one day at a time…
Thursday, 30 September 2004

A Small Dog In An Unhappy Daze
CREDIT: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
WHERE: Polperro, Cornwall, England. WHAT: fish & chips.
MAP: Polperro. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Unhappy Daze © Charles WinpennyWe thoroughly enjoyed a virtual two [1][2] part walk around Polperro, Cornwall, with Charles Winpenny (content may change by the time you visit, but check the constantly deprecating side menu or the archives).

Then we examined the take away menu in front of that fish & chip shop. We think that dog is not sitting down waiting to be fed, we think he is sitting down in amazement at the prices!

Even allowing for the fact it is now over three years since we were in the UK, and that Polperro is a seaside vacation town, we were shocked. Cod & chips in St. George, Utah, at the Prime Minister, which is hundreds of miles from the ocean, is cheaper than that price. In an attempt to fly the flag, our American born half has been assured that the portions will be gigantic, even by US standards. As we frequently have to share an entrée so not to waste half a meal each, this did ring a little hollow. We thought perhaps the sign behind the dog should read 'Unhappy Daze'.

Wednesday, 29 September 2004

Searching As A Mourner In Winslow, Arizona
CREDIT: © Craig A. Fuller/AviationArchaeology.com
WHERE: Winslow, AZ. WHAT: air wreck site investigation.
MAP: Winslow. Thumbnail pops-up source web page.

Craig A. Fuller, Aviation Archaeologist © Craig A. FullerWe think the term 'Renaissance Man' is overused, applied in an age of specialization to anybody who has more than two areas of interest. We have heard it said that Leonardo da Vinci, a true Renaissance man if for no other reason than he lived 1452-1519, was the last person to fully grasp the whole body of human knowledge. That excludes so many peoples, the First Americans and the Sino-Japanese groups without even pausing to think, that it is close to offensive as well as shallow, but it does at least provide a kind of yardstick to the specialization of Euro-American knowledge after Leonardo's time.

One of the specialists we have come across recently was Craig A. Fuller, who is an 'Aviation Archaeologist'. Although we find archaeology exciting, Craig is at pains to point out on his 'What is Aviation Archaeology?' page that sites with major airplane fuselage remains are rare. More normally the remains are a burn area, with only a few scattered small parts. The AAIR 'Welcome & Mission Statement' has more details.

It seems that aviation archaeology is not one of the areas of knowledge reserved to cloistered academics: the requirement for numbers of ambulant searchers probably precludes such exclusivity. Craig's research is openly inclusive, and we reproduce below an invitation to join him in Arizona on a hunt for evidence:

From: Craig A. Fuller

This Sunday I am going to look for two crash sites just east of Flagstaff: 12 FEB 44 B-17G s/n 42-31705 from Kingman AAF crashed 30 miles west of Winslow. Capt. John R. Knox and a Naval Lt. E.H. Johnson were killed in the crash. 1st Lt. Frank Rowe, 2nd Lt. Jack N. Wallace, Sgt. Elwyn E. Epstein, Cpl. John E. Beeman, Sgt. H. P. Sharetts, and 2nd Lt. W.R. Helm all received minor injuries. 28 MAR 43 BT-13A s/n 41-1586 and BT-13A s/n 41-1602 from Twentynine Palms, CA collided 30 miles west of Winslow near light 43B on Green Airway # 4 and near Gordon Dam. Civilian Glenn Robert Leach and F/0 Keith W. Travis were killed in 586. 2nd Lt. Joseph L. McClellan Jr. parachuted safely, while Norman H. Webber was killed in 602.

If interested in joining the search send me an e-mail for more details.

Craig Fuller, AAIR Aviation Archaeological Investigation &, Falcon Field Station, Box 22049 Mesa, AZ 85277-2049 t.480.218.8198 aair@juno.com

We would appreciate hearing from anybody who joins Craig this weekend, especially if there are any details and photographs accompanying your report.

The headline is not meant to be light hearted, or disrespectful in any way. We recently watched a PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] documentary in the 'History Detectives' series, centered on two propellors displayed on an hotel lawn in Newport, Rhode Island. The investigation gave closure to two brothers, Bob & Paul Westerlund, whose father had died on the USS Eagle 56, torpedoed by a German submarine, the U-505, from which the propellors had been retrieved.

The investigation also discussed a probable cover up by the authorities, and a later correction to the official version of events, which resulted in the retrospective award of Purple Hearts to those aboard the ill fated USA ship. The descendants of the crew of the German boat were not mentioned, but if they hear of these facts there may be closure for some of them, too. We thought that program was at least one possible answer to the question, "What use are history and archaeology?"

Tuesday, 28 September 2004

A More Objective Look At Ivan 04
CREDIT: © NOAA [National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration]/NOAA.gov
WHERE: Grenada, Caribbean Sea. WHAT: Hurricane Ivan 2004.
MAP: Grenada. Thumbnail pops-up larger image; also available full size.

Hurricane Ivan 2004 © National Oceanic & Atmospheric AdministrationIn the media frenzy surrounding Hurricane Ivan 2004, it was worryingly easy to become jaded by news overload. Much of the coverage began to look less like serious news reporting, and more like ugly voyeurism. When it was all over, we began to examine some of the objective reporting. Notwithstanding the losses, both life and property for which the victims have our sincere sympathy, this web site is about images so we are constrained in our main response.

The Wikipedia page was the best information clearing house we found, and for those interested in a particular topic connected to the hurricane, it will probably lead you to the most suitable sources. We chose a picture from NOAA [National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration] using GOES-12 1 km visible satellite imagery.

The picture shows Hurricane Ivan at 11.9°N 61.2°W in the Caribbean Sea west of Grenada on 07 September 2004 at 19:45 UTC (15:45 AST) when it was rated as Category 3, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 120 mph. Users of larger monitors may enjoy a full sized [833x656 pixels] version. Wikipedia has links to other photograph resources, including one from the International Space Station featured on the APOD [Astronomical Picture of the Day] web site.

Monday, 27 September 2004

Sequestered Bliss On Either Tide
CREDIT: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
WHERE: Towan Beach, Newquay, Cornwall, England. WHAT: dwelling for reclusives.
MAP: Newquay. Thumbnails [1][2] pop-up larger images.

Towan Beach House 1 © Charles WinpennyTowan Beach House 2 © Charles WinpennyWe flitted back to CornwallCAM.co.uk to check something in reference to yesterday's picture of anemones, and while we were there spotted an old favorite location, the reclusive Towan Beach house that we covered back in 2002. What was to have been our next item is proving to be a complex subject to bodge into shape, and we have also been tripped by one of those late discoveries that questions the accuracy of earlier information upon which we were basing the article. So as a stop gap measure, and a great picture to boot, we decided to run Towan Beach as an update, alongside the original picture.

Sunday, 26 September 2004

Flowers Of Summer Fading Away
CREDIT: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
WHERE: Helford, Cornwall, England. WHAT: flowery delights of the late season.
MAP: Helford. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Helford Japanese Anemones © Charles WinpennyWe joined Charles Winpenny for a virtual walk around the Cornish village of Helford. Visit Charles [content may change before you visit] to see the swans, thatched cottages and pub, and the tidal watersplash, in this charming rural setting. The thumbnail picture is of Japanese anemones growing against an old whitewashed wall. We found it hard to pin down, but we were reminded of an unidentifiable painting. Edward Burn-Jones or William Morris come to mind.

The image also brought back memories of an early October day on the Caux Plateau of Normandy, France. On the higher ground of the plateau it was fully autumn, with plowed fields and shooters with dogs walking among the furrows to cull the male pheasants before the onset of winter. Even that late in the season, as we dipped into the deep river valleys that have cut themselves into the chalk, it was still late summer and surprisingly hot in the sun traps formed at the valley bottoms. The flower blooms in the villages we passed through were rich hued, with that slightly overblown look they have just before they wilt and die. Perhaps if we had known how things were going to turn out, they might have turned out differently.

Saturday, 25 September 2004

Soft Selling Colors Of Autumn
CREDITS [L. to R.]: © Neil McWee/William Joseph Gallery
© Michael Yamashita/NationalGeographic.com
© Heather Forcier/NaturePhotographers.com
© Mike Goldstein/ApogeePhoto.com  © Quang-Tuan Luong/TerraGalleria.com

WHERE: Vermont, USA. WHAT: tree Q3 colorways.
MAP: Vermont. Thumbnails [1][2][3][4][5] pop-up source pages.
New England Fall 1 © Neil McWeeNew England Fall 2 © Michael YamashitaNew England Fall 3 © Heather ForcierNew England Fall 4 © Mike GoldsteinNew England Fall 5 © QT Luong
This is the end of a very trying week. We have battled with the crazy world of digital video: mostly we have been succesful, notably by 'reverse engineering' a DVD with corrupted menus and file ordering. So, the martini shaker is chilling in the freezer; but because the sun has not yet sunk below the yard arm, we are marking time.

We were feeling too frayed to make much effort towards a creative entry for today. Just then, the weekend email arrived from our favorite preferred platform computer supplier, SmallDog.com in Vermont. It contained five links to photo web sites featuring the fall colors (autumn if you are a lover of the mother tongue) in that state.

The newsletter writer was staffer Dawn D'Angelillo: "If you've never seen autumn in New England, particularly in Vermont, you are missing one of the most beautiful sights. When the sky is clear at this time of year, it is the most incredible shade of blue that sets off the mountains' shades of red, gold, and green. Because of this combination of colors, autumn in Vermont is a treat for photographers of all abilities.

I can't drive to work during this time of year without passing a photographer pulled over on the side of the road trying to perfectly frame what she sees. From my window at Small Dog, I am treated to a nearly perfect photo opportunity almost every day: at certain times of the day, the light passes through the valley and lands on a section of the river, illuminating a fishing hole that often hosts a fly fisherman."

We appreciate vendors who take a little time to soft sell us some lifestyle first. Content gifts like this certainly make it easier for lazy web authors to create pages. Bish, bash, bosh! Job done! Chink, chink! Chin, chin! Have a nice weekend.

Friday, 24 September 2004

The Upside Down Mirror Feet World
CREDIT: © Crystal Lyn Moran/MirrorProject.com
WHERE: web wide. WHAT: life reflected. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

Upside Down Feet © Crystal Lyn MoranA web site for people who take pictures of themselves in mirrors, with a section devoted to hotel bathroom mirrors, does not immediately seem like a suitable destination for our family-safe links service. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

We persevered, expecting that we might have to resort to that old 'News of the Word' reporter's stand by, "At that point, we made our excuses and left." As we all know, reporters are renowned for their sobriety, clean living, and high ethical standards. We decided to follow the noble traditions of Francis 'Frank' Aungier Pakenham.

Fear not: we saw nothing to make us blush. The featured thumbnail shows Crystal Lyn Moran's picture of what we think of as her 'Upside Down Feet'. We did not think anybody was claiming these to be examples of photographic excellence, or profound in any way; but they can be fun, and definitely a source of ideas for creative photographers. Heather Powazek is the MirrorProject.com webmaster: both productive photographers & enthusiastic viewers may be interested in the latest Powazek photo magazine entitled JPGmagazine, which is calling for contributions.

Thursday, 23 September 2004

Oh, Please Let It Be One Of These!
CREDIT: © Mike Pearson & Richard Warner/Mikes-Eye.com
WHERE: English Lake District. WHAT: pictorial calendars and gifts.
MAP: Lakeland. Thumbnails [1][2][3][4] pop-up larger image.
Lakeland Calendar 2005 April © Mike Pearson & Richard WarnerLakeland Calendar 2005 May © Mike Pearson & Richard WarnerLakeland Calendar 2005 October © Mike Pearson & Richard WarnerLakeland Calendar 2005 December © Mike Pearson & Richard Warner
Every year we receive two pictorial calendars from Britain: it is their way of saying we made a big mistake leaving to live in America. Last year we sent calendars in return, which featured the Grand Canyon, with a cheery note saying, "Drop in sometime!" This is a less subtle hint than that to our calendar gifters; it is a direct but grateful request: "Please, one of you make sure that you send one of these!" We chose the April, May, October, and December images, but if you go to the calendar page on the web site, you will be able to enjoy all twelve monthly pictures, at a larger size too.

Wednesday 22 September 2004,

Deep Red Daylight Electric Storm
CREDIT: © Jackson Bridges/CityOfPage.org
WHERE: Page, Arizona, USA. WHAT: photo tour of the city environs.
MAP: Page. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Red Electric Storm © Jackson BridgesThe city of Page, Arizona, features a photo gallery on the official web site. Naturally, we think this is a feature that every geographically defined web site should emulate, plus a few other kinds of web sites besides.

Photographer Jackson Bridges [1][2][3][4] has the most extensive coverage, with five sets containing nine images in each. We chose a remarkable daylight shot of an electric storm—you will have to click the thumbnail for the enlargement to appreciate the effect. The sets contain several dramatic shots of atmospheric phenomenon. There are some very small navigation glitches, but not enough to spoil enjoyment.

Tuesday, 21 September 2004

Rock Formation With Bad Attitude
CREDIT: © Kagga Kamma Reserve/KaggaKamma.co.za
WHERE: Kagga Kamma Reserve, Ceres, South Africa. WHAT: private game reserve.
MAP: South Africa, Cape Region. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Kagga Kamma Rock © Kagga Kamma ReserveWe found it difficult to look at today's picture without feeling the urge to add an anthropomorphic caption bubble. We guess there is probably a harsh Afrikaans expletive that would fit admirably. Unfortunately we do not speak Afrikaans, though at the Kagga Kamma private game reserve website they do, in addition to English and German.

The picture comes from the site gallery, which we enjoyed even though it needs a little maintenance attention from the webmaster. The sight of a second rock picture… well we leave it to your own imaginations. There is a detailed overview of the reserve history page, an activities page, and a map page with directions: should you be tempted to vacation to see the rock formations, wildlife, and Bushmen paintings, we suggest you explore the site menus. An aircraft runway is provided for those suitably equipped visitors who want to get there quickly.

[Thanks to Ian Pope for drawing attention to our neglect of this part of the world, and in particular to the area around Ceres in the Wineland: glug, glug, glug.]

Monday, 20 September 2004

Twenty Largest Jewels Of The Ozarks
CREDIT: © Jo Schaper/Beginner's Guide to Missouri Springs
WHERE: Mammoth Spring, AR, USA. WHAT: one of Missouri's twenty largest springs.
MAP: Mammoth Spring. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

Mammoth Spring © Jo SchaperOne of the interesting things about the twenty largest springs in the state of Missouri is that one of them, Mammoth Spring, is in the neighboring state of Arkansas. It is one of those bitter twists of irony that we mentioned yesterday when we visited Hodgson Mill: the millwheel there is fed by one of the twenty springs, Hodgsons Mill Spring as you probably guessed. Today's picture shows the errant Mammoth Spring, which lies five hundred feet south from the state line dividing Missouri from Arkansas, although ninety percent of the spring's output is acquired in Missouri. This inequitable division results from using straight lines to divide up the country, rather than the natural boundaries for yesterday's watersheds.

The Beginner's Guide has a full list of the twenty springs, each linking to its own description page with a picture [the Roubidoux Spring is missing its picture]. There is a map indicating spring sites, and a quick guide to the karst geology that has led to the formation of so many springs. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is administered by the NPS [National Park Service] which offers a park information web site.

Sunday, 19 September 2004

To Which Watershed Do You Belong?
CREDIT: © Peter Callaway/Watersheds.org
WHERE: Bryant Creek, Missouri, USA. WHAT: alternative definition of belonging.
MAP: Bryant Creek watershed and location. Thumbnail pops-up source web page.

Hodgson Mill © Watersheds.orgAs individuals, the definition of who we are is often predicated upon our group memberships. It begins with the announcement of our birth, with details of kinship, and ends with notice of our deaths: the more successful among us will be given an obituary or a eulogy detailing achievements within the various groups to which we have belonged in our lifetimes. Often times when reading an obituary people will exclaim, "I didn't know (s)he was one of the…" Of all the ways of slicing and dicing group memberships, one we have never heard is recognition of membership of a particular watershed community.

On Bryant Creek in the Ozarks this may be changing. Perhaps one day people who live within the watershed will be proud to proclaim their membership of the watershed community in the same breath as their other affiliations.

The city of St. Louis stands in the southwest quadrant created by the confluence of the River Missouri running east, and the River Mississippi running south. Further into that hinterland rises the eroded dome of the Ozark Plateau. The plateau drains south and east back towards the River Mississippi, and one of its watersheds is Bryant Creek: this watershed has its own web site, and Watersheds.org informs the ten thousand community members of every facet of the place where they live.

We took the photo tour, but on an extended visit you are sure to find many other delights. We particularly enjoyed 'The Ozark Divide: A Tale of Two Raindrops'. The feature picture shows one of three famous local mill sites, Hodgson Mill, the original home of a nationally available eponymous brand of wholemeal Graham flour products, with an image of the old mill still appearing on the company's packaging.

Indirectly this place is one of the spiritual homes of the graham cracker, a foodstuff aimed at helping you to suppress those lustful thoughts that have been troubling you so much lately. In one of those bitter ironies that life throws at our best efforts, most graham crackers are now made from refined flour.

Saturday, 18 September 2004

Rubber Face & Stiff Knee Problem
CREDIT: © Thomas S. England/EnglandPhoto.com
WHERE: Georgia, USA. WHAT: photo journalism. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

Sport Injury Clinic, Barry University, Miami © Thomas S. EnglandThomas S. England is a professional photo journalist based in Decatur, Georgia, USA. When you visit Thomas, you may choose from the following sections of his portfolio:

[1] Faces; [2] USA Places; [3] International; [4] Commerce; [5] Venice; [6] Latest updates; or [6] Sixties in Chicago.

From our own viewing, we selected this picture of an injured athlete, at the Barry Clinic in Miami, from the Commerce section. We have no way of knowing if the expression, or even the injury, was posed given that it does not come from a reportage section, but that guy must wish his knees were as flexible as his face. If you want to bring back a few memories, or not as the introduction explains, the Sixties section makes an interesting contrast with today's routinely full color pictures.

In reference to our comments yesterday, about defacing images to 'protect' them, we offer this thought to those who disagreed: if someone like Thomas, whose livelihood depends on selling his images, feels comfortable allowing some free access to his work, what is it you are trying to achieve? We are not looking at your pictures, but we are looking at Thomas's portfolio: that must tell you something.

Friday, 17 September 2004

Sharing The Wealth Over The Web
CREDIT: © Andy Bannister/LakeDistrictDesktops.com
WHERE: Watendlath, Cumbria, England. WHAT: classic Lakeland view.
MAP: Watendlath. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Ashness Bridge © Andy BannisterWe read recently that Glasgow's Kingston Bridge over the River Clyde in Scotland carries more vehicle movements than any other bridge in Europe. Such statistics always send us spinning into conjecture for several days, and when we saw this picture we began to wonder if this might be the most photographed bridge in Europe, or even in the world possibly. This is Ashness Bridge in the English Lake District, a classic Lakeland view point since photography's early day.

High above the main valley of Borrowdale, which contains the lake of Derwentwater that you may see in the picture, ten thousand years ago a glacier in the last Ice Age cut a hanging valley. This bridge is on the road from the valley floor to the hanging valley hamlet of Watendlath, which lies beside a tarn (a small lake — the word is of Norse derivation, meaning tear) of the same name. This view has been used on countless local products, calendar pictures, and company logotypes. Familiarity, it seems, can sometimes breed admiration and respectful imitation.

Andy Bannister's work, from his LakeDistrictDesktops.com web site, has appeared here in earlier features. Andy obviously enjoys walking and photographing in Lakeland, despite the long journey northwards from his home. In turn he shares that joy, and if you visit his web site you may download one of his 180 images to use as desktop wallpaper. There is no charge, and no catch. It is just generosity of spirit from someone who shares the wealth. Cast your bread upon the waters…

Today's feature was going to be from a site where the work is also of the finest quality, and the methods used to obtain the images were of compelling interest: however, every image we viewed at the larger size was defaced by a copyright symbol and the photographers name. Defaced means a notice slap across the middle in heavy black type, so that there was no enjoyment for the visitor. We understand that there are sometimes commercial or intellectual rights issues that make such a step necessary. On this occasion we searched in vain for any indications of such issues. Like other forms of mindless, purposeless vandalism, why?

Thursday, 16 September 2004

The Spirit Of Brunel And Telford
CREDIT: © NAME/SeagullTrust.org.ok
WHERE: Falkirk, Scotland. WHAT: unique rotary boat lift.
MAP: Falkirk. Thumbnail pops-up source page with picture series.

Falkirk Wheel © Seagull TrustDetails are important, but only when they substantiate the greater whole. If we do not take care, our lives will be frittered away by details. To be purposeful we need grand designs, writ large on the canvas with bold brushstrokes.

The Seagull Trust knows about such things: "Free Canal Cruising in Scotland for Disabled People". It sounds almost like a rallying cry to spur on the troops. They also know how to present information with the same simplicity and force: when we went looking for details of the Falkirk Wheel we found them on the Seagull Trust site, all neatly summarized in a single page with a few pictures and some paragraphs of text.

The Wheel is the world's first, and so far only, rotating boat lift. In a single massive yet elegant machine, a job that might otherwise require a flight of eleven locks is undertaken by a structural engineering triumph possessed of extraordinary sculptural beauty. The spirit that drove Brunel and Telford has triumphed in an age when bold proposals are usually emasculated in the Byzantine contortions of myopic committees.

Those among our visitors who wish to fritter their lives away on the details may want to visit the official Falkirk Wheel web site, and James Gentles has archived an exhaustive set of links to the development and completion of the project, which includes a photo highlights gallery. The details are delightful!

Wednesday, 15 September 2004

Got A Wheel? Then Add A Motor!
CREDIT: © Kerry McLean/Personal Page on 'American Road Shop'
WHERE: Walled Lake, Michigan, USA. WHAT:
MAP: Walled Lake. Thumbnail pops-up larger image on source web site.

Rocket Roadster © Kerry McLeanYesterday, when we asked rhetorically "Whatever Will They Think Of Next?" we should have known that anything with a wheel will eventually end with a motor attached. The history of monowheels, and later motorwheels, goes back further than we imagined. Douglas Self's Museum of Retrotech shows an example built by Rousseau of Marseilles in 1869. This web resource is a comprehensive delight for visitors.

There are those, such as acrobat Jackie Chabanais with his Tractowheel, whose approach is less than completely serious. In a similarly whacky British Channel-4 TV programme 'Scrapheap Challenge', both teams in the competition managed to complete working monowheel machines, guided by expert Kerry McLean. Kerry built his first monowheel over twenty years ago, holds the world monowheel speed record, and is totally serious about monowheels, raising them to a transport art form.

You may visit Kerry's personal page to see both his 'Rocket Roadster' superuser version, featured in our thumbnail picture, and a market version that he will build for ordinary riders. In this context 'ordinary' is clearly a relative term, although the machines are street legal in the state of Michigan at least.

There is further coverage from three specialist sites: 'Classic Motorcycle Mechanics' includes three video clips; BikerWorld has the clips and photo galleries; and on AutomobileMag we saw for the first time the technique for cornering a monowheel. Finally, enquiring minds will want to check out the science [1][2], and learn anti gerbilling techniques before attempting that self build RIOT Wheel project.

Tuesday, 14 September 2004

Whatever Will They Think Of Next?
CREDIT: © CNN/AP/BicycleCommuter.com/BicycleCommuter.com
WHERE: Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. WHAT: monocycles - life inside the wheel.
MAP: Xi'an. Thumbnails pop-up source page with larger images, and details.

Monocycles © CNN/AP/BicycleCommuter.comMonocycles © CNN/AP/BicycleCommuter.comWe found these, something Spike Milligan would have classified as 'Transports of Delight'. We were unable to track down any more information than appears on the source page. We once hit a car broadside on a bicycle: these contraptions do seem to offer some protection, and at least there is no danger of flying over the handlebars like we did, as our knees still attest. The machines raise many questions. What are the handling characteristics? What is their mechanical efficiency? Does the reported price of $350 dollars mean they are playthings for China's nouveau riche capitalist running dogs? Will we ever see monocycle racing? Is there a fat tire version?

Monday, 13 September 2004

A Step Between Merely And Beyond
CREDIT: © Carnegie Corporation of New York/Carnegie For Kids
WHERE: Dornoch, Inverness-shire, Scotland. WHAT: a benefit to all mankind.
MAP: Dornoch. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Skibo Castle © Carnegie Corporation of New YorkF. Scott Fitzgerald knew that the very rich were different, though he failed to note the most obvious difference, which is that they have far much more money than us. There are two divisions of the very rich, however: there are the 'merely rich', and there are the 'beyond merely rich'.

John Hays Hammond Jr., whose Boston, USA, Hammond Castle we visited yesterday, was merely rich, and so had to make do with a pastiche castle imported in bits and pieces, then mixed with fake parts. Andrew Carnegie was beyond merely rich: he had the real thing, whose Gaelic name, Schytherbolle, translates as 'Fairyland'.

Skibo Castle, near Dornoch in the northeast of Scotland, was purchased by Carnegie as a derelict estate, then transformed into one of the world's great houses. No expense was spared to create a luxurious summer home for the Carnegie family, where they entertained their personal friends and the famous personalities of the day.

A Forbes Fact claims: "The castle was the first structure in all of the United Kingdom to boast both hot and cold running water, and electricity. King Edward VII is said to have stayed as a guest of Carnegie's shortly after the renovation was completed. After his visit, the king returned to Buckingham palace and promptly saw to a renovation of his own home to make sure it was as modern as Carnegie's."

There are even allegations that Edward was so starry eyed (pun intended) after his visit that he granted Carnegie special permission to fly a double sided flag — with the Union Jack on one side, and the Stars & Stripes on the other!

You may see today's feature picture of Skibo, along with other pieds à terres used by the family, in a photo gallery on the 'Carnegie for Kids' web site, along with links where you may read more about the life and works of the great philanthropist. Margaret Carnegie, the daughter of Andrew and Louise, came to the castle after her parents death, until she was no longer well enough to journey from America.

The property was bought in 1990 by developer Peter de Savary (seemingly known as PDS to his employees, and allegedly flying that flag again), who ran it as a club with paying members to make ends meet. The new owner is in turn a philanthropist, though he has on occasion make known his views on Scottish land reform legislation, and people with drug or alcohol dependencies. PDS has recently moved on to pastures, or at least moors anew, where planning controls are retrospective.

The RampantScotland.com web site has an article by Vivien Devlin, who visited Skibo as a guest (even membership is by invitation) and her review recalls Margaret Carnegie's fervent hope for the castle, "I pray that Skibo will continue to be used to benefit all mankind, which is what my father would have wanted." The Carnegie Club web site offers a five part history of the castle, a two part photo gallery, and a selection of magazine articles about the location.

Of all the articles we read, we think Vivien Devlin hits the nail on the head: "The Gaelic Faeries of Schytherbolle must have been listening, for Margaret Carnegie's wish to continue the legacy of Skibo Castle 'to benefit all mankind' has now come true" — provided you are invited, and you are able to afford the fees, of course.

Sunday, 12 August 2004

The Man Who Needed A Music Room
CREDIT: © Margaret & Eric Anderson/Anderson's America
WHERE: Magnolia, Massachusetts, USA. WHAT: wealthy inventor's play pen.
MAP: New England. Thumbnails [1][2][3][4][5] pop-up source pages.
Hammond Castle 1 © Margaret & Eric AndersonHammond Castle 2 © Margaret & Eric AndersonHammond Castle 3 © Margaret & Eric AndersonHammond Castle 4 © Margaret & Eric AndersonHammond Castle 5 © Margaret & Eric Anderson
When asked why he built the castle seen behind Norman's Woe in yesterday's feature, owner John Hays Hammond, Jr. (1888-1965) is said to have explained that he was interested in organs and needed some space to build one. Hammond was an inventor with over eight hundred patents and four hundred inventions to his credit. He was acknowledged to be the 'Father of Radio Control', a technology that eventually led to the development of missile and rocket guidance systems.

Though he did build a ten thousand pipe organ in his home, he was not the inventor of the brand of electronic organ that coincidentally bears the same name. The castle organ was the used in of series of recordings by Virgil Fox, which have come to be considered classic legacies. Pictures, taken at the time of Fox's 1975 residence, may show how the place looked a decade earlier in Hammond's lifetime.

We were unable to make contact with the official web site at HammondCastle.org of what was built as a tax write-off museum, but author John Dandola, some of whose books are based at the castle, has three [1][2][3] pages full of information. [NB: the web site's page navigation links may not work in your platform/browser combination; our links seemed more robust when tested.] A biography written by Dandola, which is entitled 'Living in the Past, Looking to the Future: The Biography of John Hays Hammond, Jr.', was published in February 2004 after several years of dispute.

The pictures in our thumbnail strip gallery come from the 'Anderson's America' online travelog feature by Margaret & Eric Anderson — sadly Margaret died in early 2003, but we are pleased to report that Eric has continued the series. The Anderson tour continues onward from Hammond Castle, with two [1][2] more pages visiting other New England castles with equally interesting owners.

For external pictures of the castle we visited Michael Goderre at his PBase gallery, and chose five [1][2][3][4][5] images, including two that show Norman's Woe. Despite exhaustive research we were unable to discover who Norman was, or what was his woe, though some kind of nautical mishap seems likely.

Visitors whose interest in this area has been piqued, may enjoy an illustrated online presentation by Joseph E. Garland: 'Gloucester Guide: Stroll Through Place & Time'. In the foreword, "…I decline to be stampeded", is a reassuring introduction.

Saturday, 11 September 2004

Foundering Upon Norman's Woe
CREDIT: © Daniel Smith/Dansm's Kayaking Journal
WHERE: Magnolia, Massachusetts, USA. WHAT: the Norman's Woe reef.
MAP: Manchester-Gloucester. Thumbnail pops-up larger image on source web site.

Norman's Woe © Daniel SmithOne of the sites we visit regularly is the RLP [Real Live Preacher] who is just what the name says. The preacher's site is a safe island of doubt in an otherwise drowning sea of religious certainty. As a writer the preacher takes care to finely craft his pieces, unlike our own 'umble efforts, which are cobbled together in a desperate dash before closing time.

The preacher's latest piece, 'Mark Twain Came Unraveled Last Night', an event we experienced ourselves on the same day we read the sad tale. We thought the story of Twain's nom de plume was known as widely as the name itself. On a day when our own current work in progress unraveled dramatically, and a tech support job foundered on the rock of an unwarranted assumption, we experienced slumping of the shoulders and exasperated exhalation. Regular readers of RLP will know that such thwarted travails are good for the soul, no matter how discomforting.

So, with today's feature looking like the 'Wreck of the Hesperus', we decided as an alternative to show you a picture of Norman's Woe, the reef upon which the vessel foundered in Longfellow's poem. Daniel Smith was the photographer, on a kayak trip off the coast of Massachusetts, a round trip from Manchester to Gloucester and back. The building in the background is Hammond Castle, but that is an item for another day. The area is named Magnolia, where a less sing-song poet, T.S. Elliot, once lived.

Friday, 10 September 2004

Britain's Last Mainland Invasion
CREDIT: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
WHERE: Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK. WHAT: the last invasion of mainland Britain.
MAP: Fishguard-Haverfordwest. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Haverfordwest Castle © Tony RichardsTony Richards from LakelandCAM.co.uk has left northwest England for a vacation in southwest Wales. While he is gone, you may catch his daily updates on his secondary web site. Tony went to Pembrokeshire, which is a peninsula jutting out like a thumb from below the fist of Wales into the Atlantic. One of its major inland towns is Haverfordwest, with the castle you see in today's feature thumbnail, and to the north on the coast lies Fishguard, where this tale begins.

In late February 1797, a French force under a septuagenarian Irish-American commander named Colonel William Tate, landed near the village of Llanwnda in Fishguard Bay. Although the attack collapsed in comic circumstances within two days, it is said to be the last mainland invasion of Britain. The French forces plundered the area around Fishguard, and after their commander surrendered he was led away south along byways to Haverfordwest, avoiding the wrath of the townsfolk in the north.

In 1066 a Norman of Viking descent was commander in chief of the French forces when a more successful invasion was mounted, and later celebrated by the famous Bayeux [1][2] Tapestry. In 1997, on the two hundredth anniversary of the Pembroke invasion, the Fishguard [1][2][3] Tapestry [images in the Photograph Album section on the WestWales.co.uk web site] was created as part of the continuing tradition of a Franco-British love-hate relationship that has been going on for the past millennium.

Thursday, 09 September 2004

Night Time Prowlers Seen In Utah
CREDIT: © J. Scott Altenbach/Utah DWR
WHERE: Utah, USA. WHAT: bat varieties resident in the state.
MAP: Utah. Thumbnails [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] pop-up source pages with larger images
Bat 1 © J. Scott AltenbachBat 2 © J. Scott AltenbachBat 3 © J. Scott AltenbachBat 4 © J. Scott AltenbachBat 5 © J. Scott Altenbach
The technical reasons behind yesterday's débâcle with pop-up links that did not work in some platform/browser combinations, and only intermittently in others, has never been resolved. We suspect that the server hosting the pictures is running some kind of access denial configuration: we chose removing links over copyright violation.

We understand the motives, and sympathize with the issues, that make some sites do this, but we think it is a misguided step. It does not stop image theft enemies. Whatever you may read, and whatever highly priced software you may be offered, and no matter how clever your server tech support, we give you our money back guarantee that preventing image theft from a web site is impossible — though if bandwidth theft prevention is the goal, that can be achieved.

Such measures also thwart friends trying to bring the site to a wider audience. Clearly a lesson to be learned by us is that there is no such thing as too much compatibility checking! Time, regrettably, is a finite quantity, and becoming more so.

The feature did make us wonder just how many species make Utah their home. We found one answer, in fact many answers, on the Utah DWR [Division of Wildlife Resources]. The species are divided into vertebrates (with five sections: [1] fishes, [2] mammals, [3] amphibians, [4] reptiles, and [5] birds), invertebrates (with two sections for mollusks, and insects), and finally plants. The number of entries is so overwhelming that we chose only mammals, then manually selected bat entries.

These selections tie in nicely with an article 'Bats of Utah: A Literature Review' by George V. Oliver, offered as a PDF [400KB] download. The article discusses eighteen varieties of bats, and we found eighteen bat entries in the database that were accompanied by pictures (some entries are still awaiting pictures). We have not yet cross checked for any differences. Seventeen of the pictures were taken by J. Scott Altenbach, and the remaining one [18] was taken by Bruce Bonebrake.

Some readers will be content just to view our five [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] images selected for the thumbnail gallery, but enquiring minds will no doubt feel compelled to view the complete range: [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18].

Wednesday, 08 September 2004

Best Kept Local Secrets Revealed
CREDIT: © Larry Fitzgerald/SGCity.org
WHERE: St. George, Utah, USA. WHAT: Tonaquint Nature Center.
MAP: SW Utah[web page], and St. George [PDF with the outline of the shaded area representing Tonaquint Nature Center at left & center resembling a dinosaur].

NOTE: thumbnail does not pop-up larger images, but does link to the source web site. Pop-up links have been removed because of technical difficulties.

Tonaquint Tortoise © Larry FitzgeraldOn yesterday's visit to the City of St. George web site to acquire the marathon pictures, we stumbled across a page for the Tonaquint Nature Center. The town admits that this is the area's 'best kept secret', and we were astounded by the range of wildlife photographed so close to town by Larry Fitzgerald. The gallery of species looks more as though it was taken on some remote safari destination than in a nature reserve on the edge of a bustling city on a major traffic corridor.

The unexpected bounty of tortoises, lizards, snakes, hawks, ducks, roadrunners, herons, muskrats, and bobcats on the doorstep, is a wonderful privilege: we intend to visit as soon as possible. Meanwhile the center's web page is a good taster.

The name 'Tonaquint' comes from the name of the 1856 settlement, now a ghost town, which in turn was named for the First Nations band living on the nearby Santa Clara Creek, and led by Chief Tut-se-gavits. In 1861 Brigham Young visited the settlement, and foretold the future development of the valley. We doubt if even the expansionist LDS Church president could have envisioned the growth that was to come, and even though natural conservation was not high on the agenda of the early settlers, we hope he would have approved of the reserve at Tonaquint.

Tuesday, 07 September 2004

Marathon Runners Turn Rubber Lug
CREDIT: © City of St. George/SGCity.org
WHERE: St. George, Utah, USA. WHAT: annual St. George marathon.
MAP: SW Utah. Thumbnail [1] and text [2][3] links pop-up larger images.

St. George Marathon 1 © SGCity.orgReading the course description for the St. George marathon in Southern Utah just might give you ideas: from Pine Valley Mountain the road descends 2,600 feet to the town. This is one of those 'lies, damned lies, and statistics' facts. You have been warned. Someone may even mention that Runner's World rated it in the top ten scenic and fastest USA marathons.

The City of St George web site even offers picture [1][2][3] downloads so you will be able to see how pretty and popular this fifteenth largest USA marathon has become. Do not be fooled: we found driving the route in an old truck was hard work! We expect our words of wisdom will pass unheeded: already the entrance lottery has closed, and a rerun drawing took place at the end of August for the very few cancellations. Never let it be said that we did not warn you, even if you turned a rubber lug in our direction. See you there on 02 October. We said, see you… oh, never mind!

Monday, 06 September 2004

Pyrénées Mountain Walk Completed
CREDIT: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org
WHERE: France. WHAT: center section of the Grande Randonnée GR10.
MAP: Gourette-Luchon + source page stages. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Col d'Ilheou on GR10 © Andrew LeaneyRecently we featured Andrew Leaney's French Pyrénées mountain walk along the GR10 [Grande Randonnée 10] with pictures from the first six days. Andrew has now completed days [7][8][9][10][11][12][13] so we chose our own favorite, this time from day [9] from Barages to Lac d'Aubert. More magnificent scenery, and what better way to zoom to the bottom at the end of the walk than than the gondola from Superbagneres to Bagneres-de-Luchon?

Sunday, 05 September 2004

FlightSim Plug-In Also Available
CREDIT: © Jesse & Shannon DeBusschere/SX300Group.org
WHERE: Hurricane, Utah, USA. WHAT: airplane fly-in party.
MAPS: [1:Region] [2a District] [2b District zoomed] [3 Location] [Factmap]
Thumbnail [1] and text [2][3] links pop-up larger images on source web site..

Hurricane Fly-In © SX-300Group.orgAlthough Hurricane, Utah, is a thriving town, and is the location for an 'airport community', this does not make us some sort of Croesan community. Apart from the conurbations around Salt Lake City in the north of the state, Utah is sparsely populated with small towns and smaller rural communities. An airport community has homes around a landing strip, with hangars and garages attached to the houses. One day 'Plane Crazy' Cringley may wing in to visit.

Before we actually saw the place we feared some hideous intrusion on the desert landscape, but the reality has a relatively low visual impact on the fragile natural surroundings: wilderness advocates might not approve, but on the edge of town at the top of the Hurricane Bench and just south of the official city airport, it does not look inappropriate to us, nor that worn negative expression 'blot on the landscape'.

At Grassy Meadows Sky Ranch, to give the airport community its full name, Jesse and Shannon DeBusschere hosted a fly-in for members of the SX300 Group on 20-22 June 2003. Between 1984 and 1989, eighty SX-300 self build airplane kits were sold, although there were only forty sets of landing gear manufactured: let us hope the half without landing gear were never equipped with take off gear!

The fly-in photo gallery reported no such problems. Our feature thumbnail shows the fleet of attending planes, with the Hurricane Fault in the background. The peak of an extinct volcano named 'Mollies Nipple' may be seen on the far left, or on the far right in a picture taken from the irrigated lower Bench. The fleet also appears in another group picture, and we enjoyed Mike and Keith doing what we think may the dubiously named 'low pass', which never the less makes a great picture.

Those of us lacking the wherewithal to purchase a Sky Ranch property, or even the mode of transport without which owning a property there would be pointless, may still be able join in the fun. All that is required is a copy of Microsoft's Flight Simulator program, for which Abacus has written a Sky Ranch plug-in. From there on, the Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Las Vegas are only a virtual simulation away. After our chopper flight, only the real thing will suffice. Maybe if we stood by the side of the Sky Ranch main runway and thumbed a ride?

Saturday, 04 September 2004

Same Old Place-Same Old Grandeur
CREDIT: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
WHERE: Little Langdale, Cumbria, England. WHAT: miniature Lakeland delights.
MAP: Little Langdale. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Three Shires Inn © Tony RichardsIt is easy for us to forget that those living among the kind of scenery depicted in yesterday's Bryce Canyon feature are attracted to things less grand, less awe inspiring, and frankly in many cases much prettier. One of our unvirtual visitors saw today's feature picture of the Three Shires Inn displayed on our computer monitor, and was entranced. Tony Richards from LakelandCAM.co.uk took the picture, in a place familiar from his rounds for the Royal Mail as a postman.

For all those virtual visitors habituated to Rocky Mountain grandeur, or whatever the local equivalent is where you live, please enjoy this scene from the garden sized English Lake District. Although only about fifty miles square, and no higher than 3,210 feet of altitude, Lakeland is full of delightful miniatures. It seems that around every corner is another tiny gem of a place waiting to be discovered.

The three shires in the hotel name are Cumberland, Westmorland, and the Furness District of Lancashire. Administrative boundary changes lumped all these together in the new Cumbria. Old allegiances die hard, so Appleby, after Kendal the second largest town in the former Westmorland, in an act of civilized civil disobedience promptly renamed the former county town to Appleby-in-Westmorland!

The point where the three shires meet at a single point, known as the Three Shires Stone, is still acknowledged by locals. With typical English sang froid (so much so that even the emotion has a French name) they make little fuss. In the Rockies of the USA, the Four [1][2] Corners has exotic Navajos selling fried bread and First Nations crafts [pictures from Klaus Lux & Felix on their huge picture page visit to the area]. Perhaps one day the Three Shires Stone will boast booths selling Kendal's famous mint cake, or even the pork pies that miraculously contain cylindrical eggs!

Friday, 03 September 2004

Start Where You Are & Start Now!
CREDIT: © Robert F. Riberia/UtahRedRocks.com
WHERE: Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA. WHAT: inspirational reflection on life & happiness.
MAP: Bryce Canyon. Thumbnails [1][2][3][4][5] pop-up larger images.
Bryce Canyon 1 © Robert F. RiberiaBryce Canyon 2 © Robert F. RiberiaBryce Canyon 3 © Robert F. RiberiaBryce Canyon 4 © Robert F. RiberiaBryce Canyon 5 © Robert F. Riberia
It has been rather too long since we featured a Robert F. Riberia picture from his UtahRedRocks.com web site. In early August of this year, Robert and his wife Rhonda rose in the pre dawn hours to the accompaniment of the Perseid Meteor Shower. They were off on a camping trip to Bryce Canyon, and afterwards Robert wrote:
Southern Utah really inspires me. It makes me get up in the middle of the night to watch meteor showers, it forces me to hike many miles through the desert to reach a certain viewpoint, and more than anything, it seems to make me ponder the grand significance of it all.

All of the photos on this page were taken last week at Bryce Canyon National Park. I've been exploring southern Utah for nearly 20 years, but the scenery can still knock me off my feet. It was so painfully beautiful while taking these photos that my heart nearly pounded out of my chest. After the intensity of the experience finally settled down, it all began to sink in. And once again, it made me start to think about life.
Visit Robert to read that page, and learn how he has achieved happiness in his own life through 'living with no regrets', and his thoughts on how anyone might be able to do the same. It starts where you are, and it starts now!

If you enjoyed these pictures, you may also enjoy the photo presentation with a growing number of spectacular jaw dropping images from the Desert Southwest area. Look out for the Island in the Sky pictures taken with accompanying desert fog.

Thursday, 02 September 2004

Paper Wasp Too Close For Comfort
CREDIT: © Kenn Wingle/Microbus
WHAT: micro-photography. Thumbnail pops-up source web site larger image.

Paper Wasp © Kenn WingleJust over a year ago, we wrote about an invasion of paper wasps. Kenn Wingle takes close up pictures of such creatures, and by close we mean the sort of thing you might see through a low power microscope. Today's thumbnail feature is a paper wasp, a few of which still drone around our property, though the nest has since been abandoned. Many of Kenn's subjects might be a little scary to be around, but through the lens their micro portraits reveal great beauty.

Kenn's images appear on the specialist Microbus web site, and there are sixty seven of them in four [1][2][3][4] galleries. Kenn has developed his own special techniques to overcome depth of field [the range over which sharp focus can be achieved] problems inherent in this sort of work: the results are very impressive.

Wednesday, 01 September 2004

Omens For Forthcoming Rent Money
CREDIT: © John H. Farr/JHFarr.com
WHERE: Taos, New Mexico, USA. WHAT: gathering storms of various kinds.
MAP: Taos. NOTE: thumbnails ALL pop-up the same source page.
Across the Great Divide 1 © John H. FarrAcross the Great Divide 2 © John H. FarrAcross the Great Divide 4 © John H. FarrAcross the Great Divide 4 © John H. FarrAcross the Great Divide 5 © John H. Farr
John H. Farr writes a series named 'Grack!' from a place he describes elsewhere as the "terrible beauty of Taos, New Mexico". The current issue is entitled 'Across the Great Divide', and is a fine piece of descriptive writing accompanied by sensational pictures. Enough said. We will refrain from 'over egging the pudding'.

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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)