Monday, March 31, 2008

Earth Hour 2008

This past Saturday night, March 29th, was the celebration of earth hour. We were to turn off all the lights and electricity that we could for the hour of 8pm - 9pm.

I fully intended on doing this, but…

There was a really cool old episode of Stargate SG-1 on Sci-Fi Channel that I really didn't want to miss, so, I left the TV on.

Then I got a hankerin' for some popcorn and since we already had the TV on, I went ahead and cranked up the 1200W microwave for a couple of bags of kettle corn for us to eat during the show.

Then the dogs started scratching to get outside, so we turned on the back porch light, as well as the big spot light on the rear corner of the house because there's sometimes an armadillo in the yard and that big honkin' spot light scares the snot out of armadillos.

Of course, since I was up, I decided to follow the dog's lead and take a bathroom detour myself, so I had to turn on the bathroom lights to see my way. (Plus Lovely Wife hates it when I get overconfident on my aim and try to use the restroom in the dark.)

But other than the TV, the microwave, the porch light, the spot light, the bathroom lights and one toilet flush, we TOTALLY rocked the Earth Hour 2008.

Far out, Dude!

My intent was to not use any electricity, but in modern liberal American logic, intention is just as good as the act itself. (Conf. John Kerry's "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it" and Hillary Clinton's lame after-the-fact back tracking by saying that she "wouldn't have voted that way" if she knew everything she knows now (about approving the Iraq War), or also see almost any other statement ever made by a liberal compared to what they actually did. OK, one more, how about Al Gore flying in a hideous, carbon-spewing private jet to pick up his Nobel Prize for saving the environment and his personal home's use of five times the average electicity use of people in his area of Tennessee. See what I mean?)

So my good intentions in participating in Earth Hour 2008 count just as much as if we didn't have on the TV, the microwave, the porch light, the spot light, the bathroom lights and one toilet flush.


I feel so good about myself and my due diligence for the environment, don't you?

Bein' liberal progressive is EASY. All you have to do is say one thing with the appropriate amount of contrition in your voice, then do whatever you want anyway.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday March 30, 2008

The Indian River Lagoon in the afternoon sunlight. From Castaway Point Park in Palm Bay, Florida.

I love this sloppy looking old bait store in Melbourne Beach, Florida; hand written signs, American flag, and all. Places like this are disappearing very, very fast around here. As this area of Florida gets more and more upscale, the property taxes usually get the small guys like this in the end and they sell their place, only to have the new owners bulldoze it and put up something else, with more glitz and glamor.

Although it stays green year 'round here, we still get our own bits of new green like everyone else. I love the shade of new green leaves on this tree.

Just a bit of the red evening sun poked through the clouds here.

A gang of pelicans riding the stiff breeze along the Atlantic Ocean one evening. They can ride the wind for long stretches without flapping their wings. I like to watch and see how long they float against the wind before flapping to regain some speed.

Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Marine Corps Major Brian Dennis and His Pal "Nubs"

Marine Corps Major Brian Dennis, based in St. Petersburg, Florida is presently serving in Iraq.

While there, he befriended a German shepherd/Border collie mix, who they named "Nubs" because some Iraqi had cut the dog's ears off thinking to make the dog more aggressive and alert.

Major Dennis and his buddies would feed the dogs bits of their food while on patrols, and the dog would often try to follow their Hum-vees.

One cold day, Major Dennis found the dog near death, it having been stabbed with a screw driver. Major Dennis took the dog and slept with him to try to warm the near-frozen doggie up. Surprisingly, the dog survived that night and with Major Dennis administering antibiotic creme, Nubs recovered.

But later, Major Dennis and his group were moved 65 miles away, and could only watch as Nubbs tried to follow their trucks as they drove away.

Two days later, Nubs showed up at the Marine's new location, having tracked them to their new spot 65 miles away.

Major Dennis was given an ultimatum, get the dog off the base or kill him. No pet dogs allowed on the front line base.

Major Dennis, with the help of an Iraqi interpreter, a Jordanian veterinarian, and friends and family and even total strangers, was able to have Nubs shipped to America.

Nubs recently arrived in San Diego and is staying with a friend of Major Dennis, and will stay there until Major Dennis returns soon from his tour of duty in Iraq.

God bless our troops in harms way, AND their dogs!

This story really touched me.

Here's a link to the story as told in the Rocky Mountain News.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Picture Post, Easter Sunday March 23, 2008

(Better late than never, I guess)

All of these photos are super fresh. Lovely Wife and I went for a late Sunday drive, Easter evening.

The first three are from Ocean Park in Melbourne Beach, Florida, and the fourth one is on the Indian River Lagoon, our closest big body of water, and specifically of Palm Bay from which our city is named.

1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,
13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
14 And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.
15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

He Is Risen!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Foot In Mouth Disease, or, Barack Obama Is A Bus Driving Fool!

Yesterday I wrote about how ambitious one needs to be to run for the office of the President of the United States.

I also talked about my opinion of Barack Obama's "race" speech and how I thought he shoved his grandmother in front of a speeding bus to help justify his particular opinions on race relations in America.

From time to time I also make fun of the fact that I went to Louisiana public schools, and certainly didn't have the supposedly superior book learnin' one is supposed to gain from attending and graduating from an Ivy League school like Mr. Obama.

But today on the news I heard some of Mr. Obama's remarks to reporters where I guess he was trying to clarify the part of the speech where, in my opinion, he shoved his grandmother in front of a bus.

Here's a quote from Mr. Obama:
"The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know - there's a reaction in her that's been bred into our experiences that don't go away and sometimes come out in the wrong way and that's just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it. What makes me optimistic is you see each generation feeling less like that. And that's pretty powerful stuff"

Barack Obama was apparently DRIVING the bus that was seen running over his grandmother, and then he quickly made four left turns and came back and ran over her again just to be sure the wheels got her.


I'm cringing in embarrassment. Us white folks apparently have it "bred into our experiences" to automatically distrust and be fearful whenever we catch sight of black people.

Mr. Obama? One thing this Louisiana public school edumacated man understands fully is that it's really, really difficult to speak clearly when you have your entire foot in your mouth. (Me and one black, four year old miniature poodle named Spike, and one bheta fish named Todd are the only men in a family full of women. Believe me, I know when a man has his foot in his mouth, seeing as how I'm the only man in our home that can speak.)

You might just want to shut up now, before something even more stupid comes out of your mouth.

More confirmation to me that my Louisiana Tech schoolin' was at least as good as his HAH-vahd schoolin' was.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I'm probably the least ambitious person I know.

That's one side reason why I can't help but watch the Presidential race shenanigans with morbid curiosity.

Like I read in an article recently, everyone who runs for President of the US has to be ambitious, prideful, and self centered enough to declare to themselves, "I should be the next President of the United States."

Which makes my head spin in imagining the simply massive amount of ambition to go through all of that rigamarole.

This is way beyond normal people's desire to make a better life for ourselves and our family that will, say, drive a person to earn a college degree or slave at a low paying entry position until they can land a more lucrative job somewhere up the ladder.

The other day, Presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a speech on race. Of course the main stream media ate up every word with two spoons. Genius! He's the new Abraham Lincoln! And these were remarks of supposedly hard-nosed, skeptical, seasoned "journalists."

I've never exactly respected journalism as an occupation. No disrespect to the honest used car salesmen out there, but journalists are lower than they on my personal scale of which jobs are respected.

So to see the big name "hard news" folks on TV just gush on and on about Obama's race speech left me shaking my head and wondering even more than ever if any of them have any brains at all.

Point #1: Listening to our church's pastor is a good indication of the beliefs and deeply held feelings in mine and Lovely Wife's hearts.

When Lovely Wife and I moved to Florida in 1996, we quickly found a great church, and we still are members of this same church. Our pastor and his wife are true living examples of all the things Jesus commanded of his followers. Sometimes I watch our pastor and his whole family with such awe at their unfailing willingness and sometimes even insistence on self-sacrifice, that I am always humbled to my very roots.

I could hand you a stack of CDs containing every sermon preached in this church for the past 11+ years, and you wouldn't find one thing to be offended by. Well, I'm sure somebody trying to be offended could find a few things, but absolutely nothing anyone normal could be offended by other than the natural offense that the Gospel of Jesus Christ causes in those who hate it.

But the pastor and his whole family live as close to Christ-like lives as any people I've ever known.

Consequently, you could listen to 11+ years of sermons that we've listened to and come to understand quite a lot of what is living inside the hearts of Lovely Wife, me and my family.

In other words, if we've been attending this one church for so long, then the words of our pastor when he preaches, is something we believe in quite strongly.

Point #2: I loved my grandmothers and would show them the respect due to them from me in public, even their memories since they have both been dead many years now.

Can't really explain that one any better. I loved, and still love both grandmothers even though they both passed away years ago. I might not have agreed with every belief either or both of my grandmothers held, but that's something that's between them and me, and my Bible says for me to show them honor and respect. So I do, still.

Point #3: Barack Obama is a conceited, ruthlessly ambitious liar.

Barack Obama is certainly no Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln would never have thrown his pastor of 20 years under a speeding bus like Barack Obama did the other day during his "race" speech. I can understand it if he doesn't agree with each and every tiny, esoteric point that his pastor has ever uttered, but I DO believe that he agrees with his pastor on all the big things that his pastor has spoken over the last 20 years, or he would have taken his family away to a different church.

I believe the same things theologically, on every mid-sized and major point that my pastor preaches, or I would leave the church. Spiritual matters are simply way too important to treat any other way.

Barack Obama has attended this church in Chicago with his family, and had his pastor baptize his daughters in that church, and he attended that church through 20 years of HUGE theological AND political hate messages preached from his church's pulpit by Jeremiah Wright.

Barack Obama CANNOT convince me that the man has a few odd ideas, like a weird family uncle, that can be just laughed off as of no consequence.

Barack Obama either agreed with the hate and craziness that his pastor preached for 20 years, and whose church the Obamas supported each year with many thousands of dollars, or he simply ignored the hateful things spewed from this man's mouth in order to have the help and backing of one of the major black churches in Chicago to advance his political career, and give him "street cred" with the black community of Chicago.

Either way, Barack Obama is a liar, or a flat-out cold political opportunist, no different than any other politician in history who made useful but often shady contacts to help themselves along.

At the very least, Barack Obama is nothing near approaching the wonderful, righteous, rarely different politician that his worshippers have tried to make him out to be.

When I hear the man speak, I see and hear nothing that hasn't been said before, and better, by innumerable politicians in the past.

Obama is nothing new at all.

Barack Obama at the very least should be ashamed of holding his grandmother, the grandmother who raised him, up for public ridicule.

I don't care that his grandmother felt scared when black men walked by her. In fact, all we have is Obama's word that she ever said such a thing, and I've seen enough to convince me that Barack Obama is every bit the cold political opportunist that Hillary Clinton is made out to be, so I would be more inclined to believe that he made that whole story up, unless others of his grandmother's family were willing to step forward and say that she did feel that way.

But even if Barack Obama's grandmother ever said such a thing, she wasn't enough of a racist for her and her husband to bring Barack into their home and raise him with love and care as their own child.

Barack Obama's grandmother and grandfather show from the grave just how much they loved him.

On the other hand, Barack Obama, by throwing his defenseless grandmother under the speeding bus with his pastor, shows that he has no class, he has no respect for his loved ones, and that he cares only that he become President of the United State by hook or by crook.

Barack Obama is no Abraham Lincoln.

Barack Obama proved with his "race" speech the other day, that he will shamelessly stomp on the very people who helped him get to such a lofty estate in the first place.

The messiah that others have seen in Barack Obama is nowhere to be seen when looking through my eyes.

To me, he's just another ambitious political hack. Nothing more.

And shame on him for being so disrespectful to his grandmother, and for not having the guts to say that yes, he believes much the same as his pastor.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday March 16, 2008

A hodgepodge of things.

I was going to go out yesterday, Saturday, and wander and photograph some things, but by the time I was ready to go, I was in misery with my back.

I took some medicine which eventually lowered the pain level, but when the pain finally drops, I feel as if I had run a marathon. That seems to be the trade-off for me. Take medicine and lower the pain, but though I feel much better when the medicine kicks in, I'm too exhausted to really want to do anything.

So I had to resort to digging through some of my stuff over time to post here today.

That's why it's such a mixture.

This is an old, remote cemetery in LaSalle Parish in Louisiana, where a bunch of my relatives from my Dad's side of the family are buried. We went and visited grave sites like this, last time we were in Louisiana. I thought this one made a decent moody black and white photo.

I'm woefully ignorant of plant and flower names, but Lovely Wife tells me these are Mexican petunias. Since she bought them and planted them, I go with her word on that.

A wasp checking out one of our bougainvillea blossoms.

Birds on some wires above US1 in Melbourne, Florida. Nothing special, I just thought it was neat the way they lined up there above the highway.

As someone who has always been intrigued by history, especially people like Columbus, Francis Drake, Robert Cook, the seafaring explorers; I know they would be amazed at the technology available on average, privately owned boats these days.

GPS, radar, radio communications, satellite phones.

But those old guys had to do everything the hard way. They were a gutsy bunch.

Have a great Sunday everybody!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Have a Draem, No, a Deram!

Another triumph of public schooling

On this blog, I make fun of the fact that I grew up attending Louisiana public schools. My college degrees are from Louisiana public universities.

My sarcastic remarks are half-true, and half-funny, but when I was in high school, the Louisiana schools usually duked it out every year with Mississippi and Alabama for the honor of being the worst public schools in the United States.

So, despite this, I AM thankful for Neville High School in Monroe, and Louisiana Tech in Ruston for preparing me well enough to work along side engineering school graduates from M.I.T., Ohio State, Purdue, Univ. of Florida, Georgia Tech, and many others, without missing a beat.

But it's so much fun to make fun of my home state's schools. Indeed, there's much to laugh at in Louisiana, from schools to politics. I dare anyone to try to name a state with goofier politics than Louisiana. I mean, seriously, take New Orleans's mayor Ray Nagin, who hit the national spotlight a week or so ago when talking about the play The Vagina Monologues, and declared himself "vagina friendly."

You just don't have to make up stuff about Louisiana; the state just drops true stories in your lap that are way, way better than fiction.

But I saw this on the blog Death By 1000 Papercuts, and had to post this as a shout-out to the obviously wonderful Texas public school system.

Check out this photo of protesters in Corpus Christi, Texas in January 2007:

I'm not sure what exactly these fellow public school victims are protesting, but couldn't someone have spell-checked their signs for them? Maybe some Ivy League school graduates that moved to Texas?

A huge thanks to Death By 1000 Papercuts for finding and reporting this gem, and for making me feel a little bit better about my Louisiana upbringing by taking a cheap shot at Texas's public schools.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fun For Nerds

In the electrical engineering world, there are a lot of different avenues for an engineer to go down.

I have designed digital circuit cards, but I have more or less fallen into an area that many engineers hate, that I happen to love: troubleshooting and repairing "broken" circuit card assemblies (henceforth called CCAs).

I'm good at it, I like doing it, and many engineers HATE doing it.

The biggest problem with troubleshooting and repairing broken CCAs is that it is not a great career path for growth for an engineer, at least it isn't at the company I work for.

But when one project is finished and everyone goes on to new design projects, the engineers with lots of design experience get the design jobs, and since I'm good at something that many engineers despise doing, I end up back on another project, still troubleshooting and repairing broken CCAs.

What's a guy to do?

Feast your eyes on this beauty:

I have ordered this circuit card that has been made by the company Xilinx, a maker of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), so that an engineer can learn how to design and program the Xilinx FPGA with a custom digital design.

These are usually bought by a particular program where I work so that the engineers can get a head start on the capabilities of the FPGA chip that they are going to use on that project's design.

But for me, having bought this myself, it is due to arrive via my friendly UPS driver on Thursday, it gives me a chance to create and play with designs without the company having to pay for my learning curve.

Yeah, it will be for me to use in my own free time, but hopefully I'll learn enough in the next year or so to be able to go to my boss, show him what I have been doing on my own, and start getting into more of the design part of the circuit card design projects at work.

Your cell phones, your VCRs, your DVD players, and almost all of your modern electronics have one of the following programmable devices: a Digital Signal Processor (DSP), a Complex Programmable Logic Device (CPLD), or a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA).

For the most part, what I have dealt with at work is the FPGA, with a lot of work with the CPLDs, and a little bit of DSP thrown in.

By far, the company I work for uses mostly FPGAs as the heart of the custom circuit cards we make.

An FPGA is a silicon device, filled with digital gates, that allows the user to create custom designs to do specifically what the customer wants.

For example, if the customer wants a circuit card that receives an analog radio frequency signal, decrypts and changes the signal into another, more generic signal type, we can custom design and configure the insides of the FPGA on the circuit card to do that.

I cannot really explain more of what we do, but hopefully you get the idea.

In electronics, most of the work is to change one signal type into another that can be used by the customer.

Your DVD player, takes the information that is encoded on a DVD, and pumps that information through the electronic circuitry, which probably includes, DSPs, FPGAs, and CPLDs like we use where I work, and after the DVDs information is filtered through these devices on the circuit card in the DVD player's box, it comes out in a form that your TV understands, and you get to watch a movie because of the work done by engineers that gets put into the DVD player itself.

In other words, one electronic signal in, and another type comes out that your TV can understand and display for you.

As a consumer, you just want your DVD player to make movies show up on your TV screen, as far as you are concerned, the DVD player is a magic box that makes it happen.

As an engineer, it's my life's work to help make magic boxes work like our customers want them to work.

This design kit that I have pictured above, will allow me to learn to use skills that are really rusty. I have taken classes at work on writing the type of language that the FPGAs understand, but since I don't get to write it often enough, I have lost most of it. (If you are interested, the language we use for this is called VHDL, for (Very High Speed Integrated Circuits) Hardware Description Language)

In other words, career-wise, I'm in a bit of a rut. I don't have to worry about work, because like I said, most engineers hate what I'm doing and there's always this type of work needing to be done, but it's not an upward moving career path.

It's as if I'm an offensive lineman in football, and have a chance to increase my pay and glory by learning to be a good running back. It's unlikely to happen in the football world, but can happen in the engineering world.

But I want to be "enlarge my skill set" to get me to where I get more design work, and then am more likely to be promoted, and get the best jobs where I work. (engineering managers LOVE saying things like "enlarge your skill set")

Anyhoo, that's my explanation for the gizmo that I ordered that will allow me to relearn and this time use, the skill of writing the digital code that programs custom silicon chips like Field Programmable Gate Arrays for the company I work for. This type of thing is this company's bread and butter.

I've always wanted to get into robotics, and this kit, used at home, I can use to control a very complex robot, which will be both fun, and a good way to hone my code writing skills.

If you have read this far, you are a true friend, but that's enough punishment for you.

As a final punishment, here are the cool features that led me to choose this particular "design development board."
*Xilinx Devices: Spartan-3A (XC3S700A-FG484) and Platform Flash (XCF04S-VOG20C)
*Clocks: 50 MHz Crystal Oscillator on-board, open slot for optional user-installed clock
*Memory: 4 Mbit Platform Flash PROM, 32Mx16 DDR2 SDRAM, 32 Mbit parallel Flash, 2-16 Mbit SPI Flash Devices
*Analog Interface Devices: 4-channel D/A converter, 2-channel A/D converter, Signal Amplifier
*Connectors and Interfaces: Ethernet 10/100 PHY, JTAG USB download port, two 9-pin RS-232 Serial Port, PS/2-style mouse/keyboard port, 15-pin VGA connector capable of 4,096 colors, one FX2 100-pin and two 6-pin expansion connectors, 20 user I/O available on standard header pins, stereo mini-jack for PWM audio. Rotary/push button function switch, eight individual LED outputs, four slider switches, four push-button switches.
*Display: 16 character, 2-Line LCD

Well, I'M excited anyway. And I'll probably check my UPS delivery tracking number a hundred times between now and when the kit actually arrives.

P.S. Now, do you understand why I don't talk about work much on this blog? If I told you what I did, I'd have to kill you, and that's assuming you didn't die of boredom while reading about it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Nerd News: Atomic Clocks and Islamic Terrorists

In nerd news, otherwise known as Electronic Engineering Times, there was a neat article about how newer atomic clocks are much more accurate than the older ones, such as are presently being used as standard time keepers for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Atomic Clocks Plumb Cosmological Mysteries

R. Colin Johnson
(03/06/2008 2:32 PM EST)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Quantum clocks were recently harnessed to outperform current atomic clocks by 10 times at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). By coupling the quantum states of trapped ions (electrically charged atoms), their natural vibration frequencies were synchronized to 17 digits of accuracy-the most ever measured. Based on aluminum and mercury ions, the new clocks stay accurate to within 1 second every billion years, compared with 80 million years for the current atomic-clock standard at NIST.

According to NIST, such ultra-accurate clocks are useful for synchronizing telecommunications networks, space navigation, satellite positioning and deep-space communications, and could enable new types of gravity sensors for exploring underground natural resources here on Earth.

Physicists also hope to use the new clocks to plumb cosmological mysteries...

And in another EE Times article, there's a whole brouhaha about a study that shows the most common education among Islamic terrorists is in engineering.

'Jihad' Study Roils Engineering

Sheila Riley
(03/07/2008 9:34 AM EST)

Islamic terrorists are more likely to be engineers than members of any other profession--and not because engineers possess superior technological skills. That's the conclusion of a controversial Oxford University study that has the engineering community buzzing.

The study's disturbing finding blames what it calls a universal engineering mindset, which it describes as one drawn to structure and rules plus clear, single solutions to complex problems. When coupled with the harsh realities of life in many Islamic countries, terrorism can be the result, the study says.

All I know that is that there were quite a lot of Arabic men in electrical engineering when I was as Louisiana Tech in the early to mid 1990s.

I'm not saying any were terrorists, in fact, they seemed like a nice bunch, but when asked where they were from, they'd always say "Palestine."

Since Palestine doesn't, and didn't then, exist as a country the way they said it, you were left with no doubts about their sympathies for the Palestinian people in Israel and other places in the mideast.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Here's a Picture Instead

Ain't got nothin' to say.

Well, plenty to say, but nothing blog worthy; I've been following the political stuff pretty closely, but I don't feel like blogging stuff y'all already know about anyway.

Here's a purdy picture instead.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Family Visits and Old Family Photos

Sunday afternoon, we had a visit from Lovely Wife's Uncle, Cousin, and Cousin's son.

Lovely Wife's paternal grandmother, who was 94 (I think) passed away a few weeks ago.

Lovely Wife's Uncle was in town to visit his daughter and Cousin to Lovely Wife. (Confused yet?)

Anyway, he brought a few things for Lovely Wife and Sister In Law from their Grandmother's home in Rockwood, Tennessee.

One of the things he brought was an old picture of Keith and Patricia Morgan, Lovely Wife's parents.

This photo was taken in the late 1950s, but not sure exactly.

I scanned it and tried to color correct it and make it look better.

Monday, March 03, 2008

My Favorite Flower Smell of All

Sunday afternoon, I went out into the back yard with the dogs.

As I wandered around and they ran and played, I caught a whiff of flowers.

I stopped in my tracks, closed my eyes, and took a slow, deep breath.

Orange blossoms!

Absolutely my favorite smell on this earth. I went over to our navel orange and tangelo trees and found the first blossoms on each. I stood there with my head in each tree, just breathing in the beautiful smell.

If you haven't smelled orange blossoms, it's pretty close in smell to honeysuckle, but a couple of shades different. And a good bit stronger smell than on a honeysuckle vine.

There are still orange groves within a few miles of where we live, and maybe next weekend, Lovely Wife and I can make our annual pilgrimage to the rural roads near here that allow us to roll down the windows, drive slowly, and just immerse ourselves in the incredible experience of being right smack dab in the middle of an orange grove.

A great experience, and probably my favorite time in Florida, before it gets really hot, but the days are warm and breezy.

After checking out the blossoms on our own trees yesterday, I knocked off the remaining oranges and tangelos, so that the trees can put their energy toward new blossoms and soon after the blossoms are gone, new fruit.

I know. It seems shameful, but the ones that were left on our trees this late didn't taste good any more.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday March 2, 2008

Hope all is well with you folks. I'm sorry that I haven't been visiting and commenting on your blogs as I would like to lately.

I'll try to catch up in the coming days and see what y'all have been doing, blog-wise.

These first two shots were taken on the beach in Melbourne Beach, Florida in December. I went back through my photos of the past two months and found that I really liked both of these, though they aren't anything special. I just like the vibe of the late afternoon sunlight in them.

These past three are a few more of my moon photos from the night of the big eclipse a week or so ago.

I finally had a chance to go through all the ones that I took that night, and found a couple that were sharp enough for me to crop them a lot, resulting in a nice, big moon.

The first one here isn't clear enough to crop like the other two, but I really like how it looks with the eclipse this far along.

Have a great Sunday folks!

I'll be around to see y'all soon.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Now She Knows How Conservatives Feel

I actually feel a little bit sorry for Hillary Clinton.

For years and years, I've been convinced that most reporters for national news outlets (aka the Main Stream Media or MSM) since they personally lean left politically, cannot help but slant their news reporting to the left.

Of course these media types will and do deny this, but they are finally doing it to one of their own, Hillary Clinton.

A year ago, Hillary Clinton was considered by everyone in the Democratic Party, and liberals (or "progressives") in general, to be pretty much a shoo-in for the Democratic Nominee for the 2008 US Presidential Election.

But then came Barak Obama. Phenomenon.

Then things started going South really quick for the Clinton campaign.

The types of attacks that have resulted in Bill and Hillary Clinton being called, even in the liberal leaning media, experts at the "politics of personal destruction" have simply bounced off Senator Obama.

You can see it in the increasingly strident and even silly attacks leveled against him by the once darlings of the American left.

But Obama seems to be impervious to these types of things.

The Clinton camp allegedly released a photo of Senator Obama dressing up in traditional Kenyan clothing, hoping that a similar uproar of laughter, or fear of him "really" being muslim would take Mr. Obama down a couple of pegs.

Like water off a duck's back, people. Like water off a duck's back.

He's just NOT the type of person that these silly types of things work against, and the Clinton campaign keeps on trying.

But now, the media is itself enthralled with Senator Obama.

The people who loved and protected the Clintons for over 15 years now have turned against them because the new kid on the block is handsome and articulate. He looks great in a suit and has a commanding speaking voice. It's as if James Earl Jones is overdubbing his voice or something.

For months now, as Obama speaks, and for a long time the speeches had no meat content whatsoever, people have treated him like a rock star. Women faint. Photos of people trying to touch the man show the people's faces to be filled with such adoration it makes me want to puke. No human has ever made me act or feel the way Obama's empty words seem to make these people feel.

Make no mistake, these people love the man, and have forgotten about Hillary Clinton's campaign.

In fact, the masses of Democrats, along with the complicit media are now trying to pressure Mrs. Clinton just to give up.

This must be an awfully bitter pill for the Clintons to swallow.

Here they were, the leaders of the Democratic machine in America, and now their own have turned against them and stared eating them alive.

Hillary has gone from 1st in line to The Throne, to being attacked by liberals who loved her only six months ago.

Such is the capricious nature of the American people.

The same arms that hugged Hillary Clinton with love six months ago are now delivering uppercuts to her at every turn.

A new kid has moved into the neighborhood, and the Clinton's old football is being kicked aside in favor of the new kid's brand new Official NFL football.

You can see such desperation in the eyes of the Clintons and their faithful followers, but I can tell you it's almost over for them.

None of their dirty tricks work any more, the media is in love with the new kid, and they are getting nasty because Hillary hasn't gotten the message that they don't want her and Bill playing with them any more.

But all this bad treatment that is now being heaped upon Hillary is very recognizable to those of us who are conservatives. It's how the media has treated us and the conservatives in the public eye for decades.

I really though that Hillary might rally and be able to still give Obama a good run, but two things have convinced me that the Clinton presidential campaign is on borrowed time.

One: when I started seeing people like TV host Chris Matthews describe his rapture of hearing Senator Obama speak, and telling how, as Obama spoke, that he (Matthews) got this old familiar tingling running up one of his legs, and he (Matthews) KNEW he was hearing something great, I understood that if even these supposed hard-nosed journalist types loved Obama for the feelings he engendered in them rather than any substance to the man or his speeches, then Hillary didn't have a chance. She simply doesn't have enough of a decent personality to match that. When a man can get millions to love him for 45 minute speeches where he says nothing of substance or meaning other than to have the hearers gush with feelings, how can anyone match that? They can't.

Two: the other day I saw a photo that was all over news stories on the internet, about Hillary Clinton. When I saw that the major news sources were willfully showing this picture of Mrs. Clinton, I KNEW her campaign was dead. Hillary's campaign is over as far as I'm concerned.

The photo? Right here:

When the media that used to love her start running photos like that of her, she's DONE.

Mrs. Clinton? Now you know how conservatives feel when we see a news article about conservatives; we're used to that kind of treatment by the media.