Nov 12

The Three Graces… Joy, Charm, Beauty

The Three Graces, by Antonio Canova

In Greek mythology, the three goddesses of joy, charm, and beauty. The daughters of the god Zeus and the nymph Eurynome, they were named Aglaia (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Good Cheer).

The Graces presided over banquets, dances, and all other pleasurable social events, and brought joy and goodwill to both gods and mortals. They were the special attendants of the divinities of love, Aphrodite and Eros, and together with companions, the Muses, they sang to the gods on Mount Olympus, and danced to beautiful music that the god Apollo made upon his lyre.

In some legends Aglaia was wed to Hephaestus, the craftsman among the gods. Their marriage explains the traditional association of the Graces with the arts; like the Muses, they were believed to endow artists and poets with the ability to create beautiful works of art. The Graces were rarely treated as individuals, but always together as a kind of triple embodiment of grace and beauty.

In art they are usually represented as lithe young maidens, dancing in a circle.

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Nov 12

Thanksgiving 2012

So, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, time to kick back from the festivities for a bit then gear up for the next big holiday, Christmas. It’s also Black Friday for so many shoppers who are willing to fight the hoards and save a few bucks on all the bargains offered by the retailers. No thank you… I’ll pass!

I’m in Arizona right now, away from the rest of my family, and planned on making my own Thanksgiving dinner. I was OK with it, we’d Skype for a while and then go take our post-dinner naps.

Then a few days ago my neighbors, Ken and Cathy, invited me to have dinner with them. I like Ken and Cathy and quickly accepted the offer. They’d also invited a couple other neighbors. Fawn is a delightful Canadian woman who moved to America 12 years ago. Alan is a very effusive 72 year old English man who moved here 26 years ago. He’s very proud of his becoming an American citizen 20 years ago. The conversations that ensued were lively and full of humor.

Oh-oh… The conversation turns ugly
Eventually though, the subject matter filtered down to religion and politics. Wow! I’d suspected that my hosts were somewhat conservative, but we’re talking uber-conservative religious right.

Ken started us off with the comment that we are feeling God’s wrath because of the sinful liberal agenda we’ve embraced and the entitlement society we’ve become. I was taken aback by his conversation starter. He’s a quiet man, but very outspoken about religion and politics.

Alan joined right in and threw in our immigration policies and cheered Arizona’s steps to curb the illegal alien problem. “Send them all back to Mexico. If they want to come to America, they should do it legally, like I did. But they (Mexicans) won’t do it because they’re not smart enough. They’re stupid, lazy people.” I came very close to getting up and leaving after that comment. I made a few rebuttals, but they fell on deaf ears.

And of course there was Obama bashing. Every tea-party issue came up… especially the so-called birther controversy. And now I don’t know how Obama is going to solve our economic crisis… I learned that he can’t even balance a checkbook. I also learned that our President is a wimp when it comes to foreign policy. And that he’s done nothing, accomplished nothing, and will continue to do nothing to move our nation back into prosperity.

Oh, and by the way, We knew where Osama bin Laden was on Bill Clinton’s watch. Clinton did nothing about it, leaving the time bomb for George W. Bush to defuse. And Clinton should have been able to get to Osama bin Laden, apparently we had the intelligence then and knew where he was.

When I asked why Bush didn’t get bin Laden, it was because Clinton’s lack of foresight ultimately allowed 9/11 to happen. Osama bin Laden went into deep underground and was impossible to track down. “Ahh…”,I said,”he must have been hidden very well. We didn’t find him until Obama became president.” The subject changed after that.

By the time I left, everyone knew that I voted for Barack Obama. Ken and Cathy were gracious hosts… they told me they’d pray for me.

Nov 12

Hey Joe – Otis Taylor

Chuck Campbell (Campbell Brothers) on pedal steel guitar; Anne Harris, violin; Nick Amodeo, bass; and Larry Thompson on drums.

Nov 12


These little guys just fascinate me…

They’re very protective of their food supply. They’ll chase other birds away if they get too close. This one perches on a branch ten feet away and stands guard against all threats to its feeder.

Click on the animation for a larger look.

Nov 12

The Photographer…

I found this quote on Flickr and love it…

Although he calls himself the “photographer” in these lines, it is only because he uses a camera to shoot pictures. From time to time, he discovers – mostly by chance – some things a camera can do. One day, it’s the DOF, another day the aperture correction, but he finds that he can’t really get interested in the technique.
The only thing he really cares for is the composition of the picture and above all, how the light touches her skin. Therefore, they depend mostly on how and when the sun shines, on windows and curtains and sometimes, on a mirror to give some additional light.

See below the fold for the photo. (NSFW)

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Nov 12

Photoshopping… OK or not OK?

I recently drove from Seattle to Phoenix with my two dogs, Sammy and Roxy. They are very good travelers, and I usually find an off-the-highway spot to give them water and let them stretch a bit every couple hours. Believe me, I like the stretch too! I drive a mile or two into the desert so they can run free and so I can look around for photo ops.

I didn’t shoot very many photos this trip. I was anxious to get to Phoenix! But I did get a few.

The photo below is pretty over-exposed, my own fault for being in a hurry! I like the photo as it captures a moment for me. I doubt if anyone else will see what I see in my minds eye, but that’s ok.

So I decided to do a little post processing on it and was pleased that I was able to save it.


It’s a pretty sad photo… it’s way overexposed, the sky is blown out, its tilted… the horizon dips to the right, and it has that icky blue haze. I used a strighten tool to square it up, adjusted the brightness and contrast, tweaked the hue and saturation, added a bit of warmth, and cropped some of the sky out.


I like the result, it reflects what I actually saw much better.

So, my answer to the question… a resounding YES! Photoshopping is just fine. While I prefer getting good shots right out of the camera, sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. Embrace technology!

Nov 12

GOP woes…


Nov 12

So true…

Nov 12

For my family and friends…

I am a Type 2 Diabetic.

I write this as a plea for YOU to become aware of one of the leading causes of death in America… in the world.

It’s long, but PLEASE read the entire article!

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes, is the most common type of diabetes. About 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2. People can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older people. People who are overweight and inactive are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

In type 2 and other types of diabetes, you have too much glucose, also called sugar, in your blood. People with diabetes have problems converting food to energy. After a meal, food is broken down into glucose, which is carried by your blood to cells throughout your body. With the help of the hormone insulin, cells absorb glucose from your blood and use it for energy. Insulin is made in the pancreas, an organ located behind the stomach.

Type 2 diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition linked to excess weight in which your body’s cells do not use insulin properly. As a result, your body needs more insulin to help glucose enter cells. At first, your pancreas keeps up with the added demand by producing more insulin. But in time, your pancreas loses its ability to produce enough insulin, and blood glucose levels rise.

Over time, high blood glucose damages nerves and blood vessels, leading to problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, dental disease, and amputations. Other problems of diabetes may include increased risk of getting other diseases, loss of mobility with aging, depression, and pregnancy problems.

What Were My Symptoms?

My awareness of any changes really sneaked up on me. Although I’d been diagnosed pre-diabetic for a few years (blood glucose hovering around 130 mg/dl), I didn’t feel any different, no symptoms, no real worries in my mind. In early 2007, I began to notice the symptoms but I didn’t even get it that they were symptoms.

  1. Insatiable thirst
  2. Extreme drowsiness
  3. Low energy and fatigue
  4. Lack of motivation
  5. Loss of concentration
  6. Unexplained weight loss
  7. Eyeglass prescription change

If you’ve ever researched diabetes, you know that these are classic signs of Type 2 Diabetes. These symptoms are not once-in-a-while, we all have moments or days when we feel at least one of them. The symptoms are constant. All the time. I realize now that I was sick for almost a year before I went to the doctor. It’s THAT sneaky. I would call in sick to work almost every week; I’d spend my lunch hour napping in my truck; I’d go through at least a six-pack of Diet Coke every day; I was duped into thinking my diet was ok because I lost 28 pounds in two months even though I hadn’t changed my diet during that time.

How Did I Finally Get Myself Diagnosed?

It wasn’t until my manager (a diabetic) approached me and suggested I see my doctor that I began to understand how telling my symptoms were. They had become the norm for me.

I got home from work and dug out my long unused glucose meter and checked my blood sugar for the first time in over a year.

It read 396 mg/dl. Normal for fasting is 100 mg/dl or less.

I made my doctor appointment and went in actually feeling pretty good about my unexplained weight loss of 28 pounds. She wasn’t so thrilled and immediately prescribed insulin shots. No pills, no messing around… shots, injections, needles. I became an official Insulin-dependent Type 2 Diabetic.

First Year Daily Routine

I had to (and still do) check my glucose levels at least four times a day. Once in the morning and before each meal. That requires a poke in the finger with a lancet, just enough to draw a small drop of blood. The drop of blood is drawn onto a test strip in a glucose monitor. A few seconds later I’d get a reading on the monitor. Based on that and the number of carbohydrates I expected to eat for that meal, I’d determine how much fast acting insulin I had to inject. Typically anywhere from just a few units to ten or more units.

At night before bed, I’d have an injection of a longer acting insulin to last through the night and attempt to maintain a good low basal rate of glucose.

So, a minimum of four finger pokes a day, which sting, and a minimum of five shots in the stomach or leg a day… every day. That’s a minimum of 9 pokes a day, 63 pokes a week, 270 pokes a month. My fingertips bruise, and my tummy has track marks.

And you can’t take a break. If you go somewhere, it either has to be timed between meals or you have to drag all your gear along. There are insulin pens that help reduce what you pack along; a vial of insulin, alcohol wipes, and, of course, hypodermic needles. But you still have a glucose monitor, a vial of test strips, and a lancet device.

~to be continued~

Nov 12

51st state?

AP/ November 7, 2012, 9:55 AM
Puerto Rico votes for U.S. statehood in non-binding referendum

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO A slim majority of Puerto Ricans sought to change their ties with the United States and become the 51st U.S. state in a non-binding referendum that would require final approval from Congress.

The two-part referendum asked whether the island wanted to change its 114-year relationship with the United States. Nearly 54 percent, or 922,374 people, sought to change it, while 46 percent, or 786,749 people, favored the status quo. Ninety-six percent of 1,643 precincts were reporting as of early Wednesday.

The second question asked voters to choose from three options, with statehood by far the favorite, garnering 61 percent. Sovereign free association, which would have allowed for more autonomy, received 33 percent, while independence got 5 percent.

President Obama earlier expressed support for the referendum and pledged to respect the will of the people in the event of a clear majority.
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