Saturday, May 26, 2018

Dedication of a monument to German-Nevadan artist Hans Meyer-Kassel at the Genoa Courthouse Museum on May 19, 2018

The Genoa Courthouse Museum after unveiling the Hans Meyer-Kassel monument

Brooks (right) and Bacon (left) after unveiling
Hans Meyer-Kassel (1872-1952) was a classically trained artist—a native of northern Hessia in Germany—who lived and painted in Nevada after his arrival in the Silver State in 1937. A current exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno features an impressive collection of his landscapes, still lifes, arctic ocean scenes and portraits. On May 19, a monument, in honor and memory of Meyer-Kassel, was dedicated in Genoa, where the painter lived “until the last day of his life in 1952, when he simply laid down his brushes for an afternoon nap and never awoke” [1].

The Hans Meyer-Kassel monument was unveiled by the artist's nephew Bill Brooks and author Jack Bacon. The dedication in front of the Genoa Courthouse Museum was a community event in the presence of far over fifty people—officials, locals, and visitors. Some shared their memories of having met Meyer-Kassel in person, who painted portraits of locals as well as landscapes of Carson Valley, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake and various other scenic places of northern Nevada. 

Comstock musicians performed on the museum's porch before and after the unveiling ceremony

Jack Bacon writes [2]:

In Genoa, Meyer-Kassel found what he had been searching for his entire life—a place where he could focus solely on his art. As Maria said in a 1976 interview, “My husband was very happy because he found the tranquility he needed to paint.” It was, she said, their personal Shangri-La, “a place we could live forever.” 

Hans Meyer-Kassel at work

References and more to explore

[1] Hans Meyer-Kassel, “ Nevada Landscape.” NMA Docent Depot. April 3, 2009. Link:

[2] Jack Bacon: Hans Meyer-Kassel, Artist of Nevada. Jack Bacon & Company with the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada, 2018; page 35.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Rattlesnake Avoidance Training

A rattlesnake is brought to Benny's attention

Rattler on Halo Trail
Avoiding rattlesnakes during outdoor activities can be challenging. Last fall, I came very close to a rattler on Halo Trail—a single-track hiking and mountain biking trail in the Peavine foothills northwest of Reno. The snake warned me just in time by rattling vigorously.

Humans have evolved to react with a stress response when encountering a snake. Humans, even the curious kind, typically avert snakes. What about dogs?  Do they have an innate fear of snakes? It looks like their is no definitive answer to this question. Dogs that have made a bad experience with an aggressive snake—venomous or not—usually avoid snakes. Otherwise, a dog encountering a rattlesnake may get curious or even in a playful mood resulting in an unpleasant or deadly consequence. Therefore, many dog owners in rattlesnake countries take their dog(s) to a rattlesnake avoidance training or rattlesnake aversion training.

The typical training is a five to ten minute rattlesnake parkour. The dog is guided to places with rattlesnake smell and also to a site with a relatively calm, yet rattling snake. That snake should have gone through veterinary work before put on site where it is handled by a trained person. Although highly unexpected, an actual bite caused by a worked-on snake would be a dry bite.

Benny almost ready for the rattlesnake parkour
I joined a friend to watch her dog, named Benny, making the round near Minden, Nevada. At start, Benny got a remote training collar. The trainer watched Benny's behavior at each station and provided a perfectly-timed low-level stimulation that Benny was supposed to associate with the snake. The idea is that a dog, when detecting a sight, sound or smell of a rattlesnake, memorizes the unpleasant stimulation, creates a reflex and quickly moves away. It worked for Benny. At training's end, we were told to call Benny, with the rattlesnake halfway between us and the dog. Instead of running directly toward us across and over the snake, Benny took a respectful half-circle with a radius of at least five dog-lengths around the snake. Good dog! And a great Thank you! to the good and friendly experts who performed the training.

Benny coming close to where he should smell a rattlesnake

Saturday, May 5, 2018

UNR congratulates German graduates: Herzlichen Glückwunsch Absolventen!

Herzlichen Glückwunsch Absolventen! Congratulations, graduates - German
Mai 2018 - May 2018

The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) congratulates its foreign graduates. At the fountain next to Morrill Hall, I came across this posted banner that congratulates the graduates from German-speaking countries. The German word for graduate is Absolvent. Herzlichen Glückwunsch translates as congratulations. Accounting for the adjective herzlich associated with the noun Glückwunsch, the literal translation is hearty congratulation or cordial congratulation—considered to be too formal these days. So, the plural form congratulations is just fine.