Saturday, January 31, 2009

Moon Over Miami and Saturn

Superbowl Weekend

Go Steelers, or Cardinals!

Enjoy the commercials.
You can see some here;

Purple Frog

Yep, that's it's face. Nose, beady eyes and all.

The name of the frog is the Purple Frog although it is also called the Pig Nosed frog. Unless you want to call it Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis. It lives under the forest floor, eating termites except for monsoon season, when it comes to the surface to mate. It was thought to be extinct because it is so rarely seen.

Plenty of Oil! On Titan

Titan 2005 spectrum image composite

"Up From The Ground Came-a-bubblin' Crude"
Oil That Is

Lakes of Oil

It rains Liquid hydrocarbons on Saturns moon, Titan

Saturn's orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, according to new data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.

The Latest Image Map of Titan

The dark places are lakes of oil.

I just love this stuff.

You can see pictures from the Cassini Spacecraft HERE
Here On Earth

Last Monday our moon blocked the sun over Manila Bay.

Here in Redding

January says goodbye with this beautiful sunset.

I have been experimenting with recording on the new Mac book. I should have most of the kinks worked out in a day or two. What I have tried so far with Audacity, has been really good. Getting all the things set like I have them in the iMac is a little tricky, but it's worth it.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Moon Over Miami -The Movie

The Best Mirror Is A Good Friend

-Fortune Cookie

Friday, January 30, 2009

Welcome To The 21st Century

New Stuff

Flashing warning sign on Austin, Texas road.

Drivers have being warned to watch out for zombies – by official roadside signs.

Motorists on the busy road in Austin, Texas, were met with electronic warning signs telling them: "CAUTION! ZOMBIES! AHEAD!!!"

Seconds later they were advised to 'RUN FOR COLD CLIMATES' and that 'THE END IS NEAR!!!!!'

I love this stuff.
The Texas highway department failed to see the humor.

New Equipment

Laptop Phil writing this blog post. 1/29/09

How nerdy can I get?

You could never tell I was belting out the blues at Lu Lu's a couple of hours ago. We had a good time playing as usual. I am so glad the crowd had fun too.

I am sitting with my Mac book on my lap, writing this and watching HDTV on the monitor I got for this laptop. I was going to just get a 24" iMac, but once I found out that the Mac book has a super drive, I saw a way to use an HDTV for a large monitor and have the convenience of the laptop and stay within my budget. The possibilities are endless.

What a wonderful way to write. (I have the sound muted)

Here you see what I see, from where I sit, composing this post that you are reading.
There still are a couple of things that I need to get to make this all work as desired, but so far, I am dazzled by the improvements that have been made in the last 10 years. I have a cable to hook up to the HDMI port on the TV, but I have to order an adapter to attach it to the mini display port.
I need to upgrade iLife 08 to iLife 09 for some of the features I desire. I will do that tomorrow. I am still learning some of the new features in iPhoto 08. I had actually thought that the Mac couldn't get much better than what I had. Ha, ha, ha! I am truly amazed.
I look forward to discovering the many new wonders and technological advances I now have at my fingertips. I am glad I get to share my joy of discovery with you. I hope you will share my exuberance.

What A Universe

Centaurus A. Composite image from 3 telescopes.

The vast detail of this picture is made possible by merging data from three telescopes operating in three wavelengths: one in the x-ray, one in the optical and one in the relatively long-wavelength submillimeter realm. The radio jets emanating from the galaxy's center mark the location of a suspected supermassive black hole. (In a future post, we will explore ComaBerenices, once I find enough pictures.)
So That's Widescreen HDTV

This is great!

The prime time and late shows are broadcast in wide screen high definition, and it is stunning. This would be perfect for reviews. One could type while watching, and post a critique on line at the moment the show concludes. (Or chat during the super bowl.)
Time to go to the iMac and edit this post.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
This is one of the tunes we are considering for our next LMP Trio CD.
Twilight Time -The Platters

Comfort And Joy

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

With 20% Fewer Mega Pixels

For Your Perusal

Breakfast at Happy Phil's. 1/27/09

Coincidence? You decide.

I began my day with a bowl of Heritage O's.
Some of you may remember I wrote about the staying power of the crunchiness in a previous posting. (September 7, 2007 )

Well, I have a box in the cupboard that I have been saving for when I want something incredibly crunchy, so I made up a bowl and set it on the counter. My next plan was to take a picture at ten or twenty minute intervals, until the O's lost their crunch. This is where it begins to get interesting.

Last night, my neighbor, Jo Anna, asked me to come over and look at my blog on her Web TV. She said the pictures from my new camera would not load. I took a look and, sure enough, the new picture files were just too much for the Web TV to handle. I knew that my blog couldn't support 10 mega pixel uploads, so I have been using grab, (A screen shot tool in my Mac), to reduce the file size of photos I want to upload. What I didn't know was those smaller png files were bigger than the photos from my 3.2 mega pixel camera.

With that new information in mind, I decided to take the cereal pictures with my Olympus 3.2 camera. It is in the car. Okay, I will use my cell phone cam and e-mail the picture to my computer. ( Stay with me now, we are coming to some of the good stuff.)

The picture above is from my cell phone. When I went to put it on here, I happened to run across an article about mercury in processed food that uses corn syrup. Corn syrup is made from Monsanto's genetically modified corn. I choose to eat breakfast cereals that don't use genetically modified anything. Hence, the Heritage O's.

Here is the spooky stuff;

Spooky, psychic graphic for illustration purposes.

This from NewsDaily

In one study, published in the journal Environmental Health, former Food and Drug Administration scientist Renee Dufault and colleagues tested 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup and found detectable mercury in nine of the 20 samples.

Dufault said in a statement that she told the FDA about her findings but the agency did not follow up.

This from The Grist ;
So how does mercury work its way into our food industry's favorite sweetener? It finds its way into Pop Tarts and the like through the stunning array chemicals required to transform corn into a cane sugar substitute. (As you read the following list, marvel that the FDA recently ruled that manufacturers can label HFCS-sweetened foods "natural.") According the the EH study:
Several chemicals are required to make HFCS, including caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, alpha-amylase, gluco-amylase, isomerase, ilter aid, powdered carbon, calcium chloride, and magnesium sulfate.

Two of those charming-sounding chemicals -- caustic soda and hydrochloric acid -- can contain traces of mercury.

Ubiquitous corn
The Corn Refiners Association responded with, "Those findings are outdated." (The Dufault investigation was done in 2005.)

By the time I finished reading about mercury in corn syrup, I figured my organic, corn syrup free, Heritage O's might be soft enough to eat. Ha, ha, just as crunchy after 20 minutes of soaking, but I felt better about eating organic, non genetically modified food. I don't think I could eat mercury laden Cheerios ever again. It just seemed odd that that article would appear just as I was preparing a healthy meal.

I Just Love New Discoveries

European scientific researchers have concluded a study that shows hearing loss in people who listen to loud MP3 players for extended periods of time. They want to put warnings on iPods and put a limit on the volume control.

I am surprised that they don't warn people about heavy equipment and leaf blowers. What are the chances of hearing loss for assembly line workers? How about using a jackhammer 5 days a week? Do you think they need to put a warning sticker on wood chippers, saying, "Repeated exposure to this machine may cause permanent hearing loss?

Pun From My Brother

Sir Cumference, the round knight. He had too much pi.
Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Sugar Sugar -The Archies


Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Art Of Perception

The Way It Looks To Me
Zen Photography

More light, water, and shadow from 1/21/09

Perceptions Alter Electrons

Sunset 1/24/09

Yesterday, I just happened to look out my balcony window and saw some photogenic clouds, lit by the setting sun. "Wow!", sez I, "More pictures."

I picked up the Sanyo VPC-T1060, and began looking at the sky, within and without the camera. I snapped a couple of shots to the west and south, changed the settings and snapped again a few minutes later. I did this until I felt I had captured all this sunset was going to give me, hooked the camera up to the computer, and began looking through what I had shot.

Sunset 1/24/09

I was thrilled by the different views my camera produced of the same sunset.

Sunset 1/24/09

I realized that the color and composition changed with my perceptions as I took the pictures.

I believe in the power of positive thinking, Zen, Quantum Theory, Affirmative Attitude, Happy Thoughts, or whatever you want to call it. I have seen the manifestations of my mind and spirit captured on film, in my songs, and reflected in the world around me, and here was more evidence of how my state of being affects the behavior of the electrons in my digital camera.

Sunset 1/24/09

I went back outside and took more pictures.

Sunset 1/24/09

This time, I didn't change the settings.
I just pointed and snapped the way I saw it.

Sunset 1/24/09

I know some people who wonder why their pictures don't look as good as they want them to.

It's the electrons.

They react to our state of mind.

Sunset 1/24/09

My mind was relaxed and open to God's magnificent display. The electrons felt the same way, and organized themselves into clear images of the glorious sunset as it unfolded here in Redding. On my patio, January 24, 2009.

Sunset 1/24/09

My lens on life shows more beauty,
if I wipe away preconceived expectations.

Writing by the river.

It seems that the most basic truths have many descriptions.

First there is a mountain.

Then there is no mountain.
Then there is.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

First There Is A Mountain -Donovan
Feed The Good Wolf

Friday, January 23, 2009

All Connected Somehow

It's Elemental

Fun with water and shadow. 1/21/09

To see more of the fountain pictures, click HERE.

Fun with sun, water, and goose droppings. 1/21/09

Thank You Jo Anna.
These are a couple of pictures from an e-mail that my neighbor, Jo Anna sent me.

Eating Healthy Food

Berries on organic cereal in the sunlight. 1/23/09

Since I have been living here in Redding, I have had the opportunity to control what I eat. Whenever possible, I eat healthy food.

I have been avoiding artificial
and highly processed substances that are sold as "food".

My overall health and attitude show dramatic improvement in this past year.

When I eat natural high quality food, my body isn't always hungry for nutrients that are missing from fast food and packaged, processed, genetically modified, products. This means I don't eat as much. This means I don't buy as much. This means that I can afford to pay extra for real food, and still live on my small fixed income.

Other than, "Structural", defects like my damaged spine and the hernia that still hasn't been fixed, I haven't suffered from any illnesses since I have been eating things my body actually uses.

You really are what you eat.

Measuring Atmospheric Temperature
From 1/2 Mile Underground

Fermilab scientist Nike Saoulidou, a member of the MINOS collaboration, with one of the two "horns" that focus the particle beam for the MINOS neutrino experiment. (Credit: Peter Ginter)
I love this stuff.
Scientists doing an experiment measuring neutrinos 1/2 mile underground, discovered a direct relationship with atmospheric temperatures, 20 miles above the earth. They can instantly tell when a weather event known as sudden stratosphere warming is occurring, by the number of muons present. Until now they have had to rely on data from weather balloons and satellites.

They can now study the cosmic radiation records of the last 50 years looking for changes in climate and weather patterns.

The Band Is Selected

Romantic moment at Lu Lu's. (credit: Michael Dillon)
We found a drummer that fits with the rest of us who are slated to play for The Shasta Blues Society Valentines Party. I say we, but in reality it's John Harrison who has been contacting the musicians to play with us. We sounded good on Thursday. There were some other people playing with us, but I could sense that John, (guitar), Mark, (Bass), Dennis, (Drums), and I have good interaction that produces a pleasing, tight sound.

John, Mark, and I will go over some of my songs Wednesday afternoon at Johns Violin Shop. I have a dentist appointment Wednesday morning, so I scheduled our rehearsal for, "Tooth-Hurty".

Good advice I read recently; If life is getting you down, you are taking yourself too seriously.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Skin and Bones -Charlene Kaye
I was looking for the Kinks song, but I couldn't find one with good audio. I saw this artist had a video with the same title and I checked it out. I liked it.
Good imagination and production.

Healthy Spirit

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Hope For Planet Earth

Open Minded

Image from the Hubble

The unique planetary nebula NGC 2818 is nested inside the open star cluster NGC 2818A. Both the cluster and the nebula reside over 10,000 light-years away, in the southern constellation Pyxis (the Compass).
This picture from the Hubble Space Telescope was taken in 2006, but because there are so many images, it is just now being released.
I really enjoy the pictures from the Hubble.
I hope you do too.

Hang Loose

President Obama acknowledged the marching band from Hawaii with the familiar Hawaiian gesture, "Hang Loose", during the inauguration parade last Tuesday.

I noticed that the people announcing the parade for the networks were clueless.
It was better to get the sound from a live streaming internet source.

President Obama signs to Hawaiian Marchers 1/20/09

It's a new day on planet earth.
I am proud to fly the flag again.
I am ready to pitch in and help undo the damage of the last 8 years.

Things Change.
Even In Redding.

Penny postcard from Redding

What's left of the aggregate plant.

Aggregate plant today. 1/20/09

Islamic, Anti-American,
Terrorists since 1776

Islamic Fundamentalist Pirate, Barbary Coast 1800.
I recently read about Thomas Jefferson and the Islamic fundamentalists who declared war on the United States when Jefferson became president. Prior to Jefferson, the United States paid ransoms to the pirates of the Barbary Coast. It seems that the way the Pasha Pirates, read the Koran, they are obligated to make war on all sinners, (Those who are not Muslim.), wherever they are to be found, make slaves of the prisoners, and every Muslim slain in battle is guaranteed a place in paradise.

Of course if the infidels want to pay a ransom, they will make an exception.

They demanded and received ransoms from the European nations who sailed past the Barbary coast. England, France, Spain and the rest, would pay money, or the Muslims, (Who pray 5 times a day), would pillage, rape, and make slaves of the survivors in the name of Allah.

When Thomas Jefferson became our third president, the pasha of Tripoli sent him a notice that he was to pay $250,000 and an additional $25,000 ransom per year to the Islamic nations of the Barbary coast. Jefferson told him what he could do with his request, and the Pasha declared war on America.

Jefferson was a peaceful man, but he created an armed force that would travel by ships to the region, where they would disembark and fight on the land. They came to be known as Marines. They got the nickname, "leathernecks", from wearing hide collars as protection from scimitars that were used to chop off heads in battle. The saber of the marines is patterned after the ceremonial scimitar that was presented by the coastal losers at the end of the war. With the surrender of the Muslims on the coast, we withdrew and didn't finish the job inland. (Sound familiar?)
" the shores of Tripoli."

The lesson that was forgotten is;
You cannot deal reasonably with greedy fundamentalists.

Martian Flatulence

image from Brent Simmons,

Scientists have discovered methane in the atmosphere of Mars.

They speculate that deep underground, something is or was alive.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Classical Gas -Mason Williams
Peace Begins

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nice Weather We Are Having

Here In Redding

From the Cascade theater ceiling
I went to see a couple of guys from, "Who's Line Is It Anyway?"

One of my friends named Mike, (there are several Mike's I consider to be friends), had tickets and invited me to join him at the Cascade theater, Saturday night. The theater has been renovated and is really nice.

Mike said that during the renovation, the people cleaning the ceiling discovered the paintings of tastefully posed, naked women, underneath the layers of nicotine. It was a delightful surprise for the restoration people.

I took a couple of pictures without the flash, (I didn't want to disturb the other people in the audience).

Cascade theater ceiling

Cascade Theater
The show was great. I laughed until tears were pouring down my face. If you see these guys advertised in your neck of the woods, I would recommend you go see them.

The neon and light bulbs have been restored to their original splendor.


Guys from "Who's Line Is It Anyway?"

Rally In The Park

Patricia Barret, advocate for the homeless at 1/17/09 rally.

Redding residents are planning
a protest at city hall to speak out in opposition to a utility rate increase that was passed by the city council without the benefit of public input. I read in the on-line newspaper, that Patricia Barret, (one of the supporters of the rally), would be in attendance at the pre-rally, rally at Caldwell park.

Patricia is a regular contributor to the comment section that follows local news stories, on-line. She supports more help for the homeless.

I too, comment somewhat regularly, and thought this would be a good time to meet her, face to face, and introduce myself. "Hi, I'm Happy Phil, from the comment section." "Nice to meet you."

TV camera lady captures Happy Phil at rally 1/17/09
There were lot's of TV and news people there. Some of us with cameras found it entertaining to take pictures of each other. A good time was had by all. The protest is scheduled for February 3rd.

TV camera lady captured by Happy Phil at rally. 1/17/09

"Always Room For Cello"

John shows old and new faces of cello 1/15/09
Last Thursday, I stopped in at John Harrison's Violin Shop to talk about the band we are putting together for the Shasta Blues Society Valentines night. I took some pictures of his violins with my new 10 mega pixel camera, to compare with some pictures I had taken last May with my 3.2 mega pixel camera.

While we talked and I took pictures, he directed me to a cello he was working on. He had carved a new front piece that he felt brought out the character of this particular cello, and showed me the differences. By carving the slope, or bow of the front piece with more or less angle, it can compliment the rest of the body, and produce the best sound.

To see more pictures of John's instruments, click HERE

Damp varnish

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Piggies -Beatles (Listen to the cello's)


Saturday, January 17, 2009

May We All Enjoy The Gift Of Life


Clouds as seen from my balcony-1/14/09

I am thinking a prayer is like voting; I wish a person well, it's my vote.
I hope God counts my votes.

  • the act of communicating with a deity (especially as a petition or in adoration or contrition or thanksgiving); "the priest sank to his knees in ...
  • reverent petition to a deity
  • entreaty: earnest or urgent request; "an entreaty to stop the fighting"; "an appeal for help"; "an appeal to the public to keep calm"
  • a fixed text used in praying
  • someone who prays to God

  • Prayer is the act of attempting to communicate with a deity or spirit. Purposes for this may include worshiping, requesting guidance, requesting assistance, confessing sins, as an act of reparation or to express one's thoughts and emotions. ...
  • A practice of communicating with one's God; The act of praying; The specific words or methods used for praying; A meeting held for the express ...
  • pray - address a deity, a prophet, a saint or an object of worship; say a prayer; "pray to the Lord"
  • pray - beg: call upon in supplication; entreat; "I beg you to stop!"

First, I have to believe that God is listening to me.
Why would God listen to me?
Prayer seems pretentious and egoistic.
"I will pray for those who are suffering." Doesn't God already know who is suffering? Does God need me to tell him who needs his help? Since when does God, who created everything, not know who needs help?

Assuming that God listens to, and cares about me, do I have to give him directions?
"Dear God, please make the sun rise on California, tomorrow."

More clouds as seen from my balcony-1/14/09

I know that God created the universe, and our solar system is designed to function automatically for a few more years, so praying that the sun will rise is a wasted petition. But do it in public wearing a costume, and the natives are impressed; "I pray each day that the sun will rise, or we will be doomed to eternal darkness." The next thing you know, I could really put on a show. I could stylize the phrasing and get down on my knees and grovel so that the audience will be impressed by my sincerity. It sounds stupid, but people have been falling for that one a long time, and throwing virgins into the volcano to seal the deal.

Wishing Well

"May the flowers bloom and the air smell sweet at Marian's house for her birthday."
Is this a prayer, or just a nice thought?

If I say, "Amen", does that make it an official prayer?

Quantum Theory

Our thoughts and attitude impact the universe in a physical way.

Clouds behind trees as seen from my balcony-1/14/09

Happy thoughts about the flowers in Marian's yard will affect their performance and help them to bloom joyously. Angry, or negative thoughts will stunt their growth and cause them to wither prematurely, quantum theory asserts.


If I forget to say my prayers each night, will I die?
"Now I lay me down to sleep...", scared me. When I was 4 years old, I would stay awake wondering if I would wake up the next day. "If I die before I wake..." What? Die in my sleep? I am just becoming aware of being alive and every night I am re-enforcing the possibility that I won't wake up. I stopped that immediately after I figured out it was a stupid and scary thing to say.

Do I believe in God?

Absolutely. God's wonders fill my life with joy and happiness.
I am a child of God, living in God's universe.

Do I pray?

George Bleich painting as seen in my apartment.
I humbly thank God for his help and love, with every breath I take.
I thank God for pulling me out of the quicksand of helpless depression.
I thank God that I can let God help me enjoy the potential of this life He has given me.

But, do I, "Pray"?
I listen to God speaking through the earth, wind, water, fire, plants, animals, weather, music, art, literature, the cosmos, and in my mind. Sometimes I ask God for help. I find the answers are there if I just listen.

I guess it depends on what my definition of prayer is.

What about religion
and structured prayer?

I think that there is nothing wrong with religion as long as it remains harmless.
I think praying for soldiers to kill the "bad guys", is scary and weird, because the "bad guys", are praying too.

When someone asks me, "Do you believe Jesus is your lord and savior?", I have learned to tell them, "Sure."
When a little kid asks me, "Do you believe in Santa Claus?", I have learned to tell them, "Sure."

Which came first, the bunny or the egg?

I think the Easter Bunny is harmless.
I haven't heard of any wars being waged in the name of the Easter Bunny.
The next time someone asks me,"Do you believe in the Easter Bunny?", I will tell them, "Sure."

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
My Prayer -The Platters

For Goodness Sake