Friday, May 31, 2002

pix of the day: the bonnie, bonnie banks of loch lomond, scotland

Loch Lomond © Frantisek Gallovicwhere would you look if you wanted an exceptionally nice picture of loch lomond in scotland? fairly low on my list would be a czechoslovakian academic's site, but that is where google found this one for me, courtesy of frantisek gallovic (fluency in czech is advantageous if you visit the website). i have chosen it for kathleen, to wish her bon voyage. there is also a larger version suitable for a viewing on a 17" monitor. when she who must be obeyed met me for the first time we stayed at the gardeners' cottages which is a secluded holiday cottage with a beautiful walled garden, formerly part of arden house, close by the shores of loch lomond (map). the song 'the bonnie, bonnie banks of loch lomond' was not written by robbie burns, to whom it is often attributed, but by lady john scott. full details on the the wondering minstrels website.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 07:35 :permanent link to item

removal of comments system

the service i use to provide the comments system is causing major delays to the loading of pages. the facility has been temporarily removed while i investigate an alternative. email is still available for making comments (link in the sidebar) -- yes even for those people who simply feel the urge to be gratuitously offensive

please adjust the colour setting to suit

First International Art Biennial - Buenos Airesplease ignore the outrageous claim in the sidebar that all images pop, for this one doesn't because i didn't want to spoil the fun for you. instead if you click the picture you will go to the first international art biennial held in buenos aires. enjoy the artists' whimsical caprice! art doesn't have to be dreary -- please pass the marmalade. [thanks to beth lock]

[top Go to head of page] posted at 07:00 :permanent link to item

summer has arrived

Utah record temperature for Mayas i was working yesterday i checked this weblog at 16:15 local time to see something that an alert reader had noticed and it was only then that i saw the local weather feed in the sidebar... no wonder i was too warm with the outside temperature at a cosy 106°F. fox13, the local utah teevee station in salt lake city, was declaring it an all time may record temperatre up there, but down here in the south of the state the all time may record was 107°F last year, when i first arrived. as i landed in las vegas the temperature there was 108°F and i thought i would never survive, but now i have learned that the answer to the question the locals ask, "hot enough for ya?", is traditionally "not yet!"

[top Go to head of page] posted at 06:45 :permanent link to item
Thursday, May 30, 2002

pix of the day: looe in cornwall

Looe Harbour, Cornwall, England © Charles Winpennytoday's featured picture is another from charles winpenny's cornwall cam galleries: this time the picture is of the town of looe in that english county of cornwall. charles' website is permanently linked from the sidebars of this site and his daily updates are always worth a visit.

i am experiencing some difficulties with provider service levels for the hosting of this weblog. i hope these have not interfered with your viewing enjoyment. steps are being taken to negotiate more robust services and agreements. thank you all for your continuing support. yesterday the site reached a peak daily visitor figure of 19,638. i am planning that very soon i will be able offer you more content of a wider scope and hope you will keep looking back.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 16:42 :permanent link to item

one careful owner... used only for church... bible found under seat

New Mexico granny sled © John H. Farrgreat picture from john farr's fotofeed website. the site has a more or less daily update featuring life in new mexico (you can go there anytime from the link in the sidebar). john writes about new mexico life and other matters, all of which can be found on his main website listed by themes.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 14:30 :permanent link to item
Wednesday, May 29, 2002

pix of the day: waterdragon in oz

Waterdragon of Oz © Carmel Glovermy dear friend melisanda, who lives in brisbane, australia has sent me this picture of a waterdragon. i will let melisanda tell you about him in her own words: "He lives in the small rainforest in South Bank Parklands through which I walk each morning on my way to work. During spring and summer I count the waterdragons (highest count, on my birthday last year, was 16) and engage in conversation with them. This one is a boy dragon, and a very big one at that, measuring3-4ftin length. His rosy tummy and slightly yellowish throat indicate that he is on the lookout for girl dragons. The colour fades to greenish-greyish-brown when his randy phase has passed. I'm not sure whether the sight of receptive females is the trigger that makes him change colour, or whether the mere thought of them is enough."
Waterdragon habitat, Brisbane © Carmel GloverUnfurling treefern, Brisbane © Carmel Glover"The big waterdragon often sits on a rock in the pool you can see below the treefern. The second picture is a closeup of an infant treefern frond, which becomes one of those large fronds seen in the first picture. These fronds are a joy to watch as they unfurl... the fractals concept in operation."

thank you melisanda: what an exotic, enigmatic, and mysterious creature from a faraway place. i do hope that soon we see some more of your australian pictures on "one day at a time...", perhaps even a small gallery.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:57 :permanent link to item
Tuesday, May 28, 2002

hack attack and loss of service

following a hacking attack on our service provider, which trashed the server, things are back to some semblance of normality. that's one 'Memorial Day' i will not forget!

this weblog has been permanently removed to:
[update sunday 2nd june 2002]

overloaded servers meant moving back to where we came from!
the information and URL given below is NOW OUT OF DATE.
and although automatic forwarding from the original URLs are in place it would be advantageous to update any bookmarks or links you have in place. i think today's picture was worth waiting for and tomorrow the weblog will feature an exotic australian dragon! thank you for your patience during this difficult time.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 18:49 :permanent link to item

pix of the day: the magical island of skye

Skye Light © Steve & Gill Terrythis beautiful picture entitled 'skye light' comes from the extensive galleries of steve & gill terry who run 'skye in focus', which offers landscape photography courses, photography workshops, and photographic holidays based on the magical island of skye off the west coast of scotland. there is even digital photography & image manipulation tuition available. numbers are kept small for all these events and where appropriate transport and accommodation are included (so no car needed once you get yourself there) for what i thought were very reasonable prices. also available are phototours to areas other than skye: alas, you have missed the 2002 outer hebrides tour which ran in march but there is still time to book for the glen coe & glen nevis tour in october. there is a full online programme to help you plan your use of these wonderful opportunities. accommodation is at the skye picture house, which is fully described on its own website. still undecided? check out the guests' comments and the visitors' galleries -- i only wish mine were half so good!

[top Go to head of page] posted at 13:00 :permanent link to item
Sunday, May 26, 2002

pix of the day: desert sunset

Hurricane Mesa, Southern Utah © Ian Scott-ParkerMiddle Virgin Gorge, Southern Utah © Ian Scott-Parkeri have remarked elsewhere in these pages about the light in the desert. these two pictures were taken from the old road between the towns of hurricane and virgin in southern utah. the mesa in the lefthand image is hurricane mesa and the mesas in the righthand picture are the west temple and the other high tablelands that make up zion park with the middle gorge of the virgin river visible. because there is so much sandstone in the local geology these lands glow from gold to deep red in the setting sun and because the air is so clean and dry the effects are spectacular. these pictures were taken back in december of 2001 around 5pm as the sun was sinking and the shadows lengthened.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 19:57 :permanent link to item
Saturday, May 25, 2002

pix of the day: pioneer heritage

Hurricane museum buggy © Ian Scott-Parkerthe people of utah are justifiably proud of many aspects of their pioneer heritage. this elegant buggy graces the entrance to the hurricane museum. across the street there is a pioneer park with other interesting period vehicles. in the main street there is even an antique shop that offers for sale a choice of vintage buggies! obviously the settlement of this hard terrain was not done without episodes of violence and indignity, but as the achievement of a determined people to make a life for themselves the story of the utah pioneers is remarkable.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 17:30 :permanent link to item
Friday, May 24, 2002

pix of the day: a land filled with sunshine and flowers

Old tyres, new flowers © Ian Scott-Parkerfriday 25th may 2001 was the last full day i spent at my home in england before leaving to live in the USA. it was a strange time: a mixture of sadness & regret balanced by joy & hope; a time of old endings and new beginnings. as the spring advanced there were some gloriously warm sunny days. almost every day for the final three months i walked in the roads and lanes near my house, taking pictures as i went. to mark this anniversary i have made a gallery of 186 pictures that are neither the best nor the worst, then set myself the task of selecting one to display here. i am unable to give any good reason why the one you see was selected. as i knelt to take the picture, the lady who lives in the house and who knew me, but had not recognised me, came marching towards me with grim determination. as i looked up she recognised me and broke into a giggly smile saying "oh, i thought you were somebody trying to steal the old tyres". it was so ridiculous that we both broke into crazy laughter. thanks, shirley! farewell, england! hello, america! love you, beth xxx

[top Go to head of page] posted at 06:18 :permanent link to item
Thursday, May 23, 2002

pix of the day: a land under a pall of smoke

Howend bonfire from Arthuret Church, Longtown, Cumbria © Ian Scott-ParkerCattle carcass bonfire at Howend, Longtown, Cumbria © Ian Scott-Parkerin stark contrast to yesterday's pictures these images show the burning of cattle carcasses at howend farm, near longtown in cumbria, england. longtown livestock auction mart was the source of the 2001 foot & mouth (called hoof & mouth in the US) cattle disease outbreak. UK government policy is to condemn, kill and burn all animals on farms where the disease is confirmed. this policy works for isolated outbreaks but 2001 was a pandemic and the policy devastated UK farming. the outbreak coincided with great sadness in my own life. access to the countryside was forbidden and my sadness was only deepened when walking the roads around longtown, where i was living at the time.

things have much improved over the last year. C&D's mart in longtown is now operating again and i have moved to the USA where my life is good again. i had planned to show a picture today from a walk around longtown linked to a gallery of other pictures. unfortunately the server space (generously donated by my former company) has been exceeded. i will do the necessary re-structuring later today so that the planned pictures will be available tomorrow.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:22 :permanent link to item
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

pix of the day: english hawthorn

Hawthorn bush in Gt. Langdale © Tony RichardsHawthorn blossom © Tony Richardsone year ago this week i was preparing to leave england to come and live in the USA. "oh to be in england now that april's there" applies more to the south of england because spring really bursts forth in northern england and scotland in the month of may. regular readers may remember tony richards' blackthorn blossom which i featured in april. now he has given us hawthorn in may, my favourite blossom in my favourite month, seen here in great langdale, one of the most delightful places in the english lake district. the only thing i can add to the visual feast, for readers perhaps unfamiliar with this bush, is that when the air is heavy with the smell of hawthorn blossom it really can make one light headed with its wonderful perfume. please do click on the pictures to see them full size. many thanks to tony for all his reminders of what was once my homeland. tomorrow i will feature one of my own pictures taken just before i left england and include a link to a gallery of other pictures taken around the same time.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 06:22 :permanent link to item
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

pix of the day: this isn't kansas, toto

The Tin Woodsman © Ian Scott-Parkerwhile walking in our neighbourhood i was amused by this very well made tin man hanging in a tree right beside the sidewalk. there is an insightful review of the 1939 version of 'the wizard of oz' that will tell you who played the tin woodsman in the 1925 version ("well i never knew that!"), where the name 'oz' came from ("well i never knew that!"), which two established actresses were sought for the part that made judy garland famous because they were unavailable ("well i never knew that!") and dorothy's second name ("etc etc etc").

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:45 :permanent link to item
Monday, May 20, 2002

pix of the day: stone cold sober in orlando, FL

Ripley's Believe It Or Not, Orlando, FL © Ian Scott-Parker
i swear i was stone cold sober when i took this picture of the orlando 'ripley's believe it or not' building. the car park was level but walking while looking at the building had me staggering on my way back to the car. good job i was the passenger and not the driver.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 14:45 :permanent link to item

the sport of kings and former colonies

british readers who enjoy horse racing doubtless keep abreast of the tape by logging on to which has links to websites of interest to punters, including the forthcoming vodafone epsom derby to be run on 8th june 2002. american racing enthusiasts will be aware that for the first time since 'sir barton' won the triple crown in 1919, there is no living winner of this prestigious racing award. exactly 25 years after he raced to victory in the 1977 kentucky derby, and after siring nearly 1,000 offspring, the magnificent 'seattle slew' died in his sleep on 7th may at age 28. this CNN webpage has video highlights of the triple crown, amongst which you may see 'seattle slew' win at belmont in 1977 beating challenger 'run dusty run' by four lengths.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 13:00 :permanent link to item
Sunday, May 19, 2002

pix of the day: golf courses in the desert

Desert golf courses, Las Vegas, NV © Ian Scott-Parkerthis picture of golf courses on the eastern edge of las vegas, NV was taken from the plane window as we came in to land at mccarran international airport. when i showed a picture of some poplars in the evening desert light an australian commentor thought it odd that i should describe a place where poplars grow as a desert. by 'desert' i meant of course the climate, whereas the poplars are there because of irrigation.

so what is the definition of a desert? i imagined that when i checked i would find the definition was an arbitrary figure such as "less than P inches of precipitation per annum" and was arguing that in my head while is was searching with questions such as "what different effects would be produced by P inches at a mean annual temperature of X degrees versus P inches at a mean annual temperature of Y degrees". well. the people who write climate definitions were one step ahead of me and they use a measure called potential evapotranspiration (PET) which is explained and applied to tucson, AZ by the pima community college website. i also found a presentation about arid lands by bernardo l—pez that covers many of the issues about desert characteristics, vegetation and human settlement.

Coral Canyon development Hurricane, UT © Ian Scott-Parkerso is hurricane, UT in a desert? the towns of las vegas, NV and tucson, AZ are respectively some 135 & 500 miles distant southwest and west from hurricane, UT. applying similar distances to australia, there are dramatic differences between the lands of the eastern coastal strip and the interior to the west beyond the mountain barrier. this, i thought, might have my australian readers crying "foul" over my use of my two example towns to illustrate my point. with insufficient time to measure the PET here, i went armed with my camera to the edge of town where one of many golf courses has been built, this one for the residents of the coral canyon development. yes, folks, it is clearly a desert round here, subject of course to measurement of the PET!

[top Go to head of page] posted at 14:00 :permanent link to item
Saturday, May 18, 2002

pix of the day:

Top Spot cow, Cedar City, UT © Ian Scott-Parkerthe big kid in me loves the brash fibreglass larger than life pop art models that i see around america. this elegant cow graces the roof of the "top spot" restaurant in cedar city, UT. quintessential small town america. i find it diificult to imagine that in the UK, where i come from, the town planning authorities would allow such a figure. this policy produces neat, orderly streets that are visually boring. people who live in neat, orderly environments become boring themselves. dynamic, growing cultures need space at the margins: discuss.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:12 :permanent link to item

a reader writes...

"I refer to your quiz. You actually think this is clever??? What a joke. No reasonable person in their right mind would find this amusimg, clever or offensive. I actually agree with most of the responses I was given because I do think these quizzes have no meaning and they are just a complete waste of my time. However I am not some dumbass who forwards e-mails to everyone in my address book. I am someone who cannot stand to receive e-mails from people I do not know (surprise, surprise, how do you think I received this garbage???). I will never sleep with the person I am attracted to because I have no desire to, blue is just a colour (thanks for stating the bleeding obvious), my first pet is dead (tell me something I don't know), I am self-employed and technically do not have any work mates and the people I am associated with have not met me personally anyway so do not know me and therefore cannot be embarrassed to know me and finally, I will never see World Peace so tell me something I don't know cockstick. Regards, …[signature omitted]

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:10 :permanent link to item

the editor replies...

Dear [name omitted]

I understand from your missive that you are "someone who cannot stand to receive e-mails from people I do not know" but in keeping with the self-contradictory nature of the rest of your writing you ask the direct question "You actually think this is clever???" which invites a reply from someone you do not know. I was raised to believe that it was polite to reply to a direct question and in doing so I apologise for intruding into the cloistered life you seem to prefer.

The piece to which you refer was written as an exercise while I was learning JavaScript. I agree that it was neither clever nor offensive but I am unable to comment on whether it was "amusimg" because I do not know what you mean. By "no reasonable person" I guess you are using the phrase in the conventional sense of PLM (people like me) so through circular reasoning you are of course quite correct. I take a wider view, so I am sure that someone, somewhere, might potentially think it every imaginable adjective you, or I, could conjure out of the dictionary.

Over 25,000 people logged onto that page and yours was the only response I received, so I regret that you had such a negative reaction. It was in my opinion lightweight and silly, but above all inconsequential. Your obvious passion for standards and the value you place on your time deserve a far more fitting target for you to vent your spleen.

In passing may I rhetorically suggest that the person with whom you have issue is the person who sent you the URL to my page, rather than with me as the author? Perhaps you just felt like raging in an unsolicited email at someone you do not know, in which case I am pleased to have been of service.

On a personal note I am sorry that you have no desire to sleep with the person you are attracted to because sexual relationships between people can be one of the most profoundly rewarding things we can experience. You are probably correct in forecasting that you will never see world peace, but just giving up seems so defeatist to me. Without hope in the face of adversity many of the nobler achievements of our species would never have come to pass.

I had never before heard the word "cockstick" but assume from the general tenor of your email that it is a pejorative appelation. My wife was quite taken with the word, as you may read at: (beth's weblog entry) and presented me with a gold star for effort, after which she spent most of the evening referring to me as "Sheriff Cockstick". Thank you for generating so much mirth and hilarity in our household.

Thank you also for taking the time to write to me. It is always rewarding to hear from my readers whatever their views. My weblog is updated 15:00GMT daily. If there is anything you would take pleasure from seeing there please let me know and if I perceive it as having wider appeal I will be pleased to make it the subject of an entry. Tomorrow I will publish your letter there (with my reply) because I think your views deserve articulation before a wider readership.


[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:05 :permanent link to item
Friday, May 17, 2002

pix of the day: let me ride your magic bus

Big red bus, Orlando, FL. © Ian Scott-Parkersharp-eyed readers will have noticed the clues that this is not what it seems: london transport drivers may have a reputation for positive and proactive driving styles but they rarely park on the pavement (which in this case is a sidewalk, anyway); passengers (even of the grotesque and horrifying variety shown) are required to be inside the vehicle at all times; because of the inclement weather and confusing street topography bus-stops are never located this conveniently to attractions that passengers might actually want to visit.

this london transport, big six-wheeler, diesel engined, 97 horsepower, omnibus (in the words of the flanders & swan song) is part of the display at universal studios in orlando, FL. if you visit my recommendation is the terminator 2 show which is scary audience participation mutimedia theatre with awesome special effects.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:55 :permanent link to item
Thursday, May 16, 2002

pix of the day: poplars in the evening light

Poplars in the Evening Light © Ian Scott-Parker
sometimes the desert light takes my breath away.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 14:00 :permanent link to item
Wednesday, May 15, 2002

pix of the day: desirable property available for renting
XX-12 GRABLE test © U.S. Department of EnergyU.S. Department of Energy photograph used with permission. there is available for renting (probably in both meanings of the word) a land area comprising some 5,470 square miles, unpopulated with the exception of a place called mercury which has housing, medical services, fire protection, law enforcement and security, and a cafeteria. there are more than 1,100 buildings valued at more than $700 million. there is housing for more than 1,200 people; offices, laboratories, warehouses, and training facilities; a hospital, post office, fire station, and sheriff's substation; and a large motor pool complete with repair facilities.

there are 400 miles of paved roads and 300 miles of unpaved roads, two airstrips (one capable of accepting jet aircraft), and 10 heliports, as well as several active water wells and an electric power transmission system. the climate is that of a high desert basin with an estimated rainfall of less than seven inches and 310 days of sunshine each year. there is a favourable tax structure with no corporate income tax, no personal income tax, no franchise tax, no inventory tax, no admissions tax, no unitary tax, no inheritance tax, and no capital stock tax. welcome to the DOE NTS (nevada test site).

previous users of the property habitually fired off atomic and thermonuclear devices, recorded in a photogallery on the website, but there are now programmes in place for stockpile stewardship, crisis management, waste management, environmental management & protection and the safety & health of the work force. the picture i have shown is the XX-12 GRABLE test fired on may 25, 1953 at the nevada test site. a 280mm artillery gun fired the 15 kiloton nuclear shell. this was the only time a nuclear artillery shell was ever fired. since july 1962, all NTS weapons tests have been underground.

the images on the NTS website are either thumbnail or 8"x10" size so for those readers who are interested in military and weaponry matters i have gathered them into more user friendly online photogalleries for standard monitors and for larger monitors.

interesting, beautiful even, in a scary kind of way. [thanks to beth lock]

[top Go to head of page] posted at 16:00 :permanent link to item
Tuesday, May 14, 2002

pix of the day: parley p. pratt

Parley P. Pratt (1807-1857)   Ian Scott-Parkerthis picture is of the statue of parley parker pratt which stands in the sugarhouse area of salt lake city, UT. parley was born in new york in 1807 and converted to mormonism in 1830. after joining the original mormon pioeers in the salt lake valley he became a leading explorer and builder of roads and communities. he wrote many religious tracts and hymns and a colourful autobiography. he was killed while doing missionary work in arkansas in 1857.

in 1848 parley received a stewardship over the area where his statue stands and he built a forty mile long road through big kanyon which was later renamed parley's canyon in his honour. the road was completed in 1850 when gold seekers were headed for the california gold rush and becme known as the golden pass. the route was far superior to the original pioneer route over big mountain and parley collected tolls to keep the road in good condition. in 1913 parley's road became part of the lincoln highway, the first transcontinental road to connect new york city with san francisco.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:29 :permanent link to item

the ultimate power tool

regular readers may recall my weakness for the possum lodge saga on the red green show. steve 'red green' smith regularly extolls the virtues of duct tape as "the handyman's secret weapon", but it seems that fashion victims have now joined the cause because that redgreen jacket is made from duct tape! jim berg and tim nyberg are 'the duct tape guys' and what they don't know about this product is probably something you wouldn't want to know anywhichway. so is it 'duck tape' or is it 'duct tape'? visit jim and tim's refrigerator door and click on the duck to find out!

[top Go to head of page] posted at 13:00 :permanent link to item
Monday, May 13, 2002


sorry about the late posting and site unavailability. the network in london which hosts the server seems to have had problems for the last three days. i am investigating the possibilty of having the weblog mirrored elsewhere and will give the alternative URL if this proves feasible.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 17:21 :permanent link to item

pix of the day: the many faces of jennifer follia

Jennifer Follia as Marlene DietrichJennifer Follia as Joan Crawfordthe two pictures (click them for full size originals) are not of marlene dietrich and joan crawford but of the same person, jennifer follia, seen in this publicity head shot. i found jennifer on the laughing gas comedy improvisation theatre company website among all the actors' biographies, where you may read jennifer's own entry and also her full resumé. jennifer has travelled widely doing her impersonation of madonna which you may see on her jennifer follia as madonna website.

this is the list of jennifer's characters: "Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Liza Minelli, Bette Midler, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Leslie Ann Warren & Julie Andrews (from Victor/Victoria), Veronica Lake, Bette Davis, Uma Thurman, Cameron Diaz, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest), old woman, Trailer Trash Tessie, Cuban Man, plus many more." this is a list of her accomplishments: "Professional Impersonator, numerous dialects and character voices; Pianist; Songwriter; Costume Designer; Theatrical Make-Up Artist; Owner of Wardrobe and Costume Company for TV and Films; Model. Dance: Ballroom (International and American styles), Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Choreography. Sports: Horseback Riding, Western, English, and bareback; Soccer and other sports; Stiltwalker; Skateboarding; Skating; Able to memorize entire movies, imitating all characters." the emboldening is mine: wow!

[top Go to head of page] posted at 14:00 :permanent link to item

e-auditions replace cattle calls

after reading entertainers' resumés much of yesterday (which resulted in the post about jennifer follia), this morning i was referred to worlds away -- the musical by m.e. goulet which will open in falls church, VA in late 2002. here is the pitch from the website "Worlds Away is a whole new concept in theatrical production. This site is more than just an overview of the musical. It is a dialogue between you, the audience, and the musical's creator and production staff. From here you can submit audition tapes for parts in the cast, vote for your favorite audition entry, preview songs, participate in promotional activities, and more. Watch the musical unfold. Follow along as the score is arranged, the sets are designed and the cast rehearses. When you finally see the production--planned for 2002--you'll know you've participated and helped produce the show!"

open casting calls are known as "cattle calls" because of the large number of actors who turn up to audition for the limited number of rôles that are often available. one e-auditioner, dana buckman, interviewed for ABC's techTV said ""I think the normal audition is incredibly stressful. It's the first e-audition I've ever seen or ever done. It just makes it so much less intimidating and easy." the site says they are unaware of any other e-audition for a theatrical or musical production. it will be interesting to see if the concept catches on elsewhere. just in case, i am preparing my own e-audition quicktime movie for anything that has an appearance by julia roberts, hannah gordon or dolly parton.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 13:55 :permanent link to item
Sunday, May 12, 2002

pix of the day: sunset dive

Sunset Dive © Francis Toussanta correspondent suggested i look at the pbase galleries of francis toussaint. francis has 1182 images in 34 galleries and my correspondent suggested the le louvre gallery which includes a picture of the venus de milo. i was going to feature that for 'pix of the day' but as i wandered into other galleries i then came upon another image in the la bretagne gallery which captivated me and is displayed here. [thanks to steven osburn]

[top Go to head of page] posted at 14:00 :permanent link to item
Saturday, May 11, 2002

pix of the day: the patina of age

The patina of age © Ian Scott-Parkerin the dry mountain desert air a fine patina of rust acts as a barrier to oxidation and dramatically slows further corrosion so that lifetimes are long extended. it would be nice to think that worked for people too, because some of my joints are squeaking and there are definite signs of rust on parts of my anatomy. this unbowed old warrior stands in the car park of the fanciest restaurant in springdale, UT (dress code: no overalls) near the entrance to zion national park. the american love affaire with the motor car continues unabated. here in town we had the hurricane car show (gallery of unprocessed pictures) back at easter, with nary a speck of rust in sight.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:30 :permanent link to item
Friday, May 10, 2002

pix of the day: robins

European robin © Jean PalutikofAmercian robin © Ed Badgerjean palutikof has a page about the indicators of climate change in the UK on the climatic research unit website. he says "A recent analysis of 65 species shows that 20 species have tended to lay their eggs 4-17 days earlier in the year over the past 25 years. Birds have evolved to lay their eggs so that nestlings are hatched when food is available and there is food when they leave the nest. Laying dates are therefore strongly related to spring (especially March) temperatures." there is a data table showing the date on which 5% of the observed robins (erithacus rubecula) had started laying. this is the much loved british robin so often shown on christmas cards sitting on a spade handle, which is something they actually do!

where i live now there is a throng of much bigger but equally attractive american robins. ed badger is the webmaster for the town of hudson, NH where they also have american robins. ed has a page recording the birds visiting the feeding station at 12 saint laurent drive, hudson, new hampshire. the illustrated list contains some other colourful visitors: northern cardinals, blue jays and american goldfinches. there is an unwelcome visitor too, a red tailed hawk (a species that appeared in an earlier blog entry) that is unafraid of ed and has killed at the feeding station.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:13 :permanent link to item

robin update

readers wanting more details on the european robin should check out the RSPB (royal society for the protection of birds) website, where there are pictures of adult robin, and an adult robin in full song, and a useful robin identification guide. the RSPB site has extensive resources online (including webcams and still images) and joining the RSPB helps them to continue working to protect birds, wildlife and habitats. family membership costs GBP45.00 (full RSPB membership for two adults and RSPB wildlife explorers membership [a club for junior members] for all children living at one address), joint membership GBP36.00 (full RSPB membership for two adults at the same address) and single membership GBP27.00 (full package of membership benefits for one adult). as a former member when i lived in the UK i can attest that with the quarterly magazine and admission to RSPB reserves all these packages offer great value and the opportunity for ordinary people to explore the bird world.

for north american readers the 435 illustrations by john james audubon are a national treasure. the american robin (turdus migratorius) features in plate 131 of that enormous work. many of audubon's prints are still for sale, but for those of us with challenged disbursable incomes haley&steele, sellers of fine art since 1899, offer an audubon information gallery and a FREE downloadable PDF format guide packed with beautiful illustrations. there is a comprehensive information section on the USGS (US geological survey) website and kevin dougherty has an american robin webcam in his backyard. the slick NWF (national wildlife federation) website has lots of excellent pictures (including the clay-colored robin a rare visitor to the rio grande valley in texas) in searchable galleries that can even return all the common species based on a US zipcode query. the website of monte and christopher taylor offers pictures of 785+ bird species, mammals, and cetaceans, all photographed by the site authors, of free and wild creatures. they have a picture of the american robin and the much rarer (though a poorer quality image) of the rufous-backed robin

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:00 :permanent link to item
Thursday, May 09, 2002

pix of the day: long sleddale, eastern english lakeland

Sadgill, Longsleddale, Cumbria, England © Dave Newtonthe far eastern fells of the english lake district are somewhat neglected in favour of the 'hotspots' of other areas. on a glorious day in may 2002 dave newton chose to walk there and was rewarded with a wonderful day on grey crag, tarn crag, branstree and selside pike. there is an good walk description (ignore his comments about the much maligned mungrisdale common -- a place that always reminds me of the expression "...but for memories there is gin") with a photographic series along the walk. the picture i chose is of sadgill and the longsleddale valley. as dave says "Wainwright, in his closing notes on this fell, says that there can be few better views in the country than from here. I have to agree with him there, it was simply stunning. However, he also says that the days on which that view is visible are few." yes indeed, the next valley is named 'wet sleddale' with just cause! dave has ascended 206 of the 214 'wainwrights' (fells allocated their own chapter in the series of books by walkmeister a. wainwright) and has my best wishes for the remaining 8 to complete his 'wainwright round'.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 13:00 :permanent link to item
Wednesday, May 08, 2002

pix of the day: buckaroos in paradise

Cassinelli (Mill) Ranch, Paradise Valley, NV by Carl Fleischhauerhere is the introduction from the home page where today's picture was sourced: "The Buckaroos in Paradise Collection presents documentation of a Nevada cattle-ranching community, with a focus on the family-run Ninety-Six Ranch. The documentation was largely the work of the Paradise Valley Folklife Project (1978-1982), a research initiative conducted by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. This collection presents 41 motion pictures and 28 sound recordings that tell the story of life and work on the Ninety-Six Ranch and of its cowboys, known in the region as buckaroos. Motion pictures produced from 1945 to 1965 by Leslie Stewart, owner of the Ninety-Six Ranch, are also included. An archive of 2,400 still photographs portrays the people, sites, and traditions on other ranches and in the larger community of Paradise Valley, home to persons of Anglo-American, Italian, German, Basque, Swiss, Northern Paiute Indian, and Chinese heritage. About 2,200 of these photographs were made during the folklife project and about 200 photographs date from 1870 to 1958. Background texts provide historical and cultural context for this distinctive Northern Nevada ranching community."

the photograph i chose from the collection comes from the 'the cowman's dominion' section of the site and was taken in 1978 by carl fleischhauer, of a view over the cassinelli (mill) ranch across paradise valley, NV to the santa rosa range beyond. this rich collection tells the real history of the cowboys and the circumstances of their daily lives. there are interesting pages on cattle branding and settlement of the valley. the comprehensive index of artefacts will allow you to follow your own interests. an absorbing and engaging website if you have an enquiring mind and a robust attention span.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 13:00 :permanent link to item
Tuesday, May 07, 2002

pix of the day: wreck on tiree

Wreck in Scarinish Harbour, Tiree, Hebrides © Ann Bowkerthe indefatigable anne bowker (permanent link to her site in the sidebar) visited the hebridean island of tiree in march 2002. this picture of a wreck in scarinish harbour caught my eye. if you would like to know more about this island visit elaine m. williams website, which has the history and up to date information about the island townships. the tiree archive is trying to record the culture of the island faced with depopulation and external cultural forces.

anne also visited the island of coll where she photographed some perched boulders and horizontal walking... believe it! they say in the hebrides that when the wind stops blowing people forget to stand upright and fall over.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 13:00 :permanent link to item
Monday, May 06, 2002

pix of the day: hiking in kolob

Kolob, Utah: Middle Fork of Taylor Creek © Ian Scott-Parkeryesterday i went hiking with gary up the 'middle fork of taylor creek' in the kolob canyon area of zion national park. the round trip walk is just under six miles and ends at the 'double arch alcove'. my own pictures of the arches are less than satisfactory (a gallery of unprocessed images is available) so here are some links to images by more proficient photographers: phil armitage, mike shaeffer, tom jones (large scale map plus the only picture i found that includes both arches), john crossley (includes trail guide), jack olson and michael fatali. the national park service page has a location map.

the trail wanders up the creek bed among dense vegetation, gaining only 450 feet of altitude. the temperature rose to about 80F but there were welcome breezes and shady spots. we saw butterflies, lizards, blue jays, a variey of trees and plants of which i could only identify cottonwood trees and blooming manzanilla and indian paintbrush flowers, heard but never saw the wild turkeys and inhaled wonderful aromas as the plants warmed in the mid afternoon sun. a delightful day in this special place. there is a cabin way up the trail where somebody once lived. i went into a flight of fancy about trappers, prospectors and outlaws of the old west. the reality is more prosaic: the 'fife cabin', says, was built in 1930 by arthur fife (a barely visible carved board inside over a window mentions 'rowland' and 'ray', too), a lecturer at the southern utah state college (now the southern utah university), so that he could raise goats!

[top Go to head of page] posted at 17:24 :permanent link to item
Sunday, May 05, 2002

the art of the well tempered logotype

new york based 'spot design' is a graphic design studio founded in 1987 by its creative director, drew hodges. the company's portfolio has examples that may be familiar to you ("oh, that's who did that aerosmith album cover"). faced with the challenge of designing a logotype for the pulitzer prize winning play 'wit' about a professor of literature obsessed with the meaning of punctuation in poetry, see how they used eponymous typography to create an amusing, eye-catching design. worth a browse if you are interested in commercial design.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 16:09 :permanent link to item

pix of the day: light on landscapes

Light on Landscapes © Francesco Alberghinaitalian photographer francesco alberghina has five galleries online. the pictures were taken on francesco's travels from his home in bergamo to africa, india, the far east and the americas. the ones i have chosen were taken nearer to is home and show the interplay of light on landscapes. clockwise from top left they are: windmill in trapani, sicily; lavendar fields in provence, france;tending the land, sicily and one simply entitled "fantasy. a favourite of mine is in 'notes from travels' gallery: a delightful picture of a small boy carrying a load on his head, taken on a beach in the ivory coast. the composition of that picture has several planes with balances and imbalances that make it appear to almost move as one looks. all the images are free for your personal non-commercial use.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 15:02 :permanent link to item
Friday, May 03, 2002

pix of the day: 'Eldorado' arts tour, Santa Fe, NM May 2002

Eldorado arts tour, Santa Fe, NM May 2002if you are within striking distance of santa fe, NM on saturday or sunday 18th/19th may 2002 the eldorado arts and crafts association invites you to their open studio art tour from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm with a preview at fire station #1. there are excellent directions to the preview where you can pick up brochures and location maps. eldorado's website has a gallery where you may also preview the artists with an artist directory for quick reference.

the four artists featured here (clockwise from top left) are: judy moore, bob kenny, bob wolman (rolling stone's first chief photographer) and george henke (who also invites you to take a meditative walk in his labyrinth if you visit him).

santa fe is full of delights: my own recommendations would be the georgia o'keefe museum, a ride on the old train and d.h. lawrence's ranch beyond nearby taos. you might bump into macintosh guru robin williams (if you get really lucky she might show you her tattoo -- in which case please report back with full details) or any of the other celebrities who live in and around the town. if you hunt around the galleries you may even see the lusciously naked fat lady in red heels who caught my fancy (down boy -- she's a foot tall wood carving). i already told you santa fe was full of delights!

[top Go to head of page] posted at 18:34 :permanent link to item
Thursday, May 02, 2002

pix of the day: 28,000 royalty free pictures

'Maryport Harbour' © FreeFoto.comif you visit ian britton's there are 28,000 images available (with weekly additions to that number) FREE for private non-commercial users. for commercial use prices start at a very reasonable $25 from offices in the UK & USA with 24-hour worldwide support. images are categorised and include europe, the far east and america, business, nature, transport, farming and industry. please read the very reasonable rules before using any pictures.

the picture i chose was not some sun-drenched portugese town but maryport on the west coast of cumbria in the UK. the town has a 2,000 year history (there is a roman museum) but mostly its development as a planned town began with humphrey senhouse at the start of the eighteenth century. there is also a maritime museum a coastal aquarium and a blues festival (elkie brookes in 2002, yeah!) as part of the town's regeneration programme. additional pictures at if you want to see more.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 23:41 :permanent link to item

the sayings of richard wrangler

"Oh! Hello, this is Susan. Mary and I have split up. Don't say anything to her though, because she doesn't know yet".

[top Go to head of page] posted at 23:07 :permanent link to item
Wednesday, May 01, 2002

pix of the day: tibetan people

'Kham woman at the Barkhor, Lhasa' © Alison Wright'Buddha statues destroyed by the Chinese, Ganden Monastery' © Alison Wrightin response to a request for more 'people pictures' i went looking for the very best and found alison wright. who better than a 'visual anthropologist' to give us strong portraits that have a significance beyond their superficial appeal? these portraits come from alison's 'tibet' gallery, which shows life in the country after the chinese occupation: 'kham woman at the barkhor, lhasa' and 'buddha statues destroyed by the chinese, ganden monastery'.

alison is a professional photographer based in san francisco from where she has travelled extensively. she lived for two years in the australian outback and four years in nepal. her online diary for april 2002 says she was back in nepal on a phototour with geographic expeditions. she has written two books 'the spirit of tibet: portrait of a culture in exile', available from, and 'a simple monk: writings on the dalai lama' which was an's 'best of 2001' selection. she has exhibited at the smithsonian and is a member of the society of american travel writers. she has a forthcoming calendar due to be published in july 2002 called 'a simple monk 2003 calendar'. professional picture editors will want to see alison's list of stockphotos which reads like a gazeteer to the best photography destinations worldwide.

alison specialises in documenting the traditions and changes of endangered people in remote areas around the world. the gallery tour begins with 'children of the world' and passes through seventeen locations to finish in australia (don't miss the amazing road sign!) there is a special section for 'the spirit of tibet'. there are some other amusing pictures but you will have to go and look for them yourself -- why should i do all the work? i think this paragraph from alison's own writing sums things up:

I have had the good fortune to photograph the Dalai Lama a number of times over the years. The last time I visited his modest but modern home nestled in the forest overlooking the Kangra Valley, he greeted me warmly. "Ah, you again," he exclaimed, taking my hand and holding it as we walked through his garden. He stopped to feed his pet parakeets, and I apologized for taking his time from what is now an incredibly busy schedule of meetings. "Please know that I have the best of intentions," I assured him. He turned towards me suddenly, as if reading my eyes. "Yes, I know. And good intent, very important. Most important in all that you do. Never forget."

i don't think the dalai lama need lose any sleep on that score. contrarily i have not displayed my favourite picture of all. as you can imagine i spend a lot of time researching suitable photographs for 'pix of the day' and see thousands of images. rarely does the sin of covetousness overtake me. there is one here that got to me though. in gallery three of 'the spirit of tibet' there is a picture entitled 'lama and teacup' which one day i would like to own. go and look for yourself. it's the best picture i have seen since i started doing this project.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 19:10 :permanent link to item

the sayings of richard wrangler

"I am not inhibited by the fear of failing. I have starved to death before. I know what it's like."

[top Go to head of page] posted at 16:34 :permanent link to item

the comforts of civilization

the chimenea may be less essential than some of the other comforts of civilization (novocaine and hot showers come to mind) but if you have ever sat al freschezza with friends on a beautiful but chilly starlit night warmed by a chimenea outside and a tequila inside you will probably have it in your top ten. to see this delightful contraption in its natural setting visit today or the archive from tomorrow. other engaging facets of new mexico life can be seen regularly on john farr's daily update for a more complete experience.

[top Go to head of page] posted at 16:16 :permanent link to item