one day at a time…
Saturday 30 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Not for the hwarse, of course.

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Hwarse © Ian Scott-Parker
Whenever my grandson visits he likes to walk across the road and feed carrots to the horses. His speech and comprehension are coming along nicely, but his pronunciation of 'horse' is a surprisingly forte "Hwarse! Hwarse!" from such a small person. His command of the skill of whistling is some time off, but nevertheless he does manage a "Whoo! Whoo!" that fairly resembles the proper sound. The particular horse shown here is a great favorite with the local children. My own affections are for an adopted range mustang that has something of the look of a mule about him. I suppose it is the same weakness that makes me a sucker for the runt of any litter of pups.

Recently I have been registering domain names for a client. We discussed various alternatives at length, and I hope that eventually we chose wisely, including those typos that were available. The potential for Internet pratfalls exist a-plenty for the unwary registrant: you may care to check out www.whorepresents.com to see what I mean. To the pure of course all things are pure: how you parsed that URI to extract meaning may say a lot about you. To paraphrase Richard III, "A hyphen, a hyphen, my domain for a hyphen." Not for the hwarse of course.

Friday 29 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Red Road to the City Dump

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Red Road © Ian Scott-ParkerTo see this view all you have to do is follow the signs to the city dump as the last rays of the sun stream up the valley. The picture was taken from the same viewpoint as Wednesday's feature, just off the minor alternative road that runs from Washington to Hurricane: the area you see is the Washington Dome with the Hurricane Fault on the far horizon. The colors are caused by iron oxide impurities in these sedimentary rocks. Robert F. Riberia has a page about the west central Colorado Plateaus that is an excellent introduction, plus galleries of stunning pictures taken on trips throughout the region from his base in Moab.

Thursday 28 November 2002

Pix of the Day: The Reasons Why We Are Here

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Hurricane Bench © Ian Scott-Parker
The reasons why human habitations are sited at any particular location are always complex. Geographers often like to simplify the answer by pointing to an easy river crossing; a source of drinking or irrigation water; fertile soil; or nodal position among places already established. All these reasons are valid, but the totality of the answer is usually more complex.

The mass migration of the members of the LDS Church (Mormons) from their settlements along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to avoid persecution was a precondition for their occupation of the Great Basin. Their desire to build a new society as part of their own 'Manifest Destiny' caused the spread into what is now the southern part of the State of Utah. What you see in the picture is an alluvial, or water borne, bench created in pre-history by the rainfall run off carrying soil and nutrients from the high ground of the Colorado Plateaus. After the bench was created the climate changes that followed meant that although the ground was capable of growing crops there was insufficient rainfall to make it fertile. To make that happen the Pioneers had to dig a 12 mile canal from the higher reaches of the Virgin River to bring the life giving waters onto the Hurricane Bench.

The green fields you see in the picture are the over riding reason why we are here. Beyond the picture to the right the land becomes desert again, covered with low scrub. Directly ahead, beyond the green field, the water pumping windmill towers showing whitely are in the Deseret Orchards owned by the LDS church. Beyond the orchards the Hurricane Fault rises to form the edge of the Colorado Plateaus, which is a massive and arid maze of complex geological faulting and erosion, unified only by the mighty Colorado River from where John Wesley Powell derived the name.

The particular reason I am here, as opposed to the generic reasons why we collectively are here, will be back home soon. Like the people in the aeroplanes that created the vapor trails in the picture as they headed for Las Vegas, she will be expecting an ice cold Martini ("Hearts full of youth, Hearts full of truth, Three parts gin to one part vermouth", as Tom Lehrer sang) to be waiting in a frosted glass when she arrives. Excuse me, I have important work to do. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday 27 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Red Rock Country Long Shadows

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Long Shadows © Ian Scott-ParkerWhen the long rays of the evening sun strike across the Red Rock Country of southern Utah the landscape glows with the colors you see here. The picture was taken just off the minor alternative road that runs from Washington to Hurricane: the area you see is the Harrisburg Dome with the Hurricane Fault behind. The colors are caused by iron oxide impurities in these sedimentary rocks. Robert F. Riberia has a page about the west central Colorado Plateaus that is an excellent introduction, plus galleries of stunning pictures taken on trips throughout the region from his base in Moab.

Tuesday 26 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Garden of Earthly Delights

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Hunans © Ian Scott-Parker
Mr. Hunan has recently expanded his operations to include this restaurant in our town. My verdict is that his sauces are lighter and less gooey than those I experienced in similar UK dining. He also knows when to stop cooking vegetables before they become too soft so that they were just how I like them, al dente. The Spring Rolls were excellent: if a Chinese restaurant does these badly, or an Indian one Onion Bahjis, they are not worth visiting. I remember a food writer who tested out the top class London hotels with a similar request for a ham sandwich, with quite unexpected results. Should you wish to patronise this establishment it is located on the south side of the main SR9 route heading east through the town towards Zion National Park. Clean, bright, and informal. Yipee! No flock wall paper.

Wandering the web while writing this piece (there are indeed many roads to the deity) I discovered that Bahji in Israel is where Bahá'u'lláh (pronounced Ba-howler, also known as the Báb, meaning gateway) the founder of the Bahá'í faith is buried. The Mansion where he spent the last years of his life, the Pilgrim House and the Shrine where he is buried are all surrounded by beautiful gardens. Ian Vink has a set of comprehensive photo resources about this place.

Monday 25 November

Pix of the Day: Lingering Hues of Fall

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Fall Hues © Ian Scott-Parker
One delight of the high desert country of the southern Rockies is that Fall is an extended event. In wetter and more northerly places the delightful coloration of the leaves can be suddenly vanquished by a sharp frost or a high wind. Here it seems to go on slowly for week after week. This picture was taken on the south western edge of the town of Hurricane, Utah, beside Gould Wash.

Seeing the Abstract All Around

Tim Davis is a photographer who sees a little differently from most people. His web site, the 'Trained Eye Gallery', has lyrical abstract images obtained by looking differently at the most prosaic of objects, in this case railroad boxcars. Looking at Tim's pictures I found it difficult to believe that they were essentially unmanipulated, or that such richly referential iconography could come from such seemingly impoverished sources: an amazing visual treat with genuinely witty captioning that never trivializes the subjects for a cheap laugh. [Thanks to John MacPherson.]

Sunday 24 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Cuchillero in Lima, Peru

CREDITS: © Bruno De La Mata.
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Cuchillero © Bruno De La Mata
As promised yesterday here is Bruno De La Mata's picture of a cuchillero, or knife sharpener, taken in Miraflores, Lima, Peru. Lovers of trivia will be fascinated to know that 'Cuchillero' was Naploeon Bonaparte's nickname for one of his horses, whose proper name was Cordoue. Napoleon had a penchant for giving nicknames: his wife Josephine's real given name was Rose.

While we await Bruno's new site you may enjoy visiting Angus McIntyre's website, which has many delights including a Peruvian photo gallery and an enjoyable Inca Trail covering Peru's best known attraction.

Saturday 23 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Painting With Light

CREDITS: © Bruno De La Mata
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MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location] [Quick facts]

Manquehue Sunset © Bruno De La MataThis extraordinary picture was sent to me by photograher Bruno De La Mata. The hill is Cerro de Manquehue, which overlooks Santiago, Chile, from the north east. The city nestles at the foot of the vast Andes mountain range that gives Chile so many diverse and spectacular natural regions. That raw sunlight streaming across the mountains is sensational. Bruno has a web site under construction, so as soon as he is online I hope he will allow me to feature some more of his work. I will let you have full details when that happens so you can check out his site. Meanwhile, I do have a second, quite different, picture Bruno sent me, and that will be tomorrow's feature.

Friday 22 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Return to a Digital Lifestyle

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Return to a Digital Lifestyle © Ian Scott-Parker
Today's otherwise unexceptional picture marks my return to a digital lifestyle. UPS delivered the camera from Dell exactly on schedule. I merely added batteries and a memory card, then wandered out into the garden and took some pictures, including the one shown, which is the western facing escarpment of the Hurricane Fault (between the town of Hurricane and the Airport on the [3:Location] topograhical map). Coming back into the house I connected the camera to the Macintosh with a USB cable. The Image Capture program native to the OSX operating system recognized the camera without needing any additional software to be installed. I downloaded the pictures and processed them for this blog item.

A few days ago I indicated that we all have things to be grateful for in our lives. One of the things I am grateful for is living in a demand economy, where without being particularly wealthy, and you have my assurance that I most certainly am not though in many ways I am very fortunate, I can buy things that work efficiently from efficient suppliers. To be able to walk outside into the sunshine, if you are one of those people to whom I indicated it was cool hereabouts just now then I lied -- it was shirtsleeve warm outside, is a blessing that even Canon, Dell, UPS, and Apple cannot top for a value added extra. So really it's quite an exceptional picture.

Those interested in arcane technical details may view the image at 498 (by clicking on the display image above), 600, and 1,000 pixels in width. Yes, you are right! There is blue fringing on the crossbars of that fence! I will be adding a new section soon called 'PhotoPixies' (name © John MacPherson, 2002), musings and links on matters photographic for those who are interested in such matters..

Thursday 21 November 2002

Pix of the Day: I Wandered Lonely as a Soliton

CREDITS: © J. Christopher Eilbeck/Heriot-Watt University/Dept. of Mathematics
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Soliton Duplication © J. Christopher EilbeckJohn Scott Russell © Heriot-Watt University
Musing over yesterday's picture I typed 'Solitary Wave' into the Google search engine: oh! what a Pandora's Box I had opened! The story begins with John Scott Russell (1808-1882), who was born in Parkhead Glasgow, Scotland. He intended to become a minister of religion like his father before him, but became fascinated by things mechanical, and eventually rose to be one of the foremost maritime designers and builders of his age. A minor footnote in his career was the observation of the 'Wave of Translation'.

In Russell's lifetime his discovery was at best ignored, and at worst dismissed as worthless. To quote the 'Solitons Home Page' entry for Russell, 'From the modern perspective it is used as a constructive element to formulate the complex dynamical behaviour of wave systems throughout science: from hydrodynamics to nonlinear optics, from plasmas to shock waves, from tornados to the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, from the elementary particles of matter to the elementary particles of thought.' Russell's observation probably deserves a 'Quasimodo Prize' for 'Most Prescient Idea' because 'There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.' Victor Hugo, 'Notre Dame de Paris', 1831

I am indebted to Prof. Chris Eilbeck for allowing me to use his pictures for this article, and for his web pages that even an academic ignoramus like me can understand. The picture shows the 1995 duplication of the event that Russell observed. There is a higher-res version if you want a closer look. Should you ever have need to work out the speed of an approaching sunami, then Robert Dalrymple has a calculator that will answer your needs.

Wednesday 20 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Just Listen to the Ocean

CREDITS: © John MacPherson/The Light Touch
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Wave © John MacPhersonArdnamurchan © John MacPhersonJohn MacPherson took these pictures on the coast of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, which lies between the islands of Mull and Muck due west of Fort William in Scotland. John is a professional landscape, wildlife, and environment photographer who styles his work as 'The Light Touch'. Visit his web site and you will see the name is well deserved: many of the images are as much about the light as they are about the subject matter. I particularly enjoyed John's work under photographically difficult lighting conditions that push the film to its limits, often producing dramatic color effects that almost look as though they have been manipulated afterwards. Keep a look out for 'Blue Hills' and 'Snow Tree', both of which have spectacular lighting and color. At the other end of the scale there is a beautiful picture of a pine forest, in which the color palette is reduced almost to monochrome.

John was selected by SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage), Scotland's environmental protection agency, to photograph the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Wester Ross. The Reserve celebrated its 50th birthday in 2001, and has the distinction of being the first NNR designated in the United Kingdom. Some of the shots he took for this job appear on the web site. Particularly interesting is the gallery index, which has a triptych taken of the same view, in three very different moods, taken at three different times of the year.

Not content with the stunning still pictures he takes, accompanied by his partner Pip, the pair have made a wildlife movie about otters. This superb site is a delight to visit, with extensive galleries categorized by subject, though any of them will be worth spending your time on viewing.

Tuesday 19 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Get Attitude, Have a Good Life

CREDITS: © Tony Richards/www.LakelandCAM.co.uk
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Esthwaite Water © Tony RichardsBracken © Tony Richards
Several people responded to yesterday's featured pictures, which resulted in extensive correspondence about 'special places'. My own view is that special places are everywhere, and I have no doubt that there is one somewhere quite close to wherever you are reading this article. Just like all men are born equal, but some are more equal than others, I suppose all places are special to someone, but some places are more special than others. In a sort of 'compare and contrast' way, familiar from taking academic examinations, I offer you this pair of pictures from Tony Richards. These are from a day or so ago, taken around Esthwaite Water (and those reflections are NOT a Photoshop gimmick) in the English Lake District, but if you surf over to Tony's web site after looking at these, then there are some just as good on his regular daily update for today.

It's just not good enough for the rest of us to claim Tony has a better camera, better access to special places, more opportunities, etc etc... it's time we got out there and enjoyed our own special places. If we are equipped to return with photographic memories then all well and good. If not then let us just be thankful that in spite of all the bad things that might be going on, we all have something to be grateful for in our lives. I am fully aware that there may be people reading this whose lives are overwhelmingly imbalanced by bad things: if you are one of those people then I empathize because I have been there. How we respond to that is a matter of attitude. Have a good life!

Monday 18 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Walking Into the Faraway

CREDITS: © John H. Farr and www.Fotofeed.com
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Cloudscape 021116 & copy; John H. FarrCloudscape 021114 & copy; John H. FarrRecent atmospheric conditions in northern New Mexico have produced some exceptionally beautiful cloudscapes. Photographer, writer, and webmaster John H. Farr has been on hand to record them for his Fotofeed.com web site. Ever one to draw a fanciful comparison, I see in these pictures echoes of the work of another New Mexico artist, and former resident, Georgia O'Keeffe.

I was lucky enough to view in a gallery setting the original of O'Keeffe's apparently plain painting 'Sky Above White Clouds', which deceptively is stunning when seen in reality. Jack Cowart in 'Georgia O'Keeffe, Art and Letters' (New York Graphic Society; ASIN: 0821216864; August 1990) records the following information, "A phrase O'Keeffe used in a letter to Anita Pollitzer, "Tonight I walked into the sunset" (11 September 1916), is like all of her best art: immediate, concrete, all-encompassing, with a surprising syntax. Sunset is the time when the world appears least structured, when forms tend to dissolve and are replaced by new colors and sensations."

O'Keeffe also used the phrase "The Faraway" for her perception of the New Mexico landscape and light. This expression was included in the title of one of her pictures, 'The Faraway Nearby' (courtesy of Tigertail Virtual Museum), and after a series of aeroplane flights in the sixties she began to include skyscapes more prominently in her work. The phrase was also used in the title of a biographical play by John Murrell, a book by Christopher Merrill,and by Cyndi Lauper for a track on the 'True Colors' album. Enquiring minds with long attention spans may also enjoy this essay by Christopher Buckley, which I found to be interesting. I hope John Farr continues 'Walking Into the Faraway' nearby, and in O'Keeffe's footsteps, to bring back more inspirational images like these.

Sunday 17 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Vandal Poet & Seagull Ennui

CREDITS: © Ann Bowker/Mad About Mountains
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

Seagulls © Ann BowkerAnn Bowker's LDP (Lake District Pictures) page had this shot taken on a walk beside Derwentwater near Friar's Crag. I recently watched a re-run of the late sixties movie 'Alice's Restaurant', based on Arlo Guthrie's similarly named 18 minute song. The film was a Hollywood screenwriter's leaden interpretation of hippie culture around the time of the Woodstock festival, but lacking the laconic, ironic, comic (as Guthrie himself might have written) genius of the original. The story revolves around the problems the hero brings on himself through the despicable act of littering.

The point of retelling this tale is that Friar's Crag is a place that has suffered similar acts of vandalism: visitors carve their initials on the rocks. I have never been able to understand this behavior. To me it seems that the perpetrators must recognize this as their only hope of doing anything that will grant them remembrance after their own worthless lives end. However, I was astounded when I learned that one of the people who carved his initials on the rocks of Friar's Crag was none other than Poet Laureate, and father of the English Romantic Movement, William Wordsworth. Little wonder that even the seagulls are filled with ennui at such louche behavior from one of England's greatest men of letters. Wordsworth was lucky there was no Officer Obie around at the end of the eighteenth century, hell bent on persecuting long haired vandals.

Saturday 16 November 2002

Pix of the Day: New LakelandCAM Weekly Page

CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location ( from www.leaney.org]

Loft Crag © Tony RichardsPhotographer Tony Richards' work is often featured on this weblog. Many visitors go to his daily page, but now if you miss a visit or two you can catch up by visiting his new weekly page, which features a pick of the best shots. The shot featured is of Loft Crag, with the more famous peaks of the Langdale valley grouped moodily in the background. For your convenience I will be adding the weekly page to the pulldown sidebar menu along with the daily page link.

Friday 15 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Walk the Wainwright Way

CREDITS: The Wainwright Society (portrait); Andrew Leaney (walk map).
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Memorial Walk]

Alfred Wainwright [www.wainwright.org.uk]On 9 November 1952 Alfred Wainwright penned the first page of what was to become a series of seven books, 'A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells'. Fifty years to the day, 'The Wainwright Society' held an inaugural meeting. Afterwards some of the attendees walked in memory to Dove Crag, which was the subject of that first page. Leafing once more through my own copy of 'The Northern Fells' it seems to me that these books are so much more than mere guidebooks: I regard them as artworks that deserve to be displayed in some form that is accessible to future generations. So perhaps, when copyright restrictions end, some enterprising webmaster will archive the pages for Project Gutenberg, for I doubt we shall ever see their like again. I can think of no finer tribute, except perhaps the huge number of walkers who pay homage by following in the steps of 'The Master Fellwalker'. Meanwhile, the Guides are still in print: treat yourself to one of the series, and marvel at the industry, art, and craft of the life that they represent.

Thursday 14 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Checking on the Topiarists
Topiary © Ian Scott-Parker
For no particular reason I took this picture while walking past a neighborhood garden recently. I think what caught my eye was that the clipped upper looked as though at any moment they might begin to rotate like some science fiction vegicopter: though prone to such flights of fancy, I usually only share them with my analyst as a prelude to asking for an increase in my medication. Today as I walked by I swear that the upper had adopted a different configuration, though after carefully checking this picture on my return I could discern no variation. Perhaps I just need to go and lie down for a while, and rest more often. Still, with other bloggers (scroll down to the entry for Friday 8 November 2002: 'Zombie Palm Walks at Midnight') reporting strange events with plants, it doesn't pay to become complacent.

Wednesday 13 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Speaking Down the Centuries

CREDITS: © English Heritage. MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

Stonehenge © English HeritageThe ancient inhabitants of the British Isles dotted the landscape with stone circles, or megaliths as the archaeologists call them, which still seem to speak to us down the centuries. Quite what they might be saying depends on whom you ask, but it is clear that people from many different cultures pick up the resonances. Much the best known megalith, distinguished by its unique construction, is Stonehenge in the English county of Wiltshire. Images of Stonehenge might lead viewers to think it is located in a majestic setting: when I visited many years ago I was taken aback to find that the monument sat beside a busy road with a sprawling car park on the opposite side of the highway. nevertheless, the place transcended its setting, and I heard those resonances clearly. Since then there has been work and planning to make the site more in accord with its importance as a World Heritage Site, though controversy rumbles on with different factions spatting at each other.

Enquiring minds will want to first check out the English Heritage page, then another recommended link is the Stonehenge-Avebury.net web site with a building sequence page, which leads to a plausible theory page, and news of a recent discovery on the site. Chris Tweed's comprehensive Ancient Sites Directory has an interesting section on Stonehenge with background notes. There is also a high-res version of the main picture, suitable for viewing on larger monitors. A picture of Stonehenge taken at sunset may be viewed at normal resolution or high resolution. I hope it speaks to you in some way that is meaningful.

Tuesday 12 November 2002

Pix of the Day: High Seas Life Savers

RNLI Trent Class © RNLI (Royal Bank of Scotland / photographer Rick Tomlinson)CREDITS: © Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Photograph courtesy of RNLI corporate sponsors Royal Bank of Scotland and photographer Rick Tomlinson.

The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) is a British charity entirely supported by voluntary contributions and legacies. Here are a few statistics: since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboats have saved over 135,500 lives; on average, lifeboats launch over 6,300 times every year and rescue over 6,400 people; the 14 metre Trent Class (a hi-res version of the picture is available, suitable for larger monitors) all weather lifeboat in the picture costs £1,240,452 ($1,736,632); the service operates 451 craft at a cost of £274,000 ($383,600) per day. Next time you see one of the RNLI lifeboat collection boxes…

Monday 11 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Angel of the North

CREDITS: © David Robinson/www.daverob.org.uk
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location - see #32]
Angel © David RobinsonAngel © David Robinson
The Team Valley is an industrial area in the town of Gateshead, which lies on the south bank of the River Tyne in north east England. The town is committed to urban regeneration, and on the site of the bath house of the Team Mine they erected a sculpture called 'The Angel of the North', created by artist Antony Gormley. The Angel can be seen from the main A1 road and the East Coast Line main railway. An estimated 90,000 people view the statue every day, though it might be more informational if I told you that 90,000 people a day were unable to miss the statue, because it is 65 feet high with a wingspan of 175 feet, almost as big as a jumbo jet. Click the second picture for scale.

The first time I saw it (on my way to collect a passport to come to America) it made me gasp, quite literally. The cost of £800,000 ($1,120,000) also took away some people's breath. Public and critical reaction was mixed, though like most things of this type it has now become an accepted part of the landscape. Oddly there are few good pictures to be seen on the web, when it might reasonably be expected that they would appear in great numbers. The main picture is available as a hi-res image suitable for larger monitors. This pair come from Dave Robinson's photo pages, which have many shots from all over the north of England, but are especially interesting for the aerial pictures in the galleries. The official Angel web site has details about the planning and construction of the statue, plus details of the town's public art program.

Sunday 10 November 2002

Pix of the Day: New 'Photo of the Week'

CREDITS: © Don Burluraux/North York Moors CAM Photoweek feature.
Urra Moor View © Don Burluraux
One of my favorite sites has introduced a weekly picture, so in celebration here is the text for the first entry:

"I took this photograph looking west to Cringle Moor, Cold Moor and Hasty Bank from Urra Moor. It was a wonderful morning - bright, crisp and sunny, and the morning light was emphasising the rocky crags on the northern face of Hasty Bank, above the varied green forest trees. Bracken is nowadays considered a serious, invasive weed on our uplands, but at this time of year it gives the hills a glorious rusty-coloured coat which I, for one, thank nature. The steep path up to the top of Hasty Bank can clearly be seen winding its way up the eastern slope. On Cold Moor and Cringle Moor beyond, the heather has just finished its magnificent show of purple blooms, but there is still a tinge of colour left in its dying flowers. The old stone wall and gate add to the romance…"

Many thanks to Don Burluraux for all the enjoyment he gives. The URI for the page will be added to the sidebar pulldown menus. A full exploration of Don's site is highly recommended. Check out his CD offer, too!

Saturday 9 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Night Maneuvers

CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District]

ALTTEXTDemonstrating the versatility of modern digital cameras Charles Winpenny from www.CornwallCAM.co.uk ventured out into the night and brought back an interesting series of street shots from the town of Camborne in Cornwall, the most southwestern county in England. Designated 'prosumer' level instruments, many cameras such as Charles' Nikon Coolpix 995 model sport f2.8 or faster lenses and ISO 800 sensitivity equivalent chip speeds. Nice to see someone using a camera's full capability.

Friday 8 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Wild Horse Annie
CREDITS: © BLM Digital Photo Library: Salt Lake Field Office/Jerry Sintz
MAPS: comprehensive set makes life simpler (interesting web site too)!
Wild Horses © Utah Bureau of Land Management
By all accounts Velma B. Johnston from Reno, Nevada was a shy woman who was sensitive about her appearance as the result of polio. In 1950 she saw blood dripping from a truck that was carrying wild, or more accurately feral, horses that had been rounded up to be turned into pet food. By 1952 Johnston and others persuaded Storey County, Nevada to ban horse hunting from aeroplanes. Next Johnston lobbied the State legislature, where an opponent derided her as "Wild Horse Annie". Undeterred Johnston pursued her cause and on 15 December 1971, the United States Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Johnston died in 1977, but her organisation WHOA (Wild Horse Organized Assistance) lives on.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which formerly issued licenses for indiscriminate hunting, now manages the herds in a more thoughtful way, which includes an adoption scheme. There is even a BLM photo gallery on-line from the dedicated web site. The featured pictures come from the Utah BLM, which manages the State's herd of 2,700 horses. Photographer Jerry Sintz captured these horses from Onaqui Herd near Dugway, Utah, which is close to the Davis Mountains in the north of the State. There is a hi-res version of this picture suitable for larger monitors. For further research I recommend the PBS web site 'Wild Horses: an American Romance", which has a wealth of information for enquiring minds.

Thursday 7 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Thriving On Minimal Inputs

Hereford Calf © Ian Scott-ParkerMAPS: [1:Region] [2:Area] [3:Location]

I once read that the healthiest human diet known, notwithstanding famine, was that of the Sudan where millet is the foodstuff most extensively consumed, and where the consumptions of fat, cholesterol, and sodium are all at low levels. Seems that the livestock hereabouts must also thrive on a similarly sparse diet. The area where I was born in the very northwest corner of England has been called "The Heart of Stock Rearing Country" by the local livestock marketing company for whom I worked, though I should immediately state that my knowledge of agricultural matters is very limited. There high rainfall, high humidity, and middling temperatures combine so that they say if one listens carefully the grass can be heard growing. By contrast here in the South West USA desert vegetation is sparse unless there is large scale irrigation. To my untutored eye this calf, seen on my evening walks, seems as healthy as any I saw back in the UK, and also has a familiar look like the Hereford breed from the southwest of England. Perhaps I should follow its good example and adopt a more frugal diet. I have seen a millet breakfast cereal in a grocery store, so I will purchase some for a palatability test with a view to eating it regularly.

Wednesday 6 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Molly's Nipple By Christmas
Molly's Nipple © Ian Scott-Parker
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:Area] [3:Location] [3:Geological]

I am still young enough to remember a time of life that was characterized by expressions such as, "We are limited only by our ability to dream". I am, however, now old enough to understand that words like 'attainable', 'achievable', and 'realistic' are much more likely to lead to satisfactory outcomes. The picture you see here is my own 'achievable goal' for the week before Christmas. The peak on the right hand side of the picture is 'Molly's Nipple'. It is universally called by that name in an overtly religious community that seems to be less prissy than map makers from elsewhere, who opt for 'Volcano Mountain' in their publications. The photograph was taken on the edge of town where the desert begins. If I make it to that street corner, and back again, I will have walked for one hour over a distance of 3.5 miles.

Molly's Nipple is a long dead volcanic vent that is part of the 'Hurricane Fault', which at 256 Km (159 ml) in length is reported as one of the longest exposed escarpments in the world. On the map [3:Location] that distance is from Cedar City to the north, then southwest to cross the Grand Canyon and Colorado River in northern Arizona. The Fault also marks the western edge of the Colorado Plateaus (a name given by John Wesley Powell, but now regrettably shortened so it sounds like a single plateau), which is a huge land area, endlessly fascinating, and containing some of the most remarkable and beautiful natural features that can be seen in our world.

Sprawling across the larger parts of the four states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico the Plateaus are 130,000 square miles in extent, and have been geologically intact for 500 million years. In 1936 survey the area was the most roadless part of the lower 48 States, and even though since then incursion has taken place, there are still vast wilderness areas of up to 2,700,00 acres. Coming from a group of islands containing four countries, but only 93,788 square miles in extent, where the remotest place is determined by its distance of 60 miles from a railway station, I find these statistics overwhelming.

Tuesday 5 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Seasonal Extravagance
Holiday Lights © Ian Scott-Parker
I was surprised the first year I came to live here, when Holiday Lights began to appear on houses just before the end of November. That of course is because the holiday season here is over a month long from Thanksgiving to New Year. A few eager souls have already begun to sneak some lights up under the guise of Halloween celebrations. The other thing that surprised me was how extravagent are many of the decorations. At first to my conservative British eye they seemed a bit gaudy, or even ostentatious. Gradually I became accustomed to seeing such displays, and less prone to Scrooge like musings on the cost of all the electricity.

Our own display was quite modest, though naturally characterized by good taste and elegant design. After touring the surrounding areas for a number of nights, with a diligence that I could not at first understand, she who must be obeyed announced with some satisfaction, "We have the only illuminated green holly swags in town, and probably in the whole valley." This year, of course, that claim may be under threat!

In the UK today is 'Bonfire Night' or 'Guy Fawkes Night': "Remember, Remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot!" as the doggerel went. This commemorates the Roman Catholic plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, by a group of plotters who were disatissfied with the treatment of their cause by James VI of Scotland, who not long before had become James I of England.

These days community firework displays are now common to replace the individual efforts that every year produced horror reports of maiming and mutilation. Children still dress up a dummy, and in a similar manner to 'Trick or Treat' at Halloween in the USA ask for "A penny for the Guy". A correspondent tells me that inflation has pushed expectations so far that today he was asked for "A pound for the Guy": hmmm… 240 times inflation since World War II!

You may read a concise historical overview of the 'Gunpowder Plot' on a web site by Sonja Hyde-Moyer, or a more detailed BBC History account, then check your knowledge of the historical facts with an interactive BBC game, which is good fun but seems impossible to win -- but maybe I see plots everywhere these days.

Monday 4 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Golden Autumn Fortnight

CREDITS: © Tony Richards/www.LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

Autumn © Tony RichardsGenerally my heavy northern England speech is readily understood here in southern Utah, provided I open with a few contiguous sentences to allow listeners to tune into my accent. Some of my vocabulary, however, leaves (unintended pun) even the most attentive listeners floundering. Fall for Autumn, and vice versa, seem to be readily understood on both sides of the Atlantic, but one sure way for me to halt almost any conversation is to use the word 'fortnight', which seems to be unknown here.

My cardiologist's secretary was delighted with this addition to her vocabulary, derived from the Old English 'feowertiene niht' or 'fourteen nights': such is the creative urge of American English speakers, that she immediately asked me if it was permissible to use multiples… so I guess my next appointment in December will be, "See you again after a three fortnights". This lovely shot, taken by Tony Richards on the Hawkshead road out of Coniston in the English Lake District, sums up the season, whatever name you prefer. However, no matter how hard I try, 'To Fall' as the title of this poem doesn't sound right for British English speakers.

'To Autumn' by John Keats (1795-1821)

'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Sunday 3 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Commute the Scenic Route

CREDITS: © Tony Sainsbury/www.EyeOnTheLakes.com
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District]
Scenic Commute © Tont Sainsbury
On his way to work this is what Tony Sainsbury from 'Eye on the Lakes' gets to see. Tony doesn't give the exact location of this view is, but I imagine it is somewhere in South Lakeland in the area of the small town of Ambleside. At the moment the UK is in the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, so all the UK CAMs are showing apposite images for the time of year.

Saturday 2 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Petit Le Mans Local Boys

CREDITS: © Earl & Gail Cook/www.Lasersol.com
Go to Cyber Motosports website for full coverage of the Petit Le Mans race.
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location] [4:Track]
Magnussen © Earl & Gail CookSpirit of America © Earl & Gail Cook
I promised you some pictures from Earl & Gail Cook's coverage of the 2002 Petit Le Mans 2002 at Road Atlanta near Atlanta, GA and somewhat delayed by my own unplanned blogging interlude, here they are. Please click on the pictures to see the full images, then visit the links for background information and more pictures. Panoz Motor Sports is a local team founded by Don Panoz, a businessman whose career spans generic drugs, pharmaceuticals, resort developments and viniculture. Son Daniel runs the road vehicle company, which makes a couple of neat dream cars with an interesting roadster and an elegant sportscar in the lineup. Did I mention that Panoz owns Road Atlanta, and other races including Sebring?

When researching this piece I read that, "Chances are Don Panoz has indirectly touched your life and you do not even know it!" On further investigation I discovered that Elan Holdings Inc, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Elan Corporation plc (a company founded by Donald E. Panoz in County Westmeath, Ireland), operates a plant in Gainesville, GA that manufactures various forms of Verapamil Hydrochloride capsules, a medication that I was taking until quite recently. Given the problems of both parties in the last 18 months, I hope our contact was mutually benign!

Here is the commentary that accompanied the pictures on the Cyber Motorsports web site, 'The drivers had on their 'game faces' during Saturday's warm-up practice on race day. Jan Magnussen, at left, looks intently toward his crew. Magnussen won the 'From the Fans' award at Monday night's ALMS awards ceremony. The award, voted on solely by fans, is presented each season to the person making the greatest contribution to sports car racing during the previous year. Magnussen, known for his aggressive and on-the-edge driving style, had originally been nominated for the excitement that he brings to the sport. The Danish driver for Panoz Motor Sports received an overwhelming majority of the votes cast for five award finalists.'

Jan Magnussen, David Brabham (son of Sir Jack Brabham, Formula One World Champion 1959, 60, 66 who is the only F1 driver ever to have won the championship in a car of his own construction), and David Donohue driving car #50 finished in seventh place, after gear selection problems late in the race. The other Panoz car #51 finished in 5th place. Panoz is the only team in the history of the American Le Mans Series to successfully win a race in every year of the championship in the prototype class. It can only be a matter of time until all that effort pays off, and they score a well deserved victory.

Many thanks to Earl & Gail Cook for sharing their work through the fine websites that they have made about their various interests.

Friday 1 November 2002

Pix of the Day: Sometimes I Just Sits

CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]
Sitter © Charles Winpenny
I visited this place over 40 years ago, and if I am not mistaken spoke with this man's father, who if I also remember correctly pronounced the placename as "King Hurry Furry". There is a great delight in being one of those people who are able to say, 'Sometimes I sits and thinks, though sometimes I just sits'. I look forward to doing a bit of that myself in the coming weeks.

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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)