      Screech owls

      Eastern screech owl
      (Photo by Angela Bartels at the San Antonio Audubon Society)

      • Generally smaller with prominent ear tufts
      • Eyes have large yellow irises with dark pupils
      • Eastern variety lives in the US as far west as the Rockies
      • West of the Rockies, they're the Western Screech Owl
      • Whiskered Screech Owls live in Central America, Arizona, and New Mexico
      • They may be gray, red, or brown
      • They like to live in areas with scattered trees, a mix of open woods and fields, and nearby streams
      • They eat all kinds of things -- other small birds, amphibians, bugs, crayfish, minnows, even catfish
      • They don't actually screech; vocalizations are more like whistles

      Great Horned Owl

      Female Great Horned Owl. A guy named Alek took all sorts of pictures of the Great Horned Owls who built a nest near their house.
      (Photo by Alek Komarnitsky)

      • One of the largest species of owl
      • Weighs about 3 pounds, but 22 inches long and with a wingspan of 44 inches
      • Prominent ear tufts
      • Females are larger than males
      • Because they're so large, they can capture rather large animals.
      • Mostly they eat rabbits, but they also eat muskrats, woodchucks, rats, ducks, pheasants, reptiles, and occasionally they will capture house cats.
      • They are one of the few predators that will eat skunks
      • If you smell a strong skunk odor and it seems to be coming from the air, if you follow the scent, it will probably lead you to a Great Horned Owl's nest in a tree where it has taken its dinner.
      • They like to nest in large cemeteries, especially near the top of large conifer trees. They also like tall trees cottonwoods or sycamores alongside streams or marshes.

      One way to spot a Great Horned Owl nest is to look for the ear tufts sticking up
      (Photo by Alek Komarnitsky)

      Snowy Owl

      Snowy owl, looking regal, its black markings visible
      (Photo by Richard Jackson, at Paul Asimow's snowy owl page)

      • Made famous by Harry Potter's Hedwig
      • Snowy owls are about the same size as Great Horned Owls, though females are even larger
      • White with a few black markings
      • Young snowy owls can be almost all black though their faces will be all white
      • No ear tufts
      • As you might expect, they're most commonly seen in the winter
      • They like rocky walls next to big, open landscapes
      • Large groups of snowy owls have been spotted near airports or harbors
      • Their favorite food is lemmings. They'll also eat ducks, seagulls, rats, or voles

      Here's a snowy owl in flight. Those legs are huge!
      (Photo from Animal Wildlife)

      In many cultures, owls symbolize wisdom. In Greek mythology, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, was so impressed by the owl's large eyes and solemn appearance, she chose the owl as her favorite. (The fact that owls lived in the Acropolis in huge numbers probably had something to do with it, too.) More recently, people connect the owls' nocturnal behavior with the scholars' late-night studiousness.

      Athena was rarely depicted with an owl, but here is a (later) bronze statue of Athena and her owl. Athena might be my favorite of the Greek goddesses. She was bad-ass.
      (Photo from

      Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Owls of Ohio
      West Virginia University Cooperative Extension, Night Birds -- Owls
      Deane Lewis, The Owl Pages, Owl Feathers and Flight, Owls in Mythology and Culture
      Tucson Citizen, Western Screech Owl, a feisty little raptor, September 24, 2010