Go see the giant rubber duck!

by Carolyn Kraft on 08/21/2014

Giant rubber duck

Giant rubber duck

A giant rubber duck has arrived in Los Angeles and has transformed Los Angeles Harbor into its own very public bathtub.

The duck is 40 feet tall and completely awesome. I had the chance to see it on Wednesday, August 20 when it was towed in as part of the Tall Ships Festival and now it’s floating at the dock in downtown San Pedro through Sunday, August 24.

Just seeing this giant rubber duck tower over ships makes you giggle and suddenly you feel lighter, the sky seems brighter and the drudgery of the world seems far, far away. And this was exactly the artist’s intention.

The duck was designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and has traveled the world since its creation in 2007. Here’s what Hofman’s website says on the subject: “The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn’t discriminate people and doesn’t have a political connotation. The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve mondial tensions as well as define them. The rubber duck is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages!”

So head to the LA Waterfront and lose yourself to the whimsy and magic of a giant rubber duck. Drown your worries in bright yellow silliness and enjoy the Tall Ships Festival, it’s a true treat.

Giant rubber duck arriving

Giant rubber duck arriving

Crushing duck with my bare hands!

Clutching the giant rubber duck with my bare hands!

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War of the Whales is a must read!

by Carolyn Kraft on 08/10/2014

War of the Whales book cover

War of the Whales” is a must read! This is one ocean journey that everyone should take, and that’s the beauty of reading…you can traverse the depths of the ocean and the hallways of the Supreme Court all without leaving the comforts of your living room.

The story centers around marine biologist Ken Balcomb and NRDC attorney Joel Reynolds as they fight to save whales from navy sonar. For me, getting to know these men over the course of 355 pages was what truly made the book great.

Both Balcomb and Reynolds gave author Joshua Horwitz full access to their personal lives and relationships (both past and present), which to me is an even greater act of courage than taking on the U.S. Navy. Everyone has details about their lives that they would prefer to keep contained within a small circle of friends and family and certainly not thousands of people reading a book.

But taking the risk of sharing their stories, makes perfect sense once you get to know them. Balcomb and Reynolds have dedicated their lives to pursuing their respective passions of studying whales and protecting the environment, both at great personal costs.

In addition to getting to know two ocean heroes, you will learn a great deal about the politics of whale research (many scientists are funded by the Office of Naval Research), the challenges of confronting the navy in court during times of war, the way sonar travels through the deep ocean, and the biology of whales and dolphins that puts them at great risk for acoustic trauma. In particular, you will have the chance to learn more about beaked whales, fascinating creatures that spend much of their lives diving in the deep oceans.

On top of that, “War of the Whales” reads like a thriller from beginning to end. Horwitz meticulously researched this book over the course of six years and in the process captured many of the events as they were happening. He is an excellent writer and master story teller, which makes the book not only informative, but a pleasure to read.

So if you still haven’t, dive in and read this book because navy sonar is an ongoing issue and understanding the back story is key to understanding where things stand today. It’s a must read for everyone who cares about the ocean and some of its most mysterious and magical beings…whales.


Summer Reading: War of the Whales

July 13, 2014

It’s that time of year when bookstores everywhere showcase “summer reading” options. But take a pass on the books touted as easy reading and pick up “War of the Whales” by Joshua Horwitz instead. Just released on July 1, 2014 by Simon & Schuster, this book takes you behind-the-scenes during the battle to protect whales […]

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Honor July 4th throughout the year by saying something

July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July! This day is all about celebrating independence, democracy and freedom. But what is the point of celebrating these gifts every July if we don’t make the most of them during the rest of the year? This has been the question on my mind since I attended the Pacific Fisheries Management Council […]

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A trashy start to July

July 1, 2014

July started with trash on the streets. In my Los Angeles neighborhood, it’s common practice for people to leave flyers on car windshields. Alas, this advertising method leads to trash everywhere: on the street, sidewalks, driveways and grassy areas. Flyers end up on the ground in a variety of ways. Sometimes the wind catches them, […]

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Pink the brown pelican flies free!

June 5, 2014

Hooray, Pink the formerly mutilated brown pelican was released on Tuesday, June 3rd, and flew back to his pelican compatriots in the wild! Before being released, he was banded with a blue band printed with V70 on it, this is to help identify him in the wild as part of International Bird Rescue’s Blue-Banded Pelican […]

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