December 27, 2010

Hollywood Moves Away From Middlebrow

I saw this in the New York Times today. Here is the article. What it boils down to is that movie goers are demanding better movies or they will spend their big movie money elsewhere. Somehow they have, or are just now getting the message. Better movies or empty seats.

Hieronymus Bosch. The Stone Operation. 1475-1480. Oil on panel. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

The Stone Operation. There was an old Dutch saying for a person of odd behavior that he had 'a stone in the head'. Trading on credulity of simple people, charlatans would offer to extract stones. They always found patients among those with headaches. The 'surgeon' would then tie his patient safely to a bench, make a small cut and under cries, moans and groans of the victim produce a pebble or two covered with blood. These 'surgeons' were a popular object of satire in the 17th century.

Great and good are seldom the same man

"Great and good are seldom the same man."
Winston Churchill

Great men I venture do not set out to be great men, but effective men. A contemporary of Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, one of the top three United States presidents, had to use untruths, half truths and misdirection to help England stave off Hitler when America was in it's isolationist period. He initiated Lend-Lease, a put up way to provide arms to England, and convinced Congress that we had to build up our military, which was drastically out of date and inadequate to fight a war that he knew was going to involve his country. He juggled the truth or outright lied to prepare his country for what was to come. It did, of course, on December 7, 1941 when Japan struck at Pearl Harbor. He is judged by history as a great U.S. president, but he shepherded America during those years prior to Pearl Harbor with misdirection's and half truths which were thought by some to be unethical and morally wrong. Great and good are seldom the same man.

December 25, 2010

It's a Handel's Messiah Sing Along

Sing along with Handel's Messiah at the Kennedy Center.

Simon's cat in SANTA CLAWS

What has become obsolete this decade

Merry Christmas all. I bet most of you got a techie gift. This article that is most interesting from HuffingtonPost is about devices that have fallen into the obsolete category. We have all contributed to their obsolescence. Check it out here.

December 23, 2010

Two Candles 55 years later.

I wrote this to celebrate my wife Hazel and our fiftieth wedding anniversary five years ago. We're still here on the day of our fifty fifth anniversary of our wedding night on a cold night in 1955, and remembering. I was home on Christmas leave from the military and I had made the best decision I ever made as we stood on the cold church steps waiting for the minister to come and unlock the doors. It seemed he had forgotten us. As it has been for our whole married life we took it not as a symbol of things to come, but as a moment to remember and smile about. If a lesson was learned, it was that everything, if you look hard enough has a funny side to it. It held us in good stead all these years. We have never taken ourselves too seriously and it has turned out very well. I love this woman who was a skinny girl too young to take away from her family, but willing to go away with me. God love her for it. I know I do.

Two Candles

Two candles flicker in the wind
impervious to storm or gale
burning as one, bright and steady.
Intertwined, their combined flames can withstand
all of nature and man
I laugh, I smile, I tease, I question, I philosophize
I sympathize, I joke with this woman
As I have for so very long.
We have been sharing our thoughts, our discoveries
of life and love since we were children.
We have grown old together.
I am never happier than when we are alone,
Talking together about a past that still seems near and
A future together that knows no end.
I am still discovering, after nearly a half century together,
New depths of love for this woman who remains forever young in my eyes.
I cherish our conversation that started so long ago,
that continues and will until that unimaginable day when
as it must, a flame will sputter and a life will end.
How can two lives that live as one continue alone?
If I must stay behind, I pray to God the stay be brief,
For surely the sun will disappear from my being.
To comprehend the blackness of that day fills my soul with feelings
I cannot describe. That day when joy and purpose and completeness
Go out of my life, I will be so utterly alone.
But as it is in life, it goes on, and I will also, thanking God for allowing
Me the love and companionship of one of his chosen creations for such a
Long time, but not long enough, lest it was eternity.
Remembering our lifetime conversation will bring melancholy smiles to my
face knowing that the remaining candles flame is growing dim and will
soon sputter and on one glorious day will build to a glorious brilliance and go out.
On that wonderful day, the conversation will begin anew.

Seasons greeting from Tarzan, Tonto, and Frankenstein.

December 22, 2010

Brazilian street artist Herbert Baglione

Brazilian street artist Herbert Baglione created this beautiful and amazing installation at Winterlong Gallerie in Niort, France. The giant shadow, made from thousands of dead leaves, starts from a tiny silhouette of a man cutout from the wall. It's unknown whether or not Baglione was trying to express any kind of symbolism through this piece, leaving it up to the viewer to find his or her own meaning.

Marcos 21 years after his death

I hope this does not gross anyone out, but I was fascinated how 21 years later Ferdinand Marcos probably looked better than he did when he trod the earth. This is from Time magazine. While I'm grossing you out, what would happen to Marcos if the glass coffin would break. Maybe I don't really want to know the specifics.

Hagar wants to believe

As I have mentioned before, when it came to Santa Claus I was a true believer. It was never a topic of conversation or close examination in my neighborhood in the forties, and I was an only child so I didn't have a sibling to cross swords with or disagree with everything I thought. I caught on though at probably the right time as most all children do. Psychologically, it took asking for toys out of the greedy category because you could ask the old gentleman in the red suit for most anything and the people who paid the toy stores could pick and choose which presents Santa was going to get for you. It was a very good arrangement and made Christmas a magical time of the year for me. I was caught up in the excitement from Thanksgiving to the great day. As an aside, I remember as I got older one Christmas season I peeked and found Santa's stash. Bad move. On Christmas morning I had to pretend surprise. I never peeked again.

December 20, 2010

Not your Macy's type of parade

North Korea, a laugh a minute kind of place.

December 19, 2010

Bravo Shepherd Smith of Fox news

This guy, Shepherd Smith of Fox news is one of those unique guys who puts his job on the line frequently and sounds off when he's aware of something he thinks is disgusting. He's a good one.

Paper Sculptures

This Korean woman from Columbus, Ohio is loaded with talent. See more here.

December 17, 2010

Powdered Coffee Creamer

We're into the holiday season, and for some of us, like me of course, it is cookie, pie, cakes and other glorious deserts time. Hazel of course adds to my over consumption of everything sweet, and just recently offered up this to pass along.

Hazel says:

I really enjoy the spice flavored coffee creamers that are available from Thanksgiving thru Christmas and New Years.

While surfing the web I came upon a recipe for a powdered spiced creamer. This one is yummy. The hubby even likes it and he isn't overly fond of flavored creamers. My thanks to the unknown contributor.


3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup plain powdered coffee creamer
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Tweak it with a couple pinches of pumpkin pie spice or whatever strikes your fancy
mix together well and keep in a covered jar or plastic container.



Hearing Devices

These new hearing devices are pretty neat. But they only work when you insert them in your ear. If you leave them in their neat little holding container it doesn't assist you in hearing better at all. Like Helga, wives like it better, and it makes for better conversations and marital harmony to place them in your offending ear. (a testimonial from a forgetful user of the nifty hearing devices)

December 15, 2010

Cyber Marketing Elves

This by editorial cartoonist Fitzsimmons is right on the money.

Corny cartoon

I know it's corny, but I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff, it's funny.

December 14, 2010

Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont-BRAVO!

Bernard Sanders (I) Vermont speaking his mind on the floor of the senate. He was for the amount of time he kept the floor an American who knows his country is in trouble. Did anybody listen to him? Will it make a difference? Yes people listened, will it make a difference? No because they are either a republican or a democrat, a member of a political party whose loyalties are to that political party first, second, and always. Sanders was an American speaking to the American people. Sanders mind is a throwback to his states heritage of independence above all else. It boggles my mind in a good way to think if we had 100 men and women sitting at those desks everyday tending to our countries business. If we had 100 people, supposedly the best their state can produce meeting and talking and persuading each other to what is right for our beautiful country, we could sleep well at night knowing that our countries business is in good hands. Alas, a pipe dream is what Senator Sanders presented us with, a picture of the possible.

Borders buying Barnes and Noble?

This looks like perhaps this is the end of, as they call it, the brick and mortar book store. We have one in my town and I very much enjoy dropping in and browsing. I can say as a paying customer I kind of leave a lot to be desired. I browse and I browse and sometimes buy a cup of coffee or tea while I peruse a magazine off their shelves. But seldom do I drop the thirty bucks or so on their counter to buy a book. I'm like an extra in a movie, I'm there but that's about it. I'm not or ever was a vital link to their financial future. I can speak to it's ambiance though. It is a very relaxing place to visit, they provide comfortable chairs and leave you alone to paw their merchandise. That I am good at, and I will continue as long as they keep their doors open. If Borders does buy them I hope they just change the name and keep the business open. We lose too many business in my part of the world anyway.

Barnes & Noble Selling Out to Borders?

Recent news indicates that Borders Group(NYSE:BGP) has filed an intent to purchase rival bookseller Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) as of this past Monday. Nothing is set in stone, as of yet, but this could have some interesting and far-reaching effects on the eReader and eBook marketplace should it some to pass. Borders has been trying for some time to enter into the Kindle dominated eReader market, but buying the company currently making the second most popular eReader on sale today (sometimes estimated to hold as much as 10% of the market) would give them some real hope of making a place for themselves.

While Borders did manage to make a big splash a while back by bringing the basic, but functional, Kobo eReader to the public for just $150 at a time when popular eBook readers such as the Kindle hadn’t managed to make it below $250 yet, the prompt price matching on the parts of Amazon and B&N left it somewhat dead in the water, so to speak. They also run into the problem of having no device integrated book store to draw from, complicating the process and reducing potential income from impulse buyers and people who use their computers infrequently. Yes, there is the fact that Borders chooses to host a whole collection of eBook Readers in their stores, but none have managed to capture public attention for any length of time lately, including the Sony Reader collection. Picking up the fully grown Nook product line would turn this around completely.

This cannot really be seen as a great move in terms of business unless you look specifically at the eBook marketplace, given the state of things right now. Let’s face it, neither Borders nor Barnes & Noble are doing that well as the last remaining brick & mortar bookstores with any real nationwide presence these days. While combining the companies might result in a short-term boost in revenue, since one aspect of the competition would indeed have been eliminated, the real fights these days are between either online and physical sales environment or paper and digital books. That’s to say nothing about the fact that B&N isn’t exactly without its own troubles right now that Borders would have to address.

So, if it happens, what can we hope for? It’s really rather hard to say. B&N does have a very nice eBook store set up, and I’m certain that that would see even more emphasis as time goes on, but competition is getting pretty extreme lately and newcomers like Google aren’t going to make it easy to stay near the top no matter what the state of the Barnes & Noble ownership is. I am rather hoping it doesn’t happen though, mostly because of the uncertainty of what would happen with the B&N stores. The Kindle is at the moment the superior eReader in pretty much every other way I care about, but it’s great to be able to break out the nook when I’m out shopping and have a chance to hang out there for a while since the preview feature makes for some great relaxation.

December 12, 2010

Brie France 1948

Brie France 1948

snowy lantern

A lantern with snow on it. Well whoopee ding we've been through many winters before this one, but this one seems to be starting out a little different. It has snowed a little each day since December one, and remained cold so what is here remains here. Aren't we lucky. Now we are getting large amounts. Well I can't think of any thing more to say on the topic, except Hazel braved the cold and did a little slipping and sliding to snap this picture. I think it's pretty good.

Oatmeal the cat.

I once had a cat. His name was Louie. Louie was a nice kitty. But he was a kitty. Pet me or not when I want you to, says the kitty. This story about oatmeal the cat was written by a cat owner.

Giant pencils

The only one I will need from the giant pencil selection today is the white pencil. It is coming down in very large flakes. Since I don't have to go out today it is quite beautiful to look at. I checked out my snow blower yesterday. It's good that I did because it would not start. The trouble was old gas in the tank. I dumped it and replaced it with new and it started after a few revs of the electronic ignition, blew some white smoke into the atmosphere and I was on my way.

Pencils of this size could only mean that Gulliver or Paul Bunyan have taken up residence hereabouts.

December 10, 2010

The last ride will be slightly delayed.

I don't know if this is a rigged photo or not, but it's morbidly funny regardless.

Evidence of Amelia Earhart found

Why does news of Amelia Earhart after all these years still capture our imaginations. They again think they have found a part of Amelia on an atoll. It will be on Discovery channel.

December 9, 2010

Dark fudge chocolate chip kettlecorn

I don't deny it, I am a card carrying chocoholic. When I saw this at the superstore I read the copy and it was in the basket sooner than you could say presto somethingorother. Well after an in home taste test with my fellow tester she and I will have to tell you to look for this in your favorite superstore. It is as tony the tiger would say grreat.

Afghanistan-Stay or Go?

Since President Obama has gone back on his word about Afghanistan and said we would be there at least until 2014, I wonder again, WHY ARE WE IN AFGHANISTAN? Following are two answers:

George Will is right-Get out.
Why we must stay in Afghanistan-Stay

Brenda Starr

Brenda Starr retires January 2, 2011.

December 8, 2010

Jackson Pollock doing his thing

Not a good picture, but you get the idea

Just returned from dinner and took this blurred (oh you noticed?) picture of our snow that started on December 1, and has decided to do its thing everyday since. Friday is supposed to be a little warmer. I hope so. The snow caught me a little unprepared and I have to do a little more winterizing. I still have one hose still screwed into an outside faucet. It is frozen and maybe ruined but I still will have to wait until it thaws just a little and get it off and put away. I'll worry if I waited a little too long a little later.

December 7, 2010

Love in the Afternoon by Andrew Wyeth

Here is an artist who titles a view of an empty landscape seen through an open window Love In the Afternoon. Clearly, any love going on must be occurring on the other side of that open window, right? Right— unless, of course, the painter is referring to his love of solitude and the broad "empty" landscape he presents to us. Comments about Andrew Wyeth's painting entitled: Love in the afternoon made by Andrew Mangravite

December 6, 2010

Hazel's Cancer Story, Year Two Begins

Anniversaries are moments that we mark on our calenders, the date on which an event occurred in some previous year. Anniversaries are usually pleasant moments, but not always. DDay was not a pleasant day but we remember the date June 6.

For Hazel and I, an anniversary, not unlike DDay is approaching. An anniversary so repelling and discourteous that it picked one of the most happy dates of the year to rear it's ugly head, and we remember it, oh lord do we remember it. Christmas eve is for most of the world a happy expectant day, for some a holy day, a happy day. It is not a day when you and your whole being is grabbed and shaken with news that is so unmannerly to steal away the joys of the season and replace it with fear, apprehension, and grief. But that is what happens when a doctor picks Christmas Eve to tell you that cancer has invaded your body. The Christmas Eve proclamation was followed in quick succession by an operation, two months of radiation treatments and the start of five years of a medication called Arimidex.

After the holidays Hazel will be scheduled to receive mammograms again. The apprehension which was not there a year ago will certainly accompany the scheduling of mammograms from now on. If positive thinking can be a factor, then everything will be fine.

Hazel has been a soldier through it all except for some rare moments she hides in the bedroom for a moment of letting go.

She has received many kind words from bloggers who wish her well and I wish them in return many blessings for doing that. It helps in most cases I believe to talk about an illness.

There is new hope that someday a cure for breast cancer will be found. A doctor from the Cleveland Clinic believes he may have found it, but time will be needed, and test after test will have to be run. Here is a piece from Cleveland television on the progress being made.

Before Dawn

Rising before dawn into a cold house I wait for the warmth of the furnace and the smell of coffee to invigorate me. I gaze at snowflakes floating down from a still dark sky joining an already covered winter landscape and I feel a moment of nostalgia, common to men of my age. It's a feeling of settling in for a brain that is torn between memories of friends and family departed, and the peace and serenity of here and now, a stopping place of unknown duration where I can amuse myself with today's technological wonders. At arms length I have a modern television of gigantic size that will transmit to me movies that I saw first run at the movies on Saturday mornings sixty some years ago; a computer whose wonders and unfathomable amounts of information I've yet to skim the surface of; and the latest miracle, a library capable of holding 3500 books, a library the size of which would be a prize for even the richest of us in bygone days that I can hold in one hand called a Kindle. It is indeed a wondrous age to live in and I am glad I will be able to spend some time enjoying it for as long as I am allowed.

photo: unknown subject or photographer

December 3, 2010

Happy Face Balloon

Not significantly newsworthy. It's happy face hopefully will make your face light up a little.

December 2, 2010

First measurable snow

Almost like a Hollywood script December 1 arrives and a measurable first snow of the season arrives. If all the migrating birds haven't headed south it is time to do so.