ODAAT: 
one day at a time…
Sunday 31 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Postcard Memories From Childhood
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk MAPS: Finsthwaite (and detail).
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.

Windermere From High Dam © Tony RichardsWe wonder if any readers remember childhood excitement when a postcard arrived from a relative or family friend who was on holiday. We particularly valued those from Jimmy Dixon, who with his wife Jesse would return every year for a vacation in their native Scottish Highlands.

The commercial printing in the 1950s, particularly for low profit mass market items like postcards, had a more lithographic than photographic appearance. The color palette in particular gave preference to certain colors: imagine our astonishment on the first visit we made to the Trossachs, to discover that the much vaunted purple heather as celebrated in popular song, really was that bright shade of puce!

The southern part of the English Lake District has long been a popular vacation destination, and Windermere particularly has been enjoyed by those who did not go to enjoy the district's boating, hiking, climbing, or other sporting activities. We wish we had a cent for every picture postcard of Windermere that had been sent to the folks back home: we would probably be able to buy the place with all that cash!

Tony Richards walked from the village of Finsthwaite up to High Dam, then onto a viewpoint that is unfamiliar to us, where he captured this evocative picture (also available at 660x394 pixels for larger monitors: we have detected your monitor as We manipulated the image in the computer program Photoshop, producing another version with a 1950s lithographic look for our own enjoyment, replete with purple heather so bright that one needs dark glasses for viewing!

[Readers interested in how and why changing print technologies create differing appearances, may enjoy the feature for Friday 5 September 2003. - Ed.]



From Our 2002 Archive: Desert Gardening - Saturday 31 August 2002
Desert Gardening © Ian Scott-Parker
One of the things I noticed when I came to live in the desert, or at least in this desert, was the occasional profligate use of water. The state governor, Mike Leavitt, occasionally appears on TV in public service advertisements extolling the virtues, necessities even, of water conservation. Many people seem to take the attitude that they are paying for it, so what the heck; a common local expression, our own expletives are blunter. This produces some desert environment absurdities, such as lush green lawns surrounding fountains and cascades. Others practise 'desert gardening' with rocks, gravel, and the native plant species.

One garden nearby has an interesting assortment of skulls, and the skeletal remains of trees as well as animals. All this is laid out on a rockery of local stone laid over red volcanic gravel, edged by petrified wood. The picture was taken just outside the Star Nursery garden centare in the nearby town of St. George, UT. Nice to see them setting such a good example to their customers. Their 'Star Notes'#215 has tips on growing herbs in the desert… I'm sure even Mike Leavitt would approve of a little water to grow something like borage, which they say to 'give deep, infrequent water when established'. Mmmmm! Some roasted garlic bread with cold Ligurian lettuce and borage soup, hard goat cheese, and a well breathed bottle of Cabernet Franc Lison-Pramaggiore D.O.C. Santa Margherita. The gates of heaven. Buono Appetito!

Saturday 30 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: End Of The Long, Weary C2C Trail
CREDITS: © Terry Smith/Interesting Trekking Scenes MAP: Robin Hoods Bay
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Robin Hoods Bay 1 © Terry SmithRobin Hoods Bay 2 © Terry SmithRobin Hoods Bay 3 © Terry SmithRobin Hoods Bay 4 © Terry Smith
Guide book author A. Wainwright appears in many places on this web site. Three things brought him to the fore this week: Terry Smith, whose work has also appeared here before (and whose site is listed in 'UK CAMS' in the sidebar pulldown menu), did a two part feature [1] [2] on Robin Hoods Bay, and the Wainwright Society's mailing list alerted us to an excellent piece of travel writing by Michael Parfit. The connection between these three is the Coast to Coast walk across northern England, from sea to shining sea, which was first devised by 'AW" as he preferred to be known. Alfred if you are wondering, and what's wrong with that?

AW appears in a video about the route, and although the excellent Ordnance Survey maps have been discontinued, you may snap up a copy before they are all gone. AW's guide recommends the west to east direction to keep the prevailing wind blowing from behind: start at St. Bees, and the finish at Robin Hoods Bay. Terry spent time in and around the town at the east end of the walk, and Michael walked the whole route. Both articles link to other resources, and many more exist all over the web if you search. Michael's item is available on the Smithsonian web site in condensed form, or as a full PDF article in format. My own favorite link was Terry's reference to Thomas Challoner and his Astonishing Alum Industry. Check out Terry's walk to see the place that has been called the birthplace of the British chemical industry..



From Our 2002 Archive: Topless in Hurricane - Friday 30 August 2002

Topless in Hurricane © Ian Scott-ParkerThis old buggy stands in the Heritage Park in Hurricane, Utah. The tale goes that when Erastus Snow arrived to check out the area for settlement, a sudden wind blew the top off his buggy. This seems a more likely tale than the version that mentions his top hat blowing away. Reportedly he said, "That thar sure was some hurricane!", which was a mild retort under the circumstances, and the name stuck. I doubt if this was the same buggy, and the story seems a bit unlikely, but it's a gift for headline writers.
Friday 29 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Beltway Builders Bowser Backwash
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
MAPS: St. GeorgeTravelWest.net) & South West UtahMapOfUtah.net)
Click any of the thumbnails to popup enlarged versions of the images.Beltway Builders 1 © Ian Scott-ParkerWashington City © Ian Scott-ParkerRed Ridge Earthworks © Ian Scott-ParkerBeltway Builders 2 © Ian Scott-Parker
Earlier this month we featured the picture on the left, curious about the purpose of the earthworks. We can now reveal that the City of St. George, UT, is building a beltway, elsewhere called a ring road or orbital, and delightfully in Italian, a tangenziale. We sent a camera crew up onto the ridge above Red Cliffs Drive to record any further developments in the last two weeks. Two weeks is what we knew as a fortnight back in the UK, but in the USA that expression attracts blank stares of incomprehension. Sadly this is another experience to which we have had to become accustomed.

The other pictures show Washington City, and Washington Fields. When the LDS (Mormon) church sent Pioneers to this area they named it 'Utah's Dixie'. As part of a long term policy of diversification and territorial self-sufficiency, and the short term shortages caused by the Civil War, basic agricultural products were needed, primarily cotton. Many other crops requiring warm climates, which could not be raised in the north of the territory, were also needed. These products had hitherto been obtained from the Old South, the original Dixie, hence the name for the new settlement.

The twin cities of Washington and St. George have now grown to become a single conurbation, but the picture of the Fields clearly demonstrates how any agricultural aspirations were totally dependent on irrigation. In turn irrigation needed the control of water running from the Colorado Plateaus, but that is a subject too complex to be discussed here. The work of John Wesley Powell, explorer, geologist, and campaigner against western expansion, is increasingly relevant to the ever more urgent water problem as desert populations continue to expand.

The picture on the right shows current progress with the beltway earthworks. One vital piece of equipment for the workers is a giant water bowser, which runs ahead of the earth movers to damp down the surface. Without the water, the dust raised by the disturbances would choke man and machines, and probably cause accidents on the nearby interstate because of reduced visibility. Side by side comparisons of the two beltway pictures are available, for both medium and large resolution monitors.


From Our 2002 Archive: Snowy Kolob - Thursday 29 August 2002

Snowy Kolob in Zion National Park © Ian Scott-ParkerKolob is the western side of Zion National Park. It was named by the LDS (Mormon) Pioneers after the planet described by Abraham. The earthly version is usually as hot as hell, though. This picture was taken in January 2002 when the park received a light shower of snow, so the burning blue skies usually seen are missing from this picture. A keen wind was blowing, so temperatures were considerably lower than we have come to expect.

Away to the right the trail leads to Kolob Arch, which at nearly 400 feet of span is possibly the longest natural arch in the world. If you want to hike there it's 7 miles in and 7 miles back over rough terrain. There is a more familiar picture of the Kolob Fingers to be seen at AmericanSouthwest.com and NaturalArches.org. has another article. Dale Meier has some closeup pictures of the Fingers, and details of the hike to the arch can be found at OneDayHikes.com along with other hikes in the area. Y'all come and visit sometime!

Thursday 28 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Chocolate Chip Cookie Choir Sing
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
Click the thumbnail to popup an enlarged picture.
Larger popups available: w750xh562 and w1000xh750 detected).

Chocolate Chip Cookie Choir Sing © PishTush.com/Ian Scott-ParkerFolks around here have raised neighborliness to an art form. Unexpectedly, this gang arrived bearing gifts of chocolate chip cookies. Then they sang unaccompanied, a song called 'Love One Another'. They performed without the slightest sign of embarrassment or giggling usually expected from the young. We had already decided that in the unlikely event that we become filthy rich, we will have a grand piano in the lounge, played by a professional pianist on three evenings each week. Now we wonder what the cost of a choir might be, with a string quartet to accompany them, naturally.



From Our 2002 Archive: Photo Tour de Force - Wednesday 28 August 2002
Autumn © Francis ToussaintWatcher © Francis ToussaintTour Riders © Francis Toussaint
We featured French photographer Francis Toussaint back in May 2002, since when he has added considerably to his galleries at the PBase photo hosting service. Francis now has 1,720 images in 47 galleries, so we thought we would feature a set of three to show his versatility. The galleries have lots of variety even within the different themes. A tour de force indeed, if you will pardon my French. Enjoy!

Wednesday 27 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Afternoon Micro Magic Light Show
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
MAPS: excellent Zion Canyon area maps available from TravelWest.net
Macro Zion 1 © Ian Scott ParkerMacro Zion 2 © Ian Scott ParkerMacro Zion 3 © Ian Scott ParkerMacro Zion 4 © Ian Scott Parker
Yesterday's pictures, from an earlier visit to Zion Canyon, showed the soaring heights that attract visitors from all over the world. The day we visited we mingled with families and groups from Germany, Italy, and Japan. Vehicular traffic to the main canyon is restricted in the high season, but the park entrance fee allows unlimited access onto the shuttle buses. If all this sounds like a visit to a seaside amusement park, you will find people who agree with that view and have strongly criticized the Park Service for the way they have organized visits. One old timer we know, who has lived in and around the park for many years, laments the banning of the rock rolling and hunting that he enjoyed in his youth. He blames the present arrangements for turning the park into a 'petting zoo', when compared to the wilderness he once knew.

We acknowledge such viewpoints as internally valid, but also recognize that some form of organized arrangement is necessary to democratize access, so that large numbers of people may experience the canyons. Leaving our prejudgements and prejudices at the park entrance we were able to enjoy our visit: the buses were frequent and uncrowded even in mid August; the drivers were considerate and gave an informative running commentary; the visitors were ordered, calm and quiet. We have experienced more noise and fuss touring some of the great religious edifices than we experienced in Zion Canyon. At the head of the canyon lie 'The Narrows', seen in yesterdays picture. Even here, where people were paddling in the river, the surroundings seemed to affect everyone, so that there was more of an atmosphere of veneration & affirmation than carnival & celebration.

One of the special features of the canyon is that although situated in a high desert, there are some micro environments created by the run off in the Virgin River, and seepage from aquifers in the canyon walls. Indeed, there is one place in the canyon bearing the name Weeping Rock. The first picture shows a feature that the rangers describe as a 'desert swamp', and it does have an appearance familiar to visitors from less arid regions. The two middle pictures are of tiny plants growing on the rock of the canyon walls, fed by year round moisture seepage.

In the late afternoon the sunset on the floor of the canyon happens well before sunset up on the canyon rim. In the hour before the sun dips below the west rim, the light bounces off the east wall, filling even the shaded parts of the canyon with a warm, soft, and yet pellucid light. The picture on the right (which is also available at larger resolutions of w525xh700 and w713xh950 pixels: detected was taken near the start of the footway from Temple of Sinawava road terminus towards The Narrows: all the illumination comes from light reflected off the east wall.

For a photographic tour of Zion Canyon, and many other places around the world, we recommend Quang-Tuan Luong's web site at TerraGalleria.com, which has 114 images of Zion, arranged in 7 galleries. Luong's site is particularly easy to access and navigate, with variable control slideshows, site navigation maps, with a particularly detailed USA edition, and a generous use policy.

Readers who are interested in response, attitudes, and viewpoints about the natural world, may enjoy Gil Gordon Associates' Natural Escape web site. The main site is about 'Telecommuting: Telework & Alternate Officing', an ethos that Gil himself lives out, and documents on the mini site. Since May 1997 he has written 65 or so 'monthly' columns; the quotation marks indicate to those with arithmetical skills that there are a some missing months! Editions are more frequent in the later years.

Gil's sub heading is 'Views and Viewpoints', so there is discussion of issues concerning the great outdoors, but not in a sufficiently high dosage to classify as lecturing, accompanied by images. Recommended for dipping into for refreshment. If our two opening paragraphs raise any issues for you, please ensure you have thoroughly read everything in Gil's Suggested Reading list, before getting in touch with us.



From Our 2002 Archives: Mountain Madness Maid - Tuesday 27 August 2002

Sunset from Haystacks © Ann BowkerMountain Madness Maid Ann Bowker, accompanied by her swain Roland if our eyes do not deceive us, recently camped on top of Haystacks. This delightful mountain in the English Lake District was beloved of Alfred Wainwright, the author of the Pictorial Guides. It was also the place he chose to have his ashed scattered. Ann brought back this moody sunset picture, though regretfully on the following morning the dawn was less spectacular. The lakes in view from there are Buttermere, and Crummock Water, with the Irish Sea far away beyond the coast of West Cumberland. You may visit Ann for more mountains than you knew existed on the Sceptered Isle, and beyond.

Tuesday 26 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: New Zion Never Ending Pleasures
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
MAPS: excellent Zion Canyon area maps available from TravelWest.net
Zion Canyon Visit © Ian Scott ParkerZion Canyon Visit © Ian Scott ParkerZion Canyon Visit © Ian Scott ParkerZion Canyon Visit © Ian Scott Parker
When the LDS (Mormon) Pioneers were colonizing the Great Basin, they often conferred biblical names on the places where they settled, and for naming their offspring. We were in a local store when a voice over the PA system requested members of staff to attend a meeting: the list of names sounded like a biblical roll call for the descendants of Abraham. The bread we are eating today was baked from flour milled in Lehi, a place named after the site of Samson's victory over the unfairly maligned Philistines (Judg. 15:9, 14, 16), where he slew a thousand of them with the jawbone of an ass. 'Zion' is clearly one such place name, although many of the names thereabouts were actually given by a Methodist minister named Frederick Vining Fisher. Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary (M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, Thomas Nelson, 1897) contains this entry about Zion:

…one of the eminences on which Jerusalem was built. It was surrounded on all sides, except the north, by deep valleys, that of the Tyropoeon (q.v.) separating it from Moriah (q.v.), which it surpasses in height by 105 feet. It was the south-eastern hill of Jerusalem. When David took it from the Jebusites (Josh. 15:63; 2 Sam. 5:7) he built on it a citadel and a palace, and it became 'the city of David' (1 Kings 8:1; 2 Kings 19:21, 31; 1 Chr. 11:5). In the later books of the Old Testament this name was sometimes used (Ps. 87:2; 149:2; Isa. 33:14; Joel 2:1) to denote Jerusalem in general, and sometimes God's chosen Israel (Ps. 51:18; 87:5). In the New Testament (see SION) it is used sometimes to denote the Church of God (Heb. 12:22), and sometimes the heavenly city (Rev. 14:1)

We visited Zion Canyon yesterday, using an unexpired Park Pass kindly donated by some recent visitors who are friends of ours. The canyon is a magical place. Our writing and photography are not up to the task of communicating the peace and light, or the tumult and darkness, of this awesome place. If you ever have the opportunity to visit, then we suggest you grasp it with both hands.


From Our 2002 Archive: E.J. Bellocq's Women - Monday 26 August 2002

Untitled [E.J. Bellocq scan by www.masters-of-photograpy.com]This is an untitled picture by E.J. Bellocq taken around 1912, available in the MoP (Masters of Photography) Bellocq gallery. Only 89 of Bellocq's images in this series have survived and Masters of Photography has 13 of them. Prof. James R. Beniger of the University of Southern California has a further example, which is also available for viewing on larger monitors. MoP also has an articles page and a resources page if you want more background on this interesting man and his pictures. This rich resource for anyone interested in the great photographs and photographers of the past is provided by WebGalleries.com, and their Artchive.com site is dedicated to art and artists.

Monday 25 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Royal Berkshire For The People
CREDITS: © Paul Allen & Janet Humphreys /BerkshireCAM.net
Royal Berkshire 1 © Paul Allen & Janet HumphreysRoyal Berkshire 2 © Paul Allen & Janet HumphreysRoyal Berkshire 3 © Paul Allen & Janet HumphreysRoyal Berkshire 4 © Paul Allen & Janet Humphreys
Canals flowing gently through a rural idyll is how many people think of the English county of Berkshire. The inhabitants like to use the 'Royal' epithet when referring to their county, which does lend a certain air of calm and dignity. But when it comes to having a good thrash in a canoe, they take to the water as eagerly as anyone, and the number of pubs seems to indicate a certain joie de vivre. BerkshireCAM.net offers a weekly update, and last time we looked the gallery had some enjoyable aerial pictures with a hot air balloon present. There is also a picture archive.

The site has a community feature, where we read about the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Service. Having enjoyed the life saving benefit of our own Life Flight service here in Utah (though in a fixed wing aircraft, rather than a helicopter), we could not help but make a comparison: the concept of 'remote areas' is obviously relative, with patients here being flown 250 miles between the two major state hospitals. Quite how 'remote areas' translates in Berkshire's Thames Valley area, we can only guess! However, the safer twin engined helicopters used in Berkshire may have prevented the three tragic EMS helicopter crashes that have happened in our state, though we do not know the technical specifications of the Utahn machines.


From Our 2002 Archive: Roof Park and Launch - Sunday 25 August 2002

Roof Park and Launch © Ian Scott-ParkerWe saw this rooftop eye catcher in Missouri. That front end really needs a propeller to complete the look. Perhaps one day the car will be fitted with that prop, and then it will launch itself into the better life that it surely deserves. That's what America's all about. It's all down to your concept of what are your opportunities, and what are your limitations. At least we hope that's what it's all about!

Sunday 24 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Desert Downpour Drenches Day
Click on any of the thumbnails to popup a full size version of the image.
 © Ian Scott-ParkerDesert Downpour 2 © Ian Scott-ParkerDesert Downpour 3 © Ian Scott-Parker
In the desert it never rains but it pours! This storm sat overhead for several hours, dumping its cargo of water onto the parched land beneath. Eerily the sun remained visible throughout, shining at the edge of the inky black clouds. We imagine the end of the world will probably be something like this, though we do not expect to be around to witness the event. The following day the cycle was repeated, and already there are signs of new growth appearing late in the season in response to the drenching. We hope the end of the world will also have that feature.


From Our 2002 Archive: Cool Kid in Shades - Saturday 24 August 2002

Cool Kid in Shades © Ian Scott-ParkerWhat is it that kids find so fascinating about sunglasses? Same thing that keeps dogs happy for hours hanging out of car windows I suppose. My own favorite displacement activity is sitting on the patio in the evenings, as the birds and bats swoop after the dragonflies, as the sun goes down. Clint Eastwood was once asked what he intended to do after a film was completed. He replied in that menacingly terse drawl, "Drink a little wine; watch some sunsets". Tonight the only thing I can think to add is, "Watch the moon come up over the mountains."

Saturday 23 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: As High As You Can Be In America
CREDITS: © George M. Henke/Artisan Editions
MAP: Alaskan Parks. Denali National Park for 800 or 1200 pixel wide monitors.
Larger monitor users may popup a slightly larger version of the image.
Denali Dreams © George M. Henke
George M. Henke is exhibiting some giclée* prints, which have been made from his original photographs. At the Whole Foods Market, Santa Fe branch, New Mexico, during the month of August there will be twenty two prints on display. The exhibition is entitled 'Water, Cool Clear Water'. We chose 'Denali Dreams' from the previews, and asked George to write a commentary:

Denali is the highest mountain on the North American continent. It is also called Mt. McKinley. 'Denali' means 'Great One' in the language of the Alaskan natives. This is an image taken at dawn from a place about 90 miles inside Denali National Park. To photograph this area at dawn or sunset one needs to stay at one of the lodges nearby. The trip from the park entrance takes half a day because it is along a narrow, bumpy dirt road and the buses stop frequently to let on and off riders, and to admire the beautiful scenes and to look at many wild creatures such as caribou, moose, wolves, lynx, eagles, ptarmigan, and, of course, Grizzly Bear!

I stayed at Camp Denali which was a delightful place of small cabins spread out around central baths, and central eating & meeting buildings. At night you needed to be watchful when you made your way to the bathroom, which was about 100 yards away: you might meet a grizzly bear.

I visited Alaska during the last week of August and the first week of September. It was definitely Autumn there. The tundra was ablaze with colors that I had not expected, and the night temperatures dropped below freezing. We had about 3-4 inches of snow one night. The air was clear and crisp during the days which was very good for photography. Local people said there are times when the mountain is not visible for weeks, because it makes its own cloud cover. The other very nice result of the cold nights was that it killed most of the mosquitos. This was a blessed event.

The tundra is frozen down about 100-200 feet at all times. During the summer the first 4-6 inches melt, and become a wet bog that creates thousands of square miles of mosquito heaven. The mosquitos can be so thick that the swarms look like clouds. I was warned about this, and had a head net and covering for all parts of my body, plus a lot of DEET insect repellant. Fortunately, none of this was needed.


Clearly George is a redoubtable character when he goes image hunting. After a quick Google we found a picture of him, which shows him to be a jolly fellow, when not slogging his way through Alaskan bogs, with a taste in Norman Parkinson hats: we thought this Parkinson quotation was apposite, "A photographer without a magazine behind him is like a farmer without fields."

That was said before the Internet was created and the web became ubiquitous, of course, and now everyone may have a gallery to display their works. While we wait for a Vogue cover from George, check out a sample of his landscape work with a visit to his online gallery on the web site of Artisan Editions in Santa Fe, who are his specialist fine art printers.

Prints are available, priced at: $205 - 13"x19"; $320 - 16x24"; $500 - 20x30"; with shipping extra at a cost dependent on the destination. The Artisan Editions web site also has several galleries created for other artists, and a section with an explanation of the *giclée process, and the benefits for users and print owners.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

The principal contributor to loneliness in this country is television. What happens is that the family 'gets together' alone.
- Ashley Montagu, anthropologist and writer (1905-1999)

Although we understand the necessity of Wordsmith's gravitas when selecting a quotation to represent the important aspects of a person's life and work, our own chuckle valve responded to this: Man is the only 150 pound non-linear servo mechanism that can be wholly reproduced by unskilled labor. We have always thought that others who comment on the 'dignity of labor' have probably never done any.


On This Day: Random Fact courtesy of Reference.com

1775 - King George III of England refused the American colonies' offer of peace and declared them in open rebellion.

If you are going to abandon negotiation in favor of force, make sure you are sufficiently powerful; if you must take your belt to someone, make sure you hit with the buckle end. George's own expressions of his sentiments on the long term outcomes show that he may have been right on track, even though he went the wrong way to achieve his goals.

Visit the Reference.com page for today, where you will find a fuller listing of facts about this day, with sections for holidays, events and births.


From Our 2002 Archive: Snow Canyon Desert - Friday 23 August 2002

Snow Canyon © Ian Scott-ParkerSnow Canyon might seem a strange name for a physical feature that is clearly a desert environment. We have yet to come across a web page that saw fit to explain where the name came from, but as 'Snow' was a common Pioneer family name hereabouts, we imagine that is the derivation. The canyon is a kind of geological shopping basket: sand dunes, solidified lava flows over sandstone, geologically recent volcanic cones, and other features.

If you visit, we doubt you will be able to pass the 'ten or less items' checkout with so many delights available. The area is a State Park just outside the City of St. George, in the southwest corner of Utah. There is easy access from Interstate-15, and plenty of accommodation and services locally. More details on The American Southwest web site, which also has a good photo gallery. If you want to see an atmospheric picture of the park, check out Bert Sirkin's web site.

Friday 22 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: People & Their Rivers Of Neglect
CREDITS: © Ruth Wallen/Ecological Artist

Ruth Wallen Artbook © Ruth WallenBack in June 2002 we featured a dramatic sky picture by John H. Farr. Later in the piece we mentioned the 'Viewpoints' exhibition by Ruth Wallen, regretfully having to amend that item afterwards, saying that the resource we had linked to no longer existed. Unfortunately we were unable to find on the web a similar resource that explained what we were trying to illustrate.

We are now glad to say that Ruth has written to tell us that she has established a new home for her ecological art. Once again there is a resource we may point to when we need to explain Claude Glasses, and remember to mouse over those images when you visit. The sitemap is rarely a bad place to start on a first visit. and from there we picked 'When a City Turns its Back on its River'. Hmmm… the type of project for which a web site and a digital camera would be needed, eh?

Ruth's piece prompted us to look for more on the SDR (San Diego River). Kayaker and unpretentious webmaster Ben Balanag confirms Ruth's observations on access to the river, but solved the problem by travelling in his boat. There are some who do care about the river: there are consciousness raising efforts by the Californian umbrella organization, 'Friends of the River', alongside local organizations like the 'San Diego River Park Foundation', and 'Project Clean Water'.

For those interested in examining the whole river system a local newspaper, 'The San Diego Union-Tribune', has a web site featuring a fascinating three part series by staffers, writer Peter Rowe and photographer Earnie Grafton. Finally, anyone who follows our own pursuit and researches image sources, may enjoy a visit to the San Diego Historical Society photo library. We particularly enjoyed the 'View Cards' set on the construction of the flume to bring water to the city.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

The course of true love never did run smooth.
- William Shakespeare, playwright and poet (1564-1616)


On This Day: Random Fact courtesy of Reference.com

1945 - The Vietnam Conflict began less than a week after the Japanese surrender in World War II, when a team of Free French parachuted into southern Indochina in response to a successful coup by Communist guerrilla Ho Chi Minh.

This must be a good day for starting wars: the English Civil War also began on this day in 1642, and in 1846 the United States annexed New Mexico. It is merely happenstance that today's archive item also features New Mexico and the Rio Grande. Nevertheless a rather worrying occurence, because as we all know, at the end of the long arm of coincidence lies the fickle finger of fate.

Visit the Reference.com page for today, where you will find a fuller listing of facts about this day, with sections for holidays, events and births.


From Our 2002 Archive: Steel Arch Elegance - Thursday 22 August 2002
Taos Gorge Bridge © John H. Farr
Today's picture of the Taos Gorge Bridge over the Rio Grande in New Mexico comes from John H. Farr's web site at FotoFeed.com (links to other Farr features in the sidebar). When it was completed in 1965 it was known as 'The Bridge to Nowhere' because funds ran out to link the bridge to the existing highway system. It now carries US64 from Taos, New Mexico, to Farmington, NM.

When we passed this way we were taken completely by surprise. One moment we were driving across an enormous flat high altitude plain, the next moment we were winging across an airy bridge crossing a river whose name is legendary. The structure is claimed to be the 'World's Most Beautiful Steel Span Bridge'. More objectively it is claimed to be the second highest bridge in the USA, though figures for the drop to the river below seem to vary widely between 600 and 800 feet.

Geologically the Rio Grande is unusual, because rather than running in a gorge that it has cut itself, it runs in a ready made tear in the earth's crust riven by another form of arching on an even grander scale. Steven Wade Veatch has a page with all the details. The always impressive Virtual Guidebooks web site has a 360 degree VR panorama of the gorge, and other sights in the Pueblo Country.

There was an appalling murder here on 23 November 1998, when Erik Sanchez, 18, from nearby Espanola was thrown from the bridge. The following information has been garnered from many web sources, so its accuracy is questionable. Indeed one newspaper archive I searched had the date of the murder as 1997 and 1998 in consecutive search results. Reports I read suggest that Luis Acosta, 19, of Ranchos de Taos and David Sandoval, 24, of Taos were charged with first degree murder, 2 counts of armed robbery and single counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and first-degree kidnapping, with the death penalty sought.

It was alleged that the accused killed Sanchez for his customized car, which they allegedly planned to sell in Mexico for money to buy drugs and Christmas presents. It was also alleged that Sanchez was beaten, strangled with a shoelace and stripped of his clothing, then driven to the Rio Grande Gorge bridge, where he regained consciousness and tried to escape but was overpowered, according to Sheriff Charlie Martinez. Sanchez clung to the railing as his hands were kicked until he fell to the bottom of the gorge, Martinez said.

Defence attorneys Carmen Garza and Gary Mitchell claimed that although the idea might sound ludicrous, Acosta thought Sanchez could fly. They alleged their client had used an extensive amount of cocaine, and was under the influence of either drugs or alcohol at the time the killing occurred. As best as I have been able to ascertain from reports it seems that Acosta and Sandoval eventually pleaded guilty, and were sentenced to life plus 71 years, and life plus 75 years respectively.

Thursday 21 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Change Among Permanent Provinces
CREDITS: © Ann Bowker/Mad About Mountains MAP: Murton and Dufton
Click any thumbnail to popup an enlarged version of the image.
High Cup Nick 1 © Ann BowkerHigh Cup Nick 2 © Ann BowkerHigh Cup Nick 3 © Ann Bowker
One of the delights of the British landscape is that an afternoon drive can take a traveller through several different kinds of landscape in only a very few miles. Ann Bowker's web site usually features pictures of the mountains of the English Lake District, except of course when she is gadding about Scotland, or some far flung corner of the world that has a few mountains… but we are sure you know what we mean! Her current feature is a trip to the village of Murton, and the valleys and hills of the Pennine Chain, sometimes called the 'Backbone of England'. This must amuse the Albans, because the neck ends at Kirk Yetholm in Scotland, and presumably after that is where all the brains are located. Specifically Ann's goal was the landform feature of High Cup Nick. The contrast in landscape between the two geological provinces is clearly evident if you look at any of the images in Ann's Lakeland galleries.

Terry Smith passed this way for his Interesting Trekking Scenes. Terry started in a village named Dufton, which is not far from Ann's starting point in Murton. These settlements on the Pennine flank have a distinct ambience, unlike anywhere else I have ever been. The drive, or better yet the relatively unstressful route along the contours on a bicycle ride, from Warcop to Brampton is highly recommended.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

What a strange machine man is! You fill him with bread, wine, fish, and radishes, and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams.
- Nikos Kazantzakis, poet and novelist (1883-1957)


On This Day: Random Fact courtesy of Reference.com

1959 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the Union.

We know a conspiracy theorist who asserts this was only done as part of a Strategic Reserves policy, because this is the only place in the USA where coffee grows. We report this stuff - we are not responsible for ensuring it has any worth.

Visit the Reference.com page for today, where you will find a fuller listing of facts about this day, with sections for holidays, events and births.


From Our 2002 Archive: - Wednesday 21 August 2002

Riotous Color © Charles WinpennyAfter yesterday's Antarctic monochromes, today we have splurged on a riot of color from Charles Winpenny at CornwallCAM.co.uk, where Charles often seems to follow the old adage, 'Take time to smell the roses'. If you check out his update for today there is a fine selection including Penzance promenade, Cornish beaches, and even an industrial landscape. Though he may be photographing factories, Charles' eye still doesn't miss the flowers!

Wednesday 20 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Square Rigger On The High Seas
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk MAP: St. Mawes
Click the thumbnail to popup a larger version of the image.

Square Rigger © Charles WinpennySome things just look good in pictures, almost irrespective of who takes the photograph, or how it is taken. Notwithstanding that wild and unsubstantiated assertion we just made (something we seem to be doing more often these days, though like the Declaration of Independence we hold some things to be self evident truths) Charles Winpenny's work is uniformly workmanlike and enjoyable. Users of larger monitors may enjoy a slightly larger image.

We were unable to find the picture again when checking Charles' archives, but from memory the picture was taken in Carrick Roads, when Charles was aboard the St. Maws to Falmouth ferry. Should we have made an error through faltering memory, we expect we will hear about it from one of our Cornish correspondents before the day is out. [You know who you are. - Ed.]. Shiver me timbers! We sometimes think web mastering is a more demanding trade than ship mastering, but at least physically, the punishment of digital keel hauling is less painful than the real world version.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.
- Anna Sewell, writer (1820-1878).

Also available are more quotations, a commentary, and full texts of her only work, 'Black Beauty', from both the Gutenberg Project or the Literature Project.


On This Day: Random Fact courtesy of Reference.com

1968 - The Soviet Union & other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the 'Prague Spring' liberalization drive of Alexander Dubcek's regime.

Roundly condemned in the West as military imperialism of the worst kind: considered, with other Soviet actions of a similar kind, to be the exercise of might over right, and the action of the forces of oppression against democracy. Better just leave it at that… I don't suppose this weblog is widely read in high places, but one can't be too careful these days with all those black helicopters overflying this place at rooftop height.

Visit the Reference.com page for today, where you will find a fuller listing of facts about this day, with sections for holidays, events and births.


From Our 2002 Archive: Antarctic Odyssey - Tuesday 20 August 2002

Antarctic Odyssey © Marcel BanMarcel Ban is Romanian by birth, but now lives in Toronto, Canada, where he owns The Bans Consulting Group Inc., a computer software house. More pertinent to this weblog, he is also a keen photographer. After a period of hard work he gave himself a month off, and took his wife Diana for a little jaunt. What better place for a few interesting photo opportunities than Antarctica, the Seventh Continent? Better yet, he built a journey mini web site to display his pictures for all to enjoy. There's even more: Argentina; Chile; Uruguay; and no Antarctic photo site would be complete without a penguin gallery! There are over three hundred pictures to choose from on the page devoted to a thumbnail gallery.

The featured picture is Port Lockroy, British post office. Being a postman there may be a hard life, though perhaps not from the volume of letters. Users of larger monitors may see a bigger version of the picture. Marcel's site is one of those you may either keep returning for a dip (brrr!) or spend a long session reading about somewhere that few of us will be lucky enough to visit ourselves. Highly recommended, whichever way you decide to visit and enjoy what is on offer.

Tuesday 19 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Seasons Change in Pikes & Tarns
Click images to popup a larger size image.
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk MAP: Blea Tarn

Blea Tarn Summer © Tony RichardsBlea Tarn Winter © Tony RichardsYesterday's feature reminded us of an earlier picture we ran in January, which was also by Tony Richards, also showing the Langdale Pikes, but on that occasion across Blea Tarn. We found another similar picture in Tony's rolling archive, but taken in summer, and thought the pair made an appealing diptych. We hope this is appreciated in Las Vegas as much as the earlier shots! For those with larger monitors, both pictures are available [L] [R] as slightly larger than usual popups.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

Let early education be a sort of amusement, you will then better be able to find out the natural bent of the child. - Plato, philosopher (427-347 BC)


On This Day: Random Fact courtesy of Reference.com

1893 - The root beer float, or Black Cow, was invented by Frank J. Wisner, owner of Cripple Creek Brewing in Colorado.

You will have to live here, immersing yourself in American culture and root beer floats, before you will be able to understand how important a discovery this was for the future of the country. We have consumed one of these things, and afterwards felt much more receptive to the finer nuances of American popular culture; both of them.

Visit the Reference.com page for today, where you will find a fuller listing of facts about this day, with sections for holidays, events and births.


From Our 2002 Archive: Gnawed by the Wind - Monday 19 August 2002

Gnawed by the Wind © Alexander TodorenkoAlexander Todorenko runs the almost-daily picture web site New Zealand, which has sections for daily pictures, scenic shots for desktop wallpaper in two sizes, and galleries with themed images. This picture is from the Karekare Beach section of Galleries, entitled 'Gnawed by the Wind'.

If you have a larger monitor there is a slightly larger version of the picture (please allow time for it to download). Although the site has many excellent landscape pictures there are also many featuring urban life in the antipodes.
Alexander modestly gives little information about himself, but one might reasonably assume that he is Russian by birth, but now living in New Zealand. All the pictures are of high quality, and Alexander says he is planning to expand the site with photo tips, and maybe even tutorials on making web photo galleries. The site also has Russian language pages, which are gradually being translated into English by Alexander, though one might think that English was his first language.

Monday 18 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Pikes Rising Over The Mist Below
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAPS: Tarn Hows and Great Langdale
Click on the thumbnail to popup a larger version of the image.

Pikes Over The Mist © Tony RichardsBack in November 2002 we ran a picture by Tony Richards, taken in the English Lake District valley of Great Langdale, with Loft Crag radiant in a shaft of sunlight. A blog visitor from Las Vegas was enchanted: in the town of make believe come true, among the glitter, lights, and glamor the simple, natural beauty shone forth.

No wonder someone once called Lakeland the 'Roots of Heaven', well before the 1956 Romain Gary novel, or the 1958 John Huston movie from the book. Interestingly, Sir Malcolm Arnold's overture music for the film appears on an ASV CD alongside Maurice Johnstone's 'Tarn Hows - a Cumbrian Rhapsody': Tarn Hows is just over the hill to the south of Great Langdale. Today we feature another Tony Richards shot from Skelwith Fold (just south east of Skelwith Bridge on the map links in the header for this item), with a misty valley floor and the Langdale Pikes at the head of the valley rising clear above. Those with larger monitors may enjoy a larger version of the picture.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org and Bartleby.com

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.
- James McNeill Whistler, painter (1834-1903)

I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face. [See additionally an extract from the lawsuit that resulted. - Ed.]
- John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. Letter, June 18, 1877.


On This Day: Random Fact courtesy of Reference.com

1920 - The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was ratified by Tennessee, giving it the two-thirds majority (36 states) of state ratification necessary to make it law.

It was another forty three years before James Meredith became the first African-American to graduate from the University of Mississippi on this day in 1963. Clearly achieving equality of any sort is a long uphill struggle against discrimination.

Visit the Reference.com page for today, where you will find a fuller listing of facts about this day, with sections for holidays, events and births.


From Our 2002 Archive: Man and Mountains - Sunday 18 August 2002
Click on the thumbnails to popup larger versions of the images.

Wasdale © Tony RichardsJos Naylor © Tony RichardsTony Richards was in Wasdale in the English Lake District for his
LakelandCAM.co.uk web site and took this picture. This is one of the classic views of the area, which boasts the English record for the smallest church, the highest mountain, the deepest lake, and the biggest liar, Wil Ritson, along with those who come after him in the annual competition.

If you have a larger monitor there is a slightly larger version of the picture (please allow time for it to download). Wasdale is also home to Jos Naylor the 'King of the Fells' (the local word for mountains), and Tony stopped for a chat. There is a recent item on Jos in the archives. It still blows me away that a man with no cartilage in his knees runs up and down mountains for fun. Nice to see that at the usual maximum retirement age, Jos seems to have no plans to slow down.

Sunday 17 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Bridges Back With A Vengeance
CREDITS: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM.co.uk MAP: Macclesfield and Salford
Salford © Peter TurnerSalford To Manchester © Peter TurnerReflection ©nbsp;Peter Turner
That's not a sports report headline: we mean real bridges; magnificent engineering structures, soaring across waterways, railways, roadways, canyons and chasms of every description. We have been trying to keep off them lately: we confess there have been occasional lapses, especially over wet weekends when boredom has struck, but mostly we have been bridge free for some time now.

Earlier today we were adding Peter Turner's excellent MaccCAM web site (the 'Macc' is for Macclesfield, a town in Cheshire, northern England) to the sidebar pulldown menu for UK CAM links. Routinely we checked for previous links, but could only find one entry, a piece about the Jodrell Bank radio telescope, also in Cheshire, England. Our memories are obviously beginning to fail; we would have sworn that we did another item based on one of Peter's galleries.

To set things to rights we have featured the pictures we wrongly thought we had covered previously. Peter went to Salford, a town that has always had to play second fiddle to the much larger conurbation of Manchester. When Peter visited Salford Quays he took the featured picture, which is the footbridge that links Manchester's Trafford Wharf with Salford's Central Wharf. Crossing between the bridge piers, which allow the central walkway to be lifted to allow boats to pass under, visitors will arrive at the bronzed glass of the Quay West building. The area was in decline for many years, but has recently been through an ongoing period of urban regeneration.

Peter has 22 galleries online for 2003, so this web site is obviously worthy of your regular patronage: we do not understand why they have been so under featured here. We have also added Terry Smith's 'Interesting Trekking Scenes' web site to the sidebar pulldown menu. Terry's site is one of our regular calls, but another we have only featured once when we featured Terry's visit to Skipton's canal narrow boats. Terry's recent update was an archaeological adventure around Ingram and the Breamish Valley in the Northumberland National Park. Peter's most recent update was to record some of the architecture in Leek, another fascinating town in Peter's neighboring county of Staffordshire.

Now we wonder how many more of our own regular destinations we have fecklessly failed to bring to your attention. A thorough check is in progress as we write.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
- Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)


On This Day: Random Fact courtesy of Reference.com

1590 - John White, the leader of 117 colonists sent in 1587 to Roanoke Island (North Carolina) to establish a colony, returned from a trip to England to find the settlement deserted. No trace of the settlers was ever found.

Not the best start to founding the most powerful nation on the planet.

Visit the Reference.com page for today, where you will find a fuller listing of facts about this day, with sections for holidays, events and births.


From Our 2002 Archive: Tehran 24 Hours -
Tehran Bridge © www.tehran24.com
Fancy visiting the Tajrish Bazar in Tehran? Then pop along to the 3D Virtual Tours page on the Tehran24.com web site. When we visited recently the Bazar was the free download. The featured picture also comes from Tehran24.com, and we think that it makes a nice counterpoint to yesterday's picture from a rather less exotic location. If you have a larger monitor there is a bigger version of the picture (please allow time for the download). Are we being too woo-woo if we suggest that bridges have personalities of their own? There is a certain bridge across the Motorway M6 near Lancaster in the north of England that seems to us to be making a statement at very least. For all things concerning bridges, visit Derek Locke at Bridge Building - Art and Science.

The Tehran24.com web site features daily pictures, 3D virtual tours, and computer wallpapers. Their purpose is best expressed by this quotation from their mission statement, 'We saw the Internet as a global community center, a place where people with different ethnic backgrounds could share their cultural pride and experiences. Everything we do, from the design of our site to the selection of our photographs, reflects that philosophy.' Maybe if we were all a little more familiar with each the other's culture we might be less fearful. Much of the content is free, spread across different galleries. The site supports itself by contributions from visitors, which you may check out on the membership signup page. [Thanks to Sina T.]

Next up there will be an exceptional picture from New Zealand for our daily update, followed by an equally splendid picture from Antarctica, as the blog tries to range further afield to bring you the best images from the web.

Saturday 16 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Finding Proust At The Chevron
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com

Chevron Sign © Ian Scott-ParkerWe were reading Proust this morning… OK, we were reading about Proust this morning, because we never properly read anything any more, just skim a few summaries on the web. Without the narcotic influence of Madelaine Cake and Lime Tea we were able to precisely recall being small, and imagining that the huge pylons carrying the electrical grid supply were giant mechanoids marching across the landscape. Everyone did that as a child, surely. Please, somebody say, "Yes". Had dear Marcel enjoyed better health he might have lived long enough to emigrate to America and live in Las Vegas while writing 'Making Up For Lost Time', which we feel sure would have been much more fun… for author and readers alike.

Lovers of trivia that we are, we were shocked to discover that the pneumonia that finished Proust off followed bad asthma brought on by the young Samuel Beckett's cigar-smoking. However, we were delighted to learn that Proust donated his parents' furniture to a male brothel, while at the same time being sure there must be a pun involving oboes or tall chests of drawers, lurking in there somewhere.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

You think your pains and heartbreaks are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who have ever been alive.
- James Baldwin, writer (1924-1987)


On This Day: Random Fact courtesy of Reference.com

1858 - US President James Buchanan and Britain's Queen Victoria exchanged messages, inaugurating the first transatlantic telegraph line.

Sometimes our own perceptions of the time lines of history lurch drunkenly. We well remember learning that General George Custer's widow never saw the Little Bighorn Battlefield, a battle that took place 17 years before that inaugural telegraph message. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the battle, however, Mrs Custer listened to the ceremony on the public wireless service. Enquiring minds are wondering what genuine uses the new telegraph served, and also if there are any transcriptions of messages to be found on the web. Our simple minds find history very difficult, because there is just so much of it, and it is all so interrelated.

Visit the Reference.com page for today, where you will find a fuller listing of facts about this day, with sections for holidays, events and births.



From Our 2002 Archive: Urbanscapes Revisited - Friday 16 August 2002

Newport Bridge © Don BurlurauxDon Burluraux' NorthYorkMoorsCAM has a page where Don explores the urban landscapes along the River Tees at Stockton, in the north east of England. In times gone by I drove a car transporter, regularly passing through Stockton and many of the surrounding towns. This structure, the Newport Bridge, was instantly recognizable to me like some familiar icon on my computer desktop. You may follow Don as he wanders past several other equally famous and special bridges, The Tees Barrage, and the explorer Captain Cook's sailing ship. What a treat! Thanks Don, for the walk down memory lane.


The Noble Sport of Conkers - Friday 16 August 2002

Conkers © Tony RichardsIn the UK the fruits of the Horse Chesnut trees are ripening, and small boys will soon be hurling sticks aloft to knock them down. When the outer shell is broken open the gorgeous brown chestnuts within are revealed, and are known as 'conkers'. These are strung, often on boot laces, and the first competitor holds his nut aloft, dangling by its string. The opponent then swings his nut with a mighty blow, to crash the two nuts together. Last person with some part of the conker remaining on the string is the winner.

Known as 'cheggies' in the part of England where I was born and dragged up, there were all sorts of dark, sinister treatments that might be administered to the cheggies to make them more durable. Vinegar and unmentionable alkaline fluids were commonly discussed. 'Cheesers', nuts with a sharp edge formed when there were two nuts within the same shell, were highly prized for their ability to cleave deep into the opponents nut. Thick leather boot laces were generally agreed to prevent damage from within, but 'dipping' at the time of collision was an outrage.

Successful nuts became 'oncers', 'twosers', and 'threesers'. Persons claiming 'foursers' were usually ridiculed for their outrageous mendacity. The surviving cheggie inherited the score of its vanquished opponent. Ah, times were simpler in those sunlit, far off halcyon days. My American born wife thinks I am making all this up. Girls! What are they like? Thanks to Tony Richards at LakelandCAM.co.uk for the memories.

Friday 15 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Familiar USA Street Furniture
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com Click images for full size popups.

Hurricane McDonald's © Ian Scott-ParkerHurricane Big Rig © Ian Scott-ParkerIf you do not live in North America these street scenes should look completely alien. If they do not, then that is a tribute to the spread of US culture: if that displeases you, then what do you intend to do? If you are displeased, but intend to do nothing, the least you might consider is accepting silence. Contrary to our own expectations when coming to live in this wonderful country, we love this kind of funky stuff, but that is most likely because we enjoy rich variety.

We came from a place where everything was painted in designer approved green and gold. We have seen the urban blight caused by overly rigid planning regulations. Change only happens at the edges, and without change a society becomes moribund. Ask any Labrador dog: they have a philosophy of having the most fun, from whatever and whomever is immediately available. In polite society that does mean they have a reputation for some exceptionally gross acts, but do they care?


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

The road to wisdom? Well it's plain and simple to express: err and err and err again, but less and less and less. - Piet Hein, poet and scientist (1905-1996)


On This Day: Random Fact courtesy of Reference.com

Friday 15 August 1969 - The Woodstock Music and Art Fair opened in upstate New York; over 400,000 people attended.

In the long run, did Woodstock really change everything, as sometimes claimed?

Visit the Reference.com page for today, where you will find fuller listing of facts about this day, with sections for holidays, events and births.


From Our 2002 Archive: Ageless Beauty - Thursday 15 August 2002

Mother © Eolake StobblehouseAlthough we look at a huge number of images, we rarely want to own any of them. We are not given to decorating the walls of our living space, so whenever an image does stir the sin of covetousness in us, we ask ourselves if it is 'wallspaceworthy'. To find two that pass the test in two consecutive days must rank as our personal best: both yesterday's 'Geometrical Manhattan' and today's 'Ageless Beauty' qualify with ease.

The photographer for today's picture is Eolake Stobblehouse, who must be one of the most diligent creators on the web. A Google search for "stobblehouse" returned 458 results, but even this belies the size and popularity of his output. Today's featured picture came from his personal web site at stobblehouse.com. The source page for that picture was Women Photos, which for those of you for whom such things matter does contain tasteful female nudity, though the thumbnails should be sufficient distancing, without offending allowing you to decide if you wish to proceed further.

Eolake's most visited site is domai.com, a humorous reference to the 'Dirty Old Men's Association International', an organization founded by Eolake, and we guess he is the foremost member. The site offers 'simple nudes of pretty girls', and there is a generous free sampling with a membership option. Your intrepid reporting team was allowed access to the members' area, and can assure you that what is there is fairly represented outside: if you're looking for pornography then look elsewhere. Founded in 1996 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Domai is now in the top 0.2 percentile of the web's most popular sites according to Alexa. The site's gravitas might be discerned from the quotation we saw on the home page when we visited while researching for this: 'Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite.' - John Kenneth Galbraith. Economists need a sense of humor to remain sane.

Eolake's third site is MacCreator.com, which will be a familiar destination for users of Apple Computer's awesome products. The site has articles that will interest non Macintosh users, however. We particularly enjoyed Eolake's interview with famous 'technomad' Steven K. Roberts, the man who has equipped both a bicycle and a boat as computing centers, then travelled around while using them for real. The last of the quartet of web sites is WhatMeArtist.com, which offers 37 succinct but thought provoking lessons 'designed to work for painters, musicians, writers, sculptors, film makers… anybody working creatively, professionally or not. The lesson plan is free, though if you want some additional support that too is available by email at the modest cost of $50.00 for one year.

Thursday 14 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Wall Full Of Stunning Posters
CREDITS: © David Pettit/DavidPettitPhotography.com
Click on any of the thumbnails to view a larger image on the source web site.
The Narrows © David Pettit© David PettitAngels Landing© David Pettit
Earlier this week we had occasion to make an unscheduled (and probably unauthorized) rear entry into a local medical complex. We have previously been through the regular front entrance (scheduled and authorized on all those occasions), and found the art on the walls not to our taste. Coming through from the rear we gasped at the sight of a wall full of Pettit posters.

Living close to the some of the most awesome scenery in the Rocky Mountains, or anywhere come to that, we have become inured to the more tawdry representations of our local scenery. Even with the better class of artistic work, through time familiarity has soured to the stage of over exposure, breeding a certain passé disaffection. We are overstating our case, but only to make our point clear. Pettits, however, are in a class of their own.

The three images featured here are (left to right) The Narrows, Antelope Canyon, and Angels Landing. Click on any thumbnail to see a larger version.

David Pettit is a local photographer, based in Springdale, the township just outside the south west entrance to Zion National Park on Utah State Route SR-9. At very reasonable prices you may buy from a choice of six posters, or make us insane with jealousy by buying an archival quality 30"x40" framed print of the East & West Temple. We were torn between that and the Angels Landing print, but the grayscale on silver halide material won, which probably makes us old fashioned.

The process used for the color prints is LightJet 5000 hardware, printing onto Fuji Crystal Archive paper. You will not be disappointed in the detail, balance, depth and color saturation that can be achieved. We have a personal preference for this process over the much vaunted Giclée process: we think chemistry is still superior to squirting ink. Predictability is a great thing in printing.

There are five note cards available, too, at very low cost. Not wanting to spoil your own exploration of this wonderful site by pointing out too many features, we simply recommend that you visit, and enjoy the glorious images that are displayed.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

At least half the mystery novels published violate the law that the solution, once revealed, must seem to be inevitable.
- Raymond Thornton Chandler, writer (1888-1959)

More Chandler quotations for insatiable admirers. This is one of our favorites:

She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight.
- The Little Sister (Chapter 12)



On This Day In 2002: Geometrical Manhattan - Wednesday 14 August 2002

Wall Street © William IrvineToday's picture by William Irvine comes from his photo gallery web site, called MacroNYC.com. William's digital eye takes a fresh look at the familiar New York City urbanscape, usually homing in on the parts that make up the whole. There are six beautifully presented galleries on the web site. Today we have featured the penultimate entry in gallery six. As you page through the galleries keep a lookout for our favorites: Wet Sphere, Door, and Canal Street 2.

By profession William is a digital brand marketing guru, and he has a weblog called 'dBrand: The Digital Brand Marketing Blog' to share his expertise. We thought his well argued rejection of 'media convergence' was a refreshing change from all the trendy gobbledegook and jabberwocky that is peddled as the current reality. William, just remember what they did to Socrates when he enlightened them!

[Thanks to Eolake Stobblehouse.]

Wednesday 13 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: High Above Washington Arid Rocks
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
MAPS: St. George (courtesy of TravelWest.net)
South West Utah (courtesy of MapOfUtah.net)

Arid Red Rocks © Ian Scott-ParkerIn complete contrast to yesterday's featured picture of the lush green pastures and vales around Grasmere in the English Lake District, we return once more to the arid red rocks of south west Utah. Here the land is, perhaps, less parched than most years at this season; a few passing thunderstorms over the last couple of weeks have dropped some much needed rain. Washington City lies to the north east (on the right hand side of both pictures) of the City of St. George, the two separated by an imposing ridge of the local red rock. Both towns are expanding at a fast rate.

Red Ridge Earthworks © Ian Scott-ParkerThe builders of Interstate I-15 boldly cut through the ridge, making a cutting big enough to carry the local inter city roads along either side of the major artery, and more work is presently in progress. To the east of I-15 the top of the ridge has now been developed as a residential community, with a lofty stance from which it is possible to view both urban areas, and observe the cars scurrying about like mechanized ants. Today's picture looks north west from that hilltop vantage point, towards the Pine Valley Mountain range. In the foreground is a weathered sandstone dome, with the city-separating ridge running off into the distance. We have yet to ascertain the reason for the earthworks on the ridge beside the Interstate, and will try to discover this as the job progresses.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

What you get out depends on what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world will not extract wheat-flour from peascods, so pages of formulae will not get a definite result out of loose data.
- Thomas Henry Huxley, biologist and writer (1825-1895)


On This Day In 2002: Humpback Tail - Tuesday 13 August 2002

Humpback Tail © Ken Balcomb [NOAA]NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) have put online, and into the public domain, over 20,000 images. This one, entitled Humpback Tail is also available at that link as a high resolution file. Attribution: Image ID: sanc0114, Sanctuary Collection, Location: Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Photographer: Ken Balcomb. For users of larger monitors there is a bigger picture available here, but please allow for slower download.


Month of the Perseid Meteor Showers - Tuesday 13 August 2002
Perseid Meteor Showers © APOD (Nemiroff & Bonnell)
In August the Earth enters the orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle, which then showers our planet with tiny debris. As the particles enter our gravitational field they heat up from friction with the atmosphere, and produce light tracks in the night sky. Since 1995 Robert Nemiroff & Jerry Bonnell have authored and edited APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day). Their update for 11 August 2002 has a full size version of this thumbnail image, with links to web pages containing background information on the meteor showers, including details of how and when they are best observed.


Avian Invasion - Tuesday 13 August 2002
Horse Fly © Mark Hostetler
...when I presented it to my Ph.D. committee, they said, "Nope. It's too tongue in cheek and it isn't scholarly enough." My real dissertation is called, 'Scale, Landscape Structure and Suburban Habitats: How Do We Affect Avian Communities?' I don't think it'll be as big a seller as, 'That Gunk on Your Car'.

Author Mark Hostetler spent years scraping bugs off windshields, and photographing the grisly microminiature exoskeletal remains. The result is a book, 'That Gunk on Your Car: A Unique Guide to Insects in The United States'. You may read an interview with him on Car Talk, the web site of one of the most entertaining shows on the American wireless networks. The show's affable hosts, 'Click & Clack, The Tappet Brothers' (otherwise known as Tom & Ray Magliozzi), have a bugsplat recognition game on their web site. Mark Hostetler's web page has examples of bugs and their splats along with details about how to obtain the book, which received a 1977 IG Nobel award from the Annals of Improbable Research.

Tuesday 12 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: High Above Grasmere Sports Arena
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk MAP: Grasmere
Grasmere Arena © Tony Richards
Last month we carried a feature called Warriors With Rubber Extremities, about the sporting activities of the English Lake District. Inevitably the name of Grasmere entered the item. Recently Tony Richards walked to Alcock Tarn, and looking down onto Grasmere he took todays feature picture, which includes the sports arena.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

Say oh wise man how you have come to such knowledge? Because I was never ashamed to confess my ignorance and ask others.
- Johann Gottfried Von Herder, critic and poet (1744-1803)



On This Day In 2002: Who Was M. Montbret? - Monday 12 August 2002

Pendower Montbretia © Charles WinpennyThe picture of Pendower Beach in Cornwall, England was taken on a recent visit by Charles Winpenny for his CornwallCAM website. The red/orange plant in the foreground is Montbretia Crocosmia named after Antoine Francois Ernest Conquebert de Montbret, a French botanist who accompanied Napoleon on the Egyptian Campaign, though the plant is a native of South Africa. The plant name is sometimes spelled 'Monbretia', which most authorities list as an acceptable alternative. Just how Monsieur Conquebert de Montbret might feel about that is open to debate.

Whitehaven Montbretia © Ian Scott-ParkerOur own picture of Montbretia was taken on an abandoned railway running past a heavily industrialised area of Whitehaven, a town on the coast of West Cumbria, England. We went in search of the 18th century botanist Montbret, after whom this lovely plant was named, but nothing was to be found on the web. The search continues: any information from weblog visitors will be welcomed. If our own quest reveals anything we will post an update.

[Our research assistant has since found a few slivers of information. From a BBC web page comes this: 'The name crocosmia has yet to be fully accepted by gardeners, many still referring to its older name of montbretia. This was given to them by Monsieur de Montbret, a French botanist who accompanied Napoleon when he invaded Egypt in 1798 and who died there at the age of 20.' From G. Swithenbank's fascinating eponyms list at Scorpio comes this: 'A.F.E Coquebert de Montbret (1780-1801), French botanist.' We are aghast that after peaking early, by the time Montbret was our age he had been dead for the better part of three decades. Those dates and ages seem slightly out of synch, and our search continues… Ed.]

The white flowers in Charles' picture might be Convulvulus: after the time spent trying to track down Conquebert de Montbret we dare not even think about them, or what they are named, or who might have discovered them.

Monday 11 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Charles Nègre At Musée d'Orsay
CREDITS: © Musée d'Orsay
MAP: Musée d'Orsay, Quai Anatole France, and museum access information.

Constraints imposed when creating the triptych below have distorted the aspect ratios of the two outer images. Click any of the images to see original source.
Nègre \'Stryge\'Nègre \Market Scene\'Nègre \'Barrel Organ Player\'
The Musée d'Orsay has a recent acquisition of some of the work of 19th century photographer Charles Nègre (1820-1880), which has been added to the permanent collection. That last link will allow you to step through the museum's feature by clicking on the page thumbnails and a page link: alternatively you may step through the feature by clicking left to right on the triptych images above. The most probable dates for these images are 1853 for the outer two, and 1852 for the middle one.

At the time of writing the Musée d'Orsay is winding up 'French Daguerreotype: A Photographic Object', something that we hope to feature at a later date.

Here are some other web sites featuring Nègre's work:

Fourteen images by Nègre on Alex Novak's Vintage Works, Ltd web site, which operates out of Chalfont, Pennsylvania (hence the apparently UK company name, but with a US format). The web site also has twenty one special exhibits on a range of subjects. If you enjoy looking at photographs this site may give you as much pleasure as it gave us. Highly recommended for an extended virtual visit.

Anonymous '(Possibly Charles Nègre)' is how Alex Novak offers an interesting image of a tree, available on the iPhoto Central web site, which offers services for photograph collectors.

Organ Grinder in the Getty Explore Art Collections section of the extensive Getty Education web site. Nègre made a series of images of organ grinders.

Minimalist Nègre biography, but with excellent links to overviews of the photographic processes available at the time, from Dr. Robert Legatt, who has a very useful and extensive photohistory web site.

[1] Beaucaire 1852 negative image in the Art Unlimited Cybermuse web site, a feature from the NGC (National Gallery of Canada). A favorite of ours, [2] Chimney Sweeps Walking 1851, is also on the Cybermuse web site. Cybermuse has a catalog of 119 Nègre images (117 titled, 2 untitled, 2 illustrated), but only the two linked above are illustrated on the web site. If you are lucky enough to live in Ottawa you may be able to see the images, and after visiting the NGC, also visit the affiliate CMCP (Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography).

Summary of Nègre's life and work, neatly done by the Museum of Provençal Art and History, one of three museums in Nègre's home town of Grasse.

Harvesters (oval) near Grasse in 1865 is a famous Nègre work, somewhat like a Millet painting though more bucolic and less savage, which may be seen on the web site for the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Harvesters (rectangular) can be seen on the JGS (Joy of Giving - a not for profit organization that collects and supports art works which illuminate the impact of current events, discoveries and controversies on our future lives) in the Opus 4 gallery in the Eternal Change section.

Sotheby's auction company news release details a sale of the Collection of Marie-Thérèse and André Jammes in March 2002. The web page has many details about the two enthusiasts whose collection was being sold; details about the earliest documented image produced by photographic means (Niécephore Niépce's 1825 heliograph of a painting of a man leading a horse) that was also in the sale; and excellent reproductions of three famous Nègre images.

BBC news carried an article about the Niépce image, which we include here because the illustration is much better.

Christie's auction company has an item (graphic #14 in the RH column) marked 'Charles Nègre; Arria and Poetus by Pierre Le Pautre; Tuileries Gardens, 1859; Salt Print; Sold for 56,500 in May 2000 ; London, South Kensington'.

Exhibition featuring the Cote d'Azure, a favorite Nègre subject, is on the web site for the City of Nice, French Riviera, as 'Exhibition: 1863-1900 NICE; From Charles Nègre to Jean Giletta'

La Riviera is mentioned in several places on the web:

One place the book 'La Riviera by Charles Nègre' appears is the reading list suggested on the web page for tourism in Grasse, Nègre's birthplace. The book, authored by the photographer, seems to be out of print, though we have seen 'pre-loved' versions offered for around €20.00.

The $US Dollar is approximately 1:1 with the €ECU Euro at the time of writing.

Street in Grasse 1852 is a recent acquisition by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and shows excellent detail for its period.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
- Arthur Conan Doyle, physician and writer (1859-1930)


On This Day In 2002: Head of the Rocks - Sunday 11 August 2002
Head of the Rocks © A.E. Crane
The US Dept. of Transportation Federal Highway Administration is developing the brand 'America's Byways', which they describe thus, 'America's Byways are a two-tiered designation consisting of the All-American Roads and the National Scenic Byways. All-American Roads are our country's finest byways: the best of the best. They are destinations unto themselves and an exciting adventure for all ages. National Scenic Byways possess outstanding qualities that exemplify the regional characteristics of our nation.' I counted 115 of these roads: for sure if you drove all of them you would have a pretty good picture of the grandeur of American landscape. Utah has 27 Byways. The National Scenic Byways program web site has a growing image library, which contains some public domain pictures, plus others that may be used under certain licence conditions.

The picture I chose is 'Head of the Rocks Overlook' by A.E. Crane of NSBO © 2001, which is on the 112 mile drive Highway 12-A 'Journey Through Time Scenic Byway', which passes through the Grand Staircase - Escalante area. Visit the web page for more details, a map, and photo gallery. This splendid route has been designated as an 'All-American Road'. If you have a 19" or larger monitor there is a bigger version of the picture (please allow time for it to download).

Sunday 10 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Somewhere Completely Different
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com

After Those Varmints! © Ian Scott-ParkerOUR PUBLISHER WRITES: As I walked towards this scene I had one of those flashes of novelty like reverse déjà vu. I have lived in the USA, which is so different from the land of my birth and yet at the same time so familiar, for more than two years now. Many things have happened, and my previous life seems so far away that it is like a parallel universe. However, occasionally I still get these revelatory experiences, when the lenses of perception shift making seeing and experiencing everything seem as though it was the first time. I know I am elsewhere when I see that the Sheriff rides an ATV to catch those pesky horse rustling varmints! It's almost as bizarre as that line in the old Roger Miller hit song 'England Swings Like A Pendulum Do' that goes 'Bobbies on bicycles two by two'. One day, perhaps, I will become so Americanized that light switches toggling UP for ON will seem intuitive.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

There lives more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in half the creeds.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson, poet (1809-1892)


On This Day In 2002: Water Margins - Saturday 10 August 2002
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk MAP: Elterwater
Water Margins © Tony Richards
It has been a while since I featured one of Tony Richards' photographs. The one that took my fancy was this picture of Elterwater, which is one of the smaller lakes in the English Lake District. This delightful jewel like body of water feeds the larger lake of Windermere from the west.

Local artist Judy Boyes has her studio in Elterwater village. Her web site shows many of her delightful prints of Lake District landscapes, which may be easily purchased from the site or the studio. Should you wish to view Judy's work, the web site has a clear wayfinder to the studio.

Saturday 9 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Rotating Wing Across The Desert

CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
MAPS: flight area, and Sky Mountain (courtesy of Sky Mountain Golf Estates.)
Large monitor users: [1] [2] [W694xH924 pixels 135KB] [3] [4] images available.
Click on the thumbnails (LH:1&2 or RH:3&4) to change the main picture selections.
Brentwood © Ian Scott ParkerLower Quail Lake © Ian Scott ParkerQuail Lake © Ian Scott ParkerHelicopter Pilot © Ian Scott Parker
Once again, on our all too brief jaunt aloft, thanks for a wonderful flying experience to all the staff at a AFlightAbove.com helicopter flight training. Two sets of pictures are available in a special Chopper Flight archive.

This is the second feature about the delights of the Washington County Fair in southern Utah. The first part appeared yesterday. After the helicopter flight, we repaired to the food court. There was a four piece country band playing named Cedar Creek: men on electric mandolin, banjo, electric acoustic guitar, and a lady on an electric bass guitar. They played with gusto, though the finale, 'I Like Singing Through My Nose' had us guessing. There is a Waylon Jennings song containing the lines, 'Was it singing through my nose that got me busted by the man / Maybe this here outlaw bit has done got out of hand'. This must be why Al Gore invented the Internet, so that people who must know everything can sleep at night.

We looked in vain for Irmita, whose Mexican food has won the 'Best In Show' award forever. Chuchi was there, who we have been told is Irmita's brother, but the serving counter was surrounded by men in white & green thick striped uniforms with 'PCF' on the back, waiting for their tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and fajitas. Turns out that they are low risk prisoners from the nearby Purgatory Correctional Facility, once home to unlucky Brian McCluskey. We have been inside, and it is not as bad as the name might suggest. The facility is contracted to provide labor for assembling the Fair, and doing work such as managing the trash. The guys seemed to be having a rare old time on their night out. Before anyone writes to complain that there is an implicit anti Mexican bias in this piece, we hasten to add that only one of Chuchi's PCF customers looked even vaguely Mexican: good food knows no ethnic limitations.

Eventually we chose 'Larry's Fish & Chips'. The Brits in the party were taken aback that of the two pieces of fish in a portion, one was Pacific Red Salmon, and the other was Cod. We decided that hundreds of miles from the ocean, there really is no such thing as 'locally available fish'. The American's in the party were aghast at this breaking of tradition, whereas the Brits just ate up their salmon with much smacking of lips. The chips were made from potatoes with skins, something that gets our full approval. There are many fish & chip shops in the UK that serve less appetizing fare.

At this point things went rapidly to extremes. There was a Baskin Robbins stand, which offered buttered pecan ice cream - wow! Further along they were serving something called 'Buttered Honey Scones'. Clearly this treat had honey and butter, but the scone part seemed nearer to the 'Heavenly Touch of Pennsylvania Dutch' treat known as Funnel Cake, being a fried sweet batter dripping with melted butter and hot running honey. We tried the samples that were proffered, but although they were delicious, we decided it was a pre-packaged coronary infarction just looking for somewhere to happen.

We had a great night out, but every time we drink tea the thought arises, "Wouldn't this be nice with a hot Buttered Honey Scone."


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas, ease after war, death after life does greatly please. - Edmund Spenser, poet (1552-1599).



On This Day In 2002: Two Faces Of War - Friday 9 August 2002
Faceless Soldier by Matthew Hannen
LEFT: 'A U.S. Army member from the 95th Chemical Company Ft. Richardson, Alaska, waits to take off his protective mask during Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical decontamination training at the Valdez, Alaska city terminal on April 27, 2002. Personnel from the 95th Chemical Company and the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobil [sic] Unit 11 Whidbey Island, Washington provided joint Personal Protective Ensemble training during Northern Edge 2002. Northern Edge is a combined, joint exercises hosted by the U.S. Alaskan Command that incorporates theater missile defense, force protection, air to air fighter aircraft exercises, combat search and rescue, and harbor defense and maritime operations.'
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Hannen) (Released)
Photo by: SRA MATTHEW HANNEN, 1CTCS
Record ID No. (VIRIN): 020425-F-9528H-017

Megan Moriarity by Christopher Dries
LEFT: 'Senior Airman Megan Moriarity of the 128th Air Refueling Wing Personell [sic] Flight, Wisconsin Air National Guard, prepares for a feild [sic] training exercise utilizing the M.I.L.E.S system while deployed at Volk Feild [sic] CRTC, Wis., on June 12, 2002.'
(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Dries) (Released)
Photo by: MSGT CHRISTOPHER DRIES, 128TH ARW
Record ID No. (VIRIN): 020612-F-5042D-001
The quoted captions, and their annotations, are verbatim as they appeared on the Department of Defense web site, but with IDs made into links to the original pages. We have no comment to make, preferring that the pictures and captions should speak for themselves. There are 70 pictures in the DoD images gallery, which may be emailed as electronic postcards.

[When this item first appeared we received by email the question, "What was your point about the two army people?" In view of the fact that this came from someone with a web site offering courses in art philosophy, we were nonplussed. We still think that as a pair, with captions and annotations, that the point is self evident. We decided that this must have been a searching question designed to put us on our mettle.

We are prepared to answer anyone who similarly seeks an explanation, provided we first receive the correspondent's own attempt to give a point to the item. Our mentor was strongly against granting instant erudition: he said it was philosophically dangerous. "In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves." (Edward Bulwer-Lytton 1803-1873) That has to mean that there are no shortcuts, right?
]

Friday 8 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: Big Kids Night Out At The Fair

CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
MAPS: flight area, and Sky Mountain (courtesy of Sky Mountain Golf Estates.)
Large monitor users: [1] [2] [W1200xH900 pixels 150KB] [3] [4] images available.
Click on any of the thumbnails to popup an enlarged picture.
Purgatory Flats © Ian Scott ParkerUtah SR-9 Cutting © Ian Scott ParkerSky Mountain© Ian Scott ParkerRobinson Helicopter© Ian Scott Parker
Two sets of pictures are available in a special Chopper Flight archive.

Last evening the Big Kids attended the Washington County Fair. Notwithstanding that our minder won the Grand Reserve Champion ribbon for her Sweet Zucchini Relish, the highlight of our visit had to be the helicopter ride. After checking with the pilot that she had never crashed, although we did wonder if the accident probability is lowered by flying with pilots who have statistically fulfilled their crash quotas, we rose gently into the air. That lady has a touch like a mother with her first born.

The thrilling fear and vertigo from the sensation of unsupported flight over the landscape, especially when sitting in the front passenger seat where everything from just in front of one's feet can be clearly seen through the surrounding plexiglass, was something we had never before experienced. The buzz lasted all night.

Over the intercom the pilot chatted with one of the passengers who seemed to have some piloting experience, and mentioned she had a helicopter of her own. When she said she used it to go shopping at the mall, your correspondent belly laughed so hard that the momentum of such a large independently oscillating mass threatened the stability of the craft. Those Arizona gals are something else.

We flew out over Sand Hollow State Park reservoir, which is so new that it is still filling up and does not appear on the maps; across State Route SR-9 over the southern end of Red Cliffs Recreation Site and Quail Lake State Park reservoir; and back over SR-9 to the fairground. From left to right in the pictures: the County Fair site on Purgatory Flats; the cutting where the east bound SR-9 breaches the lava pillows of a volcanic dyke intrusion when heading for the town of Hurricane & Zion National Park; and the outlying community of Sky Mountain, which is built around the town owned golf course just to the south of Hurricane.

The helicopter is a Robinson four seater. Our thanks for such a wonderful experience to all the staff at a AFlightAbove.com. Tomorrow we will be featuring more pictures from the helicopter flight, plus guilt ridden confessions of gross over indulgence.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood.
- Fred Thompson (in a speech before the Commonwealth Club of California), US senator, lawyer, writer, and actor (1942- )



On This Day In 2002: Wilderness - Thursday 8 August 2002
Wheeler Peak Wilderness © www.FotoFeed.com
Alright, people! Enough lounging about on British beaches. We're off back to the USA, and to this picture from John H. Farr's FotoFeed.com web site. This is Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area, Taos, New Mexico. The Wilderness is almost 20,000 acres of land east of the Rio Grande, and just north of Santa Fe (state map). Wheeler Peak, at 13,161 feet of altitude, is the highest point in the state. The USA has 644 wilderness areas, which in total cover over 100 million acres, and together make up the NWPS (National Wilderness Preservation System). Only Kansas and Iowa are lacking in designated wilderness. What is a wilderness? 'Areas where humans are only visitors who do not remain.' What a nice thought to mull over as you drive along congested roads. John has also explored the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area in one of his regular 'Grack' columns. [Check out the 'Mother Earth' picture in that feature! - Ed.]

If you like his work then you can get yourself a daily dose by visiting John's new weblog FarrFeed.com, where today there were digital fairies, skulls, and all kinds of other spooky things. Oh, hush my mouth! He asked that we keep that quiet. [Sadly, John has a bad habit of giving in to angst, angry disgust and self loathing (just kidding, John, even though this weblog is a schadenfreude-free zone), which he deals with by deleting previous work in fits of remorse: thus, we are unable to offer you a link to that piece. - Ed.]

Thursday 7 August 2003

Pix Of The Day: A Tale Of Two Canals
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
MAP: Lymm in Cheshire, England, and Fort Augustus, Scotland
Click on either picture to popup an enlarged version.
Bridgewater Canal © Charles WinpennyCaledonian Canal © Charles Winpenny
Quite by happenstance blog favorite Charles Winpenny has managed to dominate today's edition, with entries in this section and in 'On This Day in 2002'. Charles has only recently returned from a trip north into Scotland from his home base in the far south west of England. Sigh, he most probably passed through my own hometown of Carlisle, the last city 10 miles before the Anglo-Scottish border. Mostly, except of course to welcome Charles' return and resumption of his web site, this item is for a correspondent in Australia, who expressed a long held desire to spend a vacation afloat after seeing the item on Terry Smith's excursion to Skipton, which is a town on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.

On his way north Charles stopped off at Lymm, in the English county of Cheshire, which is on the historic Bridgewater Canal. Those who followed the links given yesterday for the abbreviated history, or Mike Clarke's more comprehensive history, will already know the special significance of the Bridgewater Canal.

At the end of his northwards journey, Charles hove to in Fort Augustus. This town is on the Caledonian Canal, which crosses mainland Britain from sea to shining sea. Thomas Telford was the designer: another man revered in the town of Langholm, near to the place of his birth and site of one of his early undertakings, just like astronaut Neil Armstrong, who was the subject of one of yesterday's items. Detailed information on the Scottish canal system is available on the ScottishCanals.co.uk web site.


Quotation Of The Day courtesy of Wordsmith.org

The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time.
- William Butler Yeats, writer, Nobel laureate (1865-1939)


On This Day In 2002: Southwest Beach - Wednesday 7 August 2002

Southwest Beach © www.cornwallcam.co.ukWhile we are at the beach we thought we may as well pop down to see Charles Winpenny, whose CornwallCAM.co.uk visited Portreath on the first Saturday in August. Charles also visited Rosewarne, near Camborne, on the following Monday when he was in Marazion and Penzance, where he was able to photograph some beautiful wild poppies. Sight of these always stirs me to write poetry, but as a recent entry in the Guest Book suggests, I am somewhat of a "little hinkey". Ach well, it's just something that I will have to learn to live with, because it's too late to learn new tricks for this old dog.

Wednesday 6 August 2003

Pix of the Day: Drive By Shooting On Utah's I-15
MAP: St. George, and the surrounding area, (Courtesy of TravelWest.net)
For large monitor users (L) 1200x900 pixels 150KB (R) pictures are available.

I-15 Overpass from the Boulevard © Ian Scott ParkerZion View from I-15 © Ian Scott ParkerHere's a new feature called 'Drive By Shooting', which we welcome anyone to join by sending us a contribution. There are only a few rules: the picture must be taken while touching the vehicle that took you to the viewpoint; only minimal cropping and adjustment of the image is allowed; the picture must clearly illustrate what is really seen by motorists by carefully not excluding all the exciting visual crap that litters our man made landscapes; and sufficient details must be provided (preferably using a map) to allow readers to go there themselves.

Like all poncy art projects this one has a manifesto, an arcane academic justification, a mission statement, resulted from a personal epiphany (we do not claim this took place on the road to Damascus, though examples from that region will be most welcome), and we could probably knock together a Submissions Committee if pressured - but we thought you might prefer just looking at the pictures, and pass on the tortured explanations.

On the left is Interstate I-15, the major north-south road corridor through the Great Basin in the USA. The picture was taken from the east end of the St. George Boulevard overpass, in the city of the same name. In terms of altitude this area is the lowest part of the State of Utah, but the hills in the background, the Pine Valley Mountains, rise to over 10,000 feet of altitude.

The picture on the right was taken by travelling north from the last location to where I-15 emerges from a hilltop cutting, just before the exit on state Route SR-9 for the town of Hurricane and the Zion National Park. Those mighty towering declivities on the horizon are the heights of Zion. The foreground sign reads, 'It's A Great Place To Be A Kid', and is an advertisement for the Coral Canyon golf community.



On This Day in 2002: British Seaside Tuesday 6 August 2002
British Seaside © Don BurlurauxI have a great fondness for visiting Don Burluraux' North York Moors CAM web site, where Don is currently showing the last section of his Cleveland Way walk. [This link has been updated to point to the first section, which is the only one currently available online. However, Don has made available his Cleveland Way CD-ROM. Ed.] This section runs ten miles from Scarborough to Filey. The picture tells you everything you need to know about the British Seaside. If you have been there as a child the memories may well be rushing back. Can you remember the feel of the donkey's dusty coat, and their smell? Certainly takes me back! An old Irish builder in Gloucester, England once referred to a braying donkey that was annoying him, calling it "A Bloody Jerusalem Two Stroke', which I remember every time I see one.

Tuesday 5 August 2003

Pix of the Day: Narrow Boat and Stately Progress
CREDITS: © Terry Smith/Tel's Interesting Trekking Scenes
MAPS: Shotton in County Durham, and Skipton in North Yorkshire, England.

Narrow Boat © Terry SmithIncurious minds may skip the first three paragraphs. It passeth all understanding why we have never introduced you to Terry Smith's 'Shotton Lad' web site, otherwise known as 'Tel's Interesting Trekking Scenes'. We are on the mailing list, visiting faithfully on every email alert of an update, and thoroughly enjoying ourselves when we do visit. We thought some explanation might be in order for anyone born anywhere outside a 100 miles radius from Durham City in north east England, and/or visitors who do not involve themselves in the esoterics of web design.

The diminutive of Terry is 'Tel', and Shotton is, or at least was when Britain still had a coal mining industry, a famous mining town. Terry's web site uses the masked URL forwarding www.Get-Me.To/Tel, whereas we prefer the genuine article, which points to the web server www.ShottonLad.plus.com where the files are really located.

If this was merely another of our fiercely defended though idiosyncratic personal preferences we might hesitate to mention such things, but we will be using our preferred format to ensure that as long as Terry's pages remain in the same place on his web server, you will be able to visit using our URL, even when the content at the masked forwarding URL changes. We thought enquiring minds might wonder at some of the URLs that were appearing in their browser location bars. The web is smoke & mirrors at the best of times, so please forgive this technical digression provided for your comfort and convenience. Normal programming will now resume.

Terry's latest update features narrow boats on the Leeds-Liverpool navigation canal at Skipton. Today much of the canal system is maintained for heritage reasons, and used mostly for leisure purpose, although there is still some commercial usage.

The men who labored to build the canals became known as navvies, a word that has survived to mean someone performing intensive labour, especially if digging is involved. Intensive it must have been, because essentially the canals were hand dug, with some horse assistance but even less mechanically powered assistance. Many of the navvies and other labourers were immigrant Irish men and women, which led to the assertion that the wealth created on England's soil was founded on Irish toil.

Such was the impact of this influx of people, and the work they performed, that as late as the second half of the 20th century mechanical excavators were still known as navvies in the construction plant business. The birth of the world's first Industrial Revolution was ushered in by a period of intense canal building that held the seeds of its own demise: industrialization brought with it steam motive power and the birth of the railway system, which rapidly superseded the canal system as the dominant force in transport. Today the waterways are busy again, but with a different purpose, for a different class of users.


On This Day in 2002: King of the Mountains Monday 5 August 2002
Jos Naylor © Andrew Leaney
After several days spent digitally surfing up and down the Missouri River in search of the 'Mountain Men' of the Old West, I decided to look to my homeland for some modern mountain men. The man in the picture is Jos Naylor, who is known as 'The King of the Fells', the latter being the local word for mountains. This picture was taken by blog favorite Andrew Leaney, as 66 year old Jos stormed past, during the 'Wasdale Fell Race' around the hills of Jos' home valley. You may see the sort of terrain that the course runs over, by visiting Andrew's web site, 'Leaney's Lakeland Fells', in the entry for Saturday 13 July 2002.

The Wasdale 21 miles, with 9,000 feet of ascent over rough country, is just a stroll for Jos Naylor, however. To celebrate his 60th birthday, Jos ran the 60 highest Lakeland peaks in aid of Multiple Sclerosis research. The run was almost 110 miles long and involved nearly 40,000 feet of ascent - the equivalent of running from sea level to the summit of Everest one and a half times non-stop! StridingEdge has an extended video of an ITV documentary that uses both spectacular dynamic aerial photography and action taken by static film crews deployed on the high summits, to record the historic run. When Jos was younger at the age of 35, and 'lisher' as they say in those parts, he set a record of 63 peaks, 92 miles, and 35,000 feet of ascent in inclement weather. There can be few athletes, if any, who in their sixties have broken the records they made in their thirties.

The Karrimor International Mountain Marathon (KIMM.com) web site has a photo gallery of fell runners in action: Jos appears in one of the shots. Some members of the band 'Chumbawamba' (appearing as a one recording band called 'Sportchestra') even recorded a song in homage (see Track 69 'Jos'). Jos is a member of the Cumberland Fell Runners club. Another runner to take up a challenge is Steve Vickers with his Project244, which is turning into a comprehensive photo gallery of many of the Lakeland fell tops.

My informants tell me that if you hang out in the bar at the Santon Bridge Inn at Wasdale, you may come across 'The King of the Fells', and if you are lucky enough, you might even get to buy him a glass of the amber nectar!

Monday 4 August 2003

Pix of the Day: On This Day in 2002
Google answers for the search term "Sunday 4 August 2002". CREDITS (L. to R.):
© Thomas Mattern & Dave Houston/Snares Islands Project
© Eric Lindsay & Jean Weber/Avalook at Australia - News Issue 35
© Paul English/Falmouth Photo Page
© BBC Radio 4/The Food Program - Raspberries
Oamaru Blue Penguin © Thomas MatternFloating or Swimming © Eric Lindsay & Jean WeberMeaningless Stove © Paul EnglishRaspberries © BBC
The Jim Bridger archive is now online. Today we have once again combined the regular 'Pix of the Day' feature with the 'On This Day' feature: we hope you will follow the links to at least one of these sites.

We greatly enjoyed the Snares Islands Project (German language page - click the flag in the top right hand corner to switch then continue in English) from Thomas Mattern and his colleague Dave Houston. However, the site is mainly in the form of a project diary that has an irritating 30 second undocumented auto update to load last diary entry. You may like us be old and set in your ways, preferring to start at the beginning on Sunday 14 July 2002, then reading forward to the penultimate entry on Sunday 6 October 2002. There are ten diary entries, plus #11, which is accessed as the 'Start Page', and is for Sunday 27 October 2002.

We think this was a work in progress when the ship went down, or we are just getting too old and long in the tooth to cope with anything where we are not led by the hand. Even so, we think this site is worth the effort: there are good sections on the Snares themselves, which are south of the main South Island of New Zealand, and the project itself, but the section on 'The Snares Crested Penguin' seems never to have been completed. The thumbnail is from the diary entry for Monday 4 August 2002, of course, and the image is captioned on the popup as 'Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony - This season's first egg'.

The apparently least interesting thumbnail in today's selection led us to another very interesting antipodean web site: Avalook features 'Australian places and activities of interest to independent, active, over-50 travellers who want to get away from the major cities, and prefer not to take a packaged tour.' Provided 'independent' does not mean 'independent means' then the description fits us like a glove. We thoroughly enjoyed the travelogues on the web site - we just wish the pictures had been upsized somehow to do them justice. We will return later for a prolonged visit!

Sometime photographer Paul English must be worth reading, if only for his views on web sites versus blogs: did we mention that he once met Tim Berners-Lee, and discussed this very subject? What we loved about the featured page is that it is dated, which is how we found it, and titled, which is a technical requirement though the name is singularly unhelpful thank goodness.

Beyond that the page is just a collection of images of nothing very much in particular, the sort of thing that we very much enjoy, albeit that we declared earlier that we had a need to be led by the hand. The bicycle and the kitchen stove appeared in Google's answers: we are sure Marcel Duchamp would have no problem making sense of such a page. On Paul's home page check out the amusing feature 'Not Me' in the top left hand corner - click the picture and the asterisks.

The wireless show The Food Programme represents for the UK what in America is called 'quality programming' by National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Here in America the excellent public services have to grovel for donation money to provide their programs: we think it is high time they were properly funded from federal resources in the same way as their UK counterparts. Quality programming is not something that should be left to the caprices of public opinion and charitable giving, but rather something that is forced upon the population, whether they like it or not, for their own good and at their own expense. Societies that aim low risk missing: just our contribution to the debate.

The sidebar links to 'Previous Programmes' on that BBC web page will keep foodies busy for many hours of harmless, but informative, enjoyment and education. Check out Derek Cooper, one of the stalwarts of the BBC.

We hear those people who moan about the quality of all forms of media, but we are bemused: we think they must be reading the wrong newspapers, watching the wrong TV programs, and listening to the wrong wireless stations. We need at least another 12 hours in every day just to enjoy a small proportion of the wonderful stuff that is freely available, or at least available at a very low relative cost, in every part of the English speaking world that we can reach. Access to even more, from even more cultures, is only constrained for us by the cost.

Sunday 3 August 2003

Pix of the Day: More Quiet Times in Longsleddale
CREDITS: © Tony Sainsbury/EyeOnTheLakes.com MAP: Sadgill
Click the images to popup an enlarged version of the picture.

Upper Longsleddale © Tony SainsburyBlea Water & High Street © Tony SainsburyAfter yesterday's delayed update we are back on track with the scheduled second part covering Tony Sainsbury's walk from Longsleddale over Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike. These green and lovely hills bring back many memories: the picture on the left shows the track up Longsleddale to Gatescarth Pass, with Buckbarrow Crag on the right; the picture of the right shows Blea Water and High Street, with a glimpse of Blencathra in the far distance.


On This Day in 2002: Jim Bridger Biography Saturday 3 August 2002

Picture credits: the portrait of Jim Bridger from Utah State Historical Society; the Ashley-Henry advertisement from the Missouri Historical Society (to comply with the requirements of the copyright holders we regret that we had to remove this resource, but it can be seen courtesy of Earl Cook on his William Henry Ashley page; and the drawing of Jim Bridger as a trapper from The Kansas City Star.
Jim Bridger © Utah State Historical SocietyAshley-Henry Advertisement © Missouri Historical SocietyJim Bridger © Kansas City Star

James Bridger (17 March 1804 - 17 July 1881) Bridger was born in Richmond, Virginia and soon after moved with his family to the American Bottoms, on the opposite bank of the river to St. Louis. In 1817, after both parents died, Bridger supported himself and his sister by operating a ferry boat across the Mississippi. Later he was apprenticed to a local blacksmith. In those days St. Louis, then later Independence, and by 1840 Westport were 'The Frontier', for reasons explained on the Westport Historical Society web site.

Tiring of his apprenticeship, in 1822 Bridger signed on with other legendary 'Mountain Men' Hugh Glass, Jedediah Smith, and Thomas Fitzpatrick to be a member of General William Henry Ashley's Upper Missouri expedition. At the age of 17, he was the youngest member of the expedition.

Lewis and Clark had followed the Missouri as far as they could, presumably in the hope of finding a trans–continental route that was, as far as possible, by water to make for the easiest method of transport. This route, however, goes far north almost to the modern Canadian border, which means the high passes were only open for a short late-summer season. Even today the passes used by Lewis and Clark make a very difficult passage. The key to crossing the Rockies was South Pass.

Who discovered the Pass depends on whom you read. The invaluable Mountain Men and the Fur Trade web site contains an important letter among its library of historical source documents, dating the discovery to 1812. Certainly by 1822 Ashley, with Bridger in the party, was headed that way. Ashley is credited with instigating the 'Rendezvous System', whereby his trappers would work in the field for a whole year, then meet at a predetermined time and place to trade their stash of pelts for supplies. The Green River Rendezvous was reckoned to be the biggest of these meets. William Earl Cook has several photo web pages on the Green River Rendezvous re–enactment near Pinedale, which will give you modern visualizations of those times. Bridger's rifle can be seen on the Museum of the Mountain Man web site, and his binocular and Hawken rifle from c. 1850 on the Montana Historical web site.

At the Rendezvous Bridger was noted for the tall stories told around the campfire. Once, when pressed by a British journalist to describe how he'd escaped from a box canyon, penned in by attacking Indians, he explained, "Oh, that time I never did. They killed us right there." Bridger had a Blackfoot arrowhead stuck in his back from an Indian battle. It had been there three years. At one Rendezvous Dr. Whitman did surgery on Bridger's back to get the arrowhead out. Dr. Whitman asked Bridger how he lived so long and Jim said, "Meat does not spoil fast in the Rockies."

To settle a bet in the winter camp of his trapping party of 1824, Bridger set out to find the exact course of the Bear River from the Cache Valley. On his return he told that it emptied into a vast lake of salt water. People were convinced he had found an arm of the Pacific Ocean, but we now know that he was the first white man to view the Great Salt Lake (although some dispute this in the absence of a written record).

In the summer of 1842, aware that the market for beaver was waning and anticipating America's westward migration, he and fellow trapper Louis Vasquez founded a trading post on Black's Fork of the Green River, in what is now southwest Wyoming. Fort Bridger quickly evolved into an important way station on the Oregon Trail. He described it thus in his approaches to suppliers: "I have established a small store, with a Black Smith Shop, and a supply of Iron on the road of the Emigrants on Black's Fork Green River, which promises fairly, they in coming out are generally well supplied with money, but by the time they get there are in want of all kinds of supplies. Horses, Provisions, Smith work etc brings ready Cash from them and should I receive the goods hereby ordered will do a considerable business in that way with them. The same establishment trades with the Indians in the neighborhood, who have mostly a good number of Beaver amongst them."

Bridger's most important discovery came in 1850. Captain Howard Stanbury stopped at Fort Bridger and inquired about the possibility of a shorter route across the Rockies than the South Pass. Bridger guided him through a pass that ran south from the Great Basin. This pass would soon be rightfully called Bridger's Pass and would be the route for overland mail, the Union Pacific Railroad, and finally Interstate 80.

Fort Bridger grew in importance as emigration westward increased on what became known as the 'Oregon Trail'. The wagon trains carried people bound for the gold fields of California, the lands and forests of the northwest, and the Mormons escaping religious persecution to found the 'Desert Empire' in the Salt Lake Valley. In 1859 the Lander Cutoff opened, between the South Pass and the Snake River valleys, and that year 13,000 emigrants used the route. Many of them scratched their names on Names Hill where you may still see Bridger's 'signature', scratched when he passed that way in 1844. In 1847 Bridger met Brigham Young, president of the LDS (Mormon) Church. At first relations between the owners of Fort bridger and the Mormons were good, but later frictions resulted in the sale of Fort Bridger to the Mormons for $8,000 (the LDS website says $18,000) in 1855, though the second half of the payment was not made until 1858 when Vasquez collected the debt in Salt lake City. Eventually the federal army occupied the Fort, even paying Bridger's widow for improvements made by the Mormons during their occupation. The full story of those times may be read on a highly recommended web site .utahhistorytogo.org, where there is a detailed page dedicated to Bridger, containing many interesting facts.

By 1855 Bridger had 'retired' to a farm in Independence, MO in the old community of Dallas on State Line Road, running from 103rd to 107th Street and east to Wornall Road, presumably bought with the earnings from the sale of Fort Bridger to the LDS Church. On the crest of the hill south of Indian Creek he built a stone farmhouse. He was revered by his contemporaries as 'Old Gabe', and must have been a very colorful member of his local community. In 1866 he bought Chouteau's store, 504 Westport Road, one of the oldest buildings still standing in Westport. He never ran a Westport dance hall and saloon, as has been claimed. His eyesight failed and he died there aged 77 years.

He was buried about 200 yards northwest of 101st and Jefferson Streets on the Stubbins Watts Farm, north of Watts Mill, in the old community of Dallas, MO where he lay for almost 25 years. In 1904 Major General Grenville Dodge, the Union Pacific's engineer who had consulted with Bridger on the railway's route through the Rockies, had Bridger's remains moved to Mt. Washington Cemetery in Independence. A suitably modest memorial marks the place, recording Bridger's achievements, and with an engaging sculpture of his head set below the plinth. Recently a bronze sculpture with larger than life figures, was unveiled at the new Pioneer Park, Broadway and Westport Road. It depicts the full figures of James Bridger, with John Calvin McCoy, 'Father of Kansas', and Alexander Majors, 'The Great Freighter', sculpted by Tom Beard.

Bridger had three Indian wives: Flathead, Ute and Snake. He was not a 'squaw-man', however, marrying all the women, and when they died sending his children east to Missouri to be educated. Bridger himself, although illiterate was highly intelligent, and once employed a German boy at $40 a month to read Shakespeare to him, which he would later quote extensively. There was a First Day of Issue 29 cent US Postal Service stamp on 18 October 1994. Beer, a hat, and even a power generating plant have been named after Bridger. More than 20 places, including a wilderness area, carry Bridger's name: the most fitting memorials to this legendary explorer.

My interest in finding out more about James Bridger stems from a tale my father told me as a small boy in the UK: he said that Bridger once claimed that on his wanderings in uncharted territory, "Often I didn't know where I was, but I was never lost". That's a fair summary of my own life.

This was the last of three parts, all now available in the Jim Bridger archive.
Saturday 2 August 2003

Pix of the Day: Quiet Dales of Eastern Lakeland
CREDITS: © Tony Sainsbury/EyeOnTheLakes.com MAP: Sadgill
Click the images to popup an enlarged version of the picture.

Sadgill © Tony SainsburySadgill © Tony SainsburyTODAY'S ITEM has been delayed by drunkenness among the crew. OK, we 'fess that like the Ark (Noah in Genesis 9:21, the first intoxication on record) it was the captain who was the offender. Just kidding, but while were out researching a forthcoming item, Dairy Queen desserts of the most disgusting kind were eagerly consumed.

Tony Sainsbury seems to have a preference for walking in the absence of crowds, and often comments on his good luck in finding quiet paths even on holiday weekends. Recently he traversed the valley of Longsleddale (in the way of the native speakers of the area you may pronounce that without too much bothering about the vowels), whose north draining twin is called Wet Sleddale; a name and a warning. The two featured pictures are of Tony's starting point at the lonely steading of Sadgill, from where he ascended Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike.

In Tony's own words, "Well, it's the height of the tourist season, but during my entire walk today I had the fells to almost to myself, meeting less than a dozen other walkers. However, when I got back home to Ambleside the place was absolutely packed! Just goes to show that you can always avoid the crowds if you wish."

This weblog visited Sadgill once before, though Dave Newton, whose web site has recently been added to the UK-CAM sidebar menu, was our guide on that occasion. John Dawson has an alternative route description for a Longsleddale Round, with more photographs. Ann Bowker has an archive of pictures taken on her walks in the Far Eastern Fells, and is currently featuring (content may change by the time you visit, but we expect that it will eventually be archived if you search for '27/7/03') a walk that intersects with Tony's on Harter Fell. Andrew Leaney has an exhaustive list of Lakeland fells, which includes his own five ascents of Harter Fell, and three of Kentmere Pike, later entries with pictures and useful maps.

Tomorrow the weblog will feature some of Tony's picture of the valley itself, and the often under appreciated surrounding hills.


On This Day in 2002: American Spirit Friday 2 August 2002

Thomas Jefferson © [www.whitehouse.gov]Sandi Browne [www.concentric.net/~Sbrowne/]Before looking at the life of James Bridger, I thought it worthwhile to look at the historical context of his achievements. Three important factors were 'Manifest Destiny', the demand for Top Hats, and 'American Spirit'. As the nineteenth century dawned the newly created nation of America was looking west beyond the frontier of white civilization to the unknown, but potentially exploitable, lands beyond. Thomas Jefferson, pictured above left, sent Merriwether Lewis and William Clark on the famous expedition. It was not until 1845 that John L. O'Sullivan would use the expression 'Manifest Destiny' when he wrote "".... the right of our manifest destiny to over spread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federaltive development of self government entrusted to us. It is right such as that of the tree to the space of air and the earth suitable for the full expansion of its principle and destiny of growth." The idea had clearly taken a firm hold long before. The expedition failed to achieve the intended goal of establishing an easy route from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but imaginations were fired.

As they returned down river to the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi, there were already trappers following the trail blazed by the Corps of Discovery. The prize they sought was the pelt of the beaver, to supply the European demand for Top Hats. The thing that ties all this together is the 'American Spirit' of people prepared to be highly mobile in pursuit of opportunity. The lady pictured is Sandi Browne: with her husband Stan, the tradition of 'American Spirit' continues as they explore America together in their motorhome. Sandi's bio records her life in the air shows when "I also waved at the crowd from the top wing of a huge Stearman bi-plane while it flew upside down close to the ground." Stan's bio records his life in the electronic components industry. 'Average' Americans if such a thing exists. In the picture Sandi models a real beaver pelt top hat in the factor's house at Fort Vancouver, WA the regional headquarters for the Hudson Bay Company.

We recommend the following links for further study of these three topics that were to determine the future course of the emerging nation of the USA: Thomas Jefferson's brief biography on the White House website; Manifest Destiny on the Revolution to Reconstruction website; Lewis and Clark on the PBS web site, and on the VIAs web site; Beaver Fur Hats on the White Oak web site (which provides 'living history' interpretations of the fur trade era within the Great Lakes region), and The Fur Trade: Beaver Powered Mountaineering on the Mountain Men: 1810-1860 web site; an excellent (worthwhile 1Mb download -- scrollable graphic) map of the Westward Explorations 1800-20 from the University of Texas online library; and Sandi and Stan Browne's web site, with picture galleries of their travels.

This was the second of three parts, all now available in the Jim Bridger archive.
Friday 1 August 2003

Pix of the Day: Aussie Casomorphine Legal Highs
CREDITS: © Bruce Henderson/WarrnamboolCAM.com MAP: Great Ocean Road

Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory ©Bruce HendersonWe saw this handsome picture on a routine visit to Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia. Apart from the fact that we appreciate the visual beauty of many large scale industrial plants, this one has a special appeal: inside those silos are held the million litres of milk that are daily converted to butter and cheese. Having recently discovered that cheese contains casomorphines, and with morphine having long been our own recreational drug of choice [this is JOKE, albeit weak and in bad taste, born of a sincere gratitude for many pleasant hours of drug induced pain free day dreaming after major surgery - Ed.] we now understand why cheese is so popular.

This story just goes on getting better - across the road from the cheese and butter factory there is a cheese and butter museum! Cheeseworld is not only a museum, they have local wines, and nice looking restaurant. It's good to see plain white starched tablecloths in this age of over casual dining. Imagine being able to offer one's guests some Pont Leveque Warrnambool accompanied by a hearty glass of the Allansford '96 Montepulciano. After all these delights you may continue your journey to view the Apostles: Cheeseworld stands at the junction of Princes Hwy. with theGreat Ocean Rd., which is a magnificent scenic route along the coast.

  
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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)