Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sticks and Stones

After yesterday's trip to the dark side, I thought I would lighten things up a bit.

In December of 1981, I went to New Orleans with a few friends to see the Rolling Stones.

I wore a coat, had my camera and lenses hidden, hoping to sneak my camera in.

I shouldn't have bothered. The security guys at the Superdome entrance we used were searching everyone...

for booze.

They found my camera and lenses and didn't care one bit. The other folks trying to sneak adult beverages into the concert had their goodies taken away. After all, they were selling beer at the concert and a B.Y.O.B. situation would hurt beer sales.

These are the picks of the litter. I scanned them, tried to lessen the impact of the film's grain, and cropped them as needed. Most are nearly full frame. This was back when ISO 400 film was as fast as you could buy, so the necessary slow shutter speeds I was forced to use left many photos a bit blurry.

It was a great concert and a lot of fun trying to shoot it. I had never taken photos at a concert before this. Give 'em a click.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Lord, Help Me Choose the Wise Course

Another frightening look inside my head.

"So tear me open
but beware
there's things inside
without a care"
Metallica - Until It Sleeps

Recently, Madonna started her European Tour with the crucifixion scene that she did in the States. I thought this was much ado about nothing; well, nothing but how pathetic Madonna has become. Just when you think it's safe to turn the radio on, she releases a new CD.

I wrote the following post when the Europeans started reporting about her antics on stage. But when I came back to it a couple of days later, I was horrified. I was uncharacteristically vicious, and never posted it. Yet for some strange reason, I never deleted it either.

It finally hit me that I need to post it, if for no other reason than to show you a little bit of just how flawed this man can be. Not that you haven't picked up on that already.

Here it is with no changes.

Hey Madonna

I know that you're so full of yourself, and that, after twenty years of success, you've come to actually believe yourself worthy of worship. (I guess)

And over the years you've gotten used to being able to stir up controversy, and it seems that you like the negative attention that your antics causes.

But I gotta tell ya, this whole disco-mirror cross thing with the crown and such, is just really lame. And I'm being awfully kind here.

See, you are obviously too dumb, or maybe just so wrapped up in your Madonna-ness, that you don't understand that, in trying to create yet another ruckus to pick up more publicity and concert ticket sales, you are just making a fool of yourself. People don't get too worked up about your sad attempts to get back in the spotlight any more.

I have to admit, that you've had a pretty good run, but although the critics still like you, even that has become a problem.

'Cause let me let you in on a not-so-secret secret.

People just roll their eyes at your actions now, because you've become boring and predictable. See, the cross thing is no real surprise, just the disco mirror aspect of it is. And that's not worth getting worked up about.

Christians still recognize your blasphemy, but we all got over the shock of you years ago, and now we all just look away and know in our hearts you'll have to stand before God Himself about all of your shenanigans one day. We all will, and we worry about that day for ourselves, and wince when we imagine taking the judgement for your actions.

But I have some advice for you. Iffen you REALLY want to stir up some controversy, try this. During your stage show, have a guy come out dressed as Mohamed, and give him a big ol' Britney Spears-like tongue kiss. Do that at least a coupla times per show. The press will be ALL OVER that and, we all might, just might, start to think you really know how to push peoples buttons.

Because right now, you're taking the easy route, the safe route with the cross thing. It's still open season on cutting down Christians, we know it, you know it, we deal with it, and you still try to be cutting edge by blasphemy.

But hey, these are just my ideas. You can keep on like you are, and we'll keep changing the channel, and not buying your CDs.

And like always, when you do an interview and talk about your views on the world, and how you hate President Bush, we'll just ignore your babbling, 'cause, you're just Madonna, right? Who the heck cares what an over the hill pop singer says about politics and the state of the world anyway.

But I mean it about the whole French kissing Mohamed on stage thing, that'll put you on the map again. A billion or so Muslims will want to shower you with 'fatwas', whatever that is. But trust me, it's probably good. Imagine it Madonna, a billion fatwas, just for you from your fans.

You're no longer such a force in the entertainment world, and my suggestion is guaranteed to put you back on top.

You know, Einstein said that nothing can go faster than the speed of light, but I really think that my hand reaching to switch radio stations when one of your songs comes on just might actually break that rule.

And lastly, drop the fake British accent. It ain't workin' for you; you can't pull it off. But then, you always stunk as an actress.

Come on, show us how courageous you really are. Add Mohamed to your stage show and plant a couple of big wet kisses on him for the audience.


See why I'm glad I didn't post this without thinking, without explaining?

I still think the overall sentiment about her obvious attempts to shock are right on. It costs absolutely nothing to make light of Christianity. Even the most politically correct folks like poking sticks in the eyes of Christians (so to speak) and don't think twice about whether or not they're breaking their own rules of propriety.

This almost-post just isn't who I am most of the time. I'm rarely flat-out mean like this.

When I was a kid, I looked forward to growing up; I mistakenly believed that I would quit screwing up.

Yeah right.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #8

13 Semi-Interesting Things About Louisiana (Where I'm from originally)

1. There's a town in northwest Louisiana called Shongaloo. Is that cool or what?

2. The highest point in Louisiana is Mount Driskill, at 535 feet (163 meters). Woo-eee! I'm gettin' a nose bleed just thinking about it. That's the lowest state high point west of the Mississippi River. My heart swells with pride.

3. Bonnie and Clyde were killed in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. And they have The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum to prove it. Ya don't see wonna dem every day do ya?

4. Next to Death Valley, Cal-i-forn-eye-aye, Louisiana has the lowest spot in the Continental U.S. Can you guess where? Yep. It's New Orleans at 8 feet (2.44 meters) below sea level. Stupid Katrina. You caused everyone to already know the answer to that question. Grr.

5. Louisiana has WAY more tongue-twister names for Parishes (= counties), rivers, and towns than you can shake a stick at. I'm from Ouachita Parish (WASH-i-taw), my parents used to live on the banks of the Boeuf River (Beff). The movie Steel Magnolias was set in Natchitoches (NACK-uh-tish). There's way more where those came from too.

6. Louisiana has two distinct cultures, the red neck protestants north of Alexandria, and the cajun Catholics south of Alexandria. It's like two different worlds, in speech, in customs. Louisiana could be two separate states. And New Orleans? That's a world unto itself, with it's own culture and way of life that's different from the normal red necks and cajuns. Not that any one group is better than the other, and they are much more mixed now than ever, but it IS interesting.

7. When I was a kid and we went to Baton Rouge, we saw the chips in the walls inside the State Capital Building, from the bullets fired in killing Senator Huey P. Long. I figure they still are there, but I haven't been there in many years, so I'm not sure.

8. Unbelieveable humidity. Absolutely unbelieveable. When I lived in Atlanta, I laughed when people complained about the heat and humidity. They don't know nothin' about humidity. If you ever saw the movie, Biloxi Blues, where Matthew Broderick's character is in Army basic training and says, "God, it's hot! This is Africa hot! Tar-zan couldn't take this kinda hot!", that's pretty much how it is in Louisiana too.

9. Much of Louisiana state law is still based on the Napoleonic Code, from when the French owned Louisiana. It makes for some strange laws.

10. Louisiana is named after Louis XIV of France. I think he's famous for making furniture, or some other such nonsense.

11. The whole time I was growing up there, the public school system in Louisiana ranked anywhere from 47-50th in the 50 states. My heart is swelling with pride again.

12. Famous people. Well, supposedly there's all kinds of famous people from Louisiana, but when I looked them up, I was so bored I almost fell asleep. But since I've started this subject, I'll say, Hey!, did y'all know Harry Connick, Jr. is from Louisiana? I don't care for his music very much, but his spot-on impression of Jesse Jackson in the movie Independence Day (1996) is certainly worthy of note.

13. Pelicans. Pelicans are cool. I grew up in north Louisiana so I pretty much never saw pelicans unless I went to the Gulf Coast somewhere (Texas, Florida, etc.). But after living in Florida for almost ten years, and seeing whole bunches of pelicans, I think the choice of the brown pelican as the Louisiana state bird is a great choice. They are so serious, that they're kinda comical to me.

Jeesh. Louisiana is so boring, I almost went crazy trying to finish 13 things.

The two photos are scans of old 35mm slides of mine, taken in December of 1983 of DeSiard Bayou in Monroe, Louisiana. The building in the lower photo is the DeSiard Country Club. (DeSiard, duh-ZEERD)

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Charlie and the Jockey Trailer

Many moons ago, I was the manager of a pizza restaurant in Haughton, Louisiana. (Northwest Louisiana, near Shreveport.)

This was in 1985-1986.

Johnny's Pizza House, is a regional pizza chain, based in West Monroe, Louisiana. I worked for them for five years, during the time I was in college the first time, and then for a couple of years after I graduated. That's who I was working for when Lovely Wife and I got married.

I ended up as the manager of the restaurant they had opened in Haughton, La.

Haughton, at the time, was a very rural area/small town. (It might still be.) It had started growing due to the Louisiana Downs horse racing track that was there, sandwiched between I-20 and the old Highway 80. The Johnny's that I managed was a couple of miles east of this race track on Highway 80.

Like many of this type of business, most of the people I had working for me were teens in high school at Haughton High.

By the mid 1980's Dominos had spread all over the country, and they pretty much had all the pizza delivery business sewn up. Johnny's up until that time, were eat in, or pick up, only, restaurants.

Johnny Huntsman (owner and founder), and his minions in the corporate headquarters decided that we needed to start delivery of pizzas, chain wide.

Now this was all well and good, but like I had said, Haughton was pretty rural at the time. So it was up to me to create maps of our delivery area for the drivers I was to hire.


All available maps only covered most of the paved roads in the area. And in Louisiana, rural areas have many, many more roads in addition that are dirt or gravel.

I ended up spending hours and hours driving around the area for several weeks and had to complete what wasn't on 'real' maps of the area. By hand.

I knew I should have taken a cartography class in college!

Anyway the day arrived, and to make a long story longer, there were a lot of 'bumps' in getting the deliveries done. I had to hire a few folks 18 and over to do the deliveries, and for the most part, they were locals who knew the area.

Some of the problems we had to work out were all of those no-name gravel roads, and the people who lived on them who wanted pizzas delivered.

You might hear, "Just drive east of The Johnny's a bit and then turn north on Bodcau Road and go, oh, I'd say a couple of miles, until the road starts to curve some to the right. On the left, smack-dab in the middle of that curve, there's a gravel road where there's a break in the fence there. There's usually a cow or two there under that tree on the right as you turn in. Come on down that road to the trailer that's about a mile in. Can't miss it!"

Yeah, right.

Then you'd get out there and it would be a family of 6 living in a $4000, two bedroom trailer. But there would be a beautiful $15,000 (then) jacked up, chromed out, Ford or Chevy 4x4 pickup parked outside.

My absolute favorites, the request that really pushed this patient man's buttons, was "...Oh, and get your driver to stop at that 7-11 next ta y'all, and have 'em get me a coupla packs of Marlboro Lights, and a 12 pack of Budweiser, too."

Me: "Um, no. I won't do that, they have other pizzas to deliver."

Knucklhead: "But it won't take 'em but just a minute, and I'll give 'em a big tip."

Me: "No. I will not allow my drivers to do that. Period. Do you still want the pizza?"

Knucklehead: "Yeah, I guess so." or "You #$#%#@ $%&($#@$!" and hang up.

That's enough background.

One of my drivers was a Haughton senior named Charlie. Charlie was a character. A truly funny, very likeable human being. Plus, being from the area, he knew all the roads and would take deliveries to people I would turn down unless he was there to take it. Half of what made Charlie so funny was that funny things happened to him, and he could make the most mundane thing sound like the height of humor.

And I'm telling you, this was THE nightmare delivery area for ANYONE who has ever had to deliver pizzas.

So one rainy night we get a call for some pizzas to be delivered over kinda close to Louisiana Downs. It was several pizzas with the works on them, a nice cha-ching for the old cash register, and Charlie was working. The guy lost me, trying to tell me how to get to him, so I gave the phone to Charlie.

Charlie's end of the conversation was something like, "M-Hmm. Yeah. I know where that is. M-Hmm. Ok. Is this…? Ok, I know where you are, now. I'll have your pizzas there in about 40 minutes."

A while later, Charlie hadn't come back, but I wasn't too worried. When he did finally get back, he had mud up to his knees, and he was grinning from ear to ear.

"J.J. (my nickname back then, don't ask.) that was THE wierdest thing I've ever seen in my life!"

"These guys live in a trailer over by…, and I barely get my car up to the trailer on this dirt road, it's SO muddy, and I get out and get like this (pointing to mud on shoes and pants) getting to and from the door."

"Then, when I try to turn my car around, I GOT STUCK! I went to see if the guy had a rope, boards, anything, to help me get unstuck."

"The guy says to me, "No problem, we'll be out to help in a minute.""

"So I go back to my car, and at least it had stopped raining, ya know? And the door of the trailer opens, and 12 midgets, wearing nothing but their underwear and cowboy boots, come piling out of there. Man, I thought I was going crazy!"

"They said, "Get in your car, and we'll push you out.""

"So, I got in and started my car, and all these midgets got beside the car and behind it and pushed until I was back on the dirt road from turning around, and came on back here. I just waved and shouted thanks out my window, but I could see that half the guys were coated in mud from my spinning tires. I'm telling you the truth J.J."

I said, "What do you mean midgets?"

Charlie said, "Well they weren't really midgets, but the tallest one couldn't have been more than five feet tall. They were all jockeys for the horse track! A whole bunch of 'em, living in this trailer together during racing season."

I started laughing (everybody in the place was listening by then) and with his description, I could just picture it all.

I asked him, "Why do you reckon they wanted all of those pizzas? Wouldn't that pack the weight on them?"

Charlie said, "Oh no, J.J. They eat good tasting food like that all the time, then go throw it all up so they don't gain weight."


But I'm still left with the mental image of Charlie standing there muddy, and the mental image he word-painted, of the dozen or so jockeys who pushed him out of the mud while only wearing underwear and cowboy boots. But hey, it was out in the country, so who's to see them, right?

Fact really is stranger than fiction, isn't it?

And to this day, after eating pizza all over The South, Johnny's Pizza House, is THE best pizza I have EVER eaten. Hands down, the best. I try to tell people about it, but you just can't describe the flavor. It's neither New York or Chigago. Truly unique.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New Orleans

Last night, New Orleans celebrated the rebuilding of the Superdome from it's Katrina damage with the Saint's first real home game in over a year.

The Superdome was rebuilt at a cost of $184 Million.

But, wait a minute.

Is this the same New Orleans which has been shown repeatedly for the past year on the news as being woefully underfunded and dozens of TV specials with all kinds of celebrities getting their punches in on the Bush administration for dragging it's feet in helping the city and it's people rebuild?


All this time, to hear Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and a dizzying array of other big stars show up on TV lamenting the lack of progress here, you'd think that nothing was getting done at all.

But low and behold, there's the Superdome. All spit-shined and lookin' like a shiny new nickel.

They were able to, in one year, completely fix it. And easily find $184 Million to do it too.

It just shows where New Orlean's priorities are.

So, from now on when I see a show about those poor folks in New Orleans, and how their houses are still wrecked, along with their lives, I'm gonna get a picture in my mind of that spiffy lookin' Superdome.

Good on you city of New Orleans.

You've really showed the world what a retarted bunch of morons you've elected to be in charge down there.

$180 Million would build 1,200 homes at $150,000 each.

Is it just me? That seems kinda backwards.

I guess it just goes to show that things CAN be done over there with money and determination.

People still wonder how New Orleans isn't rebuilt after a year, when here in Florida, we still have thousands and thousands of families living in FEMA trailers from the 2004 hurricanes that went through here.

New Orleans could never have been rebuilt in only a year, but good grief, stop complaining about the lack of progress over there.

It's clear that the money and efforts are going where the powers that be in New Orleans think it should be going. To the Superdome and the Saints.

I'm sure that's a lot of comfort to the folks without homes and without hope. Their lives might still totally suck, but hey, the Saint's have a place to play.

I see nothing wrong with rebuilding the Superdome, but you can't have it both ways. You can't complain about slow progress AND rebuild a behemoth like the Superdome in record time.

I'll shut up now; I'm sounding like Andy Rooney, and that scares me.

I always feel kinda dirty after a rant like that, so I'm gonna try to brighten the mood with a photo.

Here's a little bit of Sunny Florida for all y'all. This was taken at Castaways Point Park in Palm Bay, Florida; on the Indian River Lagoon, our section of the Intracostal Waterway.

(I've passed the point where I can keep track of whether or not I have posted a particular photo before, or not. I looked back through the posts, and didn't see this one, but if I just missed it, well, you'll just have to pretend to like it again. -- John)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Kiefer Sutherland Hits The Big Time

I have always thought that Donald Sutherland, Kiefer's Dad, was one of the best actors working. And he's been around a long time, but like Sean Connery, Donald just gets better as he gets older.

When I was younger, I loved Donald Sutherland in the movies Bear Island, and in The Eye Of The Needle.

He is instantly recognizable, and even Donald's voice overs on documentaries and such are cool, as his voice is easily recognizable.

And I've liked Kiefer a long time too, especially in The Vanishing, but I have to admit that I am one of the few people in America that has never watched 24. I really don't watch a whole lot of TV, and it seems to be such an intricate show, that, since I haven't seen even one episode, I don't feel like trying to play catch up.

And I always wondered what it must be like for Kiefer to be in the shadow of such a great actor as his Father is.

Well, I think that after the success of 24, ol' Kiefer is finally a star in his own right.

Because a couple of weeks ago, Number One Daughter and I were talking, and she referred to Donald Sutherland as "that Dude on 24's Father."

Yep. Ol' Kiefer has officially hit the Big Time.

After years of struggling for acclaim and being called only "Donald Sutherland's son," the tide has turned, and Donald is now "that Dude on 24's Father."

I wonder if Donald and Kiefer are having problems because of this change in their lives, or if they are still close as Father and Son.

As for me, I hope they're close. Because their situation is really kinda cool.

I just felt like throwing in a couple more cloud pictures. Ones that I decided not to add yesterday, but that I like nevertheless.

Both are a couple of my shameless shots from Number Two Daughter's hospital room a few weeks ago.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Picture Post, Sunday September 24, 2006

Today's picture post has a theme. Clouds. Give 'em a click, and relax. All were taken in the past two months here in the Palm Bay, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach areas.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Black and White

As much as it grieves me to do so, I'm gonna have to work some this weekend. It's been a stressful week, so I'd rather not, but I have some things that, come Monday, will make me feel better if I put in some time over the weekend. Ya know what I mean? It doesn't bother me much, because I've worked jobs with horrible hours and days off, so having to work the occasional weekend isn't too much to ask of myself. I get most of them off. As a young man, I could only dream of having a good paying day job with weekends off. College really paid off in that respect.

I say all of that to say this. What you are getting out of me here this weekend are photos I have already on my computer.

Here are a few more Black and White photos from my photography courses at Northeast Louisiana University, in Monroe, Louisiana. (The school has changed it's name to The University of Louisiana at Monroe)

This first photo is of the Louisville Street bridge over the Ouachita River, with the river at flood level. This would have probably been in 1983.

This is one of those photos where I have to sit and wonder why I took it. What works for me here is all of the straight lines going off in all directions; the edges of the wood, the tines on the rakes, the handles. It's chaotic, but the straight lines are the common thread. It looked better contrasty like this, with the film's grain kinda strong too.

I have always liked the lines of this. This was one of the photos I mounted and turned in for part of my grade. There are straight lines, that big loop of rope, the items in the photo are contrasty on their own, and the textures of the wood and concrete. It's a simple photo, but there's lots of visual interest. For me at least.

Yet another photo where I just took it without thinking, but later realize that part of the weathered stick mimicks the shape of the edge of the rock. But ultimately the photo seemed to be missing something. I played around with it in Photoshop Elements, and the gaussian blur softened the image a bit and now it looks much better to me. The wonders of modern technology, though I used to do this stuff in the darkroom too, but I didn't think of it with this photo back then.

The fungus is among us. Another photo I played around with in Photoshop Elements until it was interesting enough to post.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Yesterday Morning Was SOOO Strange

First. I overslept. No big surprise there, my alarm clock is in the throes of death and it's now-barely-audible alarm, well I just turned it off in my sleep I guess.

What woke me up?

A humongus BOOM-BOOM! at about 6:15am.

It was the Space Shuttle's double boom that rocks our house as it flies north up the Florida coast to Kennedy Space Center as it returns from space.

The BOOM-BOOM is followed closely by Number Two Daughter coming into our room with a frantic: "WHAT was THAT?!"

Lovely Wife (half asleep): "Space Shuttle."

Number Two Daughter (relieved): "Oh."

Shuts door.

Now the double BOOM has jarred me from sleep, but my waking thought was "I forgot to go to a meeting yesterday!", which, combined with the incredible noise of the booms, got the ol' ticker just a-goin.

And one of our dogs, that is afraid of thunder, which must be what the double boom sounds like to her, jumps over me and lays against my head on my pillow. I guess she reasoned, "To heck with sleeping by their feet if it's gonna be thundering, I'd rather die by one of my people's heads."

Kinda hard to sleep with a dog laying partly on my head.

I get up. Get ready. Go to work. Plenty of pressure to get certain things done at work.

I go by the guy's office whose meeting I missed to appologize. He's not there. Make mental note to see him later.

Wonder why my Microsoft Outlook didn't pop up a meeting reminder like it usually does.

Continue working.

Late in the morning, a meeting notice pops up on my computer screen reminding me of the meeting I missed yesterday.

Why the heck, is this STUPID program reminding me a day late? Grrr!

I open Microsoft Outlook calendar. It is Thursday, September 21, 2006. The meeting was scheduled for Thursday, September 21, 2006.

Hmmm. Now let me think here a minute...

Holy cow! It's only Thursday! I thought it was Friday! All morning! I didn't miss the meeting! I have an extra day to get things done at work! Yipee!

Now normally, I hate it when this happens, because it feels like somebody added 100 pounds of rocks to my backpack, you know?

But yesterday it was a relief, because of the things I want to get done at work. It seems like I was given more time to get it done, which LESSENED the pressure.


And the kicker? One of the first things I did yesterday was to get on the computer and post my Thursday Thirteen to this blog.

That's right. I spent all Thursday morning, in near panic, thinking it was Friday and that I had missed a meeting. All of this AFTER posting my Thursday Thirteen.

I'm such a retard.

And this isn't the first time I've done this either.

But that's another post.

Well, yesterday was the first day of fall. And. I haven't posted any photos in four days, so I thought I would put one up today.

It's not really a fall colors photo, but it was fall in Tennessee in November of 1983 (methinks). I've always loved this shot. It was a crisp, cold day, but the sun was out and the sky an impossible blue.

It looked like heaven to this Louisiana boy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #7

13 Places I Want To See Someday

1. Yosemite National Park. Yeah. What can I say? I've seen the pics, but I want to see it with my own eyes. I learned from visiting Yellowstone, that the pics just can't capture it. I want to see and smell it.

2. Glacier/Waterton International Peace Park. An old timer I worked with years ago at Delta Airlines in Atlanta went here with his wife and told me all about it. You could tell he had trouble trying to describe it, which made it sound even better than if he could have. Said ya gotta see the Canadian side (Waterton) too. I've always wanted to go ever since then.

3. Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. I've always been a sucker for the whole Wright brother's story. I've never wanted to be a pilot myself, but their determination and dedication to excellence is still inspiring to me. Interesting note: Delta Airlines used to fly Lockheed L-1011 aircraft and they used to tell you when you flew one that the plane's passenger cabin was long enough for the Wright brother's first documented flight. No big deal, but that was an interesting juxtaposition, to be on a jet at 500mph that was longer than the Bro's first flight.

4. The United Kingdom. This would be my fantasy overseas trip. I'd like to do at least a couple of weeks in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales. That's a couple of weeks in EACH. Oh, and Republic of Ireland too.

5. Four Corners Area of the U.S.. When I was in grade school, in the Weekly Reader one week, they had a picture of a kid standing on the corner where the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah intersect. He was standing, literally, in four states at once. I've wanted to go stand on that spot since that time. As an adult, I would like to see the other sights in the area like Anasazi ruins and stuff, too.

6. Bicycle Tour Across the U.S.. This sounds odd to many, but thousands of people have done it over the years. The Adventure Cycling Association has maps with much detail for routes that are friendly to bicyclists, and many thousands of miles mapped out. I want to do the original Transamerica Route, or the Northern Tier Route, to cover parts of the U.S. that I have never seen. It takes most people two or three months to cross the country like this.

7. Bicycle tour from Alaska down along the Pacific Coast.. I love to read bicycle touring stories, and have a good collection of books myself, as well as having read everything the Brevard County Library has. Many more adventurous types actually ride their bicycles from Alaska, usually Anchorage, all the way to Tierra Del Fuego at the tip of South America. I'm too chicken for that, but would combine the Northern part with a trip down the Pacific Coast, down into Baha. The only thing that scares me, is that I've heard that people in Northern California shoot conservatives on sight, so I might not do this one. ;)

8. Israel. I mean, really, what Christian doesn't want to tour around Israel? Just to go and see some of the places I've read about in the Bible over and over, most of my life would be ultra cool. And since I'm over there, I'd love to see Petra, but I don't even know if Jordan lets infidels like myself in to see it. Why Petra? Six words. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

9. Bar Harbor, Maine. Don C. (my Dad) was a really quiet man. Once upon a time, we were watching TV together and whatever we were watching, showed Bar Harbor, Maine. I remarked that I had never heard of it (my Louisiana schoolin' again) but that it looked beautiful. Don C. started talking about how it truly is beautiful; that he had spent a brief time there while in the U.S. Navy in the 1950's. I was pole-axed (stunned). Don C. had been literally around the world a couple of times on the destroyer he was a gunner's mate on, but rarely talked about the things he saw. His opening up like that, however briefly, was like getting to see the Aurora Borealis or Australis. Rare. I would kill to have more of his stories. And I've always wanted to go to Bar Harbor, just because Daddy said it was gorgeous.

10. Washington, D.C. Hey, I'm an American! I want to go see all the stuff. Smithsonian, Memorials, the works. I'd like to see the Declaration of Independence. That is, if Nicholas Cage doesn't steal it again.

11. Machu Picchu, lost city in the Andes. Sainted Mother was a big believer in getting the special books offered from time to time by Readers Digest. One of the best she ever bought, and the one I read in repeatedly, was a book called Strange Stories, Amazing Facts. It was like a one volume encyclopedia on man's discoveries throughout history. That's the first time I heard of Machu Picchu, and the story of it really captured my imagination. (I ended up finding that same book a few years ago in a used book store, WITH book jacket.) It's still a favorite book of mine after all these years, and I still want to go to see Machu Picchu.

12. Angkor Wat, Cambodia. I first learned of Angkor Wat in the Strange Stories, Amazing Facts book I talked about above. The book had a picture of the area all grown over with jungle, and then an after pic of the area after cleaning the jungle off the temples. I still want to go to see it, but like Israel and Jordan, political unrest may squelch any real hope of going. But it's nice to think about.

13. Grand Canyon. The Brady Bunch, a fictional TV family got to go, but I never have. Man, thats just wrong. I sure want to though. Who doesn't?

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Horse Meat Sure Is Good Eatin'!

Looking through news articles a couple of weeks ago, I found this story about the U.S. House of Representatives voting to disallow the slaughter of horses for meat.

This reminded me of something, once again from my days with Delta Airlines.

When I have told people about this over the years, some were intrigued, some were astonished/outraged, and some simply thought I was lying.

Back in the mid-late 80's, when I was working as a ramp rat baggage handler for Delta at DFW airport, we handled the ground operations for what was then British Caledonian. It was a UK based international airline that was eventually bought by British Airways.

Several days per week, when their DC-10 was at the gate, two refrigerated 18 wheelers would pull up behind the aircraft.

Each truck's trailer was filled, front to back, with pallets of big boxes.

These boxes where sides of horse meat, raised and butchered in the U.S. just as cattle are for beef, and sent to England for distribution and human consumption all over Europe.

I didn't believe it myself when I was first told, but one day I had a few minutes to spare and rode a tug (one of those little tractor thingies that pulls baggage carts) down to talk with some friends working the flight one day. The boxes were marked as horse meat, and the manifest said so as well.

So, on this one flight, two or three times a week, tons of horse meat were being shipped to England. They were butchered in Fort Worth and brought over for the flights. So, this was really fresh horse meat.

I have never seen horse meat served in an American restaurant, though it may be somewhere, and I've never been out of the States, but I gather that folks all over the world eat it just as we do beef here.

It sounds wierd to an American, eating horse, but after thinking about it, what's the difference?

I've eaten turtle and deer meat, so if a horse is raised and fattened like a cow, it probably wouldn't taste much different than grain fed beef. Alligator is found in many restaurants down here in Florida.

This was just one of those things that, when this story broke, reminded me of something I haven't thought of in years.

But if it surprised any of you that there were horses being raised, slaughtered, and shipped overseas, I can personally attest that it has been going on for many years.

I guess that for Americans, a horse is one of those animals we can't mentally deal with eating.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Snakes On A Plane (for real)

If you have read much here, you know that I once worked for Delta Airlines.

Something that I haven't really talked very much about, because it's not important, is that I actually worked for Delta Airlines twice.

Where I grew up in Monroe, Louisiana, our across-the-street neighbor was the local airport's Station Manager for Delta Airlines. When I turned 18, and was in college the first time, Mr. H offered me a job working for Delta. I only worked there for a few months, because I had the dubious honor of working there when the U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike, and Ronald Reagan called them on it. Air travel took a down turn, and Delta laid me off. I went back to Delta five years after that.

I have told a story or two about that time, but this recent movie, Snakes On A Plane, reminded me of something that happened to me while I was working for Delta that first time, in Monroe.

I was a baggage handler, and in a small station like Monroe, I did whatever needed to be done. Wash, clean, mop, paint, whatever. So we handled freight in and out that was sent via Delta's planes.

One Saturday, we had a shipment of two items containing snakes coming in on a 727 from Atlanta, for our local zoo. No big deal.

And when the plane was parked, I opened and locked the rear cargo bin door for us to remove the baggage, mail, and freight. (in that order)

When Prezell, the guy I was working with that day, pulled the cart up to offload the baggage, I jumped into the cargo area to start throwing the baggage to the doorway, for him to grab and to put on the cart.

After removing a few items, I saw that the freight (snakes) we were expecting were, in fact, two wooden boxes.

And. The. End. Of. One. Of. The. Boxes. Was. Opened.

I froze. Then moving only my head, looked around for snakes.

Not seeing any, I jumped from the cargo bin onto the flat little baggage cart we were using. I yelled to Prezell that one of the boxes of snakes was open and his eyes got as big as saucers. He said he sure as h#$$ wasn't going in there.

So, we went over to our Lead Agent (boss for the day) and told him about it. But about this same time, fortunately, the guy from the zoo shows up looking for their snakes.

We told him one of the crates was open, but he told us that each snake was in its own bag, and that despite the box being open, they shouldn't have gotten out.

Now, I've never been terrified of snakes though I also don't love them, so I went back out, got in there and re-closed the box, got it and the other box into the cart and took it over to the guy. And we finally also got the poor waiting passengers their luggage.

But the snake guy from the zoo, just Popped Open the box. Started pulling bag after bag out (with us backing away the whole time) and checked to make sure he had the right number of snakes.

He did.

I still remember the relief I felt. I mean, some snakes are small, and the possibility of one being on the plane still, or worse, on someone's luggage they were about to get off the carousel, was remote but real until his head count came up right.

Once the pressure was off, I started wondering stuff like, "How do the snakes breathe in those bags they were in?" and things like that.

I didn't think to ask how many of the ones there were poisonous, but since they were all accounted for, it didn't matter anyway.

And though it all ended up being much ado about nothing, there for a while, our minds were in overdrive about the possibility of a bunch of snakes being loose among the baggage, mail, and freight we were to remove.

The mind is a terrible thing.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! (In Jan Brady's Voice)

It's Big Sis's Birthday Today!

First let me get this out of the way. Happy birthday Marsha, I love you and miss you.

Now. Let the pain begin.

I don't have a very good cross section of photos from Big Sis's life, so I have scoured my slide collection, and what photos our Sainted Mother has given me, to bring you the photos I have that are most likely to make Big Sis wince.

This was, dear reader, was the best I could come up with.

This first one, I put here because it pretty much sums up Big Sis's personality in one single photo.

Aww. That's Big Sis holding me when I was a wee lad. Now I'm about that much bigger than she is.

Now we're getting somewhere! Dig that 1970 dress. Groovy baby! That's Younger Brother there in her arms. Big Sis is acting all maternal and stuff, but we know better don't we?

This is one from her high school years in Vidalia, Louisiana. I mainly put this one here because of the spiffy 70's hair do she has goin' on. (You have to excuse the condition of this photo, the slide is damaged.)

And last but not least, a semi recent photo of Big Sis and the long suffering CTH. I hope he doesn't hate me for doing this.

Happy Birthday Butkus!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Picture Post, Sunday September 17, 2006

This first photo was of the western sky, taken a couple of weeks ago from Number One Daughter's hospital room. Yeah, I'm that pathetic, that I brought my camera to the hospital because her fourth floor room had a good vista of the evening sky over Melbourne, Florida. The hole with the sun beam coming through makes it for me.

Sea grape leaves. Sea grape is one of my favorite plants; Lovely Wife bought me one and we planted it in our back yard. This picture however, was taken on the beach just south of Sebastian Inlet. The sun was low and lit the waxy leaves nicely. I liked the color contrast between the back of the one leaf and the front of the other.

This is a decaying palm frond, on the shore of Palm Bay, part of the Indian River Lagoon. I liked the symmetry of it, and also the oyster shells and the sandy grittiness as a whole.

Looking southward one evening along the Indian River Lagoon, our section of the Intracostal Waterway.

I had stopped along the side of A1A near the Atlantic, and was walking up the road to take a picture of a roadside sign, but this backlit vine growing up the side of a telephone pole caught my eye. What the heck ya know? I like it anyway. The whole digital camera thing lets me 'burn film' like I always wanted to, but could never afford to with real film. Spiffy neato.

This is another shameless photo from Number One Daughter's hospital room. I loved the colors and how there was intense yellow/orange low in the sky, but still had blue up high.

Be sure and read tomorrow's post. It's gonna be EXTRA special!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Few Slide Scans (Bonus Photos #3)

I've been in a photo mood lately. Even more than usual. I like working with them, and scanning slides and archiving them is actually fun. It's a long, slow process, but a few at a time, I'm slowly making headway. I may be through with scanning slides and negatives in around 2012. That's no joke. I could put 5 per day here and have a few years worth without even taking a camera out for new stuff.

Give these a click.

This is a crop of one of my slides from around 1983. The bottom half of the original was the roof of a neighbor's home in Louisiana. It was nice to be able to crop that out and leave this incredible sky and sliver of moon. Slight adjustments in Photoshop Elements, the slide has these colors, I had to brighten it overall though.

This was taken in Lovely Wife's family's back yard on Christmas day 1982. This was one of the rare times that Louisiana got one of those arctic blasts when the jet stream dipped really far south. The high ambient temperature that day was like 15 degrees F, -9 C, and the chill factor stayed around 0 F, -17 C. The sky was amazing though. I liked the clouds framing the sky, and the trees framing the clouds.

A small tallow tree sapling taken one fall, 1982, methinks. I liked the backlight that made the leaves glow. This is a slight crop, the original had a bit of distracting background along the very top of the frame.

This is the after sunset colors over the Ouachita River looking from Monroe, Louisiana toward West Monroe. I was taking photos of the flood waters, the river was at a near record high and was half way up the levee I was standing on next to Forsyth Park. While the sunset itself was not that special, for some reason, the colors afterward were amazing. Similar colors to the first photo, eh?

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Monster Under The Bed...

Was Me!

I distinctly remember, when I was 5, being scared to get out of bed at night, because I thought and alligator was under there. I have no idea why I thought that, but just chalk it up to the trials and tribulations of growing up in Louisiana.

But, when we were growing up, Big Sis had a bed that was kinda high off the ground.

And for a long time, I was just the right size and could slide right under there.

So if I was in the house, and saw her and a friend coming in, I would somtimes run to her room and hide under her bed.

I would wait there for:
-- Them to come in,
-- start a record on the record player (WAY before CDs here, folks)
-- and start talking.

I distinctly remember how delicious the thought of the fright I was about to give them was. It was an actual feeling; my whole body would tingle.

When I couldn't take it any more, I would reach out and grab an ankle of each girl and yell.

Man! The screaming! The anger. The laughter (me).

It always took me a couple of minutes to stop laughing enough to get out from under the bed. Big Sis yelling at me the whole time.

Now that I think of it, I wonder why she didn't kick me or hit me with something when I was only half way out and vulnerable. I guess she was either too nice, or a dummy.

The only down side was having my ears assaulted by having to listen to the Osmond Brothers or Bobby Sherman while I waited under the bed to make my move ;)

But I do remember one time, trying to run into Big Sis's room but realizing that I didn't have time to get down and under the bed.

So I just hid behind her door.

But she had seen me, and walked into her room as if she hadn't, but when she walked past the door I was hiding behind, she jumped against the door and squished me good there for for a couple of minutes 'til I was screaming for mercy.

Good one Sis.

But I have always been pretty patient.

I would just wait a few months until her guard was down and do the under the bed fright thing all over again.

Years later, when my daughters were little, we would sometimes play hide and seek in the house, if it was raining or something.

The games were fast, because hey, I'm a moose and there were only about three places with room enough for me to hide inside the house.

In a closet. Behind either shower curtain in a bath tub. Or lay down on the floor on the other side of mine and Lovely Wife's bed.

But you know what?

When I was hiding from them, and I could hear them narrowing down my possible hiding places, I WOULD GET THAT SAME EXACT TINGLING OF ANTICIPATION I did as a kid waiting to scare the snot out of Big Sis and whichever friend made the mistake of coming to visit.

We had to play hide and seek over and over.

They never tired of it.

Good Times. Good Times.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #6

13 Things I Have Great Childhood Memories About Owning (Toys, Bikes, and whatnot)

1. Bicycle. Hands down, my favorite thing. First one was a red Western-Auto bike, then I got a green, metal-flake Sears Gremlin with banana seat, high-rise handlebars, and tiny front tire. I had others, but those are the childhood ones that let me roam away from home for the first time.

2. Cookie, Cricket, Snoopy, and Sara. Our dogs we had when I was young. Seeing pics of them now hurts just as bad as pics of loved ones who have passed away. Heck, they ARE loved ones who have passed away.

3. Beanie. A little boy doll with a beanie cap and propeller. Of course the propeller broke off, but Beanie was a good friend. I think it was actually Beany(ie?) Boy, a 60's cartoon character the doll was modeled from.

4. My Big Josh doll action figure. I had the camper and all kinds of stuff. Like a muscled up Ken, with a beard, and with his own line of accessories. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! I wrote a post about it called "Only Girls Play With Dolls."

5. My own stereo. I inherited it from my brother when he moved out and got better stuff, but I spent many, many hours lost in music.

6. Building models. The Revell plastic models, mostly of cars, but of the occasional fighter plane as well. My all-time favorite was a huge model of Don Garlits's first rear engine top fuel dragster. It had soft rubber slicks and everything.

7. Hotwheels. My older brother and I got Hotwheels and each got a different track, the first year they came out. 1968. It was a very good year. Several years ago, on one anniversary of their introduction, I re-bought some of the originals I once had, that had been reissued.

8. Marx Electo-Shot Shooting Gallery. A fully contained personal sized shooting gallery/mounted gun that shot chrome pellets that rolled back down and into the gun like a pinball machine. I went through D batteries like Grant went through Richmond. I remember anticipating this toy, and it totally lived up to the hype in my head.

9. Big Bruiser. A battery powered tow truck I received the Christmas I was 4. It's one of the first toys I can remember playing with a lot. Not just mental snapshots, but actually playing with it. It came with a 'broken' car for it to tow.

10. My John Brodie football I received on my 13th birthday. My friends Glenn and Wes and I spent many hours running up and down our street throwing that football. It finally had the ends worn through and punctured the bladder. But that football lasted for years, and a lot of good times with my friends. I even re-laced it a couple of times myself with shoestring, and did a good job of it too. We used Wes's or Glenn's footballs when we played on grass.

11. Marbles. I loved playing marbles as a kid, and was pretty good. Except, Lisa Jeffries fairly consistently beat me. (And we played 'for keeps.')

12. A desk. I know that sounds lame, but in high school, I finally got my own room and Sainted Mother and Don C. bought me a small desk. That's where I did all of my homework, wrote, and built models.

13. Skateboard. The first one I had was a steel wheeled one I bought from my friend Wes. $5, if memory serves. Then I saved and bought a decent one from Service Merchandise. I never got good enough to ride ramps and stuff, but I put many miles on that thing and did learn some freestyle tricks.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday Visuals (Bonus Photos #2)

How about some pictures after yesterday's rant?

I'm getting to the point where, I can't be sure if the pics I'm putting on here are ones I've already put on here before. I skimmed back over my posts to make sure, but it's still possible I missed one.

Anyhoo, enjoy.

This is a spiffy looking clock commemorating something or other and some big trees at Sebastian Riverside Park in Sebastian, Florida. It was a beautiful day for exploring.

Some little wind driven whirlygigs in one of Lovely Wife's flower pots.

These flowers kinda freaked me out when I first saw them. I took the photo then tried to look them up. I haven't seen any quite like them, the closest I saw were called spider orchids. The highlights blew out on this photo, so you can't see great detail in the flowers. But if you know what these guys are called, let me know.

Just a sign and a locked gate, but I like it. I was trying to go to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, but alas, it was obviously not to be.

I was standing under a train bridge that crosses Crane Creek in Melbourne, Florida. I liked the repeating pattern of the support beams moving away from the camera.

There ya go! Have a good hump day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Path To 9/11 (TV Movie)

Warning: One of my rare political rants.

All the hullabaloo over The Path To 9/11 TV movie has really caught me by surprise.

As a person who grew up with network news, and what is now called the main stream media, I just flat-out got used to the way they did business. Hollywood too.

As a political conservative, I have always listened to and read the news pretty carefully. 1. Because I'm not the sharpest pencil in the cup, and 2. I understand that, in the real world, that most reporters and newscasters are personally on the Democratic Party/left team, and that it is impossible for them to be truly objective.

But again, over the years, I've gotten used to liberal causes/beliefs to be handled one way by the media, and conservative causes/beliefs to be handled a different way. Not much I could ever do about that, you know? So I learned long ago to read as much as I could, from as many sources as I could, and then make up my own mind.

Over the past few years with liberal products such as Fahrenheit 911, Syriana, and Good Night And Good Luck, just being pretty much taken at face value by the media and the public with little or no taking into question the obvious lies and distortions within (that have been detailed ad nauseam on the net, and I won't do that here), I just go on about my life, doing the best I can.

I don't get too wrapped around the axle about these things, because, again, what can I do? Not much.

All I can do is vote, and I DO vote in every primary, special, and general election that my health permits me to vote in.

But I see the tired old story of McCarthy done over and over and over again, and what an evil, evil man he was in the eyes of so many, and I truly began to believe that politically liberal people truly hate censorship.

At least I used to think that politically liberal Americans hated censorship.

That is, until ABC wanted to air The Path To 9/11. Ok. Any human with only two brain cells left in their head to rub together knows that there has never, in the history of Hollywood movies, or in TV land, been a completely accurate story told.

Never. Ever. Not one.

So, why in the world has the Democratic Party, it's officials, and it's heroes, all come out wanting to squash this movie? Screams FOR censorship? From liberals?! Say it ain't so.

I can even understand asking for equal time on the subject, but to actively seek the movie to never be seen?

I mean, I can understand if they disagree with sentiments expressed in it, but hey, aren't liberals the last bastion of hope in this country against censorship?

I guess not. I saw Harry Reid, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, Madeline Albright (sp?) all come out and call for ABC to pull this program.

Am I the only one that sees this as the very pinnacle of hypocrisy? Politically liberal Americans claim to hate censorship in any form, yet THE most powerful people in the Democratic Party have unanimously come out in favor of, and have brought all the power they can bring to bear, in an effort to have this TV movie NOT to be shown.

To quote Mugatu (Will Ferrell) from Zoolander: "Am I the only one who sees this?! I feel like I've been taking crazy pills!"

The other crazy thing is, that these bastions of all that is true (so they would have us think), actually don't see themselves as being hypocritical.

But if a Louisiana public school educated guy like me can see how incredibly hypocritical the Democratic Party leaders in this country are being right now over this TV movie, I feel there are a bunch of other people out there who see their hypocrisy as well.

Politically liberal friends and coworkers that I have known and do know, over the years, have always pulled out the Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker card, when a discussion isn't going their way. They think that, because I'm a politically conservative Christian, that the very mention of their names should get me to shut up. My liberal friends still, after all these years, pull those names out of the hat as textbook hypocrites. It's like when they call someone fat, at that moment, you KNOW they are running on empty as far as ideas are concerned.

But now the very best and brightest and most powerful in the American Democratic Party have shown themselves to be hypocrites, and that they in fact, care nothing about freedom of speech.

Apparrently, the only freedom acceptable to them is when all such speech toes the increasingly liberal Democratic Party line.

While I am bummed about some of the things the Republicans have done in the past 12 years, the Democratic Party and it's leaders have just proved to the entire world just how morally bankrupt they really are.

And to think they once again proved their hypocrisy over a stupid TV movie. Huh.

It seems that, after decades of having the main stream media on it's side, always, that liberals are in a panic over a TV movie that shows Democrats in a negative light. It's the kind of overblown anger you see when you know they thought they had the media in the bag, on their side, but in this one instance the media turned and bit them in the rear.

I must say, I'm pretty surprised myself that a major TV network let this movie even get made, much less shown.

And the Democrat's reaction lets the world know that the things said in this movie probably hit a little too close to the truth for their liking.

All of this comes on the heels of recent news reports of how Al Gore, traveling around promoting An Inconvenient Truth, does NOTHING in his personal life that he asks average Americans to do to help the environment. He is a walking, talking, hypocrite of the highest order. Do as I say, not as I do, says Al.

And now his cohorts, the powers of the Democratic Party, have joined him by publicly displaying their own hypocrisy.

To quote the great philosopher Gomer Pyle, "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!"

That is all. Carry on.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Purdy Flars (Bonus Photos #1)

That's red-neck for 'pretty flowers.'

This is a pic of Lovely Wife's flowers from our anniversary a couple of weeks ago. The bouquet is called "Hugs And Kisses." They are irises and tulips. I was gonna order some roses, but saw these and thought, hey, I like 'em better! Plus we always close out notes to one another with the wholly original xxxooo, so I went for it. I used for the first time.

It came in a big box via FedEx, which I didn't like at first. I wanted flowers that the delivery guy walked in with, ready, and her to go "Wow." But it's kind of a do it yourself deal, where you open the box, cut the bottoms of the flowers off according to instructions that come with them, and put them in the included vase with water and the little packet of food that comes along too.

They started opening in an hour or two, and the next day looked like this. They were just glorious, and Lovely Wife thought the whole process was cool. So that's fine with me.

Based on this experience, I would recommend if you have someone like Lovely Wife who like to fiddle with things and that may dig the do it yourself component of their flowers. Watching them was awesome and they stayed beautiful for days. Way prettier and longer lasting than normal delivery flowers.

Anyway. Just wanted to share the beauty.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Picture Post, Sunday September 10, 2006

Give these guys a click.

How about a beach picture after sunset? If you follow this blog, it's no big surprise. This was taken on Panama City Beach many moons ago in the summer of 1982. I love my Nikon dSLR, but you just can't top Kodachrome slides. Maybe digital will equal it some day, but it ain't there yet.

This is a night picture I took around 1983. Kinda scary thinking that it has been that long, but, there ya go. That's how it is. This is a night view of Monroe, Louisiana, taken looking across the Ouachita River (WASH-i-taw) from West Monroe, Louisiana. The thing about this photo, which is a scan from a slide, is that it had all sorts of reflections from all of the lights in the photo, which bounced around the elements in the lens. I knew this was a good photo, but the reflections ruined it. But, with the scanning into digital form, and a little Photoshop Elements, I was able to remove the goofy reflections in the sky, and leave just the lights and the 'real' reflections in the water. I love that the whole scanning and software thingy lets me give new life to old photos that just had a problem or two keeping them from being really good photos. Cool.

This scan is something a dear old friend had written on the condensation on his bedroom window one day when I was over for a visit around December of 1982, and had my camera with me. I've always liked this and it was cool to come across it again while scanning my old slides.

North Louisiana doesn't do fall very well. There are mostly pines and not that many hardwoods. So in fall, the leaves turn and fall without much notice. It always seemed as if there was no fall color, only that all of a sudden, many trees were bare, and the only color was in the green of all the pine trees. But in Lovely Wife's (Fee-ON-say back then) back yard there was this little sweetgum sapling that had this one leaf left on it, and it was beautiful and pitiful at the same time. It had a real Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree kinda vibe. I didn't do anything to this photo, and I'm not really sure why the background looks like that. It doesn't really look like the bokeh (out of focus areas) of any of my other photos taken with this camera. It looks like a special effect, but it isn't.

This is a personal favorite of mine of Lovely Wife from the early years. She wasn't that practiced at the 'evil eye' way back then. It just came across as cute instead of intimidating.

This last one is of the big ol' oak tree that is in the front yard of the house in Monroe, Louisiana that I grew up in. Well, ages 12-21 anyway. This was a grand looking tree and the ivy Sainted Mother started on it looked cool too. I tried the gaussian blur thingy, thinking that the slightly blurry look would give it a nostalgic feel, but it and nothing else I tried looked good. So this is just pretty much a straight slide scan.