Sunday, December 30, 2012

Half Baked

Missing Ingredients

I sometimes write more than one set of words for each blog post. Eventually, I tend to choose the less controversial text. A few people have seen some of my first drafts, and they felt that I should not short-change my journal, (and those who read it), by leaving pointed observations on the cutting room floor. So, tonight there is first draft material on this page.

Today’s title, would be my description of the biscuits that are being served up by the Tea Party caucus. Half baked, and missing some essential ingredients.

I have been trying to pinpoint why some people with seemingly functioning neural circuitry, are convinced that the Tea Party is a reasonable solution to repair our dysfunctional congress.

I think it might be that they have a childish view of how government is supposed to  function. To simplify the big picture into a cartoon, many of the ingredients are left out, along with details that take too long to draw, (and all those long sentences with pesky big words).

The resulting information can then be shaped into bite sized, ‘Talking Points’. These are dished up on Fox News Corp TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines as part of the 24 hour a day deluge of misleading, partial information.

The U. S. Constitution is mostly ignored in their creed, with the exception of some cherry picked, partial sentences to support the right to anarchy and irresponsible behavior. It’s so much easier that way, rather than to have to actually read and understand the document that is the framework on which our nation is built.

According to my own anecdotal survey, and some actual data, nearly every person who supports the Tea Party, also watches, listens to, and reads, Fox News Corp information.

So, I figure some of the Tea Party supporters haven’t lost their senses, it’s just that their brains have been starved and malnourished down to an intellectually deficient level where ill conceived, childish nonsense, sounds patriotic and reasonable.

About Today’s Photo’s

Today’s images are part of an ambient light, hand held, photo experiment. Some of the pictures were shot long after sunset, with only the glowing atmosphere reflecting light onto the mountains and flowers.

I played around with a few effects on some, while on others the detail that was captured by the Lumix FZ8 is superb. The Christmas cards on the credenza are exceptionally sharp, and rich in color. The only light was that which drifted in from the kitchen. Even though the available light was feeble, I didn’t need to use the flash or tripod. I like that.

Today’s Beautiful Video;

PRINZENZEIT * KORSIKA from david babendreyer on">Vimeo

Enjoying The Big Picture

Friday, December 28, 2012

Beautiful December Days

And Nights, Too

Thursday Sunrise

A wonderful variety of atmospheric conditions have been part of this December.

Mt Shasta glows in the distance

Rain and snow. Clear skies. Skies decorated with all manner of cloud formations. Colorful leaves. Blustery winds. Bare branches. Warm days and cold days. December.

Rose in the sun

I drove down to Richmond on Christmas day to visit and play music with the LMP Trio. Rain was with me the whole ride. I enjoy driving in the rain. I find it peaceful and conducive to achieving a calm, meditative state of being.

Shasta Bally, the day before Christmas.

At Marian’s house, I had Christmas dinner with Marian and Leona. After dinner, we played a game of Scrabble, then we played music. Beautiful music. What a treasured Christmas gift for all concerned.

Mt Shasta, Christmas eve day afternoon

The LMP Trio, (Leona, Marian, and Phil), played more music the day after Christmas, (Boxing Day), and I headed back up to Redding later that afternoon.

The sunset and moonrise were spectacular as I crossed the bridge to Vallejo and points north. I would have taken some pictures, but traffic was thick and inconsistent, so I opted to keep my senses alert to the changing dynamics of the vehicular tributaries and coursing streams of rumbling, rambling travelers.

Bare branches pattern the blue sky behind this rose.

I had a very nice Christmas. I am fortunate and grateful for the present of life as I know it.

Once I returned to Redding, the moon that had accompanied me on my journey, was now appearing in the night sky, beside Orion, beaming down on the Treehouse. I pulled out the Lumix FZ5, (my best nighttime moon camera), and took a few pictures while conditions permitted.

I hope everyone got the Christmas they needed.

Today’s Video;

Around the Globe- A Snow Globe Timelapse Journey from Canada to London from All Cut Up Films on">Vimeo

Happy Traveling

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Great Discoveries

Happening Now

WMAP image of the universe when only 375,000 years old

“The data from WMAP revealed a much more precise estimate for the age of the universe — 13.7 billion years — and confirmed that about 95 percent of it is composed of mind-boggling stuff called dark matter and dark energy. WMAP data also helped scientists nail down the curvature of space to within 0.4 percent of "flat," and pinpoint the time when the universe began to emerge from the cosmic dark ages (about 400 million years after the Big Bang.)”
(More Story)

Telemarketer Companies Make Money

The latest in a century of rediscovering that people should not give money to organizations over the phone. Is anyone surprised that the Tea Party Patriots get duped, repeatedly?

This snippet from a Mother Jones article;

“Tea Party Patriots, one of the largest grassroots tea party organizations to have come out of the movement, collected nearly $2 million in donations through telemarketers. Just $54,000 of that—less than 5 percent—went back to the organization. The telemarketers kept the rest.”

Landsat 5 Views Of Earth

Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar

Beautiful Images Of Places On Earth

Landsat 5 is ending its 29 year mission in space. Wired magazine offers this slide show of some spectacular views of our planet. See it at Wired

Santa Is Coming

Link to NORAD Tracks Santa

15 minute Sun Break

Rain and snow have been paying a visit to Redding this Yuletide season. On Saturday, there was a hole in the storms that let the sunshine in. By the time I got outside, I was told I had just missed the rainbow. I did get a chance to take some nice sparkling raindrops on flowers pictures, and I felt fortunate to have been able to see such delightful eye candy.

The 21st of December marked five years since I moved into this nice little apartment, here at the Treehouse. I like the people who live here, and those who work here, too. It is a happy place with lots of smiles and kind words.

The non-human residents are fun to be with, too.

There are still three days of Christmas songs to be played and sung before I put them to the back of my repertoire cabinet, until next year. I enjoy singing them.

I am glad that so many of the things I do, are a pleasure. One of the reasons that my lifes activities bring joy, is that I choose to avoid doing things that might have a negative impact. Another factor is appreciating the gift of being able to spend this lifespan being me.

Being conscious of being part of this universe is a wonderful experience. Every moment is a unique opportunity to experience life as a human. Everyone of us has the starring role in the greatest show on earth. I love this place.

Today’s Cool Video;

One Day on Earth: Cold Engadin Time Lapse Night from Alessandro Della Bella on">Vimeo

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Friday, December 21, 2012

Doomsday Comes And Goes

And I Get New Slippers

My pant legs and socks really aren’t different colors when photographed in the same light, but the shadow of the lunch counter fell on the right foot and pants leg. The left is lit by the kitchen light and the other was lit by ambient light in the ‘living room’.

So, I got new slippers, some photo paper, and a Shopko gift card in a brightly colored, Christmas gift bag from Golden Umbrella. Thank you. I wasn’t the only person that was gifted by Golden Umbrella Santa; Everybody at the Treehouse Senior Apartments got presents.

I like my new slippers. They keep my feet warm while the temperature is in the 30’s and 40’s, here in Redding.

When I got up, this doomsday, I couldn’t quite read my thermometer, but I think it’s pointing to 41. I could have wiped off the snow, but that wouldn't be as much fun.

I did clear the snow off the windows of the Buick before driving to John’s shop and the bank, today. Even on doomsday, one must keep a vigilant lookout for erratic drivers who are distracted by visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

The driveway roses managed to survive ‘end times’ without any teeth gnashing, (of course they don’t have teeth, unless thorns are an acceptable substitute). Their colorful blossoms are a cheerful sight above the snow on the ground.

How many doomsday, end times events have failed to destroy life on earth? Thousands!

Here is a short list of hundreds of doomsdays, predicted by well wishers throughout the ages; doomsday predictions

Building B, or at least this image of the front entrance taken from my balcony, looked warm and inviting with snow falling, and a cheerful Christmas tree beckoning me to come in out of the cold. Of course I would have to buzz someone in the building to open the door and let me in. My ‘A’ building, magic key fob doesn’t work on B building doors.

Just in from the cold, and not obliterated by the end times, I pose next to one of my photographs that was suitable for framing. The door is to the cloakroom, where hat, scarf, and jacket will wait patiently, until they are once again keeping me warm while we adventure in cold weather.

I am somewhat befuddled, and slightly dismayed, to read about the scores, (sometimes thousands), of confused, illiterate people that get swept up in these perpetual predictions for doomsday.

12-21-12 has been co opted by a conglomerate of enders. At first, it was mistakenly thought that because the Mayan long count calendar comes to an end, that the world will end on that day, (For some reason, it never occurred to some people that the round calendar was designed to be used over again, and again).

Not to be upstaged, the UFO, astrology, rapture, and other groups joined the parade and looked forward to the destruction and immolation of their enemies, while they, the true believers would rise above the fray. Hooray, doomsday is coming on the 21st!

Even more disturbing than gullible civilians who fall for doomsday scenarios, is knowing there are Republican members of congress who profess belief in apocalyptic prophecies. These characters should be disqualified from any government service. They certainly should not be involved in the shaping of national policy.

If anyone is disappointed that this latest end times didn’t happen, you will get another opportunity on the 23rd, Jan. 6th, and hundreds more future dates for the end of the world.

Today’s NASA Video;

Carry On

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Right Where I Am

Is Here And Now

Two days ago, I thought I would be returning to Redding just about now, 11:20 pm, on this Wednesday night. Leona, Marian, and I would have played in Millbrae earlier in the evening and, after we returned to Richmond, I would have loaded up the Buick, bid a fond adieu, and started driving north for 200 miles.

However, none of that happened. The place we were to play, had to postpone the event due to a virus. We were to have played for the people at the senior care facility, (where we have played before), but a virus made an appearance ahead of us.

I am guessing they don’t mean a computer virus.

So, I got to be here for some spectacular weather, a rehearsal with the Phil Seymour Band before we play Thursday night for the Shasta Blues Society Christmas party and music Scholarship Fund raiser.

Next week, when the LMP Trio is to play the rescheduled Millbrae event, I won't be playing the next night. That is good. I have to be careful not to overdo things. If I push it too hard, I can put myself out of commission for an indeterminate amount of time. I would prefer to avoid that.

Dinner tonight was one half of a Trader Joe’s Chicken Piccata with Penne Rigate & Broccoli. I like eating these dinners now and then. The sauce has capers in it. When I was a kid, I didn’t like capers - now I do. I guess, like certain cheeses, it’s an acquired taste. I am glad I am living long enough to enjoy acquired tastes.

Early Christmas Presents

Margaret Miller, (writer, photographer, communication artist), gave me this cue ball size snow globe, with a rubber ducky Santa inside. (You may recall my recent video that featured a rubber ducky in a tugboat trying to navigate Lake Treehouse, (VIDEO).) Margaret, thoughtfully has provided me with this new rubber ducky character that no doubt will be starring in his own video in the next day or two.

An Early Christmas For Sandi

Sandi’s old Mercedes finally crossed the unreliability line, and Stuart, (her husband), got her this Subaru. She is very happy, and so are her grandkids. Now she has an official ‘soccer grand-mom’ vehicle.

Today’s Seasonal Video;

Now Is The Present

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Each Day

Newly Defined

There I was, answering email, making phone calls, drinking coffee, digesting breakfast, lounging around in a robe and slippers, when outside the window I heard a clatter.

I set the laptop aside and went to the window to see what was the matter.

I twirled the clear rod to open the blinds,
revealing snow falling outside this place I call mine.

I chastised myself for not being dressed,
and quickly donned clothing that I thought would be best.

I picked up the camera I thought would work best,
and packed two in a bag if it failed the test.

By this time, the snowfall had slowed and rain joined the mix,
but snow stuck to the flowers, so I clicked a few clicks.

I had just taken pictures the previous day,
they sure came in handy for this poetic display.

I guess I’ll go out now and drive to the store.
Snow might stick to the roads, should we get some more.

I don’t carry chains, and wouldn’t want to get stuck.
Driving in snow would be pushing my luck.

Best wishes to all
Sandi brought me this tree,

I’ll share it with you
it makes me hap_py.

Today’s Video;

Climate 101 from Dark Igloo on Vimeo.