Thursday, December 22, 2011

Marcus Cove, Only in my Dreams, by Sharon Powell

While traveling the southern part of Florida’s coastline, I stumbled upon a favorite vacation spot just a few hundred miles off shore. Nestled amongst massive palm trees and white sandy beaches, rests a tropical paradise off the coast of the Bahamas Island.

Commercial fishermen and several immigrants live year round on the island, while cruise ships and tourist boats transport wayfarers from afar, who, like many of us enjoy taking part in the excitement found within island retreats. Customarily, many of those living on the Island own or operate small businesses within the community, where an outlet for scavenger hunting and treasured keepsakes is found. Contemporary housing and business development are common sites on the Island, and small schools are randomly located throughout the island allowing permanent residents the resource for supporting family while enjoying the uniqueness of coastal lifestyles.

While visiting earlier this year, I discovered one of the most exciting retreats available on the island. Undoubtedly, large populations of island tourists flock to spend time within the privacy of “Marcus Coves.” Travelers from every part of the globe rely upon the “Coves” special features to provide a week-end of fabulous adventures, while relaxing in the splendor of “white sandy beaches” and warm sunshine.

While visiting “Marcus Cove,” I noticed cabins surrounded by beautiful landscapes, allowing guests to become a part of the natural habitat found within most tropical settings and marine life. The island also provides an explosive view of botanical Gardens revealing “bright red “rhododendron,” bursting with color, as we escape to enjoy the passive sides of life.

For those enjoying an afternoon for nature hikes, the Botanical Gardens quite frequently cater to the needs of wild life, and it is not uncommon to find the colorful “Morpho” butterfly, flit from flower to flower while feeding on sweet nectar hidden amongst fields of velvet “ spiderwort,” and endless fields of tall wheat grasses.” Gazing upon what was once a caterpillar’s homeland, the winged insect now soars freely throughout the sky.

Most inhabitants of the tropics are very differet when compared to those living amongst the hustle and bustle of inner-city life. On a calm day, one might hear the faint chatter of “love birds” conversing with a neighboring “Toucan.” Or, perhaps you’ll find yourself sitting quietly watching thundering tides rush inland; only to see them fade into the surface of the sand, leaving in its midst a puddle of white grain and salty earth while young children watch their dreams come to life with sand castle and moats of days gone by.

Finding time to relax, I stretched my arms out high above me; feeling the warmth of the sun cover my body like a warm blanket. I couldn’t help but notice the paleness of my skin turn colorful shades of pink and red; only to feel the “blistery” aftermath rest atop my nose by day’s end. Peering down before me I notice the sands “tickling sensation” distract me as almond colored grains of time squish outward between polished toes and sand bur. Briskly, I run the path stretched far along the coastline, while morning showers fall above me, quenching the heat from my body, only to cease as quickly as it came.

The days pass quickly on Marcus Cove, and finally, we “awe” within the stillness of a “setting sun” as it slowly descends upon endless tides, sleeping until the birth of anew shines its guiding light into tomorrow. Contemplating the splendor of the day, I find myself searching for shelter, while hunger suddenly overwhelms me. Scents of “fresh pineapple and white fish” sear slowly over hot coals, then, linger freely throughout the night air while our mouths thirst for more.

Quietly, we settle in by warm fires; enjoying the sweet goodness of chilled coconut. Heavenly “Rains” fill the “hollowed nut;” soon to become too heavy a burden for support. Falling freely to the ground they lie amongst the splendor of palm leaf, and evergreen twig for all to enjoy. The faint sounds of island drums linger in the distance, while flames of desire seek gifts from the “Huntress,” dancing in rhythmic time.

I treasure the memories cast deep within me, vowing to hide them from pagans view. I’ll savor the moments spent on Marcus Cove, and remember its beauty and gentleness. I’ll find it again someday, encased safely within the seeds of life, then, relive the memory of that blessed day…..S.Powell, 2009

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Komodo Dragons & Lizards of Legend, by Sharon Powell

KOMODO  DRAGON                                   FRILED NECKED LIZARD

For centuries, dragons have been a significant part of life for various cultures around the world. Greek mythology, Ancient, and Middle Eastern cultures have portrayed the creature as symbols of wisdom, possessing supernatural powers and clairvoyant tendencies. Depictions of dragons date as far back as 600 B.C. Many movie and film series have also used the dragon as a symbol of fear, portraying them as evil creatures able to destroy entire cities and towns with a single breath of fire.

 A Japanese film classic, “Godzilla” sparked interest for many science fiction buffs of the 50’s. The film made its way into theaters during 1954 and has never stopped impacting the movie and film industry craze. The film is based upon a giant dragon caught in a turbulent storm descending upon the shores of “Tokyo Bay.” The dragon later wounds and kills hundreds of citizens before university scientists discover a method to kill the evil monster. The original film version was a low budget sci-fi for Japanese film makers, but has since made its way into contemporary movie theaters featuring sequels to the 1954 “Godzilla” classic. Believing that contemporary dragons are the dinosaurs of the past remains an essential characteristic into the mystical genre involving the world of mythology.

Komodo Dragons
     Although there are several species of reptile existing today, the “Komodo Dragon” pictured above is a fierce predator within the animal kingdom and is recorded for being the largest of reptile species in existence. The largest Komodo ever recorded weighed 336 lbs. and measuring 10.3 ft. in length. The Komodo are serious predators when hungry and often engage in cannibalism, consuming young hatchlings when food is scarce. According to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Komodo Dragons are endangered species due to the excessive poaching by Bushman regarding alternate food sources the dragon depends upon for survival. Komodo dragons originate from the Islands of Indonesia, and Mediterranean regions. Although they are not territorial animals, adult dragons have been found to remain within the same area for several years. Records indicate the lifespan for an average Komodo in the wild is between 10 to 12 years. The oldest Komodo ever recorded survived in captivity for 24 years.

     Like all reptiles, Komodo dragons are cold-blooded creatures and must depend upon the ultra violet rays of the sun for warmth. Most reptile species prefer warm temperatures, and dry climates for basking in the sunlight in order to maintain moderate body temperatures throughout the day. Climates found within tropical settings provide the necessary relief from excessive heat. A temperate range for the Komodo is between 82 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures reaching higher than 108 F. are found to be lethal for the dragon. 

     Female species of Komodo dragons do not reach sexual maturity until 9 years of age, and 10 years for the male, so selecting a mate does not pose a problem during mating season. On average, there are three females for every male Komodo population. The male and female Komodo may spend hours hissing and wrestling about until blood is drawn. The male has very little problem overcoming the female in battle and will employ a flicking motion with his forked tongue to initiate courtship. Most Komodo unions are developed during the months of May and August and can last for weeks until actual mating occurs. Once consummation is complete, a “clutching” of eggs is released, usually within the earlier part of spring, or third and fourth months of every year. The dragon will release a “clutch” of between eighteen to thirty eggs, and will spend the remaining nine months incubating them within a dugout filled with twigs and soil for protection from other predators. Hatchlings weigh little more than 3.5 ounces when born and measure approximately 16” in length. Newborns will scurry about consuming insects and worms until larger animals can be digested.

Hunting and Food
     Komodo are serious carnivores and can consume up to 80% of their total body weight during one meal. Feasting upon Wild Boar, Deer, and Buffalo are a delight for the dragon and will often be shared among the komodo population. The dragons are also known for their keen hunting ability, depending upon chemical queues and visual advantages for locating food. According to James Murphy and Claudia Ciofi, Komodo Dragons, Biology and Conservation, the dragons are able to see approximately 986 ft., establishing them as a fierce hunters. Komodo draw upon chemical queues within their environment that are significant advantages to hunting for prey. Hostile and aggressive behaviors are also common among Komodo when food is scarce. Dragons will often engage in battle when defending their food source, wherefore, biting, hissing and tumbling about in order to overcome the challenges associated with survival.

     Komodo dragons are scavengers by nature, and will consume most of what is available during in gestation periods, including the bones, hoof, and hide of their prey. Dragons are equipped with a deadly row of serrated teeth, capable of acting like a large knife in order to slice and tear meat from the bone. If bitten by a Komodo, chances are you will not survive without quick medical attention. Bacteria contained within the dragon’s venom contain 54 species of deadly bacteria, which immediately enters the bloodstream of their victim. Once an animal is wounded, bacteria will begin to attack the vital organs and death will most often occur within one week. Like most carnivores, the Komodo are attracted to blood and may single out pregnant prey using chemical queues and then monitoring their movements. The dragon will “snatch” the newborn from between the mother’s legs at birth. Although this unseemingly vicious act is unfortunate, survival for the endangered Komodo is reduced and remains an integral part of the ecosystem…...S. Powell, 2010

James Murphy, Claudio Ciofi, Colomba de la Panouse, Trooper Walsh. Komodo Dragons, Biology and Conservation, Smithsonian Institution Press, Wahington and London, 2002. John Netherton, David Badger, Lizards, A natural History of Uncommon Creatures, Voyageur Press, Stillwater, MN 2002.

Space Rock Mania, by Sharon Powell

Have you ever wondered if rocks really come from outer space? As a matter of fact, they do come from our solar system, and land on earth at high rates of speed more often than you may think. The proper term for rocks which come from our solar system is referred to as METEORITES. There are approximately 25 tons of dust which rains down on earth every day, and tiny pieces of Meteorite are contained within those dust particles. Large meteorites can travel at speeds of 25,000 mph when it hits earth.

According to Caroline Bingham, Eye Wonder, Rocks & Minerals:  Meteorites are pieces of rock or metal that hit earth. Some Meteorites break off into asteroids and large chunks of rock that orbit the sun between Mars and Jupiter. A renowned astronomer, known as “Galileo” was very interested in planet Jupiter, and quite often witnessed “Comets and Meteorites” orbiting the planet by using a high powered telescope.

Some of you may ask, “What does an Asteroid look like, and what is inside?” From earth, Asteroids look like tiny stars, or starfish. Once an “asteroid” hits the earth’s surface, it is examined to find out the level of metal contained within it. Scientists discovered that “asteroids” contain metals such as iron, in addition to rock material.

Comets can be seen from the earth, and are clearly visible at night. Comets are similar to a large fuzzy ball in the sky with a tail attached, and are visible when orbiting close to the sun. Although comets are natural wonders of the world, they contain dangerous gases, ice and dust particles. A comets tail can stretch as far as one hundred miles.  

Howard Schneider, National Geographic, Backyard Guide to the Night Sky, National Geographic Publishers, Washington, D.C., 2009.
Caroline Bingham, Eye Wonder, Rocks and Minerals, D.K. Publishing, New York, NY, 1962.

Inside Ancient Egypt, by Sharon Powell, 2011

Mysterious wonders surround a civilization more than three thousand years old. Great archeological finds reveal the truth of ancient man. Communication for the Egyptians was devised through a pictorial alphabet known as Hieroglyphs, and was used as a means to preserve their heritage to share with the world. Inscribed upon ancient stone are the scenes of great Pharaoh’s and their queen, or perhaps the farmer reaping the rewards of his harvest, or the astrologer; captivated by the twinkling of the stars.

Left behind and buried beneath mounds of earth and sand were beautiful works of art. Hidden treasures bearing the story of life were captured for all to enjoy. Precious gemstone and Jewelry hidden within magnificent tombs were left behind to defend the memory of rulers seeking the truths of eternal life.
Stretched far across the desserts of Egypt are miles of sand and excessive dry climates helping to preserve much of what was used in everyday life. Dead bodies were wrapped in linen bandages to protect the remains and then buried within the richness of natural resource as the art of mummification was passed onto modern man.  

Assuring your place in the afterlife was equally important to the Egyptians. It was believed the spirit of life lives on forever, and only the body succumbed to rot. Ancient Egyptian customs for burial can be better understood through the process of mummification. Preparing the dead for burial was a significant ritual lasting for more than thirty days. The body first needed to be drained of all fluids, which was done by severing the main arteries until the blood and water of life were expelled from the corpse. The internal organs were then removed and discarded; excepting the heart which was quite often placed inside the tomb.  
The morticians would then “coat” the body with a salt like substance found in near-by mountainous terrains known as natron. Natron is a fine white powdery substance used to remove moisture from the body. Coupled with the dry climates and Natron, the body was preserved much in the same way as today’s dehydration processes. The cavity was then filled with spices, herbs, and fine oils for the Pharaoh and queen to use once reaching their destination into the afterlife. Wrapped in fine linen bandages and decorated with jewels and precious gems, the ancients were laid to rest inside sculptured tombs prepared especially for them.

The spirit of the dead would soon transform itself into the spirit of Ka and Ba. These spirits were believed to be the memory of the deceased person where consciousness and individualism provided the magic powers needed to pass through stone by day then, peacefully return to rest at night. The coffins pictured above were placed inside the tomb and discovered thousands of years later. Although technology was not as advanced as today, the Egyptians were highly intelligent and held the key to the mysteries surrounding the great pyramids.

 Kent R. Weeks,Reeves, Wilkerson, Thames and Hudson, Valley of the Kings, London, New York, NY 1996.
 Neils Pemberton, Treasures of the Pharaohs
Lila Perl, The Ancient Egyptians
C.N. Reeves, The Complete Valley of the Kings Tombs and Treasures
Donald Ryan, Ancient Egypt, Penguin Group, New York, NY 2002.
Image, Chicago Field Museum, Chicago IL., Sharon Powell

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Obama's State of the Union Address 2011, Together, the future is ours, by Sharon Powell

 Obama’s State of the Union Address seemed to simplify the needs of both political parties. His motivational quests, and interests resounded on achieving full cooperation with one another by taking a genuine interest in ourselves and the welfare of our fellow Americans. His message may suggest that political party debates and working together may be delaying his plans for economical reform and progress for improving the future of America.

The President stressed America’s future is hopeful providing our people can become the “educational leaders and innovative experts of the world.” His message for achieving these goals rests heavily upon creating innovation in order to support American jobs. Obama feels by investing in Biomedical Research, and Clean Energy Acts, Americans can break dependency on foreign oil and improve the economy. One particular reform the President will present to congress this year, is to eliminate the billions of dollars currently provided to oil companies. By cutting off government support to these industries, 80% of our energy will come from clean energy reserves by 2035. This bill will also promote a wide spread interest in the use of “Electric Automobiles” by the year 2015.

Obama also silenced the crowd when announcing his proposal to “freeze” deficit spending for the next five years. This proposed freeze will involve cutting Community Action Programs, Military spending and Annual Domestic spending. Obama wants to cut programs that America can live without. The President feels by combating corruption which only “rots” the future of America, economic improvement and growth can be achieved.

The president also focused on Educational reform, the Transportation Industry and creating tactics for destroying barriers hindering companies from competing within the world.  Obama vows to simplify the system on tax rates and double our exports of foreign trade by 2014; claiming these progresses will create new jobs for more Americans. The President also painted a brighter picture in trade relations with “China and South Korea,” claiming 320,000 new jobs have been created for Americans in the coming year.

Obama sees America measuring its progress by successful opportunities made by our people; stating these are the projects we work on together in order to achieve stability.   Obama stressed the world has changed form 30 years ago, and Americans need to educate, and move our people into the future in order to achieve economical growth.......S. Powell 2011

1.) Issue of Healthcare, 2009

2.), 2009

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Street Rod Custom Cars, Big Boy Toys, by Sharon Powell

     Belief that the antique Junker pictured on the right would someday resemble the Firery Lime Custom Classic shown above is somewhat difficult to imagine. Car enthusiasts much like Henry Ford who built the first “self-propelled” Quadricycle can profess; pioneering spirits begin by combining creativity and skill in order to advance a nation of people. Fords Quadricycle consisted of a four-wheeled cart and gasoline engine which sparked growth within the automobile industry; followed by the mass production of automobiles and assembly lines. Others, much like Ford, dedicate their lives to perfecting the technological designs of public transportation while enjoying the rewards of Classic Car designs.

The Ford Legacy
     Henry Ford was no different in 1896 than many classic car enthusiasts found today. His innovative talents and contributions to the industry helped him establish the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Ford believed public transportation was an invaluable resource to society, enough so that he dedicated his life to automobile manufacturing. Ford became the Vice President and Chief Engineer for Ford Motor Company in 1910, and by 1918, half of all the cars in America were Model T’s. Although the Ford Motor Company remains one, of many car manufacturers operating within the world, their professional successes and engineered designs make them one of the leading car manufacturers found in America today.

     Every classic car buff will profess that it takes money, and a lot of patience and skill in order to produce the “Fiery Lime Green” classic like the one pictured above. According to Matt Deoden, Custom Cars, Lerner Publications; only a certain type of custom can be classified as a “true” custom car. According to Deoden, early hot rods were pretty rough looking, and factory built cars did not have much style says Deoden. Interior Design and body style are all a part of what makes the difference with each classic car. Most builders seek to find a specific type of car in order to give their design an exciting, and unique appeal to their audience.

Pimping Your Ride
     There are many visual aspects involved with custom car building, and in order to assure a car will qualify for most national car show events, builders must work to design the best looking model they can. Rebuilding custom cars begins with stripping the car of old paint and residue before new parts can be replaced and welded onto the newer model. The stripping process is necessary in order to modify the original body style and prepare it for the next stage of redesign. Some builders choose to “Channel” the body; meaning they drop the car lower to the ground, or shave the door handles in order to provide the car with a smooth and fine finish. Other builders prefer to replace the car’s engine with a more powerful V-8 model. Much like the newer trendy “Pro Street” designs, some builders enjoy using the “Ford Flathead V-8, or the Chrysler Fire Power Hemi, or a Chevy big block engine in order to give the car a unique design. Once the car has gone through the welding and parts replacement, the builder will then sand the metal to a fine finish in order to prepare the car for a new and “flashy” custom paint job.

     Who would have thought that engineers like Henry Ford, or Thomas Edison could have made such an impact on public transportation, but they did. Their names and life successes will remain an important part of social growth. Custom car builders and enthusiasts will always pay tribute to those responsible for the foundational strengths of industry within America.

To find out more about Custom car building, go to your local library or internet search engines at:;; or or Powell, 2011


1.) Doeden, Matt, Custom Cars, Lerner Publications Co., Minneapolis, MN, 2008

2.) McCollum, Sean, Custom Cars, The Ins and outs of Turners, Hot Rods, and Other Muscle Cars, Velocity-Capstone Press, Mankato, MN, 2010



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Galileo Galilei’s Vision, By Sharon Powell

     Have you ever wondered what Galileo Galilee noticed while gazing into the night sky? Some people might think the astronomer saw nothing at all. According to Howard Schneider’s, and National Geographic’s Backyard Guide to the Night Sky, Galileo was considered legally blind by the age of seventy.  Although his blindness was not caused from the suns rays, Galileo spent countless hours gazing into the earth’s atmosphere while discovering some simple, but very important facts about our solar system.

     Galileo was a famous inventor during the 17th. Century, and classified as physicist, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role within the world of science. Galileo was also professor of mathematics at the University of Padua from 1592-1610, instructing students on the concepts and functional processes of math.  Among Galileo's most famous inventions were the first high-powered telescope, a horse powered pump to draw water, and hydrostatic balance, making him a well known figure within the world of technology.

     Discoveries of the 17th. Centuries were often difficult for scientists. New methods of technology were questioned by officials, and church denominations who continually disputed the scientific theories Galileo presented. Although suffering much criticism throughout his career, Galileo’s work led to the development of new discoveries and helpful tools used today, including the 12 month calendar.

     There are many different kinds of telescopes in use today, but the basis of all, is to view objects from a distance. A Dutch eyeglass maker known as Hans Lippershey invented the first optical, or Refracting Telescope.  Refracting Telescopes magnify the object while bending light in order to bring the subject into focus.  Other models include the Reflecting Telescope, and Solar models. Reflecting Telescopes incorporate the use of mirrors to enhance magnification. Positioning and precision, are specifics found necessary in order to reflect the image into a single lens.  Solar Telescopes allow scientists to look directly into the sun without suffering damage from the effects of the suns rays.

     Galileo was a powerful and significant thinker, whose research laid the framework for the theory of relativity, and laws of motion. Future scientists, such as Sir Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein studied Galileo’s theories, and later redefined them as scientific knowledge.  To learn more about our solar system and Galileo’s study of Jupiter’s’ Moon’s go to your local library, or search engine……...S. Powell, 2011
1.) Howard Schneider, National Geographic’s Backyard Guide to the Night Sky; National Geographic Publishers, Washington, D.C., 2009.