one day at a time…
Monday 23 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Rent-a-Scope on the Web

CREDITS: Arnie Rosner/www.ArnieRosner.com
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Sonoran Skies Observatory © Arnie Rosner
Down in Arizona, where there is a 'dark sky' area, Arnie Rosner has built a pro class astronomical telescope observatory facility with CCD recording. Not only will he let you rent the equipment by the hour, he has developed a web browser interface that will allow you to do so across the Internet… is that cool, or what? If like me you are rather daunted at the prospect of operating such high end equipment through a web browser, then you will want to read the re-assurances of actual user that it actually does work. Arnie says, "We've been in business since 1964, catering to the various needs of our many clients. We are dedicated to providing high quality work, 100% guaranteed to meet your satisfaction or your money cheerfully refunded. The fact that I put my own name on the business is your assurance that I personally stand behind everything we do." Now that's a lot more than can be said of some of the high flying scandal ridden businesses that have hit the news lately. Arnie's website has lots of other things to see: I particularly enjoyed the Africa gallery, and if something catches your fancy then there are several options to buy the images for display.

Sunday, 22 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Ford on the Kenwyn

CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/www.CornwallCAM.co.uk
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Ford on the Kenwyn © Charles WinpennyThis is the ford across the River Kenwyn at New Mill, near Truro in the English county of Cornwall. I remember small river and stream crossings like this, but little did I realise just how many remain in use: WetRoads.co.uk lists 33 such fords in the county of Cornwall alone, and has a directory to the remainder of the UK. The Wet Roads listing for New Mill and the crossing of the River Kenwyn links to another picture taken by Charles Winpenny back in October 1999.

Friday 20 December 2002

Pix of the Day: First in Peace, First in War

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George Washington © Ian Scott-Parker
This fine bust of George Washington stands in front of an equally fine sandstone building in Washington City, southern Utah. The building looks as though it may once have been an educational institution, but it now serves as a cultural center. The sculptor was Avard Fairbanks, and the plaque on the plinth reads, "First in War, First in Peace, First in the hearts of his countrymen. The patriotic pioneers of 1857 were proud of their new city and named it in honor of George Washington, the first president of the United States of America". If there is a war against Iraq I wonder if the present incumbent of the office will be so fondly remembered, and have a city named after him, although perhaps an existing Bush City limits the possibilities.

Thursday 19 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Best Day To Go Was Yesterday

CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
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Sunrise 1 © Tony RichardsSunrise 2 © Tony RichardsSundown 1 © Tony RichardsSundown 2 © Tony Richards
On a single day in the English Lake District photographer Tony Richards captured these four stunning images, two at sunrise and two at sundown. I have been asked by weblog visitors who have been inspired by the wonderful photographs I feature from the British CAMs, "When is the best time to go?" I regret to inform you that you should have been there yesterday. The sunrise shots were taken around the lake of Windermere, and the sundown shots around the lake of Coniston Water. These lie respectively to the east and to the west of Grizedale Forest Park. For those who repeatedly suggest that I must be homesick because of all the pictures I feature from the place I left to come here… well, sometimes just a little, but then again, if only you had seen the sunrise here across the snow capped 10,000 foot high Pine Valley Mountains, then like me you might think again.

Wednesday 18 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Chattering About the Weather

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Just as I was completing the last post a giant fireball sun burst below the cloud and just above the horizon, flooding the whole valley with a deep golden light. I thought you might like to see the results.

Weather 4 © Ian Scott-ParkerWeather 5 © Ian Scott-ParkerWeather 6 © Ian Scott-Parker

Weather 1 © Ian Scott-ParkerWeather 2 © Ian Scott-ParkerWeather 3 © Ian Scott-Parker

We had rain here last night… a little. Today there are black clouds passing over, and although it is dry just now, perhaps later there will be more rain. You will understand that this is an event hereabouts, and therefore something worth talking about. I used this occasion as an opening for a discussion with my wife, but two miles up the hill it hadn't rained, nor had they experienced the several gusts of wind that blew down here on the flats to the south of the town… so we discussed lack of rain and wind instead. If it ever rains in Umiña, near the Ecuadorian town of Arica, where the annual rainfall averages less than one millimetre and they have recorded 14 consecutive years without a drop, the whole village will probably be up all night chattering! Contrary to the common misconception that it's a boring British thing, talking about the weather is a worldwide phenomenon.

Tuesday 17 December 2002

Pix of the Day: U2 Falling High in Las Vegas

CREDITS: © Las Vegas SUN/www.LasVegasSUN.com
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Bono © Las Vegas SUN
When Irish rock band U2 kicked off their 1997 'PopMart' world tour at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, the stage set featured what was then the world's largest video display. The 'Las Vegas SUN' newspaper reviewed the event, and it reads as though it was written for that Simpson's show when they wickedly lampooned Bono, the band's lead singer, and his admirable opinions on the weightier problems of our society. The gig was not without its production difficulties, but I suppose we all have off days. Geoff Carter's rock music review is a good read ("When U2 forgets how high they've fallen and just play the songs, they absolutely devastate.") and walks the fine line between admiration and adulation. David Renzi contributes an article that includes some technical details about the show, and if you are a fan you may enjoy the video footage, sound clips, and photographs.

Monday 16 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Apple Store Land Tax Scam

CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/www.leaney.org
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Bridge House © Andrew LeaneySince first starting this photo weblog I have frequently thought about showing a picture of this building, which was built by the parsimonious first owners as an apple store, constructed over water to avoid Land Tax. I always thought it was so familiar as to be almost a visual cliché, but when I showed the picture to she who must be adored, lo and behold she had never seen it before. The picture was taken by Andrew Leaney on a stroll from Ambleside round the delightful environs of Loughrigg Fell. The building is said to be the most photographed structure in the English Lake District, and is now the NT (National Trust) information centre, becoming known as the Bridge House. The stone 'slates' on the roof have an interesting construction, which is detailed with another picture on the invaluable VisitCumbria web site.

The countless visitors who snap a picture are following in a long tradition: JMW Turner is said to have drawn or painted the building when he passed this way, although I was only able to find an etching of the Old Mill, which is just upstream on the other side of the Bridge House; Thomas Allom and others made fine engravings of views in the area of Ambleside; the profuse early 20th century photographer Francis Frith took a picture; and the most modern famous artist I was able to find who has used the building as a subject was D. John Woodwater, who is known for his series of portraits to honor Diana Princess of Wales after her tragic death.

Saturday 14 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Hurricane Historical Site

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The Stanworth House © Ian Scott-ParkerStanworth History © Ian Scott-ParkerAs part of the National Register of Historic Sites these plaques appear in many places around our town: click on the Historic Marker thumbnail to read the history of The Emanuel & Ursella Stanworth House. European settlement of this area only dates back about 150 years, though the first Native American settlers were here in 10,000 BC. The town of Hurricane is only about 100 years old, but it is a nice feeling to be so in touch with the founding Pioneers, compared to the remoter histories of much older places.

Friday 13 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Pride of St. George

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St. George, UT, Temple © Ian Scott-ParkerSt. George, UT, Tabernacle © Ian Scott-ParkerSt. George, UT, Bear Paw © Ian Scott-ParkerSt. George City in southern Utah is only about 150 years old. Founded by members of the LDS (Mormon) Church it clearly shows this heritage through the Temple and the Tabernacle buildings. My preference is for the architecture of the Tabernacle over the Temple, mainly because I have been inside one but not the other, so it is an ill informed opinion. I am an habitué of neither: my own stamping ground is just along the street from the Tabernacle at the Bear Paw coffee house, which serves the finest breakfast in the city. My dining companion rated her Eggs Benedictine up there amongst the best she has ever eaten, and the individually pot brewed loose leaf Darjeeling tea as a rare delight in this land of the tea bag and thermos dispenser.

An English correspondent in the Netherlands, who attests that swedes can only be bought in the Turkish shops, and I suppose by extension turkeys in the Swedish shops however double Dutch that might sound, drew my attention to the alleged disappearance of the 'Full English' breakfast. Look no further: that robust, sustaining meal has moved to America, meanwhile growing in sophistication and elegance. Eggs, ham, bacon, wickedly decadent Continental sauces, and spicy South Western orchestrations are all available, and there is even a choice of breads for toasting that leave those crustless polystyrene ceiling tiles in the dust. The only things missing are sausages (many appalling English examples are best avoided, though Jimmy Mulholland of Great Orton in Cumbria makes superb varieties) and marmalade: there are some things our Former Colonial Brethren have yet to master. The shops have excellent marmalade available, it just seems the restaurateurs have not yet caught on, and instead serve over sweet jams.

Tuesday 10 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Girls I Have Known Revisited

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Last Leaves © Ian Scott-ParkerWinter Wear © Ian Scott-Parker
Winter has come gently to southern Utah. Only a couple of weeks before the shortest day some of the trees still bear leaves, hanging onto the finest hours of their summer of glory. Yes, well, I know the feeling. Playing old Beatles songs while I was working only added to that mood. Noel Coward said it was, "Extraordinary how potent cheap music is", and he was the one to know about such things. Later I played Paul Simon's 'Graceland' album, enjoying his poetic lyrics and musicality. Why do so many popular songs remind me of girls I have known?


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Potato-Potato-Patato © Ian Scott-ParkerHarley Power Plant © Ian Scott-ParkerThose of you lucky enough to have socialized with members of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle riding fraternity will already know they are a gentle, softly spoken group of individuals. This weblog numbers at last one of them among the visitors, so it was no surprise when I received an email containing a murmur of outrage for favoring that Honda 'rice-burner' yesterday. My views that Phil Vincent was the best motorcycle designer and manufacturer ever, and that George Brough was the best designer and assembler ever, were seen as allowable wayward British eccentricity. To bring a sense of balance to the discussion I offer this picture of how the modern examples of the famous American marque possess sophistication and style, even if they do still clunk when put into gear while stationary. That 'Potato-Potato-Potato' noise of the exhausts, sorry mufflers, is delightful nevertheless.

Monday 9 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Vroom-Vroom-Vroom

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Vroom-Vroom-Vroom © Ian Scott-ParkerThe sight of a smartly turned out motorcycle instantly brings out from me the small boy that lurks inside most men. Dorothy Parker remarked with her usual acidic wit, "The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys." This gleaming white Honda Shadow Spirit was in the mall car park when we arrived, which was packed with Christmas shoppers. The bike's rider had parked it between two of those giant SUVs with 4-wheel drive and emergency winch that are the vehicle of choice in America for going to the mall. I watched as a series of hopeful new arrivals thought they were in luck, then scowled as they tried to nose into the space only to find it occupied by the bike. Can a parked motorcycle have attitude?

Sunday 8 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Real Talisker of the Misty Isle

CREDITS: © Geoff Cryer/Geoff's Walks With A Camera
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Talisker Bay © Geoff CryerYesterday, while I was surfing around Geoff Cryer's web site for the railway station picture, I came across a gallery of enjoyable pictures of 'Walks With a Camera'. Those walks range through many parts of Scotland, and northern England. Virtually revisiting many favorite places was a great treat. I chose this one as a feature: Talisker Bay on the Isle of Skye. Whisky lovers everywhere will recognize the name, though as Geoff points out the distillery is on the other side of the peninsula at Carbost, on the sea inlet of Loch Harport where the seashore is less picturesque.

Saturday 7 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Bridge Over the Iron Way

CREDITS: © Geoff Cryer/Geoff's Railway Pages
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Citadel Station © Geoff CryerToday's feature picture is of the Citadel Station in Carlisle, England. The photographer was Geoff Cryer, whose excellent railway images archive will provide hours of happy surfing for rail enthusiasts, however etymologically mixed up that sounds. Before you read any further I feel I should warn you that what follows is a rambling reminiscence, triggered by a correspondent to whom I replied more verbosely than was decent.

I was born in Carlisle, a city at the western end of the border between England and Scotland that boasts a long and illustrious history of which I am as yet unable to lay claim to being a part. The railway station was probably the first time and place that as a small child I became aware of the huge world that lay beyond my immediate family and our house. I remember many incidents from my early life that revolve around arrivals and departures when railways were much more important in people's lives. At the far end of the station from where the picture was taken the Victoria Viaduct crosses the lines, and it was a delight to stand watching the huge clouds of black smoke and white steam that were puffed through the iron lattice work of the balustrade. Later, when coal had been replaced by diesel then later electricity, someone saw fit to install sheets of dreary beige glass fibre plastic to cover the wonderful Victorian iron work: to this day I still see that as an act of urban planning vandalism of the most wretchedly unimaginative kind.

A particular memory, and one of those family stories that haunt all our lives, revolves around my almost complete lack of speech until after I was 3 years old. My father even called me 'Dumbo', after the elephant in an early Disney cartoon, because of my silence. This horrified those concerned with my developing self worth, but when I was old enough to understand the joke I thought it was hilariously funny. My father went away on business for his employer, and when he returned we went as a family to meet him at the railway station.

My mother saw him walking along that platform on the left of the picture, and took us up the steps on the right of that gently arched bridge you see in the distance. We topped the stairs at one side as my father topped the stairs at the other: breaking free from my mother's grip I ran across the planking walkway of that bridge shouting, "Daddy! Daddy!", and to everybody's astonishment began chattering away to him twenty to the dozen with details of all that had happened since he left. Both my parents are long dead, but whenever that story was told my mother would always add, "...and we haven't been able to shut him up since."

Friday 6 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Max ROI for Hiking Accountants

CREDITS: © Ann Bowker/Lake District Pictures
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Cogra Moss & Blake Fell © Ann Bowker
When I lived in the town of Cockermouth on the edge of the English Lake District this was the place I would pop out to for a short afternoon walk. I know of no other place that gives such a high Return on Investment, the measure of worth so beloved of company accountants. This place has everything; water to reflect sky and hills; wooded slopes with gently graded tracks for walking when the weather is wild; lush vegetation where my dog Barney learned to surf down the heathery slopes on his belly; bilberries in the season; and fine views from the tops. Everything is very compact, nothing requires a hard slog to ascend, yet all this is scaled in such a way that visually it has all the appearance of a grand mountain.

Thursday 5 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Lilies & Poplars Are Similar Obsessions

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Poplars © Ian Scott-Parker
These very tall mature poplars that stand at the side of our house are an endless source of fascination for me. Like some demented latter day Monet, albeit less skilled at representing my inspiration, I watch them as the light changes. Their bleached white winter bark at noon changes to a rich russet in the evening sun, and even after dark they are outlined against the night sky. The ever changing lily pond at Giverny has been preserved, and may be seen on a video that gives some idea of why someone might become obsessed with such glory.

Wednesday 4 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Single Source, Infinite Variety

CREDITS: © John MacPherson/The Light Touch
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Loch Light © John MacPhersonSierra Prows © John MacPherson
Last month I featured pictures from John MacPherson's galleries, and promised there would be more to come. Well, here they are: Loch Leven in Scotland, and boats on a lake in the Sierras of California. There are two Scottish lochs named Leven, one in Perth & Kinross north of the Forth Road Bridge coming from Edinburgh, but I am betting this is the one that runs up to Kinlochleven. John doesn't give the name of the Californian lake, so take your pick from the location map, there are plenty! These two pictures make an interesting contrast between the two places, and the two kinds of light they experience. Amazingly the light for both of these pictures comes from the same single source, providing the same visible spectrum, but with an infinite variety of appearances. What a source of wonderment.

Tuesday 3 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Making Friends With the Locals

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Haughty Llama © Ian Scott-ParkerElegant Horse © Ian Scott-ParkerIn the last few days I have been out and about trying to make the acquaintance of some of the local livestock. There is a native American saying that, "A man who can make friends with strange cats will succeed in life." The cat indicators are favorable so far, although with jaguars observed in Arizona this might not be a sensible activity. The horses are game for a patting session if carrots are offered, but the llamas are as haughty as the pictures suggest. There is a white baby llama whose favorite game is chasing the black cat next door back into its own territory, although I don't think that has any deeper significance. Even the baby keeps its distance, but as they say about hard work, low pay, and free love in the work place, two outa three ain't bad.

Monday 2 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Demarcation & Insignificance

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Demarcation Line © Ian Scott-ParkerWell, 3 weeks ahead of schedule on my heart attack recovery program, I made it to the foot of Molly's Nipple and the edge of town, although when I arrived the edge of town was 250 yards further than the last time I went there. They sure build things fast here in the USA! This is just a plain vanilla picture that shows the extinct Molly's Nipple volcano, and the demarcation line between the town and where the desert starts. I hope this will also be a personal demarcation between illness and full recovery. I ask that you indulge me for the celebration of a minor achievement on the road to good health. One day perhaps I will be able to show you a picture of the view from the top of the hill. Following on from my arrogant boast of yesterday it rained while I was out on my walk: if you get cocky the universe will remind you of your insignificance.

Sunday 1 December 2002

Pix of the Day: Everyday Sundown in Paradise

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Sundown © Ian Scott-ParkerThe weather of this late season has produced some spectacular sunsets hereabouts. The desert climate suits me: having lots of sunshine keeps my SAD syndrome in check, and my old bones enjoy the warmth of the sunshine. My good friend in the UK says he could not suffer eternally blue skies and sunshine every day. I agree completely: the only thing I can imagine that might be worse is rain, cold, and miserably dull days without end. Hahaha! eat your heart out sucker.

Today I am going to see if I can walk to the edge of town before our late Thanksgiving gathering. If I make it there will be another blog entry tomorrow. Otherwise…

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)