Saturday, October 30, 2010

Inside, On This

Rainy Day

When it rains, the Buick sometimes reacts electrically in strange ways. I attribute this to the moisture creating a shortcut for electrons where there shouldn't be one. This limits the flow and affects the functions of the starter components, as well as the clock, the radio, and the left rear door lock and window relay.

I keep meaning to track down the wire or exposed part that causes this problem, but like the roof that leaks, it is only a problem when it rains. When it is dry and everything is working properly, I forget to find out if there is a loose, or unprotected connection at the starter and wherever that other wire goes.

I was reminded this afternoon when I went out to do some errands and stopped for gas. I had to ask someone for a jump start. It didn't help. I asked if one of the guys could wiggle the cable while I turned the key. They didn't quite understand so I ended up with one of them turning the key while I gave the cable a slight touch and it started immediately.

They were really
nice to help. One of them lives in French Gulch, so I invited him to come hear the band on the 13th at the French Gulch Hotel and told him to bring his spoons so he could sit in and play on a song. We shall see.

Olive Oyle?

Well blow me down.
This abskalootly looks like Olivesk to me.


Lost Mine?

I had a couple of pictures from the lake that didn't fit on the blog the day that I took them, so I am putting them in on this rainy day.

The new snow on Shasta was my initial subject for the Lumix TZ1 and it's 10x optical zoom, Leica lens, but the light was such that some new features caught my eye.

I noticed what looked like a ghost town at the base of a cliff-like rocky section of the hillside just above the lake. It had the appearance of archeological ruins through the zoom lens. I plan to go back and get a closer look and find out the story, right after I remember to solve the rainy day electrical mystery that happens to the Buick.

A view of the hills and mountains to the north.

Because Mount Shasta
is such a striking image, the surrounding mountains and wonders of nature are sometimes overlooked. I made it a point to bring back some images that didn't include the magical volcano just to share the awesome beauty of the average views around here.



The mystical volcano where the spring water I drink originates.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Nothing To It

How to measure the size of a distant star?

Listen to it. Listen HERE.

Scientists have discovered what musicians have always known. Bigger things make lower tones. Bigger stars emit lower frequency sound waves than smaller stars.

The Kepler Space Telescope is not only looking for planets, it is also listening to the stars in its view. After recording thousands of star songs, they can determine the stars different sizes within a few percent. Read more HERE.

New Widget Follows The Money

Widget from and lets you choose elected officials and it shows who owns them with NASCAR type patches on their jackets.

You can try
it and get a widget, if you want, HERE.

Here In Redding

Another look at the fountain at Cypress and Pine. 10/26/10

Is that a stainless steelhead?

Picture Perfect Day

A good spot to view Mount Lassen on the Shasta Dam Road. 10/26/10

From the Shasta Dam road, you can see, and photograph both Shasta and Lassen.

It helps
to have a camera with a good optical zoom lens.

Snow On Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta from the dam overlook on Shasta Dam Road. 10/26/10

We have a break in the weather for a couple of days, then more rain is expected. I am glad for today's break that gave me a chance to take these pictures of the fresh snow on the volcanoes.

Along The Driveway

Rose in the Tuesday sunshine here in Redding. 10/26/10

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Life Is Amazing

Monday, October 25, 2010

Plentiful Prospects

Infinite Possibilities

I use my nice equipment over the weekend to record some songs. 10/24/10

I am sometimes reminded of how fortunate I am to be living here and now. Reminded, in this case, by an email sent to me from Scotland. My friend and co-writer, Paul Thomas, sent me a couple of mp3 recordings that he had made. One of the songs he sent electronically across ocean and continent, was a tune that I wrote in 1985 called, Emotion.

I was so happy that he liked one of my songs enough to spend the time and talent, performing and recording it. I was filled with pride and honor at the same time that I felt humbled while I listened to his heartfelt rendition of Emotion. Of course that's part of what the song is about; The wonderful, sometimes overwhelming, human feeling we call emotion. Without emotion we would be automatons, or sociopaths. But with emotion, we laugh. Sing. Do most anything.

That email inspired me to record a new version of that song in a way that my band might play it. I have the equipment, the skills, and the 'chops' to record, and thanks to Paul sending me his recording, I was motivated. I love this stuff.

Just Like 1958?

Cover of latest Mother Jones magazine.

The Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman was released in 1958. The economy and political divisiveness at that time were very much like they are now.

I really think the most important subject kids should learn in school, is history. This educational oversight is a detriment to our collective progress along the path of enlightenment. We shall just have to wait and see if the outcome of Tuesday's elections turns out the same as 1958.

I will admit that I read Mother Jones more often than I read the National Review, but there is a simple reason why. Mother Jones is funnier.

I feel that it's important for me to exercise my rights by reading as big a variety of publications as possible. To read just one viewpoint would leave me only partially informed and incapable of making a qualified decision when I vote. I take my right to vote seriously.

I Love This Place

Happy to be here. 10/25/10

When you live in a senior apartment facility, you are surrounded by people at the end of the trail. With ones neighbors continuously being hauled off to the hospital, and occasionally dropping dead, it's a good place to learn to be nice to the people you encounter. When you are unkind to people that are here today, and possibly gone tomorrow, you are going to be the one left holding the bag of resentments.

It feels
so much better to be left with happy thoughts and remembered smiles.

Evening Glory
Morning glory climbs the wall of the dumpster enclosure. 10/25/10

This flower on the vine that Connie planted to beautify the dumpster enclosure, decided to unfurl in the rays of the setting sun.

Pretty As A Picture

Looking northeast from building 'A' second floor stairwell landing. 10/25/10

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

MozART GROUP For Elise Für Elise


Friday, October 22, 2010

Probably Preposterous

Parallel Particulate Presence


A couple relaxes in an infinity pool overlooking the haze-covered skyline in Singapore. Singapore, blanketed under a smoky haze for days, beseeched neighboring Indonesia on Friday to douse fires lit for illegal forest clearing that are causing the worst air pollution in the region since 2006. Malaysia has also blamed poor air quality in some of its southern towns on fires on Indonesia's Sumatra island.
Vivek Prakash-Reuters

are burning stuff they don't want all over the world, so the controlled burns in Burney were a good thing, right?

What Smoke?

Sunrise in Redding while Burney burns stuff it doesn't want. 10/20/10

End of the Earth Postponed

"Boy, that was a close one!"

By Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer 

It's a good news/bad news situation for believers in the 2012 Mayan apocalypse. The good news is that the Mayan "Long Count" calendar may not end on Dec. 21, 2012 (and, by extension, the world may not end along with it). The bad news for prophecy believers? If the calendar doesn't end in December 2012, no one knows when it actually will — or if it has already.

A new critique, published as a chapter in the new textbook "Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World" (Oxbow Books, 2010), argues that the accepted conversions of dates from Mayan to the modern calendar may be off by as much as 50 or 100 years. That would throw the supposed and overhyped 2012 apocalypse off by decades and cast into doubt the dates of historical Mayan events. (The doomsday worries are based on the fact that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, much as our year ends on Dec. 31.)

Children Of The Night
Thanks to Garie Lebow for sending me this Happy Halloween Card

It's that
spooky time of the year for fun and frightening e-cards.

This one I got from Garie, (Happy Halloween Card), is a good example.

Think Pink

The fountain at Cypress and Pine. 8:00 pm, 10/21/10

There are a lot of Breast Cancer Awareness Month events and statements around Redding. The Cypress and Pine fountain was one visual reminder that i happened to see as I left the Shasta Blues Society Thursday Jam, around 8 last night. I went to put my guitar in the Buick outside Lulu's, in the parking lot, and I noticed the fountain was lit pink and flowing. I had the Lumix TZ1 with me, so I took a few pictures.

There was a gathering
at the Sundial Bridge last night, for Nor Cal Think Pink, but I missed it. There will be another gathering at the Sundial Bridge on October 23rd.

My Halloween Decor

Thank you Sandi Taylor for the pumpkins and the plant. 10/22/10

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Monster Mash

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Early View Brings

World Of Possibilities

Sunrise 10/20/10

I woke up this morning, the sky was red.
It was too early, but I couldn't go back to bed. (Ba-da-da-da.)

The people in Burney, got their burning permit.
So the stuff they don't want, well they just burn it.

And the Redding skies look just like Van Nuys.
Oh yeah.

Garden Expansion

Dorothy redesigns her garden to accommodate veggies. 10/20/10

Mickey Car Cam

Mickey Mouse web cam car.

The camera is on the front. Twist to focus.

The old iMac has a microphone, but it didn't have a camera, until now. Or at least, almost has a camera...I just have to convert the operation from windows to Mac.

It sure is cute.


A chicken thing on noodles, topped with fresh local goat cheese.

Local Color
Flower on a bush behind "A" building. 10/20/10

Great Day

The tree behind me is home to several different birds. 10/20/10

There is a spring like increase in bird and small mammal mating rituals over the last few weeks. The birds sing day and night.

In this tree pictured above, there are finches, scrub jays, and a mocking bird.

In the night I can hear the coyotes calling to each other, the chittering of raccoons, opossums, and bird chirps when they are awakened by things that go bump in the night.

I love this place.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Midnight Sun - Morris Lane

The Sax Is Good

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Great Day

Here In Redding

Would Mt. Lassen
remain standing if it was filled with an extremely lucrative resource?

It wouldn't even be a question if it were not for industry battling it out with the EPA for the right to level the mountains of W. Virginia to extract coal.

It seems
that the appetite for money is a more dangerous addiction than drugs or alcohol.

New Way To Mark Your Stuff

The home kit from SELECTADNA

A DNA Forensic Property Marking kit designed for home use.

Marks and protects approximately 50 items including TVs, Plasmas, Desktop PCs, Laptops, Digital Cameras, Games Consoles, MP3 Players, Paintings, Antiques, DIY tools, bicycles, lawnmowers, garden furniture etc.

Prettiest Rose Ever

Until This One

Roses along the Treehouse driveway in the evening sun. 10/18/10

Ahh Nuts

Pretty soon you will be able to reach into my food pictures and take a bite.

Just Fishin'

A couple of old folks, floating and fishing on Lake Redding. 10/18/10

That Time Of The Moonth

This evening's moon with jet plane accompaniment. 10/19/10
Some day, or night, I will get the moon reflecting off the river.
Maybe tonight. Or tomorrow. Or next month. One of these days. Soon.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Higher and Higher - Esther Phillips

Rock On

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It Looks Great

How Does It Smell?

Even molecules have a sense of smell. The chemical compounds that are the various odors we sense are one part of this miraculous process. The receptors that detect and identify the chemicals, and their significance are part of a complex system that ultimately delivers the goods to one cell that determines what the odor is.

Humans often view smell as an aesthetic sense, yet for most animals smell is the primal sense, one they rely on to identify food, predators and mates. Indeed, for many organisms, odors are their most efficient means of communicating with others and interpreting their surroundings. Innate behavior in response to smell is essential to these organisms' survival and most likely results from nonconscious perception of odors. (The Molecular Logic of the Sense Of Smell- Richard Axel). PDF HERE

, by examining DNA from a variety of mammals, including humans, we determined that around 1,000 genes encode 1,000 different odor receptors. (Each type of receptor is expressed in thousands of neurons.) Given that mammalian DNA probably contains around 100,000 genes, this finding indicates that 1 percent of all our genes are devoted to the detection of odors, making this the largest gene family thus far identified in mammals. The enormous amount of genetic information devoted to smell perhaps reflects the significance of this sensory system for the survival and reproduction of most mammalian species.

Did you know that sperm have a sense of smell?
Further reading HERE.

Magic Number Seven

Do Doctors prescribe antibiotics for 7 days because the number 7 is magic?

Scientific studies have shown that taking 7 days worth of antibiotics isn't any more effective than 3 days worth, but the number seven traditionally has more "mojo". The greatest benefit goes to the pharmaceutical company that sells the pills.


Toddlers With iPhones

Bella Giroux-Nix, 3, with her mother’s iPhone.

From the New York Times

THE bedroom door opened and a light went on, signaling an end to nap time. The toddler, tousle-haired and sleepy-eyed, clambered to a wobbly stand in his crib. He smiled, reached out to his father, and uttered what is fast becoming the cry of his generation: “iPhone!” 

When Apple says
it's products are easy to use, they aren't kidding. We have all heard parents talk about how their 8 year old knows more about using computers than they do, but babies are able to use iPhones, iPods, and iPads as soon as you put one in their tiny little hands.

Now my secret is out. Some people think I am some sort of computer wiz because can do so many different things with my laptop, but I have a lot of secret help. I have an Apple Macbook. It makes it easy for me to produce graphics, photographs, recordings, videos, CD's, DVD's, websites, electronic communications, and of course this blog. If I were using a PC with Windows 7, I wouldn't have time to do all the computer assisted things I do. I would be wasting my time trying to keep it working. Not to mention the distraction of all the fiddling, diddling, scanning for viruses, pop ups, glitches, unnecessary extra steps to do basic tasks, and the endless upgrade, update, security patch things that constantly interrupt everything.

I have considered getting a cheap laptop at Target and installing Linux, but by the time I find and install the Linux version of programs I need, fiddle around to get them working, find the right printer drivers, etc., I would be wasting as much time as if I had left the Windows system on the thing. Besides, if I had the money for a cheap laptop running Windows 7 at Target, I would rather spend it wisely and buy an iPad. (Available now at Target)

An iPad will do most anything laptops do, and it's magically easy to use. Just ask a toddler to show you.

Read the story HERE.

R.I.P. Barbara Billingsley

The "Beaver's Mom"
“We were the ideal parents because that’s the way he saw it,” she said, describing the show as the world seen through the eyes of a child. (The pearls, incidentally, covered up a hollow in her neck. In the beginning of the show, she wore flats; the heels were an attempt to stay taller than the growing boys.) More HERE.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;


Saturday, October 16, 2010


Yard Sales

This lamp is just right for the night stand. 10/16/16

Something persuaded
me to turn right on Lake today when I went out to do a few errands. I was drawn past a couple of yard sale signs until I came to 'the one' that prompted me to turn down a long driveway that led me to the bedside lamp I had been envisioning ever since I got the nightstand in 2007. It fits in and puts out just the right amount of light.

Extra Step
I get to put water in this pitcher to pour in the coffee pot. 10/16/10

The other item I found at the yard sale was a plastic pitcher. Now that I have the gurgling giant water jug, instead of the easy to pour gallon size, I got something to put water in so that I can pour it into the coffee maker. I feel like this is a backward step, efficiencywise, but the Mt. Shasta spring water makes great tasting coffee, so I guess it all evens out in a flavorful cup of Joe.

It's Not The Heat

Friday, I found that I needed to have the air conditioner set to around 78 to keep the apartment from feeling warm and muggy.

Outside, the temperature was 87 degrees. This is part of the cooling trend that we are experiencing here in Redding this weekend. Though the temperature was 15 or 20 degrees cooler than it has been, it was warm and sticky.

Humidity had come to town and it got me to reminiscing about humid places I have been.

I remember traveling to Delaware with my dad one time where we played a round of golf. A firmly struck golf ball could barely push it’s way through the steamy ocean of muggy heat. Muscles became sluggish and leaden. Just walking required extraordinary effort. This in no way diminished the ravenous hunger of the mosquitoes lurking in the grass.

By the time we had finished our round, my white socks had become splotchy red from the smashed mosquitoes that had dined right through the material. In spite of the adverse conditions, or perhaps as a result of them, I shot an 89, (the temperature). I don’t remember what dad’s score was.

Whatever he wrote down on his score card, it was no reflection of his actual stroke count. Instead, it would be his optimistic estimate of what would seem reasonable to someone who wasn’t watching while he hacked his way around 18 holes. He was an avid duffer and played golf everywhere he went.

Ultimately, he and my mom bought a house alongside a fairway at the Hattiesburg Country Club where he spent most of his last years making divots and having the time of his life.

Even though the day was hot and buggy, I will always cherish that round of golf with my dad on a sunny Delaware afternoon.

I was driving along the Atlantic coast with the windows down. It was cloudy and muggy. It felt like rain, whether it was actually falling or not. I had my arm resting on the windowsill when all of a sudden my hair was tingling and something tugged on my elbow. Bam! Lightning exploded on the side of the road, leaving a smoldering burnt spot on the grass. There was a puff of smoke curling up from the scorched, blackened circle, and I noticed that my arm was fully extended in the direction of the strike. I didn’t really notice the heat or the humidity for the rest of that day.

It was in the summer of 1965, I think, when I was a very busy 20 year old band leader. In Houston, I had a regular 6 night a week band, plus an after hours band. On Sunday afternoons I had my Galveston beach band. We played at a bar that was open to the beach.

This was the place
where I discovered just how much I could sweat while singing and playing. After 2 or 3 songs, I would literally be standing in a puddle of my own sweat. I would gulp down a bottle of beer between each song and sweat it out before the song was through. Until I experienced those Sunday’s when my sweat glands were actually squirting, I would have never believed such a thing was humanly possible.

The humidity mothership. There is a reason why Houston was the most air conditioned city in the world when I lived there. It was so miserably humid, that the downtown businesses were connected by warrens of air conditioned underground tunnels so that one need not be exposed to the insufferable hot, heavy, moisture laden air that would have your clothes sopping wet with sweat in seconds.

It was nice
that the mugginess here in Redding triggered these fond memories.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

No Sweat

Friday, October 15, 2010

Let It Gurgle

Let It Flow

I woke up this mornin', (ba-DA-da-DA)
To answer the phone, (ba-DA-da-Dum)
I woke up this mornin', (ba-DA-da-DA)
To answer the phone, (ba-DA-da-Dum)

That clever salesman caught me sleepin'
And now I've got a Mt. Shasta spring water dispenser
sittin' here in my home. (ba-DA-da-Dum)

I got the Blue Jug a water that gurgles and glugs
but the water tastes better
when I take a slug.
Blue. Blue. Blue. Wa-ter jug, (ba-DA-da-Dum)

Great Book For Halloween

I always enjoy her books about the bail bonds bunch, but this not only had me laughing out loud while I read it, I am still chuckling whenever I see anything to do with Halloween.


Mantis on lily. 10/15/10

I found this mantis on a flower I was photographing in the Trader Joe's parking lot. It's the second mantis I have seen this week. I am sure that means good luck since I consider it my good luck to have seen these amazing creatures. They can turn their heads 360 degrees.

I had just dropped off some flower pictures for some of the people who work there. Only a few were aware of the really pretty flora that are a part of the parking lot.

From a previous visit

Picture from the Trader Joe's parking lot collection. 10/11/10

In case you are wondering where you can go see the band for a couple of hours;

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
  Long Cold Winter by Phil Seymour