Friday, August 29, 2008

The Weekend's Delaware Delights

* After much though and read-throughs of the News Journal, I've decided to change the title for my weekly weekend suggestion to The Weekend's Delaware Delights. Sounds more like a treat to look forward to now, and aren't weekends just that?

Seems like yesterday I was packing up my car for Dewey for Memorial Day weekend! It's always sad to end summer, but a three day weekend and cooler September weather are more than enough compensation for having to pack up my beach towels and sunscreen for the year. There are plenty of ways, at both land and sea, to end your summer properly... starting with my favorite sleeper beach town Bethany Beach.

2008 Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral - Monday Sept 1 - Bethany Beach DE - 5:30 p.m.
Down in LA (Louisiana, not Cali), New Orleans folks often hold Jazz Funerals to celebrate the lives of those who have passed away. Bethany takes on this tradition to say farewell to summer by holding their own Labor Day Jazz Funeral. Head to the boardwalk to catch a peak at the 2008 Summer casket being transported to its final "resting place" at the Bethany Bandstand. Two Dixieland Jazz Bands ( each with 16 or more pieces!) will perform music at this event. Afterwards, my personal suggestion is to get a Dickey's custard and wait for a table at Bethany Blues BBQ. (Pulled pork sandwich is the way to go.

Victorian Walking Tour - Monday Sept 1 - Rose Cottage, State Street, Dover, DE - 12:30 pm for program, 2:00 pm. for tour
Join First State Heritage Park for a walking journey through the Victorian Era in Dover. Nate Davidson will lead this program beginning with an informational program at the Rose Cottage to learn more about the Victorian Era, followed by a walking tour down State Street to learn more about Dover homes and figures. After the tour check out the newly opened Zippy's Ice Cream parlor that recently opened up on Rt 13 south of the St. Jone's River Bridge. There's nothing like ice cream on a summer holiday.

Arden Craft Fair - Saturday Aug 31 - Arden, DE, All Day
The Arden Craft Fair rules the Wilmington area this weekend, featuring food, crafts (107 vendors), music, antiques, amusements, books, plants, and a variety of Gild booths. The Arden Fair features the creations of many friends and neighbors, as well as many new local craft people. Saturday forecast is looking iffy, if rain prevails, Arden Craft Fair will be held Sunday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Google Doodle World

If you asked me what my top interests were, one of them would be Google. Google, to me, is my Internet Butler (without the hefty salary to pay). Google answers my questions, hosts my email account, give me directions to my weekend getaway destinations, finds me images to use on the Biggs Blogs, finds phone numbers and addresses. Google is my go-to and completely reliable 24/7. So I was recently pleased with the launch of igoogle, a google home page that you can customize for all your personal, daily google needs. When I launch my browser, I have the google bar ready for my searches, the weather forecast for Dover, top CNN headlines, a quote of the day (everyone needs inspiration) and my to-do list. The possibilities are endless.... Joke of the Day from Comedy Central, Photo of the Day from National Geographic, Games and Puzzles (might now be the best for the office computer!).... now before you think I've stepped off track and It's a Biggs Deal has become a Computer News Today blog, the subject of art does come in.

Since we're all art lovers here, you can make your igoogle all the more "artful". Last spring, Google promoted the option to customize your igoogle even more by launching the iGoogle Artist Themes in collaboration with many designers/artists to create themes to personalize your Google homepage. From the Google Blog "Now you can put the work of world-class artists and innovators on your personalized Google homepage." Google added a gallery of iGoogle themes dedicated to fashion designers (Oscar de la Renta), musicians (Coldplay, Beastie Boys), actors (Jackie Chan), sportsmen (Lance Armstrong), photographers (Yann Arthus-Bertrand), choreographers (Mark Morris), cartoonists (Robert Mankoff), illustrators (Camilla Engman), architects (Cameron Sinclair) and more.
A Jeff Koons Artist theme for google.

My current artist theme is by Austrailian contemporary fashion designer, Akira Isogawa . And it sure makes my desktop look pretty. In addition to your artist theme, you can also add "Artist of the Day" to your igoogle, giving you free, daily art news/education. Visit and have the hottest desktop in the office.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Non-Profit (or Doing) of the Week: Yellow Pages Goes Green

It's time to clean out your cupboards folks, or prevent any future cluttering.

Phone books. They're huge. Averaging at 3.62 pounds a pop they could substitute for a dumbbell in your home workout area. And if you think about it, have you ever requested one (or several) of these books to be delivered to your door every year. No, they just show up like Saint Nick on Christmas eve and there they are. As much as there are still computer-challenged people out there who rely on them, most people today use the Internet to search for phone numbers. Hence, the need to seriously cut back on the printing of these phone books. Why cut back on printing? The environment of course! Check out the facts...

24 developed trees are needed to make a ton of paper
380 gallons of oil are needed to produce a ton of paper
3cubic yards of waste is taken up by a ton of paper
7000 gallons of water are needed to produce a ton of paper
4000 kilowatts of energy are needed to produce a ton of paper
1.79 directories are printed for EVERY man, woman, and child in the United States

Some scary stats those are. A college student from Liberty, MO was overwhelmed with the number of phone books delivered to his rented home and the work required to recycle them and founded This organization works to educate consumers and promote the green movement to eliminate the unsolicited delivery of Yellow and White Pages books. The site ( is aimed at starting a national movement to solicit the White/Yellow Pages industry to proactively stop the delivery of books or to begin moving legislation to mandate the stoppage of this activity.

If you've got way too many of these books lying around unused you can visit and use their awesome new service that allows consumers to “opt out” of receiving the unsolicited telephone books. The organization will contact the publishers and inform them to stop delivering books to your address. They do this by working with state and local governments on ordinances concerning the delivery of unsolicited telephone books. It's a great way to keep those trees up around you, do something good for the environment, and not spend a dime. Hey... isn't anyone who is anyone unlisted anyways?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The. Of. And. To. A.

What do these words have to do with anything you say? They're the top five words in the world actually, according to . Interesting web-sites make the Internet worthwhile and WORDCOUNT is definitely one of them.

Words create dialogue, music, poetry, books... all types of arts. WordCount is an artistic experiment in the way we use language. The site holds the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonness. Each word is scaled to reflect its frequency relative to the words that precede and follow it, giving a visual barometer of relevance. So how did the web-site designer, Jonathan Harris get his data? it currently comes from the British National Corpus®, a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent an accurate cross-section of current English usage. WordCount includes all words that occur at least twice in the BNC®.

Jonathan plans to take this project even further in the future by incorporating tracking of word usage on the Internet. I'm thinking that this would definitely change the ranking a bit.... a la' Britney Spears. The web-site is pretty bare, clean, lots of white space (my kind of site). It's easy to use and allows the visitors to just dig through the words like a researcher. You can start off by seeing where YOU rank, I'm currently 2830 (pretty good for 86,000!) after inquiry and before camp.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hello Sleepy Head

I tend to have a soft side for simplistic art. Somewhere between the Silver Study center at the museum and all those antique clocks and chairs lying around (kidding!), the very last gallery holds a pop art piece that i just love. There's nothing to know, nothing to learn, you see it, you get it, you might wonder about the subject a bit, and you feel a bit warmer inside. This is how i feel about The Sleepyheads, a line of work created by Brooklyn Graphic Artist, Christopher David Ryan.

Christopher claims to be a daydreamer and began to find inspiration while he was in the act of doing so. All around him, he took notice of the daydreamers around him, on the subway, streets, sidewalks, and in restaurants. What resulted in this combo of daydreaming and observing was a book; "Sleepyheads, Portraits of Daydreamers", a 64 page book of simple drawings depicting daydreamers encountered on NYC's "L" train, between the Bedford and Union Square stops, during the early months of 2006. The book is charming and is a tribute to daydreamers everywhere, inviting you to share in the daydreaming.

Daydreaming is something we all do and can relate to. You can currently purchase the book, prints of the sleepy heads and even pillows to rest your own sleepy head on! Although, most of the prints are currently sold out, you can contact Christopher for availability. Click around on and dream on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Non-Profit of the Week: Walk In Their Shoes

The Pink Ladies are at it again. And no I'm not referring to Sandra Dee and company. I'm talking about CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into health care, education and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK, which isn't just for ladies, works for peace through creative methods. One of their most recent "creative" methods has been the "Walk in Their Shoes" Campaign.

Responding to the recent John Hopkins report revealing that over 655,000 Iraqis have died since our 2003 invasion, CODEPINK created the Walk in Their Shoes installation: a display of shoes acknowledging the desperate plight of the Iraqis, especially those who have lost their lives in this devastating war and occupation. CODEPINK believes seeing the shoes of lost ones will help people visualize unspeakable pain and suffering this war has inflicted on the Iraqi people. The goal of this display is to encourage people to walk in the shoes of the people overseas. This visual representation will be on view at the Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis for the upcoming Republican convention. The installation will move inside the Intermedia Arts Center after the convention and remain there until the Presidential election. Before this convention, the display has been seen in over 20 cities.

Yoko Ono and her wish trees would be proud of this effort. I'm sure 99% of us will not be at the Republican convention, but you can still go to and see what the pink ladies are up... believe me they keep busy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wish for the World

I believe that as soon as people want peace in the world they can have it. The only trouble is they are not aware they can get it.John Lennon, 1969

What a great man that John Lennon. The man who can tag the phrase, "All you need is love." has a legacy that is still carried out by his wife Yoko Ono. When you think of Yoko and John it is likely you'll think of world peace, and their desire for it. As stated above, Mr. Lennon believes that visualization of peace is the key to achieving it. This thought turned into the popular installation pieces by Yoko Ono, entitled the Wish Tree. The installation has been recreated in over 80 cities, most recently in Pasadena, CA. Twenty crape myrtle trees were installed in the Courtyard of One Colorado. Visitors are invited to write their wishes on pieces of paper and hang them on the tree branches. Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Pasadena is free and open to the public. In just one week, the Wish Tree in Pasadena encountered over 10,000 visitors. Wishes have been added at a rate of over 1200 a day! The installation will be on display and ready for wishes until November 2. Afterwards, the wishes will be removed and shipped to the Imagine Peace Tower, Yoko's memorial tribute to John Lennon. The trees will be donated to Arlington Garden, a community garden in Pasadena.

Ono recently gave an interview with Pasadena News on her installation project.
"This allows people to articulate their wishes," she said. "When people wish for peace, they visualize peace, and when written by hand, it is very powerful."
Ono said she was inspired to create the Wish Trees project from the Japanese practice of tying written positive thoughts onto trees in temple courtyards.

It's inspiring to see artists using their work to spread positive messages. The Wish Trees are not only visually appealing and promote a valuable message, but they bring together a community (over 10000 and counting in just one week) and spread awareness of art. Talk about a warm fuzzy on a Monday morning. Have a nice week.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

David Byrne (NYTimes)

Bikes are so in right now. As much as it makes me cringe hearing, "gas is $4 a gallon" (enough already, we all know!), but bikes have become a problem solver to this crisis. The U.S. is catching on to the way of Amsterdam (if you've been there you'll know what i'm talking about) and cycling is becoming more than just your vacation outing or childhood social activity. As a week-end resident of Dewey Beach, I can testify myself that biking is the way to get around. It not only helps me feel less guilty about overindulging in Fischer's caramel popcorn, but also saves me the 8390402 dollars I'd throw into the parking meter in Rehoboth.

Besides the tangent I just went off on for a bit, there's an artist up in New York that just loves to bike. His name is David Byrne and he is also an artist. If you're ever in the Lower East Side or Brooklyn you may catch this tall, lanky man riding around town. He's become so passionate about biking and this passion has caused him to really think about the role that cycling plays in urban life. Recently he's been making moves in Manhattan with commissioners to put a stop to this traffic madness of cars.

These moves have led him to be asked by the Department of Transportation to judge a bike rack design competition for the city. He agreed of course, but couldn't help submitting some ideas of his own. A little sketchy (no pun intended) right? Well, the Dept. of Transportation liked them so much, they went ahead and installed them before the competition was even over. Therefore, he could still continue in his capacity as a judge and his designs would be placed throughout the city. His designs are different icons of Manhattan's neighborhoods. Some of them are:
“The Jersey”: A Car near the Lincoln tunnel.
“The Wall Street”: a dollar sign in the Wall Street section
“The Hipster”: a guitar in Brooklyn
“The MoMa": a modern abstraction near the museum
“The Coffee Cup”: by the Hungarian Pastry Shop in Morningside Heights
“The Villager”: a dog in Greenwich Village
“The Ladies’ Mile”: a single high-heeled shoe, cooling its heel outside Bergdorf Goodman.

The Jersey (NYTimes)
If you're in the city check these out, the finalists for the contest have been posted also. You can see some other awesome racks.

Oh and P.S.: Always wear a helmet!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Non Profit of the Week: When Life Hands You Lemons

Simple nostalgic ideas can lead to big moves.

That's the idea behind Alex's Lemonade Stand. In 2000, four year old Alex Scott (from not too far away in suburban Philadelphia), was suffering from cancer. She decided there had to be a way to help her doctor's find a cure for her and all the other children by raising money. How does a four year old raise money without a business degree and a smashing resume? Sell lemonade of course. With her old brother Patrick, Alex started an annual lemonade stand to raise money for childhood cancer research all the while suffering from the disease herself.

The lemonade stand idea has caught on, in a big way. Inspired by Alex's dedication, thousands of lemonade stands have set up shop across the country to benefit the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. Alex passed away at age 8 in 2004, but her lemonade legacy is still gaining ground. As of July 2008, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $20 million for childhood cancer research. Talk about awareness! Anyone can hold a stand to support Alex's foundation and if you're around Dover on Thursday, you can have your lemonade and support the cause too. On Thursday, the State Street Assisted Living will be hosting an Alex's Lemonade Stand on State Street from 6:30p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Stop by, it'll quench your thirst and warm your heart.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Post-its: A Bright Medium

Post-it notes are a staple on my desk. From the small sized neon yellow ones used for tabbing articles, medium sized for phone messages, to the large sized (lined!) ones for making my grocery list, they're everywhere! I've even been known to use one as a coaster, talk about multi-purpose. The extent of my post-it display can be interpreted as one thing: a mess. However, post-it notes have recently become a new medium of art work and the outcomes are, well, they're pretty bright.

I'm thinking in terms of aligning post-it notes art to another method it would have to be mosaic. Check out David Alvarez's portrait of Ray Charles, made out of 2000 colored post-it notes. He spent over three months constructing the mosaic. A couple of weeks ago Mad Silence blog ( recently wrote an entry on Post-it Notes art. Artists have gone so far as to cover their bedroom and cars with post-it notes.

There have been some strong opinions that post-it note art (and other strange medium use) are just a ploy to market yourself as an artists, as the media is always looking for an outrageous story to capture the viewer's or reader's attention. It also is a huge marketing boost for 3M. Can someone really become passionate about post-it? But who's to say post-its can't be art? Andy Warhol would answer this best with one of his famous quotes, "Art is what you can get away with." Regardless, I think it's fun.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Best Bet for a Art"full" Delaware Weekend

If you can steal yourself away from the Olympic games this weekend, there are actually quite a few interesting things to get into this weekend.

Rehoboth Art League will be hosting their 35th annual outdoor show Saturday and Sunday (rain or shine) from 10am until 5pm. More than 100 artists will be exhibiting their artwork for sale. The weather tomorrow is supposed to define perfection, so grab the kids (entertainment avail. for all ages) and jot on down to Henlopen Acres. Shuttle service is available as we all know parking can be a drag in Rehoboth sometimes.

If you're in Dover and enjoy live entertainment you are in luck this weekend. Clear Space Productions will finish up their two-nights at the Schwartz Center presenting South Pacific. Call the Schwartz for tickets ($12-25).

North of the canal is the New Castle Garden Festivus on Saturday. a community-wide celebration of gardens and green space of New Castle. For $6 you can visit the Amstel House and the Read House, where the Annual Great Pear Cook-off will be held. The cook off is a competition of cooks creating recipes using pears from the Read House.

Enjoy the 80s this weekend and the activity. And by 80s, i mean temperature, not the decade.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Some Big Building in Beijing

We've all been counting the minutes until the opening ceremony and when Michael Phelps beats Mark Spitz's gold medal record, but if you paid any attention to the background of all these news reports, have you taken a slight look at where Mr. Phelps' will be swimming? Or where the opening ceremonies are taking place? If you haven't, get googl'ing or pick up a Time issue and be wow'd.

The constructed sports complexes for Beijing are forward thinking, energetic and leaving old-China in the dust. The Chinese built these complexes in hope of making a statement reflective of their global ambitions. Olympic officials commissioned 12 buildings for the Beijing games, but since this is not a term papers, I'll just tell you about my two favorites. Starting off with the National Stadium, also known as the Birds Nest. And trust me, you'll see where they got the nickname from.

The Bird's Nest is a dexterously woven steel lattice with a bright red concrete shell underneath.

Prominent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, collaborated with Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron to design the Bird's Nest. The nest design is meant to symbolize a cradle that holds the hopes of humankind for the future. Cool, huh?

Not too far away is the stunning National Aquatics Centre known as the Water Cube. The exterior of the big pool place was made to appear like gentle bubbles, evoking a feeling of being underwater.

It's interesting to see how the Olympics provide the host countries with opportunities to
strut their stuff" to the world. Anyone would agree, China is really putting their best foot forward. But anyways.......GO USA!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Non-Profit of the Week: Stand Up To Cancer

It's 3:30p.m. The home stretch til five and you probably deserve a good stretch of your legs.
Here's another reason to stand up.
For as long as any of us can remember, a cure for cancer seemed unattainable. Finding a cure for cancer has been like untwisting a huge knot. However, there have been three recent developments that, when aligned, may help us to unravel this huge knot. Technology has helped scientists discover what causes a cell to become malignant which in turn has developed new therapeutics that have effects similar to that of the breakthrough of anti-HIV drugs. These therapeutics will convert the disease into a chronic, manageable medical problem and in the future, they will increase cure and prevention opportunities. I believe "on the cusp" is the best way to explain where we are in finding a cure.

Problem though. The research foundations need substantial funding to develop these therapeutics; funding from up until recently was mostly provided by the government. However recent declines in federal funding have posed a problem. That's where SU2C (Stand up to Cancer) comes in. SU2C is a foundation working to secure and expedite the efforts made in researching a cure. They were founded on the belief that we have sufficient knowledge to develop better ways to treat cancer patients and to prevent cancer altogether. With money raised, SU2C will give the American Association for Cancer Research grants to distribute to "Dream Teams" consisting of scientists, clinicians, technicians and other experts, who will focus on a specific cancer problem. They'll their progress in real time, so that everyone who invests can see how their participation is creating real change.

So where do we come into play. Visit the web-site first at and see for yourself. Visit the Constellation, a space area in which you can donate money and dedicate a chosen star for someone you may know who has had cancer. In The Stand, a community experience where you can share your connection to cancer. And on Sept 5, ABC, CBS, and NBC have teamed up to donate an hour of prime time TV for an interactive entertainment special (loads of celebs will be there) to unite everyone to stand up for a cure. So stand up, because if a cure of cancer is found (well, actually WHEN it's found), you're going to want to have had a hand in it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Magic Eye of Van Gogh

Does anyone remember the craze that was Magic-Eye in the 90s? In case you don't, Magic-Eye was a group that produced and sold stereo graph images that projected certain images from and image by way of depth perception. If they haven't made it to Goodwill in a recent drop-off, I probably have about 15 of their books. Despite Magic Eye being, as Linda Danko would put it, awesome, I'm here to report that with the help of X-rays, the art world just experienced a little Magic Eye of its own.

The 90s craze that was Magic Eye.
It was reported last week a previously unknown portrait of a woman by Vincent van Gogh has been revealed in a high-tech look beneath another of his paintings, entitled "Patch of Grass", painted by Van Gogh in Paris in 1887. Van Gogh was known to paint over his work several times and it was known that something was there already. After researchers at the Delft Institute of Technology conducted a new technique of improved X-ray radiography that is being used to reveal concealed layers of other famous paintings, behind the painting they found, done mostly in greens and blues, is a portrait of a woman rendered in browns and reds.
Now you see it.

And now you don't
This reconstruction of his work is enabling art historians to understand Van Gogh's evolution better. And more importantly paving the way to understand even more historical works of art.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Best Bet for a Delaware Weekend: Sandcastles and Peaches

Don't even think about kicking back at the pool this weekend because there is WAY too much happening in Delaware you'd miss out on. I could barely finish reading the events calendar over cereal this morning because there were so many items on the itinerary. Whichever county you're in, there's a treat for you. Starting with Kent.......

Wyoming Peach Festival: Wyoming, DE
"Millions of peaches, peaches for me, millions of peaches, peaches for free".... Presidents of the United States of America, circa 1996 (Remember that song?!) Well it's fitting for this festival. Grab everyone and head down to little sleeper town Wyoming for some fuzzies and a good time. A 9a.m. parade kicks off the festival, followed by a lineup of live performances, including the Dover High school Drum line and the Trilby String Band of the Philly mummer's parade. The peach theme carries out the day with the peach dessert contest, the crowning of the peach princess and queen, and Fifer Orchard's peach ice cream giveaway! Even if you don't care for peaches (my grandma gets the heebie jeebies just looking at them), there are plenty of vendors, crafts and food for everyone. For more info visit

30th Annual Sandcastle Contest: Rehoboth Beach, DE
Movin on down to the beach (where i'll be trying out the new sushi restaurant, Stingray) the Rehoboth Sandcastle Contest starts tomorrow at 9a.m. sharp on the north end near the Henlopen Hotel (weather permitting). So have an early breakfast at King's on Wilmington Street (the italian bread french toast is to die for) and spend the rest of your morning watching some marvelous sandcastles being built. In addition to the normal categories of sandcastle, animal and free form, to celebrate the 30th bday participants can create sandcastle cakes! It would taste a bit salty though don't you think?

Youth One-Act Festival: Wilmington, DE
$10 for a movie is a drag. Live entertainment for free is awesome. The Wilmington Drama League is hosting an all-day free festival tomorrow to kick off its 76th season. Drop in for a few on-act plays of all styles directed by over 100 young actors. The fest is at 10 W. Lea Blvd. For more info go to