Monday, September 28, 2009

Paging the Tooth Fairy

Did someone hear the flap of Tooth Fairy wings? I think I did. Congratulations O.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pure Enjoyment

Sculptures by J. Seward Johnson

These are two of a half dozen sculptures in the park across the street from me. We are indeed fortunate to have this wonderful display in our city of Chesterfield through the end of October. I feel like I am living in New York City with all this wonderful art just steps away.

There are twenty-one sculptures in all on display throughout the city, I still have five more to photograph to make complete the list. I hope you enjoy seeing them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Giant Awakes

(Click on picture to enlarge)
In the wee hours on Monday morning flatbed trucks carrying the body parts of a sleeping giant arrived next door to me. The local news heralded the coming of the giant, which will be officially unveiled on October 10 at a special Chesterfield Arts presentation. The sculpture is called The Awakening and was done by artist J. Seward Johnston, Jr. It is in five huge parts, if I counted correctly, the three you can see above; arm, foot and leg, and then there is also the giant's head and his left hand, as he is shown emerging from his slumber beneath the earth. It was really something to see this art work being assembled, no small feat really [or foot for that matter], but why not dream big. I think we are very lucky to have this sculpture as a part of our growing community of art. I am really looking forward to our first snowfall to see how the awakened giant likes the taste of our winters. I will be sure to capture his pleasure or displeasure and share it with you.

End Times?

Beautiful picture but so very eerie and strange, like the End Times has arrived in the southern hemisphere. It couldn't be healthy to breathe in this dust could it? I wonder how long it will last? Or will it be like this forever? Wonder what it looks like from space? So many questions and I have no answers for you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Giant Find

Giant Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera)
That smile looks like someone just gave the boy a million bucks.
Learn more about Giant Kelp and the California Kelp Forests at
http://jellieszone.com/kelpforest.htm

Food for Thought

I watched the best movie the other night, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, starring Asa Butterfield as Bruno, son of Nazi SS officer and Jack Scanlon as Schmuel, the young Jewish boy on the other side of the fence. This movie is based on a novel by Irish author John Boyne and was released in the United States in November of 2008. I'm not sure how I first heard about it, but it eventually ended up on my Netflix list and ultimately in my mail box.

It's exactly the kind of film I enjoy, one that causes me to think; it is well photographed and nicely acted with just the right amount of dialog leaving the viewer to fill in the lines upspoken. When I went to get some more background on the film I was astonished to find that the book was steeped in great controversy from Rabbi Benjamin Blech who condemned it saying, "This book is not just a lie and not just a fairytale, but a profanation", coming under similar attacks much like those suffered on Steven Spielberg's Schlinder's List.

If you go to the library you will find the book listed under fiction, it is a novel. There are people however who, I think, believe that any story based on the Holocaust must be 100% factual in substance. But I think if you can tell a story about a horrible occurrence in history and put a twist in the story that, if only for a short period, gives the characters cause to think about what they have done you have succeeded in providing food for thought to the viewers.

I don't find it hard to believe that two young eight year old boys, Bruno and Schmuel could become friends. Rabbi Blech believes differently, but the Rabbi and I certainly have had different life experiences. Does it matter that as the Rabbi states there were no nine year old Jewish boys in Auschwitz? The fact that there was Auschwitz and gassings is fact enough for me to be able to watch this movie and wonder what might have been if more people had spoken up at the time and not turned a blind eye to what was going on around them.

If your heart tells you something is wrong, whether it is a manner of speaking, a joke, mistreatment of another individual, we have a right, a duty, to speak up, take action. Turning a blind eye and remaining silent will not suffice. It wasn't good enough then and it isn't good enough now.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jack Kramer

Jack Kramer died today at age 88. I owe him a lot, it was the Wilson Kramer Autographed model of wood racquet that I learned to play tennis with. I used this same racquet for years and years until finally switching to a mid-size graphic racquet in the 1970's. I read that Pete Sampras actually had his little son start out tennis with the same model of wood racquet. I'm like John McEnroe, I like to see how today's players would fair using these wooden jewels.

Take a Look

Sometimes we only have to take a look into the mirror to see who our own worst enemy is. I am a huge tennis fan and always look forward to great tennis matches. We had one going last night between Kim and Serena and there is no telling for sure how it would have ended if Serena had kept her own demons under control. It is so sad for everyone, players and fans alike, to have it end as it did on such a sour note. I feel especially sorry for Kim as she was the innocent party here and the one who was robbed of the excitement of victory.

I am sure you have watched matches that go, seemingly endlessly from deuce to ad and back to deuce again, on and on. In time you wonder how the two players can even stand up let alone get the ball back in such swift manner. No telling what would have happened if Serena had taken the high ground after the foot fault call, stayed focused and delivered her serve. No telling…

But if you look at what did happen it is easy to see who Serena's real enemy is. She was disappointed at her first set loss and bounced the racquet in frustration. But she let the demons take over and then proceeded to pound the racquet and breaks the frame. Result: CODE VIOLATION #1 – RACQUET ABUSE – WARNING ISSUED.

Now we are into the exciting second set, Serena is down, Serena breaks back. Back and forth, it looks like this set will go to a tie breaker. Serena has been serving phenomenal aces and is turning into a serving machine. She goes to serve at 15-30 and a foot fault is called on her second serve, score is now 15-40. Serena could have flashed a dirty look at the linesman; almost anything but getting up in her face and saying she would like to jam this "f---ing" tennis ball down her "f---ing" throat. Result: CODE VIOLATION #2 – UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT/VOICING AN OBCENITY – POINT PENALTY. The score went quickly from 15-40 to game, set and match for Kim.

It is wrong to blame the official for the result of the match; we must take responsibility for our own actions. If Serena had taken time to glance into the mirror last night she might have caught sight of the demon in time, and served out the game in her favor and then on to a tie breaker. We will never know.

Just a P.S.

You never know when your words will touch the heart. I received a thank you note from my grandson for his birthday remembrance and at the bottom of the note was this:
P.S. Keep Blogging!
You can't imagine what those two words meant to me. Thanks, Bran.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Fun

You're kidding right, school starts tomorrow????

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Aloha and Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Anna. Fun looking back and remembering those happy moments as you were growing up. Enjoy your Hawaiian vacation and we will see you soon.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

California Fires from Space

Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team

This image was acquired mid-morning on Aug. 30 by the backward (northward)-viewing camera of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite. The image is shown in an approximate perspective view at an angle of 46 degrees off of vertical. The area covered by the image is 245 kilometers (152 miles) wide. Several pyrocumulus clouds, created by the Station Fire, are visible above the smoke plumes rising from the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles in the left-center of the image. Smoke from the Station fire is seen covering the interior valleys along the south side of the San Gabriel Mountains, along with parts of the City of Los Angeles and Orange County, and can be seen drifting for hundreds of kilometers to the east over the Mojave Desert. The accompanying plots are histograms that display the heights of the smoke plumes and wind speeds. In this data set, the plume is injecting smoke more than 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) above sea level. MISR observes the daylit Earth continuously and every 9 days views the entire globe between 82 degrees north and 82 degrees south latitude. This image was generated from a portion of the imagery acquired during Terra orbit 51601. MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, DC. The Terra satellite is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The MISR data were obtained from the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology. Check out the NASA site:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/fires/main/usa/cafires_20090901.html