Prepare to enter a world of both shadow and substance

Take a journey of body, mind and spirit where you'll encounter things you won't find anywhere else.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Travels With Charley (uh, Kenny)

Throughout my adult life, I have had the privilege to visit many of what is considered the great places in this nation of ours. At a young age, my family moved to Arizona and I came this close to seeing the Grand Canyon, but never did quite make it. If I could choose one thing to see that I haven't witnessed in person, that would probably be at the top of my list. But, the places already checked off my list run into double figures.
When I was a senior in high school, and at the ripe old age of 18, my graduating class had the pleasure of a trip to our nation's capital, Washington D.C. I have to tell you that seeing all those buildings our forefathers built and used was pretty awe-inspiring. Plus, it was the first real test of any consequence for my relatively new Minolta XD-11 camera. Here are a few of the places we saw:

Yes, we got to go inside the Capitol Building, the White House, The Lincoln Memorial, up the Washington Monument, the National Archives, The Supreme Court building and the Smithsonian Institute, among others. On a few side trips, we also got to take in George Washington's home, Mount Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg and the battlefield at Gettysburgh. A very sobering place, indeed. I don't think I'll ever forget the places we visited that year of 1979.

A few years later, my family, which by this time had moved back to Southern Illinois, took a vacation trip to Canada. The province we chose was Ontario. And if the rest of the country is as beautiful as that area, they are some very lucky citizens. Here are a couple scenic shots from that trip in 1982:

It was also during this trip that I took my first train ride. It took us into the heart of the wilderness and it was here I shot the cascading waterfall above.

Many years later, while on my second honeymoon, my then-wife and I went to the Big Apple - yes, New York City. We travelled by way of Philadelphia and it was there I witnessed another part of the historic early years of our nation. What more can symbolize the beginnings of our country than the building where the Declaration of Independence was signed or the Liberty Bell?

Don't let this get about, but I actually got to touch the crack in the bell!

Just a short, one-night stopover in Philadelphia, then it was on to the city. Many places I had seen in the movies and on television were right there - bigger than life! And, of course, I had to try and see as many of them as I could. Where do I begin? There was the Empire State Building, and then my favorite building of all in the world, the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, (which just happens to be my mother's maiden name!) and it goes without saying but I'll say it anyway, the Statue of Liberty:

Of course, I had to visit the Museum of Modern Art - because it houses my favorite painting inside it's walls:

That is the famous painting by Salvador Dali called "The Persistence Of Memory." Of course, there were many other places that just had to be seen in person and in the flesh. These included the New York Public Library, Rockefeller Plaza, Wall Street, a ride on the subway, Ellis Island, The Battery, Fifth Avenue, Times Square, Grand Central Station, The Chrysler Building, and de rigeur appearance at Central Park. And to cap it all off, a visit to that world-famous restaurant where the stars hang out, Sardi's. (Although I didn't see any of them when I was there....)

Pictures of a few of these other buildings might grace future blogs, as well as photos from some of the other places I've been, such as Atlanta, Texas, White Sands New Mexico, Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinatti, Kansas City, Memphis, Music City - Nashville, Milwaukee, and Louisiana. But, those were other times and other places. While holding a special place in my memory, they didn't quite equal the special feelings I got from the cities and provinces I visited and spoke about in this blog.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Getting To Know Me

I figured it was about time to show you what I look like. Nobody really thought I resembled a giant Lobster, I hope. So, while showing off my photogenic mug (hardly!) I'll also describe a few of the other things that have taken up so much of my time through the years.
Flash back to the 1980's, that's when most of these images were taken. It was a time of prosperity, I guess - after all - it was the Reagan Years! The only problem with that decade was that the Trickle Down Economy never made it down all the way to my level. So, although I am right at home on the bridge of this yacht, it was not mine. (How I wish it was, though!):
But, things weren't really so bad that I had to go and live off the land like the next picture shows. That's an old buddy of mine, named David, and we were the epitome of the Great White Hunter:

Did I just hang out on street corners like a bum? I most certainly did not! But, I did think I looked pretty good in a leather jacket:

My sojourns into the woods actually brought me a little closer to nature. So much so that the little creatures became my friends. Here I tried to capture a swarm of bees that had landed in my yard, with the hopes of transferring them to a makeshift hive and collect honey:

And, it wasn't all work and no play. That would make Jack a very dull boy. I did manage to slip away to the seaside now and again for vacation. That's me, the one with the blonde hair, and a couple friends of mine, named Dave and Bob, and we're on the sunny sands of Jacksonville Beach, Florida:

No, I did not become a Paper Lion and escape to Detroit and join a football squad. But, check out those shoulder muscles! They're really the styrofoam corner protectors that came inside a television box:
I'll just let this last picture speak for itself. It pretty much sums up the 1980's for me. A friend of mine named Kent is the other figure in the picture:

Butterfly Season

This is just a quick update, as promised, to let you know that I have been out there chasing those butterflies this year! Here are just a few of the ones I have managed to capture with my camera so far.

So Let It Be Written

Well, it’s Easter and you know what that means. Yes.... the time of year when Christians celebrate Christ rising from the grave, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m celebrating is the annual watching of The Ten Commandments on TV. I do it every year about this time and have been doing so since the 1970’s. That makes it around 30 times that I’ve seen it on the tube.

Now, regular viewers of my blog will know the significance of this movie – it’s my all-time favorite flick. I’ve seen it so many times, I practically know the lines by heart. "So let it be written, so let it be done." "The dead make none." "Let my people go." "Moses, Moses, Moses." "His God is God." You get the idea. So many classic lines. I’m telling you, I really like this movie! In fact, one year for Hallowe’en, I went dressed as Moses. See the picture below.

A couple stories about the picture. First off, everyone that sees it always asks how come I only have 5 commandments in my hand, e.g. – only one tablet. My response is this: I hadn’t received them yet. Second humorous story surrounding my dressing up as Moses on Hallowe’en. At that time, I played in a rock and roll band, (still do, as a matter of fact), and we had a gig on Hallowe’en night. Once I got to the bar, in full costume, of course, I had to get a drink before we started playing. So, I strolled up to the bar and when pulling up my robe, I reached into my pocket to pay for it. I had shorts on underneath the robe, but the waitress must have thought perhaps I didn’t have anything on and gasped. I assured her that it was all right. Moses wasn’t about to become a flasher after all this time. True story.
Now, my love of The Ten Commandments goes back even farther than the ‘70’s. It must have been around 1967, when I was 6 years old, I actually got to see this motion picture at the theater. This was from the 1966 rerelease. It was still making the rounds up until the 1970’s, I suppose, when it began it’s annual appearance on television. And, that’s when I started watching it every year.
I purchased my first VCR in 1984, just in time for it’s Easter showing on ABC-TV, and recorded it. Since that time, about 5 or 6 years ago, I rerecorded it from my sister’s store-bought videotape. It had been restored and was back to it’s full 3 hour and 39 minute length. Since that time, I have heard it’s been released on DVD, more than once, in fact.

One version of it on DVD includes the original 1923 silent version, also directed by Cecille B. DeMille. It was shown on television about 15 years ago, once, and I recorded that version. But, I’m thinking about breaking down and purchasing the deluxe DVD set that includes both movies and a whole lot of extra features. Since it is my most favorite movie, the clarity that DVD discs offer is just something I’ve got to have. Maybe I’ll have found a copy and acquired it before next Easter. If so, you can be sure that I’ll post that fact in my blog.
But, just in case my regular readers can’t find a copy of their own or wait another year for me to talk about it, here is a link so you can hear some of the magnificent music heard in the movie. Play it and it will be almost like you’re watching it right now! (Written on April 8th, 2007.)
Click here to download the Main Title theme of The Ten Commandments.

Computers Don't Make Errors

Well, if you've read my blog, you know I haven't posted a new message in a while. Well, since March, to be precise. And the reason (s) were beyond my control. Honest!
On March 30th, I shut down my computer because I was going out of town for the weekend, but mainly because of an approaching thunderstorm and I didn't want anything to happen to my computer that might harm it. I figured if it was turned off, lightning couldn't strike it or something like that, and it would be safe. What was I thinking!? I arrived back home on Sunday afternoon, April 1st, and turned on my computer to check my e-mail. But, it didn't come on right away. In fact, it seemed to have forgotten who I was and no longer had a profile for me. And, not only that, several other things wouldn't work like they had just two days previous, either. I tried to repair the problem. Oh, how I tried!
First thing, I couldn't open any webpage where I had to sign in. That includes this blog, eBay or any other page that requires a user name. I kept tracing problem after problem and trying to repair it, but each problem had deeper problems and nothing would work. As you might guess, I could not download repairs from, because their pages worked like those requiring passwords, and would not open. I tried everything I could think of, and not a single thing worked.
Also, my firewall stopped working, as did my anti-virus software. I did manage to save my e-mail contacts and create a new user profile that worked - somewhat. But, it just wasn't right. And, I needed my computer to do what I asked of it, when I asked it to. After trying everything, I gave up and figured there was only one solution. To break it all down into one easy word - reformat. Yes, I eventually had to reformat my computer to get everything back to normal and working like it did before I shut it down to be safe.
Guess who was the April Fool?
Never let it be said, anywhere in my range of hearing at least, that computers don't make mistakes. Mine did and nobody had even heard of that kind of error. So, let this be a lesson to everyone. Always try to keep the important stuff you have on your computer backed up where it can be truly safe - nowhere near your computer!

Oh, and one other little side note: The computer problems I experienced prevented me from posting my big Ten Commandments blog like I had intended. So, be on the lookout for it anyway, albeit just a little past due.