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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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backyard wildlife

Strangers in the Night

Crickets don't really sing. The females are silent, and when males want to croon they don't clear their throats... they rub their wings together, kind of like snapping fingers. Very hip. So maybe it would be more accurate to say their wear their hearts on their sleeves. Except they don't have sleeves. Or arms. Or hearts.

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Enter the term "engineering marvels" into your favorite search engine and you'll see there's some debate over the Top 10 but several projects always seem to hit the mark, such as Dubai's Palm Islands, the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva,... Continue Reading →

Endemic Immigrants

Descendants of German immigrants are living in the city park a couple of blocks from my loft. Nobody in this historic St. Louis neighborhood seems to mind, least of all me. In fact, this family has had an encampment there... Continue Reading →

Small, Dark & Handsome

Once upon a time, when I was a girl, I was far more interested in frogs than in fairy tales. I wasn't all that enchanted by the Disney princesses of my 1960s childhood, either — Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty. Maybe... Continue Reading →

Blue Period

Picasso was feeling low. Following the suicide of his friend and occasional roommate, the painter Carles Casagemas, Pablo plunged into a rock-bottom depression that lasted more than 3 years. During this time (1901 to 1904), the vividly extroverted artist faded... Continue Reading →

Pieris Pipette

As Dash, my canine coach, and I were walking earlier this week, I noticed small, pale butterflies along the sunnier sections of our path. I decided to come back on my own while Dash was having his post-walk breakfast at... Continue Reading →

Exceptional

"He sure does have a chip on his shoulder!" That statement is a metaphor... ... except when it isn't. Taken literally, this idiom for describing someone looking for a fight may also refer to the ornamental insignia on a military... Continue Reading →

Bird is the Word

Hey all you Blueberry Hill Jacks and Jills! Check out this crazy crooner and his backup chicks with their keyboard-themed threads and choreographed grooves!  Good Golly, Miss Molly, this nifty summer act is a blast!  Give the Black-and-White Warblers (Mniotilta... Continue Reading →

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