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Friday, October 1, 2004
(12:28 pm)

I worked sound at The Empty Glass last night. The band was Hungry Mind Review. They're a four-piece band from North Carolina. Their style at times is like "Sargent Pepper, Vol. 2." At other times I heard Pink Floyd creeping in around the edges. Unlike a lot of bands that play one or two original tunes and a load of covers, this group only did two cover songs, one of them by Tim Buckley. The musicians did not display what I consider virtuosity, but they are all journeymen players and the combination rose above the level of ability. Think for a minute about the Beatles. None of them were virtuosos either. What they did better than anyone was write hook-laden music and perform it impeccably. HMR does much the same.

Their keyboardist/violinist/singer, Stephanie Wallace, is a tall drink of water, thin, pretty, and slightly shy. Once the music starts to flow, she blends her part into the whole beautifully. Stephan Bayley, the singer (who plays various guitars and a stage piano, and writes most of the music) is somewhat reminiscent of ELO's Jeff Lynn. In fact several of the tunes were ELO-esque as well. Rob Hay, the drummer, laid down a nice floor for the music, solid, competent, and engaging without being overwhelming or intrusive like a lot of pop drummers can be. Holt Evans, the bass player, had a nice selection of weapons in his arsenal, including a Chapman stick, a hybrid creature that combines guitar and bass and plays more like a piano-on-a-fretboard than like a traditional string instrument. His work with the e-bow was impressive. Altogether, a fine group, well executed sound, and very nice people. If you ever have a chance to attend one of their gigs, do so. You won't be sorry (unless you're a die-hard country-only or rap junkie).

Check out their new CD on CD Baby. I got my copy.

Quote of the Day: " aristocracy must constantly justify its existence. In other words, there must be no artificial conversion of its resent strength into perpetual rights. The way must be always open for the admission of strong men from the lower orders, and the way must be always open, too, for the expulsion of men whose strength fails. " -- H.L. Mencken in Men versus the Man: A Correspondence between Robert Rives La Monte, Socialist, and Menken, Individualist [1910], p.73

Tonight at The Glass, Tater. I think the name probably speaks for itself. MIght be interesting.

(2:17 pm)

Last month's statistics are final now. This site had 30,084 hits. That beats the previous month's record by more than 3,100 hits. The site has had over 200,000 hits in the past 12 months. My thanks to all who participated.

How many of you saw the Presidential debate last night? Okay, you can put your hands down now. The televisions at the bar were turned to the debate, and the music didn't start until after eleven. The crowd at The Glass is decidedly partisan, but the comments people were making I thought apt. W. seemed like a fish out of water. He looked like the dull-witted, unintelligent, frightened, hateful, angry schoolyard bully that he is. Not only should the American electorate not allow him four more years, but some prosecutor somewhere should start criminal proceedings against him for the damage he's done to this country, it's reputation in the world community, and to the world in general.


Saturday, October 2, 2004
(2:48 pm)

I'm listening to/watching the WVU-Virginia Tech game. So far it's not going well for West Virginia. The score is 16-6 VT, and Tech has the ball. GO MOUNTAINEERS!

Quote of the Day: "The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds and the pessimist fears this is true. " -- James Branch Cabell

Last night at The Glass was great fun. I admit I was a little apprehensive because of the band's name, but after the first eight bars of the first song, all my reservations evaporated and I sat back (well, as much as the sound guy can) and enjoyed the show. Tater refers to themselves as "Hi-test Hillbilly Grass'n'Roll." I honestly can't think of a better description. All four of the guys are thoroughly professional musicians. Luke Edwards, the lead singer and rhythm guitar player has a bit of an odd voice, but it works quite well with the band's style. They did a few more covers than I heard the night before, including a rousing version of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," which, in the end sped up to bluegrass velocity and metamorphosed into "Wish Y'all Were Here." Excellent. The also covered The Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil," Willie Nelson's "Whiskey River,", Crosby, Stills, and Nash's "Wooden Ships," and some other familiar tunes that I enjoyed singing along with in the anonymity of the sound alcove.

Where Tater shines, though, is their original material. It's mostly fast paced, cleanly played, well-balanced and more than vaguely reminiscent of The Outlaws or an acoustic version of The Allman Brothers. Roger Padgett, the lead guitar play, who, when he's into the music could pass for a Cousin It look-alike with his long blondish hair covering his face, trips across the fretboard with a skill rivalling Robert Shaffer or maybe even Steve Vai -- and all this on a Martin Dreadnought. The rhythm section, comprised of Philip Simmons on Bass and Kelly Hull on Drums kept the floor under the whole enterprise quite nicely. They provided a sonic stage for the lush guitar work and vocals without intruding on the whole and detracting from it. They were exactly what a rhythm section is supposed to be. The acoustic lead work by Mr. Padgett was awesome. His playing was clean, expressive, and clearly passionately felt. I can't say when I last enjoyed a guitar performance more. Roger could play with anyone, in pretty much any style and hold his own. The flavor of his bluegrass roots would still shine through and bring a smile to anyone's face.


Monday, October 4, 2004
(2:06 pm)

West Virginia's hopes of a shot at the National Championship were crushed Saturday with their 19-13 loss to Virginia Tech. Their position in the rankings plummetted from number six in the AP/Coaches Poll all the way to number 16. In the ESPN/WUA Today poll they fell from number 7 to the eighteenth spot! I supposed it was only to be expected. After all, we had beaten Tech the past two years when no one expected us to do so. We'd lost the previous three games to Maryland and got our revenge the third game of the season. Besides the statistical likelihood of Tech winning, there's also "Beamer Ball", that sneaky, underhanded version of division 1-A ball that Frank Beamer teaches his kids. In my opinion, he sends out "assassins" to deliberately injure any opposing team's player who he thinks is having a hot afternoon. He retaliates, with little thought to the outcome of the play, against players he thinks is intimidating his crew. One of his players was suspended for the first four games because of a little legal difficulty. Funny he was able to come back and be Beamer's hit man for this game. His coaching verges on criminal conspiracy. I've always thought this to be the case. I hope the ACC welcomes his philosophy and team. I think the Big East is well off to be rid of them.

Quote of the Day: "Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?" -- Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

I've been looking all over to see if I can find information on the care of the finish on my new Lauren guitar. I've heard the finish called "The MIT finish" and some of my reading leads me to believe it might be the French finish, but nowhere do they mention how to clean and/or polish it. Does anyone reading this know anything about it? I guess I'll have to make the rounds until I find someone who knows.


Tuesday, October 5, 2004
(10:12 am)

Today is Vaclav Havel's birthday. He's 68 today. [see Quote of the day, September 30,2004 for some of his enduring wisdom]

Quote of the Day:
"Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to Heaven. "
     -- William Shakespeare, All's Well that Ends Well. Act i. Sc. 1.

Two things came together in my mind. I was at a restaurant the other day, and the cashier told me a disgusting, racist joke, which I will not repeat here for the sake of illustration. This individual, in his 40's or early 50's I'd say, is gay. The other thing is a statement at the end of a story told by Gene Hackman's character in "Mississippi Burning." He said (attributed to his daddy in rural Mississippi), "If y'ain't better'n a nigger, who are ya better than?" These two things have been percolating around in my brain for days now.

I think they both speak to a basic human tendency, reinforced by the current social and political climate in these United States: that of wanting to be "better" than someone. Even gay people, and, yes, African-Americans (how I detest that appellation!) have the desire to be better than someone. Anyone! So, now we have gay men telling derogatory jokes about blacks, blacks putting down Koreans, and teenage boys, using "That's so gay." as a general insult for anything they don't like. What is it about us that makes us feel we have to be "better" than some other person or group? Why do we have to gain our self-worth by comparison to another person or category of persons? Why do we have to have theses distinctions to feel like we have a place in society that is desirable and useful? Why can't we judge things from our own worth, rather than our relative worth compared to others?

I think a lot of it is due to the aristocratic aspirations of certain individuals who think that to be on top of things, they have to stratify those "under" them and assign lesser worth and character to them. In many cases the worth and character ascriptions are inverted. Ah, but that's another rant. The use of money as a measure of an individual's worth in this society is also a major contributor to the kind of thinking that allows one group of people to assume a greater self-worth than a "lesser" group. How do we stop using money and social strata as the measure of our own esteem? Can we?


Thursday, October 7, 2004
(5:46 pm)

Well, I guess I'm about the last person on Earth to get a digital camera. I was waiting until either I could afford one of the Canon SLR models that I can use my good optics on, or until someone came out with one that had TTL viewfinder and at least some of the features of a good SLR body. Well, Fujifilm has come out with the Finepix 3100. I think this is very similar to a Nikon Coolpix model. It's very much like the 5700 but less powerful. I think it will serve me fine until I can afford something better. It's a 4.1 Megapixel camera with TTL viewfinder and can go from fully-manual to fully-automatic. It has a pop-up flash, built-in USB port which downloads pictures pretty well. I'm still getting acclaimated to it. I've shot about a dozen frames with it so far, none of which approach stunning -- close to **yawn** perhaps.

Here's one of the first shots I took.

The fire hydrant in front of our house.
"Why We Have a Yellow Curb"

Quote of the Day: "Hell is other people. " -- Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

I've been in lots of pain lately, both my leg and my back. My leg, I can understand. My back, I think is a combination of two things -- our mattress (it's 10 years old and about shot), and my weight. I've lost a little weight, and I recall my back bothering me on the way up, so I guess my body dynamics will keep my back hurting until I lose enough more to shift the center of gravity back a little more. Heating pad for my leg and pain pills occasionally for both. It's hell getting old.


Friday, October 8, 2004
(5:59 pm)

Tonight at The Empty Glass it's Velvet Spasm. According to the web site, it's a night of Avant-Garde Jazz described as a "Fusion combining Free Jazz, Traditional Jazz, Rock, Classical, Middle Eastern, Reggae, Oompah, Russian & Nordic music into a flowing sonic work of art." Sounds like fun!

I've been out and about a little today (in between naps) with my new camera. It's nice for what it is, but it in no way diminishes my desire for a Canon digital EOS. We went to the Capitol Market around noon looking for some tomatoes. We mainly found pumpkins. . .

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2004_1007Image001 -- non-exif]

We did get our tomatoes, some nice half-runner beans, and some gourds. I'll have to take some photos of these gourds. They're awesome! Walking along the aisle where the vendors pull in to unload, next to the old depot building, I saw some clouds. . . on the ground. . . mums!

Digital Camera Image [2005_1007Image0004]

Quote of the Day: "The point I am constantly making is that people don't understand the difference between being solemn and being serious. There is a kind of Teutonic mind which you find not just in Germany and Switzerland, but also in America, which thinks that you have to be solemn to be serious. But, in fact solemnity is, I think, in many ways the enemy of the kind of process of learning that comes from being open, because solemnity is allied with pompousness. " -- John Cleese

I've been reading a book of personal essays. So far I've gotten through several by Seneca, about to slip into Plutarch. I think the essay is one of the most underrated literary forms. Of course I'd say that, since what I do here is essentially a concatenation of mini-essays, rants, and recounting of personal experienced, peppered with bits of photography and art. Not a bad pastime, actually.


Saturday, October 9, 2004
(1:42 pm)

Last night at The Glass was great. Velvet Spasm is a very interesting group. It's three guys, guitar, bass, and drums. The drummer was superb. The bass player was amazing. The guitarist was fully competent, and if you listen to their music, you'll realize what a compliment "fully competent" is. If you get the chance to see them, do so. I loved every minute of the show. They did some cover tunes that were, to say the least, unexpected. Whoever heard of a three piece combo like this doing Rogers & Hammerstein? Well, they did a resounding version of the song from The Sound of Music, "My Favorite Things." I haven't been so pleasantly surprised at a choice of music since Uncle Moon pulled off Maurice Chevalier's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." I had a great time, as apparently did the few people who stuck it out. The Glass was holding a Presidential Debate party, complete with rented big screen television. Therefore the music didn't get going until after eleven, and I think a lot of people who came in early and would have stayed left instead because of the political content. More's the pity. It was a couple of excellent sets.

Tonight it's the Voodoo Katz. They were the band the first show I worked at The Glass. They're a challenge, but I enjoy the music a lot.

Yesterday, I mentioned gourds. Well. . .

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2004_1008Image0046 -- non-exif]

More to come. . .

Quote of the Day: "No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. " -- John Donne

Something G. W. Bush would do well to remember (that is once he finishes memorizing his name and home phone number). In the early days of PC's Microsoft's main operating system was MS-DOS. It included a useful version of the BASIC programming language called GW-BASIC. The GW allegedly stood for "Gee Whiz." From now until January 20, when John Kerry is sworn in as President of the United States, I will refer to our Commender-in-chief as GeeWhiz.


Sunday, October 10, 2004
(11:02 pm)

As expected, the Voodoo Katz were a challenge. They push the sound system at the bar to its limits. Last time I worked their show, we had two bad channels on the board (actually one on the board, one on the snake) and ended up running the bass without PA participation. It worked out. Last night, there was a problem with a couple cables and a too-hot microphone on the congas. We eventually tracked it down and got things working okay. I supposed sonic difficulties are to be expected when you have six vocal microphones, three mics on the drum kit, a mic on the congas, a mic on the sax, a mic on the guitar amp and only the bass amp with a DI box. That's 12 microphones live on a small stage with six players. The possibilities for disaster are limitless. It all worked out in the end, though, and they sounded great. If you've never seen a Katz show, you owe it to yourself to see at least one. Who knows, you might become a follower.

The other day at the Capitol Market, I saw an odd sight:

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2004_1007Image0002 - non-exif]
"Yang and Eng"

Quote of the Day: "I am the commander. See, I don't need to explain. I do not need to explain why I say things. That is the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me when they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." -- George W. Bush

Well, Gee Whiz, I think you do owe someone an explanation -- me! And the rest of the American public. I wish someone would listen and get a special prosecutor involved. If someone like Judge Starr would go after Gee Whiz's transgressions with a quarter of the zeal and 1/10 of the budget that Starr went after Clinton, Bush and all his appointees would be in Leavenworth, Kansas making doilies for Martha Stewart's Everyday line at K-Mart.

By the way, welcome to West Virginia, Martha. I think you were railroaded and put in jail because of a bunch of Michael Moore's Stupid White Men couldn't stand that an intelligent woman wouldn't back down and lick their boots. We need you back on top, Martha, and kicking. Good luck with your appeals. I hope you win. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not much of an admirer of Martha Stewart. I do like some of her K-Mart goods and I'll admit she worked hard to get where she is. I just don't care for the haughty attitude and bitchiness she exhibited. I never did like a Prima Donna, no exception in her case. But, she was prosecuted and put in prison for something way less than what a lot of high-powered men get away with only a slap on the wrist. The powers-that-be just decided it was time to put her in her place. And what exactly did she go to prison for? Insider trading? No! She was convicted of lying to investigators. So, the police and federal investigators can lie, connive, and set someone up with impunity but a suspect has to tell the absolute truth or go to jail? That's wrong. If the suspect can't lie, then the cops shouldn't be allowed to either. Martha, you were had, but good, and I am now your champion. Such that it is. . .


Tuesday, October 12, 2004
(9:21 am)

One thing I like about having a digital camera, even though it's not the quality of the one I really want, is that it gives me the ability to document things in a way not possible before. For example, the Siamese pumpkins from Sunday's entry -- before the digital camera I'd either have only described them, perhaps sketched them, or if I was lucky enough to have my film camera with me and additionally lucky enough to be at the end of a roll of film and able to get to the film processor, I might have been able to provide a photo. This way, the only question is, "Did I remember to bring my camera?"

Yesterday Ann and I went to one of our favorite haunts, Babcock State Park. The fall colors at Babcock were on the beginning side of peak, but those along Route 41 going into Beckley were stunning. If you have the chance, live close enough, and can do so, you should make the drive before it rains and knocks all the color to the ground.

Quote of the Day: "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams

I've wanted to get this painting on here for some time now, but I never got around to photographing it. Now, with the digital camera, I've taken a shot in situ. The lighting is not the greatest, as there is a torchier lamp standing to the left of the painting, casting a somewhat unnatural light on things, but here it is.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2004_1007Image0011] (Oil on Canvas)
"Statistical Creep"

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
(11:55 am)

I subscribe to a couple of Mail Art and Avant Garde poetry/art/etc. Yahoo groups. In both of them lately I've heard tales of people taking innocent photographs being harassed by bank officials, police, and military personnel. If the Patriot Act has made it illegal to take photographs in public places, regardless of the subject, then I will probably go to jail if confronted for doing so. This is not the America I was born into. This is not the America described by our constitution. This is not the America envisioned by our founding fathers. This is not an Amerika that I want to embrace as my country if our freedoms are limited by the actions of others. This is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

Quote of the Day: "There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. " -- Louis L'Amour

Now someone wants to interrupt our 4-1/2 mile-long Riverfront Park and build a marina and other businesses. There's one suggestion to wipe out two hotels and four restaurants at the juncture of the Elk and Kanawha rivers and build the marina there, along with tourist shops, etc. Yeah, that's what we need all right (notice, all right is TWO words), another facility for the well-to-do. We already have the Clay Center with its outrageous price tag and ticket prices, the new ballpark for a Single-A team in the Minnesota Twins organization, and now a downtown marina? Give me a break. I think the bonus quote sums it up nicely:

Bonus Quote of the Day: "He's worse than a drug dealer. He's a developer." -- A character on HBO series. "The Wire"

While at Babcock State Park on Monday this particular leaf caught my eye:

Digital Camera Image [2004_1011Image49]
"How Stained Glass Was Conceived"

It's a rainy, gloomy day. The color is being washed off the trees. We seldom have a complete, fiery autumnal display of fall foliage. There seems to be something about the combination of trees around here -- they change color at various times under different conditions, or something. That, and the rains seem to come and wash away the first set of colors before the next can come in. Last year, when I was pretty much unable to get out and look at the colors, I think it was the best color in a long time. This year, there have been areas where the color is spectacular (like Route 41 between Babcock and Beckley), but in the Kanawha Valley it looks like spot color will be the best we get.

Digital Camera Image [2004_1010Image36]
"Island in the Sky"

Friday, October 15, 2004
(11:11 am)

Okay, I missed making an entry yesterday. That was a matter of not enough hours in the day for everything to fit. A lot of the days I miss are just because I didn't feel like writing anything or putting forth the effort. It's not like I don't have things to write about -- I do, a plethora in fact. It's not like I don't have photos and quotes and other material to fill the space. I have scads. There are photographs good enough artistically or interesting for other reasons that are two years old or older that I could post here. I have several shots I took this past weekend with my digital camera that I could share. I also have a couple of 36-exposure rolls of film that I shot, one last weekend, the other, over a several month period, which is an interesting story in its own right. I have political matters to discuss. I have accumulated a vast collection of quotes (Limericks, too, but I'm not going to start that here), trivia, other useful, useless, and interesting tidbits. I have personal observations to make, books to talk about, movies to review, pontifications of all sorts to make, historical narrations, and artistic subjects to broach. I've been thinking, in fact, of changing the way I do things here. Perhaps like a daily page with headlines, articles, quotes, pictures, everything divided like the portal pages do. It's not happening right away, but I am thinking about it. Perhaps I'll do a mailing as well, or a push. I don't know. I'm trying to decide what's worth it.

C-086  Canon EOS Elan-7, Tamron 28-300mm lens. Fujifilm Professional NPS film, ISO 160
Foliage along the lake trail at Babcock State Park

Okay, the story about the film: I've had a roll of Fujifilm Professional NPH ISO 400 film in my camera since last November. I've been told not to leave film in a camera for more than two weeks. I've been told that the professional grade film doesn't hold up well for long periods without refrigeration. Well, this roll seems to belie those bits of sage advice. The shots are consistently of good (technical) quality from frame one to frame 36.

Another story of film: I'd been using my Canon EOS Rebel-X camera body since November. The reason I'd used it for my photographic adventures since then is that I wanted to use a slower speed film than the NPH ISO 400 I had in the other camera. Well, for gawd-knows-what reason, I had loaded some of the C-41 process black and white print film in the Rebel-X. I forgot about it. When Ann & I went out shooting foliage this past weekend, she took the Rebel-X. All her shots, unbeknownst to her, were in black and white. What a disappointment! Fall foliage in monochrome! I only had the first six shots (last six shots on the Rebel, as it winds the film to the last frame on loading) printed. Actually some of them are quite nice. I may even have some of the remaining 18 printed sometime.

Quote of the Day: "Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is. " -- Sir Winston Churchill

Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation, which owns two of the four VHF television stations in this market, is going to air a dishonest, fabricated, skewed, twisted, distorted, so-called documentary blasting John Kerry's patriotism. It's some of the same old charges by the Swift Boat liars, embellished with new lies, distortions and fabrications. Sinclair is having this shown at 62 of their stations. This is despicable. Everyone should call their local Sinclair media outlet and complain. . . not that it'll do any good. You can't appeal to a sense of fairness and expect a result when dealing with fascists. The phone number for WCHS-TV Channel 8 in Charleston is 346-5358. The phone number for WVAH-TV Fox-11 is 757-0011. Call! Have your friends call. Let these bastards know we don't like their underhanded tactics. They're classifying the "documentary" as "news" so they aren't required to provide equal time for the opposing viewpoint.

Truth is, the FCC, under Reagan's appointees, did away with the Fairness Doctrine that kept the public airways neutral or at least balanced. Now, the FCC is ruling in Sinclair's favor. The FCC has pretty much done away with all restrictions on station ownership. How is it right that corporate interests can own over 60 stations throughout the country, two stations in the same market in 17 locations, and three in one market? According to Mao's Little Red Book, the first thing you should do after a coup d'etat is control the media. Well, the right wing in this country did that first, then held the coup in Florida in November four years ago. We have to take back America from these right wing fanatics. We won't do it by appealing to them. We have to show and convince the majority that the dirty word is "conservative," not "liberal."


Saturday, October 16, 2004
(11:45 am)

My high school class had a motto. I really don't remember how they came up with it. It was probably one of the class sponsors (teachers) or maybe the class president, vp, secretary and treasurer who got together and decided, or maybe we actually voted on it. I don't really recall ever having heard it or seen it until the yearbooks came out for my Senior Year, when emblazoned across the top of the Senior Class section of the book were the words, "Any job big or small, we do it well or not at all." Today, the option would have been for the shorter, non-rhyming version, "We do it right or we don't do it." I'm not sure which version I prefer, but I do like the meaning of either. If you're going to do something, do it well; do it right, or don't bother screwing things up for the person who has to come along and fix it. More recent graduating classes seem to have the mottos, "Whatever" and "Let's just get it over with quick. Who cares how it looks."

Our motto, although not one I lived with throughout my high school experience, is something I took to heart. In the rest of my life since graduation I've striven to do whatever I do properly and as expertly as I can manage, from washing dishes to major creative and managerial projects. I see so many people with the Chinese ma ma hu hu attitude of "close enough is good enough," meaning the workmanship is shoddy because the workman is lazy and doesn't care. The strict translation of ma ma hu hu is "horse horse tiger tiger." The French have a similar saying and concomitant attitude, comme ci, comme ça. Although able to adopt this attitude myself for special occasions, I've never been able to just do the bare minimum required for a job to be completed. I always read and studied more than necessary to take the tests. See, I wanted to actually learn something about the subject. Taking that motto to heart was probably my downfall. The rest of the world gets by on close enough for government work while I try to get it right. Not much call for that anymore.

Quote of the Day: "Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs accept us as equals. " -- Winston Churchill

Digital Camera Image [2004_2013Image0011]
My granddaughters (and a small alien) attacking their mother.

The coffee's good today. Freshly-ground Kroger brand French Roast. I like it a little strong. I'd probably fit in quite well in Europe with my coffee preferences.


Sunday, October 17, 2004
(2:27 pm)

The sun is out and I'd like to go somewhere and fill up some xD digital memory cards. I'm fresh out of film, so I'd either have to buy some or use the 12-exposure roll I keep on hand for small jobs (of which I haven't had any in a couple years). Or I could just take the digital camera. IF I could figure out where to go. I don't want to go far with gasoline at $2.09.9 a gallon.

Speaking of Digital Cameras, the new Canon EOS 20D is out. The 20D is an 8.2 MPix body with all the features of a professional digital SLR. It looks like the price is right around $1,500.00 on the street. This is what I really want. Christmas is only two months and a week away. Keep me in mind, Santa (everyone else, too). Oh, and don't forget the $250 optional battery pack and several Compact Flash cards -- 512 MB or greater.

Quote of the Day: "Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst." -- Thomas Paine

Today, a television talking head would have said, "Of all the tyrannies that impact mankind. . ."

Digital Camera Image (modified) [2004_1011Image0023]
"The Lake at Gauley Bridge"

This is the Kanawha River just above Kanawha Falls, just below where the New and Gauley Rivers come together to form the Great Kanawha. Here the river is much wider than further downstream, and therefore the water is nearly always calm and smooth. It reminds me of a mountain lake in its appearance.


Monday, October 18, 2004
(1:48 pm)

The rain has settled in again. It looks like it will last through tomorrow. The rain has switched my mood from neutral to sad. The rain always seems to make me think about regrets, wishes I know will never come true, and the futility of most endeavors. Rain makes me sleepy. I love the sound of rain on a tin roof, something I haven't been able to enjoy since we lived on Arlington Court, eight years ago. The house we lived in on Lewis Street had a metal awning outside our bedroom window. That was almost as nice. The house on Jackson Street (which is now up for sale at $119,500) didn't have a metal roof or awnings or anything like that. This house has a patio outside the room I'm in now with a metal awning, but it's nowhere near the bedroom. I love the sound of rain on a tin roof. It's a melancholy, yet comforting sound -- a sound that envelops the passions and fears and soothes them, placates them, rounds off their sharp edges like an emotional router.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2004_1016Image0004]

People tell me their dreams. Well, one or two people anyway. They must instinctively know that I rarely recall my own dreams and share theirs to somehow make up for my lack of a dream life. I'm sure I dream, or I'd be dead by now. I do recall the occasional dream, but rarely. The ones I recall are either ones that recur or that are populated by people I've had contact with shortly before the sleep that produces them. Rarely. Rarely do I dream and remember the dream in total. I usually recall snippets or feelings or motifs or moods. Rare indeed is the dream I remember in whole with details. I used to dream and remember a lot. I used to do lucid dreaming. Now I barely sleep long enough to fall into REM sleep, and usually when I do awake with the memory of a dream, it fades very quickly, almost as if someone hit the delete key. First the dreams of fame, riches, grandeur left me, the dreams we formulate in waking moments, the dreams they say to follow, and now the more mundane dreams have left me as well. I wish I still could lay claim to dreams, and assay their content at my leisure. To sleep, perchance to remember.

Quote of the Day: "To die- to sleep- no more; and by a sleep to say we end the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wish'd. To die- to sleep. To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub! For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause. There's the respect that makes calamity of so long life. For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, the pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay, the insolence of office, and the spurns that patient merit of th' unworthy takes, when he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something after death- the undiscover'd country, from whose bourn no traveler returns- puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, and enterprises of great pith and moment with this regard their currents turn awry and lose the name of action." -- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, soliloquy, excerpt.

What the hell is a fardel?

(2:43 pm)

Okay, I'll answer my own inquiry: a fardel is a burden (figuratively in the form of a bundle) [source: WebNet Search, Princeton University]

I've gone back and put specific identifiers with all the digital camera shots, much like I've done with the film camera photos, only even more in detail. That will make them easier to locate if someone should express an interest. I will, from this point onward, not only include the roll number of the film scans, but the frame number as well so as to eliminate the necessity of digging through stacks of prints or going over strips of negatives to find the corresponding shot. I'm sure you needed to know that. . .

It's still raining. The water is dripping off the awning outside my window. The dogwood's leaves just past the awning has completely gone over to red now. The juniper shrubs have their pungent red hollow berries in profusion. It's still raining.

Digital Camera Image [2004_1016Image0002]
"Sunlight Through Dogwood"

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
(10:05 am)

Fewer people read newspapers anymore. Most get all their news from television. They watch less network evening news shows, but still, I suspect, a substantial number if not a majority get all their daily news from NBC, CBS, or ABC. In addition, these people probably watch the local news right before the national broadcast. In fact, I'd be willing to say that the vast majority of people get their local news and a substantial portion of their entertainment from one or more of the local network affiliates. I'm sure most people are aware of Sinclair's decision to air anti-Kerry propaganda on one of their local stations. What most may not consciously realize is that of four local VHF stations in this market, exactly four of them have a conservative slant. The Charleston Daily Mail also has a conservative slant, as does The Wall Street Journal's little sister, The State Journal. That leaves only The Charleston Gazette as the solitary outlet for a more liberal to moderate point-of-view. Liberal media conspiracy? Not here.

Granted, the slant, if any, of the "CBS Evening News" is a little to the left, but that is not the choice of the local stations. If they had their way about it, Bill O'Reilly would be the evening news reader. How could things have gone so wrong in this country? Our two recent Democratic presidents have been shining exemplars of public servants. Jimmy Carter, after his defeat at the hands of the NeoCon Saint, Ronnie, went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize, write 18 books, build untold numbers of houses for poor people, and oversee elections in a large number of countries. Bill Clinton, despite his problems with blow jobs and Republican attack dogs was one of the finest Chief Executives we've had. He was a little too far to the right of center for my tastes, but at least he tried, and succeeded in getting a budget surplus for the first time since. . . well, since Carter. Republicans talk about fiscal responsibility, yet they seem to drive the debt higher and higher.

Who owns the national debt, you ask? Well, about 40% of it is "owned" by the Federal Reserve. Cool, you think. Well, no, not really. The top eight controllers of the Federal Reserve are:

  1. Rothchild banks of London and Berlin.
  2. Lazard Brothers Banks of Paris.
  3. Israel Moses Seif Banks of Italy.
  4. Warburg Bank of Hamburg and Amsterdam.
  5. Lehman Brothers Bank of New York.
  6. Kuhn, Loeb bank of New York.
  7. Chase Manhattan Bank of New York, which controls all of the other 11 Federal Reserve Banks.
  8. Goldman, Sachs Bank of New York.

The next biggest chunk of the debt (over 22%) is owned by "foreign and international interests." Mostly, this means the Saudi Royal Family and other such high-rollers. The entire distribution is shown here:

"Ownership of the National Debt"

This chart comes from Ed Hall's U.S. National Debt Clock FAQ. For more information, check his FAQ. Some good stuff there, including a current bar chart of the actual debt starting in 1940. I think it's very revelatory. It shows the national debt virtually unchanged since World War II until the Reagan years, when it began a steep climb. This continued until Bill Clinton got it under control. Then GeeWhiz got elected and the second stage ignited! For more information on the ownership of the debt and the control of the Federal Reserve, read the article "The Federal Reserve Bunk" by Harry V. Martin on [Is it just me or does the punctuation when using a web address, or for that matter a monetary amount (i.e., $47.62.) at the end of a sentence look awkward?]

Now I don't know about you, but the fact that the United States' financial affairs are in the hands of banks, most of which aren't even in the US, and foreign investors bothers me more than just a little. Does anyone else smell the WTO here? Looking at who owns the National Debt, is it really any wonder that the Republicans, the party of the rich, want to see greater deficits? GeeWhiz and the NeoCons are driving up the debt, cutting taxes for the well-to-do, so they can whine and axe social programs that benefit those that the Military-Industrial complex has rolled over. There's no morality in a conservative. Any claim to moral or ethical integrity by GeeWhiz or any of his ilk is subterfuge and falsehood.

Quote of the Day: "A time comes when silence is betrayal. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought, within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. " -- Martin Luther King

C-087 NPH
"Sweating like a tulip. . ."

It's another gray day, but at least it isn't raining. . . yet! I think I prefer the rain to just another white out sky, cold and dreary without even a downpour to add character. I like sunny days too, especially the ones with warm temperatures and a lot of clouds in the sky, gentle breezes, and constantly changing light. Today's just blah.


Wednesday, October 20, 2004
(10:56 am)

It's that 99% of lawyers that make the rest of them look bad.

A lawyer is a politician in larval form.

What do you have when there are 1000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start

Quote of the Day: "Cade: I thank you good people. There shall be no money, all shall eat and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one Livery, that they may agree like Brothers, and worship me their Lord.

"But. The first thing we do, let's kill all the Lawyers"

-- William Shakespeare, Henry VI, part II

Lawyers get it from all sides. Some of the jokes, criticisms, and attacks are justified, but really, I think, most lawyers are hard-working professionals looking out for their clients legitimate interests, wending their way through a codified labyrinth to effect some manner of justice.

The conservatives are waging an attack on lawyers, that is personal injury lawyers. They're leaving the corporate lawyers and criminal lawyers alone. So-called "tort reforms" are aimed solely at reducing the amount of awards to individuals for injuries. In this state they have managed to convince the legislature to cap malpractice awards for punitive damages and pain-and-suffering at $250,000. I think I have a legitimate case against my orthopedic surgeon, but it would require a lot of time and expense to pursue and therefore there is not a lawyer who would touch it. I can't blame them. After expenses, their share of the quarter million would have shrunk to minuscule proportions. Hardly worth taking on the task. The only way a lawyer in this state will now take on a malpractice case is if it's a mass tort, or in the case of an individual case, so heinous and obvious that little, if any, preparation is necessary and the maximum award is virtually a slam dunk.

Lawyers protect us from the ravages of accident, mishap, and malfeasance. They keep the mighty corporations at bay. A corporation cannot be sentenced to a prison term for something illegal, nor can they be meted out the death penalty. Punitive awards were intended as the moral equivalent of incarceration and capital punishment for those "individuals" who are really corporations.

Certainly there are abuses, but the way to correct this problem, if indeed it needs to be and can be corrected, is not by throwing the baby out with the bath water. Limiting awards and packing State Supreme Courts with pro-business advocates is not the way to address the problem. What is called for is having juries and judges with a little more common sense and a sense of fair play. Surely in some cases, large monetary awards are justified, but spilling a cup of coffee on yourself and filing suit against the person who sold it to you is ludicrous. Sure, there may have been extenuating circumstances in the MacDonald case, but, come on, coffee is supposed to be hot, and being hot, a person not totally brain dead should know to take proper precautions against spilling it? Would she have sued herself is she'd made up a go-cup at home with her own freshly-brewed? Maybe these are the kind of questions judges and juries need to ask themselves.

The insurance companies are largely to blame for the problems we have with torts run amok. They challenge every case, no matter the merit in an effort to avoid paying legitimate claims. They spend vast amounts of money on LAWYERS fighting against the little guy. It's not really any wonder that judges and juries get pissed off and award such exhorbitant amounts when they see cold-hearted bean counters wielding high-priced lawyers in an effort to avoid their obligations. The NeoCons are big on personal responsibility, but I guess they, unlike the law, don't count companies as individuals, and therefore exempt from responsibility. Funny how the people crying loudest for personal accountability are the ones who will go to extreme lengths to avoid being held accountable, isn't it?

The way to tort reform is not to change the law or put biased conservative business-friendly ass-licking disingenuous LAWYERS on the Supreme Court. Speaking of which, Brett Benjamin has been running a vicious, misleading, disingenuous campaign to unseat Warren McGraw from the West Virginia Supreme Court. McGraw might not be the best choice in the world, but he's light years better than Benjamin, a corporate workers comp attorney bent on tilting the court toward business interests, away from fairness toward the elitist standard being set across this land. Someone who fights against injured workers so the company won't have to pay for the result of their negligence or happenstance on the Supreme Court? Is that what most of the people want? I really don't think so. The NeoCons are trying to turn back the calendar to a time when business and industry could do what they wanted with impunity, when they had little to no concern for the lives and health of their workers or the people who used their products and services. They want to take us back to the time of the Robber Barons, whom they so admire and try to emulate. They want to make the United States into a Feudal State, where the few own everything, and everyone else stays in their place and keeps quiet. Guess what, folks? I ain't keepin' quiet!

Last Monday when we were at Babcock State Park, I noted a lot of the ferns there had turned yellow. You don't notice them so much, especially in the distance when they're green and everything else around them is green as well, but when they're yellow, they stand out. There was one large copse in a dish-like depression along the edge of a rhododendron thicket that was luxuriant with yellowed ferns. The light was too low by the time we got there for a photograph to turn out well, but I did manage a film shot of some of the individual yellow ferns in a more-well-lit place along the trail.

C-086 Elan-7, Tamron 28-300mm lens, NPS ISO 160

Today is overcast and damp with sporadic rain. This past weekend, the weather forecasts were saying that Sunday and today (Wednesday) were supposed to be the early fall gems we all look forward to, with moderate temperatures and sunny skies. Maybe tomorrow. . . I hope.


Thursday, October 21, 2004
(12:53 pm)

I'm constantly tweaking the code of these pages, adding this and that, making certain things more "elegant", and trying to keep up with the latest standard and techniques. Today, I've added a feature to help with navigating these journal pages. I've set things up to place an addressable label at the beginning of each day's entry, starting with today's. It works like this. If you want to access, say, the October 23 entry, just type into your browser window: and bingo! there ya go. I use the addressable label "today" regularly to send the reader to the current entry from the link on the opening page of this site. If you want to go to a different day, just replace "today" with the date you want in the format ddmmmyy. Once the calendar rolls over into November, the October entries will be accessible with
(e.g. If you're comfortable with such use of addresses, feel free to use them to return to previous entries. Mainly I've instituted this change to make it simpler for me to pass URL's along to people. This way if I know what date I posted something, I can send whoever a link to it using the standard form ddmmmyy (e.g. 21oct04). Neat. Okay, if any of this confuses you, just ignore it. Everything else will work just as before.

Quote of the Day: "The artist doesn't have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don't have the time to read reviews." -- William Faulkner

If you're looking for some good entertainment, fantastic parody, and unabashed irony, check out The White House. Especially check out the First Lady link. Great stuff!

Digital Camera Image [2004_1016Image0001]
"Fall Colors (INS Building)"

There are two things about most digital cameras that bother me -- the inability to manually focus and the inability to manually zoom. If they had these two features, battery life would no doubt be extended by at least a factor of three. I don't much care for the way this camera (I'm not familiar with others) blanks the screen/viewfinder while it's taking a shot. I also don't care for the method it uses to autofocus. There are a lot of shots I don't feel particularly comfortable with because of the way the thing works. My other pet peeve with digital cameras is the inability to really see what you're doing in bright light. Even the viewfinder with the eyecup on this model doesn't help much. The light just washes out the screen. Such is life.


Friday, October 22, 2004
(10:13 am)

It's another white-out day, totally overcast, dreary, dim, depressing. The "nice" day this week was going to be Wednesday, then Thursday, then today, and now it's supposed to be Saturday. I really need some sunshine and warm air.

My back is hurting. I may have mentioned it the day it happened: I was helping my son put the back seat back in the van and I pulled something. It had been a little tender prior to that, from the hike Ann and I took around the lake at Babcock. I had to use a cane and that puts stress on the back on the opposite side. Anyway, it started really hurting when I stood, slightly stooped over washing too many dishes last night. [ more about dinner last night in a bit. ]

Quote of the Day: "I do not pretend to know [whether God exists or not] where many ignorant men are sure. " -- Clarence Darrow

This brings back to memory one of my favorite poems of all time, "The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The entire poem was posted in the August 28, 2002 entry.

This brings to mind a fundamental question I'd really like to answer to my own satisfaction: "How does one attain faith? How does one believe in that for which there is no rational evidence?" I was watching a movie that involved magic. The sorceror said something to the effect, "Don't think. Thinking causes contingency. Believe! Belief causes action."

How does one, to any degree of moral certainty, acheive belief? How can one embrace faith in the face of chaos and relevatism? I have a fair amount of certainty that people like GeeWhiz who profess moral exactitude are mistaken in their unshakeable belief. Is that a form of the same thing? Is my belief, or assuredness, that they are wrong, just as wrong as is their certainty? Quite the philosophical dilemma.

Digital Camera Image [Non-Exif]

The above is a display box that hangs on my studio wall. The contents get shuffled around quite a lot, particularly when I'm dusting, or when I acquire new tchotchkes to put in it.

(5:44 pm)

I had to change my addressing scheme for the individual days. Seems XHTML doesn't like a numeral as the first character as an identifying label. While it doesn't like it, it still works. I wonder what the big deal is? Anyway, I prepended a 'z' on each label beginning with a numeric. There! Happy now?

A mail art friend from Ohio, John M. Bennett, has this Zen-like saying he uses all the time: Be Blank. He has a rubber stamp with that on it. Occasionally he stamps address labels with this and sends them out, reminding us all to keep our minds empty and receptive. Here's something I did and took a shot with my digital camera the other day at lunch. Of course I sent it to John.

Digital Camera Image [Non-Exif]

Saturday, October 23, 2004
(11:26 am)

Okay, I've changed my mind again. I'm going to use the form "mmmddyyyy" (e.g., Oct232004) to label each entry. Less confusion that way; no trying to remember, "Did he say to use an 'x' or a 'z' before the date? Was it day, month year, or day, year, month?" This way, it's just like most United Staters (see, that's why we say 'Americans') write their dates, only without the comma.

Quote of the Day: "I'd rather regret the things I have done than the things I have not. " -- Lucille Ball

Me, too, Lucy. Me, too.

I had a rough day yesterday. I'd stood and cooked and washed dishes the evening before last, and in doing so, exacerbated my pulled back muscle. I could barely move for the pain yesterday when I got out of bed. Around 9:00 yesterday morning I took a pain pill. It had been a while since I took one, and boy! did it kick my ass. I slept most of the afternoon, holding a heating pad on my sore muscles the breif waking moments I had. I took another pain pill yesterday evening and mostly laid around reading. This one didn't wipe me out quite as much as did the morning dose. I swear, I think generic medications don't necessarily have the same dosage in each individual pill. I think some have a little more, some a little less. I think yesterday morning's pill was of the 'little more' variety.

The following photo is the first of a series called, "My Bathroom Window." The series, as of now, comprises four photographs. I may add more in the future, or not. Today and the following three days, I'll post the series.

Digital Camera Image [2004_1022Image0001, cropped]
Medicine Plant
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 1)

Sunday, October 24, 2004
(2:47 pm)

Digital Camera Image [2004_1022Image0002]
Aloe, Is Anybody Home?
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 2)

Monday, October 25, 2004
(9:43 am)

I'm falling behind. I either need to post more of the bathroom window series of photographs or take fewer. Perhaps a separate page or a slideshow or something would be the way to go. I'll have to chew on that one for a bit. So far I have 18 photos taken of or from my bathroom window. We're in fog season here, so I'll include in today's offering a photo of the window itself and of the foggy conditions outside this morning.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2004_1023Image0001]
"Ding am sich"
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 3)
Digital Camera Image (modified) [2004_1025Image0009]
Morning on the Hillside
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 4)

My computer is just randomly blanking the screen and rebooting now. Lovely! I saw a nice eMachines computer at TigerDirect for $400, which could be boosted up to usable memory and storage size for under $500. Unfortunately my fortunes are on the wane at present. I'd go get a job at Go-Mart but they'd have to changes its name to Go-Slow-Mart. I'm beginning to feel old.

Quote of the Day: "Assassinate me you may; intimidate me you cannot. " -- John Philpot Curran, Irish Lawyer and Politician (1798)

For the longest time I didn't have enough in the way of graphic material that I wanted to put up here. Now I have an excess. Feast or famine, I suppose. I'll have to be more selective in my triage, I guess.


Tuesday, October 26, 2004
(12:29 pm)

I don't feel like writing today. Back hurts. It's chilly this morning. At least it doesn't look like yesterday with all the fog.

Digital Camera Image [2004_1024Image0007]
"Sunny Day"
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 5)
Digital Camera Image [2004_1024Image0016]
"Hazy Day"
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 6)
Digital Camera Image [2004_1025Image0010]
"Early Morning Fog"
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 7)

Quote of the Day: "The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. " -- Elbert Hubbard

Just a quick note: I got an e-mail notification from Crystal Good (I can't remember her married hyphenated name) about a poetry performance tonight at the Empty Glass.

Gypsypromotions Presents
Tuesday Oct. 26th
The Empty Glass
7 - 9 PM
Spoken Word - Open MIC - Musical Performances - Haiku Contest


Wednesday, October 27, 2004
(11:57 am)

Crystal tells me that the poetry gig at the Glass is the last Tuesday of every month. If you missed the one last night, keep an eye on your calendar for the last Tuesday in November. I have a special affection for Crystal. It's probably because that was my paternal grandmother's name, and probably the person who loved me most of anyone in the world. The fact that Crystal is drop-dead gorgeous probably wouldn't have a thing to do with it. . .

This Day in History: In 1659, William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson, two Quakers who came from England in 1656 to escape religious persecution, were executed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for their outlawed religious beliefs.

Funny how that works, eh? Those who are persecuted end up being the persecutors. Maybe we should think about this some before we go ascribing a lot of value to whether political candidates agree with our religious ideals or not. Maybe a person's religious trappings are not as important as the core beliefs he or she holds in our political framework, which is supposed to be a Democratic Republic. We are supposed to have a say in our governance. As it stands now, unless we are among the elite, Right-Wing, Fundamentalist (of a certain stripe) hypocrites, we don't.

Digital Camera Image [ 2004_1024Image0017 ]
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 8)

Only one selection from the Bathroom Window Series today. It's a hard decision to make for me between web efficiency and quality of the graphics I use here. Corel PhotoPaint, Photoshop, and ImageReady (the three I use most) all have the ability to web-optimize graphics so that the load faster with the least possible degradation of quality, but at reasonable sizes I can see the loss of quality, so I don't go as far toward efficient as I could. My thanks to Robin Hammer for his insight and suggestions on improving my digital camera images. Robin suggested Photoshop. I normally use PhotoPaint, but I tried Photoshop instead to see if I could optimize things a little better. Nope. Didn't do quite as well as the settings I was already using in PhotoPaint. I had changed the settings after I got the digital camera so I could save modified photos at the highest quality, and forgot to reset it to the previous settings afterward, thereby posting some rather large files inadvertently. I've been posting slightly larger graphics lately too. Formerly I limited my postings to 550 wide or 420 tall, whichever was greatest. Lately I've been doing 640 wide or 480 tall. That adds a considerable weight to the file size. It's all a matter of balance (and remembering to reset things for various purposes).

Because of such considerations, I'm seriously thinking of re-doing this page and cutting it up into more manageable chunks, perhaps a page for every day. That's a lot more overhead, but it could be managed. I just don't want to take the time to do it right now.

Quote of the Day: "Men of genius do not excel in any profession because they labor in it, but they labor in it because they excel. " -- William Hazlitt

Another rainy, gloomy day. I missed my best opportunity yesterday to go out and about and take pictures. The leaves are falling now, making visible that which was hidden. I can see Route 21 better now. I could see it not at all during the summer. I can see the city lights around the Patrick Street Bridge and the lights from the chemical plants in South Charleston better from Cliffview Avenue, where before I could barely see the occasionally twinkle through the trees. We have a lot of trees in Charleston. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for the oxygen.

(11:57 pm)

It's almost tomorrow. I went back and corrected most, if not all of the graphics I'd posted with the wrong savings when I saved them. The page should load considerably faster now. It won't load in five second, since it's toward the last of the month, but it won't take as long as it would have earlier in the day either.

I carved a vampire pumpkin last night. I don't really have a step to make a barf o'lantern this year. Tonight I carved a replica of "Jack" from the Tim Burton film. I got the mouth a little close to the bottom so you really couldn't see it very well from the road, so I attempted to hang it up. I dropped it. Damn!

It's tomorrow! Night all.


Thursday, October 28, 2004
(1:41 pm)

Tonight's Trick or Treat in the city. All the little ghouls and goblins, Jessica Simpsons and Michael Moore's will be roaming around collecting their high-fructose corn syrup swag and booty. I've got my pumpkin carved, the big black spider webs, alien head, broken skull are in the windows. The neighbor's black cat is on the porch. All is well.

Quote of the Day: "Sanity is a madness put to good uses. " -- George Santayana (1863-1952)

Digital Camera Image [2004_1022Image0004]
"One View of One Sunset from Sunset View Addition"
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 9)

Michael Moore was at Fairmont State University yesterday. I was under the impression that he was supposed to put in an appearance here, either at the University of Charleston or West Virginia State University. Guess not. Pity. I'd really liked to have seen him.

I have been so disorganized over the past two years. I think when I feel good I'm pretty well organized, and when I don't I'm not. I've tried and tried to make the effort to get things arranged in a reasonable fashion in the house in general and the studio in particular, but I've honestly not made a great deal of progress. I do have the large shelves well arranged, so I can find what I need in the way of books about art, brushes, implements, and pastels and crayons of various sorts. My plastic drawer tower is the same as it ever was. From there the entropy kicks in. Lack of space has always been a bugaboo for me, and in this house it's worse than ever. I had to give up two cabinets, a work surface, and space on either side of my drawing table. Makes it hard to position things in an accessible manner, especially when I can't just stand up and work like I used to. That's the hardest thing: not being able to stand and work, or pace back and forth when I'm developing ideas. I think my brain is hooked up directly to my feet. Ewww! Stinky brain!


Friday, October 29, 2004
(11:14 am)

I think we had a total of eight trick or treaters last night, our niece and two grandaughters included. Gretchen (16-month-old) was a black widow spider. Hannah, the three-year-old, was an orange spiderweb witch. Hard to picture? Take a look:

Digital Camera Images (merged) [2004_1028Image0011 & 2004_1028Image0013]
Gretchen                              Hannah

Quote of the Day: "When the bowl that was my heart was broken, laughter fell out. " -- Beatrice Wood

The Republicans are up to their dirty tricks already, trying to get Democrats and others who might vote against them to forgo casting their ballots. In one state they sent out 35,000 letters to newly-registered Democrats telling them that if they tried to vote they would be challenged. They went on to say that there would be a hearing and they had the right to have representation. How despicable! A judge ruled this illegal, but the letters were already out there and had done their damage. It's like the Bush-Warner signs in this state which are patently illegal, and that the Bush campaign sent word to the Warner campaign to cease and desist. Well, there are lots of the signs out there already and no one seems to be removing them.

The R's are going to position "poll watchers" in precincts in the battleground states (including this one) to challenge any voter they see fit. If I'm challenged I will politely go through the process of doing a provisional ballot or challenged ballot or whatever, then I will deliver the following speech to the challenger:

"You, sir (or madam, as the case may be), are despicable. You are so fearful that your unqualified candidates may lose if every voter who wants to vote gets the opportunity that you are resorting to underhanded intimidation tactics akin to those used in a dictatorship to coerce good people into not exercising their right to choose who represents them. This is a vile and dishonorable thing you do, and I hope you suffer long-lasting damage for your actions."

And, then (if it's a man), I'll sucker-punch him. Bastards. I fully expect people to be shot at the polls due to the Republican effort to wrest complete control of government away from the people. John Dean, of Watergate fame, is saying that we may have a new civil war here. I don't doubt it. The Republicans have polarized the people, convincing roughly half that they are better informed and qualified to make decisions affecting everyone. Well, it ain't so. Stand up to the bastards. Don't let fascism take root. Rip it out now before its tendrils dig any deeper.

Digital Camera Image [2004_1025Image0011]
"Bare Copper Beech"
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 10)

Saturday, October 30, 2004
(2:28 pm)

Digital Camera Image (modified-cropped) [2004_1023Image0001]
"Lighten Up!"
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 11)

WVU is having a difficult time with Rutgers this afternoon. Come on, guys!

Quote of the Day: "Be wiser than other people if you can, but do not tell them so. " -- Earl of Chesterfield (1694 - 1773)

Early voting has reached a fever pitch in Charleston. There was a line all the way down the block a while ago, with Bush-Cheney supporters piled up in the median on Court Street, Kerry-Edwards supporters on the corner next to the old Federal Building, a mixture on the opposite corner. One lone woman on the median was holding a Kerry sign. While stopped for the light, I blew her a kiss.


Sunday, October 31, 2004
(2:11 pm)

The college football rankings aren't out yet. There were some major upsets in the top twenty-five. Here's how I see it shaking out.

This Week   Last Week Team Record
1 1 Southern California Trojans (8-0)
2 3 Auburn Tigers (9-0)
3 6 Wisconsin Badgers (8-0)
4 2 Oklahoma Sooners (7-0)
5 7 California Golden Bears (6-1)
6 9 Utah Utes (8-0)
7 8 Texas Longhorns (7-1)
8 4 Miami-Florida Hurricanes (6-1)
9 5 Florida State Seminoles (6-2)
10 12 Michigan Wolverines (8-1)
11 10 Georgia Bulldogs (7-1)
12 11 Tennessee Volunteers (7-1)
13 15 West Virginia Mountaineers (7-1)
14 13 Virginia Cavaliers (6-1)
15 18 Boise State Broncos (8-0)
16 14 Louisville Cardinals (5-1)
17 19 LSU Tigers (6-2)
18 22 Virginia Tech Hokies (6-2)
19 23 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2)
20 16 Texas A&M Aggies (6-2)
21 20 (tie) Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-2)
22 17 Purdue Boilermakers (5-3)
23 20 (tie) Arizona State Sun Devils (6-2)
24 25 Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (5-1)
25 24 Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-3)

I think Wisconsin well deserves the number three spot. I'd rank both Virginia Tech and Louisville below WVU, since, well, we did beat Louisville and should have beaten Tech, and didn't Maryland (who we beat) take out Tech?

Okay, I just checked the ESPN site. The new rankings are out now. . . sort of -- The top ten is showing up, but the expanded rankings of 11-25 are not. I'll reserve comment and comparison until the full rankings are available.

Digital Camera Image [2004_1030Image0002]
"Bare Trees"
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 12)

I'm getting better at this digital photography thing. I'm starting to make the correlations between the digital camera and a good film camera. It also brings into play some of the salient points of a video camera. I'm beginning to put it all together and get a better product than I was getting. Still, I'd rather have a high-end camera.

Quote of the Day: "He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others. " -- Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson knew GeeWhiz?

Vote Kerry!

(7:42 pm)

Okay, I was mistaken. We haven't played Louisville this year. They join the Big East Conference next year.

The full rankings are available now. Here are the two major polls, fist the ESPN-USA Today/Coaches Poll, then the AP Poll, and a comparison with my rankings.

Ranking   Michael's ESPN-USA Today AP
2 Auburn Oklahoma Oklahoma
3 Wisconsin Auburn Auburn
4 Oklahoma Wisconsin California
5 California Georgia Wisconsin
6 Utah California Texas
7 Texas Texas Utah
8 Miami Utah Georgia
9 Florida State Michigan Tennessee
10 Michigan Miami Michigan
11 Georgia Tennessee Miami
12 Tennessee West Virginia Virginia
13 West Virginia Virginia (TIE) Florida State
14 Virginia Florida State(TIE 13) Louisville
15 Boise State Boise State West Virginia
16 Louisville Louisville Boise State
18 Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
19 Iowa Oklahoma State Oklahoma State
20 Texas A&M Iowa Iowa
21 Oklahoma State Southern Miss Southern Miss
22 Purdue Texas A&M Texas A&M
23 Arizona State Arizona State ARizona State
24 Southern Miss Northern Illinois Boston College
25 Minnesota Boston College UTEP

There are a number of slots where we all agree. Most, however, are divergent. I ranked Oklahoma lower because Oklahoma State very nearly beat them. Looking back, I might have ranked State a little higher. I thought West Virginia deserved a little bump because they won, and because quite a few of the top twenty-five lost or came close to losing. I didn't however bump them up as much as the ESPN poll. It's all subjective and mostly an educated guess, so I suppose my "poll" is about as good as any.


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