one day at a time…
Sunday, June 30, 2002

Pix of the Day: Through A Glass Darkly

Claude Clouds © John H. FarrOver at FotoFeed.com John H. Farr has been showing a series of moody, late evening, desert cloudscapes. The reduced palette of these images brought to my mind the paintings of Claude. Claude's full name was Claude Gellée (1604/5?-1682), but he was often called 'Le Lorrain' because he was born in that part of France. Such was the popularity of his work that he became known simply as 'Claude'. The style of painting was revived in the 19th century by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875).

When the picturesque style was at its height gentlemen even carried 'Claude Glasses', which were smoked glass mirrors through which they might properly appreciate the picuresque qualities of landscape. Many wealthy admirers of the style were influenced to have gardens and landscapes constructed on their country estates in emulation of the style of Claude paintings. ArtCaf.com have an easily read art appreciation page on Claude, which will give a good idea of what his work looked like, though confusingly they use "Gennée" and "Lorraine"… take your pick.

John Pfahl does 'Computer Claude' in an exhibition called 'Permutations on the Picturesque' from the wide range of interesting exhibitions at the 'Light Work' website. Ruth Wallen has an outdoor recreation of Claude Glasses with her 'View Points' interactive web exhibition, which will give you a feel for what art aficionados got up to in the picturesque period.

Death of Dooce

Heather B. Hamilton has abandoned her Dooce.com weblog because "...this website has caused more damage and sorrow to my personal life than it has good. I can't take it anymore." Heather vented about the frustrations of her workplace and the the shortcomings of her coworkers. One of her enemies anonymously emailed every vice-president of her company with the URL, so they fired her. This is the core question: was she fired for telling lies or for telling the truth? Sympathy, Heather. I'm trying not to get angry. Sounds like a case for Jackie Chiles. The Dooce Archives are still there though, and I enjoyed browsing through the eclectic mix of Heather's images. She is particularly rewarding when she spots things like a cluttered table in a shadows & sunlight corner, or a festering old drain outlet in an alley. This kind of response triggering iconography series is harder to do than you might imagine, unless of course you have tried it yourself.

Sheep of the Hills

Sheep of the Hills © Ann BowkerIn 2001 the flocks and herds of farm animals in the UK were widely slaughtered in response to a pandemic of FMD (Foot & Mouth Disease). For a long time access to the countryside was forbidden by emergency legislation. Now things are getting back to normal, with pictures such as this one by Ann Bowker (permanent link in the sidebar) showing that the animals are returning, and walkers may again enjoy access to the hills. Sheep husbandry is the primary cause for the hills of the English Lake District looking like they do. Without the grazing of the animals the ecological balance would swing in favour of plant species such as gorse and bracken with a consequent change in the appearance of the landscape. Veteran Lakeland writer A. Harry Griffin wrote a piece in 'The Guardian' (Wed. April 11th 2001), in his usual inimitable style, entitled 'If they go, it is the end of Lakeland', which gives a good overview of the sheep's importance in the area. According to my expert advisor the breed of the sheep in the picture is a Herdwick cross, rather than a pure-bred Herdwick, which Harry discusses as the focus of his article.

Saturday, June 29, 2002

Pix of the Day: Pop Art Beach Huts

Pop Art Beach Huts by Ian Scott-ParkerWhitby Beach Huts by Don BurlurauxOne of the websites I love to visit is Don Burluraux's 'North York Moors CAM'. Don's latest walk was Staithes to Whitby [Please note: the original resource has been removed, the link now points to Don's CD-ROM version of these walks], Stage 7 of the 'Cleveland Way' walk. This 'virtual walk' starts with daffodils above the picturesque fishing village of Staithes, and ends with the beach huts, and the monument to explorer Captain Cook, in the town of Whitby. By the time Don reached Whitby I think the sunlight from earlier in his walk had weakened somewhat, because the brightly painted beach huts seemed to me to lack that glowing, saturated hue that primary colours have in bright sunlight. I started to experiment and 'Pop Art Beach Huts' was the result. I hope Don can find it in his heart to forgive me.

Worldwide Neb: calling all Cumbrian expatriates!

Jon Harle [jon.harle@bbc.co.uk]BBC Radio Cumbria, the local station for that county in the northwest of England, is seeking Cumbrian expats for 'phone interviews. Jon Harle, who is the programme presenter of the late night show 'Northern Nights' (weekdays10pm-1amlocal time), has a reputation for buttock-clenching puns so he has called the slot 'Worldwide Neb' after the local dialect word for 'nose' in the sense of 'inquisitive'. If you respond by email to jon.harle@bbc.co.uk he will arrange to 'phone you for a relaxed chat about your expatriate life away from Cumbria. Jon says the sort of things he asks about are, "What's your house like? Describe the countryside around where you live. What's the climate like? What's on the local television? What's making the news in your town? What do you miss about Britain?" All very informal and uncontroversial. Jon adds, "So far I've spoken to people in most corners of the USA, Canada, Israel, Spain, Northern Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Kenya, Morocco, and Dubai. I'm still looking particularly for contacts in India, China, Japan, and South America!" There is a Cumbrian expats page on the BBC website, where you may leave a message, and maybe even read one from somebody you know.

New CAM entry

Stannage Edge © David SeniorNew to the weblog today is David Senior's 'Peak District CAM' with a permanent link in the sidebar. The picture is of Stannage Edge. This insignificant looking rock-face is where some of the master craftsmen of their sport learned to rock-climb and went on to conquer climbs and peaks in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Alps, and anywhere else you care to mention. The nearby town of Sheffield (widely known for its cutlery and other specialist steels, and also as the backdrop for the film 'The Full Monty') has a long 'town & gown' tradition of producing great rock-climbers. The University boys were often great technicians, but my real heroes were the blue-collar artisans who escaped from the hum-drum world of labour into the glory of the hills. David took this picture on a family walk that took in Little John's grave (Robin Hood's right-hand man), and the house that inspired Charlotte Brontë's 'Thornfield Manor' in 'Jane Eyre'. "All in a day's walk", as the saying goes!

Friday, June 28, 2002

Pix of the Day: Anabrus Simplex

Mormon Cricket © University of IdahoThis is the dreaded Anabrus Simplex Haldeman, better known as the Mormon Cricket. The picture comes from the University of Idaho Southern Idaho Insect Guide, which has a section on grasshoppers. Not really a cricket, because it is more properly classified with grasshoppers, this voracious creature devastates huge areas of the western USA. The size of a man's thumb, each one can consume 38lbs of food in its one season of life, and they swarm in uncountable numbers. In 2001 it was said that they did $25million worth of damage. That was up on 2000, which was a bad year, and it is predicted that 2002 will be worse when the final damage has been assessed, and that the eggs that will hatch in 2003 will make that a record year.

The Mormon Cricket was so called because it plagued the crops of the early Mormon Settlers in the area of the Great Salt Lake. That early disaster gave rise to a piece of folk-lore, in which the Settlers were saved from crop failure and famine by flocks of seagulls sweeping in from the Salt Lake to devour the swarms of insects. The Utah.gov website says:

"The California gull, Larus californicus, was selected as the state bird of Utah by an act of the legislature in 1955. The gull is considered the state bird of Utah by common consent, probably in commemoration of the fact that these gulls saved the people of the State by eating up the Rocky [M]ountain crickets which were destroying the crops in 1848. Orson F. Whitney [an LDS Apostle and author of 'The History of Utah'] says that in the midst of the devastation of the crickets, "[W]hen it seemed that nothing could stay the devastation, great flocks of gulls appeared, filling the air with their white wings and plaintive cries, and settled down upon the half-ruined fields. [ ] All day long they gorged themselves, and when full, disgorged and feasted again, the white gulls upon the black crickets, li[ke] hosts of heaven and hell contending, until the pests were vanquished and the people were saved." After devouring the crickets, the gulls returned "to the lake islands whence they came." [Items in parantheses are the author's corrections or additions to the original text.] The Sea Gull Monument in Salt Lake City honours the gull with two sculpted birds standing atop the monument, which was unveiled in 1913.

The University of Wyoming has a comprehensive fact-sheet on the Mormon Cricket, which includes a continental distribution map for the insect. The University of Wyoming website has 'Grasshoppers of Wyoming and the West', which they call the 'Electronic Grasshopper Encyclopedia', and which is an outstanding resource for anyone interested in wider reading.

The University of Southern Utah's Extension Agent for Millard County, author Mike Pace, has a webpage that seems to typify the current attitude to the Mormon Cricket: "If everyone does their part we can greatly reduce the grasshopper populations, and strive for a county free of these devastating insects." That has not always been the case. The Native American occupants of the Salt Lake Valley depended on the dried, ground insects for winter stores. Indeed, there are reports that they were angry at the Settlers' wasteful destruction of the insects, which the aboriginals would even eat fresh by plucking off the head and the wing cases. Some commentators suggest that in reasonable numbers the insects are a vital link in the food chain, keeping the prairies clean and healthy through their foraging.

For a lighter-hearted response to the insects David Rogers 'Big Bugs' at the National Arboretum show some of his work, though regrettably his eleven feet long black locust has now gone from the University of Pennsylvania arboretum. Artist Edward (Ed) Jack Koehler has GrasshopperSculpture.com, where you may see him giving a cuddle to one of his seven feet high creations.

Tomorrow: Pop Art Beach Huts.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Pix of the Day: Twin Navajo Bridges

Twin Navajo Bridges © Ian Scott-ParkerBack into the heat! This picture is of the two Navajo Bridges: the old bridge on the left, the new one on the right. The old bridge is now a pedestrian-only monument to its builders. The new bridge carries Alternative Route-89, which runs from Flagstaff, Arizona into Southern Utah. The site is historically important because when it was established as Lees Ferry by the early Mormon Pioneers, it was the only crossing of the Colorado River for many miles in either direction. Nowadays Route-89 upper north and crosses the Colorado River on the Glen Canyon Bridge, opened in 1959 at Page, AZ beside the Glen Canyon Dam at the foot of Lake Powell.

The next crossing downstream from the Navajo Bridge is at the Hoover Dam not far from Las Vegas. For an Englishman used to twenty mile diversions to find a river crossing point, distances here are vast: Page, AZ to Las Vegas, NV keeping to main roads north of the Colorado River is 257 miles. After several tragic accidents to the ferry, culminating in the loss of three lives in 1928, the ferry service was ended while the first bridge was still under construction. With the ferry gone, contractors building the 800 foot bridge now had to make an 800 mile trip if they needed to truck equipment from one side of the incomplete bridge to the other.

The first bridge opened in 1929 as the 'Grand Canyon Bridge', but was renamed in 1934 as the 'Navajo Bridge' after controversy over the name. The new bridge was started in 1994 with completion in 1997, and there is a picture of the almost-joined spans on Traylor Bros. Inc. website, the company that was the construction subcontractor. The contractors for the Glen Canyon Bridge had a somewhat easier time: trucking from one side of the incomplete bridge to the other was only a 200 mile trip via the Navajo Bridge.

There is a good overview of this area at americansouthwest.net with a page on Lees Ferry, and a photogallery of nearby sights, which also includes an excellent photograph (available for 800x600 and over monitors) of the dramatic location of the two bridges. Northern Arizona University have a Colorado Plateau website in the LUHNA (Land Use History of North America) series, with a five page section detailing the history and growth of the Lees Ferry area through to modern times.

The most interesting piece of trivia hereabouts is that Zane Grey, the very popular author of western yarns who worked early in the last century, was almost caught in the crossfire of a wild west shoot-out while staying at Lees Ferry. I heard this at a lecture by our local 'Ranger' Bart Anderson, but have been unable to find a confirmation, which is not to question the accuracy of Ranger Bart's story.

There is an unusual 'picture biography' of Pearl Zane Gray (which was changed to P. Zane Grey when he qualified as a dentist, then dropping the initial when he began writing) by Jerry Wilkinson, and a more conventonal discussion, by Kevin S. Blake on the Zane Grey's West Society website, about the importance of place and geography in Grey's writing. Kevin's piece does mention Lees Ferry several times, and includes a reference to Grey having close connection with someone at Lees Ferry. There are even two museums concerned with Grey, one in Upper Delaware and the other in Ohio, both places that have Grey connections.

Tomorrow: Mormon Crickets.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Pix of the Day: Cool Cumbria

'Crinkle Crags from Side Pike' © Tony RichardsHigh Arnside Puppies © Tony RichardsThe weather grok on my computer desktop reads 106°F (referred to as 41°C for degrees Celsius where the picture was taken). Wildfires rage in Arizona. There is no prospect of rain hereabouts anytime before the autumn. I thought a cool picture from my homeland in north western England, not many miles south of the border with Scotland, might lower the perceived temperature in here. The snowy hills are Crinkle Crags, taken from the Side Pike cattle grid on a crisp winter day in the English Lake District by Tony Richards, and available full-res from his links page. The dogs are from Tony's 'pictures of the day' webpage.

The dogs are just because I like dogs. It's my weblog so I can show what I like! These pups are working dogs, so when they are grown they will spend their days racing up and down the hills herding sheep. Our own two dogs have taken up station under the overhead fan, just where the draught comes under the porch door and the cold air blows from the 'swamp cooler'. They are lying on their backs with their legs in the air and their tongues lolling out, so a picture is inappropriate for a family publication. One is a small, fat, lazy Dachshund (my wife's forbears were German) and the other is a big, fat, lazy Border Collie. "If there are no dogs in Heaven then when I die I want to go where they went." -- Will Rogers. My wife, to my astonishment, once asked me if we had Border Collies where I used to live. Yeeeee-Haaa!

Tomorrow: Twin Navajo Bridges.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Pix of the Day: Monument Valley

Monument Valley © Ian Scott-ParkerWhen I announced my intention to move from the UK to Utah in the USA, an old buddy sighed knowledgeably and said, "It's all big sticking up rocks with the Lone Ranger riding round them." Close, but no cigar! If you are of a certain age, and watched the Lone Ranger on tevee as a child (sorry, but that means you are middle-aged!), go to Steve Jensen's websi pe opening soundbite from the Lone Ranger series. Ah, the memories! The eponymous leading rôle was played most famously by Jack (Clayton) Moore (1914-1999), Jay Silverheels whose real name Harold J. Smith (1919-1980) played Tonto, and for a couple of seasons Moore was replaced by John Hart. Visit Mark Largent's website for the finer details.

The always reliable John Crossley's AmericanSouthwest.net website has a good introduction to Monument Valley, and a picture gallery, and a QuickTime panorama. Dan Heller Photography has an extensive photogallery, which offers prints for purchase. You might also enjoy the other 7,500 photographs the site offers. For a readable account of the geology of the whole of Utah Bruce Argyle has a good page.

Monday, June 24, 2002

Pix of the Day: Lady Brett Paintings

Deer Dance © Museum of Texas Tech UniversityVisitors who read the three pieces on D.H. Lawrence, or who are familiar with his life story, will recognise the name Lady Dorothy Eugénie Brett. There is a short biographical sketch from the Harry Ransom Centre at the University of Texas website. The picture, entitled 'Deer Dance', comes from the Museum of Texas Tech University and is one section of an online presentation by Brian Busbee entitled 'Other Means: The Art and Artists of Taos and the American Southwest', which is a brief history of the Taos Society of Artists with short biographies of the featured artists.

Other examples of Dorothy's work are available on the web (left to right): Santa Fe Art Auction has 'Spirit Rider'; AskArt.com has several, including the Native American couple, and also 'My Love Is Like A Melody'; and The University of Texas has 'Impudent Gods' from an excellent website by Professor Goetzmann on the study of the history and culture of the post-1880 American West.
'Spirit Rider' from www.santafeartauction.comNative American Couple from www.askart.com'My Love Is Like A Melody' from www.askart.com'Impudent Gods' from Prof. Goetzmann at www.texas.edu

Tomorrow: Monument Valley.

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Pix of the Day: Burning Skies

Burning Skies © Ian Scott-ParkerYou have my word that this picture has not been manipulated in any way: the only action taken was to reduce the resolution and compress the file. Twice the usual bytes were allowed because of the fine gradations in the pink clouds. The picture was just grabbed when the sky suddenly flooded with light. The whole display started without much warning, and was all over in under a minute, without time to select a more suitable viewpoint.

Tomorrow: Lady Brett paintings.

Saturday, June 22, 2002

Pix of the Day: Pinnacles & Hoodoos

Pinnacles & Hoodoos © Ian Scott-ParkerThis is Bryce Canyon, Utah. The geological features you see are called pinnacles and hoodoos. The NPS (National Park Service) has an easily read page for non-geologists on how the canyon system was formed, and specifically how pinnacles and hoodoos develop. The main NPS site also has maps, pictures, and lots of other visitor information. There is also a beautiful photogallery by John Catalano, and a good canyon history page.This picture was taken from 'Inspiration Point', which is aptly named. Looking out over the jumbled landscape one might sympathise with Ebenezer Bryce, the Mormon pioneer after whom the canyon was named, who once remarked that this was a bad place to lose a cow!

FREE ENTRANCE: the weekend of June 22nd - 23rd, 2002 the National Parks are waiving entrance fees for visitors. See the NPS announcement for details.

Tomorrow: Burning Skies

Friday, June 21, 2002

Pix of the Day: James Bond Fly-Under

Hurricane Arch Bridge gorge © Ian Scott-ParkerHurricane Arch Bridge © Ian Scott-ParkerThis is the bridge that starred in the opening sequences of the 1983 James Bond movie 'Octopussy'. I was only able to find one reference on the web to this story. As I was hesitantly thinking that I might have to use words like "hearsay' and "allegedly" my wife had two visitors. Both attested to the fact, and one of them actually saw the plane flying around the town while filming was taking place. The plane flew up the gorge seen in the smaller clickable picture, which is left and downstream of the main picture. After passing under the arch it then banked and climbed steeply to clear the cliffs on the other side of the structure, which carries UT-SR9 from Hurricane, UT to LaVerkin, UT. The deck of the bridge is currently being refurbished.

The plane in question was a Bede Acrostar flown by J.W. Corky Fornof. That page comes from the 007archive.com website, along with other 007 material mentioned here. Another page on James R. Bede suggests that if Fornof did build the plane he may have done so from a Bede kit. The plane also appeared on the posters for the movie. There is even a trailer available from the BondMovies.com website, which shows the plane in action, though not flying under the bridge, regrettably. The replica planes used in filming ended up at Planet Holywood in Las Vegas, NV and Dublin, Ireland. There was a report that the flying version was offered for sale in the American Movie Classic's First Live Online Auction on Thursday, July 12th, 2001.

Tomorrow: Pinnacles & Hoodoos.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Pix of the Day: Alfredo's Sweat Lodge

Alfredo's Sweat Lodge © Ian Scott-ParkerOn the day that I helped Alfredo fetch hay for the Affectionate Goat, he showed me around the Native American sweat lodge he was building. Not many months later I was priviliged to attend a memorial service for Alfredo, held around a huge bonfire in the fire pit beside which you see him standing in the picture. Several friends sang, recited, and in one case danced and ululated, giving tribute and honour to his memory. A huge black raven flew across the sky as the moon rose above the mountains, and a strong cold wind gusted unexpectedly from the south. Sparks flew from the fire, giving most an alternative excuse for wiping their eyes. Alfredo's work goes on: he had a project to plant sustainable forests, using special varieties of trees, in areas marginal for growing the usual varieties of commercial timber. Few of us make that sort of impact on the world around us.

For details on the construction and operation of sweat lodges, Rob Savoye is your man. For an aboriginal viewpoint, Raining Thunder Wolf says he has sweated with Lakota, Navaho, Coast Salish, Algonquian, Ojibway, Cree etc. He has a page on sweat lodge protocols, and several pages on aboriginal culture. For a veritable encyclopaedia of every kind of sweat bath from around the world, Mikkel Aaland is the person to consult, because he has sweated with the Navajo, the Ogala Sioux, and everybody in between, via Lenningrad. There is a much referenced account by Glen Welker that is often lost on the web, which is the tradition of the Piegan tribe from around the headwaters of the Missouri River in Montana. It seems that even in spiritual matters good-looking is still important.

Tomorrow: James Bond Fly-Under.

Your orientation says a lot about you

On the advice of Professor Nancy J. Scott, of Brandeis University, I changed the orientation of the photograph for 'The Lawrence Tree' in yesterday's item. Professor Scott does not give the authority for her assertion, and research elsewhere reveals that O'Keefe did not sign her paintings in a way that might indicate their correct hanging, but with credentials like these you may have the temerity to argue with the learned Professor, but you will be wasting your time if you argue with me. Just imagine the scenario of being in one of those august museums where 'The Lawrence Tree' is on display, and you demand to see the curator. With an imperious sweep of your arm to indicate the painting, you declaim in a Lawrencian voice (Olivier, not David Herbert) "My good man, you have hung this painting incorrectly!". Go on! I dare you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Pix of the Day: Lawrence+Painting

The Lawrence Tree from www.mystudios.comThe Lawrence Tree © Ian Scott-ParkerThe third and final item on D.H. Lawrence in America is about his own paintings, and paintings connected with him done by Georgia O'Keefe and Lady Dorothy Brett. The main picture shows a huge ponderosa pine, which still sits in the front yard of the Lawrence Cabin at the Kiowa Ranch. Lawrence often wrote at a table beneath its branches, but possibly the most famous painting done of it was by Georgia O'Keefe entitled 'The Lawrence Tree' (the orientation of the photograph is consistent with the correct hanging of the painting, which is usually shown incorrectly), which you can see with the works of other famous women painters on the mystudios.com 'Women in Art' webpages.

Lawrence painted too. His work was exhibited in England, but was hauled before the magistrates and declared to be obscene. The case was settled with the promise that the paintings would never again sully the shores of The Sceptered Isle. The paintings ended up at the Hotel La Fonda de Taos in downtown Taos, NM where they may still be viewed. The story behind their arrival in Taos may be read on the Hotel la Fonda de Taos website.

There are also three Lawrence paintings on Eva Moller's website; 'Holy Family'; 'Boccacio Story'; and 'Presurrection'.

The web diary of John Welsh, another visitor to Taos, has several entertaining pages on the 'Rananim' website: a picture of Hotel La Fonda de Taos and the paintings; Mabel Dodge Luhan's house (including some unusual pictures of the bathroom windows that Lawrence painted for the owner); the Shrine with Frieda's tombstone and inscription; the Lawrence Tree and the cabins; but best of all a shaggy dog story that made me guffaw.

From a web perspective Lady Dorothy Brett seems something of an enigma. I found a catalogue entry, which seems to be a photograph of a picture she painted on Lawrence's barn, but little else. She returned to the southwest and lived to be an old woman while continuing to paint. So she must become the object of more research, which when completed will become another entry on this weblog.

Tomorrow: visit to a Native American sweat lodge.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Px of the Day: Vanderbilt+Guggenheim - floor scrubbing contractors

Kiowa Ranch in Autumn 2001 © Ian Scott-ParkerWhen D.H Lawrence, accompanied by his wife Frieda and Lady Dorothy Brett, arrived at the Kiowa Ranch it was in poor shape. Lawrence had always relished doing practical work with his hands: he often sewed, cooked, and kept house, while Frieda's preference was to lie in bed reading and smoking. Assisted by a local carpenter and two Native American labourers, Lawrence set about making the cabins habitable. Life there must have been hard. When leaving the cabins for any length of time the furniture had to be suspended from the ceilings with ropes, in an attempt to stop destruction by the rats that gnawed and destroyed everything.

Yet for all three the place offered many satisfactions: Lawrence responded to the wide-open frontier spirit; Frieda had been yearning for some time for a place they could call their own rather than some rented pied-à-terre; Lady Brett painted (she had trained at the Slade in London) and acted as Lawrence's typist, using the typewriter that still sits dustily in one of the rooms. The pictures below (clickable, like all pictures on this weblog) show the view across the meadows in front of the Lawrence cabin; Lady Brett's cabin (all of the interior is shown with the exception of the space wholly occupied by the single bed, the corner of which is visible in the bottom right hand corner of the picture); and a sheet metal Phoenix (Lawrence's chosen personal symbol) nailed to the fence situated to the right of the big cabin.

Lawrence had Mabel Dodge Luhan as his admirer and patron. Many of the stellar personalities of the day (Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, Ansel Adams, Georgia O'Keeffe, Thornton Wilder, and Leopold Stokowski to name only a few) revolved around Mabel as her house guests at parties, which often went on for several days. Many would visit the Lawrence's at Kiowa Ranch, and it has been said that Frieda, who despite her aristocratic German upbringing could be very down to earth, once claimed that the floor was probably the only one in the world to have been scrubbed by both a Vanderbilt and a Guggenheim!
View from Kiowa Ranch © Ian Scott-ParkerLady Brett Cabin, Kiowa Ranch © Ian Scott-ParkerLady Brett Cabin - interior © Ian Scott-ParkerPhoenix at Kiowa Ranch © Ian Scott-Parker

In the last few years there have been complaints voiced that the present owners, the University of New Mexico, may not have been fulfilling the terms of the Lawrence bequest, nor paying due regard to their rôle as stewards of the legacy of Lawrence's time in America. On the day we visited in late 2001 it was possible to feel a connection with those people and those time that have now passed away. Although there seemed to have been a little tidying recently, some day the inevitable effects of the passage of time will require that renovation is undertaken. When that happens the link will be partially broken.

Tomorrow: Lawrence and painting, including the ponderosa pine at the Kiowa Ranch made famous by Georgia O'Keefe, plus Lawrence's own paintings that have been forever banished from his native land.

Monday, June 17, 2002

Pix of the Day: Shrine Without Relics

D.H. Lawrence Shrine © Ian Scott-ParkerD.H. Lawrence Shrine © Ian Scott-ParkerThis is the first of three items centred around the writer D.H. Lawrence, and in particular his life in the USA. The picture is of Lawrence's shrine at the Kiowa Ranch (now called the D.H. Lawrence Ranch), near St. Cristobal, NM about twenty miles north of Taos, NM. Lawrence, with his wife Frieda, spent a total of only eleven months living in the Taos area, though he was moved to remark, "I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I ever had. It certainly changed me forever." There is a summary of the time in New Mexico on the 'Taos Writers' Conference' website. The Nottingham University website carries a concise biography of Lawrence by John Worthen (Professor of D.H. Lawrence Studies and Director of the D.H. Lawrence Centre), and Chapter 7 'Ranch life: and the return to Mexico: 1924-1925' covers the Taos times. Originally Lawrence wanted to set up a utopian society in Taos, to be called 'Rananim', but this idea foundered.

A number of stories have circulated about the shrine. Lawrence was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England in 1885. He died in Vence, France in 1930, the day after he left a sanatorium where he was being treated for tuberculosis, which was the fatal illness in a lifetime of poor health caused by lung conditions. After Lawrence's death Frieda returned to live at the Ranch with her lover, and later her third husband, Angelo Ravagli. They built this shrine and in 1935 Frieda had Lawrence's body exhumed then cremated in France. The documents concerning those events are on the wall of the shrine. Ravagli was charged with bringing the ashes to Taos, but there was a dispute between Frieda, Lady Dorothy Brett, and Mabel Dodge Luhan over how the remains were to be treated.

These three women had often competed for Lawrence's attention during his lifetime: Mabel Dodge Luhan (a banking heiress who gifted the Ranch to the writer), as Lawrence's patron; Frieda, as his fiery lover/wife; Lady Brett (the only person who accepted the invitation to join Rananim), as Lawrence's confidante and secretary. There is an unusual picture of the three women, taken left to right as listed above, which appears on Margaret D. Jacobs' website 'Shaping a New Way: White Women and the Movement to Promote Pueblo Indian Arts and Crafts, 1900-1935'. It is generally accepted that Frieda resolved the dispute by dumping the ashes in a barrow load of cement used for the construction of the shrine, saying according to folklore, "Now let them try to steal that!". The ranch was bequeathed to the University of New Mexico on Frieda's death in 1956.

One writer, Emile Delavenay, has made a case that these were not, however, Lawrence's ashes! I was unable to find the original source material, which appeared in the 'The D. H Lawrence Review' Volume 16 Number 2, pp 111-131, but seems to be unavailable on the web. A summary transcription in English can be read on the 'RANANIM' website. That version of the story has Ravagli dumping the ashes in France to save himself the inconvenience and expense of carrying them to the USA. In New York he collected the vase Frieda had selected and forwarded from Marseille, and there he substituted some locally obtained ashes. Perhaps Lawrence chose the Phoenix as his symbol for good reason.

Tomorrow: visits to the dwellings on the Kiowa Ranch as they are today.
Following day: Lawrence and painting, including the ponderosa pine at the Kiowa Ranch made famous by Georgia O'Keefe.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Pix of the Day: The Affectionate Goat

The Affectionate Goat © Ian Scott-ParkerI helped my wife's dear friend Alfredo to fetch hay from a ranch to feed his goats. The hay was bright green, because it was made from harvested alfalfa, and had a delicious sweet smell. When we arrived back at Alfredo's smallholding his goats became very excited, pushing forward with their upper through the wire. At first I thought it was just the arrival of food, and most of them did lose interest in us when Alfredo put hay into their compound. What his one really wanted, however, was to be petted. Only after several minutes of rubbing and petting did he repair to the food supply and eat his fill. Afterwards, he again demanded petting time. A most affectionate goat.

In many parts of the world goats are still the mainstay of animal husbandry, but they are also admired in developed countries where domestic herds are predominantly bovine or ovine. Whatever your preference, whether it be cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, or even camelids or ratites, our blog sponsor stackyard.com has links to pedigree societies and breeders wordwide, which you will find in the Pedigree Pen, including my own bizarre choice from the Goat Pen, 'The Tennessee Scare Goat'. Amaze friends at sophisticated soirées with your knowledge of there amazing animals, which are sometimes called 'Fainting Goats'.

Southern Utah humour

Seen in the window of a local print and quickcopy shop, "COPIES 2¢ each... when it's raining." Is it churlish of me to wonder if they pull the sign down on those rare ocassions when when the clouds gather?

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Pix of the Day: Checkerboard Mesa

Checkerboard Mesa © Ian Scott-ParkerThis is Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park, UT. It is in an intimate setting that is less familiar than the grand soaring vistas which are usually used to illustrate the Park. The main Zion Canyon lies to the north of Utah State Route 9 which proceeds east through the Zion Tunnel, Beyond the Tunnel the road winds through the higher areas of the Park amongst slickrock and pine with washes running through to join the main Virgin River. The peculiarity that makes this mesa worth noting, and caused it to be so named, is the striation running both horizontally and vertically. Sandstone is a sedimentary rock, so if undisturbed the fault lines run horizontally. Sometimes the rock can be up-ended by earth movement, which re-aligns the faulting. Here, because of the particular composition of the rock, faulting has taken place in both planes. When there is a light covering of snow the effect is even more pronounced.

Friday, June 14, 2002

Pix of the Day: Old Farm Machinery

Old Farm Machinery &copy Ian Scott-ParkerWhat is that thing with old machinery? Is it a boy thing? Do girls see old spinning wheels and want to go and love them to make them feel important and still useful? Thank goodness I stopped feeling that way about people. I can't make you feel important and useful, because that only comes from within. The best I can do for you is treat you with respect and dignity. You have to feel important and useful all by yourself. Scary, isn't it?

Lovers of old objects will enjoy Marek Uliasz's 'Images from the Past' website. There were four galleries when I visited: 'Fort Collins'; 'East: Great Plains'; 'West: Rocky Mountains'; and 'North: Along the Overland Trail'. A fifth gallery 'White Churches of the Plains' is under construction and the project is ongoing. The gallery images are 'Polaroid Tranfer Art'. This website is a real treat if you enjoy art photographs and/or old objects. The prints have a unique appearance, which is a fitting tribute to Dr. Edward Land the inventor of the original Polaroid process, who is second only to T.A. Edison in the number of patents awarded to a single person. If you just enjoy digging around well made websites Marek's homepage also has resources for Photography Art, Sailing, Atmospheric Modeling & Analysis, Mountain Wayfarer, Favorite Photography Books, and Yousuf Karsh portraits in gravure prints and other reproductions.

Eating reduces hunger

From Richard Owen in Rome at TimesOnline the net edition of 'The Times' of London.

"The opening day of the UN World Food Summit, dedicated to combating global hunger, was marked yesterday by a sumptuous lunch for the 3,000 delegates served by 170 Italian waiters.

• Toast di foie gras con kiwi (Foie gras on toast with kiwi fruit)
• Aragosta in vinagrette (Lobster in vinaigrette)
• Filetto d'oca con olive (Fillet of goose with olives)
• Verdure di stagione (Seasonal vegetables)
• Composta di frutta con vaniglia (Compote of fruit with vanilla)

And for the delegations:

• Mushroom crêpes
• Risotto with orange and zucchini slices
• Salmon with peppers and polenta

Any comment would be superfluous. [Thanks to Beth Lock]

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Pix of the Day: Desert Dragon

Captive Desert Dragon © Ian Scott-ParkerA recent item on oz waterdragons in humid Brisbane, Australia was well received, so I dug into the archives and came up with this fearsome chap from the desert. We saw him in a pet shop and although he was contained in a glass tank I can report that he seemed happy enough as he sunned himself under the heat lamps. The photographic conditions were very difficult with bright highlights and deep shadows with the added problem of reflections off the glass. I have removed the reflections and balanced the tones while trying to be as faithful to the original as possible. There were puppies in the shop, too, but I didn't look or touch... knowing when to quit is half the battle in growing old.

Another new 'Striding Edge' video release

Hot on the heels of Striding Edge's recent video release of 'The Borders' by Alistair Moffat comes another new release, 'Wordsworth's Lakeland'. This video is certain to appeal to lovers of the English Lake District, and if they are not already readers of Wordsworth's poetry it will make a fine introduction. Good to see that once again both PAL (Britain, Australia and many European countries) and NTSC (USA, Canada and Japan) formats are available. Here are the cover notes:

'Wordsworth's Lakeland' from Striding EdgeExplore the beautiful English Lake District and enjoy the magnificent scenery that inspired William Wordsworth, the greatest of the Nature poets. 'Wordsworth's Lakeland' combines readings from his poetry and his 'Guide To The Lakes' with stunning visual images, capturing the changing moods and seasons of the Lake District. Enjoy the majesty of the mountains and the tranquillity of the lakes. Visit Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain and Wastwater, its deepest lake. See Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount, Wordsworth's homes in the beautiful Vale of Grasmere. Discover the sites that will live forever in the poetry of the English Language.

Striding Edge's full catalogue is very extensive now, and certainly justifies their claim that they are "Bringing the Outdoors Indoors". Maybe if I drop a really big HINT then She Who Must Be Obeyed will perhaps buy me it for our anniversary. Naturally I am not the sort of fellow to exert undue influence, or indeed stoop so low as to offer an inducement, but I will just mention in passing that our local 'Red Lobster' restaurant is reputed to be very good, with a wide ranging menu of seafood.

Lines Composed a Few Miles Above
Tintern Abbey,
on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour.
July 13, 1798. William Wordsworth

...Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world
Is lighten'd: that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame,
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.

Nash Ambassador (perhaps)

Nash Ambassador © Ian Scott-ParkerIn a recent item, with a weak attempt at humour, I called this car 'The Whitelaw-Thatcher', and then a correspondent took me to task for failing to correctly identify the model. Research suggests that it may be a Nash Ambassador from the very early fifties. Here is a potted Nash history from 'Wisconsin, A History', by Richard Nelson Current (W.W. Norton: New York, 1977):

The Nash did not appear until 1917, but its predecessor, the Rambler, goes back to 1900. In that year the Chicago bicycle manufacturer Thomas B. Jeffery, who had been born in England, moved to Kenosha, bought a bicycle factory there, and began with his son to convert it into an automobile plant. Two years later they turned out their first cars, fifteen hundred of them, which qualified the Jefferys as mass producers for that time. After the father's death the son sold the plant to Charles W. Nash, formerly the president of Buick and of General Motors, who had quit both organizations over policy differences. Nash now had a free hand with what he renamed the Nash Motor Company, and he made it an instant success. He set up branch plants in Milwaukee, Racine, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas. By 1926 the Nash, though not a low-priced car, was a large seller, the seventh largest among all the numerous makes then on the market. In 1954, six years after Nash's death, the company was in difficulties, and to strengthen itself it merged with the Hudson firm, of Detroit, to form American Motors. More than twenty years later, still producing cars in Kenosha, American Motors was Wisconsin's largest employer.

That extract appears along with 'Doretta Beach's 1921 Diary' which you may begin reading here. The website was prepared by Doretta's grandsons Hugh Campbell and Scott Beach and gives a fascinating insight into travel in North America in the early part of the last century. The Beach Family owned a Nash in 1923, which is pictures outside the family furniture business in Cornwall, Ontario.

Other useful sites for anyone interested in the Nash marque are The Nash Car Club of America" which features a similar car from which I made the tentative identification. The 'Rambler' was one of the most famous Nash models, which is highlighted on a Motor Trends page, with information about the people who founded the company, and pictures of several other models. The Nash-Healey Roadster and the Metropolitan look very familiar to anyone who lived in the UK in the middle of the last century and is familiar with the products of the Austin motor company. Also available is a profile of Charles W. Nash, who turned Nash into a driving force behind the US automobile industry, which reads a little like a sub-plot in Harold Robbins' 'The Betsy'.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Pix of the Day: Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright © Ian Scott-ParkerThere is a Native American saying that goes something like 'If a man can make friends with strange cats he will succeed in life.' Well I wasn't doing too well with this one, which was hunting for mice among the rufus lava rocks. Every time I approached he shyly slid away from me. Remembering that 'curiosity killed the cat', or at least got it photographed, I went and sat on a nearby lump of lava and feigned disinterest. After a few minutes the cat approached from behind and I fired the camera shutter underarm with my other hand. There is some camera shake, poor focussing, and subject movement, which all make the image soft, but as a recent contributor pointed out to me, technical perfection can sometimes make for a lesser picture. Believe me, it was a very soft cat.

For some reason I always think of Kipling when I hear the following lines. Click this link, or on the title 'The Tiger', and you may read the whole poem. Clicking this link will take you to the index for the whole work so that you can browse the individual poems. Clicking this link, or on the title 'Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience'', will take you to an illustrated page from the hand-drawn and lettered 1794 edition of the book in the Princeton University Rare Books and Special Collections archive. As an addict of useless information, (it was Oscar Wilde who remarked "It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information."), I was delighted to discover that Jim Morrison of 'The Doors' was an admirer of Blake's work: not surprising really, both were somewhat other-worldly.

The Tiger
From 'Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience'
William Blake (1757-1827)

Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forest of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Pix of the Day: Canyon Treefrogs

Canyon Treefrogs © Eric StittYou will need to look closely! This picture of Canyon Treefrogs (Hyla arenicolor) aggregated above a small plunge pool at Saguaro National Park was taken in August of 1998 by Eric Stitt. He won first prize in the 2002 photo contest organised by The Desert Tortoise Council (DTC). There is a bigger image available if you want to try and count the frogs!

The DTC works to assure the continued survival of viable populations of the desert tortoise throughout its range in the southwestern desert regions of the USA. The Council has held an Annual Symposium each spring since 1976 to bring together scientists, managers, and concerned people to share the latest information available on the desert tortoise and its management. The Proceedings of the Symposia are published and most years are available, with online extracts for viewing. Also available online are the downloadable PDF format files "Answering Questions About Desert Tortoises: A Guide For People Who Work With The Public" and "Guidelines for Handling Desert Tortoises During Construction Projects" both of which contain information about these fascinating and endangered creatures.

Regrettably, much like the habitat of the desert tortoise, the DTC website is very dry and barren of any images. In fact the frog picture was the only photograph we could find on the site when we visited, in spite of there being a whole section devoted to tortoises in the annual photo competition. We have picture researchers out looking as we go to publication and will bring you some tortoise pictures in the near future. Meanwhile, until we find out what sounds, if any, the tortoise make... ribbit, ribbit!

Daily at 00:00GMT

The publishing time has been changed to midnight GMT so that the daily edition date reads correctly for the most number of visitors worldwide (honestly! we analysed the server log statistics). Murphy's Law being what it is, of course, the first time that was attempted the publishing system template server is down so the sidebar note made nonsense of the exercise. As soon as the template server is up and running we will make the changes and put this note at the bottom of the daily posting.

UPDATE: the template server is now up and running so the sidebar information has been updated.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Pix of the Day: The Mossy Stump

Mossy Stump © Jerry KindallMy favourite blog to visit is jerrykindall.com, named for its eponymous creator. Jerry has the blogmaestro's knack of both going places on the web I never get to, and finding interesting stuff when he arrives. The highest accolade I can think to bestow is that I have never visited his weblog without clicking one of his links, and I have always enjoyed the result. Jerry also has a feature picture of his own work, an example of which appears here. The title is 'Mossy Stump', which was taken late in the evening. It is a credit to modern camera design and Jerry's skill as a photographer and Photoshop technician that under such difficult conditions the picture has turned out so well. You may leave a comment and see a slightly larger version while you let Jerry know what you think. Many of the pictures Jerry features on his blog are macro shots or pictures cropped out of their everyday context. 'Mossy Stump' has that same appeal, I think: a mysterious sort of "deep in the forest, something stirred" feeling. It was chosen to give you a calm start to the week. "SERENITY NOW!" as they yell on the Seinfeld show. Go visit, and tell Jerry, "Ian says "Hi!", before you leave. Have a nice week!

Sunday, June 09, 2002

Pix of the Day: Whitelaw-Thatcher Turning Circle

Turning Circle © Ian Scott-ParkerWilliam Whitelaw was the right hand man to Margaret Thatcher the British Prime Minister. In fact he was so invaluable that she is said to have once remarked "Every Prime Minister should have a Willy". Willy was to British public speaking what Dan Quayle was to the American equivalent. It is said that Willy once alleged in a deeply sinister voice, laden with the sort of dark suspicion currently prevalent worldwide, "Someone has been going round stirring up apathy." Willy was always ahead of his time. Many from the opposite side of the political spectrum regarded him with affection as an example of that British institution 'The Dear Old Buffer'. Others had cause to know that he was a dangerous man to mishandle.

So I dub this car "The Whitelaw-Thatcher" in their honour, because I do not know its real name. But this is one automobile design that doesn't stir up apathy. Most people seem to either love or hate its capricious front wings. Maybe I am too left-brained, lacking in artistic sensibility, or just have a square-world sideways-looking view of things, or maybe I should have trained as a mechanical engineer, but every time I look at this vehicle I think to myself, "I wonder what the turning circle is?" Like Margaret Thatcher, "The car is not for turning!"

Saturday, June 08, 2002

Pix of the Day: Fire on the Mountain

Fire at Santaquin, UT © Jeff Klein, BLMThis picture of the 'Molly' fire of August 18th (year unstated) southeast of Santaquin, UT was taken by Jeff Klein, of the Utah BLM (Bureau of Land Management). The fire's first day of activity caused it to race up the canyon to the east and give rise to a smoke column topped with pyro-cumulus. By the time the fire was contained it had burned over 8,000 acres and threatened some Santaquin homes. The picture comes from the photogalleries of the 'Utah Storm Spotters' website, where you may also see a double rainbow, giant hail, desert floods, and awesome lightning. 'The Spectrum' newspaper of St. George, UT carried a report on 6th June 2002 that another wildfire was burning near Zion Park, while elsewhere in the south of the state an additional 7,476 acres of fire ravaged coutryside were under control.

Because the US desert southwest has so very few days when the sun does not shine from a cloudless sky with temperatures consistent with that, it is easy to forget that it is also a high inter-mountain area subject to storm systems. When it does rain properly there can be deluges and the water runs straight off the hard-baked earth. This produces flash floods that can be of terrifying strength causing risk to life, especially any hikers caught in the slot canyons that abound in the region. Even in this earthly paradise nature has its own ways of keeping us on our toes.

Friday, June 07, 2002

New book and video on the Anglo-Scottish Borders

The Borders by Alastair Moffat © Striding Edge LtdI was born and raised in the most north-western corner (map) of England, just on the English side of the Anglo-Scottish Border. The whole area of the Borders (map) from Carlisle to Berwick was fought over by the two kingdoms of Scotland and England, more or less from the time of the Roman withdrawal. At the height of the hostilities this place was the Beirut, the West Bank, and the Belfast of its day. Only the Union of the Crowns in 1603 finally ended the bloodshed.

Map images produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Images reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

The diaspora resulting from this reign of terror, and later the effects the Highland Clearances further north, led to the far flung occurrence of Anglo-Scottish Border names: an Armstrong was the first man to stand on the moon; there was a Nixon in the White House; uppertones for people named Graham, Elliot, and Maxwell can be found in graveyards all over the English speaking world and beyond. This was also the place that gave the English language the words blackmail and bereavement.

When I was a young man and became interested in the history of the Borders and the people who lived there, the standard work was 'The Steel Bonnets' by George MacDonald Fraser, an Old Boy from my own school in the City of Carlisle. Fraser is perhaps more widely know as the author of the 'Flashman' series of historical adventure novels. Later the 'Striding Edge' company made a video called 'The Debateable Lands', which included some information based on Fraser's work. Indeed, Fraser himself appeared in the video, his commanding presence further enhanced by a KGB-style leather coat, looking every inch a modern reiver (a term for a Border bandit). My lawyers have advised me to add that he is reputed, by those lucky enough to have met him in person, to be a man of the utmost charm.

The book, the video (in both PAL and NTSC formats) and a map entiteld 'In Search of the Border Reivers' are available online for worldwide delivery from Striding Edge's heritage section webpage.

Now Striding Edge have added another video, and an accompanying book, about Border history. I have ordered a copy of the book and the video entitled 'The Borders' by Alistair Moffat and eagerly await their arrival. Moffat is an author unfamiliar to me, but Striding Edge's reputation guarantees that the titles will be first class. After they have arrived and I have had time to read and watch, I intend to do a review of both. Fortunately this video is also available in both PAL format (used in Britain, Australia and many Western European countries) and NTSC format, so I will be able to watch it in my new home in the USA, as will viewers who live in Japan and Canada.

Pix of the Day: An English Village Green

Skelton, North Yorkshire © Don BurlurauxThis is the village green of Skelton in North Yorkshire, which appears on Don Burluraux's excellent North York Moors CAM website. Don walks his chosen routes (the featured picture is from his Cleveland Way, Stage 6, Skelton to Staithes walk) in his home area taking photographs of salient features and interesting objects along the way. This format works very well, providing virtual hiking for homesick expatriates, or for couch potatoes who are just too lazy to do it for real. All the photographs on the site are of fine quality. We admire and enjoy Don's work so much he has a permanent link in the sidebar of this page.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

pix of the day: symphony of the skies

Symphony of the Skies © Ian Scott-Parkeri suppose that taking pictures of sunsets is to photography what 'chopsticks' is to learning the piano. i have no intention to disrespect that work of sixteen year old euphemia allen written in 1877 (after all, she did inspire rimsky-korsakov and borodin), but some nights the symphony of the skies soars into into a full version of schubert's 'great symphony' and i am unable to resist. OK i 'fess, i can never resist... i have galleries full of sky pictures. just be grateful that i only inflict them on you occasionally!

Lines Composed a Few Miles Above
Tintern Abbey,
on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour.
July 13, 1798. William Wordsworth

... And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

take a pride in your work

Stubb's BBQ Sauce © C.B. Stubblefieldhow do you know who to trust in these times? well if a man who makes barbecue sauce says on the label "my life is in these bottles -- ladies and gentleman, i am a cook" and includes his address and picture, then that's good enough for me! one such man is c.b. "stubb" stubblefield from austin, TX who makes 'stubb's BAR-B-Q sauce'. you have my word that it is as good a sauce as i have ever tasted. stubb also makes a complimentary range of other products for your barbecue and runs a restaurant under the banner "my mamma said i was born hungry", which features barbecued dishes and blues music. it was the rev. sydney smith (1771-1845) who said "my idea of heaven is eating paté de foie gras to the sound of trumpets." well i'll settle for a barbecued rib-eye at stubb's place with bessie smith on the jukebox singing "give me a pigfoot an' a bottle of beer". if ever we are in austin, TX you have two patrons for sure, stubb! click on the sauce bottle to go to stubb's website or register with "ILOVESTUBBS" for competition details, recipes, blues clips, a photo gallery, and voice messages from the man himself.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

pix of the day: big red kenworth

Big Red Kenworth © Ian Scott-Parkercontinuing yesterday's transport theme here is a picture for big kids everywhere. this bright red kenworth truck was delivering KFC (col. saunders kentucky fried chicken) products to the A&W 'burger restaurant in st. george, UT the day we went there to satisfy my wife's craving for a velveetaburger. how many emotive icons of the american way of life can a writer pack into a single sentence before it becomes a list? i made that four icons and here we go with my weblinks guide to them:

♥ originally called the gerlinger motor company, which unveiled its first truck called a 'gersix' in 1915, the kenworth name was introduced later in 1923. the company's official website is somewhat dry, though their 'world's best' magazine page has some interesting articles. lovers of big trucks should keep an eye on phil conner's 'scansped' website, which although still under construction shows great promise.
♥ kindly old southern military man harlan saunders' biography is on the official KFC website. in 1997 pepsico inc. announced the spin-off of its quick service restaurants -- KFC, taco bell and pizza hut -- into an independent restaurant company. TRICON global restaurants inc. is the world's largest restaurant system with nearly 30,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and territories. call in at any of KFC's 10,826 outlets and let one of their 290,779 employees serve you with one of the 5.89 billion pieces of chicken they sell annually.
♥ A&W is synonymous with root beer, a concoction i find overpoweringly cloying and sweet. the A&W brand was first made by roy allen, who later developed his company with a partner frank wright... hence A&W, "the taste america loves to remember". the A&W company history parallels social changes in the USA and students of logotype design may enjoy the design history of the A&W logotype.
♥ to understand american cullinary prowess i recommend you try a velveetaburger. a brand of kraft foods that is allegedly a synthetic product unrelated to real cheese i was unable to discover what actually goes into the stuff. the advertising slogan "there's no substitute for velveeta" seems a little odd: substitutes for a substitute?

so how did i enjoy my foray into the american way of life? i had a great day: the driver of the big red truck gave me a "howdy" and a big smile when he saw me taking the picture; the staff in the A&W were unfailingly pleasant and helpful; the restaurant was clean and the service was fast; i sipped my wife's root beer, which came in a heavy glass mug covered in frost, and decided it was still too sweet for my palate. the velveeta burger? well excess in moderation is fun occasionally. it's easy to develop a superior mocking attitude to life in the world's most powerful nation but there must be billions of people worldwide who would trade places without a moment's hesitation. thank you america for allowing me to experience your country and your way of life. ♥

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

hurricane, UT easter car show

Elegant deuce coupe © Ian Scott-Parkerour local rotary club of hurricane organises an annual easter car show. their photogallery of the event is ahem... coming soon. meanwhile, however, you can see the unofficial gallery of the entries. the show attracts over 300 entries from utah, california, nevada, arizona, wyoming, idaho, colorado and new mexico. this elegant deuce coupe was not part of the show, but was parked in the town on the day of the show. i am not an afficianado of such exotic machinery but do enjoy seeing them driving around. the 2002 show was great fun so many thanks to the rotary club for their hard work. There is a report by Rachel Webb for our local newspaper, The Hurricane Valley Journal, which may be read in their online edition.

food for thought: a historical perspective

H.J. Heinz Company 1957 © H.J. Heinzfrom whippany, NJ the morris county library brings you the 'food timeline' and the 'cullinary history timeline'. starting from pre-17,000BC through to 2001 the timelines link to web resources about the history of the food we eat. a quick random sampling reveals that the hj heinz company started in 1869 as a manufacturer of horseradish which was put in clear glass bottles at a time when green bottles were more common to conceal the impurities. only after bankcruptcy in the banking panic of 1875, after which the company restarted, did the famous tomato ketchup appear. clicking on the tomato sauce advertisement, which is of 1957 vintage, will take you to heinz' gallery of their advertisements. both of these sites are the sort of resource at which the web excels and both are very well implemented with lots of interesting information. [thanks to steve osburn]

Monday, June 03, 2002

pix of the day: fat man with attitude

Fatman with hara &copy Ian Scott-Parkerthis little guy stands in a display cabinet in a friend's house. whenever we visit i like to look in on him for a few minutes and for some reason i am unable to fathom he gives me a feeling of peace and contentment. because i know nothing about him i cannot tell you if he is a noble, farmer, philosopher or warrior. he reminds me of my 'sensei' (a teacher whose authority comes only from greater knowledge), although he doesn't look like him facially but does have that same composure and poise. his stature, his jolly demeanour and his 'hara' (an appreciative term for a big belly that lowers a fighter's centre of gravity) make him look harmless. if you meet his real life counterpart my advice is to show respect or you may find yourself flying through the air wondering how you could make such a bad judgement of someone.

lost edition

there have been huge problems with the servers and the publishing system on sunday, caused by the changes required to even out the traffic load across the different domains. everything seems to be working OK but i missed sunday's update. i hope monday's update, although late, will be online by 18:00GMT.

Saturday, June 01, 2002

pix of the day: the blue remembered hills of home

Thirlmere from Steel Fell © Tony Richardsthis fine picture of thirlmere, taken from steel fell in the english lake district, is from tony richards' galleries. at this time of year when water levels are high it is hard to believe that this is a semi-artificial lake that serves as a reservoir to feed the taps in the industrial city of manchester about a hundred miles to the south. the last time i was up on steel fell i suppose i saw no further than a hundred feet all day because of the mist. i also managed to miss the path turning down the ridge to take me back to my starting point and ended up with a long weary walk back to the car. nice of tony to let me see the views that i missed that day!

A Shropshire Lad
by A.E. Housman
Poem No. 40

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

by Lord George Gordon Byron

To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude, 'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores unrolled.

But midst the crowd, the hurry, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
And roam alone, the world's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all the flattered, followed, sought and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!

lush delights of an englishman's garden

Cornwall garden poppy © Charles Winpennythis picture by charles winpenny moved me greatly with many private sorrows and sad memories for a time that has passed. it was taken in charles' garden in late may but my memories were of poppies like these as they grew older, yet somehow more beautiful, as the season wore on and they passed their first vigorous growth to take on that dignity of their last blooming.

Poppies in October
by Sylvia Plath

Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.
Nor the woman in the ambulance
Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly --

A gift, a love gift
Utterly unasked for
By a sky

Palely and flamily
Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

O my God, what am I
That these late mouths should cry open
In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.

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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)