Sunday, April 30, 2006


Today was theme day at the yahoo group. The theme was "sentimental", and it was a struggle. Here’s my entry, and the "required" story…. .

OK, Sentimental theme….. get ready for a long story:
When I was getting ready to go to college, back in 1978, I took my summer job money, and invested in a “real” stereo system, components vs “all-in-one”. A real rite-of—passage back then, probably like getting your first iPod today!! The heart of the system was a JVC Receiver, with the coolest blue display!! My older brother and I both had the same receiver, though I bought mine as a floor model, saved a few precious bucks.

I loved that receiver. Maybe it’s a “guy thing”, but love it I did….

During the summer between Junior and Senior year, my apartment got hit by lightning, and my dear JVC was one of the casualties. A buddy of mine worked at the tech service department, I was a budding electrical engineer, we decided to try to fix that sucker. We spent days and days, pulling transistors, testing them, finding them bad, and replacing them. Eventually, we got it so that at full volume, you could hear the music… IF (and only if) you put your ear right next to the speaker. Alas, a lost cause.

Through the years, I’ve had several other music systems, none of which captured my fancy. And every time I’d visit my brother, there was his old workhorse, still cranking out the tunes. Then I discovered the joys of eBay, and one day found another same-vintage JVC receiver! Not an exact match, but close enough. And it now sits proudly in my “study”, still hooked to a turntable, ready to do my bidding. And just looking at it brings a smile….

Saturday, April 29, 2006


OK, it's been a while since I did a "mock" song set, but I'm sitting here listening to iTunes, and was inspired. So how about this one:

Heros Are Hard To Find - Fleetwood Mac
Time Loves a Hero - Little Feat
Too Late The Hero - John Entwistle
Hero Takes A Fall - The Bangles

Friday, April 28, 2006

Better Photo Winners has (finally) gotten around to announcing their March winners. This is as late as I remember them ever being, but I won’t complain, I snagged a 2nd and two finalists!...

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Blue Blocks
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Your Favorite Tree?

Today (4/28) is Arbor Day, a day to celebrate all things "tree"!! So everybody should go hug a tree.... there was an interesting article in our local paper, talking about "your favorite tree". An interesting concept, and a fun diversion; but pretty hard for a tree-nut like me to choose. I'll say the sycamore in my back yeard, that I planted as a 6-7' stick from the long defunct K-Mart back in 1989, which now towers over the back yard. But just to celebrate our leafy friends, here's a selection of 5 of tree photos from past postings...

Pocohontas, Illinois

Just crusin’ around at lunch the other day, popped over to wonderful Pocohantas, Illinois. Pokey, as the people around here call it, has found recent renown as the home of country music superstar Gretchen Wilson. This probably isn’t a shot the Chamber of Commerce would want, but I liked the mood of this old building… . .

Ooo Eee Ooo Ah Ah, Ting Tang Walla-Walla Bing Bang.....

On this day 4/28 in 1958, David Seville hits #1 on Billboard's pop charts with "The Witch Doctor". The song used the unusual technique of recording the singer's voice at a different speed than the music. Songwriter and singer Ross Bagdasarian (who recorded under the name David Seville) topped the charts again at the end of the year with "The Chipmunk Song," sung by his chipper cartoon band creation, the Chipmunks. I loved this song when I was a youn'un, back in the early 60's. My son loves it too. For some reason, my daughters were never as amused.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Ok, I’m bad. Haven’t posted in 2+ days, and no real excuse other than “just life”…. Well, I’ll try and make it up with multiple posts / photos over the next couple of days.….

Monday, April 24, 2006

Self Portrait, Of Sorts

I got a Picture of the Day (POTD) award today, over at PhotoShowdown. My first recognition in a few weeks. It's a strange sort of leap, but the title was inspired by the R.E.M. song "Carnival of Sorts", from their Chronic Town EP, way back in 1982. Which I bought on vinyl way back in 1982, btw (and still have, of course).

"There's a secret stigma, reaping wheel.
Diminish, a carnival of sorts.
Chronic town, poster torn, reaping wheel.
Stranger, stranger to these parts"
R.E.M. - Chronic Town

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ya Picked A FIne Time To Leave Me Lucille

Kenny Rodgers hit the top 40 on this date (4/23) back in 1977, with that crossover classic, "Lucille". This one made it up to #5 of the pop charts. I remember listening to this on the jukebox at the little pizza joint just off campus, in the basement of the A&P grocery store. A tablefull of friends singing along (off key).... You probably had to bee there.

Dogwood Blossom

We have a new (baby) Dogwood tree in the back yard this year. Our first new tree in many years, replacing a maple we grew from seed, which had to taken out during our backyard project. Between that and just cleaning-up, we took down 4 “from seed” trees since last fall (all maples). Well, I suppose 1 dogwood can offset 4 maples, huh? This dogwood is about 6-7ft tall, and managed only 3-4 little flowers in it’s first spring with us… But ain't they cute?

Friday, April 21, 2006

People Shots...

I’ve always said I “don’t do people”, when discussing photography, at least. Meaning that I don’t take pictures of people, especially portraits. But a recent question on one of my yahoo groups got me reflecting…
If you could photograph any person alive or not alive, who would it be?”

And while that’s a question for a different forum, it got me thinking about the kinds of people pictures I do take….. SO, for your consideration (and hopefully enjoyment), a collection of my people shots, that have been recognized:

Monthly Finalist, 05/2003
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Monthly Finalist, 06/2003
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Monthly Finalist, 07/2004
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Monthly Finalist, 11/2004
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Monthly Finalist, 04/2005
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POTD, 05/2005
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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Azaleas In Bloom!

Last year, my oldest daughter planted a couple Azalea bushes in our back yard. The same yard that has since been completely dug up, regraded and put back together. During the mess, we dug up the Azaleas, and put them in a big bucket, with great debate as to if they’d survive the experience. We replanted them 3-4 weeks ago, and as these photos (taken this morning) show, they have survived, and seem to be thriving!! . .

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bad Time

This day (4/19) back in 1975 was one of those "huh?" days in music history. Hitting the Top 40 on 4/19/1975: the novelty song "Shaving Cream" by Benny Bell, and "The Beer Barrel Polka" by Bobby Vinton. There's nothing like a little rock and roll, and these are NOTHING like a little rock and roll. On the flip side, Bowie's "Young Americans" and "Bad Time" by Grand Funk Railroad also came out 4/19/75. None of these songs cracked the top 25....

In the Fountain

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

You're Shaking My Confidence Daily

Simon and Garfunkel's hit Cecilia hit the Top 40 today (4/18) back in 1970. This is one of those infectious, happy little songs with, well, depressing lyrics. "Making love in the afternoon with Cecelia, up in my bedroom. I got up to wash my face, when I come back to bed someone's taken my place." I can see where that would shake your confidence...... Cecilia made it all the way up to #4, and into our collective concsiousness...

In A Gadda Da Vida?

Another shot from Missouri Botanical Garden, from our Good Friday outing. I left this one pretty large, since it is a bit busy…. . .

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, baby, Don't you know that I'm lovin' you
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, honey, Don't you know that I'll always be true
Oh won't you come with me And take my hand
Oh won't you come with me, We'll walk this land
And please, please, take my hand

Monday, April 17, 2006

Quote of the Day...

"Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed"
Hawthorne, The Marble Faun


At the Missouri Botanical Garden last Friday. These big honking fish, apparently called Koi, were hanging out under a footbridge, to the delight of the assemblage. My son had to join in the frenzy of feeding them.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Botanical Garden

We went to Missouri Botanical Garden yesterday, after spending an hour in traffic trying to get to the zoo (there was no parking available anywhere NEAR the zoo!)…. In almost 17 years living out here, I’d never been to MBG. We had a nice outing, though it was pretty crowded, too. But I did prove to myself that I’m not very good at photographing flowers. Here’s a few attempts. Maybe if I converted them to B&W?? . .

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Just something I noticed at a local park, while my son was on the playset…. . .

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rust Never Sleeps

I was hiking with my son last weekend, and came across this old truck frame, dead and rotting… At least I presume it was a truck. No idea how long it’s been there, but it’s not recent!! . .

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Egg Hunt

Our church does the Easter Egg Hunt on Palm Sunday, which means last Sunday. Here, my son is headed over the hill, looking for any potential overlooked gems….. The whole thing takes maybe ½ hour, and the kids seem to have a ball.

I just like the B&W, really.....

Your Brain's Pattern

Structured and organized, you have a knack for thinking clearly.
You are very logical - and you don't let your thoughts get polluted with emotions.
And while your thoughts are pretty serious, they're anything from boring.
It's minds like yours that have built the great cities of the world!

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Long & Winding Road.....

On this date (4/10) back in 1970, Paul McCartney released his first solo album and formally announced that the Beatles had broken up. Details at

Watershed Nature Center

I’ve been a big fan of Edwardsville’s Watershed Nature Center ever since it opened, and try to get up there at least a few times a year for a Nature-Break. Last Saturday, my son and I went for a walk near sunset. We had the place to ourselves, just us and the wildlife.

This is the Welcome Center, from behind, with reflection on the lake. The trees are just getting ready to explode in green!

Looking back across the lake, with some sort of waterfowl ambling along….

The Watershed Nature Center shows up on the blog occasionally, like here, and here, and here…..

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Looks Like Home To Me!

My wife and younger daughter are on a college visiting trip, and sent me these pictures from their drive. This is SW Va, not far from Lynchburg...

I want to be there. ....

Bluebird (of Happiness?)

Not a great shot, but a real live bluebird, spotted yesterday at the Watershed Nature Center.
Listen to my bluebird laugh, She can't tell you why.
Deep within her heart, you see, She knows only crying. Just crying.
There she sits, a lofty perch. Strangest color blue.
Flying is forgotten now. Thinks only of you. Just you.
So, get all those blues, Must be a thousand hues.
And be just differently used. You just know.
You sit there mesmerized By the depth of those eyes
That you can't categorize. She got soul.
She got soul. She got soul. She got soul!
Do you think she knows you? Do you think at all?
Soon she's going to fly away. Sadness is her own.
Reverse of a death of tears And go home, and go home.
. . .
(Buffalo Springfield)


OK, a little example of the effects of a polarizing filter, which the only filter I use. I like to think of polarizing filter as sunglasses for your camera; they cut glare, reduce reflections and can deepen colors. A circular polarizer has 2 discs, and rotating them can adjust the effect.

Here’s the “before shot”, noontime sun on the water….

Here’s the same view, with the polarizer adjusted for maximum effect.….

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I Never Asked To Be A Citizen....

I wish I knew the story behind this, but it’s just something I came across today, while walking with my son…; . .