Saturday 31 May 2003
Not Quite Dead Yet…
Five weeks ago, after doing the weblog update for Wednesday 23 April 2003, I suffered my second heart attack. This time open heart surgery for five artery bypasses was required. After an initially rapid recovery, I developed complications that required re-admission to hospital and medications that overwhelmed me so that I was devoid of energy and needing to remain horizontal for most of the time.
Eventually after stabilizing me and adjusting the medication, the doctors advised that to recommence my recovery I had to undertake physical activity therapy: I am sure the irony of this paradox will not have escaped you. You will also understand why the machine in the spare room has become known as 'The Dreadmill', and why often I find myself humming the tune of the Dire Straits song 'Walk of Life'.
It is my intention (like they say, if you want to make the gods laugh, tell them your plans) to resume weblog entries on Sunday 1 June 2003. At first these updates will be just simple entries of pictures I have recently enjoyed. I still tire easily, and my attention span is even shorter than before. Additionally it seems a shame not to take maximum advantage of the best excuse for indolence that has ever come my way.
Thank you to all those who have been kind enough to send messages of concern, encouragement, and support. As I become stronger, and I hope more active, I will try to become a better correspondent. Most of all, my thanks to my dear wife, Beth, who has been an unflagging source of strength, and without whose support I might not have made it this far.
Wednesday 23 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Emperors, Clerics & Actors Tales
CREDITS: © John Berres/Digicam69 MAPS: Notts & Derbs and York
Click on thumbnails to popup a larger image for your selection.
Webmaster John Beres has written to tell me that he has found a new domain home for his CAMera site that covers the English counties of Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire. John also ranges further afield, and today's feature is from a two part set of pictures he took on a visit to York. Visit that page of John's for some great shots of the Shambles, the interior of York Minster, and various antiquities around the city. My own favorite shot is Constantine the Great (274-337), who was proclaimed Roman Emperor in 306 near to where his statue now stands. He looks the very model of a decadent Roman Emperor as he lounges in his chair.
I feel fairly certain that I once stood by that pub watching a film being made: in the scene the actor had to take a resigned last swallow from his beer glass, then throw his cigarette into the river. They reshot that scene so many times that we grew bored and wandered off in search of something more exciting. In the name of Saint Genesius, how hard can it be to do such a simple scene?
I remember that Shirley Temple was known in the business as 'One Take Temple': they showed her the steps they wanted her to do, she rehearsed her lines, then they shot the scene. Re-takes were usually only necessary if the grown ups fluffed their parts. Good Ship Lollipop may not be great art, but I imagine they came in on time and under budget. There is a story that in 1934 when working on 'Little Miss Marker', Shirley's co-star Adolphe Menjou was having trouble with his lines on the set one day. At the prompting of a few crew members, Shirley asked director Alexander Hall, "Is it too late to replace Mr. Menjou on this picture?" Life is so much easier when working with honest to goodness journeymen who know what they are about, rather than coping with the caprices of creative genius from highly strung artistes. Give me a Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson and a Shirley Temple any day of the week.
Tuesday 22 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Hotspot Authenticity at Irmita's
Click thumbnails to popup a larger version of your selection.
In the nearby town of St. George, Utah, Irmita's is a place of excellence that serves Mexican food at burgerbar prices. The only fancy thing here is the food, but my frugal nature is never disposed to pay for ordinary food in lavish settings. I am also deeply suspicious of places that advertise "authentic cuisine", but here such a claim would be spurious because the authenticity is self evident. The staff, and most of the customers, are clearly Mexican or Hispanic Americans. The remaining balance of the customers is not limited to poor white trash like us, however; a steady stream of well heeled Anglo locals calls by in shiny new SUVs to savour the offerings.
When the weather is warm and sunny then sitting outside under the grass shade umbrellas is a delightful way to lunch at leisure. Irmita does a commercial on local TV in which she makes a personal appearance to welcome the boys. All this is a far cry from the slick chains created by brand and marketing managers listening to focus groups. Some of the chains do provide good fare and service at reasonable prices, but it is good to see that independents can survive the onslaught so that there is still diversity, choice, and er… authenticity!
Monday 21 April 2003
Pix of the Day: The Greatest City in Las Vegas
CREDITS: © Robin DuCrest/www.SpecialFXlighting.com
Click the thumbnail image to popup a larger picture.
I am doing a web site overhaul for a company that is a custom manufacturer of permanent color products for the lighting industry. Today's feature will be one of the pictures used in the layout, and shows the New York New York casino in Las Vegas. In a town that is not renowned for understatement, the casino likes to bill itself as "The Greatest City in Las Vegas". A comedienne called Rita Rudner is the star turn appearing in the casino's Cabaret Theatre for an indefinite engagement. Her picture appears on billboards all over the city showing her in a posture that every time I see it makes my eyes water. Rita's promo video on the casino web site fittingly ends with the word, "Ouch!" Ahem… quite so.
Sunday 20 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Hurricane Easter Car Show 2003
Click thumbnails to change main picture selection.
Easter Saturday in Hurricane, Utah is Car Show day. This year the restored Mormon Meteor car was on display, so I was able to see the real thing close up for the first time, rather than the model and bust I featured in previous items. You may also see a selection of exhibits in the 2003 gallery, or visit the 2002 gallery.
Full show details and official pictures, which usually appear later in the year, may be found on the Rotary Club of Hurricane Valley, Utah web site.
Saturday 19 April 2003
Pix of the Day: High Altitude Panting Decadence
MAPS: Southern Utah recreation areas.
Click thumbnails to change the main picture selection.
Our excursion to the Brian Head ski resort was a gas. Although my own life is unsullied by worldly success, it is a great blessing to have successful friends who are kind enough to invite us to share in their activities. The journey to the resort took us north up Interstate-15, the Great Basin Highway, which rises from the desert of the Arizona border at 3,000 feet of altitude to the slightly less arid high plains around Parowan at an altitude of 6,000 feet. From there the road to Brian Head climbs to an ear popping 9,600 feet, with the peak of Brian Head that gave the town its name standing at 11,307 feet of altitude.
The top in the first feature picture may be Brian Head, or possibly Navajo Peak. We were at the very west end of town, so check the brochure, then decide for yourself. The gentle giant is a Belgian Draft Horse, and may be seen in the first picture giving sleigh rides. He was friendly, at least until he checked out my pockets and discovered I was not carrying carrots or sugar lumps. I think his name was Charlie, and he has a palatial stall with covered paddock right next to the resort. There had been recent snow, so the blower guy was tidying up the edges of the car park, and to the delight of all the kids there were occasional snow slides from the roofs of the resort buildings, accompanied by squeals of delight and snowball fights.
On this first visit, which was mainly social to hang out with the aforesaid friends, I did not have time for a full investigation. The name Brian Head is the subject of much conjecture, and seemingly little agreement: my own choice from those discussed would be 'Minnie's Mansion', which has a suitably downmarket ring to it that appeals to my unambitious nature. The change of location was accompanied by a big change in temperature, and a change in oxygen levels. I found even a moderate exertion had me panting. In the desert areas of the south the precipitation is measured in tenths of an inch, but up in the mountains they receive 425 inches of snow annually, with this years figure being 394 inches from November through April. Prospective ski visitors may check out Mark Guido's First Tracks article, and the daily snow report with live weather CAM for the last weekend of the season.
I declined the offered Kahlua and Bailey's, knowing that alcohol and altitude mix badly, but confess to greatly enjoying the jacuzzi, hot tub, and swimming pool. In the pool I chatted to one of those radiantly healthy Californian blonde teen girls like the ones seen in the movies, which shows just what an old fat guy can achieve if only his head is sticking out of the water. I suppose that some of my panting may not have been caused by the altitude. There is something very decadent about lolling in hot bubbly water when outside the giant picture windows there are snow covered peaks all around, and banks of snow against the glass. However, I am sure that occasional harmless depravity is good for one's equanimity.
Many thanks to E&J and their kids B&S for the hospitality.
Friday 18 April 2003
Pix of the Day: A Look at Clouds From Both Sides
CREDITS: © Joel Aycock/www.NitWit.com
Click thumbnails to change main picture selection.
Joel Aycock shares my passion for clouds and volcanos. The first three pictures in this set come from his clouds gallery, where you will find more examples of the genre. Today's headline refers to the fourth picture, which comes from Joel's Hawaii gallery, about his adventure there with his niece Nike. The two brave souls ventured out onto the recently formed lava flows, and that last picture is of clouds forming from steam created by molten hot lava entering the sea. Other close up pictures from that set are awe inspiring images of primeval power at work.
Thursday 17 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Fall & Rise of English Tradition
CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/www.Leaney.org
MAPS: Askham - [small scale] and with walk details [large scale].
Click the picture for a full scrollable panorama.
Great heavens above! Twelve days in a row without a picture from my UK homeland. People will begin to suspect that I am no longer homesick. Today's featured picture, from Andrew Leaney's web site, shows the village of Askham. This place is not to be confused with the township of Askam (sans H) in the south west of the English county now called Cumbria (that was formerly in the Furness District of Lancashire), but is rather the village in the north west of the county (with an H), just south of the town of Penrith. Andrew's walk started in Askham then headed westward into more typical Lakeland countryside. The village is in the Lake District, falling within the National Park boundary, but in my view is not of the Lake District.
The villages in the north eastern part of the county, those lying on the Pennine mountain flank within the Eden Valley, have a distinct and unique character. Askham is more akin to these villages than to the hamlets of the central and southern parts of the area. That is probably due to geographical and historical reasons. The area was settled from the west by seaborne Norse and Irish settlers. The typical pattern of development was scattered farms, where villages were usually just a cluster of houses between the marshy areas in the flat glaciated valley bottoms and the steep fell (hill) sides used to raise flocks of sheep.
Further west and north later overlaying development, on less hilly areas for building, came at a time when society was becoming more cohesive and interdependent. The older tradition was of yeoman farmers owing allegiance only to kinship, but elsewhere the great estate owners were encouraging more planned developments to service the needs of a different kind of community. These villages such as Renwick, Gamlesby, Melmerby, and others look quite different from the earlier developments elsewhere in the region. Close to Askham is Lowther Castle, formerly the home of the immensely powerful Lonsdale family, but now a shell near a commercial leisure park. The most famous, or infamous depending on your point of view, scion of that noble family was the Yellow Earl, Hugh Lowther 5th Earl of Lonsdale, namesake for the Lonsdale Belt, Britain's most prestigious boxing award.
Today Askham, as you may see, is a neatly kept dormitory village, part of a tradition that has been identified as the 'gentrification' phenomenon in English society: when a Continental becomes a successful man of substance he seeks an elegant apartment in the metropolis; when an Englishman makes his mark he seeks a rustic cottage to lead the simple life. All generalizations are misleading, of course.
Wednesday 16 April 2003
Pix of the Day: More Patriotic Tall Ships in NYC
CREDITS: © New York Harbor Sailing Foundation Inc/www.SailForAmerica.com
Click thumbnails for larger popup images.
On April 10th I did a piece on 'Sail for America'. A correspondent has chided me for failing to include two excellent pictures from the web site photo gallery. I have to agree on their excellence: the pictures were only omitted because of the difficulty of including them because their format was different from the others. To make amends here they are, and they make a very handsome pair. I imagine how the harbor must have looked at the height of the era of sail, and what a sensational event it must have been when I.K. Brunel's S.S. Great Britain hove into view on her first voyage among New York's sailing ships.
A reminder that here is a commemorative poster available for purchase, and that sales will benefit the Uniformed Firefighters Association. A high resolution file of the official picture of the event, configured for quality printing and display as a poster, may be downloaded from 'Sail for America' (2.5Mb size). The photographers who took these pictures are (left) John Myer, and (right) Brian & Elaine Timmins. My thanks to all concerned, especially to HRH in Cowes, IoW, UK for jogging me to include pictures of these wonderful vessels.
Tuesday 15 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Copyright Issues Solved by Theft
CREDITS: PhotoSource International web page Swipe These Photos
LEFT: © Skjold Photographs/www.SkjoldPhotographs.com
RIGHT: © Bob Grytten/F8 and Being There
Please click the images to view at a larger size in the proper configuration.
It is probable that you have never thought about the copyright issues concerning the pictures that appear on this weblog. I base this sweeping assertion on the wholesale misuse of copyrights that is easily detectable on the web, and from conversations with ordinary people whose understanding of copyright issues is almost non existent. In simple terms every picture ever taken was someone's copyright at the moment of capture, thereafter the copyright conditions may have been varied or transferred by the original holder, and copyright will eventually expire through time.
All the photographs you see on this weblog are used with permission, either through the copyright holder granting blanket permission (possibly with attached conditions, because rarely does that make them public domain), or through specific permission having been sought and granted. Generally I have found copyright holders to be helpful, especially as the way that the pictures are presented gives wider exposure for the photographer, and sources are not only acknowledged but actively publicized. However, there are many pictures that have never been used just because I have not been able to get permission. Not that permission has ever been refused, just that I have not received a response. That is not a complaint: I understand there is little incentive to reply, and the people I am asking probably lead busy lives.
Early in the life of this weblog there may have been borderline misuse. Gaining permission is a very time consuming process for both parties, which I tried to circumvent by featuring the picture, then advising the copyright holder. I stopped this when I fell foul of an irate museum curator for using a small copyright photograph of an historical document whose copyright was long expired. My argument was that I had credited, while a Google search produced half a hundred examples of web sites that had not bothered. The ensuing correspondence was dropped when I pointed out that the thumbnail size picture was permitted as 'fair use' under current legislation, and that although claiming I had been singled out by the demand for an outrageous 'penalty' fee was not a defence, I expected that all other offenders (on a list that I would supply) would also be penalized.
My personal view is that the web has moved the goal posts and copyright holders' attitudes and copyright laws have yet to catch up with the realpolitik. I came across one innovative way to draw attention to the issues: a web site with a section called 'SWIPE THESE PHOTOS', containing an invitation to steal the copyright images! Photographers have voluntarily contributed pictures to a gallery, which may be plundered at will. Reasonably they do ask that if the image is used for a advertising campaign, PR project, newsletter, book, web site, or magazine that a monetary favor be given in return. I hope exposure here will sufficiently express my gratitude.
The two images featured are by: (left) Steve and Mary Skjold from Skjold Stock Photographs; and (right) Bob Grytten who takes pictures that may be seen in a wide variety of publications, and writes a photo magazine called F/8 and Being There. Clearly these people earn their livings through sale of their photographs. Although there are many, the present writer included, who consider that copyright laws are outdated, that the present implementation is restrictive in a way that is contrary to the spirit that was originally intended, and that they favor those least in need of protection, it is nevertheless reasonable that there should be some form of protection for the work and livelihoods of people like today's generous contributors.
Monday 14 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Images from the Lands of Namibia
CREDITS: © George Morris McDonald/California Academy of Sciences (CAS)
MAP: Namibia. Click thumbnails to popup a larger picture.
The Digital Library Project at the University of California, Berkeley made a valuable contribution to the Digital Library Initiative called 'CalPhotos', a database of images of plants, animals, habitats and other natural history subjects. The pictures featured here are all the work of George Morris McDonald who contributed 62 images to the archive showing the land, animals, and people of the area of Namibia where he was working during 1999. This is a small representative selection.
This is the summary from the CIA World Factbook 2002, "South Africa occupied the German colony of South-West Africa during World War I and administered it as a mandate until after World War II when it annexed the territory. In 1966 the Marxist South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence for the area that was soon named Namibia, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region. Independence came in 1990." Namibia was the first country in the world to incorporate the protection of the environment into its constitution.
Sunday 13 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Pinnipeds
CREDITS: © NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, (NMML) National Marine Mammal Laboratory/NMML Pinniped Gallery. Click pictures for larger popup.
These pinnipeds, more usually called seals, are from a NOAA/NMML web site that features four galleries of these animals. From top left to bottom right they are: Ross Seal (Ommatophoca rossii) by Mike Cameron; Northern Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris) by Rolf Ream; Weddel Seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) by Mike Cameron; and a Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina) in an unattributed NMML photograph.
You may learn more about the mammals classified in the Suborder Pinnipedia, which includes seals, sea lions and walrus. Three families of living pinnipeds are recognized: the Phocidae (earless seals or true seals); the Otaridae (eared seals or fur seals and sea lions); and the Odobenidae (walrus). The word pinnipedia translates from Latin as 'fin foot', referring to their often large fin-like flippers. All pinnipeds must come ashore to breed, give birth and nurse their young, though some species are at sea for several months at a time while others return to the shore every day.
Saturday 12 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Attending Kavachi's 8th Eruption
CREDITS: © Master Neil Cheshire/CSIRO Marine Research Dept.
MAP: Kavachi Click the thumbnail picture to popup a normal size image.
On 14 May 2000 the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation Australia) ship RV Franklin carrying members of cruise FR04/00 entitled Project SHAARC (Submarine Hydrothermally Active Arc Volcanoes) arrived at 8°59.65'S, 157°58.23'E to study a Pacific Ocean submarine volcanic-hydrothermal system in the area of the western Solomon Islands. Their arrival luckily coincided with the eighth recorded eruption of the undersea volcano Kavachi, which first emerged above the waves in 1939. Kavachi, sometimes known as Rejo te Kavachi (Kavachi's Oven), is named after a sea god of the people indigenous to the New Georgia Group, and occupies an isolated position south of Vangunu Island, and about 30 km north of the site of subduction of the Indo-Australian plate beneath the Pacific plate. The CSIRO web page has many more pictures, and includes a QuickTime movie of the eruption. Some of the links on the page have become outdated, so from here you may check out the Smithsonian Institution and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) pages.
Friday 11 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Danger Warnings for Unwary Prey
CREDITS: © Larry Master/Master's Menagerie. Click thumbnails to enlarge.
If you are a small rodent, and you see one of these, take cover! On second thoughts, it's probably too late, because they will see you before you see them. Even if you are hidden from sight, behind those head feathers is a pair of ears that work like the best directional microphones. From personal experience I can say that you will not hear a wing beat as one of these highly adapted and efficient killing machines swoops silently from the sky. I once stood immobile and awestruck in the quiet of the gloaming as a hunting owl circled back and forth around me in the eerie silence of a summer evening. The pictures are from Larry Master's owl page, where there is a rogues gallery of these fascinating birds.
From left to right featured here are: a Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) taken at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, FL; a Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) taken at Two Harbors, MN; a Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa) taken at Neebish Island, MI; and another Great Gray Owl taken at Silver Bay Airport, MN. Larry has all kinds of other birds and animals, and when you are finished viewing his galleries you may enjoy popping over to his wife's store, Aunties Toys and Gifts, where the staff and their relatives are something of a surprise!
Thursday 10 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Waterborne Memorial for Tragedy
CREDITS: © New York Harbor Sailing Foundation Inc/www.SailForAmerica.com Click thumbnails to change main picture.
Michael W. Fortenbaugh, Commodore of the Manhattan Yacht Club in New York, was close to the site of the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in the attack on 11 September 2001, and his experiences moved him to organize the 'Sail for America' event with the invitation, "We are calling on all patriotic Americans sailors to bring their boats to New York Harbor on Saturday, September 14, 2002." Shown here are images from the photo gallery on the web site dedicated to the event. There is also a commemorative poster available for purchase, sales of that will benefit the Uniformed Firefighters Association. A high resolution file of the first picture featured above, configured for quality printing and display as a poster, may be downloaded from 'Sail for America' (2.5Mb size).
The photographers who took these pictures (from top left to bottom right) are: Ramin Talaie, Cathy Monaghan, Rich Murphy, Chris Johnston, Bruce Hasnas, John Whiting, Jean Preece, and Brian & Elaine Timmins.
Wednesday 9 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Full Tail for Eight Feet Salmon
CREDITS: © Soul Salmon Project / © photographer Sara Mall Johani
Click thumbnails for an enlarged popup image.
Yesterday's eight feet long salmon was not a fisherman's tale. Here is the brief history of the inception of the Soul Salmon 2001 Project from their own web site, "A dozen people formed by invitation in Chimacum, Washington on January 22, 2000, signed The Soul Salmon Declaration, and got to work. They formed a Board of Directors under the non-profit organization named TAHMANAWIS, whose mission is to nourish Pacific Northwest arts, education, ecologic restoration and culture by encouraging periodic, spirited 'art actions' that celebrate, interpret and re imagine the natural world that sustains us all."
Reportedly there are forty cities in North America emulating the example of first Zurich, then Chicago where tourism was enhanced by an estimated $200 million, and $3.5 million was donated to charity through the auctioning of fiberglass cows. Other examples of these projects are New York (more cows), Cincinnati (pigs), Toronto (moose), Buffalo (er, well, buffalo, of course!), New Orleans (catfish). This weblog has featured similar examples of the genre from San Antonio, Texas, and albeit as work in progress from Auckland, New Zealand. The Celestial Salmon Soirée auction held on 13 April 2002 in Seattle drew a top bid of $6,000 for 'Quimper Choho', which was bought by the City of Port Townsend for permanent display. Seven salmon, detailed on the auction web page, raised $35,000 in total.
Yesterday's picture was a new Soul Salmon at the Swan Creek Library and Literacy Center in Tacoma, Washington. The salmon was designed and painted by Kamala Dolphin Kingsley, and the base was designed and created by KC Grennan & Scott Fitzel. You may follow a visual history of the Soul Salmon Project from the online photo galleries. The pictures for this feature are from the preview gallery, which features many of the top exhibits. My own favorite is that saucy salmon in the bottom right hand of the feature block, with her raunchy red high heels and striped stockings. My taste in art is as louche as my taste in most everything else.
Tuesday 8 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Vanishing Domain Was Clear Snafu
CREDITS: © Soul Salmon Project / © photographer Sara Mall Johani
Click thumbnail to see normal size image.
Yesterday's mystery appearance by Nud Nu Kuu was accompanied, coincidentally I hope, by the disappearance of the domain that hosts this weblog. There was not much of a mystery, because on investigation a renewal snafu was discovered. The request had been forwarded, but <blush> I had not checked the registrar's database for confirmation that the update had been activated. The new information will now have to propagate across all the DNS (Domain Name System) servers worldwide, which may take 72 hours, though most of them will run an update within 24 hours. If you are reading this it is because you happen to be using a DNS server that has been updated. Today's item was to have been a fishy tale of 8 feet long salmon, but the day was lost while I arranged for the domain renewal to be done. So today the feature picture is just a taste of what is to come tomorrow, when I will give the full tail.
Monday 7 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Mystery Appearance of Nud Nu Kuu Thumbnail clicks.
CREDITS: © Woodford Folk Festival/www.WoodfordFolkFestival.com
Click thumbnail to see normal size image.
Today's featured photograph comes from the Woodford Folk Festival web site. The festival is an annual event in Queensland, Australia, north of the city of Brisbane in a rural valley between the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and the Brisbane Valley with a view of the Glass Mountains. The web site thumbnail is captioned 'Nud Nu Kuu', which I took to be the name of the person depicted, also assuming he was a performer in the festival. It was my intention to give you some more information, but then I drew a complete blank trying to find any further details. However tantalizing that may be, perhaps some things are meant to remain as mysteries.
The Woodford Folk Festival runs from 17 December to 1 January (the height of summer in the antipodes) with an impressive list of performers. The creation of a permanent site for the festival, which grew out of the Maleny Folk Festival, has assured the continuity of the event, and secured its place as an international venue.
A spin off from the Woodford festival is the Woodford Institute of Folklore, whose page contains these interesting statements, "In 1989 Australia became a signatory to the UNESCO Recommendations on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore. UNESCO noted that cultural heritage conservation favours monuments, sites and artefacts yet does little towards the conservation of intangible heritage; the 'non-material cultural memory lodged in people's minds, sustained in their traditions, myths and rituals, and given their expression in their language.' The document issued recommendations on the definition, identification, conservation, preservation, dissemination and protection of folklore, along with some guides to international cooperation. With this in mind it is envisaged that the Woodford Institute of Folklore will become a national research centre for living culture. It will engage in a range of activities which will indicate its intention to play an active and inclusive role in the collection, preservation, dissemination and examination of the people's informal cultural forms and practices."
The festival celebrates ethnic cultures, so perhaps these will come more to the fore as the Institute initiative develops. The festival ends with fire event that has become a national institution in its own right.
The Brisbane area folk music scene is alive and well, with an online journal called 'Folk Rag' whose April 2003 edition details all the local events. The 2003 National Folk Festival will be held in Canberra from 17 April to 21 April, with 227 acts scheduled to appear, including Margret RoadKnight ("the woman who took Australian song to the rest of the world"), and the Phoenix Fire Tribe. Looks like they really know how to party down in Oz!
Sunday 6 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Power and Glory in Pittsburgh
CREDITS: © Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/www.PittsburghSymphony.org.
Picture also available for larger monitors. Click thumbnail to enlarge to normal size.
I clearly remember the first time I heard a live symphony orchestra. It was the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and we had arrived just in time for the performance. We took our seats at the back of the auditorium, and a few moments later the air was rent with the purest, biggest, fattest, juiciest sound I ever heard. I have only had a few opportunities to repeat that first encounter, but every time I have experienced the same undiminished joy. I envy those lucky enough to live in Pittsburgh, or any of the places on the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tour itinerary. Soon the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater, our local venue set among the towering rock walls of Zion, will be hosting late summer concerts. The acoustics there are completely different from the brightness heard in a concert hall, but the scale of the surroundings, and the stars, are ample more than compensation. The cost of entry is very affordable too, so that is a treat to look forward to later in the year.
Saturday 5 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Ronnie Wood and the Rhinos
CREDITS: © African Wildlife Foundation/www.AWF.org. Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Despite today's headline, as far as I know bass guitarist Ronnie Wood has no plans to leave the Rolling Stones to form another band. However Ronnie does have a career as a solo artist, and he was a painter before he became a rock musician, which is where this item is headed. Ronnie has donated a series of endangered species prints to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). These prints will be auctioned at an AWF fund raising event on 8 May 2003 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Ronnie is pictured with Amy Wiedemann & Michele Clarke, both of whom are AWF staff members. Ronnie's donation reflects his particular interest in rhinos, which you can read about in an AWF news item. Ronnie is also supportive of the work of the Tusk Trust, another animal charity. There is a rhino feature on the AWF web site, which includes information about these gravely endangered animals, and links to news items.
The AWF web site is well worth a visit. There are details of the AWF's work, sections on various African locations, screen saver downloads (including that baby Mountain Gorilla), pages on individual animals, and links to other media resources that the AWF has made available. Like all charities the AWF is in need of funding help, and if you wish to contribute there are details on the web site.
Visitors who are interested in Ronnie Wood's career as an artist may visit the SFAE (San Francisco Art Exchange), which devotes a section to his work. Ronnie's own site is very personal, and contains lots of well presented fan information. The background music will also please his admirers. The site is 'Flash' dependent, so you will need to have suitable hardware and software.
Friday 4 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Coasters Thrill But Also Spill
CREDITS: © Daniel Farrell-Jones & Carl Stratton/www.CoasterForce.com
MAP: Skegness Click thumbnail to enlarge.
This ride, or 'coaster' as they are know to aficionados, is at Fantasy Island near Skegness on the east coast of England, which advertises, "The Fantasy of Jules Verne and the Adventures of Treasure Island in a setting the weather cannot spoil." The attraction lays claim to be Britain's first themed indoor family resort. The picture was taken on a visit there by Dan Farrell & Carl Stratton, and appears in their Fantasy Island photo gallery on the CoasterForce.com web site. The web site bills itself as, "The web's only complete resource for learning about the amusement and theme park industry." Certainly the Dollywood quick ride check done by your humble scribe for the delights of that inimitable attraction, mmmm… seemed to bear out that claim. If your thing is coasters then CoasterForce is your web site. There is, however, a slightly unnerving side to all this otherwise harmless fun, which is fearlessly covered by CoasterForce. The alarmingly large catalog of accidents on coasters certainly makes me think twice about going on one. If you are a less timid soul than I then I wish you a good time and a safe return!
Thursday 3 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Inspiration of Light & Landscape
CREDITS: © John. H. Farr/www.FotoFeed.com. Click thumbnail to enlarge.
John Farr is running a series of pictures on his 'FotoFeed' web site that were taken around Georgia O'Keeffe's former home of Ghost Ranch. It is easy to see why the light and landscape of this area inspired O'Keeffe to produce some of her best work, and to spend such a large part of her time living on the property. You may visit the O'Keeffe Museum online to see why this artist and her works are revered by so many. The Artcyclopedia has a comprehensive page of links to O'Keeffe's work.
Wednesday 2 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Good Life Has a Sense of Balance
CREDITS: © Graeme Dougal/www.Graemes-View.co.uk.
MAP: Hawkshead Click the thumbnail to enlarge the picture.
The good people of Hawkshead in the English Lake District clearly know that to live the good life one needs a sense of balance. The building on the left is a Methodist chapel, and the one on the right is a pub. The picture comes from a gallery of images taken in and around the picturesque village of Hawkshead by Graeme Dougal for his Graemes-View web site. The vernacular architecture of these buildings is typical of the area, and those windows in particular are for me a strong reminder of my homeland. This year of 2003 is the tercentenary of John Wesley (1703-1791), who with his brother Charles was one of the founders of the Methodist Movement. Following their education at Oxford the brothers went to Georgia, USA under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, so the Brits have no cause to be chafed about the generations of LDS (Mormons) who have left from where I now live in Utah, USA on missions in the opposite direction.
Wesley's first journey represents what were to become the two features of his life that remain impressed upon my memory: it is estimated that in support of the Methodist Movement he travelled 250,000 miles, and preached about 42,000 sermons. In view of recent items about long distance walkers that is an amazing feat, though to be fair he did use a horse in addition to walking, and in later life when roads were improving he travelled by carriage. In our own times the greatest distance covered by a walker is 31,416 kilometres (abut 19,500 miles) claimed by Arthur Blessit of Florida, who began his journey on Christmas Day 1969, and took over 26 years to complete his mission. He has been to all seven continents, carrying a 12 foot (3.7m) cross and preaching as he travelled. Arthur is one of those people whose life's work is set on the day they are named, and without wishing in any way to disrespect his achievement I will point out that he averaged just over 2 miles each day. Wesley often preached a morning sermon, then walked in excess of 20 miles in all weathers across inhospitable terrain to preach an evening sermon.
Wesley habitually rose at rose at 4 am, preached at 5am, and was on the road at 6am. He even designed a special exercise chair, upon which he would bounce up and down on his rare breaks, to keep himself fit for horse riding. The Segen Corporation web site has a presentation about Wesley that links to a CD-ROM edition. The web site of VisitBritain.com has an introductory article about following in Wesley's footsteps, and an itinerary for central England that is also available as a downloadable PDF. Peter S. Forsaith runs the Methodist Heritage web site, which has a useful clickable map to direct visitors to particular parts of the UK where they may be interested to discover Wesleyan connections.
Wesley's activities in the area of northwestern England where Hawkshead lies is covered by Steve Bulman on his Images of Cumbria web site. This is a Google search that will give you some starting points. The most relevant page I found on Steve's web site was for the town of Penrith, which in this context benefits from lying on the major north and south route through the west of Britain.
Tuesday 1 April 2003
Pix of the Day: Empty Minds & Thinking Different Click thumbnails.
While archiving some pictures to CD this pair appeared by happenstance in the file viewer. I was struck by the contrast between the two uses of metal: the comparisons between strength, utility, finish, refinement, and purpose all struck me forcibly. I do not draw any deep meaning or messages from this, but I did find it pleasurable just looking at the pair side by side. Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits and looks. I hope you enjoy them, too.
|. . . . . . . . . . . . |
. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)