Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's New Years Eve

And It’s Really, Really Quiet

It’s after 10 pm here in Redding on January 31st. So far I haven’t seen or heard any signs of this being new years eve.

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Still cold on Lassen

It is a bit chilly this evening, so that may explain why I haven’t heard any of the usual party sounds of music, loud voices, girls screaming in drunken exuberance, fireworks, gun shots, or even squealing rubber and roaring engines.

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Just a few survivors, but pretty

It is a bit uncanny. We didn’t even have a new years party in the dining room here at the Treehouse. Of course that could be because none of the usual people made a party happen, including myself.

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This was just the picture I had in mind

To correct my observational conclusion, I just now heard what was either 2 firecrackers or someone shooting a Colt model 1911 45, ( or some similar firearm ). It had that thick 45 caliber “poh..poha” sound rather than the upper midrange retort of 30 or 38 caliber.

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Just before sunset

Did I mention it was chilly? Not 20 below zero Wyoming chilly, but 44 degrees with a freeze warning overnight Redding chilly.

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Racket ball sized purple rose

Like many people who live here in Redding, I have acclimatised to warm temperatures. If it gets below 70, I need to wear long pants, shoes and socks, as well as a long sleeved shirt. My trips to Richmond and the Bay Area are a wear a jacket or sweater experience, since they average a chilly 55-65 degrees there year round.

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Colorful last day of the year composition

Maybe cable news has warned everyone to stay inside for fear that border crossing toddlers are out in the streets speaking gibberish and wearing exploding onesies.

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A good day for Lassen pictures

The band rehearsed yesterday. It was a Tuesday. That sort of mixed up my minds eye calendar. We usually rehearse on Sundays. I keep thinking today is Monday. It’s 11:07 pm and there have been no further celebration sounds, or activity outside in the neighborhood.

Color trimmed driveway rose

I must say that this is the quietest new years I have ever experienced. There is more activity any night of the week around here than there is tonight. None of the usual loud cars, motorcycles, fire engines, ambulances, helicopters….not even a barking dog!

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My favorite fan

I get a lot of miles out of that palm behind the rose in the image above. I love the patterns of the parallel lines, light and shadow behind some of the roses that grow along the sidewalk. Life is filled with many joyful gifts when we take the time to look at the world we live in.

I am lucky to have the opportunity and the wherewithal to appreciate this simple, yet miraculous gift of being alive and aware. I thank God morning and night for the present.

Today’s Video;

The Message Is Love

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Small Minded Dimwit Polititcians

Not Just In The U.S.A.

Saw a license plate frame that read, “An angel watches out for me”.

My first thought was, “Me and everybody else, too”. We all have angels watching out for us, but my experience has shown that angels watching won’t stop us from doing stupid things.

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Flaming red flowers

Our angels might suggest that we need to turn left, but our willful stupidity will insist that turning right is better. That is assuming that the little voice in my head who is always right is an angel. It could just as easily be words of wisdom from my eternal soul.

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Phyllo dough crust apple pie

Willful stupidity, combined with ignorance and an arrogant sense of entitlement has made some of our elected politicians perfect puppets for those who would derail our government to increase profits for a few crazy billionaires. Angels weep.

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The rain brought some green

This same bunch of mega-billionaires are pulling the strings on vain puppet dictators and heads of state throughout the world. Giving them chump change in exchange for their country’s dwindling resources. Angels watch helplessly while Paradise is defiled and destroyed.

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Bird wondering if it’s spring already

Let’s not forget the adolescent desires of the simpleminded old men in charge of militaries everywhere. Their big wet dream is to have lots of stuff that will roll, fly, float, shoot and blow things up. They make it so easy for defense contractors to rob the world’s treasuries in the name of security. Angels fold their wings in sorrow.

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Prettiest red, yet

My inner voice/Angel told me to write this post, but isn’t offering any uplifting insights or comic relief. I suppose that is up to me. I did read something amusing today, but it seems to be lost in the clamor of these troublesome times. An Angel yawns.

Today’s Video;

Once upon a time we had intelligent discourse on TV

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Looking For A Partridge

On the first day of Christmas
December 25th I went down to the river to see the first day of Christmas from the Diestelhorst bridge. There usually are plenty of birds there in the afternoon so I figured if there were partridges in pear trees somewhere in Redding, this would be the place.

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I did find a squirrel a nutting

Friday, I looked around the Treehouse for 2 turtle doves, but they must have stayed in their shells, for I didn’t see or hear a coo. Maybe tomorrow, (make that today), I will find 3 French hens.

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Upside down pear a picking robin

It is interesting how flexible I have become about what day it is/was/will be. This comes from writing around midnight. It isn’t until around 10:30 or 11 that I have finished my evening meal, cleaned up the kitchen and with my nutritional requirements met for awhile, my mind becomes creatively active and I begin the night’s projects like writing in this blog.

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My neighbor Jackie gave me this dessert on the 24th

It takes a few hours to produce each post. Part of the time is used to edit recent pictures and re-editing the few that I think I might use in that night’s post. Part of the time is spent researching and fact checking the material, even if it is something like making sure of when and what each of the 12 days of Christmas is about.

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Lassen in the last light of the 26th

To get back to the night time being the time when the day of the week changes while I am writing; It tends to have increased my sense of tense. So if the day I had begun writing a post is past and it is presently a future date from whence I began, I hope it doesn’t strain your chronological sensibilities when my todays become yesterday’s tomorrows mid sentence.

Today’s Video;

Our Spectacular Natural World

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Providential Degree

Tangential Timelines At The Crossroads

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California and Sacramento Streets, Redding, CA

I have recently completed the Marian Sauer graduate course in developing and defining higher standards of creativity and intellectual achievements while learning to make the most of meager means.

I consider this accomplishment to be a gift of infinite value. I can count myself among the very fortunate people who have been encouraged, inspired and instructed by Marian over the last 75 years.

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Yellow rose in the rain

Kismet, fortune and the tides of the cosmos brought me into her sphere of interconnecting disciplines. We will begin this wondrous life changing series of events on a sunny afternoon as I found myself riding my motorcycle over Los Laureles grade from Salinas to Carmel Valley Village.

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Raindrop bejeweled

The year was 1989 and I was about to meet the most dynamic, joyful, remarkable person in my life. Through an intricate combination of people and perfectly timed circumstance I discovered my other half. (See Aristophanes speech in Plato’s Symposium).

We were introduced to each other as Chris Sauer and Phil Michaels, neither of which were actually our given names. She had chosen Chris as an expression of her independence and I had chosen Michaels as my performing name in 1975 so as not to be confused with a young songwriter from Oklahoma.

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The sun shone today

Chrissy and I were a perfect match. She changed my perceptions and expanded my view of the world. I was her genie who, for the rest of our life together, made her wishes come true. Some people would visit us just to feel the love that radiated from our combined spirits.

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Fresh snow on Shasta

It took nearly 10 years until Chris’s mother and I discovered we could make music together. She auditioned me to play guitar for a job with her on piano and Leona Derheim on alto sax and viola. The LMP Trio was formed in 1998. We went on to record 16 CD’s and performed throughout the Bay Area until 2011 when Leona retired.

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Now open...Joseph’s Coat rose

With the right combination of proficiency and talent, sometimes magic happens while playing music together. And so it was with Marian that we came to know and recognize some part of ourselves inside each other.

In 2005 things changed. Crissy’s life tragically ended while crossing the street in our hometown of Carmel Valley. I sank into a vat of despair that nearly put an end to me.

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Wings open to the sun

It was Marian who bit by bit, year by year, gave me hope, taught me to care, and let me know I am loved. Because of her dedicated program of support, direction, and encouragement I am a happier, healthier me today. I am back on my life’s path of spiritual enlightenment, and I can feel joy again.

Marian has been my mentor and best friend, as well as mother-in-law and musician of professional caliber. Playing with her hones my chops in order to play each song with the same level of respect and commitment. She believes in me. That inspires and drives me to always be the best I can be.

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Mount Lassen from the Treehouse

Around the beginning of this year Marian told me we were nearing the time when I would have to carry on without her. For the past couple of months I have been proudly reporting that I can make it okay on my own, if I have to. That time has come.

I started writing this blog in 2008 as a journal to share my experiences and thoughts with Marian after I moved up to Redding. It has grown from that into an part of my existence. In addition to Marian, my friends and readers around the world find information, art, amusement and perhaps inspiration when they visit Phil’s Place. Thank you.

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Sunny red rose

Rest assured, Marian, I will keep the same standards of journalism and continue to post beautiful pictures. You will live on in my heart along with your daughter who lives there, too.

Today’s Video;

Love Is Eternal

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tis The Season

For Many Diverse Subjects

The Poinsettia

My 2011 poinsettia

“The plant made its way to the United States in the 1820s, thanks to Joel Roberts Poinsett, who was appointed the first U.S. Minister to Mexico (1825-1829) and whose death, on Dec. 12, 1851, resulted in the English re-naming of poinsettia as we know it in today.” ( story LOC Blog)

The verifiable historical figure we call Santa Claus

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Santa and elf snowboarding

Unlike some mythological figures that we believe in today, there actually was a man who gave presents to children during the night. Saint Nicholas was a tall and thin 4th century Christian Bishop. He has since been replaced by the fat jolly white Coca Cola advertising Santa that keeps the stores open late in the winter.

For various reasons there is a global shortage of saintly bishops available to bring toys to all the poor children in this modern world, so it is up to us ordinary mortals to make sure  that children experience the wide eyed wonder of discovering a gift from Santa on Christmas morning.

Wondering what Net Neutrality means?

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Mushrooms on a rainy day (Lumix TZ3)

Network neutrality is the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.

Right now, Title II regulation of the internet as a public utility, is our best guarantee of open access for all. Here is a fairly complete, yet easily understood explanation from Electronista.

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Wet red (Lumix TZ3)

Old time traditions
Time to slaughter the cattle and eat them
Time to drink the wine and beer that has finally fermented
Party on neighbors because some of you will starve during winter

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Cranberry, raisin, apple, cookie crumb roll (Lumix FZ35)

Thank you Wikipedia


I use many sources to substantiate the statements and information that I present here at Phil’s Place, but in my experience, there is no more reliable source than Wikipedia. You will always find references, sources, footnotes, and links to real facts and authorship behind the information you find in Wikipedia.

More Winter Traditions

Have yourself a very merry whatever you do at this stage of the earth’s orbit while living in the northern hemisphere.

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Tangerine with lasagna delight (Lumix FZ35)

Today’s Video;

Peace Would Be Nice

Sunday, December 14, 2014

And Now The News

Writing Your TV and Radio News

That’s right, thanks to Fox news affiliates and Clear Channel communications, you can be assured that no matter where you go in America, the local stations will all be reporting the same stories as the all the other stations across the country.

And, the stories don’t even have to be true.
This Video Report Will Explain;

Then There Is Today’s PoP Music Biz

I have mentioned to people that there are no real singers in pop music, or TV contest singer shows. Instead I can hear that their voices have been auto-tuned and processed to the point where nothing natural, or human, is left to be heard. That sound annoys me like fingernails on a blackboard.

This video explains;

Meanwhile In My Reality

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Sunshine Saturday

That’s right. Today we had sunshine here in Redding and it was still sunny even when I got up and out to take pictures.

The roses and other flowers were recovering from the battering they received from the storms that past couple of days. Some of the roses were storm worn and a bit ragged, but still full of life, and some of the younger ones seemed to have escaped the tattering all together.

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Happy red bud

There were some beautiful December images to be captured, and I was happy to do so. The little equipment sheds, became modern barns in this look at the eastern Treehouse view;

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Bare branch shadows on the mini barn

It was a good day to wear a jacket and a hat. It was in the 60’s and there was no wind to blow your hat off.

The happiest life forms I found today were the sex organs of mycelium. They are more commonly known as, “mushrooms”. See how happy they looked;

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A bug having some mushroom soup

Many of the flowers were enjoying the chance to dry off after the rain.

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Pretty, even when bedraggled

If you read the first posting of yesterday’s blog, you may not know that I updated the story about the clownfish and the anemone. It seems that their activity within the tentacles of the anemone is part of the symbiotic relationship between species.

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Sweet home anemone

The wiggle dance stirs up oxygen and helps the anemone breathe. The clownfish rub mucus from the tentacles onto their body so they can safely stay protected in their own personal anemone. Predators are deterred by the anemone’s paralyzing neurotoxin tipped tentacles.

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A new bud on the Joseph’s Coat rosebush

I spent a couple of hours this evening looking for one of the 2 USB extension cables that I recall putting in a safe convenient place just 6 months ago.

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A storm worn rose drys in the sun

I suppose it was good to go through every bag, drawer, box and cupboard that contains electronic related stuff. I found a couple of useful items that I had set aside for a rainy day and now that rainy day is here. (the link is to a real singer, singing a real song with a real orchestra)

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Mushroom hugs

I still haven’t located the long USB extension cables, but I have some stuff in a container on the balcony and more in the car that I can dig through tomorrow.

For now, I encourage you to keep it real. Unfiltered, unadulterated, unprocessed, non-homogenized, real in all endeavors. You will be healthier and happier as a result of being more intimately involved in your life.

Today’s Appropriate Song;