Monday, September 14, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
You may have heard by now that the Republicans are madly trying to disrupt any and all discussions of the Health Care Bill now being worked on by congress. They have been advised to infiltrate all the Town Meetings where this subject is being discussed and just keep yelling and harrassing the speakers until they are so intimidated that they give up in frustration. These adolescent fools are working directly with the big insurance lobbies to impart lies and misleading information in any way they can.
Last night Keith Olberman exposed the Republican and Democratic senators that support such tactics as the shills for the insurances and pharmaceutical companies that they are. If you don't believe all these people are on the payrolls of the status quo in health care, here is the proof. Listen and learn.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Every year our fire company sponsors a town fair. It's held on the town fairgrounds, a large lovely field surrounded by homes and playgrounds and war memorials. The fair comes and sets up all the rides and games and food stands and it feels like it could be 100 years ago and it feels like it could be nowhere but in the United States of America.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I used the following three textures, which you just layer on top of your photo any old way that looks best to you. Then you use the Photoshop blending mode "soft light" to blend all the layers together.
I like what it did to the urn.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I have to admit that last summer when the Phillies first started to show some promise, I thought his name was Shane Victor and "Victorino" was just the nickname Harry Kallas had bestowed on him. I would hear (because the game is always on in our house) in the background, Harry shouting. . ."and that ball is gone. . Victorino chalks up another one." So I was confused for a while why they called him "Victorino" and "the Flyin' Hawaiian." Until Bill set me straight.
Anyway, you can vote for him today here. He deserves it.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
This may sound strange, but I like to browse in liquor stores. I like to look at all the interesting displays and the beautiful wine labels and pretty bottles. This week I was captivated by the vodka section. There are some really wonderful looking bottle shapes and design work on vodka bottles. And there are so many different kinds of vodka, you wouldn't believe it. Well, you might, but I was surprised.
Take that Pravda Vodka, for example. Who would have thought it has been around since 1743 (this is the first time I've ever noticed it) and is made in the Carpathian Mountains of Southern Poland with "simply the finest ingredients in the world--the purest spring water, the sweetest, most natural, untreated late-harvest rye." This just shows how dumb I am. I didn't know vodka was made from rye. I always thought it was made from potatoes.
Lest you think this is starting to sound like an ad for Pravda, let me assure you it is not. I am merely appreciating the stunning art on display in the vodka section. I never drink the stuff myself. I could never part with that bejeweled bottle.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Click on the photo to make it larger
I put a button or badge or whatchamacallit on the left side of my blog announcing a Photo Editing Course taught by Jessica Sprague. I have taken just about every photography course she offers and I can assure you that she seriously knows her stuff. Her courses are written for PhotoShop Elements and the regular Photoshop and if you want to improve your pictures, sign up for this on June 22. Go here. The best news is that she is offering this class totally free. I have no idea why she is doing that, she could get lots of people to throw money at her for this, but it is very generous and not something you should pass up.
To illustrate my point, I've posted two versions of the barn swallow picture I took on Saturday. The one on the left is SOC - straight out of the camera, and the one on the right is the same shot after a little editing I did following Jessica's instructions in another class she gave and I took a while back. When I first downloaded this shot from my camera, I thought it was pretty good. But when I put it next to the one I edited I realized there was no question that a bit of editing (not much, just a bit) improved it greatly. So, do yourself a favor and sign up for the class. You'll be thrilled with all you learn.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This year's annual Library House Tour was more of a garden tour than a house tour and still more of a disappointment. I got scolded at the very first house for taking photos OUTSIDE! You've never been allowed to take pictures inside, which I completely understand, but for the first time, even outside was off limits. The heck with that. That's one of the reasons I go to the tour in the first place. To get ideas and inspiration from the gardens and plantings. The pictures you see here are therefore illegal and I may be prosecuted for taking them, but that is the last time I'm going on this tour anyway.
Of the houses you were allowed into, none were very remarkable except for one or two. One in a good way, and one in a bad.
The #1 house on the tour was outstanding in every way. A beautifully built structure that the owner designed and built in a mere six months. The house had light open large rooms and not too many of them either. There was a great room past the center hall as you walked in with elegant arched French doors all along the back wall which led out to a brick terrace roofed with old barn wood and black walnut wood furniture made from a tree that came from the property.
The left side of the house was devoted to the master suite: a large bedroom, bath, and walk-in closet. The right side held the dining room, kitchen, guest suite, and laundry room. The laundry room even had a tiled dog shower which appealed to me even though I don't have a dog. There were reputed to be 2 more bedrooms and a study upstairs and a large workout room downstairs.
Now for the bad one. I should have known better than to continue on to this one. The road in was rutted, pot-holed and muddy. When we finally got to the end of the driveway, I rolled down my window and said to the guy directing parking, "this better be worth it after that road in." He kind of shook his head and said, "I don't really think it is. It's sort of reminds me of The Addams' Family house, if you know what I mean." Uh oh.
I was still feeling like I might turn around and leave as we drove up the long driveway. Cars were parked along the side in the grass. Now, we've had a lot of rain around here lately and I've seen what happens to cars parked in wet fields too many times to want to experience it again. But luckily (or not) I found a spot on gravel right next to the house, so we got out.
The description in the brochure for this one calls it a "horticulturist's dream." "Nightmare" would have been more accurate. The weeds growing up through the terrace gave us our first clue. And they were weeds. Not charming little plantings of small ground covers that you see in magazines. Great big 3-foot tall weeds. Also from the brochure, "any attempt to describe these gardens in any detail would require a small book." And that would be because they were a jumbled hodgepodge of anything and everything that looked like it was just stuck in the ground in a random, haphazard way, and then left to creep, crawl, wind and suck the life out of anything that happened to get in the way. I can't even describe the house. Now that would require a "small book." Peeling wallpaper, ceiling oozing something unsavory, mismatched furniture just thrown together, not to mention the front porch which had to be 12 feet up from the ground and had a very steep set of wooden stairs with no railings, either on the porch or on the steps. There was a definite feeling of vertigo just stepping out on it and nobody lingered very long. We looked at each other and said "let's get out of here." But that turned out to be a slight problem. See above regarding wet ground. So now the cars are lined up in the driveway and somebody is trying to pull somebody else out of the mud and the whole driveway is blocked. We were trapped!
The owner (the man in the floppy sunhat) is looking on as some Good Samaritan is trying to pull somebody out with that little yellow strap.
The day wasn't a complete waste, however. I did get one picture I love of a barn swallow sitting on a fence. Here it is.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
e. e. cummings
Friday, May 1, 2009
Everyone knows newspapers are in trouble. Many have folded in the last few months and more will go this year. Advertising started going downhill in 2008 and, now, with the worsening economy, it is expected to go even lower. Even my beloved Inquirer is facing serious problems, declaring bankruptcy earlier this year and intending to close down The Daily News, the smaller of its two papers.
We used to have two major newspapers in Philadelphia. The morning Inquirer and The Evening Bulletin and most families read both, but The Bulletin went by the wayside years ago. I remember walking to the corner drugstore to get my Dad's Evening Bulletin ("be sure to get the 'late' edition" -- there were even different editions, but he always needed the latest sports scores) and an ice cream cone -- 5 cents for the paper, 10 cents for the cone). To older people, the thought of not having a morning paper is truly depressing. It has been part of our lives forever. We read our favorite parts and do our puzzles and it is important somehow to be able to hold a paper in our hands and flip through the pages and carry it around to read later.
So today's mail brings an offer to "get the best of both worlds!" I can add a digital edition to my current subscription for 2 cents a week--they're calling it the e-Inquirer. Up to this point, the digital edition has been free, but I guess that's about to end. And then how long will they continue the print edition, I wonder. It's only a matter of time.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Arlen Spector has been the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania for almost 30 years. He, for the most part, has been a good Senator for the state and the nation. But, he's something of a loose cannon, our Arlen. He commits atrocities the Republicans condemn outright--he votes his conscience. He did that when he and the two senators from Maine (Susan Collins and the divinely-named Olympia Snowe) voted for the stimulus package back in February. The die-hard Republicans were frothing-mad.
Arlen didn't win points from the ultra-conservative side of the party for this move, and mostly the only people left in the Republican party are ultra-conservatives. Lots of moderate Republicans switched parties during the last election and that just left the dregs. So, who will vote for Arlen come the next primary election? In Pennsylvania, you can only vote for the candidate in your declared party, and another conservative Republican, Pat Toomey, has come forward to run against Arlen. Pat Toomey probably can't win the general election (because Pennsylvania is too moderate to allow that), but he would happily act as spoiler to Arlen's chances of winning.
So Arlen decided to take matters into his own hands. With a wave of the magic wand, presto, chango, he declared himself a Democrat and Pat Toomey can go pound sand. Arlen will still vote his conscience and that won't necessarily guarantee the Democrats his vote on every issue. But, in the long run, wouldn't you really have a true maverick than another yes-man in the Senate?
I say, go for it, Arlen.
He who fights and runs away, may live to fight another day
Friday, April 24, 2009
What lovely, delicate things Mother Nature gives us. Today is so beautiful, it almost takes your breath away. Everything straining to burst and bloom, from the tiniest flowers like these to the tallest trees. I almost stepped on these little beauties until I looked down and there they were scattered across the ground like the smallest of petals. Just so happy to smile at the sun.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
I'm really glad I didn't miss John Boehner on George Stephanopoulos's This Week show yesterday morning. If I had I wouldn't know to what we owe all the global warming that is ruining our Earth. George spent quite a bit of air time trying to get a straight answer out of Boehner who seemed to maybe not quite understand the questions. But he gamely did his best. Here's Boehner's response to GS's query as to what the responsible way to curtail greenhouse gases is:
George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you've got more carbon dioxide. And so I think it's clear...
So. . .now we know whose fault it is:
Thanks, John, for clearing that up.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
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Now what will these crazies say? You know, these people are loony, but they are dangerous. I wonder how they can continue with their nonsense. They appeal to the lunatic fringe and yet they receive prime time attention. I hate the way Keith Obermann gives so much air time to them every night. In fact, I rarely watch his show any more because of it. I want to hear the news, I enjoy a bit of humor with it, but when these sleezy people get on national television and act like they are human and sane, I wonder how long it's going to take them to jump in with the polar bears.
Monday, April 6, 2009
You know the rest of that old saw..."is a dangerous thing." Quite true, in my case. I'm taking an on-line course in creating your own Web page just because I wanted to fool around with my blog and I wanted to understand the html code which looks like so much gibberish whenever I open it up. So, I'm on Lesson 4 of my course and I got the background in. Isn't it pretty? That's the good news. The bad news is that all the stuff in my right column got shifted waaaay down to the bottom of the page. I've been looking at the code, but I can't figure out what I did and why it's so far off. Back to the books.
UPDATE: 4-7-09: Fixed!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Kodak's new camera, just released today. What do you think?
Here's how they describe it.
"What you see is what you get" Viewfinder - Now you can take that photo at the exact moment you see that special scene. Don't try this while driving as objects may be closer than they appear.
Facial Recall Assistant - We have all been there...you are at a party, "I know her. Oh, geesh, she is coming this way...Hello, er, um..." How embarassing. Well, worry no more. This handy feature connects to a customizable "BFF file" connected to your Facebook page. Go to parties and reunions with confidence! Hello Marci, long time no see! Like my stylin' new specs?
Image Stabilizer - After a glass of wine or two, this feature will ensure that all of your photos are razor sharp, maybe even sharper than you remember. Our patented "I love you man Gyro Adjuster" was tested at numerous focus groups and it worked perfectly...I think.
Isn't the design captivating? Our engineers worked very hard to come up with a look that is hardly noticeable from regular eye glasses. Fashionistas everywhere will be clamoring for this accessory to wear at red-carpet events.
Okay, back to the features...
Selective Auto-Focus & Zoom - See something you like? Just look, focus, zoom & snap! This is a new feature so use it wisely. It might get you in trouble at the beach so practice at home first.
Wink and Shoot Shutter - Taking photos is now as easy as a winking! We use our patented eyeVu technology to activate only on a wink, not a blink. When you have a cold and are sneezing it is advised you not wear your KODAK eyeCamera 4.1 or you will get pictures of your feet (think about it).
Digital X-Ray Vision - No way? Yes way! In partnership with the Superman Corporation located in the Fortress of Solitude, we co-developed this amazing feature at a bargain price. But remember, even though you will be able to see through walls and closed doors you will not be able to walk through them.
Panoramic Mode - Achieved merely by employing classic Kodak ease-of-use and turning one's head 360- degrees The KODAK eyeCamera 4.1 is social media compatible so you will be able to stream your life 24x7! Easy photo uploads to Facebook, Flickr, KODAK Gallery, and Twitter are a snap. Now you can impress your friends with an endless stream of photos to accompany the running commentary of text updates you currently provide.But wait, there's more! The KODAK eyeCamera 4.1 comes with a ton of cool accessories too.
Super zoom. Oh baby! If standard zoom isn't enough we have the answer (comes with neck brace).
Lens lashes - Available in natural, bat, and flirt lengths
Baseball cap printer. For prints on the go. The cap's bill is the paper tray! Clever.
Dual lens steroscopic option lets you take photos in 3-D
Flash earrings. Genuine CZ (cubic zirconia) rechargeable flash with unmatched cut, clarity, color, and coruscation (look it up ;-) The team at Kodak is proud to announce yet another breakthrough product. We also want you do do one thing for us when someone looks at you while wearing the new KODAK eyeCamera 4.1. Be sure to click to enlarge the smile."
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The good news is tomorrow is the first day of Spring. That's always good news. We got through another winter. The worst is behind us. Balmy will soon be the order of the day. Now for the bad news.
The bad news is that the final episode of Battlestar Galactica airs tomorrow night. Now before you tune me out, listen to this by Jack Myers of Mediabizbloggers.com:
"The most politically engaging, culturally relevant, socially entertaining and spiritually rewarding experience I had this past week was watching the two-hour finale of Battlestar Galactica at a special press screening hosted by Sci Fi network, which announced yesterday it would soon be called Syfy. Without sharing any of the details about the two-hour conclusion to be aired this Friday, it ranks among the best - if not the best - of all series grand finales. With the loss this year of Battlestar, unquestionably one of the top ten one-hour drama series ever, along with ER and, next year, Lost, the age of great long-running television dramatic series is coming to an end.
My second favorite experience of the past week was the face off between CNBC's Jim Cramer and Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. If this were Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, Cramer would have been shot dead in a duel on the western shores of the Hudson River. Cramer and CNBC should be very grateful that today's TV society is suffering from a permanent and terminal case of attention deficit disorder. Stewart's bludgeoning of Cramer stands like a tower of integrity compared to John King's embarrassing CNN interview of former Vice President DICK Cheney. Where were the questions, the challenges, the intervention of truth?
I admit I am a Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow left-leaning member of the New York so-called intelligencia. I try to read and think and absorb and be open to all opinions. And I also view the world from the perspective of the media industry, which is struggling for its survival. I truly have to wonder what the future holds for an industry that simply cannot seem to connect the dots from the past eighty years to the next five. The themes in the finale of Battlestar Galactica have more to offer in the way of solutions for the challenges we face than all the news media, politicians, economists, op ed writers and pundits combined. It also had so much more to offer as a marketing partner, and while Sci Fi generated advertising premiums, NBC Universal in no way received the support it should have from marketing partners.
Asking the political questions raised by Battlestar, will the Obama team break the patterns and models of the past and lead us back to peace and prosperity? Or will the powers of the Republican Colony hold us in familiar patterns of conservatism? On MSNBC one of the commentators suggested last week we are in an economic war. If, he asked, the Democrats had constantly second guessed President Bush when he invaded Iraq, and publically hoped for the failure of our forces, would anyone have embraced the Democrats? Yet, that is what, suggested this pundit, the Republicans are doing as president Obama wages war against the economic recession, and loyal Republican supporters refuse to waver in their antipathy toward the new wave of politics. Whether you favor the Republican or Democrat points of view, you need to accept that those who hold onto traditional models in any business today are doomed to failure and defeat.
Battlestar Galactica dealt with anarchy, socialism, religious fractionalism, economic meltdown, war and many of the issues the world is confronting today. It's not a Hollywood publicity stunt that executive producers David Eick and Ronald D. Moore and two stars of Battlestar Galactica (Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell) were invited to speak at the United Nations today. Fiction and life intersect. Both the fans and the talent of great TV are absorbed into it; it becomes part of our world. Its social, cultural, political and spiritual messages transcend the screen and become engrained in our reality. Battlestar Galactica, as its fans know, is about the soul and the need to transcend our every day existence in order to face the challenges of a transforming universe.
As we watch reality unfold in Washington, in the Middle East, at the G-20 Meetings, at the FCC, on Wall Street and at the upcoming network television Upfronts, it will serve us well to heed the lessons of Battlestar Galactica, of Jon Stewart and even of South Park. 'There must be some kind of way out of here said the joker to the thief. There's too much confusion; I can't get no relief.' "
So who said you can't learn anything from television?
Saturday, March 14, 2009
According to Wikipedia, the lions are always presented in pairs, with the female on the left and the male on the right. The male lion has his right paw on a ball, which represents the "Flower of life" The female is essentially identical, but has a single cub under her left paw, representing the cycle of life. Symbolically, the female fu lion protects those dwelling inside, while the male guards the structure. Sometimes the female has her mouth closed, and the male open. This symbolizes the enunciation of the sacred word om. However, Japanese adaptions state that the male is inhaling, representing life, while the female exhales, representing death. Other styles have both lions with a single large pearl in each of their partially opened mouths. The pearl is carved so that it can roll about in the lion's mouth but sized just large enough so that it can never be removed.
According to feng shui, when facing the entrance the male lion with the globe should be placed on the right with the female on the left. The article doesn't mention if these people had a pair. Maybe the male lion is off looking for his mate. So if you happen to see a stray foo-dog wandering around, call the Southwest Detective Division at 215-686-3183.
The victims of this theft are mourning its loss as well as the bad luck that seems to have befallen them. I hope they get it back. Who wouldn't love this face?
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Here are a few of the stunning gowns they displayed (although that twig one was almost painful to behold). They were so visually gorgeous and creative.
And last, but not least, my annual candy picture from The Reading Terminal Market. Why didn't I buy those lambs? All I could think to do was take pictures of them.
The rest of my photos are up in a slide show over on the right.