Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Picture of the Day

What a continuing shame and disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It is such devastation for the wildlife and for the fisherman and the way of life on the Gulf Coast. This piece of art done by Paul Jackson is available for purchase, along with other pieces, to benefit to cleanup effort. Information, and other pieces of art, can be found on the facebook site "Art versus Oil Spill".

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Fascinating Pace Of Technological Change

The above video regarding the pace of technological change is fascinating. There is a tremendous amount of scholarly information available regarding the pace of technological change. An example is "The Law of Accelerating Returns" which was written about extensively in 2001 by Dr. Ray Kurzweil.

The Law of Accelerating Returns - by Dr. Ray Kurzweil

"The analysis of the rate of change of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common sense "intuitive linear' view. So we won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century, we will experience more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate). The "returns", such as chip speed and cost effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There is even exponential growth in exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence leading to The Singularity--technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software based humans, and ultra high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light."

Those interested in more information should google "exponential versus intuitive linear view of technological change". It is alot more information than I am interested in and care to deal with, but fascinating on the surface.

Picture of the Day

An early 20th century sail wagon, used in the sport of land sailing, in Brooklyn, New York. Land sailing is the act of moving across land in a wheeled vehicle powered by wind through the use of a sail. Land yachts have existed since Ancient Egypt and the modern sport began in Belgium in 1888.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Time Ice Cream

This is an old photo taken in the 1940's at a church ice cream social in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina. They are using an old hand crank ice cream maker. We had one when I was growing up. It made great ice cream but it always took a while. My mother would make nothing but vanilla but it was wonderful.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Picture of the Day

Photo was taken in 1936 in the Mississippi Delta region during The Great Depression. Children were probably born around 1930 so they could still be alive. You wonder how things turned out for them and what their story might be if they are still alive. From what I have read, there may be areas in the Delta region today which may still be impoverished to this extent. Let's pray not.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ashokan Farewell

I feel woefully inadequate to discuss Ashokan Farewell compared to many facebook friends who are so familiar with it, but I felt I must archive it simply because it is so beautiful. Composed in 1982, it was used by Ken Burns in his miniseries "The Civil War."

My long time friend Rod Edens quotes Jay Ungar, the composer, "I composed Ashokan Farewell in 1982 shortly after our Fiddle and Dance Camps had come to an end for the season. I was feeling a great sense of loss and longing for the music, the dancing, and the community of people that had developed at Ashokan that summer. Ashokan Farewell is written in the style of a Scottish lament."

Rod goes on to say, "Jay and Molly appeared in concert at the Carolina Theater, in I believe the late 90s. My impression was that Jay was an expressive fiddler, but the program did not allow Molly to show her talent." My fb friend Jude Nagurney Camwell said, "I have fond memories of hearing Jay and Molly playing this tune live in a small venue with wonderful acoustics in Oswego, NY. Beautiful." Fb friend Len Hart produced the video.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Life Began Calling

Not sure why, but this Peter, Paul, and Mary recording, a great Dylan piece, reminds me of a minor moral dilemma I encountered in the Spring of 1969. I was a Sophomore in college and a baseball player. Prior to the annual baseball Spring trip, when we went farther south to play a week of games, the athletic director put pressure on the baseball coach to leave me behind if I did not get my hair cut. I was the "clean-up" hitter on the team, so it may have been a dilemma for the coach too.

Seemed the world outside of baseball was beginning to take priority for me. The summer before (tumultuous 1968) while playing baseball in the Cape Cod League, I seemed to spend as much time hanging around the Eugene McCarthy for President Headquarters in Chatham, Massachusetts (the town in which I played for the summer) as the baseball park. (My girlfriend worked in a candy store next door).

I didn't get my haircut. The coach took me with the team on the trip anyway. He didn't start me in the first game. That was sure fine by me. Real life was beginning to call.

The Babe's Daughter and Mr. Yankee

Here is a nice photo taken in Arizona during 2010 Spring Training of former Yankee Captain Don Mattingly and Babe Ruth's only surviving child, Julia Ruth Stevens. The photo was taken by a facebook friend at a baseball dinner in Phoenix.

Ms. Stevens is an avid baseball fan. She is very involved in Babe Ruth League baseball and the Babe Ruth Museum. She threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the last game in old Yankee Stadium, "The House Ruth Built", in 2008. Mattingly, now a Dodger coach, was a great Yankee and a player in the minors at Greensboro in 1980.

"The Parting Glass" - Old Irish Folk Song

"The Parting Glass" is an Irish traditional folk song, often sung at the end of a gathering of friends. It was allegedly the most popular song sung in both Scotland and Ireland before Robert Burns wrote "Auld Lang Syne". It is said to have been written prior to 1770.

The Parting Glass

O, I spent the money e'er I had,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm that ever I've done,
alas it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
to mem'ry now I can't recall;
So fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.

O, all the comrades e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away.
And all the sweethearts e'er I had,
They'd wished me one more day to stay.
But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be with you all.

If I had memory enough to spend,
And leisure time to sit awhile.
There is a fair maid in this town,
That sorely has my heart beguiled.
Her rosy cheeked and ruby lips,
I own, she has my heart in thrall;
Then fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy with you all.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

War in Afghanistan

Above is a picture of Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Alfonso Gonzales, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marine Regiment as he walks through an allyway in Methar Lam, Afghanistan. He is looking for signs of sickness or disease. His clothing is patterned with Marpat, a modern form of military camouflage.

June 7, 2010 marked the 104th month of military engagement in Afghanistan, making it the longest war in U. S. history. The war began October 7, 2001 in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The stated aim of the invasion was to find Osama Bin Laden and other high ranking Al Qaeda members, to destroy the whole organization of Al Qaeda, and to remove the whole organization of the Taliban which gave safe haven to Al Qaeda.

On December 1, 2009 President Obama announced he would increase the number of troops there by 30,000 over a 6 month period. He proposed to begin withdrawal of troops 18 months from that date. Let's pray that he sticks to that plan and strategy.

It is time to end America's presence in Afghanistan except for a small presence necessary to continue a covert search for Bin Laden and other high ranking members of Al Qaeda. We cannot persist in occupying all nations which are a perceived threat to the world. We must engage diplomatically, then maintain strong intelligence, reasonable covert operations, and embargo if necessary. Bring the troops home.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

James Taylor - Carolina In My Mind

Born in Boston in 1948, James Taylor, at age 3, moved with his family to Carrboro, NC. There his father Isaac took a job as Professor in the UNC School of Medicine. Isaac later became Dean of the Medical School At UNC. The family spent summers on Martha's Vinyard beginning in 1953.

James had mental health issues and struggles as a teenager related to depression. He turned to drugs during those years, and he had similar struggles later in life as well. He moved to California in the late 60s . It was there, in 1971 (he and I were 23), that he recorded the beautiful "Carolina In My Mind", as he reflected upon and longed for his days in North Carolina. In spite of life's challenges and struggles, his God given creative genius and talent has abound and been his gift to the world.

The recording above, and the accompanying slides, are beautiful. Enjoy.

Baseball's 1937 All-Star Game

This picture was taken at the 1937 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC. Pictured left to right are Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmy Foxx, and Hank Greenberg, all of whom would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The American League won 8-3. Although the starting catcher for the American League was Yankee great Bill Dickey, Greensboro's Rick Ferrell of the Washington Senators was the back-up catcher. Rick's brother Wes, also from Greensboro and a pitcher for the Senators, was on the American League pitching staff. Lefty Grove was the starting pitcher for the American League and got the win. Gehrig homered in the third.

Dizzy Dean of the St. Louis Cardinal "Gas House Gang" was the losing pitcher. With the retirement of Babe Ruth, Dean had become the biggest draw in baseball. Dean's toe was broken on a line drive during the game and it began the downfall of his career (they brought him back too early and it affected his delivery).

Having beaten Alf Landon the year before so badly that it was said had the campaign gone on another month he would have carried Canada, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt throw out the first pitch. I'll bet it was quite a day.

(Greensboro's Rick Ferrell is a member of Baseball's Hall of Fame).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Picture of the Day

The Southern Crowned Pigeon is a large, approximately 75 cm (30 in.) long, terrestrial pigeon confined to the southern lowland forests of New Guinea. It has a bluish grey plumage with elegant blue lacy crests, red iris and very deep maroon breast. What a stunning creation.

Photo by Luc Viatour

The Signing of The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Above is a very important event in the history of America, the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by President Lyndon Johnson. It was an event important to the soul and to the economy of the South, as it opened the door, allowing the Southern United States to begin taking its rightful place in the mainstream of America.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jazz, Dissent ,and Democracy

What a great piece (borrowed from fb friend and blogger Jay Branscomb) on dissent, consensus, democracy and jazz. Bet you didn't know they had so much in common. Wynton Marsalis gets it right.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Interesting 2010 SC Governor's Race

The 2010 South Carolina Governor's race has been quite a race. It is still in progress with Nikki Haley and Congressman Gresham Barrett in a run-off. The race is classic South Carolina and GOP politics. A state senator supporting Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer called Haley and President Obama ragheads. Dick Cheney endorsed Congressman Barrett due to his vote for Bush's bank bailout. Haley was challenged to take a lie detector test. Haley called in Sarah Palin for an endorsement and to tape a robo call.

State Attorney General Henry McMaster, the candidate who talked about the need to bring jobs and prosperity to South Carolina, who stayed focused on how to move South Carolina forward and uplift it's citizens, and who talked of returning honor to the Governor's Mansion came in third in a four-man race. Henry, a competent, mature, mainstream, veteran SC leader fail victim to an unusual "teaparty" driven year in South Carolina.

Henry was endorsed by former Governor David Beasley. Beasley is the SC Governor who sacrificed his political career to remove the Confederate Flag from atop the SC State House. He was awarded the annual Profiles in Courage Award presented by Caroline and, before his death, Ted Kennedy. Beasley was invited to teach for a year at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard as a result. Henry was also endorsed by Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and The State, Columbia's daily paper.

My son Rob was Campaign Spokesman and Communication's Director for the McMaster campaign. Rob has worked in Washington on Capitol Hill, helped run a congressional campaign SC, served as Communication's Director for the SCGOP, and helped run a campaign for Chairman of the Republican National Committee. As a result of McMaster's loss, Rob is off to his next assignment as a top political communication's professional and operative. Someone will be fortunate to secure his services.

It will be interesting to follow the balance of the SC Governor's race. Even though Nikki Haley is very conservative, it is interesting and encouraging that South Carolina, a very parochial state and region, will be electing a women of Indian descent, a second generation immigrant, as it's Governor. Nikki will become an immediate star on the national GOP scene. The Deep South continues to change, albeit slowly.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Picture of the Day

We would do well to be reminded.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Picture of the Day

Tulip Festival in Ottawa.

(Photo Credit - Steve Moore)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Picture of the Day

"A Perfect Day"

(Photo Credit - Jim Bowman)

Friday, June 4, 2010

"Game Called" by Grantland Rice

Major League umpire Jim Joyce and Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga.

These two gentlemen, as a result of how they handled the "blown call" at the conclusion of a Galarrago pitched perfect game on June 2, 2010, added strength to the moral fiber of America. I am reminded of the great Grantland Rice poem, which coined the phrase, "it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game."

"Game Called"

Game called
Across the field of play
The dusk has come
The hour is late
The fight is done
And lost or won
The player files out
Through the gate
The tumult dies
The cheer is hushed
The stands are bare
The park is still
But through the night
There shines the light
Of home beyond the silent hill

Game called
Where in the golden light
The bugle rolled the reveille
The shadows creep
Where might falls deep
And taps has called the end of play
The game is done
The score is in
The final cheer and jeer have passed
But in the night
Beyond the fight
The player finds his rest at last

Game called
Upon the field of life
The darkness gathers far and wide
The dream, is done
The score is spun
That stands forever in the Guide
Nor victory nor yet defeat
Is chalked against the player's name.

Grantland Rice, Poet and Sportswriter - 1921

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paris At Night

(Photo Credit - Leslie Lee)

City Lights

New York City.

(Photo credit - June Marie Sobrito)

Picture of the Day

Sidney, Australia......A'Glow.

(Photo Credit - Doug Browning)

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