Thursday, December 31, 2009

Strike Up The Band

2010 Is Here

Times Square, New York.


As I was driving along
North Market street today, I was singing/humming the theme song from Leave It To Beaver. As I got to the bridge of the song, and the one that crosses the Sacramento river, I came to the conclusion that that TV show was weird. I used to watch it when I was a kid, faithfully following the storyline and accepting the reality of those creepy characters as they experimented with lying, cheating, stealing, and avoiding any lasting, or dreadful consequences.

Hear theme song and see characters, HERE.

I saw a couple of episodes
when I was surfing Hulu for 50's television shows, and I didn't find anything endearing or entertaining in the story or the actors. Here, in the 21st century, those people appear deviant, heartless, superficial, and loveless. I watched it in the 50's, because I was a kid and that was what was on TV. I didn't remember it being so dumb, until I saw it last year. It wasn't just dumb, but really sent a lot of mixed messages. I am glad I spent more time reading books than I watching TV when I was a kid.

Moon 12/30/09

After Mark
, John, and I got through playing and recording at the violin shop, Wednesday, I saw the moon rising as I drove into the Treehouse parking lot. It was a day before the official Blue Moon, but I knew it was time to take a picture. I am glad I did. It was raining and cloudy this evening when the "real" Blue Moon rose.
Song recorded at John's violin shop 12/30/09;
Strange Mix 3 by Phil Seymour
Band Shirt

New turtle neck shirts for the band. (photo-Sandi Taylor)

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

The Notre Dame Fight Song

Enjoy The Parades

Tuesday, December 29, 2009



Geyser spewing moon of Saturn. Image - Cassini Orbiter.

Ancient Egyptian Video Games

I found a bunch of on-line and download-able games HERE.

One of the blogs I like to read is Kris's Archeology Blog on
Sometimes, like today, she will provide links to places I would most likely have never found on my own. In this case, the site, Talking is where the games with Egyptian themes can be found.

'Akhet Khufu'

The pyramid of Khufu at Giza is explained in detail with information, images, and video at Talking You can find more information about the pyramids at this site, than any others I have seen.

Blue Moon

This New Years Eve, Thursday, December 31, Garie's birthday, in the U.S. and Canada, we will have a Blue Moon. It will be the second full moon in December, unless one lives in Australia or Asia, in which case it will be the first of two full moons in January. This is of course if you are using the Gregorian calendar.

End Of The World?

12-31-09 is the last day on my 16 month 2009 Beaches calendar. Clearly the all-knowing and mystical calendar makers at Studio 18, are predicting the "end of days" will occur on December 31st because that is when my calendar ends. I anticipate lots of garment rendering and gnashing of teeth while "real Christians" float up and away, leaving their Lexus SUV's and designer clothing behind.

I am not sure how
the flames and floods will coexist, but I will let you know, (unless the Alien spaceships mess up my internet connection).

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Blue Moon - The Marcels

Monday, December 28, 2009

When It Comes To Reality

Accept No Substitute

Holly berries at the Treehouse. 12/27/09

It was wet and cold when I came back from the club today. I saw the holly tree/bush as I walked from the car to the door of the apartment building where I live. The colors were brilliant and sparkling with raindrops. I thought it would make a great picture. I considered staging a re-creation of how it looked. Spray some water, or glycerin solution on it to approximate the look of raindrops. Do it on a warm sunny day when it would be convenient for me.

I was thinking these things
as I stood there. I even had my camera in a bag over my shoulder, and I was seriously considering taking the picture another time. How had I developed that wacky logic? I knew it was time to drop that way of thinking and to stop wasting special opportune moments. Take the picture now.

This bizarre mental process got me to thinking about the methods we use to change behavior, like drinking, smoking, over-eating, etc.

Some people I know are getting ready to kick a habit or two for their new years resolution. I wonder why that concept persists?

Do you know
anyone who successfully quit anything because they made a "new years resolution"? I don't.

I have watched
a lot of people try to quit smoking, or over-eating by taking pills or wearing a patch. I have never seen that work for long, either.

People who try shortcuts, get liposuction, have their stomach stapled, or go on diets wind up just where they started, eventually.

I think it's complicated
, but one thing I know for certain. You can't succeed by substitution or a magic pill.

My life was shambles.
I had to shed those things that were dragging me down. I got help. I am fortunate that I found what works for me.

I found my life
getting better with every additional day of not drinking. Clarity of my senses became more acute as the alcohol induced fog left my system. I enjoyed getting my mind and soul back. It felt good to travel toward being fully in touch with this amazing experience called life. This is a priceless reward.

I think it's the knowing
what's next that makes the "quitting" easy.

One of my old songs
, (1984), about quitting smoking goes; "I'm a little up tight since I stopped, but I woke up this morning and I didn't cough...". I was so drugged by cigarettes that I thought it was okay to always be coughing. I hear my smoker friends cough and I am reminded that that was me and how I thought nothing of it. My breathing is improving each and every day since I left smoking behind me. This is a priceless reward.

I have the support
and encouragement of friends and family. I can't do this without them.

I am fortunate
that I can indulge myself in meditation, contemplation, healthy food, and can follow my path of enlightenment with very few obstacles or distractions.

I hope I am making the most of this opportunity that I know is rare and not available to all. I am honored and humbled to have received these gifts.


Here's one from my sister Sue...

Donkeys kill more people annually

than plane crashes or shark attacks. (So, watch your Ass )

And this from Jimmy...
EXERCISE FOR PEOPLE OVER 50 (or soon to be)

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.
Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags. Then try 50-lb potato bags and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level.)
After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Solid Potato Salad - The Ross Sisters (1944)

Life Is Good

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Prime Leftovers

I am not always sure
what will unfold when I begin to write in this blog. There were a lot of things that crossed my mind, today, that I felt I might want to read about in the future.

I am beginning to look like my dad.

Like my reaction
to the flaming pant cuff terrorist from Nigeria. I am not sure who or what was more inept, the bumbling bomber or the pointless security at airports. I wrote a comment in response to an article about this on;

Saturday, December 26, 2009 12:16 PM

No one responded to his email

He was probably just angry because nobody fell for his Nigerian bank scheme.

But seriously folks, when are we going to stop putting security measures at the barn door after the horse is already gone?

Billions of dollars and pointless security measures didn't manage to prevent this whacko, (who was even on some BOL list), from getting on board and attempting to blow himself up.

I guess that Homeland Security has do do a bunch of saber rattling now to justify it's insanely bloated budget.

I enjoy this instant letter to the editor function of the internet. I used to have to wait for the next days paper, or the next months magazine to see my letter, then I would have to wait another day, week, or month to read the responses. Now I can stimulate and engage with other minds in real time. I like that.


Researchers showed the first
functional transistor made from a single molecule. The transistor, which has a benzene molecule attached to gold contacts, could behave just like a silicon transistor.

The team, which includes researchers from Yale University and the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea, published their findings in the Dec. 24 issue of the journal Nature.

For about two decades — since Mark Reed, a professor of engineering and applied science at Yale, showed that individual molecules could be trapped between electrical contacts — researchers have been trying to create a functional molecular transistor.

Some of the challenges they have faced include being able to fabricate the electrical contacts on such small scales, identifying the molecules to use, and figuring out where to place them and how to connect them to the contacts.

I remember my first transistor radio. It sounded like crap. Even after all these years, they still haven't developed a small speaker that sounds good. I suppose if one wants big sound from a small device, todays answer is to wear ear buds. Or, maybe I should invent the "nano-sub-woofer".

Here in Redding we have rain today. This comes in handy to wash the rangifer tarandus excrement off the roof after Santa had his sleigh parked there. I hope your Christmas was merry and bright. Soon we begin another Gregorian new year and, for some of us, that means a clean slate. Time to be what you are yet to become, ( or at least give it a try ).

Liked The DVD

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Star Trek - Trailer

Live Long And Prosper

Friday, December 25, 2009

Northern California


Mt. Shasta from Hilltop Drive /I-5 overpass. 12/25/09

What A Glorious Day

Mt. Shasta from park just off Shasta View Drive. 12/25/09

It was around 70 degrees when I headed out into Christmas.

The sky was blue, the moon was visible, snow covered volcanic mountain peaks sparkled in the sunlight.

Moon Over Mount Lassen

People were testing out their new bicycles, cars, ultra-light aircraft, and sport shoes on this cheerful December day in Redding.

I had Christmas dinner with Stu and Sandi Taylor.

Prime Rib

Stuart Taylors Christmas Prime Rib. 12/25/09

It was a warm and wonderful day.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - Happy Phil

Peace On Earth

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sweet Serendipity

Great Day For Pictures

Waiting for the Mt. Shasta to appear. 12/22/09

I went up the road
from my place to the Shasta Dam overlook to take some pictures of the snow on Mt. Shasta. It was a beautiful day, and that is one of the spots where I get some good pictures. I met another photography buff when I arrived. He was just leaving, after waiting 45min. for the clouds to clear. He had just bought a super duper long lens that he hoped to try out. He showed it to me and it certainly looked like one could see people skiing on Shasta, if it weren't for the clouds, with that 450mm lens. We talked about how the view can change day to day, or hour to hour from that spot.

The illusive mountain peeks out from under it's veil of clouds.

After Nathan the photographer left, 2 couples from India arrived and were taking each other's pictures. I offered to take pictures of all 4 of them with their cameras. They were most appreciative and reciprocated by taking my picture with my camera, (above). They were on their way to stay the night in Dunsmuir. Among the things they planned to do was go to, "The place with the boat on the lake and the bus". I explained to them that they were only about 10 miles from that place called Shasta Caverns. I told them how much I enjoyed my visit there, (30 years ago!), and that it was a lot of fun.

I left soon after and went to Trader Joe's to stock up on vittles. The road there, (Hilltop Dr.), has a couple of photo spots that I use to take pictures of the river and Sundial bridge. Today I found another angle behind one of the apartment complexes along the road.

Highway 44 crossing the Sacramento river. 12/22/09

The gnomon of the Sundial bridge. 12/22/09

I came home,
put away the groceries and had a bowl of organic, Flax Plus, red berry crunch cereal with sliced banana and blueberries. I looked at the days pictures and decided to go back to the dam overlook to see if the clouds had lifted. The Shasta Ski Park cams showed sunny slopes when I checked on line, so chances were good.

Still cloudy over Shasta, (different scarf though).12/22/09

Picture of The Day

Mark and Rhonda toast her birthday at the overlook.

While taking more pictures
on this second visit to the dam, I happened to notice a couple sitting on the wall, way over on the west side of the parking lot. They were sillouetted against the setting sun and toasting with raised champagne glasses between them. I had to take that picture, but I wanted to get their permission first. I walked over, told them what a great picture they made, and asked if I might take a picture. They agreed and I snapped a few. Thanks for sharing your birthday moment.

I love the way life works
, if you let it. I was drawn to the Shasta dam viewpoint today, not so much to get a picture of Mount Shasta, but to share the magic of that spot with others.

Cool Ride

While I was up there, by the dam, I did some test shots at one of my favorite 'car picture' locations. Later, when I was looking at the pictures, I was reminded just how great the 1995 Buick is designed. My everlasting thanks to Marian. What a nice car.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Back In The Saddle Again - Gene Autry

Blessed and Appreciative

Monday, December 21, 2009


Mesopotamia Mama
Female figurine from the time of Nimrod.

Wow! Sometimes one finds the coolest sites in the cyber-universe. The museum in Iraq is not yet open to the public, but this virtual Iraq Museum will dazzle you without the expense of airfare, or the dangers of that pesky war we started there.

See exhibits and learn about people and events of the last 6,000 years, HERE.

Out Of Fashion

Chihuahua's now are the most prevalent dog at the pound.

As many as 1/3 of all the castoff canines at California shelters today are Chihuahua's.

If you are thinking of getting a dog for Christmas, consider adopting one of these little yappers that someone thought was a disposable toy.

Mother and Child

Leaf Monkey

Sophia and Child

Nice hairstyles

No Sense Of Humor Allowed

According to the BBC News, St Matthew-in-the-City Church in Auckland, New Zealand has erected what was supposed to be a thought-provoking billboard that would "lampoon the literal interpretation of the Christmas conception story." that's what the church vicar, Archdeacon Glynn Cardy told the New Zealand Press Association. This "lampooning," Cardy said, was intended to "get people to think more about what Christmas is all about."

What it revealed instead
was the nasty, humorlessness of narrow minded, conservative Christians. It seems they are so insecure in their beliefs, that they have become angry and violent at the appearance of this New Zealand billboard.

The loudest of the protests
came from people who didn't read, St. Matthew-In-The-City, (The name of the church that put up the billboard), on the bottom right of the picture.

Chilly In Florence

The "Duomo" Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral

"The Known Universe"
From American Museum of Natural History video.

You can tour the known universe, HERE.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Frank Sinatra

Happy Solstice Day

Saturday, December 19, 2009

They Didn't See It Coming, Again.

Surprise Snowstorms

Clearing snow for Ravens vs. Bears game.

What is it about the east coast that erases the peoples minds each year? They are always surprised in Florida when they get their annual hurricanes, and what do people in Baltimore think that snow shovel in the garage is for? Oh well, it gives me a recurring topic for my blog.

It's going to be a fun football day, but apparently people don't remember that it snows each year in certain parts of these here United States. Even with the accelerated global temperature rise, it will be many years before Buffalo, New York can ever be considered a pleasant place to visit in the winter.

I imagine the Fox News guys
are using this storm to prove that global warming is a hoax. Hey, they get paid a lot of money to rant about things they have little intellectual capacity nor education to understand. You can get the facts HERE if you don't already know the hows and whys of the earths rising temperature.

Weaverville's Hot New Calendar

You can see more pages from the new calendar, HERE.

I enjoy visiting Weaverville. I have been visiting there over the past 40 years. They recently had a fire at the lumber mill that put a lot of people out of work. The sales of the calendars will help raise money to help them while the mill is repaired.

UFO’s Still Around

A Doug Bower-Dave Chorley crafted crop circle, 1976.

Almost as soon as crop circles became public knowledge, they attracted a gaggle of self-appointed experts. An efflorescence of mystical and magical thinking, scientific and pseudo-scientific research, conspiracy theories and general pandemonium broke out. The patterns stamped in fields were treated as a lens through which the initiated could witness the activity of earth energies and ancient spirits, the anguish of Mother Earth in the face of impending ecological doom, and evidence of secret weapons testing and, of course, aliens. Today, one of the more vigorously promoted ideas is that they are messages, buried in complex numerological codes, concerning a Great Change connected to the pre-Columbian Mayan calendar and due to occur in 2012.

Read more, HERE.

Prague Close Up

This is the best one of these panorama images that I have seen where you can explore by moving around and zooming on points of interest.
Try it, HERE.

Phil Close Up

I am continually amazed at the images that my little Sanyo delivers. The internet has lots of reviews on new digital cameras that have some features I would like to have at my disposal, and I am sometimes very tempted to get one with the 18x Optical zoom, or the 1080i video with stereo sound, but then I look at some of the wonderful images that this Sanyo has given me, and the consumer fever subsides.

I already have the audio equipment to produce better sound than any camera I could afford, and I have a 720p HD camcorder that works just fine for what I do. As for the super zoom lens? I have solved that by just physically getting closer to the subject. All in all, on the whole, my life is rich beyond measure.


Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Let It Snow - Dean Martin


I Don't Buy Those

Green Bananas

Most people I know, buy green bananas. I don't. I have tried a couple of times and watched the green bananas stay green day after day, until they turned black.

I like sliced banana on cereal and ice cream. But, I like ripe bananas, not green ones that cant be peeled, let alone, eaten.

The way I deal with this, is to buy ripe bananas.

I keep an eye on the bananas at the stores where I shop. I have to grab the ripe bananas before they take them away and replace them with green ones.

  • Alexander the Great discovered bananas in his conquest of India in 327 B.C.

  • Bananas don't grow on trees, as is commonly believed. They grow on compacted, water-filled leaf stalks that grow up to 25 feet high. They are the world's largest herb. (Source: The Packer, 9/9/89)

Produce that gives off ethylene gas itself can be enclosed in a container or bag, and essentially trapped in the gas it produces to speed up ripening. Fruits and vegetables that do not produce ethylene gas can also benefit from this method. To ripen them, simply place them in a bag or container with an ethylene gas producing fruit or vegetable, such as bananas, apples, peaches, avocados, pineapples or tomatoes.

I have tried the, "put green bananas in a paper bag to ripen", and they just stayed green. It's not a problem if I buy ripe bananas, but it is still puzzling.

Violin Shop

John and I did some recording this afternoon. Mark was busy elsewhere. The violin shop makes for a nice sounding studio. Maybe the violins hanging everywhere enrich the quality of the sounds. I was impressed with the natural reproduction in the playback.

I need to be sure the Macbook is on something stable when get around to doing the "real" recording. John and I recorded about an hour and 1/2 of songs that got lost when the Macbook got jarred and the recording program got dazed and confused. I had to force GarageBand to quit which resulted in losing the tracks. Luckily we heard enough to know that the recording was nearly identical to what we were hearing a"live" while we were playing.

With the computer up and recording again, we had time to do a couple of songs before it was time to quit. I am playing around with the tracks to see what they can do. Stay tuned.

Under Sea Volcano
Jason the robot checks out 4,000 ft. deep West Mata volcano.

Hot Lava

The lava is an extreme 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Skip The Fries

I enjoy an In-N-Out burger at least once a year, but I don't order fries or a soda. I just like the burger. Well it seems that I am inadvertently doing my body a big favor. The order of fries is a whopping 400 calories! That's more calories than the burger. I am looking forward to next November, when I get my annual In-N-Out burger.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Felangaye - Playing For Change

Tis The Season