04 September 2014

three artists

Three artists, Jason deCaires Taylor, Sam Brown and Adrián Villar Rojas all, apparently, dis-similar in style, yet all unified with an awareness of the time within which we live, and our being - as a race of beings - on the cusp of Spirit Change.

Jason deCaires Taylor creates sculptures that most people will never get to see; and for those who are able to look at them over time, will never see the same sculpture twice; ...that is, the same sculpture (or, at times, a complicated installation) the same way each subsequent visit. Because it does, and they do

For the sculptor that is deCaires Taylor creates statuary and installations undersea; for he is post interested in sustaining his skills as a visual artist, while also "..providing the building blocks for sustaining a rapidly depleting coral reef environment. The subject matter can be whimsical [Alice from the Looking Glass astride a chess board] but often mundane - the office worker frozen in his office chair, rows of laborers standing forlorn]. Over time, the familiar will disappear as it becomes engulfed in new coral formations.

Jason de Caires Taylor’s art is an example of generative human intervention in the ecosystem, showing what can be accomplished by individual imagination and collective effort. Taylor’s strategy of conserving reefs, opposes the “land as commodity” mentality of Capitalism. His creation of underwater sculpture parks attracts tourists away from natural reefs, allowing them to recover, and taps into tourism revenue...
[from his own website] "...a sculptor who creates underwater living installations, offering viewers mysterious, ephemeral encounters and fleeting glimmers of another world where art develops from the effects of nature on the efforts of man. His site-specific, permanent works are designed to act as artificial reefs, attracting corals, increasing marine biomass and aggregating fish species, while crucially diverting tourists away from fragile natural reefs and thus providing space for natural rejuvenation."

Sam Brown: My first exposure to Sam Brown's color saturated artwork - on canvas, stone, wood - surfing Facebook artist sites. By pleasant happenstance, perhaps. I "liked" his page, and began to see more. So far I have not been disappointed.    

Others may disagree, but I see his current work's direction as akin to some visionary artists as one might find in little-known publications such as "Alchemistas / Beyond the Veil".

Based on what I've seen of his work - and recent work as uploaded on line - I it find exciting to sense how prolific he seems to be in his work pace. Yet not until I saw a mere handful of illustrations, and a calligraphy pieced at Freelanced.com, have I begun to appreciate the varied nature of the the Artist Brown sharing with us his visual delights. I look forward to seeing more of his work.

But why should I do all the talking? On Freelanced, one gets a glimpse at his sense of humor, and the skill at describing his inspirations with levity "Crazy about my Dogs....psyched about UFOs and Extraterrestrials, metaphysics, paradigm shifts and most every other mystery the Universe contains"

While at Blue Canvas ~ a posting site for artists ~ Sam Brown makes amply clear dedication and seriousness of his work, and that he can describe for himself his mission, as it were, for sharing that work...

     "My early work consisted primarily of fantasy and science fiction themes which I still enjoy today. Over time, subjects such as philosophy, metaphysics, mysticism and surrealism began to influence the content of my paintings and led to my experience of, and my magnetism toward, the archetype of the spiral. A pattern seen throughout the Universe, the spiral has been utilized by many cultures over time and has several meanings associated with it. One being that of a spiritual journey... a spiral path which we all share. ".    

You can find more of his work at his own website, Cerulean Sam at the artists' display site Blue Canvas as well as see samples of his magazine illustration and calligraphy (such as the cover art shown to the right in this column) at Frelanced.com - Sam Brown

Adrián Villar Rojas: Getting information about Villar Rojas was a challenge. Enigmatic, perhaps, yet not one easily forgotten - He represented Argentina in the 2011 Venice Biennial; he installed a monumental work in the Jardin Tuileries next to the Musée de Louvre in Paris, was among the first sculptor on exhibit at the The new Serpentine Sackler Gallery, {Kensington Gardens, London England] in September 2013 and major prestige galleries pay attention to his efforts.

Villar Rojas has become renowned for his large-scale sculptural works, predominantly made in clay and brick. Beached whales in the middle of a forest, dinosaurs in a death battle with one another; elephants straining under the weight of massive concrete architectural molding.

At the Serpentine Sacker gallery, in Autumn 2013, he began "...working with a team of collaborating builders, sculptors and engineers, ...tests the limits of clay to create an apparently fossilised world of ruins and ancient monuments that plays with the concept of time, history, modernity and the future. Overarching connections between his projects create a larger narrative, with themes and forms reappearing and reconfiguring themselves over time.

His earlier works "As with My Dead Family, saw him create a 28-metre [92 foot] -long sculpture of a whale stranded in a forest for the Biennial at the End of The World, each installation can seem as if is the last chapter of an unknown mythical saga.

At first glance, Rojas, who was born in the Argentinian city of Rosario in 1980, would not appear to fit the prototype of the aggressive artist: his influences lie in grunge music and comics, while his heroes both in art and reality tend to be broken figures, as he explains on his website [in Spanish].
More obliquely, a scan of Villar Rojas' Flickr pages Nerd Ciego- provide a peek at what he sees and the life surrounding the works he produces.

[from io9] "The artwork of Argentinian sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas evokes such themes as fantastic adventure in the otherwise normal material realm, the passage of time, and the last days of humanity. Perhaps his most striking series of sculptures depict giant dead sea leviathans beached far from any bodies of water."

RESOURCE SOURCES ~ [1] IMAGE: Wikipedia page on Jason deCaires Taylor ~ INFO: Daily Beast: Underwater Sculptures Are a Sight to Sea, April 2014 ; [2] IMAGE + INFO: Sam Brown work from 2004 ~ found at Blue Canvas; : ;[3] Adrián Villar Rojas IMAGE Sick Chirpsies article Making Sea Monsters Out Of Stone INFO: Serpentine Galleries - Today We Reboot the Planet; io9 Building Dead Sea Monsters in the Forest

03 September 2014

From my Dreams Journal ~

I am kayaking along a river, headed north. The landscape on the riverbank is of unbroken woods. Then, while coming toward a stream inlet, I see a plot of land that has been cleared; there is a well manicured lawn and a large (more than 12 ft in height) gauzy looking tent. A sculpture - even taller than the tent (reminded me of some David Smith "Cubi" sculptures) - with a bright red enamel surface stands nearby.

Just past the stream, the waters are filled with what, at first appear to be boulders, but on closer inspection, appear to be skeletal - not skeletons, mind you - more akin to icons and ceremonial carvings that one would see at a Mexican "Day of the Dead" ceremony. At this point, it isn't clear whether I am kayaking or wading in the water, but I distinctly recall thinking "I don't need to go there" and instead I disembark on the river bank not far from the tent.

I'm definitely aware that I am trespassing but pay this no mind.

Looking inside the tent, I am certain that the space is occupied. There is a hammock large enough to hold two people. I briefly jump up into the hammock, rock around briefly, and get right out. Other things in the tent include canvases, an easel and art supplies. It seems like someone was just here and left, for there is a tray of food not far from the hammock and personal items laying about the tent.

I leave the tent and walk up along the river bank until I come to a thicket of jewel-weed plants in flower.

Then I wake up.

REFERENCES: David Smith Sculpture [ http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/artwork/3955 ]; Day of the Dead Ceremonies [ http://www.inside-mexico.com/featuredead.htm ]; Jewelweed [ http://www.altnature.com/jewelweed.htm ] IMAGE SOURCES: David Smith Sculpture: Chicago Art Institute ; Day of the Dead Imagery: Emlii 22 Breathtaking Festivals Around The World ; Jewelweed: The Louisville Intercommunial Network for Education (the LINE) Nature Studies pages.

16 April 2014

Poem - Ode to the Lunar Eclipse

  The Sun revolves around the Earth
 So too does the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and the rest of the planets
     Save Venus, who sets alongside,
     man as a hornet for not herself being chosen the center Orb.

The Sun revolves around the Earth
Driven by the ginormous gravitational pull of human genius
     Relatively unknown outside - in other universes
     Which, in fact, do not exist if we but say they don't

Who knew our strength was so All Powerful?
     A Strength so All Encompassing?
     A Strength so Grandiose?
A Strength so itense the even G*D Himself
     cannot resist the pull of human genius
And who are YOU to say otherwise?

The Sun revolves around the Earth
And for you - heathen unbeliever --
     We have WAYS of dealing with you that make Abu Grahib seem calm
     You can thank us hat we shall spare you.

Now grab hold of the reins of that tractor combine
     Plow under those pale plants
We must bury them to help produce the next generation's oil
     Only a Mellennia to go. No time to question this Wisdom now.
The Sun revolves around the Earth. 

image credit: Akira Fujii (Sky & Telescope)

Cat Humor


found on the internet

12 April 2014

Our Parallel (yet still not identical) World of Prisons

At one end of the incarceration spectrum New Yorker Magazine prints a Jeffrey Toobin piece, aptly named "This is My Jail"; a grim glimpse at a the Baltimore City Detention Center, an inner city jail that ought to be notorious; no - infamous! The place ought to be infamous.
On January 5, 2013, Tavon White, an inmate at the Baltimore City Detention Center, had a cell-phone conversation that was intercepted on an F.B.I. wiretap.
    “This is my jail, you understand that,” White told an unidentified friend. “I’m dead serious. I make every final call in this jail. . . . Everything come to me. Before a motherfucker hit a nigga in the mouth, guess what they do—they gotta run it through me. I tell them whether it’s a go ahead and they can do it or whether they hold back. Before a motherfucker stab somebody, they gotta run it through me.”
    White was a leader of a gang called the Black Guerrilla Family.
    The gang had such control over inmates in the facility that, as White put it in another phone call,
    “I got elevated to the seat where as though nobody in the jail could outrank me. . . . Like, I am the law. . . . So if I told any motherfucking body they had to do this, hit a police, do this, kill a motherfucker, anything, it got to be done. Period"
And yes, it's worth signing up for the free monthly trial subscription to read the whole article.
Here's the URL spelled out - http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/04/14/140414fa_fact_toobin
At the other end of the prison spectrum
Bernie Kerik, once a top cop, once Commissioner of the New York City Department of Corrections. He was later indited, and sentenced, for accepting bribes, tax fraud and, frankly, lying about it. He opinions about prison now that he was incarcerated, have changed. Who would have known?

Laura Dimon, a columnist at PolicyMic, wrote:

He's been called a hero and a leader, a liar and a crook. Praise or condemn him, it's hard to argue that he doesn't have a damned interesting story. He said that throughout his career, he thought he understood the criminal justice system.
     But it wasn't until the tough "lock 'em up" cop with the Tony Soprano-like swagger was suited up in prison uniform, mopping floors and living in a small room with three other men that he realized: He knew "nothing," he said, until he was on the other side of the bars.
Another interviewer, Lisa DiPaulo, (who specializes in chatting up the famous) wrote in The Secrets of White Collar Prisons got him to talk about his impressions of spending time in a "Club Fed" prison for the rich and influential. The article, appearing in the slick lifestyle e-mag Dujour has another convicted criminal, Jack Abramoff, lamenting (on Kerik's behalf) “You don’t want to be the celebrity of the prison, by the way,” Abramoff also shares: “It’s never good to draw attention to yourself in a prison. Nothing good is gonna result from that.”

Perhaps the most useful insights shared with Ms. DiPaulo by Bernie Kerik are after she asked "What was the most shocking thing about being on the other side of the bars?" He said this:

“The punishment should be the deprivation of freedom and liberty,” he says. “But once you arrive at prison—I was shocked by the psychological punishment.” This is unexpected. “You are constantly berated, degraded, demoralized,” he says. “You’re herded like cattle.”
    The isolation from family also takes its toll. “You can’t show your child love and support and guidance in absentia. You damn sure can’t do it in a two-hour visit in a visiting room. You can’t discipline your child while you’re in the system, because the last thing you need is for that last conversation you have with your child to be a negative one,” he says.
    “You cannot fathom the pain, the heartache, that the system causes parents and their kids. Nobody gets it. Nobody understands it.”

Ms. Dimon, graduated from Columbia's School of Journalism in 2013 and her work focuses on criminal justice issues. She also wrote The Invisible Life Sentence, a piece on how our harsh and unforgiving society essentially "sentences" almost anyone whose been incarcerated, to a marginalized life; unless, of course, if your are already wealthy (and can completely avoid being sentenced) or if you are a well connected former career politician. The following link will take you to the complete article.

Here's the URL spelled out - to Ms. Dimon's article: http://www.policymic.com/articles/86691/nypd-commissioner-turned-felon-has-a-message-for-america-now-he-s-been-to-prison?.

Ms. DePaulo's creds include writing for GQ, DUJour, and other lifestyle magazines. Her take is, perhaps, a caution to the high and mighty that if they do go to prison, they might be forced to live in a cell "where you are barely able to turn around in the cell without bumping into something..."
    Point being, the conditions are nothing, nothing like those endured by the inmates at Baltimore City Detention Center.

Here's the URL spelled out - to Ms. DePaulo's article: http://dujour.com/article/inside-white-collar-prisons-bernie-kerik-jack-abramoff

21 February 2014


Sometimes it's nice to get flowers for no reason at all

Architectural Wonders ~ Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House

The Frederick C. Robie House is a U.S. National Historic Landmark in the Chicago, Illinois neighborhood of Hyde Park at 5757 S. Woodlawn Avenue on the South Side of Chicago, Ilinois.

It was designed and built between 1908 and 1910 by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and is renowned as the greatest example of the Prairie School style, the first architectural style that was uniquely American.

The house was designated a National Historic Landmark on November 27, 1963 and was on the very first National Register of Historic Places list of October 15, 1966.

The Robie House is one of the best known examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style of architecture.

The term was coined by architectural critics and historians (not by Wright) who noticed how the buildings and their various components owed their design influence to the landscape and plant life of the midwest prairie of the United States.

Typical of Wright's Prairie houses, he designed not only the house, but all of the interiors, the windows, lighting, rugs, furniture and textiles.

As Wright wrote in 1910, "it is quite impossible to consider the building one thing and its furnishings another. ... They are all mere structural details of its character and completeness."

For more information on the history of the Robie House

20 February 2014

poem - checking out the handiwork

The Bricklayer sat by his wall
checking on his own handiwork
finding a flaw
that no one but he
(or another bricklayer)
would ever notice

That imperfection
Had little to do
with the skill of his craft
and more to do
with the pride of perfect labors
when one can walk away from
Content in its completeness.

This made him feel
The work unfinished
His mission not accomplished
Yet the homeowner who hired him
was in a rush
“Don’t touch a thing!
Looks good to me!”
ushering the tradesman away
with a check
and his own consternation

Little did it matter to him –
30 years later
Building still erect
every time he passed by
he could see
what he could not aright

And it made him sad.

Beat Generation

Born Jean-Louis Kerouac, Kerouac is the most famous native son of Lowell, Massachusetts. His parents had immigrated as very young children from the Province of Quebec, Canada, and Kerouac spoke a local French Canadian-American dialect before he spoke English.

He was a football star at Lowell High School and upon graduation in 1939 was awarded a scholarship to Columbia University. However, after an injury sidelined him on the football team, Kerouac grew unhappy with Columbia and dropped out of school.

During this period in New York City, Kerouac became friends with the poet Allen Ginsberg and the novelist William S. Burroughs, as well as Herbert Huncke and others who would be associated with the “Beat Generation.”

Read more at the Wikipedia bio of Jack Kerouac

photograph of Jack Kerouac in Tangier in 1957, by William Burroughs. Photograph from Taking Shots: The Photography of William S Burroughs’ is at The Photographers’ Gallery until 30 March 2014. The associated book is published by Prestel.

Assorted Storefronts - Middletown CT

Treasonous Bastids

The Koch Brothers Left a Confidential Document at Their Donor Conference

The billionaire industrialists and their political operatives strive to ensure the anonymity of the wealthy conservatives who fund their sprawling political operation—which funneled more than $400 million into the 2012 elections—and to keep their plans private. Attendees of these summits are warned that the seminars, where the Kochs and their allies hatch strategies for electing Republicans and advancing conservative initiatives on the state and national levels, are strictly confidential.

They are cautioned to keep a close eye on their meeting notes and materials. But last week, following the Kochs' first donor gathering of 2014, one attendee left behind a sensitive document at the Renaissance Esmeralda resort outside of Palm Springs, California, where the Kochs and their comrades had spent three days focused on winning the 2014 midterm elections and more. The document lists VIP donors—including John Schnatter, the founder of the Papa John's pizza chain—who were scheduled for one-on-one meetings with representatives of the political, corporate, and philanthropic wings of Kochworld.

Read more at Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/koch-brothers-palm-springs-donor-list

DONORS: Carl Berg: Ranking No. 308 on the Forbes 400, Berg is a Silicon Valley real estate titan with an estimated fortune of $1.1 billion. Ronnie Cameron: He runs agribusiness giant Mountaire Corporation. During a meeting of the Kochs' donor network in 2011, Charles Koch recognized Cameron (and other donors) for donating at least $1 million to their cause. Charles Chandler: Based in the Kochs' hometown of Wichita, Kansas, Chandler is the CEO of Intrust Bank. John Childs: He runs the Boston-based private equity firm J.W. Childs & Associates. Jamie Coulter: Haling from Wichita, Coulter is the former CEO of the Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon restaurant chain. Bob and Steve Fettig: The Fettigs run the metal fabrication company Tankcraft, based in Darien, Wisconsin. Steve is the company's CFO; Bob is CEO. Richard and Leslie Gilliam: Richard founded Virginia-based coal mining company Cumberland Resources Corporation, which he sold to Massey Energy for nearly a billion dollars in 2010. Ken Griffin: A major conservative donor, the Chicago-based businessman founded the hedge fund Citadel and is worth an estimated $4.4 billion. John Griffin: He's the founder of Blue Ridge Capital, a New York hedge fund. Dick Haworth: He's the chairman emeritus of Holland, Michigan-based office furniture company Haworth. Richard "Ric" Kayne: He's the founder and chairman of Los Angeles-based investment firm Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors. Dan Kirby: He's president of Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Kirby Financial. Fred Klipsch: He's the chairman of Klipsch Group, a speaker and headphone manufacturer. Frank Kozel: He's the principal of Pittsburgh-based Keystone Energy Oil & Gas Inc. Francis "Franc" Lee: He's the president and CEO of Flowood, Mississippi-based lender First Tower, LLC. Robert "Bob" Luddy: He's president of CativeAire Systems Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hugh Maclellan: He's the executive chairman of Chattanooga, Tennessee's Maclellan Foundation, which make grants to Christian causes. Cecil O'Brate: He's the CEO of Garden City, Kansas-based Palmer Manufacturing & Tank. Verl Purdy: He's the chairman and CEO of Charlotte, North Carolina-based AGDATA Inc. Tom Rastin: He's a director and vice chairman of the Mount Vernon, Ohio-based Ariel Foundation, started by his wife, Karen Buchwald Wright, the CEO of Ariel Corporation. Rastin is the company's vice president of engineering, sales, and marketing. George Records: A member of the Hoover Institution's board of overseers, Records is the retired chairman of Oklahoma City's Midland Group. Robert Rowling: Ranking No. 93 on the Forbes 400 with an estimated fortune of $4.9 billion, Rowling is the cofounder of TRT Holdings, which owns Gold's Gym and Omni Hotels. John Schnatter: He's the founder and CEO of Papa John's International. Tina and Craig Snider: They are the children of Ed Snider, a founding contributor of the Ayn Rand Institute and chairman of Comcast Spectacor, a sports and entertainment company that owns the Philadelphia Flyers. Dian Stai: Based in Texas, Stai cofounded Owen Healthcare Inc. with her late husband. She's a top conservative donor who gave $125,000 to the pro-Mitt Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future during the 2012 election cycle. Jim Stephenson: He's the president and CEO of Georgia-based Yancey Bros. Co., "which provides Caterpillar, AGCO, and Blue Bird Bus Co. products and services throughout the state of Georgia." Stephenson is also an Americans for Prosperity board member. Jim Von Ehr: He's the CEO and founder of Richardson, Texas-based Zyvex Labs. Debra Waller: Since 2001, she's been the chairman and CEO of Jockey International Inc. Lew Ward: He's the founder of Oklahoma-based Ward Petroleum Corporation. Dick Weiss: He's the Core Equity senior portfolio manager at Wells Capital Management. Karen Wright: She's the founder and CEO of the Ariel Foundation, a private philanthropy group based in Mount Vernon, Ohio. She's also CEO of the Ariel Corporation, a natural gas compression company.

*Mother Jones was unable to confirm the identities of some donors on the list, including Steve Clark, Paul Foster, George Gibbs, George Jenkins, Jerry Hayden, Kent McCarthy, Andrew Miller, Ted Saunders, Tom Smith, Jaime Snider, and Dean Williams.

International Events - Kiev on Fire

Read More at the New York Times Ukraine Leader Strains for Grip as Chaos Spreads or the [UK] Daily telegraph Ukraine protests: 21 killed amid 'sniper attacks' as fresh fighting breaks Kiev truce

World History: Norweigan Teachers Stood Up Against NAZIs

World history lesson against hatred

On Feb. 20, 1942 the vast majority of teachers in German-occupied Norway refused to comply with the forced Nazification of the school system.

The government had ordered display of the portrait of German-installed Minister President Vidkun Quisling (formerly head of the Norwegian fascist party) in all classrooms, revision of the curriculum and textbooks to reflect Nazi ideology, and teaching of German to replace English as their second language.

The teachers organized and 12,000 of 14,000 nationwide wrote the same letter on this day to the education department refusing membership in the newly formed Nazi teachers’ association.

Two days later clergy throughout the country read a manifesto against Nazi control of the schools. (Description from PeaceButtons.info) Read more: Non-violent protests in World War Two

Also read about Reidar Dittmann who was imprisoned for his role as a student who resisted the Nazis.

Photo: 500 teachers from all over Norway were sent to Kirkenes in 1942 after refusing to teach the Nazi curriculum, read more at The Zinn Education Project. Contributing Source info: The Zinn Education Project - "Teaching a people's history"; the Peace Pledge Union - the oldest secular pacifist organisation in Britain.; Minnesota Public Broadcasting.

Thank you, Father, for this food that we are about to receive...

News clips

More political stupid is as stupid does as Volkswagen says that turning down a union at their Chattanooga, Tennessee factory was a stupid mistake.

[FROM REUTERS] Workers at VW's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last Friday voted against representation by the United Auto Workers union (UAW), rejecting efforts by VW representatives to set up a German-style works council at the plant.

German workers enjoy considerable influence over company decisions under the legally enshrined "co-determination" principle which is anathema to many politicians in the U.S. who see organized labor as a threat to profits and job growth. Chattanooga is VW's only factory in the U.S. and one of the company's few in the world without a works council. "I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again," said Bernd Osterloh, head of VW's works council. "If co-determination isn't guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south, Osterloh, who is also on VW's supervisory board, said.

Osterloh's comments were published on Wednesday in German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. A spokesman at the Wolfsburg-based works council confirmed the remarks.

"The conservative politicians stirred up massive, anti-union sentiments," Osterloh said. "It's possible that the conclusion will be drawn that this interference amounted to unfair labor praxis."

Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a staunch opponent of unionization, said last Wednesday after the first day of voting that VW would award the factory another model if the UAW was rejected.

What’s Causing the Huge Spike in Earthquakes in Oklahoma? Fracking!
suggests an article in The Nation.

A dramatic uptick in earthquakes has been shaking central Oklahoma this year, continuing a recent trend of unusually high earthquake activity in the state and leading scientists to speculate about a possible link to oil and gas production there.

The map on the right side of this page is of earthquakes recorded by the US Geological Survey (USGS) in the past thirty days (each quake is marked by a dot on the map), Oklahoma is a clear hot spot.

Nicholas van der Elst, a post-doctorate research fellow at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, says the “most reasonable hypothesis” to explain Oklahoma’s spike in earthquakes is they’ve been triggered by injection wells used for oil and gas production. “The burden of proof is on well operators to prove that the earthquakes are not caused by their wells.”

In fact, there have been more than 500 earthquakes in Oklahoma this year and 150 last week.

Porsche to 911 GT3 owners: Stop driving the car!

For all my friends who shelled $130K [USD] (you know who you are) unfortunately the last laugh is on you. It seems the engine can catch fire.

The 911 GT3 can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 3.3 seconds, with a top speed of 195 miles per hour.

The problem affects 785 GT3 cars from the 2014 model year, including 408 in the U.S.

The car maker is contacting the owners of the 911 GT3s directly and offering to pick up the vehicles so that it can inspect the engines at a dealership. [FROM CNN Money]

IMAGE SOURCES: (1) Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga,Tennessee: Reuters/Christopher Aluka Berry (2) USA Earthquake map: US Geological Survey (3) Yellow Porsche - Ingo Wagner AP Image Bank

Ansel Adams Birthday today

Ansel Adams, Photographer, Conservationist

"“At one with the power of the American landscape, and renowned for the patient skill and timeless beauty of his work, photographer Ansel Adams has been a visionary in his efforts to preserve this country’s wild and scenic areas, both on film and on Earth. Drawn to the beauty of nature’s monuments, he is regarded by environmentalists as a monument himself, and by photographers as a national institution. It is through his foresight and fortitude that so much of America has been saved for future Americans.”"

President James E. Carter Presenting Ansel Adams with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Here's a link to a Wikipedia biographical sketch of Ansel Adams, and a link to an official The Ansel Adams Gallery
You might also check out the PBS Image gallery of Ansel Adams Photos

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo of Ansel Adams on his wonderful wood-paneled station wagon found at D K Hummel's blog From A Certain Point of View

02 December 2013

People who don't watch the Kardashians

from Wikipedia

Amish Farmers ~

"The Older Order Amish are known for their avoidance of certain modern technologies. Amish do not view technology as evil, and individuals may petition for acceptance of a particular technology in the local community.

"In Pennsylvania, bishops meet in the spring and fall to discuss common concerns, including the appropriate response to new technology, and then pass this information on to ministers and deacons in a subsequent meeting. Because of this flat governing structure, variations of practice develop in each community.

"Because of the early prohibition of electricity, individual decisions about the use of new inventions such as the television would not be necessary. Electricity is used in some situations when it can be produced without access to outside power lines. Batteries, with their limited applications, are sometimes acceptable.

" Electric generators may be used for welding, recharging batteries, and powering milk stirrers in many communities. Outdoor electrical appliances such as riding and hand-pushed lawn mowers and string trimmers are used in some communities. Some Amish families have non-electric versions of appliances, such as kerosene-powered refrigerators.

"The Old Order Amish tend to restrict telephone use, as it is viewed by some as interfering with separation from the world. By bringing the outside world into the home, it is an intrusion into the privacy and sanctity of the family, and interferes with social community by eliminating face-to-face communication.

"Amish of Lancaster County use the telephone primarily for outgoing calls, with the added restriction that the telephone not be inside the house, but rather in a phone "booth" or small out-building placed far enough from the house as to make its use inconvenient. These private phones may be shared by more than one family. This allows the Amish to control their communication, and not have telephone calls invade their homes, but also to conduct business, as needed.

"In the past, the use of public pay phones in town for such calls was more common; today, with dwindling availability of pay phones because of increased cell phone use by the non-Amish population, Amish communities are seeing an increase in the private phone shanties. Many Amish, particularly those who run businesses, use voicemail service. The Amish will also use trusted "English" neighbors as contact points for passing on family emergency messages. Some New Order Amish will use cellphones and pagers, but most Old Order Amish will not.

IMAGE CREDIT: Amish America. TEXT CREDIT: from Wikipedia ~ Amish Life in a Modern World.

Resourcefulness ~ Vietnam

The following was found on a Google+ discussion group, so I can't take credit for it.

Thought this was interesting.

New type of canoe? Nothing in Vietnam was ever wasted. The Vietnamese people don't waste a thing - this ought to be a BIG lesson to us!!!

Whatever happened to all those USAF fuel tanks that were jettisoned all over North and South Vietnam after the fuel was expended during their missions?

[As an aside, anybody who had been to the Mekong River delta region will likely never forget those red clay soils. ... and just in case you want to know more about Vietnamese soil types ~ go here > the UN's Food and Agriculture Oorganization's Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profiles (sorry, the nascent geologist in me just cropped up)]

Apparently they’re being put to good used as boats in the navigable rivers of SE Asia.

F-4 Phantom fully loaded with fuel tanks and arms …

You can find more about the F4 series of fighter jets at Wikipedia: McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.

[Click on the image to the right to see the stats better] Note: Original amounts were in 1965 United States dollars. The figures in these tables have been adjusted for inflation.

A single one of these babies (the F-4C) would cost 27,888,870 USD to build today.

The fuel tanks before being, well, refurbished.