Friday, November 30, 2007

Have You Ever...

...felt like nothing you do matters?

Ok, I'll admit that I'm in the midst of a world-class funk right now. I don't want to whine about it on here because I doubt that any of you want to read that.

It's 3:02am as I write this.

My back hurts and the last dose of pain medication is wearing off.

I can't get to sleep and my brain won't shut off.

I went and laid back in my recliner for a couple of hours to see if a change of place might help, but although I'm crazy/sleepy, I can't go to sleep.

I think of several good ideas to write for blog posts, but in the mood I'm in right now, although they are good ideas, I just don't care enough to write them out. It's too hard to put words to a feel good story that I remembered when I'm anything but feeling good. So I can't write those things now; they'd sound horrible.

Kind of like how you're not supposed to go to the grocery store when you're hungry. It usually ends badly.

But I didn't want to have day after day here to be blank.

I appreciate all y'all coming by and reading, and especially your comments and hope that I get better and pull out of my funk soon.

Problem is, that chronic pain is something that will tip a depression prone person like me into deeper darkness.

And my back hurting so much lately has been like pouring gasoline on a smoldering coal; it helps to make my outlook on life quite dim.

I haven't wanted to get out and take pictures, everything that I think would be nice to do or that I should do or whatever just gets shot down by the shotgun blast of I-don't-really-care-enough to go through with these ideas.

Conversely, I've been reading when I can, and have been reading some good fiction and non-fiction like the books I mentioned last week, so all is not lost.

In the end, it has been my blogging and photography that has taken the biggest hit. I'm almost totally robbed of all creativity right now, so bear with me.

When I'm not feeling creative, or flat-out in a depressed state, I tend to do things that are menial, non-creative, but useful.

For instance, I've been converting some VHS video into digital form on my computer. This is a first for me. I tried to do video several years ago but it was a dismal failure, our computer was way too slow and all attempts at capturing video onto the computer turned out jerky and just plain pathetic.

This computer that I have now that I bought this past spring is super fast and it captures video with great ease.

So I've been climbing the steep hill that is learning to capture, edit, and produce simple videos and it's pretty neat.

Things like converting home movies and whatnot to digital form are quite useful and allow me to do something worthwhile during these creative down times in my life.

Although I sound as if life sucks for me right now, it doesn't, but as far as blogging is concerned, it takes a pretty big hit while I deal with my issues.

I'm also learning a bit about music and am listening to CDs on how to train my ears to discern musical pitches to improve my abilities on the guitar.

Not one person in my family can play any musical instrument, no grandparents, parents or siblings could. I grew up in a family that loved to listen to music, but not one that played any music themselves.

People that I know that grew up around musical instruments being played seem to all have a better and quicker grasp of things when they themselves attempt to learn to play an instrument.

Listening to instruction on how to improve my ability to hear and understand absolute and relative pitches, will, I hope, eventually help me become a better and more confident guitarist.

Anyhoo, all is not darkness and gloom, but during these funky moods it helps me feel better about myself to learn new things and to try to accomplish positive things like with the video and music so that I'm not just wallowing in my own self pity.

Hope y'all understand. I'll keep on trucking and try to at least throw some photos out here from time to time.

And if I keep having insomnia, I'll just get on here and ramble a bit like I am tonight.

It's now 3:27am, and I'm gonna shut it down and try to go to bed. Again.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Since I Am Time's Man of the Year...

...I don't feel like writing anything today.

Besides, you can't make me. Or, as my daughters used to tell one another, "You're not the boss of me!"

Like the cover there says, I control the information age.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Need To Stop Reading The News


Maybe I should go on a news fast and give my mind and spirit a break.

Stuff like this just burns me up:
A British primary school teacher arrested in Sudan faces up to 40 lashes for blasphemy after letting her class of 7-year-olds name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Gillian Gibbons, a 54-year-old mother of two from Liverpool, was arrested at her lodgings at Khartoum's Unity High School yesterday, accused of insulting the Prophet of Islam...
This whole Sharia law thing is flat-out evil, and exactly what people like Iran's President I'minajihad eventually expect all of us to live under.

I sure would hate to be an ACLU lawyer or a famous Hollywood actor. Those folks will be the first ones stoned to death in the future Islamic States of America.

I'm a Christian; they'll at least give me a chance to convert to Islam before I refuse and am stoned to death.

Also, I'm the son of an honest to goodness "They Can Have My Gun When They Pry Them From My Cold, Dead Fingers" man from Louisiana.

Guess what I inherited when Don C. passed away?

I'll be taking out a few of the rock throwers before I run out of bullets.

Nah. I'll probably be trampled to death by ACLU lawyers fleeing from rock wielding muslims, that's more my luck.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Go Read This Instead...

I have been going through one of my own personal seasonal changes.

From time to time I have to do some mental spring cleaning. I don't know how to explain it.

Depression is part of it, and it's brutal, but I learned long ago that when the dark times hit me, that's when I need to take stock and praise God for all of my blessings.

The result ends up with me pulling out of the funk, but the journey is not very enjoyable. It's filled with humongous ups and downs.

I know that there are people in my life that I love and want to help, but I cannot. It sets me reeling.

Song lyrics mean different things to different people, but as I tried to go to sleep last night, this song was on my ipod and some of the lyrics nailed pretty much how I feel right now. It's from a song called Freefall (from hand to hand) by the band Stavesacre:
Sleepless eyes open wide
before Heaven I stand again
If there's no winning this war tonight
I was wondering if you could steady my spinning head

And trusting gets harder now
I wish you were here beside me
My failures my fears and doubts have been haunting me
I'm just not who I thought I'd be

weightless and terrified
On I go crossing over from living to so alive
And purified I know weeping is cast for the night
And joy...

So here's a link to an old post that y'all might not have read; it's called Help Someone Whenever You Can, Or, My S&H Green Stamps Guitar.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday November 25, 2007

Been going through some of my old 35mm slides.

A photo of Miami that I took many years ago. Not spectacular but I've always liked it.

This one is a little more spectacular in my book. I love it when the sun's rays are intense like this. Taken of the Atlantic Ocean from Key Biscayne off the coast of Miami.

Some roses at my future In Law's home.

Some green stuff growing on a rock in the surf at Gulf Shores, Alabama.

An old bridge in the east Tennessee mountains on a cold, misty day.

Have a good Sunday folks.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, o Most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night...Psalm 92:1-2

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone that celebrates!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Man, His Wife, and a Guitar…

…a great love story.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of the greatest guitar players EVER. That was really easy for me to type because I truly believe that.

I don't like the blues very much, but I'll listen with rapt attention to any song by Stevie Ray Vaughan. He's that good, that when someone like me who isn't a big blues fan loves his music, he's something special.

You can hear this man's spirit in everything he plays. Sometimes his playing is gentle and beautiful, sometimes fierce as being attacked by a group of Navy Seals.

Stevie Ray died in a helicopter crash in August of 1990, the loss wasn't just his family's, but the whole world's.

Stevie Ray played Fender Stratocaster guitars. He had two main guitars that were the ones he played almost exclusively.

One guitar was a Strat that he called "Number One" because it was, as you might predict, the guitar he played for the lion's share of all his songs, both on stage and in the studio.

Fender Musical Instruments sometimes makes an exact replica of famous Fender guitars, in limited runs, and sells them for ungodly prices. Only a few people can get their hands on one of these guitars.

In these limited production run guitars like this, Fender will recreate every ding, dent, paint chip, scuff mark, everything, to make the guitar look like, say, Stevie's Number One guitar. It's almost like having his guitar for your own.

Stevie's Number One guitar was reproduced this way a number of years ago, and Fender also presently makes a new, lesser priced Strat called the Stevie Ray Vaughan artist model Strat. They are simply brand new guitars like his Number One with a few of his original "things" thrown in like big SRV stickers on the front. These guitars cost a mere $1500 or so.

That's enough background; here's the story for today.

On December 12, 2007 Fender Musical Instruments will release for sale 185 meticulously recreated, exact copies of Stevie Ray's "other" guitar, that he had named "Lenny" after his wife, Lenora Vaughan.

But the story of this guitar and what Stevie did with it is one that will truly touch your heart.

In 1980, before Stevie Ray became a success, he was simply "Jimmy Vaughan's Little Brother." Jimmy was a known guitarist in Texas, and is most famous for being the guitarist in the band The Fabulous Thunderbirds back when they had their greatest music chart success in the 80s.

Anyway, Stevie was a struggling blues guitar player, and one day he and friends went to a pawn shop where Stevie fell in love with a beat up 1965 Fender Stratocaster they had for sale there.

He told his wife about it, all excited like a little kid, and told her it cost $350. They didn't have anywhere near $350 to spend on anything, much less another guitar.

But his wife Lenny thought about Stevie Ray's birthday that was coming up soon and wanted to get him that guitar.

She thought about it, and finally hit on an idea. She and several friends each put $50 into it and went and bought the guitar. She and his friends presented that guitar to him for his birthday at a gig he and his band played that night.

He was blown away.

That night, like a little kid, he was so excited with his "new" guitar that he stayed up all night sitting on the side of his and Lenny's bed playing.

When she woke up, he said, "Listen to this" and proceeded to play an instrumental song.

When he finished, Lenny told him that the song was beautiful, and he said "That's 'Lenny.'" The first song he wrote on the guitar was an instrumental love song to his wife who'd found a way to get the guitar for him that he had wanted.

Lenny say's that she has never been able to hear that song without crying.

There's a whole lot more to the story, but I'll just point y'all to a link that will be well worth your time in checking out.

But to end my part, again, Fender is releasing a limited production run exact replicas of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Lenny" guitar.

Please check out this link, there's more amazing stuff to this story, including how baseball legend Mickey Mantle's autograph ended up on the guitar.

To read the whole story, go to Fender Musical Instrument's "Lenny" page. Once the page loads, click on "The Story" near the top center of the page.

The Story part that appears has three tabs, the first two are where you can read the story I told a little bit of here, and the third tab is a video of Stevie Ray playing the song Lenny in concert on the guitar Lenny. Over this musical backdrop, Lenny Vaughan, Stevie Ray's wife tells the story, with help from Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.

This video is way cool, if you only have a few minutes, watch the video on Tab #3.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

i'm a Dweeb with a bad back...

...but still a Dweeb.

OK. Here's the deal.

Not much going on.

Been having issues with my back, but that has been going on for years, and probably will continue, so while it impacts my life in big ways, I don't want to moan and whine about it here. Just understand that when I get down with my back, it's like being sick, I have little desire or inspiration to blog.

I've been reading some. Visiting my local library, always a favorite place because they let me borrow books almost free! And have been reading some science fiction. (My library books are almost free because I invariably pick out at least one, one week only book, and get it back late, incurring fines. It's still cheaper than buying books.)

I'm reading Smoke Ring by Larry Niven, a sequel to his sci-fi classic The Integral Trees. It's really good so far but I hate seeing characters I like getting the short end of the stick in life.

I have to admit, I'm a sucker for happy endings. Smoke Ring and The Integral Trees have absolutely amazed me in showing just how fantastic a person's imagination can be. If you think Steven King has a vivid imagination, you need to read some science fiction, some of these authors make him look small-time.

I'm so far behind on my National Novel Writing Month novel that I'm close to throwing up my hands and saying forget it. But something inside me wants to continue. It's just hard to sit there and type for very long.

Also reading bits of other books. The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, a book on the state of theoretical physics today. If you are ever interested in reading about physics, but hate math, this is your book. He covers all the great theories of physics in the past and brings you up to where different physicists are today in their thinking, WITHOUT MATH. There's math in the the appendices for those of us who at least like to flip back there and see the math that goes with the book. Anyway, I've read it several times, and now just pick it up to read favorite parts.

Ever heard of Vedic Mathematics?

I'm reading a book about that too, called simply Vedic Mathematics.

The Vedas are ancient Hindu scriptures covering many areas of life. I'm not Hindu, but their scriptures also happen to contain the foundations of modern mathematics including algebra, cube roots, square roots, and the concept of zero.

Much of the mathematical teachings of the Vedas were lost for, heck, I don't know how long, but were figured out all over again by Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha Maharaj in the first half of the 20th century.

He wrote many of his findings out, and that is what is contained in the book I linked to above, Vedic Mathematics, edited by V.S. Agarwala after Mr. Maharaj's death in 1960. He died before completing all that he wanted to write regarding the Vedas's mathematical teachings.

Anyway, to make a long story short and to give examples, the ways we were taught multiplication and long division in school is painfully slow and awkward compared to the ways put forth in this book, and can be learned so that doing amazing mathematics in your head is easier than using a calculator. As in, so simple that math becomes incredibly beautiful and elegant.

Just the kind of thing I like to read about. I love math, and I like learnin'.

No kidding; if you read the first few chapters of this book, you would want to go back in time and kick your elementary grade school teachers in the shins for making things 100 times harder than necessary.

I never said I wasn't a mean dweeb.

For the record, The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene and Vedic Mathematics are books I own and recommend if you are a fellow dweeb.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday November 18, 2007

Photography literally means "light writing". All great photographs have great lighting. Not that mine are great, but any that I've taken that are good have, at the very least, good light in them.

I'll use great light any way I can get it, even light from unexpected places.

Lovely lights from the windows of a public restroom in a public park. I love this photo anyway.

A great blue heron sittin' pretty in the light. Nope, that's not moonlight, that's the lights from a gas station back there reflecting on the water. I love this one anyway too.

Sometimes the source of the light is also the subject of the photograph instead of illuminating the subject, like these lamps in a park.

A water depth gauge in Crane Creek in Melbourne, Florida.

Mangrove roots in the Indian River Lagoon in Melbourne Beach, Florida. When we first moved here in 1996 there were a whole bunch of brand new mangrove shoots that had been put out here and there and it seemed like they would never grow. They always looked the same size year after year and I wondered what the deal was. I guess that mangrove grows incredibly slow, but once they get going, they grow at a decent rate. This bit of root was a little 1m tall sapling (or whatever they call the little ones they planted) but has finally taken off in the past two or three years. Grow, boy, grow!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Review Of A Movie Review

I have a well honed dislike for movie and music reviews. I'm not saying that I have the greatest opinion on movies or music myself, only that I tend to like pretty much the opposite of what movie and music critics love.

Rarely do my ideas about these two juggernaut forms of entertainment parallel those of your average critic. In fact, if I absolutely hate a movie (Ex. American Beauty in 1999, one of THE most horrible movies I've ever watched) that rascal will definitely be on the short list for an Oscar.

I've recently been seeing the ads on TV for Robert Redford's new movie, Lions For Lambs.

Now despite what you may think, me being conservative and all, I tend to like Robert Redford movies. One of the very first movies I ever saw in a real movie theater was Jeremiah Johnson in Natchez, Mississippi with Don C. and Big Brother. I LOVED it. I was about 8 or so and I was totally blown away by this movie and the man Mr. Redford portrayed in it. I also liked Sneakers a lot; that one was pretty fun.

Fast forward all these years and I'm now a middle aged electrical engineer, and despite my Louisiana public school upbringing, can think pretty darn good when my back isn't hurting too bad and sidetracking my thoughts. Engineers tend to be linear thinkers and although I certainly do have my share of artistic, inspirational thoughts, I generally follow the precept by precept way of thinking and end up mostly coming down on the politically conservative side of issues in the news.

I have fellow engineer friends who are as liberal as folks can get, but for the most part, we're a pretty conservative bunch.

Anyhoo, back to my story, I know now, as a somewhat wiser middle aged man, that Robert Redford is about as politically liberal as a human can be. That's cool. He's a big boy, and he was a star and adult when I was a wee lad, and I don't begrudge the man for making his own choices on things; this is America after all.

But when seeing that Robert Redford and Meryl Streep were in Lions For Lambs together and that it was about the war on terror, and that Mr. Redford both directed and acted in it, even a plodding thinker like me can quickly infer that this movie is going to be a typical Hollywood "War Is An Evil Scourge Foisted On Us All By Evil Conservatives" kind of movie.

(I told y'all up there somewhere, that sometimes the inspiration hits me and I magically know these things just like artistic, touchy feely types.)

Almost ten years ago Lovely Wife and I bought a massive television, and although we've had to have it repaired a couple of times over the years, it's huge size has more than compensated us in the form of huge entertainment value for all those dollars we spent on it.

I want this TV to last at least another ten years, that's why it's so disconcerting to have the urge to throw something heavy at our TV every time the commercial for Lions For Lambs comes on. It's still too good of a TV to destroy over a movie commercial.

Then, while checking out the online version of the Weekly Standard, something I do often because I like the way the folks there write, there was a review of Lions and Lambs in there.

So now I've come full circle to my dilemma; do I read the critic's review since movie critics' reviews usually give me heartburn, or just ignore it as usual?

I finally decided to read it because it seemed to me that this review being in the Weekly Standard must be more than just a movie review.

It was more than just a review.

The critic in this article, John Podhoretz, basically skewers the movie, as a movie, and pokes Robert Redford in the eye with the same sharp stick.

It was a really fun read and I thought that was pretty neat aim for this guy to poke both Mr. Redford and his movie with only the one stick.

Here's a sample, and a link to the whole thing:

Calling Senator Cruise
Robert Redford descends from the mountain to make us think.
by John Podhoretz
11/19/2007, Volume 013, Issue 10

Lions For Lambs
Directed by Robert Redford

Lions For Lambs, the new movie directed by and starring Robert Redford, is designed to move us away from the "black-and-white" rhetoric of the war on terror and instead draw our focus to the "gray areas." This is necessary so that there can be a debate on issues--a debate we have been "denied" over the past six years.

I know this because I heard Robert Redford say it before a screening of Lions For Lambs at the Museum of Modern Art, where the movie was met with rapturous applause by an audience studded with has-beens, including a Mohawk-sporting Randy Quaid, Andrew (Pretty in Pink) McCarthy, Adam (Counting Crows) Duritz, and Janine (Northern Exposure) Turner. Redford's main hope, he said just before his film unspooled itself over the course of 88 of the most barren minutes anyone has ever spent at MOMA, is that his new film will make us think. That is, indeed, a noble purpose. So let me say on behalf of the American filmgoing public that we collectively owe an inexpressible debt to Redford for deigning to slalom down from his pristine Utah mountaintop to compel us to make unaccustomed use of our underutilized gray matter.

And Mr. Podhoretz' review only gets better from there.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Michael Yon in Iraq

Michael Yon writes and shows photos of a Christian Church prepared in Baghdad by Muslims wanting their Christian friends to come home.

The Dome Under the Cross: Local Muslim and Christian leaders had prepared the church for his arrival.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sorry Folks, but...

...back pain doth rob me, both of inspiration and desire to write.

So here's a coupla pitchers for y'all:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Only In Florida (Well Maybe Louisiana Too)

Man Killed by Gator While Fleeing Police
MICCOSUKEE TRIBE INDIAN RESERVATION, Fla. (AP) - A man who jumped into a lake to flee police was killed by an alligator more than 9-feet long, officials said Tuesday.

The man, whose name has not been released, was allegedly burglarizing a vehicle in the parking lot of the Miccosukee Resort and Convention Center on Thursday. He ran when police arrived at the scene, said Dexter Lehtinen, one of the tribe's police legal advisors.

You can see the whole article here.

Having grown up in Louisiana, I realize it could have happened there, but Louisiana rednecks are usually within 5 paces of their jacked-up four wheel drive trucks when they need to run from cops. They would just head down through some mud hole that a cop car would get stuck in and probably get away.

Plus Louisiana waters usually have snapping turtles as big as small alligators and I'm almost more scared of them than I am gators.

The University of Florida needs to go find that alligator and give him a scholarship to play cornerback on the football team. That's been their big weakness all year and have lost their games to big plays on their cornerbacks.

Might as well have a REAL gator playing for the Gators.

Monday, November 12, 2007

God Bless Our Veterans

The solemn pride
that must be yours
to have laid
so costly a sacrifice
on the altar
of freedom

Those of us old enough to remember and have appreciated the old television show, Hawaii 5-O, should recognize the statue in the first photo.

All three of these photos have been on this blog before, but on every Veteran's Day, Lovely Wife asks me, "Where were we XX years ago today?"

My response is always, "Honolulu."

But this time, it was 20 YEARS ago this week that we were there.

These photos were taken in the National Cemetery of the Pacific, in Punchbowl Crater above the city of Honolulu. We visited here on Veteran's Day 1987 and on each Veteran's Day, I think of how gorgeous and solemn this place is.

A beautiful place for our best and bravest to be laid to rest.

Ben Stein had this editorial on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday:

(CBS) Veterans' Day is a day of reflection for all Americans, including Sunday Morning contributor Ben Stein:
The other night, I walked around my Washington apartment, near George Washington University, past all the smiling, joshing, flirting students guzzling down Starbucks coffee.

On the way back, men and women and kids strode happily down K Street, shouting out "Bueller..." "Bueller..." to me, and then I was back in my apartment looking out at the Potomac River and the lights of Virginia.

Then a hot shower, then time to sleep.

Actually, no, first I got on my knees and prayed a prayer of thanks.

Because while we're all laughing and smiling here in the capital and in the homeland, in Afghanistan, men and women are eating chow in a truck or a Humvee wondering if they're about to get blown up. They're far from home.

In Iraq, men and women in the uniform are on patrol in terrifying streets in Samarra and Kirkuk and Baghdad, wondering if they're going home in a body bag, or going home at all.

At Walter Reed Medical Center, a place I visit often, men and women in the amputee ward are learning how to live without their arms and legs. They're bearing up, making plans for their future, and their families and girlfriends and boyfriends are at their sides.

At Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, where the dead from Iraq and Afghanistan sleep, widows are putting flowers and stones on their husbands' markers, and parents are watching their sons' gravestones with tears in their eyes. Their stories could wring tears from cement.

And in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fighting goes on and our soldiers fight like tigers.

Freedom is not free. The millions who fought for us bequeathed it to us. They bought it with their blood and their lives and their limbs. They're still doing it. We're fools if we don't know it.

John F. Kennedy said it well. He said we all ask God to go to work to keep America going. " on earth, God's work must surely be our own."

The men and women fighting so far from home are doing it, and spending a good chunk of the day praying for them and thanking God for them is just common decency.

Then we can go back to laughing and loving. They've got our backs.

© MMVII, CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I thought that was awesome.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday November 11, 2007

Here are some more photographs taken at Space View Park in Titusville, FL. This is a bit more of the same park as the photos in yesterday's post.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Mercury Seven Astronauts

I was going to post about this tomorrow, Sunday, but I have ended up with so many pictures about this subject that I'm making this a two-day post.

As a little boy, I was totally caught up in the whole space race thing. I remember sitting in my Dad's lap to watch Neil Armstrong step onto the moon.

I was born in 1962 and was too small to really know about or appreciate the Mercury astronaut era and the men involved.

Up in Titusville, Florida, near the causeway where I took the photos of the rainy evening and the choppy water that I showed on Wednesday, is a public park where there is a monument to the men of the Mercury program.

Here's a few pictures with hand prints and info about each of the original seven US astronauts.

More photos of this park tomorrow. It's a really pretty place despite the rather overcast evening that appeared when I was there.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Old Glory

I came across this US flag, POW/MIA flag and poem at a veteran's park in Titusville, Florida. I thought it was quite awesome and sat and looked at them a while.

Old Glory

I am the Star Spangled Banner...
Conceived in 1777 out of the love
America bore for liberty and honor.

I am the memorial of countless heroes who
shed their blood to preserve this
sacred heritage.

I have inspired generations of gallant men
who fought against tyranny.

A am the spirit of valley forge...
of sacrifice... of courage.

I have guarded every rampart where freedom
defended it's glorious cause...

Tripoli... Belleau wood... Argonne Forest...
Omaha Beach... Anzio... Bastogne...
Guadalcanal... Coral Sea...
Leyte Gulf... Iwo Jima... Korea...
Viet Nam

I fly wherever Americans gave their lives to
preserve the sanctity of life.

My home is in the hearts of all who felt a
thrill of pride when they salute me
and what I symbolize.

God - Country - Freedom - Valor

Below this poem, where there is a sword, are a few lines from Theodore O'Hara's poem, "Bivouac of the Dead" and says:
On Fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

We are blessed to have such men and women who have served, risked, and lost their lives to keep us and others free.

And although they paid for our freedoms with their lives, every time I see a scumbag burn our flag I think the morons burning the flag are desecrating the memory of the men and women who died to make us free.

Each person who burns the American flag is a person who doesn't deserve to live here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

John Coleman on Global Warming

John Coleman is the founder of The Weather Channel.

Here's a letter from him, as posted on the ICECAP site:

By John Coleman

It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create in allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild “scientific” scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda. Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmental conscientious citizens. Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minutes documentary segment.

I do not oppose environmentalism. I do not oppose the political positions of either party. However, Global Warming, ie Climate Change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you “believe in.” It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of life-long expertise. And I am telling you Global Warming is a non-event, a manufactured crisis and a total scam. I say this knowing you probably won’t believe a me, a mere TV weatherman, challenging a Nobel Prize, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning former Vice President of United States. So be it.

I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct. There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming.

In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious. As the temperature rises, polar ice cap melting, coastal flooding and super storm pattern all fail to occur as predicted everyone will come to realize we have been duped. The sky is not falling. And, natural cycles and drifts in climate are as much if not more responsible for any climate changes underway. I strongly believe that the next twenty years are equally as likely to see a cooling trend as they are to see a warming trend.

Just thought y'all might be interested enough to read this.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hi! Welcome To Sunny Florida

This past Friday after work I wanted to go take some photos, because it will be a long time before I get off work before dark again. (Of course, click on the photos to see them enlarged in all their rainy glory.)

It was an absolutely glorious day. It's getting to be the best time in Florida for the next four or five months. Cooler but still beautiful and sunny.

I left work heading north to Titusville, Florida to go to a couple of parks I'd never been to to try to find some interesting things to photograph.

There's a causeway up there that crosses the Indian River Lagoon and goes onto Cape Canaveral. As long as the shuttle isn't on one of the launch pads, the road is open to drive on Kennedy Space Center. (That's part of the causeway there in the second photo. The bridge is low and therefore it was made a swing bridge that pivots to allow tall boats and sailboat masts to get through. Nifty to see working.)

Now the Space Center and Titusville are 40 miles (64.5km) north of my home, though I was leaving from work, a few miles north of where I live, to head up there.

It was a race against the sun, I wanted to get there in time to take some photos in the beautiful evening sunlight.

I get ALMOST THERE, and within the last three miles, three lousy miles I kid you not, it gets cloudy and starts raining. From unspeakable beauty to low, overcast, and rainy in three minutes flat.

I'm the Rodney Dangerfield of the photography world.

I went over the causeway and waved at the Space Alliance union members on strike at that gate to Kennedy Space Center and turned around and headed back to a possible place to eek out some photos, rain or not.

The photos I sprinkled through this post are some photos I took along the Max Brewer Memorial Causeway.

I didn't get too wet, and after this I found a park with a memorial to the Mercury 7 astronauts that I'll post photos of this coming Sunday for my Sunday picture post.

Just wanted y'all to see that it's not all sunshine and turquoise water here in the so-called Sunshine State.

Brevard County is seventy miles long, so I was nowhere near exiting the north end of the county even though I was 40+ miles from home.

I had a 5,000 word day yesterday to catch up for the couple of days I missed on my bucket of chum gloriously wonderful novel for NaNoWriMo. Desperation really helps make the words flow.

wordcount widgets

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Funny Stuff From Jack Handey #2

For whatever reason, I love this guy. He's like a verbal version of the Far Side comics.

- It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

- I bet a fun thing would be to go way back in time to where there was going to be an eclipse and tell the cave men, "If I have come to destroy you, may the sun be blotted out from the sky." Just then the eclipse would start, and they'd probably try to kill you or something, but then you could explain about the rotation of the moon and all, and everyone would get a good laugh.

- If I ever opened a trampoline store, I don't think I'd call it Trampo-Land, because you might think it was a store for tramps, which is not the impression we are trying to convey with our store. On the other hand, we would not prohibit tramps from browsing, or testing the trampolines, unless a tramp's gyrations seemed to be getting out of control.

- Too bad when I was a kid there wasn't a guy in our class that everybody called the "Cricket Boy", because I would have liked to stand up in class and tell everybody, "You can make fun of the Cricket Boy if you want to, but to me he's just like everybody else." Then everybody would leave the Cricket Boy alone, and I'd invite him over to spend the night at my house, but after about five minutes of that loud chirping I'd have to kick him out. Maybe later we could get up a petition to get the Cricket Family run out of town. Bye, Cricket Boy.

- It's true that every time you hear a bell, an angel gets its wings. But what they don't tell you is that every time you hear a mouse trap snap, and Angel gets set on fire.

- I remember that one fateful day when Coach took me aside. I knew what was coming. "You don't have to tell me," I said. "I'm off the team, aren't I?" "Well," said Coach, "you never were really ON the team. You made that uniform you're wearing out of rags and towels, and your helmet is a toy space helmet. You show up at practice and then either steal the ball and make us chase you to get it back, or you try to tackle people at inappropriate times." It was all true what he was saying. And yet, I thought something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that's when I felt the handcuffs go on.