Monday, May 17, 2010

Wishing on ol' 'Star light, star bright'...


"Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are;
Little birdie in the sky,
Why'd you do that in my eye?
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
Boy, I'm glad that cows don't fly!"


Wishing. We all do it. Positive thinking, forward-looking, picturing what we want to manifest.

Easier said than done, I'll admit.

I think I speak for a lot of us when I say I 'wish' for a lot of things. They're not greedy, selfish, mean, or lowly things...to the contrary. Times just ain't easy for the bulk of us, and it's a matter of learning to be at peace "as-is" until we can effectively create positive change.

With that said, I have not felt my 'usual' literary nudges from the Universe of late...like going to a well to draw water and getting sand. I am in no way stopping the blogs and book chapters....but until my overwhelmed plate trims back, I'm afraid I'm going to be going 'underground' and more silent for the time being.

There will be blog posts, but for a few weeks I imagine they will be sporadic...I do appreciate those of you who check in, but, honestly, I'm not one to 'track' readers and follow numbers trends. I have no idea who reads my palaverings, none at all, save for those that write comments.

As with anything I do in "Life", especially flutes, I simply "do what I do" and pass it on. I don't 'expect' things from others...as the old saying goes (paraphrased), don't walk behind me as I may not lead...don't walk in front of me as I may not follow....just be beside me and let's let the Trail of Life lead us where it so chooses...or we choose....

As an aside, my War-Horse laptop with Vista O.S. is showing signs of dying...I may well be switching to Windows 7 within 48 hours, and if/when I do there will be another reason for ol' Bob to be 'quiet' until I get things up and running again.

With that said, I'm bidding a temporary ''adieu" as I deal with an over-filled plate of s'ghetti. It's all I know to do....

Until we meet again....


Thursday, May 13, 2010


Just a 'good morning' postcard for ya! Click to enlarge if you'd like. Ebony #2 almost ready for pics, but not quite yet. May post later...after I've had more coffee!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Riddle me this, riddle me that....


What's black and black and, uh...black all over?
The answer will now be posted....

Ya know, Bill had a great idea with the oil spill....what a hiddeous Medusa that situation is becoming! No, nothing along the lines of injuries or things negative...just the production of my first Ebony flute.

Now, you may not be aware of how unusual that is, an Ebony flute. First and foremost you're talking $$$ as good Ebony starts at $75/ board-foot. Too, setting aside the expense, the sound you get from such a dense wood is in it's own little category.

And you may think Ebony is pure black, but that's not the case. Most Ebony has chocolaty ribbons in it, but when oiled and finished most of it goes very dark, indeed.

Meet "Nighthawk", named for the actual bird. This mid "A" (A4) is 20.5" long with a composite block of 3 thinner Ebony strips, with the end result being a bird silhouette that for me resembles a nighthawk.

The pictures are with the flute sanded and finished with one coat of Walnut Oil....I may re-oil and finish with wax, or may try a shiny poly coat on it, though Ebony can be fickle with finishes.

I suppose I need to qualify a 100% Ebony flute...the block actually has a 1/16" layer of Poplar on the bottom to help absorb a little moisture, as Ebony simply doesn't....should help this flute avoid super-fast 'wet-out' since Poplar will absorb some moisture. I coated the edge with a Sharpie to darken it!

The 'video' below is simply my means of attaching an MP3 file for you to hear the flute. My laptop speakers are horrid, so I will have to assume the sample sounds fine on your computer...just something I threw together and added in a little 'echo' for effect. Enjoy!

video

Sunday, May 09, 2010

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!


For all the mothers out there and ALL you DO and PUT UP WITH, here's wishing you a beautiful day!!!!!!!!!!!! We of the 'astray' variety can't apologize and thank you enough! This flower is for you...


The Mayapples are now in bloom, and when you look from above you'd never see the flower as it is pretty much hidden by a couple of gargantual leaves overhead. For this picture I stuck the camera under the plant, and shot upward at it, using my swiveling screen to orient my eye-hand coordination. Click on the picture above to enlarge it, and probably click on that image again to get even larger...

I'm working the oddest shift that can be had at News 14 for today: I'm in Charlotte, working out of the Greensboro weather center, and producing weather forecasts for the Raleigh and Wilmington/Morehead City markets. Just about anything 'odd' is a "B'rer Rabbit's Briar Patch" for me, and this qualifies.

Interesting to note some numbers...a dry cold front raced through NC yesterday. Raleigh tied an old record and hit 90...hit 94 in Fayetteville...New Bern set a new record at 93...today all those locations carve highs back some 20-22 degrees, even with full sunshine! New Bern may not get out of the upper 60s, as the cooler air is screamed in on gusty NW winds.

Hope all y'all have a wonderful day...got more stuff to take care of here on my end...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Well, I tried.....


Happy Cinco de Mayo, y'all! Try as I might to find some classy humor per this South of the Border occasion to party hearty, it was all politically too incorrect. About the tamest one was about the twin Mexican brothers that were on the same firefighting squad...to help tell them apart they were called Hose A and Hose B.


As I said, gave up that search pretty quickly.

Cinco de Mayo is not to be confused with Mexico's Independence Day (September 16); rather, it's a celebration of the Mexican militia's defeat of the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. 4,500 beleagured Mexican militiamen took on the dressed-to-impress and drilled French soldiers numbering some 2,000 more. Mexico had gone through the social and political wringer for decades, notwithstanding the Mexican-American war in the late 1840s.

Even with the Puebla victory, celebrations were cut short as the ticked-off Napoleon III sent an additional 30,000 troops to (basically) take over Mexico for their long-running failure to repay significant debts owed. Within a year, the Mexican militia was whooped, and the French gained solid control of Mexico City, installing Maximilian as ruler of Mexico. That, too, was rather short-lived, as civil and political unrest festered and boiled. Maximilian was executed by the Mexicans a few years later.

Anyway, that's the gist of the Cinco de Mayo celebration, a more regional celebration even within Mexico and a bastardized commercialism here in the States, something we seem to be all too proficient at doing. Some people need an excuse to party, some don't.


Speaking of the Battle of Puebla in 1862, if you happened to note the previous blog (Foster's "In the Merry Merry Month of May"), that song was penned in 1862, as well. First thing I think of is the irony of it all...writing upbeat songs about dabbling in hillside springs in a carefree manner...at a time when well over 35,000 Union and Confederate troops died in the May-July Peninsular Campaign around Richmond/central Virginia...later that summer was the Second Bull Run bloodshed, followed that fall with the Battle of Antietam. Just a select few of the carnages that took place that year...

Not trying to depress ye faithful readers today, but Stephen Foster's death was most untimely and tragic...cut short at age 37. Don't need to go into all the details here, so you can read about it on Wikipedia if you wish. Interesting to note through history the renowned individuals, be they composers, artists, scientists, writers, etc., whose earthly lives ended prematurely in impoverishment and tragedy.

One of his musical legacies was played before millions last Saturday with the running of the (oh-so-muddy) Kentucky Derby. Foster published "My Old Kentucky Home" in 1853.

(chorus)
Weep no more, my lady,
Oh weep no more today!
We will sing one song
for the old Kentucky home,
For the Old Kentucky Home
far away...


Sunday, May 02, 2010

"In the Merry, Merry Month of May...."


"Our barks echo'd through the glen,
With blithe and joyful ring;
We dug our holes under mossy stones,
And we dabbled in the hillside spring."

Apologies to Stephen Foster, composer of "The Merry, Merry Month of May" way back in 1862. I altered a few words in the second verse to fit the lead-off pictures today...now that the inclement batch of heavy rains and storms is upon NC today, looks like a day to stay inside and look back on the the snaps I took this weekend.

(click on pics to enlarge)

The mellow Mercy doesn't bark, except when there's a raccoon, squirrel...or when Molly pesters her enough for a round of play. The lushness continues to unfold on the mountainside, thanks to all the moisture last winter.

Molly barks a-plenty...and loves to dig under mossy stones....and loves to get all kinds of muddy and wet knocking around the hillside spring...and stealing items not nailed down at the neighbor's house. I have noticed that ticks seem to be in good supply, a bit more than I remember for a spring.

The glades of Trillium really are a sight to behold, especially with the sprinkling of other colors...

...and I do generally prefer overcast conditions for photographing, as it is difficult in the best of times to maintain shadow/highlight definitions on bright, high-contrast days.

My little ol' warhorse Canon S2 continues to delight me with its macro capability, hand-held at that...its flip-out, rotating screen allows the camera to get in just an inch or two away while I save my back and knees from getting down to the picture at hand!

Two 'new' flowers making themselves seen are the Solomon's Seal above, with it's soon-to-be-flowers hanging down below the stem...

...to the very different flower (below) of False Solomon's Seal, a kissing cousin sans hanging bells below.

From above, the stalk and leaves look quite the same, but the False Solomon's Seal flower bunch at the tip of the stalk is the immediate give-away.

Violets of yellow, purple, and white are everywhere, including this brace of Canadian Violets.

From the land of Lilliput, so it would seem, is this diminutive of flowers now abounding, Star Chickweed, the bloom only as big as my pinkie fingernail.

Plenty of beauty in the non-flowering world, as well. Fiddlehead ferns are rosining up their frond bows; fern displays in general make a woodlands scene all the more verdant, eh?

Enjoy your day! Always good to bring a little nature into the walls of work-dom...



Friday, April 30, 2010

"Fried Fridays: Picking up the pieces..."


Oh, how I wanted to run with the Gov. Crist story (R-FL)...I am SO not a political person, but as you may be aware by some blog posts the past couple of months, I've got a bone to pick with the boorish behavior of elected officials and private citizens, alike. Crist wants to make a bona fide run for the senate, but apparently will have to do so as an independent.


All because of 'the hug'.

Yep, Crist did the unthinkable within the GOP ranks and citizenry by welcoming the newly elected President Obama to an official function...and gave him a welcome hug. You'd have thought he unleashed the world's most poisonous cooties...and the sound-byte interviews I heard on NPR radio a couple of weeks ago were proof that bigots really are alive and well everywhere, certainly in Florida. But I digress....

Most of us take pride in where we live...while times are tight anymore, and we might not have money to pay for a lot of house and yard maintenance, there is no excuse for not picking up trash or pulling up the worst weeds...the simple, free things that make a visual difference.

DATELINE: DENTON, TEXAS

Homes that have been in the family for many moons hold a special charm. Sometimes they are lived in 'til the end, and sometimes they may become more of a summer vacation destination once elderly parents have had to move out for various reasons.

This family's matriarch, 69 year-old Francis Howard, now lives with her son in Frisco...and they fondly remember the 47 years the house was lived in year-round. I'm just guessing, but I bet there was a lot of fresh-squeezed lemonade handed out on that big, wide porch, complete with a speckled pup in a green wagon on the front lawn, and out back sheets waving in the prarie breezes as they dry on the clotheslines strung between two mighty oaks...

But that's no excuse for neglecting the lawn.

That's no excuse for storing things (a loose term) outside, randomly.

That's no excuse for letting junk vehicles continue to rust, even if they weren't Fords.

And there's especially no excuse for not keeping the structure safe and repaired.

Nobody likes an eyesore, no matter the history. After repeated attempted-but-failed contacts, the city was left with no choice but to demolish the 'abandoned' home.

Too bad the demolition crew came and took down the Howard homestead instead of the unkempt property in question....ACROSS THE STREET.

"Oops!" doesn't quite cover it, does it...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

And the survey said...

(click on pics to enlarge)

Not too shabby! A wonderful low C flute is first to emerge from my recent thick curly maple board I blogged about last week. I used the end of the board that had the most 'issues' per warp and bow and unevenness, jointing and planing until I had some sense of uniformity...the only minor upshot of that is the patterns from the bottom don't necessarily match up to patterns on the top. Then again, that's a pretty natural thing for most flutes to begin with.


It's 29" long, but I kept the SAC short (area from mouthpiece to the block) to make the reach easier. It's only about 19" from the mouth end to the lowest hole, and the finger holes are a comfortable 1.25" to 1.5" apart, center to center. The lower the flute key, the bigger the diameter the finger holes and the greater spacing; with that said, there are 'tricks' you can use in the lower key flutes to compensate for expanding dimensions and shorten the gaps. This is an easily played low flute with a wonderful voice.


The pictures are the unfinished flute with only a coat of Danish Wood Oil rubbed in. I recorded a song with the flute before I started putting on the shiny finish coats this morning...the shiny finish will accentuate the curl and figuring. With the short SAC, the block couldn't really go too far back....instead, I added pieces of Mahogany to the side, like wings, and brought them forward in an aesthetically pleasing curve. Just something a little different that worked well on this flute.

Since I can't load MP3s into this blog, I made a movie with the pictures above and embedded the test song in it...


video

Friday, April 23, 2010

"Fried Friday: That's the pits!"


Ah, another week in Stupidity Paradise, saddle pals. Eenie-meenie-mynie-mo....

I liked the way a Fostoria, Ohio prostitute got truly screwed: she approached a car and solicited the driver for paid sex....only the driver was the police chief undercover. Oops.

A 41 year-old Wisconsin woman was arrested for shooting people from her car...with a blow dart gun. When police arrested her they found the blowdart gun, a slingshot, and a bucket of small rocks. In the ensuing interrogation, Paula Wolf said she "liked to hear people say ouch."

However, this week's award goes to a desperate man trying to evade authorities...and it's not that what he did was stupid, but the millions of jokes that are going through my head thinking about what took place after the arrest....

DATELINE: ALBION, INDIANA

An unnamed 52 year-old man was wanted on methamphetamine charges. Normal fare, that.

Authorities gave chase to him and were searching for him on a northeastern Indiana farm. Seems like a rather typical scenario, criminal on the run, taking a more rural route.

When the police spotted him in his unsuccessful hideaway, he apparently had partaken of his illegal drug, became combative, and had to subdued, shocked twice with a stun gun.

He was then taken to the hospital for hypothermia treatment before being taken to the slammer, where he was held without bail for missing February and March hearing dates.

Normally a story like this I dismiss like a bad karaoke attempt (which has been too plentiful on this season's American Idol). But what attracted me to this story is where police found this man....

Under the floor of the barn, neck-deep in a liquified-manure tank of hog and dog feces. Apparently he'd been there for an hour...

Now picture being at the scene and watching what the officers did next....

Do they draw straws or play rocks-paper-scissors to see who gets to cuff him?

Whose patrol car does he ride in?

When he got combative, was he like a dog shaking off after a bath?

Did the officers go tell their spouses they had a sh*tty day at work?

Were the officers too smelly to go into the donut shop for a brew break?

The logistics boggle my mind...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!


Happy 40th Anniversary for a day that sorely needs to be celebrated EVERY day!

No other post today as I have a full plate to tend to. Honor the Earth and all things on, in, and above it.


"United be your purpose,
harmonious be your feelings,
collected be your mind,
in the same way as
all the various aspects
of the universe co-exist
in togetherness,
wholeness."

-Rik Samhita


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Couldn't pass it up....


It was yelling at me in the store Saturday. Right out in front of everybody, but it seemed only I could hear the impatient shouts.

I looked, walked away, walked back and looked, and walked away...only to walk back and look....then borrowed a tape measure...then borrowed a scratch piece of paper and pen, and took lots of measurements....then walked out the door of the store...only to come back in and asked an employee about phone-in orders...


I need wood like I need a hole in my head. But it's hard to pass up some excellent figuring in wood, especially wood this huge....this gorgeous...and this inexpensive. Asheville Hardware recently moved to a new non-descript location near downtown on a dead side street, a gigantic warehouse that they'll be turning into an impressive woodworker's store and workshop space.

While current stock is really limited, they already have some wood, and a good bit of it is there on consignment, like the board that did the yelling....that I called about again Monday and bought it over the phone....that I picked up today and made one cut in the board.


It's curly Maple, with curl 100% through the board....there is a bit of Ambrosia Maple embedded (caused by the Ambrosia worm), as well as some spalting (thin black fungus lines that add a great deal to the wood's appearance). Character galore up and down this board.

All 12+ feet of it! 7-8" wide...and my favorite part: it was 8/4 lumber! Two solid inches thick, which made the value jump even more. "Normal" boards are 4/4, slightly less than an inch thick...in order to make lower key flutes, you have to have thicker boards, but finding 5/4 and 6/4 is hard. 8/4 in a board of this size and quality is simply something I've not seen in person, and even if you're not a woodworker, you'll appreciate the incredible figuring in this board.
Sure, there are a few cracks and blemishes, and a little 'live edge' that isn't usable...but I've got a solid stash of one of my favorite woods to work with, now.

For the following pics, click to enlarge them...and depending on your screen settings, you may be able to click on that picture to make it even bigger yet. The board is basically flat, though it needs planing...so the 3-D 'look' is really just 2-D. Reminiscent of that earlier post from that old Maple by Lake Junaluska that showed the curl in a scar from storm damage....enjoy!







Monday, April 19, 2010

Old story rearing its head....


Musing out loud, here....


A friend, notorious for mass forwarding mass emails, sent yet another zinger lie last evening. It so happens he is a Republican of the more conservative Christian Coalition side of the tracks. It is no surprise that the tenor of his emails is clearly anti-Obama. To each his own, I say. We are each free to hold and voice our own opinions. HOWEVER.....

I draw the line when people choose to perpetuate untruths to promote their agenda.

Why do I write this? Simply yet another email sent my way, which many I ignore and delete without reading....and in all of less than a minute I searched for the real story and....guess what....it's not true, not like the email intends, which in this case is to disparage Obama and trump up hatred for him via Muslim-based lies.

Yes, hatred is a strong, strong word. I can't call it anything less, though.

The only question I have is, "WHY?" OK, they hate Obama, they hate democrats, they hate gays, they hate anything that is counter to their beliefs. Oh, so let me get this straight....it's OK to LIE as long as it promotes your so-called 'truth'? That's really pathetic.

It's Americans behaving badly, is what it is.


I guess I can't fathom how people willfully choose to ignore or not search for the truth, or that have no desire to compromise in any way shape or form. That's bigotry of the worst kind. I think we should hand out bumper stickers for 'em that say "I CHOOSE TO BE BLIND"

About a year ago, I took one of his emails and did a respectful 'reply all' explaining the responsibility to seek the truth about rumors...and got a nasty-gram from one of the recipients asking, 'in the name of Jesus Christ', how I got their name. I told them with a full explanation. Go figure why I never heard back from them. Now, he's gotten a little more wise, and 'reply all' only goes to him, not the mass email list. Too bad, as I was prepared to have some fun with this one.

I just put this out there since it's gotten in my face yet again, and I'm tired of being railroaded by what amounts to nothing more than political, theocratic thugs. Seem to be crawling out of the woodwork these days, too.

Okie-dokie, getting off my soapbox, and going back to using the delete button for a while....


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mo' flowers...


(video at bottom added hours after the original post)

Focused on flutes lately, so the brain hasn't journeyed very far. I did go out and snap some 'plinks' of the wildflowers on the property as all is changing daily...and ya can never go wrong with some nature pics! Remember to click on pics to enlarage should you want to do that.


This fuzzy wuzzy was not a bear; rather, it was the naissance of Dwarf Larkspur blooms...

And this is the Dwarf Larkspur out in all it's purple-blue glory...

Blue Cohosh is growing tall quickly, now, a plant with strong medicinal properties related to all things uterine...


You might not give this plant a second look, given it's camouflaged, greenish bloom. This is Nodding Mandarin, aka Yellow Mandarin....


Sorry to repeat species from earlier posts, but I find the Trillium (this one a Wake Robin) to be a very artsy and photogenic plant...

Yellows are starting to come into the flowering world, now....this is the droopy large-flowering Bellwort...

...and the good ol' yellow violets that are coming out in abundance, this one the hairy Downy Yellow varietal...


"Where flowers bloom,
so does hope."
- Lady Bird Johnson

video

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a male Dark-eyed Junco defending his territory against an 'intruder', played by my passenger side mirror...

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Fried Fridays: Smile or ELSE!"


Whereas in past weeks I had a cornucopia of stories to write about for "Fried Fridays", this week I'm holding an empty poke. Stupid stories, sad stories, but little in the really 'fried' category...and I'm running with a story composed of only 135 words.


The story was that a judge threw out this case...as well he should have...but the 'fried' component was the original lawsuit...

DATELINE: ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA

Judge Ernest DeSantis, Jr. threw out a case before him this past Wednesday, on the grounds the plaintiff failed to make a case. Bravo. To say we have become a litigious society is a gross understatement...we sue for any and everything, and the worst part is not the taxpayer money wasted in the process but the asinine amounts of money awarded to idiots for idiotic reasons.

I bet you'd like to know how I really feel...

Luckily, this bull was stopped in its tracks before an awards ceremony. We start with a 12 year-old girl named Dominica Juliano, the 'traumatized' youth in this story. The suit was filed by her unnamed guardian, so it wasn't a mom or a dad. It may have been the grandmother who was with young Dominica when that fateful day occurred.

NOTE: The following account may not be acceptable for young readers. Proceed with caution and please don't sue me over it...

The location was a Country Fair convenience store in Erie, Pennsylvania....like you couldn't figure that out from the 'dateline' above. But this didn't happen a few weeks or months ago....no, this debilitating incident took place in June of 2004. Worthy of cricket chirps, here...

The net effect of this incident was that Dominica, being sensitive to light, was burned and developed deep emotional, psychological problems....apparently enough to warrant a long-running lawsuit against the store and the clerk on duty that horrific day.

Adults have to use extra caution when around under-age kids....you just can't say and do things you would with someone your own age and size. Apparently this girl was enough of a toot that the unnamed employee called her 'grumpy' and proceeded to do something to make her smile.

Yes, the clerk, having grown weary of the little sour-puss, did the unthinkable: he or she aimed a hand-held product scanner at the girl's face and told her to smile.

Horror of horrors. I pity whoever tries to date, much less marry, this forever-mentally disfigured girl. To wake up in the middle of the night in fearful sweat, all because of a harmless LED light...

Knowing all this trouble would be hanging like a bad odor almost six years later, the clerk SHOULD have whacked grandma over the head with that scanner. Judge Judy would have had a field day with this one...


Thursday, April 15, 2010


Just a few more nature pics for you to click on and enlarge. The gorgeous spring weather continues to be a daily affair, and I went out and took a few plinks in the strong, specular late-afternoon sun....


I love leaf details in sun and shadow, this one from the Trillium genus...

In a week or two there will be thousands of Trillium by the house, but for now I saw maybe 2 or 3 starting to open. I have yet to see any here other than the Grandiflora (large-flowering T.) and the Wake Robin, but there are both the white and crimson varieties here...

Myriad violet species are starting to poke out, too...if you've noticed a pattern, the early wildflowers are predominantly white, though some yellow violets are starting to come out...

Snuggled on the moist shady side of what I call The Flute Rock were some Dutchman's Breeches with their yellow petals...

...not to be confused with the closely related Squirrel Corn I showed several posts ago. A little trivia fer ya: these species are poisonous to grazing cattle.

Just a nice thick patch of the Squirrel Corn, with one of the yellow violets in the bottom left. I know there are trout lillies out there, but I've stayed on the minimal trail I made for now, and am limited to spying one nearby...

The sun is climbing and so must I into my grunge clothes for yet another day of making sawdust. I have to go to the post office to mail a couple of flutes, and just remembered that today is the Ides of April....tax day!!!!! Methinks there will be somewhat of a line.....

Monday, April 12, 2010

GOES-15: quick post


Pulling the mid-day shift the next two days for both the Charlotte and Triad markets, so A.M. time very limited. I did see that the first image has come back from the newest weather satellite put up in orbit, GOES-15. The Geostationary Observational Environmental Satellite took it's first picture about a week ago April 6, at 1:33p EDT. Click on the picture to see the high-resolution version of the picture....amazing what can be seen and captured. Following that is a link to the release information if you want to read a little more about it.

(NOTE: when you click on the picture, you'll get a bigger one in another frame. If it doesn't get really big, click on THAT pic and it should open up...fun to move the pic around and look at the western hemisphere!)


LINK to article

Saturday, April 10, 2010

In memoriam...



The Cherokee Nation, yea all of our indigenous Peoples, lost a great leader several days ago. Wilma Mankiller, 64, crossed over after battling pancreatic cancer...and successfully leading the Cherokee Nation from December 1985 to 1995. Former President Bill Clinton awarded her the Medal of Freedom in 1998, a tribute to her impressive work building up the well-being of her peoples. I'll leave it at that for now...her memorial is being held today in Oklahoma. She was a great Spirit, a great Woman, and a great Leader, in every sense of those words. Aho.

IN MEMORIAM

Wilma Mankiller
1946 - 2010

Friday, April 09, 2010

"Fried Fridays: Shaken AND Stirred..."


Bond.


James Bond.

That's how the iconic secret agent did NOT like his martinis....no stirring allowed. We can all be creatures of habit, and when we have something we want and expect 'just so', we bristle at the slightest infringement upon said stone tablet.

I'm sitting here with my thermos pot of coffee, pre-mixed with Splenda and half and half. Take any of those out of the equation and I'm Mr. Grumpy out of the gate. Don't mess with my brew.

DATELINE: COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

It's not that I find this story so much 'fried' as in bizarre behavior and/or decision-making...but contrasted with life in the U.S., I can't even conceive of this particular situation to begin with. If something is not a part of our culture, whatever it is, anything outside the 'norm' can seem really, really strange.

Look, a Pennsylvania dad left 4 ounces of marijuana hidden in his kid's Elmo backpack, which was discovered by the kindergarten teacher the other day. That's fried. Two British women were arrested for trying to smuggle a corpse aboard a commercial airline flight. That's fried. (I wonder if they're going to face 'stiff' penalties...). But my story of choice isn't 'fried' at all; rather, it's fermented.

And so I read and mused over a worker's strike this week at the famed Carlsburg Brewery across the Big Pond. Seems as though management made a recent decision that they'd be brewin-...er, uh, mulling over for some time. Suffice it to say it did not sit well with the employees, not in the slightest.

As I understand it, Copenhagen is a rather progressive city, recognized by several sources as having the best quality of life anywhere. They're also highlighted for being one of the most environmentally-conscious and clean cities around, too. You can swim in the inner harbor, it's so clean...and 36% of residents commute to work on bicycles. Impressive on many levels.

So what's the brouhaha...or shall I quip brewhaha? Effective April 1, Carlsburg workers are now limited to drinking beer only during their lunch break.

Say WHAAAAAAAAT????????

(crickets unable to chirp due to temporary paralysis)

The old order of business was that these proud Carlsburg workers had free access to beer coolers placed all around the workplace, which they could partake of anytime they wish. The only rule was you couldn't be officially 'drunk' on the job. Now the only place you'll find the beer coolers is in the canteen, with drinking limited to the lunch break, only.

800 workers went on strike Wednesday, halting critical beer deliveries and production, and even yesterday some 250 were still striking, halting more deliveries of Denmark's 'water'. The labor union is trying to work with the groups involved to get Carlsburg up and running at capacity once again, so only time will tell.

Seems unfair that if your job is that of a delivery truck driver, that you get the short end of the stick in the imbibing category. Not so, Grasshopper. Truck drivers are allowed to take with them 3 beers from the canteen before they head out on their rounds...but before you get too worried, the trucks have alcohol locks so any driver 'over the limit' disconnects the iginition.

(cricket paralysis ends....chirping slowly ramps up...)



Thursday, April 08, 2010

"Of Klepto and Wildflowers"


A thoroughly unrelated mix of photos for you today...remember you can click on any pic to enlarge it. I'll begin with my "new" puppy "Klepto" whom you may have read about a couple of days ago. You know, the Border-Aussie mix formerly known as Molly.

At the top of the driveway is a little natural area she fancies to sit and chew up sticks, as well as collect 'toys' that to anyone else is trash. Another more select area is behind the house where a trail heads into the woods off the back deck...there on a bit of a promontory she'll take some of her more treasured plundered booty and look down on any activity below.Yesterday morning I laughed out loud when at the top of the driveway I spied....a beer bottle. Not just any beer bottle, mind you, but a brand I never drink. I didn't want to know the details of her latest prize from the Five-Finger-Stop-And-Shop she frequents...

It was a couple of hours later when dusk was starting to fall that I went out on the deck and saw her on her back perch with said beer bottle....and before I go further I will swear under oath these pics are 100% natural. I didn't stage it, rotate the bottle, etc.....heck, the dog won't come when I call her name, so she sureashell isn't going to let me set up a camera shot with her! With my big camera long dead, I had only the small Canon S2 to shoot a flash 10-12 feet from the deck....and and I got lucky.


"Tastes great....less filling....what I'd give to chase after those Clydesdales right now..."


"MOLLY! Where did you get that bottle? Is that why you stay over at the neighbor's and pretend you don't hear me calling your name?"


"If only dad knew what really goes on over there...(hic)..."

-----------------------------------------

I just love the exploding of spring, where you can almost literally see changes by the hour as earth-tone tans are replaced with verdant hues. Almost overnight the first of the wildflowers have been doing their thing, popping up and nodding their heads in the warm, sunny breezes. And so once again I just put on some pictures of them for you to enjoy...admittedly, I spent little time searching for optimum specimens and camera angles, but it's just a joy to see these instead of another 8" of snow....

Likewise, it's a joy to see beautiful dawn colors as a new day begins, this from Wednesday morning looking northeast...


First up is the tee-tiny bloom of Spring Beauty...this fleur but the size of my pinkie fingernail...



Next up is Bloodroot, which has too many medicinal uses to list in this post; click HERE to read the myriad uses for yourself...



Cutleaf Toothwort is easily identified by its, well, cut-leaf outline!...


Jimmy may crack corn and you don't care, but the nodules at the base of this Squirrel Corn plant is whence its name is derrived...

There were plenty of other pre-flower staged plants, like this Trillium member below. Mayapple, Jack-in-the-pulpit, cohosh, and others will be out before you know it, all flying through their life cycle before the greening canopy starts to increasingly filter the sunshine on the forest floor below...

So much for the balmy and unusually warm weather here of late....time for a little reality check with today's incoming cold front and storms. But being April, anything unusually cold will soon pass....have a good 'un, all y'all!