Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Year Passes By and it don't look good.

Well, it is the day before new years and I have to stop and wonder about what this year has brought. It certainly has brought on a case of the uncertainties.

I don't feel as good about the world as I did to start off 2008. With so much war going on and the instability of our nation, I can't help but wonder if 2009 will not bring more of the same. I believe that we are looking at some dark times to come for America. Joblessness on the rise, declining wealth, crime on the rise; all signs that things are not good.

I believe that there may be a resurgence in religion, common sense spending and a modest lifestyle that we haven't seen in this country in over 40 years.
Perhaps the fear and uncertainties we are feeling will reshape the American way of life.

I believe that with these troubled times will come a sense of community and neighbors helping neighbors.

Oh, do not get me wrong, I believe there are those that will lose much in these times. But it is important to remember that by losing these things around us like homes and cars and jobs, we will learn to hang on to and cherish the things that really matter to us; like our health, family, and friends.

Our grandparents made it through a similar time years ago, and it made them tough, smart and resilient. We sometimes speak of them as "they didn't have much but they got by", or "he worked hard to bring home those few dollars to support the family", or "the family only had enough money to get us A pair of shoes once a year". And we hold these statements up and say," They survived, they've seen it all, they were tough". An we are somehow proud of their accomplishments, being there and living through it.

And now we are there, on the brink of reliving those days again, but we are soft. We are used to having all of our things, and to be without any of them we feel we just can't function. Perhaps we are on the verge of a "New" America. One that realizes that we can get by with less. We can become a more frugal America. Perhaps even a more environmental America. I hope that after we have reached the other side of these bad times; and we will get there, its a matter of when; we will be a "Better" America, a more "Sensible" America, an America our grandparents could be proud of.
God Bless You and Good Bye 2008.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Spirit

Tonight, a few thoughts about the Christmas Spirit.

What is the Christmas Spirit? Is it lights and tinsel? A tree and carols? Or presents?
No, I thing it is something deeper than that, although these are the things we associate with Christmas and the Spirit of Christmas.
Many times, we feel drained by the hustle and bustle of the holidays. We lose sight of what the Spirit of the season really means. We get caught up in the superficials of the holidays; what presents to buy, who's hosting the party this year, what are we going to bring to the gathering, what time are the kids' school plays, who's picking up the in laws from the airport. The list goes on and on. All these little things pick, pick, pick away at our brains until we are just worn down by the whole season.
When we stop; really stop to think about what's important what really matters when we take it all away; only then can we see the Christmas Spirit.
I believe two stories really exemplify the Christmas Spirit. The first is "It's a Wonderful Life" and the second is "A Christmas Carol". If you have not seen either of these movies, I would highly recommend them if you are running low on the Christmas Spirit or lose sight of what it really is.

Let me tell you what I believe the Christmas Spirit is:

I believe that the Spirit of Christmas is a rebirth of the good within all of us. A new chance for us to do good things for one another. A chance to connect to new lives and reconnect with old friends and family. I believe that it is the rebirth of hope. The hope that there is a better tomorrow. I believe that it is all about sharing. Sharing times with family and friends and also sharing with those we don't even know to make their lives better; a little brighter. I do not believe that this Spirit is limited to the Holiday Season, but can be observed year round if we so desired.
It is so easy to wrap our Spirit up and place it in the closet with the lights and decorations once the holidays have passed and we get on with our daily lives. But my hope; my hope is to keep that little flame of Holiday Spirit alive and carry it with me all through the year and make this world a better place for all I meet. And I hope that all who read this story will think about what I've written here and entertain the idea of keeping the flame of the Spirit in your heart and help me to make this a better place for all.
You may not agree with all that I have written here, but at least, now I have you thing about what your definition of the true meaning of the Holiday Spirit is.
Too all, a Happy Holidays...

Monday, December 8, 2008

See, this is a Christmas Cactus

This was my mom's christmas cactus as seen at thanksgiving. It really is a beautiful plant. Although this guy may be several years old. You know they hide their age very well.

This is my brother on the phone talking to my sister in Montana. You don't see him on the phone evry much, only when family calls.

This is a picture of my brother's new girlfriend, and her sweetest day's present. It's not flowers and it's not candy, but baby, those clay pigeons better watch out.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

French Lick Trip

Here's a house we saw while in Spencer Indiana on our way to French Lick Casino. We were eating at a fine place off the square in Spencer called Chambers. It's a nice home cooked buffet. While eating there I noticed this house across the street. After lunch I had to go across the street and look at it. There is a feature in this picture that caught my eye. Can you pick it out? It's not something you see every day. Do you see it?
This a picture from the concert we were attending at the Casino. He's the legendary Country and Western singer Charlie Pride. My wife just loves his music, and we go to see him whenever he's in the state somewhere. He was entertainer of the year in 1971.
This was a picture froma display in one of the halls of the hotel showing some of the products from the French Lick Springs Spa. Back in the 1920's, this hotel was noted for it's mineral waters and people from across the country would come here for the soothing waters. Mainly, it was hard mineral waters filled with sulphur. Boy, does it smell, but people used to bathe in it for medicinal purposes.
On our way back from the Hotel, we saw a large bell tower along US-50 in Shoals and stopped to see what the inspiring building was. It was the historic society building for Martin County. Unfortunately it was Sunday and the museum was closed. Maybe we'll make another trip there to see what's inside.
Here's a picture of the gardens behind the hotel at French Lick. It was very nice and in the gazabo behind the fountains was what was left of one of the springs. The closer you got to it the more it smelled of sulphur. It sure was a nice and quiet Sunday morning.
This is a picture of one of the spiral stair cases in the parking garages next to the casino. It was very decorative and really stood out in the bright sunlight.
This was a part of the old stairs and garden wall in the gardens area. It was much nicer that the picture describes.
I just threw this one in as it added to the fall season. Enjoy.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Tonight's item is touch, or feel. I've provided two pictures for tonight, and they deal with texture. One I took while sitting at my desk, the other is from a vacation I took last summer. I'll let you decide which is which.

Thank you for deciding on senses week. You all continue to amaze me at how your requests expand my thinking about my world. I hope we can do more soon.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Today is Sound day...
Aaaah.. the pictures of sound. What a concept. I had several ideas for this day, but not enough hours to produce what I wanted. I had envisioned a man hard at work wearing a helmet and ear plugs working with a chain saw. Unfortunately by the time I got home, it was after dark. I also saw with my minds eye a pair of lips whispering into an ear. But I believe that both my ears and lips were camera shy. I had to think more along maybe less artistic lines.
So without further due I give you pictures of sound....

This is the old Regulator that is in our dining room. It chimes the half and the hour. On most quiet nights, you can become quite mesmerized by the constant tick, tick, tick of this wind up giant. As a side note, I traded a fellow several Civil War Tokens for this beauty. I've received far more enjoyment from this clock than I ever would have from those tokens. A very good trade indeed.

Also another item that reminds me of sound is the radio. Not a new CD playing micro stereo, but an old AM, wood cabinet, tube radio. The one that my grandparents gathered around to listen to the radio programs like Amos and Andy, or the Lone Ranger, or FRD's fireside chats about WWII. The star of every Americans living room long before the invention of the television.

These are the things that I think of when I think of sound...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I went off in another direction as most would have thought of food.
My idea of taste, is also referred to as style.
Originally I thought of taste as the catch slogan for so many Smoking ads back in the 1960's.
When I went back to find one to add to my pics, I found many cool fashions or "tastes" of the day. Perhaps I haven't put forth my best photographic effort, but I thought you might get a kick out of what was thought of a cool back in 1969.
Enjoy the ads...

Monday, October 6, 2008

This week is senses week.

The first entry is Sight. One can never underestimate the sense of sight. It's probably the first sense we use to take in our surrounds. We rely upon it to make sense of our world. Without it the internet is nothing. Our favorite TV shows are transformed back into radio shows, like the good-old-days. The Grand Canyon is nothing but a long uphill hike without sight. And photography is; you guessed it; senseless without sight.

But we all to often take our sense of sight for granted. But take it from me, one who was blessed with less than perfect sight for most of my life, sight is a precious thing. Luckily two weeks ago, I was given a new lease on life with eye surgery. Now I share the same vision as most people do. It's like an almost-new world. So if my blogg seems a little emotional and "preachy" tonight, it's because I have something to sing about.

So tonight, I dedicate my picture to the organ that grants me sight; my eye.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Portrait Day

Today is portrait day, and I thought I might take this in another direction. Admittedly, this is a little thrown together.

The first is my wives little dog Minnie, named after the mouse, because she's not much bigger than a mouse. She's very high energy. I can just picture her saying in a nervous frantic sort of way,
"Mom....hey mom...look mom...wwwwhat's that thing?...Can't you see it?? Rrrrrright over there...Iiiin his hands. Hey, what you doing with that thing....Whoa.....What was that flash...Hey....hey mom did you see that...That bright thing....Ooooooh no, now I can't see. Hey mom hey hey mom....."

The next picture is simply a run down old tired shed wall. It's not what you would call an action shot, and it certainly says a lot about my outdoor cares. But it does have a lot of detail in it. I thought it was kinda interesting.

THe last one, I tried something a little artsy. I had a very detailed walnut tree in the foreground that I had the camera focus on and then I moved around to add an interesting but out of focus background. It turned out ok.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

O.K. so it's macro night. This is a good one. I do this a lot with my ebay listings as I sell many coins on ebay. You'd be surprised how many email I get about the pictures that I post. They want to know how I got so close to my subjects. I tell them it's a macro function. Unfortunately, some don't have that setting on their scanner. Ha, ha. I was surprised to find out that all macros are not alike. My "fool-around" camera is a Nikon Coolpix 2100, and it has a macro focal length of about 40 mm or around an inch and a half. Some of my other cameras don't quite focus that close. It's great for what I do most, and I bought it off ebay for about $20.00. What a deal.

Well, enough about me, on with Macro night.

My first subject is a little toy I have setting on my desk. It's a Lesney bulldozer. Or for you younger kids, a Matchbox bulldozer. I found it in a flea market about 2 weeks ago. I collect these cute little cars from England. I had many as a kid, and seeing them reminds me of those days. I've placed it in the arms of my Purdue Pete, for all my Boilermaker friends. Pete was just thrilled to be asked to pose for this picture even though I cut off his head in the picture.

My next picture is what Pete looks at every day; my desk. Sometimes it's busy and it's
never neat. Sometimes I even leave a little lunch there for him to clean up. He never complains about the temperature, but I think he'll be needing glasses soon.

Next is a picture that I've taken often; a coin. This coin is the reverse or back of a Jefferson Nickel. They made 4 commemorative backs for the Jefferson nickel in 2004 and 2005, to commemorate the 200 anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. This symbol depicted the "peace" that the
explorers wanted to bring to the native people of this new land. It was a nice design, but was overshadowed by the later buffalo nickel reverse that came out later in 2004. When it comes to coins, condition is everything and having a good macro function, leaves no doubt what the condition of the coin is. Don't you agree?

Finally, as you might have guessed by now, I enjoy old things. This next item is a picture of an old illustration from a history book that I found at another flea market. No, no I won't tell you where the flea market is; it's like your favorite fishing hole. It's a secret. Anyway, this book caught my attention as it had a rather in depth discussion of the Revolutionary War. It touched upon some items that I had never heard or heard and forgot over the years. The last president it discusses was Grover Cleveland and the last paragraph in the book talks about the people of great significance that died in 1886. I've enjoyed more than a few evenings thumbing through this little treasure. This illustration depicts the Colonists revolting against the Stamp Act prior to the Revolutionary War.

Please forgive me if I go on about a few of these pictures. I know this is supposed to be an exercise in photography, but as anyone who knows me, knows that I love to talk. And besides this is a blog space as well. I hope you've enjoyed my pictures and stories.
Have a pleasant evening and keep those pictures coming.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Today is Landscape day. Scapes of Indiana

I am thrilled to be entering our second week of challenges.

Now for my entries in Landscape.

First, where would we be without a depiction of agriculture in Indiana.
I've tried to make the picture a little more interesting by framing it a little bit.
I give you a nearly matured bean field across a stream ravine.

Next we have a little something that our "green" folks will cringe at, but many years ago, all farms across the state had one of these. It was where farmers took all their old implements to die, or in this case rust away. Who's to say all landscape should be appealing. It's a glimpse into what once was down on the farm.

The next entry is what I call the "End of the Day August 31st 2008". These were the final fleeting minutes of sunlight on the last day of August 2008. It was a beautiful sunset, the end to a wonderful day. The thought that this day will never be available to us again, made me stop and think about how wonderful and yet how sad the picture really was. Did we use that day wisely. Was it a date to remember, or just another one of those dates on a calendar that we will never remember.

The last entry for this theme, Landscape is a little morbid. With the last day or so being a bit gray, I had an idea for a grey landscape. Once I thought about the subject a little bit, I started to wonder about the images I really saw. I put a pen to paper and in the tone of "Flanders Fields", I've penned a little poem. It's not very good, but I hope that you feel and sense what I felt with this picture.

Cold, lay we here among the elm; silent 'cept for the lone bobwhite song.
Be we great leaders of industry or servent to man; in search of great wealth or tillers of land.
Be we married or single, husband or wife, our entire life are reduced to just these few lines:

"Devoted Father and Husband"
"Zachery St. John"
"Born 1836"
"Died December 15, 1901"
"May God Rest your soul." Amen

You'll not know my voice, or the look of my face;
whether I'm tall or I'm small or even my race.
My hopes and my dreams;
disappointments and despair.

Good man or bad it's all just the same;
to you I'm a stone on top of this hill,
I'm Zachery St. John
died nineteen hundred and one.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Here's a picture from the June 2007 flooding in Indiana. This is the state highway past our home. It does this a few times a year when we get a heavy downpour. THis is the worst flooding we've seen locally since the August 1994 flood which drenched us with 12 inches in 12 hours. What a mess that was.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More Cool Pics

Here's some cool pics that I took at the St. Louis Zoo last month.

This one is of a bronze statue of a pair of cape buffalo. This statue is life size and massive. It's real cool

A close up view of the statue.

Do you like dinosaurs? I do and when I heard that the zoo had dinosaurs, I say show me the way...

Life size and animated. It's something you don't see every day.

Did I mention they were life size. Wow...

I always love the Historic Hill district of the zoo for it's architecture.

The zoo is always a good time. I love a good zoo.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Somehow, I feel I have to keep this thing going. I have a few more interesting pictures I'd like to share with the world.

This is an Open Spandral Arch Bridge over the St. Joseph River in South Bend Indiana. They sure don't build'em like that any more.

Another view of the same bridge.

You'll see alot of bridges in my blog as that is apart of what I do for a living, I inspect bridges for the state of Indiana. It's kinda cool.

This is a close-up of the nose end of a B-17 bomber used in WW-II. My high school drafting teacher flew one of these in the BIG ONE. He shared with us a great story about this flying machine and his part in the war. I'll cherish his story for a lifetime. Maybe I'll share it sometime.

May God rest your soul, Mr. Howard.

Now I had the pleasure of viewing two old covered bridges last week in Jennings County Indiana. I've lived in this state all my life and grew up in a neighboring county and never knew they were even here.

This one is just off of SR-3 south of Vernon, Indiana. It's in very good shape for it's age (about 140 years old). A few people have bumped into it over the years, but it should be around for a good long time.

This one is just outside the small town of Scipio, Indiana in northern Jennings County. It has the very unique feature of a window in the side of the bridge. This is so you can see other vehicles before they enter the bridge.

Pretty cool ahh?