Wednesday 31 July 2002
Pix of the Day: Greatest Mountain Man
These pictures of James Bridger (1804-1881) are the most commonly seen pair of three portraits widely available on the net. I have been unable to ascertain their owners, though I guess by now they must be out of copyright. If anyone claims or notifies ownership I will be pleased to give full credits and provide links to their true home pages.
Jim was born in Richmond, VA on St. Patrick's Day in the same year that Lewis & Clark stopped at Waverly, MO to repair their oars on a journey up the Missouri River that was to herald the opening of The West. When he was only twenty years old, Jim was the first white American to see the Great Salt Lake. He was a trapper, trader, scout, map maker, and teller of tall stories. He died in Independence, MO on the farm he bought for his 'retirement', revered by his contempories as 'Old Gabe'. Surprisingly many Americans I have spoken to either did not know his name, or were unsure of just who he was, when he lived, and what he did. Over the next few days I hope to provide all that information, with links to the best Jim Bridger resources on the web.
This was the first of three parts, all now available in the Jim Bridger archive.
Tuesday 30 July 2002
Pix of the Day: Buttermere Crimes & Fibs
This is St. James' or Buttermere Church in the English Lake District (map from www.findachurch.co.uk) on the VisitCumbria.com website. The carved angel was commissioned from sculptor and landscaper Jonathan Stamper when thieves stole the original from the church. Other criminals have passed this way: in 1802 a plausible scoundrel by the name of John Hatfield arrived in the area. He passed himself off as being of high born social status, courting Mary Robinson, who was known as the 'Beauty of Buttermere'. The full story may be read on Steve Bulman's website. Wordsworth and JMW Turner passed this way, the latter painting a rather dull scene that is in the Tate Gallery collection. Another visitor was Robert Grindell of Manhattan in search of his forbears. He did discover the true story of his grandfather Joseph and laid to rest the fanciful family story. "Oddly enough, though, this discovery did not dampen my pleasure in searching out this part of my family history. If anything, it heightened it. I even have a fonder feeling for my grandfather Joseph whose romantic fib about how he came to the New World gave me, many decades later, the chance to play Sherlock Holmes."
Monday 29 July 2002
Pix of the Day: Autumnal Preview
This picture of a glorious autumn day in the English Lake District comes from the Mikes-Eye website, where they offer prints, calendars, jigsaws, and cards featuring original Lakeland pictures. The featured picture is the foot of Derwentwater lake and the northwestern fells. The Mikes-Eye flagship products are the videos, which team much loved classical orchestral music with stunning footage of Lakeland scenes. Music lovers will enjoy the visual enhancement of the music, and hill lovers will enjoy identifying the Lakeland scenes, all of which as listed, and many of which are fresh looks at familiar subjects. There are six titles featuring the works of Vivaldi, Beethoven, Rachmaninov (my own favourite), Sibelius, J.S. Bach, and Mozart. All videos are reasonably priced, with a special offer if all six are purchased.
Sunday 28 July 2002
Pix of the Day: Magic Circles
This may be one of those 'You had To be There' photographs. The rocks in the foreground are what is left of the Neolithic age Elva Stone Circle from Julian Thurgood's Visit Cumbria website. I think that posssibly one needs to be of a woowoo disposition to get the most from these places: certainly when I lived in Cockermouth and visited this site the situation and the associations with the past set my skin a-tingle. Julian has a Cumbrian Stone Circles page and there are further links at the Open Directory. Visitors of a more prosaic disposition may prefer to just enjoy the fine view of Skiddaw, the mountain in the background of the picture. Ann Bowker has a page on Castlerigg Stone Circle, which is close to Elva, but much better known and more often visited.
Saturday 27 July 2002
Pix of the Day: Moving Mountains
After Tony Richards published his picture of Blea Tarn in the English Lake District, one of his sharp eyed readers noticed that the hills on the horizon looked like the profile of Lakeland poet William Wordsworth (this one by Edward William Wyon is in the National Portrait Gallery). Here in the United States such things are not left to happenstance: sculptor Gutzon Borglum simply selected a suitable mountain, then between 1927 and 1941, with the help of 400 workers, sculpted the 60-foot busts of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln to represent the first 150 years of American history. What became the Mount Rushmore National Monument in Keystone, South Dakota, is now world famous. How about Disraeli, Gladstone, Churchill, and Thatcher on Great End?
Friday 26 July 2002
Pix of the Day: Little Miss Muffet
From Josh's picture galleries at nf0's Life comes this pleasant flower picture: arachnophobes should look away now! I find spiders fascinating creatures. We have Wolf Spiders here, which fortunately are harmless because occasionally one will crawl across my feet as I sit at the computer, and Black Widow Spiders, which I have yet to see. Josh has lots more subjects in his galleries, plus his weblog -- well worth a look. Aficionados of trivia (which is just information for which the need is in the future) may enjoy Eric Shackle's page from Brookmans Park, between Hatfield (map) and Potters Bar in the English county of Hertfordshire just north of London, home of Dr. Thomas Muffet (or possibly Moufet, or even Moffat) who lived 1553-1604. He was an entomologist and wrote 'Theatre of Insects, the first scientific catalogue of British native species'. Eric's ebook website is a motherlode of information that you may be needing any day soon. Steve Heliczer has a gallery of modern day residents of Brookmans Park.
Thursday 25 July
Pix of the Day: Langdale Triptych
Recent pictures of the Langdale valley in the English Lake District were well received, so I thought you might enjoy this recent Langdale haymaking triptych from Tony Richards who is a blog favourite. The peaks in the middle picture are the five Crinkle Crags, which have a special place in the hearts of walkers in the district. Click on the pictures to see them full size.
Tuesday 23 July 2002
Pix of the Day: Taos Pow-Wow
Over at fotofeed.com there is a series of pictures of the Taos Pow-Wow taken by John H. Farr. The Native American life of the pueblos (considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States) is the basis of the festival, but there are other facets of New Mexico life to be seen. The event attracts entries from associated cultures and areas of North America. John did a short article on the 2002 pow-wow, which includes a photo tour.
If you missed the pow-wow but are interested in native American culture then try indianvillage.com who have a calendar of events that seems to be well maintained. If you are interested in visiting the Taos area to enjoy its many attractions taosvacationguide.com have lots of information, including a map showing the local hot spots in the "Enchanted Circle".
Pix of the Day: Pioneer Agriculture
If you read Monday's entry about the Pioneers trekking to Hurricane, UT then this shows how they fared once they got here. By dint of hard work and enterprise they turned the desert into an agriculturally productive homeland. The local Heritage Park displays a selection of the machinery they used, and the flowers show how the irrigated land brought forth fecundity. The story of how irrigation was achieved by construction of the Hurricane Canal to tap the waters of the Virgin River will be told later.
Pix of the Day: Sleeping Sky Giants
Near Tucson, in the Arizona desert, there are approximately 4,500 military aircraft parked. They sit in the shimmering heat, mothballed by the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Centre (AMARC) on the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (DM-AFB). The AMARC facility may be one of the most profitable aircraft producers in the world: in fiscal 2001 they processed 101 aircraft into storage, valued at over $887 million, and returned into service 113 aircraft and 18,896 parts valued at $740 million. AMARC’s budget was $45 million, for which it returned $15 worth of goods and services to its customers for every dollar spent. DM-AFB is far from being an 'aircraft graveyard', which is how it has sometimes been labelled by the uninformed.
The Pima Air & Space Museum organises tours (cameras allowed but visitors have to stay on the bus). An excellent online multi-media presentation is available, produced by 'Second Story' (a site well worth visiting to access other interesting productions), which is hosted in the Kodak domain.
Monday 15 July 2002
Pix of the day: How the West Was Won
The movie tradition has well equipped wagon trains crossing the smooth grassy prairies, the main problem to their progress being marauding savages. In the Great Basin the reality was somewhat different. When the cost of moving a whole society by wagon train grew too excessive, Brigham Young, the leader of the LDS church, decided that handcart companies would be a more economic answer. Many made the journey successfully, but some were beset with privation and tragedy.
Sunday 14 July 2002
Pix of the Day: Green Mean MachineThis 'restoration' was too much 'conversion' and too flambouyant for my own conservative tastes, though I certainly admired the effort and craftsmanship that went into the project. It was for sale on a local used car lot, but was gone the next week. Sometimes I wonder if such vehicles are snapped up for the Californian market, where there are lots more dollars to pay for fun recreational transport.
Judging by their photo galleries Walking Women have a whale of a time when they go away on trips. Here's the pitch 'WalkingWomen arranges women's walking holidays & short breaks of all different shapes and sizes in the Lake District, Scotland, and abroad. Whether you prefer gentle walks or adventure, creature comforts or economy, there's variety here for most tastes and levels of fitness! WalkingWomen is about making wonderful walks more accessible. It's about un-pressured walking in beautiful scenery at every level. It's about attractive and affordable places to stay to suit a range of tastes. And most of all, it's about the fun and stimulation of walking with a group of other women! Coming on your own? Most women come on their own. The walking group is small and friendly, with a trained guide to show you wonderful walks you might otherwise miss. The age range is wide and all women are welcome!' They have some places left on their Summer and Autumn 2002 schedules.
This man would love to join them: house trained, unthreatening, permission and supervision from she who must be obeyed, cooks, entertains, code god, photographer, and never leaves the house without a Swiss Army pocket knife. C'mon, girls, Utah is awesome hiking country!
Saturday 13 July 2002
Pix of the Day: Winter in LangdaleYesterday's item was uploaded while still unfinished: you may like to scroll down and read it in the completed form. Recently, after many hours of frustration with the online content management system, I have now returned to manually coding the blog, just so that I can have the job done properly with all the elements correctly placed. I am grateful to Blogger for everything they have done, and would still heartily recommend them to anyone thinking of starting any kind of regularly updated webpage.
Today's picture is by Derek Locke, taken of the Langdale valley in winter. Derek's site is a rich trove of articles on matters as diverse as bridges, architecture, maths, physics, and water, with lots of information about photography and wildlife.The Langdale picture is from the Mountains section about glaciation, which is part of the online Picture Galleries, but it appears here because it is a top class landscape picture in its own right. The Bridges section has been honoured by ažScientific American 2002 Sci/Tech Web Awardžin the Engineering and Technology category.
Friday 12 July 2002
Pix of the Day: Haymaking in LangdaleThis picture of haymaking in the Langdale valley of the English Lake District is by Wayne Hutchinson, who won the Guild of Agricultural Journalists, Photographer of the Year 2002, professional class.
Wayne offers a number of galleries of his work, and also a CD-ROM containing over 400 images from his extensive portfolio of agricultural subjects. He is the official photographer at several breed sales, including those for Swaledale Rams, Bluefaced Leicester, Charolais Cattle, and Limousin Cattle. He breeds Swaledale sheep, and trains and breeds sheepdogs. Pictures of both appear in the galleries.
Thursday, July 11, 2002
Pix of the Day: Bird BurglarsI was delighted when I first moved to this part of the world to discover that there were hummingbirds hereabouts. These pictures are by local photographer Rick Fridell of Hurricane, UT        from the Utah Birds website. There is also an amazing bird story on the Utah Birds website. Go and read about how a gang of thieving birds looted 16,000 quarters from a car wash operator, and it was all caught on camera! Amazing. [Thanks to Steve Osburn]
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Pix of the Day: Chameleon Monterey
In the same year that the Mercury Monterey that featured in yesterday's item was manufactured, the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings revealed that Lucille Ball had registered to vote as a Communist in 1936 at the insistence of her grandfather. From the other fifty six names on the FBI 'Famous Persons List' you may recognise Albert Einstein, three Kennedys, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, and even Mickey Mantle. Who can you trust? In the year following the hearings Lucille, with her husband Desi Arnez, made a movie called 'The Long, Long Trailer'.
How could anyone think evil of someone who appeared driving a 1953 Mercury Monterey convertible with a flathead V8 producing 125 horsepower at 3,700 rpm implausibly pulling a 1953 New Moon 28ft trailer weighing in excess of 3 tons? The movie is a rich hunting ground for people who like to spot errors. On further investigation one may find pictures of that car in YELLOW and BLUE: the sort of people who would fake that kind of evidence will stop at nothing to blacken the character of their victims... and why does Lucy call 'Nicky' (the main character) 'Ricky' at one point?... and why in one scene does the car suddenly become a Lincoln?... and why does the trailer keep changing colour?... and why does a man appear on both sides of the same street?... and why does the car drive AWAY from the holiday location they are supposed to be heading TOWARDS? J. Edgar Hoover once remarked, "Justice is incidental to law and order". It seems that accuracy is incidental to movie making.
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
Pix of the Day: Monterey Lake Pipes
This is a 1953 Mercury Monterey. Knowledgeable car buffs will already have noticed the 'lake pipes' running along the lower edges of the body. Take the caps off these and the exhaust gasses boom unhindered from the engine. These retro-fitted engine performance enhancers were so called because the cars were run off-road on dry lake beds, though the noise must have travelled for miles.
Tomorrow: Lucille Ball, Communism, and a chameleon Monterey.
Monday, July 08, 2002
Pix of the Day: Dry with a Twist
On an overcast summer day, Ann Bowker took this picture in the area of Walla Crag in Borrowdale, probably the best known valley in the English Lake District. There the 'oceanic' climate, with cool, wet summers, produces this sort of lush vegetation. In contrast on a bright summer day, I took the other picture on the Watchman outlook at the entrance to Zion Canyon, probably the best known valley of the Colorado Plateau. There the 'inter mountain, rain shadow desert' climate, with hot, dry summers, produces this sort of sparse vegetation: dry with a twist. Diversity is such a delight. Click both pictures for a larger view.
Sunday, July 07, 2002
Pix of the Day: Proto-American Auto
This Chevrolet 'Bel Air' was so redolent of all those 50's adverts that said 'family car', with pipe smoking Dads who took their kids out for the day, and Mums who wore smart taffeta dresses with pill box hats in the afternoons. Where I lived in the UK the owner of a local major manufacturer car franchise went on a trip to America. On his return he called his sales team together and said "No more trade-ins". The stunned sales manager asked why, and the boss explained that this bold step would increase car sales, because without a trade-in the old car would pass to another family member, so that they became a two car family. This he said was the latest thing from America. Fortunately as sales plummeted the policy was reversed before the company went bust. Many years later he interviewed me for a job, and I asked him if the story was true. I didn't get the job. For a fond wander down memory lane visit James Lileks site, "where we bring pop culture history back to life so we can cruelly beat it to death again." Try these links for a quick sample: happy dad; excitable young men.
Saturday, July 06, 2002
Pix of the Day: Spring Wood
Landscape painter Keith Melling offers three galleries of very reasonably priced prints, covering three northern English counties: the Pendle area of Lancashire; the Yorkshire Dales; and the Lake District of Cumbria. The one I have chosen is 'Spring Wood' from Keith's Lancashire Portfolio. Keith has many more prints available than are shown on his website, offers signed prints (both limited and open editions), and has a catalogue of his work available. Contact Keith by email or at his studio in Burnley.
DPS Project: Day 1
This is a project to find as many DPS (Daily Picture Sites) as possible. Day 1 is an easy start with APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day). Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell are two professional astronomers who have since 1995 built the largest collection of annotated astronomical images on the internet. The site is very well organised, and every day the images are permanently archived (I wish more sites followed that example). Today's picture is 'Many Moons' by Corrado Alesso. "On 2001 July 8, three days past full moon, astrophotographer Corrado Alesso loaded his camera with high-speed film and set it up in the province of Cuneo, Italy. With the shutter open, he recorded four separate one second long exposures on the same frame, covering the wide-angle lens for about 30 minutes between each exposure as the ◊inconstant moon drifted through the night." The only thing that I can add to that is that as you pass beyond the town of Cuneo, climbing over the Alpine pass of Colle della Maddalena into France, they make the most delicious goats cheese I have ever tasted.
Friday, July 05, 2002
Pix of the Day: Effanineffable Pye
Blog favourite Tony Richards took these pictures at Pye Howe, Langdale, a beautiful valley in the English Lake District, in early July 2002.
From 'The Naming of Cats'
'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'
by T. S. Eliot London: Faber, 1939 (1962)
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
Thursday, July 04, 2002
Pix of the Day: Archive of Horror
Today's picture is of French soldiers being transported to prison camp in Germany during the Great War of 1914-18. Contributed by Robert Carlson, it is one of a collection of hand tinted pictures in the University of Kansas 'Photos of the Great War' archive. I find relating to those times very difficult. Almost a century after the events, living a peaceful and privileged life, it all seems so remote. Trying to gain some insight into the appalling casualties I visited Eric Webb's 'Military Medicine on the Western Front' webpage. I found this dispassionate account, war from the viewpoint of a medical professional, more chilling than many other more emotional accounts.
Siegfried Lorraine Sassoon (1886-1967) was someone who was there and whose response was both angry and cynical. Sassoon wrote some of the best remembered anti-war poetry of the period. One poem 'On Passing the New Menin Gate' was never published in his lifetime. After the war Sassoon stayed angry and cynical. Like many others he could not come to terms with memories of the horrific conflict. On the 24th of July 1927 King Albert of the Belgians inaugurated the new Menin Gate at Ypres in Flanders. Sassoon was there to watch the pomp and ceremony..
There are 54,896 names inscribed on the Menin Gate, Allied soldiers presumed dead in the battles at Ypres-Salient. The space available was insufficient and a further 34,984 names were inscribed on a wall a few miles away at the Tyne Cot War Cemetery, which is the largest British war cemetery in the world. When the Menin Gate was inaugurated, the 'Last Post' was sounded, a tradition that continues to this day. Sassoon witnessed it all and became even more bitter. On the day following the inauguration, in his hotel room in Bruxelles, he wrote a poem that he never published. It became known only after his death.
'On Passing the New Menin Gate'
Siegfried Sassoon 1927
Who will remember, passing through this Gate,
The unheroic dead who fed the guns?
Who shall absolve the foulness of their fate,
Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones?
Crudely renewed, the Salient holds its own.
Paid are its dim defenders by this pomp;
Paid, with a pile of peace-complacent stone,
The armies who endured that sullen swamp.
Here was the world's worst wound. And here with pride
'Their name liveth for ever', the Gateway claims.
Was ever an immolation so belied
As these intolerably nameless names?
Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime
Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.
Eric Webb has pictures of Tyne Cot, with some lines from Canadian WW1 poet John McCrae (1872-1918). Simon Farr has webpages on the Great War with pictures of the Menin Gate. The GreatWar.co.uk website has details on the Menin Gate 'Last Post' ceremony. Finally, on a less sombre note, Eric Webb has an early-war postcard, and some postcards from the front sent by his wife's grandfather, Sgt. Frederick Rawlin (1895-1974), which appear in a delightful set on the webpage with accompanying notes.
Wholly Cosmic Cataclysms!
On Monday 1st July 2002 there was a CME (coronal mass ejection) from our Sun. A CME blasts billions of tons of matter at millions of miles per hour into space. This one dos not appear to be Earth-directed, which comes as a relief. For a sense of scale, the prominence seen lower left seems to extend at least 30 Earth diameters. There is a second prominence in the upper right as well. This picture comes from the SOHO website where it was their pick of the week item, go there more information and a high-res image. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA (the European Space Agency) and NASA (the US National Aeronautics & Space Administration). There are many items of interest on all three websites.
Last minute revisions
Life is work in progress, which never gets finished, but is merely ended. Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) is probably best known for his studies of bathers. However, his last work was 'Almond Tree in Blossom', painted in the year of his death, and was the view from his bedroom window. Bonnard was 80 years old and too frail to complete the work to his satisfaction, so he had his nephew change the colour of the grass in the bottom left hand corner from green to gold. In Greek mythology Phyllis was the name of a girl who killed herself out of love for Demophon, and was subsequently transformed into an almond tree. Sometimes one does not have to go to such lengths to get some thanks and a little recognition. [For Phyllis.]
Wednesday, July 03, 2002
Pix of the Day: Pink Flamingo Dreams
These pink flamingos are the work of Kirill Nikolaev whose photo gallery offers a rating system, and deservedly the picture shown, 'Behind Lattice 2 (Flamingo)', was top-rated when I visited. Kirill is a Renaissance Man, however, whose interests encompass music (jazz and traditional - he has produced a CD of ancient Russian music), dance (as a participant and photographer), philosophy, psychology, history of art, and collage. David Palmer's cutandpaste.info website has a concise overview of collage & montage, and a feature page of Kirill's work. Kirril's own art website offers more of his collages.
Letter from Paul McCartney
The PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) campaign is generally considered to have forced McDonald's fast food restaurant chain to implement a company policy on the treatment of farmed animals (see yesterday's item 'Outbreak of Reason'). McDonald's say the cost of this is commercially sensitive, so they will not release the figures. Industry insiders estimate the cost at $10 million. Other fast food restaurant chains such as 'Wendy's' and 'Burger King' have not only played 'catch-up', but have implemented global policies, whereas McDonald's policy covers only the USA and the UK with the glaring omisson of Canada. On 27th June 2002 Paul McCartney wrote an open letter to McDonald's shareholders, calling for the company to globalize its procedures. "On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Trillium Asset Management, and caring consumers across the globe, I am writing to ask for your help in convincing McDonalds to internationalize its farmed animal welfare standards." Click the picture, or the last link, to read the full text of the letter.
How to Polish Your Hog
If you want your motorcycle to look like this one then David Murray has a step by step guide on the Chuck Hawks website. Everything you could ever possibly want to know about making paint and chrome gleam is covered in the smallest detail. If you live anywhere near the Big Apple have your sun glasses at the ready, you may meet David's gleam machine.
In addition to riding & motorcycles, astronomy, naval & military history, guns & shooting, travel & and fishing (phew!), as you can see Chuck also has an extensive photography section with photo galleries and details of his training classes. All the classes are fully detailed on the site, so if some of your skills need honing, take a look.
I was so exhausted from reading all this that I have decided to leave our truck in its present state of attractive, genteel shabbiness, known in the trade as 'Patina of Laziness'. That should make time for me to have a rejuvenating 'Frozen Daiquiri' from Chuck's 'Bartender's Guide' webpage. On second thoughts, after looking at the measures he uses, that's a full time job!
Tuesday, July 02, 2002
Pix of the Day: Essential Lakeland
Pictures of the English Lake District are often featured on this weblog. If you have enjoyed the work of Tony Richards, and Ann Bowker then you may also enjoy Andrew Leaney's website, which has been added as a permanent link in the sidebar. These three are in essence photo galleries, recorded as the authors walk or travel around the district.
Should your interest extend to visiting the area to walk among the fells then I strongly recommend that you visit John Dawson's LakeDistrictWalks.com website. John's site is a guide to accessing the fells rather than a photo gallery. As you may see from today's featured picture, however, the text does link to many pictures illustrating John's choice of routes. This one is of the Robinson and Hindscarth group at the head of the Newlands valley, which is detailed in John's route guide for this exhilerating walk.
While I was browsing John's website I came across this picture of a Lakeland fell pony. It is linked from the 'Longsleddale Round' walk description, which is an area that was featured with a picture of Sadgill taken by Dave Newton. The ponies, which roam semi-freely in several areas of Lakeland, have been featured here before, including one that emigrated to the USA. Anyone intereted in the history and lives of these hardy creatures may repair to the Fell Pony Museum for further in-depth information, and surfing enjoyment.
Outbreak of Reason
In my time I have worked trucking animals, on farms, and in livestock auction premises, though not as an operative for the last two. The unthinking brutality towards the animals that I sometimes witnessed was shocking and abhorent. Whenever I could, I protested to the perpetrators, while at the same time trying to control my anger and be reasonable. Mostly my protests were met with the same argument: "You don't understand". Dammit! I fully understood. You don't need to be a farmer to understand that de-beaking chickens is inhumane. You don't need to be a cattle drover to understand that striking a cow on the nose with a length of poly-pipe, just because it sticks its head inquisitively out of an pen gate you stupidly forgot to fasten, is inhumane. You don't need to be a truck designer to know that a badly maintained trailer that causes sheep to break their legs is inhumane.
I am nothing like the caricature of the marshmallow hearted animal rights protestor that the industry likes to portray, either as a risible eccentric at best, or a dangerously criminal fanatic at worst. For two years I practised a moderate vegetarian life style so that I could understand that point of view. As a consumer I want my meat to be obtained from suppliers who operate a basically humane régime for their animals. I see no reason why it should be necessary to purchase from high margin specialists -- humane animal husbandry should be practised at every level of the supply chain, not just in niche markets. I could never see that happening with an obdurate industry that refused to acknowledge what was plainly happening before their eyes.
Enter McDonald's, one of the largest and most powerful players in the restaurant food supply chain. I recommend to you this thoroughly reported piece from AmericanRadioWorks.org. Reasonable people, from whichever side of the fence they come, may want to consider how they are affected. From this writer's perspective perhaps the day of the enlighted mega-corporation has finally dawned. There will be a long way to go, and no doubt mistakes will be made along the way, but for taking this step, thank you McDonald's!
The Nielston Bread Van Mystery
High rollers hell-bent on some relaxing surfing time have been known to forgather at the 'Nielston Web Cam'. Although billed as "Voted the Most Boring Webcam on the Net', aficianados of the mundane know it to be a place where they can relax, undisturbed by the hustle and bustle of the outside world. In the early morning of Monday 1st July 2001, at about 05:25am local time, the quite contemplation of the wet early dawn in this secluded dormitory town, a few miles from Scotland's industrial capital of Glasgow, was shattered when a bread van was clearly seen approaching in the distance. Shocked viewers of the webcam quickly closed their browser windows until the unwarranted intrusion had passed and calm once again returned to the sanctuary of these quiet Nielston streets.
The event was immediately reported to Donald the webcam operator, who released this prepared statement to the Press Corps: "Thank you for the bread van alert. I'm still reeling at the thought that there may be activity on the webcam at such an early hour. What's more worrying is that there's no reason a bread van should be here, since there is a distinct lack of places requiring such delivery in the street... unless perhaps someone takes a year's bulk delivery. Please be assured that a recurrence is highly unlikely, and that the normal slothfull nature of the street life has once again been resumed." As ever, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Down these mean streets a man must go…
Visitors clamouring for vicarious thrills and excitement may read Donald's useful advice on setting up a webcam, or visit his online photo galleries to see more images from Nielston, Glagow, Edinburgh, and other places in Scotland. The Nielston weather statistics are available on-site, in mind boggling detail. Delve around the webcam page for interesting links including the story about the village of Carrbridge (a lovely spot with Osprey circling over the nearby river, and north of which the vegetation suddenly becomes truly Highland), where Donald's great grandfather had the telephone number 'Carrbridge 5'. Reminds me of a friend who spent several hours trying to discover the 'phone number of the mayor of a small French town, so that he might transmit some sad news to one of the town's residents. It was a head smacking moment when he discovered that with true Gallic respect for authority it was 'Créancy Un'. Ah, my friend, our lives are but digressions in our existences. [Thanks to John H. Farr for the referral.]
A number of visitors have asked about the wildfires currently raging in the western United States. There are many web resources covering these fires, and a 'Southwest Area Wildland Fire Operation' map shows where they are burning for the area of Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas. Satellite images may be useful for specialists, but without interpretative skills they are just confusing patches of colour.
However, the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) website does have images that laypersons can understand. Their image of the 'Rodeo-Chediski Fire' taken on 27th June 2002 clearly shows the smoke plumes and their indicated sources. The full image is available, but be warned it is 1.1Mb in size and downloads slowly. The site also has images of the Canadian fire, a flood, and an African dust storm, which all make sense to the untrained eye.
Monday, July 01, 2002
Pix of the Day: Transports of Delight
This is Daniel's 'Surf Bum Transporter' from the 'AmericanPhotoJournal' gallery linked in the sidebar. I saw Daniel just a few days ago puttering about his business in our town, and I thought I might take this opportunity to link together some of the resources on this website for this 'Transports of Delight' item. The vehicle is a development of the 'woody', which was the preferred vehicle for carrying surf boards because of its long roof. The woody was a 'station wagon' used to collect hotel guests and their luggage from the railway station. Similar vehicles became popular in the UK for sportsmen going shooting, and the type became known as an 'estate car'.
I was unable to find a comprehensive history on the web for these types of vehicles. However, I did find a page with three illustrations of 'surf woody' specials from 'Movie World' at Buena Park, CA on Thomas Miller's old cars website. Movie World closed in the early 1980s, but Thomas has a collection of museum postcards that he has put on the web. The rig that really caught my eye was a ◊1949 DeSoto Woody towing a 'Slumbercoach'. Model maker John Roberts has a website full of interesting vehicles, and will make you a De Soto to order. John has another view of the DeSoto rig on his 'commercial' page, which shows many other special conversions. Hobie Alter, one of the most famous surf board makers, also offers models of surf woodies in his 'gifts and novelties' section.
The 'Hurricane Easter Car Show' gallery for 2002 contains pictures of over eighty pictures of the show entries, and vehicles that were in town for the event. The 'AmericanPhotoJournal' has other interesting vehicles, and also some items on an Expat Brit's view of life in America. On Saturday afternnon, while this weblog entry was in preparation, I spotted these two fine cars in the parking lot of a local restaurant. Later, joined by several other woodies, they made a grand site as they swept past us in a high speed convoy going east on
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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)