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www.PamRotella.com

Click to visit VeggieCooking.com Pam's past fun links of the month!

June 2016:   Although the DC eagle nest is still going, it's time for some new fun links! The office crowd will appreciate A Video Conference Call in Real Life. Also A Conference Call in Real Life, Every Meeting Ever, and Email in Real Life.

And while it's not very "fun," last year's documentary Soaked in Bleach (about the suspicious 1994 death of musician Kurt Cobain) covers some interesting facts.

March - May 2016:   Watch the new chicks on the
Washington, DC bald eagle cam, with the very real warning posted that "This is a wild eagle nest and anything can happen... Things like sibling rivalry, predators, and natural disaster can affect this eagle family and may be difficult to watch."

September 2015:   Last month's fun link featured a Republican, and so this month features Democratic candidate Jim Webb, with this attempt at humor by the Washington Post (it's about as funny as The Post gets, which is somewhat humorous).

Also, the panda cam at the National Zoo, with a new cub to watch!

August 2015:   In the spirit of the 2016 Republican presidential debates starting this month, Republican Candidate Dr. Ben Carson shows his steady hand playing the "Operation" game.

Also, a little classic SNL from the 90s, with   SNL's old skits on the original Clinton-Bush-Perot debates and Ross Perot's "joyride".

July 2015:   After not updating the main page for nearly a year, I'm beginning 2015's new "fun link of the month" rotation with   brown bears, now active at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. There are other good wildlife cam links available on the same page, including pandas and African wildlife.

April - August 2014:   The   Minnesota Eagle Cam is active, although the wind can be loud at times. But don't turn your volume all the way down, or you'll miss the occasional eagle calls.

March 2014:   Rowe Sanctuary's Crane Cam (the same fun link as last year) has best viewing at dawn and sunset, as that's when the cranes are most likely to be in the river.

February 2014:   The Mardi Gras Parade Cam will be active during the end of February and beginning of March.

January 2014:   I left the National Zoo's Giant Panda Cam up.

December 2013:   After the government shutdown in October, I thought it'd be good to visit the National Zoo's Giant Panda Cam.

Also Operation Migration's whooping cranes are on their way to Florida (usually the migration can be seen about 1/2 hour after sunrise, weather permitting), and if the cranes aren't flying, Ustream has several other good animal cams.

October - November 2013:   The Colbert Report's government shutdown wedding. Remember that my first monthly fun link for this site was the San Diego Zoo's Panda cam, which is still running despite the National Zoo's panda cam going dark from the government shutdown.

Also Operation Migration's whooping cranes are on their way to Florida (usually the migration can be seen about 1/2 hour after sunrise, weather permitting), and if the cranes aren't flying, Ustream has several other good animal cams.

September 2013:   Operation Migration's crane cam shows young whooping cranes who are training for their upcoming ultra-light-led migration to Florida.

But I linked to OM's whooping crane cam last year, and so I'm also including Micah plays Aaberg, a young pianist pounding out a great rendition of Philip Aaberg's Every Deep Dream. It reminds me of my own childhood, when I'd sneak into the living room as my spectator-shy teenage sister was practicing piano. Day after day I'd sit on the couch, quietly listening behind her -- until she discovered that she was being watched and threw me out. It was always a great free concert!

I especially liked listening to her version of Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag," although so far I haven't found a child's version of the song on YouTube that was quite the same. She was an accomplished pianist even as a teenager, giving lessons to other children and even a few adults.

And so I'm also including a quick YouTube tour of "Maple Leaf Rag" renditions. I'm sure there are others just as nice on YouTube, but there were so many that I didn't have time to listen to them all. I'll start with a couple of versions played by adults that were fun, and then link to children's renditions, all good pianists for their age. (It's not an easy tune to play.) There are commercials on some of these videos, but you can click the link to skip them after the first few seconds:
1.) This one claims it was recorded on Pianola Roll and actually played by Scott Joplin. It's so good that I can believe it.
2.) Marc Soares' "Maple Leaf Rag played on 20 Pianos" during the Toronto Street Pianothon in 2012.
3.) Maple Leaf Rag Saxophone quintet - Hey, I didn't say they'd all be on the piano.
4.) Piano Kids 3, H.G. Heumann
5.) Little Kid Playing Maple Leaf Rag
6.) 13 year old Ben plays Maple Leaf Rag @ Disneyland
7.) Michael Lu, 10 years old, at "Syncopation"
8.) Cassidy and Kayla Doan Piano Duet

August 2013:   Explore.org has many animal cams -- birds, pandas, polar bears, dolphins, whales, whatever's in season!

May - July 2013:   The TOP of the Xcel Energy Bird Cam page has links to several bird cams. Although it's early in the season, at least one nest is already active.

March - April 2013:   Rowe Sanctuary's Crane Cam -- I found this link on Operation Migration's web site, and the sounds were amazing, even when there weren't many birds on camera. This cam is operational during the sandhill crane migration stop along the Platte River in Nebraska. Viewing seems to be best right after dawn, and just before dusk.

February 2013 (the second of two fun links of the month, after Mardi Gras was over):   Obama sings Sweet Home Chicago at White House blues reception -- Not bad for a president.

February 2013 (one of two fun links of the month):   The Mardi Gras Parade Cam should be enjoyable during the parades in New Orleans this month. Scroll down the page for the parade cam's schedule.

August - December 2012:   Operation Migration's crane cam. These captive-bred, costume-reared, endangered whooping crane chicks were being trained to follow an ultra-light aircraft, which would lead them to Florida on their first winter migration. This crane cam followed them through their training, a part of their migration to Florida, their release in Florida in December 2012, and their many returns to costumed "parents" in their open release pen after that.



July 2012:   The crane chick cam at ICF allows a peak into the whooping crane captive breeding program, with costumed handlers raising crane chicks for release into the wild. (Costumes prevent the birds from imprinting on humans.) Also, the Minnesota Bound Loon cam is still active.

June 2012: With this month's Wisconsin recall election, it's a good time to revisit the great protest art from the Banned "Art in Protest" show.

Also, there's still some activity on last month's birds' nest cams (all have ads before they start): 1.) UW-Madison's Red-Tailed Hawks; 2.) Cornell's blue herons; and 3.) Minnesota Bound's Loons.

May 2012: Birds' nest cams are available this time of year, and so this month I'm posting links to three (all have ads before they start): 1.) UW-Madison's Red-Tailed Hawk Nest Live Webcam (also a link to background info); 2.) Cornell's blue heron cam; and 3.) The Minnesota Bound Loon Cam (WARNING: This one has an ad with loud sound.)

March - April 2012: I posted an article and photo gallery on the "Art in Protest" show in Madison this month, which had quite a few humorous and artistic protest signs on display. Also, some may enjoy an article on the first protest I covered, over 25 years ago. (Bonus: Another rally on the same campus 5 years later, starring someone we all know!)

February 2012: For a while I had the Mardi Gras cam from nola.com up, but Mardi Gras is a very temporary thing. And so President Obama singing Sweet Home Chicago (or at least a couple of lines) at a White House blues reception with B.B. King became the "fun link" for late February and early March. Note that the video/audio starts playing on this page without the reader taking any action.

January 2012: The Pachelbel Rant, mentioned in one of my news comments last month after another Democracy Now! tribute to Yip Harburg discussed Pachelbel's chords in Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

December 2011: Although I'm not sure if the war is really over in Iraq, or whether there are plans to start new wars elsewhere, I suppose it's appropriate to link to John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" song with war footage. Note that this version has graphic war scenes -- the same included in the previous fun links version, that YouTube has since deleted. Happy Christmas! War is over! (Now, how about the war in Afghanistan...?)

Autumn 2011: After the summer eagle season had ended, I reverted to Africam until I had time to find something new.

June 2011: The eagle cam from Hornby Island has sound, and it's still a wild eagle's nest. (There is a commercial with sound before the web cam starts.) Because the island is farther north and colder than Norfolk, Virginia, the eagles there started their nest later than the Norfolk eagles, and so the chicks are still pretty young. However, last year only one chick survived to fledge -- it may not be like Norfolk where the parents consistently raised all 3 chicks in past years. You may see one chick push the other out of the nest when it's old enough, as eagle chicks sometimes do. And The Eagle Cam of the Norfolk Botanical Garden still shows the three chicks who lost their mother to an airplane collision earlier this year, now located at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Hopefully they can eventually be released into the wild as planned.

May 2011: With no time to update the site for the past several months, I'd left the fun link as Africam, a worthy collection of animal cams with great sound and occasional wild animal sightings in Africa. But it's time to change the fun link to the The Eagle Cam from the Norfolk Botanical Garden. This year it comes with a sad story -- the mother eagle was hit by an airplane and died, so this year's three chicks were moved to Wildlife Center of Virginia, according to news posted on the Eagle Cam. Apparently they'll try to release the chicks into the wild after they're grown. The Norfolk eagle couple raised three chicks successfully during the previous year, but they did choose a location in the botanical garden which is right next to the airport. While I'd like to see more eagles in the garden in years to come, I'd rather they nest elsewhere if they're going to collide with planes.

August 2010: Africam, a selection of wild animal cams in Africa, some with night vision! Often the animals are far away from the camera, but the sounds are always incredible. (Sorry for all of the ads, but that's how they can fund such a reliable site. I've looked at many other animal cams that don't have anything online most of the time, but this one does. Observe the time zone difference, too -- for a good part of the day in the US, it's nighttime viewing in Africa.) Note that the blue heron nest cam in Washington state is still going (intermittently, it seems) at the beginning of August, and so I'm leaving it up. Aren't they pretty!

July 2010: The blue heron cam is still operating in Washington state. The herons have apparently located near transportation -- occasionally you can hear a passing train or airplane in the distance on this webcam. Also from last month, one eagle chick from Hornby Island hasn't quite fledged yet, and so there may be some viewing time left in July. Both web cams have sound!

June 2010: A repeat from last month -- The eagle cam from Hornby Island, with sound! Because that eaglet started later than The Norfolk Botanical Garden's Eaglets, there's still plenty of action at the Hornsby nest! (The Norfolk nest is occasionally visited, but the eagle cam will shut down at the end of June.) You can still check for other wild animal cams on Wild Earth TV.

May 2010: The Eagle Cam from the Norfolk Botanical Garden! This is a wild bald eagles' nest with three chicks! They're expected to start flying on their own by the end of May, so enjoy them while you can. If that eagle cam is too slow for you, check out The Eagles of Hornby Island, with sound! That eaglet is a little younger and will probably stick around longer than the Norfolk birds, although service can be spotty at times. It also doesn't have a live manned blog with people responding to questions on eagles, as Norfolk has. For more wild animal cams see Wild Earth TV.

April 2010: With Easter coming early this month, I'm reminded of a classic South Park episode, "Quintuplets," featuring Janet Reno in a bunny suit. (Of course, true to South Park's tacky nature, the Romanian agents mispronounce the Russian word for grandmother repeatedly -- accent on the FIRST syllable, it's BA-bush-ka, boys!) That episode aired right after Reno raided Elian Gonzalez' relatives' home in Miami to return the child to his father in Cuba. There was another memorable Easter special by South Park, the "Fantastic Easter Special," featuring the "Hare Club for Men". Of course, South Park is an incredibly tasteless and profane show, and should not be viewed by anyone easily offended.

March 2010: "Spring Time" by Jackie Matelski, Tabi Starjnski, Leslie Kim and Amanda May (Video) -- With Spring coming in the month of March, I chose this short rough animation by UW art students. There's a story behind it. When I walked into a Wisconsin coffeehouse over the holidays, I saw an amazing mural on a wall there. (I had withheld the name of this coffeehouse for the privacy of the artist, but it has now closed, and so I'll reveal that it was at Dunn Bros. coffee at 6430 Green Bay Road in Kenosha, WI. - PR 20-Aug-2010) It was a combination of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" and Munch's "The Scream," only with a red-orange theme and some creative changes. I was impressed, as I'd seen other artists' variations on "Starry Night" (e.g. there's one hanging on the wall at Daddy Maxwell's Arctic Circle Diner in Williams Bay, WI), and had considered eventually painting my own southwestern-themed "Starry Night" for my home. ("Eventually" as in, when I have time, which usually means years from now or never.)

Starry Night/Scream combo mural by Jackie Matelski I asked the barista who had painted it, and he pointed to the artist's signature -- a former employee of theirs turned art student at UW, Jackie Matelski. (Now folks, let the girl finish her college education -- don't be harassing her with requests to paint Starry Night variations on your walls... at least not until the summer when she doesn't have classes and could probably use the money.) So I started Googling her name to find any art she may have online. I found a few photos which were OK, and references to her ceramics, but nothing I liked as well as the mural pictured to the left. Also, I found the animation short linked to here which was obviously done for a class at UW. The teacher has uploaded other students' work, like The Route, Space Dance, Lonely, Picnic, Money Does Grow On Trees, Hot Potatoes, 3 Easy Ways to Cut in Line at the Supermarket, and Restless (this one's a little crude). I can't say they're as good as professional animation (hence the need for comedy writers), clearly they're just rough animation -- you can see where erasures were made, the figures are pretty crude and there's rarely color added. But they're SHORT, a little different, and kind of fun.

February 2010: A "Vegan Video" by Dan Piraro from www.bizarro.com -- after so many political "fun links," I thought we should have a vegetarian "fun link" for a change. After all, this is a VEGETARIAN "fun page."

January 2010: An ABC segment on Pat Robertson's Haiti remarks -- last month's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" fun link was of the noble variety, now this month's is more of the screw-up variety. I like this segment because it takes the time to juxtapose Robertson's Haiti remarks with other craziness the man has said through the years, for a sort of timeline effect. Of course with Robertson, there's too much material for anyone to fit it into just one news story.

December 2009: John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" song with war footage. (For those who can't handle the graphic war footage, here's a Christmas card version, and a Lennon snapshot version.)

A close second was the Mark Fiore cartoon "Obama Interruptus". It tries to poke fun at the war escalation in Afghanistan, announced just before Christmas 2009.


November 2009: South Park's famous "Starvin' Marvin in Space" episode -- although it has crude language and includes stereotypes of just about everyone, it does a great job of spoofing TV evangelist Pat Robertson (part of the flashback series of Pat Robertson's crazy remarks -- see archives from the first half of November 2009). This was selected after the Huff Post linked to clips of a new "South Park" episode spoofing Glenn Beck, and with Robertson's friend Bob McDonnell winning November's governor race in Virginia, I remembered that South Park makers enjoyed mocking Robertson's infamous frequent requests for money from his viewers.

Added bonus: After linking to South Park's "Starvin' Marvin in Space" episode, I complained that Ethiopian languages don't have "clicks." Even if they did, African language clicks don't sound like that, and so I decided to give my readers a listen to some REAL African clicks. Here's Miriam Makeba singing the "Click Song" in 1966 in the language of the Xhosa, one of the more populous ethnic groups that uses clicks. (Makeba died in November of 2008 after a concert in Italy.)


October 2009: "Yet Another '9/11 Was An Inside Job' Song".


August/September 2009: San Diego Zoo's Panda Cam with Bai Yun and her cute cub !


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