Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Killer Whales

The orca, or "killer" whale is the largest member of the dolphin family. Orcas have long, rounded bodies with large dorsal fins at the middle of their backs. Their black bodies are marked with white patches on the underside and near the eyes.

The average male orca grows to 23 feet long and weighs 7 to 10 tons. Females average 21 feet long and weigh 4 to 6 tons. The worldwide population of orcas is unknown. But we do know that they live 30 to 50 years in the wild. Orcas are found in all the oceans of the world, but are most common in the Arctic and Antarctic and are often spotted off the west coast of the United States and Canada. They are also found in both coastal waters and open ocean.

Like dolphins, orcas use echolocation - bouncing sound off of objects to determine their location - to hunt and use a series of high-pitched clicks to stun prey. These mammals feed on fish, squid, birds, and marine mammals. Orca often work together to catch a meal. Sometimes they will force many fish into one area and take turns feeding or will beach (slide out of the water onto the shore) themselves to scare seals or penguins into the water where other whales are waiting to feed.

Orcas are very intelligent, social animals that travel in groups. the groups are called pods. Pods usually consist of 5 to 30 whales, although some pods may have a group of 100 or more. They establish social hierarchies. The pods are lead by females. The animals are thought to have a complex form of communication with different dialects (slightly different language) from one pod to another. Female Orcas carry their babies from 13 to 16 months before giving birth. A calf is born in autumn weighing almost 400 pounds and measuring up to 7 feet in length. A calf will remain with its mother for at least two years.

Scientists have found that Orcas are among the most contaminated marine mammals in the world. Pollution and chemical contamination cause them to get diseases easily and may prevent them from having babies. Find out more at: http://www.seaworld.org/

Research info gathered at: www.wikipedia.org

Now, here's an aquatic poem:

Mutants In The Heating System

In this scenario I pretend to be a stone wall deep
in the woods with one mystifying story to tell. She
makes out like she's the nearest speakeasy where
they dance the Charleston and drink bathtub gin.
The shoestring of swagger memorizing the entire
travel guide to Greece and the goddess fabled having
the power to forecast every dream to come. Churches
wear veils. Jewelry stores breathe fire. News from the
outside world arrives handcuffed or life is a secret
fraternity of wasp stings. Here's the part where the
audience has to assume common colds come only of
the powdered form and that the trees are fevered to
grow new leaves. On the other hand, surely is here
somewhere, riding in a gas balloon over the lake,
happiness, that has always been a childhood farm or
desire that could cobweb the wig- maker. Either way, a
sudden draft turns the page to eternal damnation which
is already dressed and made up for the role of Hamlet.

Poem first published at: http://www.listenlight.net/
Poem Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, simply called the 'QE2', is a retired Cunard ocean cruise liner, owned by Nakheel, a sub-company of Dubai World. The ship was named after the earlier Cunard cruise ship RMS Queen Elizabeth, and served as the top ship in the Cunard fleet from 1969 until it was succeeded by RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004.

Built in Clydebank, Scotland, by John Brown & Company at £29,091,000, she was the last great transatlantic ocean liner prior to the construction of the QM2 in 2003. Before she was refitted with a diesel power plant in 1986, she was also the last oil-fired passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic in ocean liner service. For 39 years the QE2 traveled the world as a cruise ship, with Southampton, England as home port.

The ship has a gross tonnage (GT) of 70,327 tons and is 963 ft (294 m) long. Her top speed was 32.5 knots (60.2 km/h) using her original steam turbine powerplant, increased to 34 knots (63 km/h) when she was re-engined with a diesel electric power plant in 1986-87. She was launched on Sept. 20, 1967 by Queen Elizabeth, using the same pair of gold scissors her mother and grandmother used to launch the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, two other famous Cunard ocean liners. The ship left on its maiden voyage on May 2, 1969 from Southampton to New York City. In 1982, it was used as a troop carrier for the Falklands War that Britain fought against Argentina. On Nov. 5, 2004 the QE2 became Cunard's longest serving ship, surpassing the RMS Aquitania’s which had been in service for 35 years.

One innovation that made her distinct from all other ships is her funnel, which has an upward turned wind scoop that uses the forward motion of the ship to push air directly up the flanks of the funnel to catch the exhaust and disperse it far above the passenger decks. The QE2 has had a number of interior refits and alterations. By the time of her retirement, the Synagogue was the only room that had remained unchanged since 1969, but even it was removed from the ship prior to her final sailing to Dubai.

Cunard sold the QE2 to the Dubai World Company for 50 million pounds (then $100 million). The company plans to anchor the ship off Palm Jumeirah, an artificial island off the Mideast emirate, and open it as a tourist attraction and luxury hotel, which will take about two years to complete. At the time of her official retirement on Nov. 27, 2008, QE2 had sailed over six million miles, carried 2.5 million passengers and completed 806 trans-Atlantic crossings. Find out more at: http://www.qe2.org.uk/

Research info gathered at: http://www.wikipedia.org/

Now, here's one of my poems that knows how to cruise:

Eye, Hoping To Be An Ear

or real thirsty
on a beach in summer
your mouth parts & my name
scatters the birds
until I want to run
like warm water
or my honeybee be
with butter on both
sides of the bread
& that carrot
you picnic from a basket
with our propellers on
or your dress uncorked
& unmake
up a map
to love is my limb
I can crawl out on
or rise up like the sun
to make us a day or
maybe a dog all-night
listless lays down
in one big thud

Poem first published at: http://www.zafusy.org/

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blue Whales

The largest animal ever to exist on earth is the Blue Whale. It belongs to a species of cetacean mammals called Balaenopteridaes. There are 3 different kinds of subspecies: the balaenoptera musculus which is found in the Northern Hemisphere, the balaenoptera intermedia which is found in the Southern Hemisphere, and the balaenoptera brevicauda which is found in the Tropical Southern Hemisphere.

They can grow to a length of 33m (110ft) and weigh 190 tons but on the average it is much smaller. The Blue whale is called a "rorqual" a Norwegian word for "furrow" and refers to the pleated grooves running from its chin to its navel.

The throat grooves, in addition to streamlining the shape of the whale, allow the throat area (cavum vent-rale) to greatly expand during feeding, and can allow it to hold 1,000 tons or more of food and water when fully expanded. By taking tons of water into its mouth and filtering out the fish or krill with its baleen plates a medium-sized Blue whale can eat over 4 tons of krill a day.

The head of the whale forms up to a quarter of the total body length and compared with other rorquals is very broad. It has twin blowholes with exceptionally large fleshy splashguards to the front and sides. The baleen plates in the mouth can be 90cm-1m (35-39in) in length the longest of all the rorquals but not the longest of all whales.

Today most live in the Southern Hemisphere but smaller populations inhabit the North Atlantic and North Pacific. They migrate long distances between low latitude winter mating grounds and high latitude summer feeding grounds and are often seen in parts of California, Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada and the northern Indian Ocean.

Before man started hunting them there were 228,000 Blue Whales swimming the oceans of the world. Between 1904 and 1978, whalers killed thousands, mostly against the law in the southern hemisphere. It is believed there are only about 11,700 animals left. They are on the endangered list, protected since 1967 worldwide by international law. Find out more at: www.bigsurcalifornia.org/whalesblue

Research info gathered at: http://www.wikipedia.org/

Now, here's two tons of one of my poems:

Landscaping The Future

in scene 6 the script calls for
patches of the hellgate world
to suck a gree-swollen hill
of all its exhaust-resistant
trees then surround innocent
saplings in a solid schoolyard
circle piercing every crease
and crevice while the sky turns
pure purple but on the other
side of town it's 1999 in a honey
-only club as a waitress appears
on cue wearing a submachine
gun smile in halo heels hooked
on phonics and stuffed in a skimpy
dress that barely conceals her sung
song with padded hips and goldfish
legs all to no avail as every patron
stares in unison towards center
stage where a lone spotlight
illuminates several feather pen
strokes of flesh in an apricot hue
until darkness pales in between
and the dancer pauses to gain her
balance just before stepping into the
next millenia to cat calls and wild
applause that almost sounds holy.

Poem first published at: http://dash30dash.com/
Visit my ezine: http://www.conshoereview.blogspot.com/
tutoring blog: http://www.miceroom.blogspot.com/
and music blog: http://www.mmant.blogspot.com/
Poem Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Antarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent, and is where the South Pole is located. It is an island in the southern hemisphere, lying almost completely within the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 5.4 million sq mi (14.4 million km²), it is the fifth-largest continent in area after Asia , Africa, North America, and south America. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, which averages at least 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) thick.

On average, Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Since there is little rain or snow, except at the coasts, the center of Antarctica is the largest desert in the world. There are no permanent human residents, and the only buildings are research stations populated by small groups of scientists sent there by different countries. In 2003, over 13,000 tourists visited the continent. Only plants and animals adapted to the cold survive there, including penguins, fur seals, mosses, lichen, and many types of algae.

The name Antarctica is a Roman version of the Greek word Αntarktikí which means "opposite to the north". The first written sighting of the continent was made in 1820 by two Russian explorers. The continent remained unmapped for the rest of the 19th century because of its harsh environment, lack of resources, and isolation. The first use of the name "Antarctica" as a continent was made in the 1890s by Scottish map maker John George Bartholomew.

The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by twelve countries and today forty-six countries have signed it. The treaty forbids military and mining activities, supports scientific research, and protects the continent's eco-system. There are more than 4,000 scientists from many countries doing research there. The length of continuous day or night increases southward from the Antarctic Circle, mounting to six months at the South Pole. Scientists study the effort of living in complete day or night as they study the coldest and windiest spot on the planet. In fact, the lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth was recorded in Antarctica (-129.3ºF). Average winter temperatures can range from -40º to -94ºF. Winds are commonly measured at up to 200 miles per hour. Antarctica has no official language and no official currency. Find out more about this continent at: http://www.coolantarctica.com/

Research info gathered at: http://www.wikipedia.org/

Now here's one on my "chillin" poems:

Lip-Syncing A Vague Terrain.

By the time she returns from the restroom
I've been ayatollah-ed twice.Or any grave
digger for that matter, entwined with sawdust
on the floor and the faint smell of turpentine
around the magician's wand or best drank at
room temperature. The stowaway hides
between the turkey stuffing or low-life is a
voice-over using French sub-titles. The bar
seats are all occupied by ghosts. An ocean
parks in the driveway of Italy ata beach that
was once merely stunted pebbles or could
successfully manage to evade capture. Either
way, all the money that was origin all
ear-marked for more exhaust fumes now
resolves to live in a play or becomes a scene
already revised in the script. Or just to curse
the seashe captained, I later admit, once I'm safe
on dry land...

deliberately allowing my speech to accept the award.

Poem Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Texas Longhorns

The Texas longhorn is a breed of cattle known for its long horns, which can grow up to 120 inches tip to tip for steers and the purest cows and bulls. The average range is from 70 to 80 inches tip to tip. Horns can have a slight upward turn at their tips or even triple twist. Texas Longhorns are known for their variety of coloring. The Texas Longhorn Breeders Association are the official registers of this breed of cattle. Some Texas Longhorns can sell for up to $40,000 or more at auction with the record of $160,000 for one cow.

Because gentle and intelligent, Texas Longhorns are often trained as Riding Steers. The Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Registry Certified Texas Longhorn Registry (CTLR), is the recognized breed registry dedicated to preserving the purest Texas Longhorn bloodlines.The first cattle to set foot in North America and the only breed of cattle to evolve without human management, the Texas Longhorn can thrive where no other breed can live; living on weeds, cactus and brush. They also can graze days away from water and stay fit and fertile whether living in the parasite-infested tropics or in the arid, subzero winters of Montana.

They produce a leaner beef. They can survive on the often poor vegetation of the open range which makes then cheaper for ranchers to raise. Up until 1927, the number of cattle slowly decreased. But in that year, the U.S. Forest Service collected a small herd of stock to breed on a longhorn refuge in Oklahoma.

A few years later, J. Frank Dobie and others gathered small herds to keep in Texas state parks. They were cared for largely because of their curious appearance, but the stock's long life, resistance to disease and ability to thrive on marginal pastures quickly revived the breed as beef cattle. Today, the breed is still used as a beef stock, though many Texas ranchers keep herds purely because of their link to Texas history.

Longhorns have a strong survival instinct and can find food and shelter during times of rough weather. Calves are very tough and can stand up sooner after birth than other breeds. Longhorn can breed well into their teens. Some ranchers keep Longhorns for their easy calving. A Longhorn cow will often go off on her own to a safe place to have the calf then bring it home. They are also known to hide their calves in safe places from predators, sometimes making it hard for the ranchers to find them.

Most breeds of cattle fall into either beef or dairy. Longhorns are beef stock and, known for their lean beef, which is lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than most beef. Longhorns are also inbreed with other cattle, adding hybrid vigor and easy calving abilities. But they continue to represent the romance of the Old West and are often retained only for their beauty and intelligence. Find out more at: http://www.tlbaa.org/

Research info gathered at: www.wikipedia.org

Now, here's one of my poems that "gets to the point":

Or Dreaming In A Coat Room

Not to forget the way back-that path etched
along a faraway wash of

an ellipse then slipped between two seasons,
or in a configuration posing as a trail of wet leaves

and pine cones that wish they weren't so useless,
or entwined in a hedge that twists itself through

the rust-gray of reason in a dream only sleepers believe,
arriving at the wide brown of a dying field using aplow to
drag aqueous spirits inside.

All of this could easily be part of the persuasion.

Poem first published at: http://mannequinenvy.com/
and tutoring blog: www.miceroom.blogspot.com
Poem Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.