Friday, August 28, 2009

"Fried Fridays: Udderly unbelievable..."

When you see the above picture, you think of one of two things:

A) it's a cartoon picture of cows, or...
B) it's the SOUTH PARK COWS!!!!!!

I, being of twisted mind, recognize the South Park Cows in a millisecond, since I relate and respond positively to the whole deranged 'mission' of the South Park series on Comedy Central. "Guilty as charged, your Honor," is all I have to say.

I will also admit that I found, for the second week in a row, really slim pickens for "Fried Fridays" awards...John sent me a story about a Renaissance wine label that made it illegal to sell in Alabama because breasts were shown....let's see, we stress for young and old to go to museums for culture, but when said (nude) culture comes to the marketplace we place hypocritical rules on it. "Venus on the Half Shell" is cool in a museum, but verboten on an alcoholic beverage...uh, okay.

Yeah, dig I had to do, and in choosing this week's "Fried Fridays" winner I was not overwhelmed by this story, weird as it is. I love animals. I understand animals. Apparently, across the "Big Pond" things are a little different than they are here in the states...


Let's take bears, for example. A mama bear who has a cub or cubs, and you get too can curl up like a rock all you want and you probably won't live to go on Oprah and tell about it. Kapisch?

Apparently, beloved bovines have an equally darker side to their moon, especially on the far side of the Atlantic. In the past 8 years in Britain, there have been ONLY 18 deaths from cows. (???) That's the official wording. "Only" 18 deaths. Maybe they're taking this "Eat More Chick'n!" thing a little too seriously...

One cultural difference between here and there is that country 'walks' take you across fields that either belong to others or that others' cows graze on...but it's all 'open' and, well, you do your thing and walk. Many walk with 4-leggeds we call dogs...and, just maybe, that's from where this story emanates...

People are being trampled to death by heretofore docile cows. So much so that farmers have now issued warnings about cow tramplings...

(cue the crickets to chirp, for those not scared of being trampled on...)

The list of victims is unusually long, and most revolve around Fido being on a lead, as said 2-legged owners walk them across communal fields. Mad cows focus on the pup and not the 2-legged, but because most 2-leggeds keep Fifi on a leash, they become the one-in-the-same target as el poochy...God forbid there are calves on the hoof...

Then again, some farmers have also become victims as cattle have left their mark, literally and figuratively, on said owners. Trampled. Crushed against a stone wall. Why make a list, as it's all whacked. It's a crazy world out there. A mad world, no less...

Enjoy your chicken sandwich, today!!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The good ol' days....

As I was going through files of stuff and clutter, creating folders and files of things worth saving and jettisoning the rest, I ran across something I'd somehow not lost in all my shuffles and it got me to thinking about my TV years, now that I only pinch-hit for weather.

First and foremost I've always been the weather guy, getting my start at WRIC-8 in Richmond, Virginia. My favorite years were the 3.5 I worked on-air at The Weather Channel (Atlanta), which was a great place to work. Can't say I'm fond at all of what and how they do things now, but back several years it was very much a feeling of 'family'.

As that all started I was the weekend person at WLOS in Asheville from 5a until midnight, doing all the shows...which back then included an hour-long live Saturday and Sunday morning show that was not your 'normal' type of show you see today. The main anchor, Suzanne Hudson, was a go-getter in setting up creative interviews and segments each week, which were filtered in with the regular news, weather, and sports. There was "Craft Chick" who came in to demonstrate creative things that can be made at home by children...Father Frank (priest) who did some whizbang cooking on the set...before a Super Bowl we had 4 different Barcolounger chairs and did a tongue-in-cheek 'tester' segment with production personnel in the studio...they would sit, wiggle their butts, pretend like their picking up/putting down a 'soda', seeing how quickly they could draw the remote out to freeze the action...they were fun shows and viewers ate it up.

And the station canned 'em. Sinclair Broadcasting, need I say more?

Figured you'd get a kick out of this Polaroid an unnamed viewer sent in, with the following hand-written note:

Like to have some fun with Bob,
show him that he has one fan, "Sweet Pea".
I think he likes Bob."

Apparently this fluffy feline would go and sit in front of the TV and watch me every time I came on to do the weather! And so this shot was sprung on me at the end of the show, full screen...crying shame that type of show is all but gone from the airwaves.
Time to go walk ye ol' pup and stretch my legs...looks like the forecast gets wet tomorrow with Danny Boy coming up the coast. Wheeeedoggies!

Monday, August 24, 2009

"NO Meth-od to my madness..."

Out of the gate as a tyke, I was best 'buds' with allergies. There was a time dear ol' mom would get me to the allergist for tests, and I'd leave with vials for shots and prescriptions for Dimetapp and Chlortrimeton. Just an allergic kid, I.

The human body is pretty can grow out of allergies just as easily as you can grow into them, and I did enjoy some years without too much trouble.

It's interesting to note that, be it at News 14 or at WSOC TV9, I can go bonkers with a sneezing attack once a month for reasons totally unbeknownst to me, except that studios are prone to high levels of dust with the hot lights. When I get a sneezing attack, it ain't pretty...and there is nothing worse than sneezing on-air when you're live, or having to back out of the frame when your nose runs like water...sorry for the gross factor, but it's real and it happens, and I have no doubt it shows up nicely on large HDTV screens!

My medicine of choice? Generic pseudoephedrine. Works like a charm, every time. Ultimately it dries me up and I feel under control, again. But there is one problem that has developed the past few years...

Government anti-drug regulations. To get the pills I have to provide my license and home address, as I'm limited as to how much I can get, as in mg per month. All thanks to the proliferation of crystal meth over the years, which uses pseudoephedrine as the 'runner' to speed up delivery of the drug through the bloodstream. In itself, that regulation has significantly reduced the 'visible' meth activity...the flip side is it's a pain in the @ss for me to get and use when I'm in allergy season. Big "grrrrrrrr" factor for me...

So the latest headlines are letting everyone know that there is now a new and improved method for using limited amounts of pseudoephedrine to create smaller but quicker and easier amounts of meth. No more cooking on the stove, no more arsenic byproducts...this new method is kind of like a 'shake and bake' that can be done in the back seat of a car.

It still comes with its risks, namely a life-taking explosion if not done properly...but it's a new way to make meth with 'monthly legal' amounts of pseudoephedrine, flying under the regulatory 'radar' screen...

Don't know what the government follow-up will be, but I will be the first to become infuriated if authorities take pseudoephedrine away from legitimate allergy sufferers. It's nothing to sneeze at, I tell ya!

So here's a little knowledge for your craw, speaking of allergy-related things....

I would imagine that most of us don't ask for a 'tissue' or a 'handkerchief'; rather, we ask for a 'kleenex'. What do we call words that were originally proper nouns that through cultural use and time have become more generic, vernacular terms?


Which opens a mini can of worms because an 'eponym' is usually when a person's name becomes associated with something intellectual property law, a word like 'kleenex' is referred to as a 'proprietary eponym'. There, I hope I've done a good job confusing you. There was a good reason I didn't go to law school...

Now, go have a great Tuesday, everybody!

"Monday Mop-Up: Engage the brain"

After a long week of weather fill-in 6 of the past 7 days, I'm ready to get back to the land of Sawdust. First order of business is to pick-up my 5 'kids' from the Folk Art Center in Asheville, as judging took place last Friday, then get to work on a new crop of lower key half-pipes.

As I sit and muse over the news and random thoughts going through my head, several stories and issues come to mind that leave me perplexed as to how to decide which of 2 statements I want to stress more than the other. Regardless of circumstances, the loss of life does immediately make one take the compassionate/condolence route for all the obvious reasons. But I have to admit that the first thought-wave that came up was, "Why are some people SO damn stupid???"

Invincibility? "Oh, it could never happen to me." "I've seen it on TV many times and it doesn't look that dangerous." "I just wanted a little taste of the experience since it doesn't happen too often."

Being drawn to danger...

At Wrightsville Beach, NC alone, over 50 water rescues were carried out Saturday as "Bill's" churning waters pummeled the Carolina coastline. Beaches were closed, rip current warnings galore were posted, lifeguards and police were endlessly busy keeping people away...and yet...and yet, the world seems to be full of complete idiots who went out in the water anyway, risking not only their own lives but those of the rescuers. Rip currents can easily kill.

One 7 year-old joined the victim list, regrettably. A man and his 2 daughters, 12 and 7, went right up on the rocks at Acadia National Park (Maine) to watch the ferocious 15-foot waves (along with thousands of others), and an especially large one washed the 2 into the sea with tragic consequences. At least 11 others nearby went to the hospital for broken bones from being smashed against the boulders. Setting aside the compassionate sentiments, it was stupidly foolish to be there. I don't fault TV and entertainment for helping fuel peoples' sense of adventure, though it does...we are each personally responsible for our decisions, for engaging our brains.

Senseless tragedy. Totally unnecessary. Totally preventable.

And I see where Green Bay, WI hired it's first black police officer in it's 152-year history. Coincidence? I think not. We have oodles of race issues alive and well in this country, moving across all lines and all directions. Once again, it comes down to personal choices and decisions we each should empower ourselves to make. If we want this world to be a better place, then we have to take our own actions and do our part. It's that simple for all, yet it's that difficult for some.

On a cool note, even though I'm not into sports, Eric Bruntlett (Phillies) made a game-ending triple play by himself, the second-time ever it's ended a game (the other back in the late 20s). With a double steal in progress, the line drive up the middle was snagged, the bag touched to get the lead runner, and then a short jump to tag the trailing runner who had zero time to put on the brakes and go back. Over in a flash. Always neat when something truly rare happens like that...

Hard to believe August is almost over...time flies when you're weathering a recession, eh?! May we all think smartly today and every day. It has salubrious benefits.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"We interrupt this program..."

Look as I might, I wasn't led to any particular story that tripped my "Fried Fridays" trigger, and with my early AM shift at News 14 today I have to move on to other things. Apologies, loyal readers!

(click on pics to enlarge)

With that said I'm putting up pics of one of the 5 flutes I turned in Tuesday for jurying, and one of my all-time faves: my Great Blue Heron flute, that is now part of a Charlotte school's museum. They graciously loaned it back to me for a couple of weeks...always a thrill to see an old 'kid' of mine and take it out for a whirl!

The body is Quilted Maple from the Pacific Northwest, capped on both ends with Madrone burl. Black Walnut was used around the finger put those in, you tune the flute, then drop a 1/2" drill bit into the center. Add in a 1/2" plug of your wood of choice, sand to the barrel, then redrill the original sized hole in the center and fine-tune. Makes for a nice touch.

The block is a single piece of Poplar, carved and burned to it's final shape. I didn't have taxidermy eyes back when I made this so I painted inserted beads. When I get into fragile territory like the breeding plumage off the back of the head, I impregnate it with a watery superglue to strengthen it.

The inlaid dragonfly was made with Turqouise and Lapis for the body, and crushed Abalone and Aluminum dust for the gossamer wings. The Heron and Dragonfly make a nice totem tandem. (FYI, the holes below the dragonfly are simply tuning holes)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A couple more flutes...


Following up on Monday's post of the new Green Heron flute, the other new one is my "Thunderbird" flute. Like the heron flute, the bird-beak design body is figured Black Walnut with turquoise accent inlays...

...and it's a mid G flute with a bold, clear voice. While the block is large and looks heavy, it's actually quite lightweight. The piece of Claro Walnut I used for the Thunderbird had been drying for decades and is surprisingly light.

Makes for a nicely balanced flute when held, it does.


It's been a while since I got to see, hold, and play Jonah, now in a private collection. Once I get it back from judging, I'm converting it to a 6-hole for the owner, which is fairly easy to do...just no room for error!

I chose to keep the whale more simplistic in design and not painted, so as to mimic it swimming upward from the briny depths. The block can be turned either way, so I turned Jonah backwards to make it look like the whale is coming up from behind - poor guy never saw it coming! Too, I didn't use my glossy finish on this flute, instead opting for a hand-rubbed oil and wax finish.

It's no fluke that I designed the whale to wrap around and over the end of the flute like it does. OK, it IS a fluke, and I DID design it that way...and I love it! The wood is Makore (African Cherry), and I've said it before and I'll say it again: it is a phenomenal tone wood to use for instruments. All my Makore flutes kick proverbial tail, and this one is no exception.

While Jonah (Spruce) is not proportionate to the boat, the boat was designed from drawings I found online of period Gallilean fishing boats (Peruvian Walnut). Just an overall fun 'theme' flute that still makes me smile. FYI, the owner who commissioned 'Jonah' plays right-over-left, hence the lower finger holes curving left as opposed to right.


Time for some Carolina storms to get attitudes later today and tomorrow...but the cooler, fresher air coming in by Sunday into next week will be well worth it! Double-shift days like today and tomorrow make me glad I'm hourly! ;-)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hormonally speaking...

Too tired and late to do more than cut and paste...thanks to Rita for the email that had this laugher ! Enjoy! The Asheville delivery went fine...I'm just a bit wiped out and have yet to catch up on my sleep...but I'm never too tired to laugh! :-)
The Hormone Guide
Women will understand this!
Men should memorize it!

Every woman knows that there are days when all a man has to do is open his mouth and he takes his life in his hands! This is a handy guide that should be carried like a driver's license in the wallet of every husband, boyfriend, co-worker or significant other!





What's for

Can I help you
with dinner?

Where would you like
to go for dinner?

Here, have some wine.

Are you
wearing that?

You sure
look good in brown!

WOW! Look at you!

Here, have some wine

What are you
so worked up about?

Could we be

Here's my paycheck.

Here, have some wine.

Should you be
eating that?

You know, there are
a lot of apples left.

Can I get you a piece
of chocolate with that?

Here, have some wine.

What did you
DO all day?

I hope you didn't
over-do it today.

I've always loved you
in that robe!

Here, have some wine.

13 Things PMS Stands For
1. Pass My Shotgun

2. Psychotic Mood Shift

Perpetual Munching Spree

4. Puffy Mid-Section

5. People Make me Sick

6. Provide Me Sweets

7. Pardon My Sobbing

8. Pimples May Surface

9. Pass My Sweatpants

10. Pissy Mood Syndrome

11. Plainly; Men Suck

12. Pack My Stuff

and my
favorite one:

Potential Murder Suspect

Forward this information to all of your friends and those who might need a good laugh...
and men who need a warning.
And, have some wine.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Delivery day!

(click pics to enlarge)

I think I could tweak and tweak and tweak myself into trouble with flutes...the more you look closely, the more you can see you want to diddle with, seeing things that 999 out of 1,000 pair of eyes would never ever see! Alas, gussying up the 5 flutes to take to Asheville today, Tuesday, for judging later this week,for potential membership in the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

Too, yesterday was a squirrely one that I won't go into detail about...except to say when you're looking for a break for things to slow down so you can catch your breath, that's when a bevvy of other things flare up like a California wildfire! Can I get an "AMEN!" from the choir???!!!

For today, I'm posting detailed pics of just the freshly finished Green Heron flute (low E), complete with carved creek and trio of Grandfather rocks. The body is figured Black Walnut, and the block is a single piece of Basswood (plus the glass eyes).

What's peculiar about photography sometimes is how certain colors don't translate exactly; while the Heron's head looks rather light and blue, it's grayer and darker...tweak as I might I couldn't get a great match, but you get the idea!

Lastly, I took a group shot of the 5 show flutes I'm turning in:

From top to bottom they are:

1. "Praying Hands" (mid F#) in Papua New Guinea Walnut, Dogwood and Bloodwood
(loaned from private collection)

2. "Jonah and the Whale" (low E) in Makore with a Galilean boat of Peruvian Walnut
(loaned from private collection)

3. "Great Blue Heron" (low E) in Quilted Maple, burl caps, dragonfly inlay and Poplar head
(loaned from private collection)

4. "Green Heron" (low E) per above

5. "Thunderbird" (mid G) in figured Black Walnut and Claro Walnut T-bird w/ turquoise

I'll show some of the details in other flutes in forthcoming blogs shortly. For now, I've been burning waaaaay too much midnight oil during the daylight hours so I'm going to go pull my plug. Y'all be good now, y'hear?!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I get the picture.....

...and in a moment you will, too.

Costco sends out a magazine with articles and ads on product offerings, including insurance offers and home-related services. In a recent issue was this full-page splash for their International Photo Contest 2009:

(click on all pics to enlarge and hopefull read the type better)

Checking out the lower right of the pic above, some pretty nice prizes jump out at you. Sure, the odds are stacked against you in a monumental way, but whattheheck, you might want to give it a try. (Or not.)

Years ago I had a photography studio and was deep into large format (4x5 and 8x10 view cameras), Bronica ETRS system for weddings and portraiture, etc. Then came the digital age and I could not even begin to think about running with those financial ponies to begin the conversion...for a little while one could hang on, but soon enough film lovers were left in the dust by the cybersnappers, and unless you were committed to the digital race you could no longer effectively compete.

Today, everybody's a photographer...and, yes, I say that tongue in cheek. No doubt technologic advancements have put sophisticated cameras in the hands of just about anybody, requiring but the press of a button to turn the camera on and another push to capture a scene. Still, there is an art, an 'eye', and a deep knowledge of how to override said cameras when the situation warrants it to get the very best picture. Plenty of 'snappers' out there, but many fall a bit short of being really good photographers. Regardless, here's an international contest with very nice prizes, and doesn't everybody have that special photograph that just thrills you and others to look at? Wouldn't you like to spend lots of 'free' cash these days? Heck, any day?

Ah, as the old saying goes, the devil is in the details. Time to get out those reading glasses and read the fine print...

Don't try to read the above (just was showing the whole ad)...I've cropped and zoomed in on the critical area in the graphic below. This issue is kinda sorta like my recent blog entry of my liquor store ad I'm in as a result of a stock photo shoot years ago, where for a day's fee a photographer got to own all the images taken and market them himself whenever, however, no ifs ands or buts. That's what stock photography is all about, marketing your own images to potential clients which takes quite the investment of time and energy to do so. I took the money for a good day's work and went on with life.

I use my digital imagery for many many things, be it flute music videos, prints to sell at art shows, for galleries, businesses, etc. I don't pursue stock photography per se, but it's an option. Copyrighting images is also important as this world is full of 'theft' and people trying to take someone else's work and turn a buck off of it.

And so as I read the fine print rules, I shook my head when I saw the worst of contest conditions written out in the middle of the Lilliputian type:

It's one thing to have a winning entry become the property of the contest sponsor; but to sign over all rights, even 'intellectual property rights' to images simply because they are submitted is insane and a very very very bad deal. You are allowed only one entry per card household, so you want to send the very best to try and win something...the way I look at it, even if you win you still lose.

And yet many will give their work away. They want the prize, the chance for fame and glory, which is fleeting to begin with. If someone wants to enter these types of contests, more power to 'em...but I hope they make sure they are fully aware of the consequences of signing away rights and ownership of their work. In this case, Costco can do ANYthing it wants with that image, including reselling it, using it for advertising, etc., and the entrant has no further say so about it and gets not a penny or even a photo credit for any of it.

Knowledge is empowering. Just make sure you use your noggin' whenever you sign on the dotted line with lots of fine print...and good luck if you do!

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Fried Fridays: Straight from The Wizard of Oz"

As a kid I have a semi-scary memory of seeing those evil flying monkeys take off in the Wizard of Oz, knowing full well it was make-believe. The Oz apparition was pretty intimidating, too; but there was plenty of magic in that classic movie, and for today's "fried" winner I'm reminded of one of the musical numbers...

Good ol' Scarecrow...that bundle of dried agricultural fodder would sing his (appropriate) famous line, "If I only had a brain!..."

Oh, dear Toto, we're NOT in Kansas for this story...grab your doggie sweater...


How does that expression go...."If at first you don't succeed, try again"? Maybe there should be a corollary taught alongside it..."If at first you don't succeed, maybe the Universe is trying to tell you something."

It's also been said that what's important about life is not how one handles success, but how one handles failures and set-backs. We hopefully learn from our mistakes. Hopefully. Hope fully.

I'm not so sure Jarrell Paul Arnold did. Learn. It was back in 2004 he was sentenced to 57 months in jail for bank robbery, though I have no more details other than that.

He apparently was out of jail for not too long of a period before he decided to return to his miscreant well and try it again. Bank robbery.

His target: a local Alaska USA Federal Credit Union branch. I have no doubt he carefully considered bank options, and opted for this one for one very good reason: he knew it well.

He banked there.

(have at it cricket chirps...)

Note to self: Don't rob a bank where you have an account.

Second note to self: before you hand the teller a robbery note, don't have her first check your account balance, with which you authorize by showing her your ID card.

I'm not so sure I could have made this up myself even on my most creative periods...

(crickets apparently laughing too hard to chirp...)

Hard to believe this mental midget went in undisguised, had the teller check his account balance, shower her is ID, and then slipped her a note demanding the cash in her drawer, noting he had a gun with him.

Too bad he didn't have his brain with him.

Suffice it to say he's in the federal pokey, again. Welcome home, Mr. Arnold.

A word of advice: don't bother clicking your heels together...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"On the road again..."

Had to make a long one-day run to Atlanta and back today, Wednesday, which is a bit disruptive to blogging and finishing other tasks! But I do have a little taste of what's to come early next week fer ya, and since I have my laptop with me I can take a breather and post these snaps quickly while I'm on the hoof...

Still have minor burning to tend to, then it's time to paint the Green Heron head and have it come to life Thursday. It's the first time I've used taxidermy eyes (VanDykes) instead of painting beads, etc., and I like 'em a lot. I had to add back in a brow line which I used epoxy with fine sawdust mixed in. However, with all the rain and humidity Tuesday, it was taking a lot longer to tack up and harden on the outside, so I held off doing some final blending steps until I get back. FYI, the beak is darker because I always like to use a watery super-glue to impregnate parts that potentially are fragile.

Fun stuff, it is.
Happy Hump Day, y'all!

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Houston, I hope we don't have a problem..."

T-minus one week and counting.

One of my goals was to attempt to gain membership in the Southern Highland Craft Guild based in Asheville, NC, which is a long drawn-out process. It all began with detailed photo submission of 5 recent 'works', which I sent of my cream-of-the-crop unique 'playable art' flutes. That was a couple of months ago (time flies when you're easily distracted!).

I did make it to round #2, which is now the delivery of 5 works to the Guild located at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway - if you're ever in the area, that is a wonderful place to stop and look around. More on what I'm taking in a moment...

Isn't it funny how 'things' can be relatively quiet and calm and then you have a gazillion 'things' hit all at once? That's kinda sorta my August. It started in a flurry and, for the moment, I have quiet couple of days. Alas, the ol' floodwaters could pick up again as early as this Thursday...

I applied late for a known craft show at Lake Junaluska which is a Friday-Saturday show indoors, which is always nice, not only for security reasons overnight but because I don't have to mess with my show tent and potential storms. I'm first on the waiting list should a vendor cancel...had 3 cancel last year, and the organizer said I had a good chance of getting in, so that's first up.

However, it will make for a very hard turn-around as I'm slated to work Sunday at WSOC...I try to get to work there at 3:30am and the Saturday show is over at 5p, with breakdown to you do the math as you plan for sleeping and a 3-hour car ride either on the front end or back end of that window!

Then it's a week of News 14 early AM shifts for the Greensboro office with most days double shift for Charlotte mid-days...which is when you cross your fingers we don't have the explosion of storms like there was August 5 given their eternal short-staffing situation.

Early morning shifts are tiring enough, but I've got to deliver the 5 flutes to Guild in Asheville Aug. 17 or 18 (Mon-Tue). One of the flutes I'm taking is in a school museum which I will pick up after work Monday (the intricate Blue Heron one), and will plan the trip for Tuesday, leaving directly from work. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, sometimes, eh?

All that to say the old adage is so true that when it rains it pours. I have other work in Atlanta to take care of right after that week, as well as preparing for a big Labor Day show in Maggie Valley. Lest I forget I have to use every opening to continue to work on flutes, not only on shows but on a couple of special orders that I have to tend to as I can. Which leads me back to the flutes...

I will have a photo/blog-post showcase with the 5 I'm taking...though some of you have seen some of them before, I'm going to rephotograph them later this week. 3 are privately owned:
Blue Heron, Praying Hands, and Jonah. I forgot how cool Jonah was to not only look at but play, a rich voice in Makore (African Cherry), with the 3-D whale shape overhanging the foot of the flute. It's no fluke. Well, it is. You'll see...

Two new flutes are coming out of the hopper...the first I call "Thunderbird" which is made of figured Walnut with turquoise inlay accents in both the flute and the block, and then Green Heron that I'm making in response to the Green Heron photos I snapped earlier this summer. The block will be a large heron head like the Blue Heron, but the flute decoration will be very different from Blue. The flute is also figured Walnut, but from the lowest finger hole to the end of the flute I've carved out a stream with 3 rocks in it, the rocks which I'll paint realistically. I was going to add inlay fish silhouettes on the side, but it detracted from what is a rather simplistic beauty.

I just felt the Heron head and the water motif fit perfectly hand in an artist, one is wise to develop a sense of aesthetics and know when enough is enough or more is warranted. I just had that clear gumption to drop the fish and I'm liking it this morning. While I've got a good bit yet to do, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel...and it's not a freight train!

Well, enough of my rambling. I've been slow to respond to and create some emails lately and maybe this is an 'apology' post while a take a moment and breathe deeply - so happy summery heat to most of all y'all!

As Pepe LePew would say, "Le pant! Le pant! Le pant!"

Friday, August 07, 2009

"Fried Fridays: Sophocles would be so proud..."

I almost went for the story about a man with a revoked license (DUI offenses) who drove his riding lawnmower through traffic to a convenience store and back on a beer run, erratically careening through lanes as he did so dead stinkin' drunk and dropping some cans of Millier Light along the way. Humorous and tragic at the same time.

Instead, I've opted to run with a story opposite that, one that is tragic and humorous...


An unexpected death of a loved one is intensely jarring. When it's a senseless murder, it's even more so. What was to be a day at the gym and then the beauty parlor suddenly turned dark for Dalia Dippolito, an attractive and youngish-looking 30-something Boynton Beach resident.

While at the gym she got the phone call no one ever wants to receive. The police informed her that there had been a crime committed at her home and that she needed to get to there forthwith. Upon arriving, she saw a flurry of law enforcement activity around the property with yellow crime scene tape strung like garland on a Christmas tree, and CSI techies dusting the porch for fingerprints.

A police video camera happened to be running as the officer in charge had to break the news that her husband was found murdered, with Dalia turning hysteric and breaking down. The officers then escorted her to a waiting cruiser to go to headquarters where they could talk more in private and debrief her away from the crime scene that surely was overwhelming. To add a cherry on top of this 'split' story, she was put face to face with the suspect charged with shooting her husband twice in the head.

"The Academy Award for 'Best Actress' goes to....."

This get's really 'fried', so hold on....

The 'suspect' she met was an undercover cop. Her husband was alive and perfectly well in the next room. The flowing curtains of 'dramatic irony' come full circle through the stages of a) preparation, b) suspension, and c) resolution through the following unveiling...

It was a set-up. Actually, one of several set-ups. Let's go to page 1 while we lose that deer in the headlight look, shall we.

Last Friday night a 'confidential informant' contacted police about a woman who asked them to help her hire a hit-man to rub out her husband of all of 6 months. Saturday afternoon she met the unidentified informant at a local gas station to make the arrangements, which included forking over $1,200 for a deposit and funds to go buy a handgun.

She provided the informant with a bunch of photographs of her husband and their townhome to make ID fool-proof. She wanted a daytime 'whack job' and offered to have a hair appointment set up at that time over in Boca Raton so she would have an alibi. She further discussed that she would deny any involvement by providing false names and information to keep investigators away from her. (Note to self: bad idea)

The police report details that Dippolito wanted to make sure the deal was 'solid' and that there would be no excuses for a failed or delayed 'appointment'. The deal was struck, and two days later, this past Monday, Dalia went to a CVS parking lot to meet up with the hired hit-man. Upon the successful snuff, he would be paid $3,000 and make her 'very, very happy' according to documents. Oh, lest I forget, the hit-man was an undercover cop.

As all was being finalized, her parting words were, "I'm not going to change my mind. I am 5,000% sure I want it done. When I set my mind to something, I get it done."

I'm not sure what 5,000% really is, but it's going to get her some solid jail time and a cup of coffee.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Caution: Fun times ahead...

To coin a song I've coined before,

"There's a whole lotta things that I've never done; I ain't never had too much fun!"

- Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

Today, News 14 Carolina throws the weather switch to 16:9 format from our present 4:3 view. What looks like simply different ratios/numbers is a major, major task fraught with potential 'uh-oh's. The full-time meteorologists have been working hard for weeks to create new graphics to fit the new framing, and that has been a back-breaking task with myriad hoops to jump through.

In that respect, I've had it easy as I've not been here for any of that.
This morning we're running our standard material, but after cutting mid-day tapes early, the surgery begins. All weather machines will be brought down and have new hardware added, and all-new shows will need to be generated from scratch as the old imagery will be sent away to never-never land.

Lest I forget this is being coordinated for all of our WSI machines for the Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington markets simultaneously.

I'm already tired just thinking about it...

In a perfect world there will be no problems; if we use the old 'persistence' ideology of what we've experienced heretofore with these machines, we're in for too much fun. Way too much. Yes, that was sarcasm.

Too, this means we have to create all new forecast shows, and believe you me we use a boatload of graphics since we do so many forecasts. As we say in the weather world, it's always wise to prepare for the worst and hope for the best!

And now for today's random thought:

Emus can't walk backwards