Friday, December 31, 2010

Story

I posted another of my unfinished (unedited) stories over on Brass Tacks.
I will leave it posted for a few days.
The story and the one which spawned it can be found on my Lord Bubbha blog.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Campaign theme song


I'm pushing this song to Mark's official campaign song as he journeys on his way to being elected President of the United States of America!
Every campaign begins somewhere and a rousing chorus of A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight might get voters off their lethargic asses and onto their feet (hopefully not as a lynch mob!)
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Verse 1:
Come along get you ready, wear your bran, bran new gown,
For dere's gwine to be a meeting in that good, good old town,
Where you knowed ev'ry body, and they all knowed you,
And you've got a rabbits foot to keep away the hoodoo;
Where you hear that the preaching does begin,
Bend down low for to drive away your sin
And when you gets religion, you want to shout and sing
There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight!
My baby -
Chorus:
When you hear dem a bells go ding, ling ling,
All join 'round and sweetly you must sing
When the verse am through, in the chorus all join in,
There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight.
Verse 2:
There'll be girls for ev'ry body in that good, good old town,
For dere's Miss Consola Davis an dere's Miss Gondolia Brown;
And dere's Miss Johanna Beasly she am dressed all in red,
I just hugged her and I kissed her and to me then she said:
Please, oh please, oh, do not let me fall,
You're all mine and I love you best of all,
And you must be my man, or I'll have no man at all,
There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight!
My baby -


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Losers and winners

I feel decent today in that I am not continuously tired. The past week has been a burden, even for me as used as I have become to the discomfort from RA. I am still tender in places and my joints and fingers are swollen but the soreness that was over all my body has subsided to the point of being tolerable. I still cannot cut my food, but I can hold a fork without dropping it, and that is a huge improvement. I did not sleep well last night, but it was an betterment over what I had been doing. Typing is a problem, but I am addicted to writing and it helps take my mind off my real and imagined woes; writing is my comfort zone. I was able to comment some photos on Megashot this morning, but quickly ran out of steam; all the mouse clicking got to me. Maybe the shots will kick in and in another week or two I can get back to a bit of my normal treachery and malfeasance.
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I don't know whom President Obama will choose for his new top economic adviser. I do know that the out-going Lawrence Summers was either not very good at his job or was not listened to, probably a combination of both. My personal choice for the job would be Mark Sevigny, a person whom has absolutely no background in big politics or in national and international economic matters. What he does have is a workingman's commonsense approach as to what is wrong, why it went wrong, and how it can begin to be fixed and that in itself is is most uncommon in Washington, D.C. governmental circles. He is also cut from the same fabric as was Harry S Truman in his "the buck stops here" philosophy. Of course, I would count on him in seeking advice from his real and virtual friends when he felt he needed it, friends whom would not mind moving to D.C. to live for a couple of years and have decent paying jobs as his own personal advisers. The sacrifices of the common man and woman; it is our American strength. I took the liberty of sending Mark's blog address to the White House because I don't know his home address and phone number, but I'm sure he may be hearing the oft repeated words in times of national crisis "Greetings from the President of the United States of America ... you are drafted into service of your country. Please report to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. to discuss this important matter. After crawling through the slime of Congressional committees and two weeks of expenses paid cleansing in American Samoa, you shall report to me, your President, and help get me out of this freaking mess!
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Tuesday again?! Seems like we are having a lot of them lately.
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Monday, December 27, 2010

Many Splendored Sweaters

A note concerning yesterday's blog and the '70's duds: It is possible I may have, in a spasm of pre-disco psychopathic neurosis, walked into a Montgomery-Ward store in Parkersburg, West Virginia on a cold evening in late 1971 and purchased a belted sweater, and it may have been much like the very first one depicted in the ad. A very painful admission this is. However, I certainly did not then nor ever have I had a beautiful blond haired woman's head on my shoulder, and I never did buy a hat just like the one Joe Fancy is wearing in said promo. Having painfully wrenched that demon from my past, I can come completely clean and say that I actually bought two of them; yes, I purchased my bride a duplicate one because she had always been into the '60's match-mate rage and I figured I would surprise her for Christmas which was coming up in a few weeks. Needless to say, she was definitely surprised to the point of teary insanity, letting me know that she would never wear the ugly garment and as good as her word, she never did. I wore mine only once. They both languished in the back of our closet for a few years and eventually were given to a local clothing charity; I wanted to put them in a yard sale and try to recoup a few of my dollars, but she allowed she would not be caught dead trying to sell such monstrosities; after all, she had a reputation of sensibility to uphold. I am widely renowned for not having much sense, nor did I have a lot of friends in those days, therefore my self-perceived cool reputation was not tarnished as mightily as it could have been.
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I'm very happy the Christmas hoo-doo is over for a few short months but it will seem like it will begin anew in a few weeks when one of our corporate-created, semi-holiday, spring-fever events rolls around; St Valentines Day. Love is a Many Splendored Thing, they say, but no amount of chocolates or bouquets of red roses or glittering gemstones can ever take the place of a sincerely spoken "I Love You".
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Clean up your act because it is Worsh Day!
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Outback Christmas 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ain't it funny how time just slips away

Jeremy didn't come in for Christmas; the weather is too iffy. We miss him and Courtney and Remy and Bubba. We miss Keegan a lot, too; it is Dec. 26th in Japan, and we hope he is safe.
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Snowing in East Tennessee; a rare but always lovely occurrence on Christmas Day.
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Carolyn has been cooking for a couple of hours already; I smell the pot roast broiling in the oven. For desert, she is making banana pudding.
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Be well, Dear Friends.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rambling

Ashley went to OB/GYN and got her first ultrasound pic of my forthcoming grandbrat. Don't yet know the sex, but if Carolyn gets to spoil her/him, he/she will be a brat. Delivery due July 22.
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Had another lesion removed from my face today; it was right at the edge of my sideburn and the side of my head is now swollen. The wound on my nose is not healing properly, and the doc and nurse have been doing work on it.
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One of my teachers from the 10th grade has died at age 83; she was a young woman when I first met her.
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Jeremy's trip home for the holidays is iffy; we are forecast to have snow from Friday night through Monday. I hope he can make it in; the only gift Carolyn and I can give the family is a good meal on Christmas.
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Tomorrow I will attempt to get my first RA shot in more than three weeks, and I am in desperate need of it.
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Thursday is Christmas-eve eve. Have a good one.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

0:00

Length of Day:
9h 41m
Tomorrow will be 0m 0s shorter


One ingredient I forgot to include for chili is water, however I prefer using beer for the last couple of "waterings". The alcohol will evaporate but the taste of the hops will remain; you can fool yourself into a hangover.
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Mark sent me an email last evening asking if I was planning to see the lunar eclipse. I set an alarm on the Droid to wake me up, which it did, but the sky was overcast and no moon to be seen. I bet the dark side of the moon was really dark during earth's shadowing. I've seen several lunar eclipses in the past, the best one was when a bunch of us were camping at Watauga Lake back in the day.
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Carolyn is off to store to buy her beef for Christmas pot roast and fixings to make more dressing; I never get enough of the dressing. She makes it just as did my grandmother and mother; delicious with any meal, and very good with cranberry sauce. We have many mouths to feed and that is one thing I like about Christmas; all the family can get together and fight instead of doing it over the phone and by email.
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Hopefully the weather will hold so Jeremy, Courtney, Remy, and Bubba can get here, but the forecast is not promising.
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Happy Solstice, my friends!!!
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Monday, December 20, 2010

True lies

Please view this on YouTube.com in full screen, and leave a comment for these fine photographers

I copied another of my stories from my private Lord Bubbha's Blog to my public Brass Tacks blog. Click the link if you have no burning desire for potent literature; I will leave it posted for a few days. It is another story based on an actual happening; someone did rob a local bank and a constable chased him on foot and got shot in the ass for his trouble.
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Some folks say my stories are too short, lacking needed details and I agree they are not of Stephen King length or quality, nor do I intend them to be such. Most of my tales are concise and meant to be recited, changed, and added to as they are told; they were written with Jonesborough's storytelling festival in mind. The story I just posted has a plot--the quest for love; a protagonist--our love denied hero; and an antagonist--flirting frustration. It has a decent lead paragraph and an ok ending, therefore I consider it print-worthy for a blog. It is 2,200 words and so can be read in a few minutes, much like the Chap Books of the 19th Century.
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Jeremy's gig went well, he said, and he has another booked for January.
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Have a witwanton worsh day!
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Just sayin' ...



Please watch this video on YouTube full screen

Seeds of spring shall soon be sown
upon a frosty winter morn
Time will quicken as days grow long
I shall toke from a tarry bong
Mother Jug has blown its top
I shan't be rolling this years crop
Shotguns are out but I don't care
I'll smoke a pipe and let down my hair
Buzzing with friends and soaking suds
Pills aplenty for next summer's buds
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As you may well can tell, not much to talk about today.
This is the final Sunday of Autumn, 2010; make it a high one, my friends.
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday ... another fine mess

Saturday and not much going on except cold, cloudy, snowy, icy, rainy, and misty. To paraphrase Johnny Cash, "I'm stuck in winter prison ... and I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when". Why does spring and summer slip by so quickly but winter has its own poke-along sense of time? I don't want to hurry winter along because that would be wishing my life away; but summer and spring should stand up and demand equal time. Carolyn is threatening to make chili, but I will have to doctor it a bit with a drop of Texas Pete and a jalapeño pepper or twenty. Three days until Solstice.
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The Photoshop classes will begin January 5th over on Megashot; there will be real teachers and assignments for those interested.
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Have a good weekend, dear friends.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Megashot.net--Artists Rising Vol. 1


You too can become an artist on Megashot.net

Friday frolics

I want to clarify something about Megashot. Many people have the impression the site is for artists only and that everyday shooters have no business there, however that is not the case by any means. Cyrus Khamak, conceived the idea for Megashot after he realized the major shortcomings of sites like Flickr, Photobucket, and others that were not doing enough to advance the skills of photographers, whether they are artists, hobbyists, or beginners. It is not an elitist photo site. Cyrus spent three years planning and developing Megashot, and had it been for artists only, I would never have been a part of it. Megashot it is for anyone and everyone who loves photography and has enough desire to try to make themselves better shooters.
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It has been nearly three weeks since I've had an RA shot; my fingers feel like sausages but are not visibly much more swollen than is usual. I cannot get another injection before Monday and it will take about two weeks for it to do its magic, therefore if I do not show up here as much as usual, I will still be thinking of you; planning and dreaming; wishing and hoping.
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Jeremy has his first paying gig Sunday night and if he proves to be popular, he will likely sign with a local Atlanta booking company. Please wish him well, my friends.
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How to become famous!
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Have a stupendous weekend, my children.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ode to a 'stache

This morning
Glad I grew the mustache; it is a wonderful corruption-catcher for my nose wound; keeps the crap from running into my mouth. Not to mention it is a great snot filter. To top that, I never have to wonder what I had for supper two days ago; a flick of my tongue-tip to my brush gives me week's menu.
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Weather-wise, this month has been an entire winter rolled into 16 days. Rain, sleet, snow, freezing rain, 0°F temp yesterday morning, and some cold sunshine. Still two months until weather brings its first promise of spring, when the robins bloom and the flowers sing; apple blossoms and honey bees; April showers and scented trees; grass so green to startle my eye, puffy clouds in warming skies; purples and reds and yellow flowers too, a rainbow cast of all soft hues; birds on high and bugs below, fresh mowed lawns to and fro; so fresh the season of earthly art, 'tis Nature's blessing for an old man's heart.
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Thursday, December 16 2010; Solstice minus five. Have a good one, my friends.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I do not recommend surgery on the nose; it is very painful after the anesthetic wears off. I am off to the liquor store for some sedatives.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seven

Willow Springs Park
Check out my new Megashot banner slideshow! Please? I will probably be changing it fairly often. Top that, Flickr!
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Wordpress must hate Mark, either that or it doesn't want him to consider being our beloved president. When I did my first blog here, and even when I began this one, his comments showed up immediately. All of a sudden, I began getting emails saying I had comments to moderate and most of them have been his and I think I have approved all of them. The one on yesterdays post was treated as spam from the git-go; no email alert or anything; I just happened to check my spam comments and there it was. No settings have been changed on my dashboard that would cause this to happen. His comment from yesterday is a very good one, too.
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Mark is counting down to Christmas and I am awaiting winter solstice. Christmas has superficial meaning for me, but solstice is a tangible entity which can be felt in the soul and experienced and seen in daily life. If solstice wasn't more important than Christmas, why would there be two of them each year but only one Christmas. Christmas will come and go with its most profound after-effects felt in our financial situations, but solstice will increase its meaning each day for six months and will then begin a new six month cycle and none of it will cost us any anxiety, depression, embarrassment, or money. Bah; humbug! Seven more days.
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Last night's miss of work is a huge income loss for us. The extra profit from the floor work Carolyn did Saturday was swallowed up by yesterdays bad weather.
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Have a Tuesday of peace and contentment, dear friends and blog readers whom ever you are.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Shaggy for Prez

Friday 13th falls on Worshday this month; how lucky can we be?!
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Obama seems to be saying bad legislation is better than no legislation; it's the same old political lesser of two evils philosophy. I have a different philosophy and one the American people seem to have forgotten; let's elect he better of two goods. Somewhere in this big nation there must be some honorable people whom are willing to try and right the ship without selling our collective souls to corporate devils. It is past time to chuck the "buy me" system of democracy and install a "what's best for the nation and its people" government. First, the voters must be educated and at present, we do not seem willing to go to school, much less learn our lessons. Mark should be President; The honorable Mr. Shaggy! It would be a hoot.
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We've had a couple inches of cold snow since yesterday afternoon, and every flake of it seems to have stuck. Why do I say "cold snow" when all snow is cold? I used to have to work outside in weather like we are having—sub-freezing temperatures and high winds—and snow flakes at these extremes are like frozen razor blades slashing the skin; ordinary, run-of-the-mill snow it isn't. Supposed to be very cold for two more days and nights, and then moderate into daytime mildness which will seem like a heat wave. I have a feeling this December will be recorded as one of the coldest ever.
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Have a warm worsh day, gentle people.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday morning ...

Happy Birthday, Maggie!
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Megashot has a feature that shows each member's birthday; there is so much to do on the site and more coming all the time. One of my photos made Megashot of the Week in the Cars and Vehicles category of Explore. If you would like to become a member of the finest photo site on the net, please take a moment to fill in your registration information here.
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Today was off to a good start. I awoke and began to get dressed the same as usual, pulled my bloomers on, then my pants, shoes, and shirt. I stood up and finished tugging undershorts and pants up when I realized something didn't feel right. I pulled my pants back down and saw that my shorts were on backward. Off came the shoes, pants, and shorts and I basically began again. I put my shorts on correctly, my pants on once more, and then the shoes. I got up, took a step, and knew something else was wrong. I looked down and my pants were on backward. Aggravated, I again sat on the bed and got completely naked and began all over; shorts, pants, shirt, shoes. This time all was as planned. The incident reminds of bygone Sundays when I would wake up with a hangover, not really caring how I was dressed or even if  I was dressed.
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I plan to watch my Lady Vols play the Texas Longhorns on TV this afternoon. Should be an interesting game.
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Congratulations to Robin; her daughter is due to deliver to her her first grandchild next summer.
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Have a Sunday, my friends.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Feeling it!


Carolyn is working in Kingsport today refinishing floors; it is the hardest job she has because it is so labor intensive. Outside the house the weather is pretty and fairly mild; but we are under a winter storm watch tomorrow through Monday evening. Monday night's temp is forecast to be 8°F (-13°C). Going to be another long, cold week.
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Only 10 days until Solstice! Yeee-haaah!
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"At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows."

~ William Shakespeare
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I wouldst rather possess a rose at Christmas
than to endure snow in May's spring glory
'tho each unto its very season
doth blossom in beauty its own

~ Ken Anderson
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Hope your weekend is an exceptionally good one!
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Friday, December 10, 2010

People

Thursday, December 09, 2010

"Don't be fooled."

I agree with Mark; this "wiki-leaks" thing is fascinating. Like Chinese emperors of old, the knee jerk media which these days includes the likes of our governments, Facebook, Twitter, and others have decided it is best to kill the messenger who bears bad news instead of stopping the bad news from happening. Also, huge corporate money industries are kissing up to bad government and censoring or refusing to serve the right of the people to know; fair usage is fair only when it is in their favor. Yesterday, MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal were hit with denial of service attacks just like Wiki-leaks was previously attacked. "Freedom" is becoming less free each day we as citizens of democratic countries sit on our collective hands and do not let our "representatives" know that too much is more than enough.
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My report card for lame duck President Barack Obama:
  • Economy ... D
  • Health care ... D-
  • Iraq ... B-
  • Afghanistan ... D
  • Wall Street ... F
  • Taxes ... F
  • North Korea ... C
  • Iran ... C
  • Foreign Policy ... C+
  • U.S. Infrastructure ... B-
  • Dealing with Congress ... F
  • Overall Leadership ... F
"... I want you to understand what real change is. Don't be fooled. Real change means saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Real change isn't about fitting the politics of the moment."
~ Barack Obama campaigning against Hillary Clinton for the Democrat Party presidential nomination, March 1, 2008.
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I cannot grade our Congress as I cannot find a rating below abysmal failure.
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My blogs have been getting some hits from Nigeria; interesting. Folks, whomever you are, I am very happy to have you looking in and I hope you will make many return visits to enjoy my views of life in the USA. However, I do not know the whereabouts of Dick Cheney but if I did I would do just about anything to see that he faces due justice in your great nation. I hope you have your own version of Gitmo.
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Have a Thursday, dear friends.
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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination"

"Dandy" Don Meredith died. The quarterback played college football for Southern Methodist University and went on to play for several years in the National Football League with the Dallas Cowboys. He was a commentator on the first ever Monday Night Football game on ABC TV, along side another football legend, Frank Gifford, and lawyer/journalist Howard Cosell. Meredith was a dandy foil for Cosell's bombastic and uppity demeanor. They made a great comedy team and Cosell gave Meredith the nickname of 'Dandy" and I still remember Meredith as "Dandy Don".
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After all the confessing and repenting of the past two days, I think I will take a day off from writing; just a few notes.
Alice: I remember Fred's pink shirt and I remember some kidding he endured over it. I also remember his perpetual cowboy boots.
I wore my Dingos for many years until finally they became everyday wear in winter. By the time I finally gave them to Jerry, they were scuffed, very scroungy looking, had drops of blue paint on them, and had been re-heeled and re-soled. I wore them into the early 1990's.
I still have never owned a real suit. I have an orange/white/silver-colored clip-on necktie; seldom used. I never learned to knot a necktie and I will not wear a doofus bow-tie.
I've worn the same pair of black New Balance sneakers for seven years.
I no longer wear jeans; too hard to button and I will not wear the goat-gagging ones that don't use a belt but have a piece of rubber sewn into the waistband.
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Title quote by John Lennon.
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May no wanion beset you on this Wonderful Wednesday!
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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pinko Disco Duck

While I'm in a confessional mood, I may as well tell about my greatest sin against "coolness": Yes; I once owned a leisure suit. Oh god, this is terrible just to remember. My only defense is that I was a victim of circumstances. It was Carolyn's doings; honest it was! I had never owned a suit of any kind in my entire hillbilly life and was perfectly happy being naked of such finery. This all began one Friday night several years before disco became the scourge of rock & rollers and when leisure suits had just been introduced as being the hip attire of smooth movers and shakers. I came dragging in home from a week's work in Parkersburg, West Virginia carrying my usual sack of dirty clothes and a hardon. Just as I was preparing for bed, my loving spouse said in her sweetest voice, "I bought you something". Not unusual; we both often bought each other gifts while we were parted by necessity. While I was anxious to get caught up on my loving and further hone my skills at such, she went to the closet and brought out a pink leisure suit. Yep; PINK! Well, not exactly pink, but a burgundy-reddish-pinkish affair that looked very pink to a pair of eyes that were yearning to see some fuzzy pink, but not from out of the closet. "Do you like it?" she asked. The material was cotton, corduroy cotton with a brushed look and feel on the outside. "I ain't wearing that!" "Why; what's wrong with it?" "It's fucking pink!" "It's not pink, it's burgundy." "Right now all I see is pink and it ain't the pink I want to see!" "This shirt is pink," she said as she pulled it from the closet, "and the coat and pants are burgundy." "Oh hell no; you've got another think-think coming if you have any idea that I'll wear a pink shirt along with a pink suit; you better have your receipt for this stuff 'cause I wouldn't be caught dead in it!" The next evening I slunk my pink ass into a movie theatre with my proud and smiling wife on my arm while my two kids giggled their damn little heads off. I didn't have any sex that weekend; for some reason my desire simply drooped away. Funny thing, after being worn and cleaned a few times, the suit darkened to where it did look burgundy and I wound up wearing it for several years. No such luck with the pink shirt, though, but one evening I accidentally dripped both ketchup and mustard down the front of it and I never again saw it after that night. The story doesn't end there; later in the 70's decade when disco was killing off every standard of musical decency the world had ever known, Carolyn bought me another shirt to go with the pink-cum-burgundy suit. It was a silky looking and feeling thing with big, dark burgundy twirls designed into it, and the collar was wide enough to make schooner sails. I was forced to wear the shirt a couple of times, but it somehow became snagged on something and a big rip appeared in the front. Now I suspect you want me to say there are photos floating around of myself while donning the pink garb. Unfortunately, there are and it is slightly possible my dear, sweet, and understanding friend Alice may have one or more of them. I know as a good friend that she would never ever allow anything like that in her possession to find its way to the net so the remainder of you can get your perverted jollies at my expense. Don't even waste your time looking for them, Dear Alice; you probably do not have any of them anyway and if there is a God, he has wiped memories of ever seeing me in such an outfit from your memory.
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Have a colorful Tuesday, my children.
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Monday, December 06, 2010

Dingos

Style, man

Okay; I have been a hypocrite ... again. Awhile back I was complaining about fashionable jeans and the prices thereof. I now must clear a bit of clutter from my conscience and admit to being a fashionable guy during one short period of my life. For me it was boots; yes, a silly pair of cowboy boots that I just had to have. It was back in the day when I worshiped idols, and who better for a southern gentleman to worship than Joe Willie Namath, the Hero of Super Bowl III and All-American quarterback from the University of Alabama. Joe Willie was The Man! He was on TV advertising a new boot style from Tennessee's own Acme Boot Company; Dingos! Joe Willie was a regular swinging dick in New York City and everywhere he went; a living legend of the times and of his sexual prowess. I first saw the boots on a TV commercial and decided I would like a pair of them, but it took an ad in Playboy magazine to convince me that I had to have a pair. I was working in Charleston, West Virginia at the time, and in the little strip mall where I had my evening meal was a man's clothing store with a pair of Joe Willie Dingos displayed in the front window. I don't remember the price but it wasn't important; I dug into my emergency "mad money" and bought myself a pair of fine leather boots. I considered myself as the swinging dick of little Charleston, a small city that is home of the state capitol and hundreds of lovely women whom work for various government agencies. A few weeks later and at the same store, I completed my wardrobe with a pair of white bell-bottom jeans, Tennessee Volunteer orange shirt, and a white necktie! In honor of Joe Willie, I also bought an Alabama Crimson Tide red shirt. My black belt seemed as wide as the one Santa Claus wears and it sported a brass "Keep on Truckin'" buckle that was big and heavy enough to use as a weapon and I had to incorporate it as such in a different city, but that is another story. The local bands were playing and singing "Proud Mary", "ABC", "Hey There Lonely Girl", and all the biggies of the day. I bought and used a curling iron/comb to put a bit of wave and body in my straight, long locks. "There never was a horse like the Tennessee Stud", and in 1970, I felt like rounding my fillies! I have photos of myself to verify this tale, but you shall never see them as long as I live.
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Have a Worsh Day!
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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Free Willie

If Willie Nelson goes to jail for illegally possessing dope, will someone make another Free Willie movie?
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A man reported that his Droid 2 exploded while he was talking to someone; he suffered minor ear cuts but is otherwise ok. Apparently the device still works other than the fact the glass is broken. I didn't realize people actually used these things for phone calls; he was probably listening to his mother-in-law at the time of the mishap.
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One of our local State legislators decided not to run for reelection during the last voter fiasco; a Republican from Bristol. Now he has announced he will take a job with the state comptrollers office which pays $119,000 per year. That is a pretty generous raise from the $18,000/year he made as representative. The governor of this state makes only around $90,000 salary each year. Just goes to show, when the Representatives say they are there only to serve, it is themselves whom get the best service.
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Carolyn is dragging me out to the mountains to find some "greenery" to decorate the porch. It has been snowing and is very cold outside; I hope my delicate disposition is up to the task. I would much rather stay inside and play but a husband has his duties. To top all, I am catching a cold. Phooey!
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Have a Scrumptious Sunday!
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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Contests

I am very busy on Megashot today; I placed a lot of photos into the "Reds" contest and they are keeping me busy voting on other folk's photos as they all move through the three levels. We are also getting several new members each day--one recent 24 hour period we gained 47--and I am greeting each one of them along with sending out happy birthday wishes for member's natal days. I also do a lot of commenting when I have good internet access; I do some even when I am using the Droid but it is one finger typing and takes a senile old man forever to say "Thanks".
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I am including Cyrus's video of the November Level Three Monochrome contest winners. As you view this video in full screen, please be aware that the Megashot contests are not judged; they are popularity based therefore many things can be involved in how a winner is chosen by voters. At times it seems that the quality of the shots is not up to par with what one would expect in a winner; there are safeguards in place to make sure everything is on the up-and-up, but personal popularity of the photographer still comes into play with some voters. Overall, each entrant gets his money's worth.
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My mustache is aggravating me; it collects every loose hair in the bed and directs them into my snoring maw.
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I am writing a very, very short one act play. Very short. May as well have "playwright" on my resume.
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Have a great weekend, sweet children.
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Friday, December 03, 2010

Photos and Fools

A note about viewing uploaded photos. First, do not expect anyone else to see exactly what you see when you upload a photo because most people have their monitors set to suit themselves. The bit of light sky that you upload as blue may lean to the greenish side to some of them and to others it may appear white or even pinkish. Another factor is compression. When you or your camera compresses a photo to .jpg format, some information is lost and the more times it is compressed and the value of each compression is reduced, the more is lost. Just resizing a .jpg file will cause it to lose detail. I always upload photos to Flickr and Megashot as being private so I can get an "after compression" view before allowing anyone else to see them and many times I replace the shot with one in I have compensated for in its compressed site value. On Megashot, the highest resolution that will display is 1024px, therefore it is best to upload your photos at that resolution so that the site will not alter them as much. Another thing to consider is converting your photos to .png format before uploading. It uses far less compression and even though the final image will be displayed in .jpg, it will still be truer to the original. The drawback to .png is file size and upload time; it is bigger and takes a little longer. Ideally, we should shoot in in .raw format, edit in .raw format, convert to .tif format and resize to 1024px and then upload. Some sites will not accept .tif files, so they should be converted to .png before uploading. Megashot allows only 1024px or less due to theft; a smaller file is not as like to be stolen yet is still large enough for satisfactory display on the monitor. It also saves on server storage space. None of this actually makes much difference for snapshots like I upload, but if you want to show something where subtle shading is important, it is best to be aware of these factors.
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I've been looking at some of Obama's "budget cuts" and one thing concerning the social security proposal is that it mostly affects the wealthier retirees. One thing for sure that I've learned over the years is that nothing affects the wealthy unless the middle-class and poor are involved one way or another. The most affluent oldsters will have major cuts in their monthly benefits and the rest of us will not be imposed upon except we will be getting little if any cost of living increases. In this case, when the rich get less, sooner or later the middle class will get much less. This is the only area where trickle down economics (Reaganomics) works. The simplicity of it is that whatever happens to the rich will eventually trickle down to the middle-class; the reality of it is that only the things that are considered as bad by the wealthy finds its way to the pocketbooks of everyday Jane and Joe. Obama's entire budget reduction plan reads like the Republican agenda; I think he should do us all a favor and switch parties; not to Republican, but to the Tea Bag party. He sounds as goofy as Palin, and has as much wishy-washy integrity as McCain. With the recent election, Middle-America has shown that they have written off Obama as a weakling and just another politician.
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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Spittin' into the wind

Most of the time the world is just plain shitty, but other times it sheds its everyday crappiness and becomes Super-stooly. Ashley was fired from her job of two years because she missed a few days from being extremely nauseous; her boss basically told her she didn't need the hassle of a pregnant employee. Newly pregnant by a live-in boyfriend who won't work and has to report to jail for two weeks incarceration beginning tomorrow for probation violation (drugs). No job, no insurance, no car, and her boyfriend's father living in their apartment; he was recently fired from his job as a taxi driver for being drunk and demolishing one of the company cabs in a wreck. Chris still has no job but does have prospects of one, and her boyfriend has found only temp work. JJ's seasonal work is over until spring and we have him to support. Carolyn and I recently lost another $600/month net income yet all this is falling back on us; she and I are stretched and stressed to the limit financially and, more importantly, emotionally. I think it is a big part of why both of us are suffering rapidly failing health. For the past month and one-half I have been using the Droid for internet, along with borrowed time from a neighbor. I did buy a net connection with very limited megabytes of usage for the pc, but JJ uses most of it for his entertainment; the limit ran out on November 26 but was renewed December first. If I do not upload many photos, it is because of my limited megabytes/month. Carolyn has gone now to buy nausea medication for Ashley and a bit of food to last her a couple of days.
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I ate a double dose of Xanax last night and had a nice, chemically induced nine hours of sleep. At least today I am wide awake to enjoy vagaries of existence.
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Sorry to annoy y'all with my personal problems, but they seem to be all the life I have outside this virtual world. In warm weather I generally go outside to the porch and pout, but man it sure ain't warm here. Yesterday the temp never got above freezing and as ratty as that is, it is still mild compared to what parts of Europe are going through. Jola says it is around 0ºF in Poland, and John in England has been housebound for several days due to a snowstorm.
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The Megashot November contest winners have been announced and I will try to place links to YouTube videos tomorrow; be sure to see them on YouTube in full screen.
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Have a Thursday, dear people.
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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Medified

Had heart doc appointment at 8:40 this morning; got to see the doc at 10:15. The Droid/Kindle saved the day while I waited. He said I better lose some weight; I've gained seven pounds (3.18kg) since August. Back to carrot sticks and celery and unsweetened green tea. Got to drastically cut salt intake. Shoot me.
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After heart doc, I had blood work done for RA doc. My orders were all messed up so I got to sit and have a long chat with the phlebotomist. After much thoughtful discussion, we reached an agreement to the effect that it is cold, windy, and snowing outside. She asked me why I wasn't wearing a coat and I told her I was physically unable to rotate my shoulders enough to put on a coat. To put one on--or even a button-up shirt--I have to hang it in a manner where I can back up to it and manage to get both arms started into the sleeves at the same time. Then, I have to do the hootchy-kootchy to get it shrugged onto my shoulders. It just isn't worth the trouble so most of the winter time when I am outdoors, it is sans coat. Getting the coat off is even worse a problem. I have been been acting crazy like this for the past 20 years, but I have been feeling the bite of cold for the past two winters. I suppose I will start wearing some of the slew of pull-over sweaters from the closet, however only in a "have to" case.
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Carolyn and Chris went to baby-clothes stores yesterday. Jeez!
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Have a warm Wednesday, dear chilluns.
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”


Has President Obama fallen to the Dark Side of the Force? Nay! He has crawled below the Dark Side all the way to the Tea-Bag bottom. He wants to freeze the pay of all Federal workers, less Congress, of course. He is taking a step backward toward a deeper recession than what we now have. Mr. President, create jobs. Jobs will pull the nation out of the economic slump and into declining deficits; it is a win-win scenario. Alas, I fear it is now too late; you have fallen completely into the clutches of political absurdity from which there is no return. Sir, you are bordering on making George W. Bush look like a genius statesman. You and your Democrat Congress had two years to do something positive, yet you allowed the hardest right-wing Republicans to dictate the fortunes of our nation. You promised us better than this and you owe us better than this. Well, you can always resort to what has worked in the past; get us and the world into a bully big war. We can hope that our creditor countries are whipped by the countries who owe us and that our National Phoenix will once more arise from mankind's oldest malady. That's what war is good for.

“Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
~Herman Goering, Adolph Hitler's second in command and head of the Nazi Luftwaffe.
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Friend Kevin says he is on the mend from a severe bout of pneumonia. Don't rush things, Kevin; the worst thing that can happen is a relapse. You have many caring friends sending healing vibes to you.
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I suppose that beginning sometime in July, you can append great-grandpa to the long list of things I've been called over the years. Ashley found out she is pregnant. She seems to be very happy but anxious; a few years ago they found pre-cancerous lesions on her uterus and she did not think she would be able to become pregnant.

The person whom is happiest is Carolyn; she has been on cloud nine since she heard. For myself, it is just another day in a long life. You do believe that, don't you?
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I downloaded a voice recorder app for my Droid only to find out I still cannot sing!
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Title quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Have a Tom Terrific Tuesday!
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Make My Day

Saturday, Carolyn decided to clean carpet in the office and she temporarily evicted me, so I watched a football game on the telly. I am still having internet problems and I was relegated to using the Droid for the remainder of the day. Yesterday, she put out her office Christmas decorations and again I was forced to relocate, using the Droid for net access. Later on, we went to Fall Branch where she cleaned the building there and it was getting close to dark when we returned. A pretty lousy weekend for me, but except for the carpet cleaning and Fall Branch, Carolyn enjoyed getting out the few decorations we have left. The ones I like most are the hand-painted Bisque figures which Bro Hill created for us before he died. Steve would have been a very good artist for such if he had not had a stroke which left the right side of his body paralyzed. He did do some work afterward, but the quality was not there for him so he gave it up.
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Obama is wanting to find a way to stop the diplomatic leaks, which he should do, but the best thing is tell the diplomats to keep their mouths shut when they have nothing positive to say about foreign leaders. Besides, why doesn’t the countries on the Arabian Peninsula attack Iran and destroy their nuclear program and threat? These nations have more money per capita than does the US, but they squeeze our oil dependent balls and we come running with our hands full of nukes to take out their enemies. If you don’t have a military, rent one seems to be their reasoning. I suppose we deserve our Rambo reputation because we have the mentality of apes.
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Have a Wiki-Worshday, dear children.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

... Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail

I think I died in bed last night, but I was too contrary to stay among the unliving. It was a normal night for me; sleep awhile and lay awake for awhile. Toward dawn in one of the wide awake periods and as I was thinking deep thoughts of universal salvation via my Loose Laces ministry, I suddenly heard a soft and very short grinding “Pop” and the world went completely blank and dark and then it was back to normal. How long the absence of Cosmos lasted I do not know; it could have been a split second or minutes, but it seemed very rapid. When I came back from the darkness, the noise went away as quickly as it began; that is to say, “instantly”. No, the noise was not there while the blackness was overpowering me; there was nothing and darkness was upon the face of the deep—there was not even a sense of “I”.

Did I really die? I cannot answer that as I have never knowingly been dead. Was it all just a dream? Definitely not! If I did die, was I resurrected? Maybe; I hear it happens. Do I feel divine? I always have. Did the incident scare me? Nope, but it did get my attention. Could it have been caused by a physiological problem? Quite possibly. Did I see a bright light which I was compelled to walk toward? No. Did I feel a hot pitchfork prodding my butt? Nay. Can I walk on water? Haven’t tried. Do I feel that I am now a zombie? I can’t imagine desiring brains for breakfast. The evidence suggests I don’t know what happened, but happen it did. I checked the obits this morning and will continue to do so for the next few days; I want to be sure before I bother to take a shower and shave.
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Title quote by Martin Luther.
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Have a lively weekend, dear Brothers and Sisters.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Frenzy and food

Was yesterday the holiday or is it today? This Black Friday crap is out of hand; is it an American-only rite of passage or is it in more capitalist countries? Christians, rein in your holiday; you started this Christmas bit and it is up to you to control it; you have placed a curse upon the world. For anyone not familiar with our Sacred Black Friday Service, it denotes the biggest shopping day of the year; many retailers make as much as 50% of their yearly profit on the day after Thanksgiving holiday; big discounts all on a first come, first served basis. The past two Black Fridays were a disappointment sales-wise, so this year they began having Black Friday sales two weeks ago, especially online retailers. Even the big chain stores "leaked" info about their discounts; when Target let it be known that it would have 32' TVs for $299, everyone else began cutting prices to match or beat them and now you can find plain-jane 37" models for $300. We have a basic Vizio 37" which we bought for the bedroom four years ago and it was a bargain then at $899.
I like tossing Christians to the lions by blaming them for everything.
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Carolyn prepared quite a meal yesterday, but not as elaborate as usual; instead of tater salad, we had mashed taters and she didn't make baked beans. Her four best dishes are meat loaf, tater salad, dressing, and baked beans. She made broccoli casserole, green beans, macaroni and cheese, turkey breast, gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce, corn on the cob, deviled eggs, sweet tater casserole and store-bought rolls. She bought punkin and sweet tater pies and made a jello desert. She began cooking at 6:30am and we ate at 2:30pm. She did it all herself; no one but I offered to help. The amounts of food were generally less this year and some were missing, such as ham, candied sweet taters, and the aforementioned baked beans. Other than the fact that we had to buy all the food and Carolyn had to do all the cooking and cleaning up, it was a fairly good gathering. We had only four guests, so there is enough food left over to eat on today. Hope y'all had a good day.
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The photo was made this morning.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We all need love and memories



It is Thanksgiving week 2010, and though there will be less food this year than in past holidays, there will be plenty. I am as thankful as ever and feel more fortunate; I am happy with my life. I wish Carolyn's and my parents could spend one more day at our table, and I wish that Jeremy and Keegan could be here to share this experience of family and love. I dream of seeing Mom (my grandmother) rocking in her old handmade rocking chair as she listens to Hank Williams sing on the radio. I wish my uncles Roy and Fred were with me; Roy sneaking a beer to keep Dot from fussing at him, and Fred deep in studious thought about walking the fields and woods. I wish my friends from "the day" were here, Fred and Alice, Ken and Brenda, Steve and Barb; just one more gathering to talk the talk even if we would have become too old to walk the walk. My new friends from around the world would be most welcome to share our humble feast; although we meet and greet in a virtual world, each one of you has become integrated into my life and you all are a joy I shall never forget.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shy

As I've mentioned before, I am very shy in the presence of strangers, especially women, but I do get it through genes. I've said how shy my grandmother was and would never eat with a stranger; most of the time she would eat in the kitchen while the rest of the family sat at the dining table. My mother had some of this same shyness but in a different form; she would never pump gasoline for herself and she never in her life put coins in a vending machine; she feared she would make a mistake and that someone would think she was foolish. Other than those two quirks, she was pretty well "normal". She liked to meet strangers and was as kind as anyone you will ever meet. However, one time she met a stranger that she wished she had never seen, at least under the circumstances. She and some more of the family were taking a day trip in her car to visit other family members. On the way home they decided to stop at a roadside restaurant and have a quick meal. When they finished eating, my mom went out and got into her car while the rest of her companions went to the restroom. She put the key in the ignition switch but it would not turn and after many attempts she began fussing aloud and then she began wondering where her riders were. She looked out the window and and the rest of the family was standing in front to another car, laughing and trying to get her attention. As she rolled the window down, she heard "Dot, you're in the wrong car!" and at the same time she glanced at the inside rear-view mirror and a little old woman was cowering in the corner of the back seat, half scared out of her wits; she thought she was being kidnapped. My mom quickly exited the car just as scared as was the old woman, and the rest of the crew were on the ground laughing. It finally dawned on my mom as to what she had done, and she eased back to the car where her would-be victim was beginning to catch on and was herself laughing. There was a heap of apologizing performed by my mom that afternoon. When she first came out of the restaurant, she went to a car that was the same color and body style as her Pontiac and hopped right in. She gave the rest of the crew a good piece of her mind all the way home.
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Have a wonderful Thanksgiving eve, eve, my friends.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Denim

A beautiful, springlike day yesterday and it looks to be more of the same today. We had various family members in and out with my aunt and her daughter coming in late. The previous day cousin Sharon dropped off a netbook pc which had a bad "hard drive" and she wanted to know if I could retrieve some photos from it that had not been backed up. I think I could have saved some of the pics by booting into Linux from a memory stick; there are Linux distros highly suitable fro such. The pc is still under warranty and HP will replace the hard drive, but they want $350 to recover the contents. Corporate theft is what I call it. However, she needed the machine back yesterday and I didn't have time to do my Linux magic.
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Carolyn made goulash for supper; yummy home made biscuits, too. Mashed taters would have been nice but she didn't have time to fix them.
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Jola and Tammy mentioned jeans in their comments from yesterday's blog. I like wearing jeans, but when tragedy struck in the early 1980s, I decided it was time to try a new approach to keeping my dignity clothed. The tragedy was that American jeans became very popular in foreign countries, particularly in Japan. This caused the old capitalistic law of supply and demand to kick in and the prices soared. New York fashion designers soon caught on to the craze as did design houses in Paris, Rome, and London and that made the prices skyrocket. My jeans of choice were boot-cut Wranglers because their sizing fit my long legged, Adonis-like body better than did Levis or Lees and I had been used to paying around $6 for them. With the new popularity and by the time Reaganomics kicked in its extra toll, the price had gone to $24 each and I was officially out of the jeans buying business. My god, there were some awful designer jeans on the market and on people's asses. A bit of fancy trim on back pockets raised the price to $40 or more. The most terrible thing was some of the wearers that jumped aboard the "fashion" craze which went hand-in-hand with the resurgence of new-age country music and cowboy-hatted pretty boys. Let's face it and you can call me chauvinist if you like, some women's bodies were just not made for wearing jeans, and no jeans were ever made that would look good on these ladies. However, there were some women whom looked ok anyway they dressed but became appealing goddesses when they donned a pair of tight-fitting jeans. Another thing, jeans need to be worn and washed enough times to take on a "character", yet the fashion world changed things so often that jeans were worn two or three times and then tossed for a later model; they always looked new and mostly terrible. There was the "starched look", the "always new" look, the "stone-washed look", the "baggy look" and any other kind of looky-look that Madison Avenue ad men could conceive to keep sales high. The last of my jeans (probably the ones sweet Alice bought me for my birthday in 1981) were well worn and at last ragged-out and reduced to shorts which lasted several more summers into the 1990s.
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Worsh Day!
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wilbur

Nothing of import happening in my world. We drove around the countryside for a bit yesterday as I was hoping to find something to shoot at. Even Wilbur is mostly boring this time of year. I noticed the bufflehead ducks were back from wherever they spend the warm months, and I saw two small flocks of brave hen turkeys along the road to Watauga Dam. They will probably be safe from dining tables as long as they remain on the reservation. Wildlife is adapting to human intrusion, but I fear it will be their final downfall.
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I did not get one pic.
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Have a Sunday!
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Shopped

Photos for this fine blog may be seen on my other fine blog which is here.
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The above photos are from the same file which was originally much over-exposed; the sky is blown and there is a general lack of contrast. Over-exposure is mostly impossible to fix because there is little or no information there to work from; it is near dead 255. The post-edit photo has contrast modified by using the curves tool in Paintshop Pro, and an entire new sky was added with just a few mouse clicks using a free filter designed to do such. I was also able to correct perspective on both corners of the barn without losing too much photo along the sides. Even though it is not a great photo by any means, it is an example of how shots can be saved using a decent editor. With a little time and patience, garbage can be made into presentable photos by skillfully using software such as I use or with the more elaborate Photoshop or The Gimp. Had this been a .raw file, it would have looked even better but it was made with my Canon S3 IS which has no .raw output. Does the sky look real in the edited version? Would you have known it was not real if I hadn’t told you? Here is another with a completely fake sky.
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Yesterday we found out that Chris got laid off from her job a few days ago, and her live-in boyfriend lost his job on Wednesday. I suppose they will both be moving in with us pretty soon. They neither one are eligible for unemployment benefits; but we are hoping they can get grocery assistance from the state. It is never enough but is can surely help. The American economy is booming. Phooey!
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The lesion on my nose is cancerous.
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May your Friday be feracious, dear friends.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nosy

A note about coal. When I was a little boy growing up in grandma's house, there were two sources of heat for the small dwelling. One was the kitchen stove where all the cooking was done and where water was heated for some of the clothes washing and bathing. It was a wood-burning stove in which kindling was lighted, then the main pieces of wood were used for cooking. However the main household heat came from a small, coal burning fireplace in the living room. Kindling was lighted and hunks of coal would begin to burn and and provide heat for several hours. The fireplace was fairly small and wasn't made for wood burning, but later on, slab wood* was about all my grandma used. When my mother died, I found receipts which my grandfather and grandmother kept and among them were ones for delivered coal; the price per ton was between $4 and $8. In the above photo, is my aunt Ivy (Iva) and behind her and to the right is grandma's coal pile. The pic was made in 1947. The photo has some more interesting things (to me) which I will describe later on.
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I go back to the skin doctor this afternoon to have sentence passed on my guilty nose and find if it is to be treated as a felon or a simple misdemeanor. He will explain the results of the biopsy and tell me about my options. Hopefully, the place is not cancerous but he seems to think it may be such. If so, I will probably lose more nose than I would have otherwise. The mole-like lump is near my left cheek at the edge of the nostril. Aging sucks!
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Thursday already?! Have a good one!
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are you the coal man?

Chilly outside today with a biting wind, but the light remains good for photography.
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Coal men.
In the winter of 1957, my dad being a man whom liked to stay busy as much as possible, took on a job of selling coal. He had a good factory job, but on his weekends off, he wanted something else to do and make a few extra dollars. Of course, he thought that I should not watch cartoons on Saturday morning but instead help him with his new venture. I was used to it; the previous two years we sold kindling and slab wood using his old Dodge pickup truck for hauling. In those days, a ton of coal cost $12 or less but that was big money for poor urban families, especially for black people in our area whom had a tough time finding work anyway and for oldsters on fixed incomes. Generally, burning coal in a pot-bellied stove was all the heat they had. He found a small lot with a tiny office and attached shed on a corner in a middle-class neighborhood which had been used for coal sales in the past. He rented it and I was off my ass and on the job along with my uncle Roy whom, like myself, was more or less drafted to help. Dad ordered a few tons of stoker coal and within a few minutes it was delivered and dumped on the lot. From somewhere, he had procured a huge bunch of triple-ply heavy-duty paper sacks and each one was the perfect size to hold 50 pounds of coal. It was my job to fill the bags and he would weigh them on a set of coal scales that he bought at the livestock market. I would love to say he was generous and would put an extra few lumps in each bag, but he was more inclined to remove one or two; he was much like the butcher whom placed his finger on the sacles each time he weighed meat. It was cold, dirty work, but had its rewards and I will write about one of them in a moment. When we got several bags filled and the truck box loaded, we would drive off to the poorer parts of town and cruise the streets and alleys where we were soon noticed. Someone always came rushing out a door hollering "Are you the coal man?" They would look at the bags and ask how much he wanted for a bag and Dad would say "fifty cents" and they would then purchase as many bags as they could afford, usually no more than two. By the time we finished with the first customer, other people were out waving us down. We would usually get two pickup loads out each Saturday and Dad was able to make a decent profit. Now for my reward. Across the street from the coal lot lived a girl who appeared to be a couple of years younger than I, making her about 11 or 12 years old, and to me, she was the prettiest thing this side of heaven. Sometimes she would be in her front yard alone, and other times there was another girl with her. She knew I was perpetually looking at her, but she never once acted as if she cared, but I was very much infatuated and was coming down with a case of forlorn puppy love. Eventually the weather got bad enough that I hardly saw her and I no longer looked forward to helping out on the lot. What I didn't know was that less than seven years later I would marry that pretty girl and we have been together ever since.
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Have a wondrous Wednesday, my friends.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Strolling

The weather is springlike today, blustery with flicking sunlight teasing angry clouds. When a sunbeam manages to find its way toward leaf-cluttered lawns, the light quality becomes fantastic for making photos. I long to be at my bathing spot as the air will be barely warm enough for a dip this afternoon, but I imagine the water is perversely chilly. Today must be lived.
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If you have desire to use Photoshop for editing your work, Cyrus has announced online classes on Megashot; all you have to do is become a member of the site and join in the classes. I guarantee you will learn not only about software tools, but about photography in general. One thing everyone should know is how to use is 'layers" which most good quality editing programs provide the means to do. Learn to use layers to adjust many things on your photo and you will find that many shots you decided not to use because they were not good enough will all of a sudden take on new life and can become wall hangers.
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Cyrus wants more people involved in the critiquing of member's photos. As I said before, the Critique Forum has become the most popular place on the site. However, I do not feel like I am qualified to do serious critiquing. I can do simple stuff like recognize when a photo is under-or-over exposed and other elementary things, but as I am only a snap-shooter, most of the photos in which others find flaws are fine with me. I don't like to become consumed with details such as color saturation or how a photo was  converted to grayscale; if it works, it works. Of course some of the best photographers in the world were and are sticklers for detail, the great Ansel Adams being one of them. Portrait and glamour photographers make a living by the details. Other accomplished shooters such as Weegee are just as apt to forgo perfection of detail to capture a moment or tell a story. I am not great by any means, but the art side of photography carries very little interest for me. I do enjoy looking at the art stuff, and at times I like to see if I can emulate some of it, but it isn't the path I chose to walk.
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Have a Tuesday; live it, love it, and keep a piece of it in your heart ...
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Upon a star


The value of friendship is not in what is said or done, but the way we
feel about each other. Words and deeds have a certain intrinsic value,
but emotions can be fleeting and at the same time, profound. Friendship
is an emotion sandwiched inside a feeling of trust and comfort.
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Am I missing something in my life ... just what the hell is a Lady Gaga? I refuse to even google such a name!
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Worsh day in East Tennessee is cloudy and cool.
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Photo from November, 2008; Boone Lake headwaters at Watauga Flats, Watauga River.
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When you wish upon a star ...
Make a wish, my friends.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Family

Keegan got the money we wired, and along with a small check he got from the Air Force, he should be good until he gets his sign-up bonus next month. Thanks for sharing our concern with us, my dear friends; your support is a blessing.
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Cuzzn-Dread, aka Jeremy our grandson, will be performing his first paying gig at Atlanta's Red Light Cafe on Sunday, December 19. He has played some open mic sessions, but this will be his first professional performance. Carolyn, Chris, and Ashley want to drive there and see him perform, but a five hour drive is more than I think I can endure, especially if we have to leave coming back home after the show. Chris and Ashley have to work on Monday morning and Carolyn has to work Monday evening.
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Ashley is now the manager of one of the local Sally's Beauty Supply stores and has been offered jobs as a professional model which so far she hasn't taken. Tabby is now working for our local landline phone company.
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Speaking of wired phone companies, they seem to be making a bit of resurgence after years of losing traffic to cell companies. Wireless is getting too expensive for some people, and they are cutting back on their overpriced cell plans. I already have a Google Voice number and a Skype account, so I guess I am ok there.
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Have a Sunday!
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pensive Saturday

We finally got Keegan's address and the money is on its way to him; he should get it tomorrow. Our minds are more at ease now. He is in Misawa, Japan and on alert to be shipped out at any time.
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My blogging will again be sporadic as I will be mostly using the Droid for internet access. Only one of my neighbors has unprotected access that I can "borrow", and whomever it is doesn't go off and leave their modem on. The Droid works fine and I can do just about all I want and need to do from it; it is just a bit difficult for my silly fingers to operate.
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Be well, dear people.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Photo-foolish

Will Obama stop playing the wimp politician and become a real president? His first two years have been failures across the board, which leaves him half of a presidency to try and keep his name out of history’s mud holes, and he has to do it with an even more unfriendly congress. He has actually been a better Republican president than he has  been a Democrat.
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A few years back, there was a super-geeky cable TV channel about computers and modern electronics. I can’t remember its name and it did not last long. Most of the shows were hosted by two young people, usually a gung-ho young dude and a female partner and the females always seemed to have huge tits. One of these young ladies posted a few everyday photos made at her home to some site like Facebook or such, nothing particularly interesting. However, she edited the photos with Photoshop before uploading them to the net. A few days later, semi-nude photos of her showing the lovely, big titties were all over the internet. What she and a lot of people didn’t seem to know is a thing like meta-data can not only be a useful tool, it can also be turned against you. Meta-data is the EXIF info, plus all the other data it takes to convert a digital photo into pixels we can see. That is ok, however Photoshop kept all the data together for any one shooting session and when she uploaded the innocent pics, the data for the remainder of the pics she made that session went with them. Some enterprising teenager had figured out Photoshop’s process and was able to extract some photos of the young lady that she did not intend for everyone to see; she was lounging bare-breasted on her sofa and snapping various shots of herself.
The moral of this story is; when you upload a photo to the internet, make sure it has been stripped of all extraneous meta-data; unless you want me to see your titties.
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Mark and Tammy and Mike: Have a great weekend of catching up and just plain fun in Savannah! I guarantee some excellent weather for beach-bumming!
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I hope for a great weekend for the rest of us, too.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

In and out

America’s day of tribute to our Veterans … to remember them who hath born the battle.
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Happy Independence Day Jola, people of Poland, and to all my American friends of Polish ancestry whom I came to love while tramping the Glory Road!
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I will be out and in today; gotta go see the skin doc for some more back burning. If getting old wasn’t so much fun, I’d flat refuse to participate! Later, my friends …
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5:30pm–I am finally back from doctor visit; after sitting in waiting room for more than an hour, I was taken to exam room. He didn’t do anything to my back, but removed a spot from my cheek and did a biopsy on my big nose. I have to go back in a week to learn my fate.
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It is odd about the things a computer keyboard can collect between and beneath the keys. I dug enough food from around my space-bar  to make a full meal with desert. While doing that, I noticed some green stuff growing around the Function keys. It looks like spinach so I moistened it a bit and am hoping it I can get enough to liven up a salad. Be my luck that it is actually some kind of inedible mold.
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Have a dear Friday, my good friends.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blue and Gray

Low winter sun
The sun shines brightly in a pale-blue winter sky, but inside my mind a gray storm is untamed.
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Keegan finally got in touch with the family via Facebook for the for the first time since the day he arrived in Tokyo. Somehow his bank account has not caught up with him, he is flat broke, and his cell phone has been cut off. His message was short and we still do not know how to get money to him, but the most unsettling thing is he is scheduled to be reassigned to Afghanistan next June. His dad, sister, and Carolyn are all to pieces over that news; and I am not in a very good mood, either. However, I try to keep them a bit more positive by telling them it is a long time until June and the military could change his plans for the better, and if not, he will be safer in the desert than driving on the roads at home, and saying anything else upbeat I can think of; I just wish my words would work for me. Being the patriarch of the family is a burden I feel ill-equipped to carry.
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The family problem along with me being forced to look for work has me seeking more meditating time alone but my concentration is nil. I am not to the point of having anxiety attacks like I did when I found I was going to be a life-long cripple, but I am eating an occasional Xanax when I feel depression darkening my thoughts. I realize my job seeking is futile, but try I must as hope I have; peace of mind is at stake.
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Today's blog has for sure not been a ray of summer sunshine, but I had to unload somewhere and amongst friends seemed to be the comfort zone for me.
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The photo was made last evening in my living room as the sun cast its waning eye across some green bottles which adorn the ledge of a decorative, half-moon window.
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Wednesday peace, dear Friends.
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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Slave to the system

Due to an unexpected economic setback, for the first time in 25 years I am in the job market. If you know of anyone whom has dire need of a 66 year-old ex-electrician who is mostly crippled, types with one finger of one hand, is opinionated, perverted, nearly deaf, overweight, only a few of my own teeth left, and can make a three-course meal out of all the pills I have to take, forward them this blog paragraph as it is my resume.

Yesterday I put my hearing horn on my ear and made several calls to potential employers. As soon as I mentioned my age, the few jobs suddenly became unavailable. Surely there is something out there I can do to make a few bucks per week.
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Over on Megashot, I hear that Cyrus and a couple of other Photoshop gurus are going to present an online course in using that particular software. If you are looking for a way to get the artistic best from your photos, this will be a "have to take" course. Twelve years ago, I bought a copy of Photoshop but gave up on using it as it was very difficult to learn. A course like this was what I needed at the time and there were some to be had online, but the price was way too high for me. I canned the Photoshop, went back to my tried and proven easy to use Paintshop Pro, and haven't regretted it one bit. Now that Jasc no longer makes Paintshop Pro and Corel does make it, it has become more of a toy instead of a viable alternative to Photoshop. At one time, Adobe was copying PsP features because the boys at Jasc were ahead of them in technology. If I have to learn a new editor, I think it will be the GIMP because they have versions for Window, Mac, and Linux and it is every bit as powerful as Photoshop and it is free whereas a full retail version of Photoshop costs $600+.
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Have a Tuesday!
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Monday, November 08, 2010

Ramblin' man

Welcome back, Tammy!
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After a lifetime of believing what cosmologists and other scientists say, and after reading thousands of hard science and science fiction stories, I have come to the conclusion that my believing that humans are just one of many species in the universe may be a delusion. It has become obvious that there are no more sentient beings out there among the nearer stars. The Miss Universe pageant has been ongoing since 1952 and so far, only humans from our own Pale Blue Dot have participated as contestants. If there were other sentient beings among the myriads of suns and planets across the heavens, they surely would have entered contestants by now. So far I have seen only earth girls and I am sure Donald Trump would allow beauties from other worlds to participate in his tournament. I could be jumping to a conclusion; there may be other civilizations on other planets revolving around other suns; they may be farther away than 58 light years; that is roughly the distance TV signals from the first broadcast have traveled across space. By cosmic standards, fifty-two light years is still in our close neighborhood. There is yet hope for a female Spock or Jabba the Hutt to grace us with her universal beauty.
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Obama says he didn't get his agenda message across to voters; he doesn't realize people in these tough times do not want messages and agendas; they want positive action.
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I read that an old priest in eastern Poland has erected the worlds tallest Jesus statue; he says it has been his lifetime dream to do so. To me, it sounds like it has become a monument to himself. If I read the bible correctly, Jesus nor God would likely approve of this structure but I won't go into why I think that way because I got into trouble with a friend last year for such opinions.
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I had a weird dream last night; I imagined I and another person were on top of a building watching a pretty sunset. I heard a commotion behind me and I turned to see Pope John Paul II straggling along alone with a sad face and grumbling to himself. About 10 paces in front of him walked his Boss and I gather the Big Guy had just disciplined the Pope for some reason that was obscure to me. The Pope was wearing his royal robes and peaked hat, while the Boss was bareheaded and wearing a white garment much like many people in Arabia don most of the time. It was all very freaky, mostly because I didn't have a camera with me to shoot the sunset.
This ain't one of my half-true stories; this was my dream!
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May your suds be plentiful on this worsh day!
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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Fall back

A sunny but cold day in Northeast Tennessee; our little snow event had passed by early afternoon yesterday although the higher mountains are white and glistening at their summits.
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The time “fell back” and hour last night; now we will have some extra morning light which I will seldom see but supper won’t come until past dark. It is 126 days until we once more spring forward an hour and it is 44 days until winter solstice 2010. I wish our calendars were based on astronomical factors instead of arbitrary and confusing ideas of men. If it were up to me, the new year would begin the day after winter solstice, spring, summer, and autumn would be as they are now, and winter solstice would mark the end of the year. My calendar would have lunar months—13 0f them—of 28 days each with one month each year having an extra day (leap month) and one month every fourth year having another extra day (leap year). June is my favorite month and it is my idea, therefore June would get the extra days.  The extra month will come between June and July and would be named Kenny for obvious reasons. I like my photographs to be balanced and I like my years to have the same equality. No more “thirty days hath September, April, June, and November; all the rest have thirty-one, save February with twenty-eight clear and twenty-nine each leap year”.
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Have a great Sunday, dear friends.
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Friday, November 05, 2010

Idling

Megashot is having two paying contests in November, one for black and white, and one for landscapes. I have entered only two shots in the landscape category, but have placed several in the b/w; I did not expect any of them to do well and it was a correct assumption. People are comfortable with familiar everyday scenes and judge other folk's photos with that jaundiced eye. It has come to the point where I am beginning to follow the other contest voters; if I don't know you and like you, you will get nothing, or at best, fives and sixes from me. I'll give highest points to my best friends regardless of what I think about their photos. I see many others doing the same thing and it is the only place outside of administration that the contests are vulnerable. I have some ideas for the contests to make them better, but I think they will not be given much attention if I decide to bring them up for discussion. Until a lot more members are participating so that categories can be made more restrictive, there is little hope for any kind of fairness in judging.
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Cold, steel-gray winter has filled my window for two days as the old man settles in for his seasonal hilarity. My motto this year: Don't worry; be happy!
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Winter blues cause me to think of my uncle Roy; he had a cure for everything ... he smiled.

Roy had an unusual approach when he met a woman for the first time, especially if he found her attractive, and I heard him use it on many occasions. He would say to her "Who is the best looking man you know and why am I". The words always brought a moment of hesitation before the woman suddenly absorbed the remark and beamed a smile at him. Roy had a way of making people feel good and causing them to feel good about themselves.

He was quite a pool shooter in his day, having shot with and against some the worlds best. His biggest pleasure came in the 1960s when Minnesota Fats was in town doing an exhibition, and he chose my uncle as his partner for some matches. This was in the days of pool halls in bars, and not the shiny, clean, and well lit emporiums of today. It was one foot on the floor or out the door. As good as he was at billiards, Roy excelled at and loved to play English snooker and was at one time known as the best player in Johnson City. I will write more about him later.
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Have a weekend, my friends, and where ever you wander and whatever you do, smile for me and you won't be blue.
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