Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Founding Myths...

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Ray Raphael is an unabashed, and unrepentant, child of the Sixties. Describing his college years, he acknowledges his official major was philosophy ...but notes "my real focus was on being an activist."

His activist spirit was fueled by two summers of civil rights work in the American South of the early ‘60s. After completing his undergraduate degree he "became a full-time activist working with 'the Movement' on civil rights and protesting the war in Viet Nam." His 'activist ways' continued as he earned a graduate degree in philosophy at UC Berkeley under the tutelage of "a guy in the department who was an expert in Karl Marx." He later returned to college "...long enough to get a teaching credential" so he could " ...teach high school and resume his work as a radical."


Not exactly the resumé of a writer you might expect to share the "stories that hide our patriotic past" ...as the book Founding Myths is subtitled.

Amazingly . . .he does the Founding Fathers proud ...even as he slices and dices the shiny basket of apples that are 'the stories' we all 'know' about the early days of our nation.


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Read the rest of my review of Founding Myths at my Epinions.com review page.

Founding Myths || Stories that hide our patriotic past


...tom...
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Portraits ... by Steve McCurry

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We have all probably seen her picture. First published in June 1985 as the cover photograph for National Geographic magazine, her beautiful—yet haunting—eyes fix on us. Disheveled hair frames her life-weary face. Cloth wraps round her, covering her head and upper body, ragged holes worn through, telling us these eyes have seen too much. No smile, no frown, no emotion visible. Just ...those ...eyes.

--snip--

In the 200-plus photographs that fill this book, it is the portraits of the children that catch my eye, my emotions. Many of the photos of the adults are richly ornate, decorated for some purpose in their life, either by garb, by possessions, by tattoos, or by the way they have learned to pose their body.

But the children are, for the most part, pure and unadorned. Some are obviously loved and protected. Others appear to be more vulnerable. But all share the exuberance of youth, the joy of the moment, the anticipation of the future that youth brings to the soul.


This is not a book of glamour, though some pictures are of costumed and bejeweled individuals. This is not a book of portraits of rich and famous white people. (Although there is one famous, elegant white guy.) This is a book of portraits of 'people of color', the citizens of the Third World. People surviving. The few pictures of young white people here in the US are almost all portraits of individuals screaming for attention with their tattoos, animals, and hair styles. It is almost embarrassing.

--snip--


See my Epinions.com post here, Portraits / A journey into the soul, to read my complete review of this wonderful book of Steve McCurry's photographs.



...tom...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

captcha idiocy...

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OK . . .I give up.

We are all familiar with the 'captcha' technology (by that brand name and others) required for posting comments at many sites. They serve a purpose I suppose ...but sometimes they are infuriating indeed.

What, for example, does this one 'say'..?? I have no idea. (Click on the image to see the larger image.)




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The second word I can take a guess at . . .but wtf for the first one..?!?

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. . .and yes, I know you can click for a new one. But just another layer of idiocy, IMHO.


Never a dull minute online.


...tom...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flaming hot..!!

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Oh ...my ...gawd.

I have always been a fan of 'puffy' Cheetos. Or more correctly the Cheetos brand of cheese-flavored cornmeal snack. Keep your 'crunchy' Cheetos ...gimme that bag of 'puffy' Cheetos..!!

I also love the Cheetos Flamin' Hot Cheetos. But until recently I had only seen them in the 'crunchy' form.


Today my youngest daughter brought these into the house...





Woohoo..!!




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Look at that golden puffy-yet-crunchy texture..!!

Look at that coating of Flamin' Hot goodness..!!


I am sure I will regret these ever came into my life . . .but for now I embrace them with all the gluttony of a pimply teenager scoring a prom date with the Homecoming queen ...OK, OK ...maybe not quite that much.


But I does have me a new snack food/junk food addiction..!!



...tom...

P.S. I do see, from the Cheetos page at Wikipedia, that they apparently have been around a while . . .but the first time we have seen them here..!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Photos May/June 2011

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Yes, sadly, I resort to a 'photo-post' in the act of applying the paddles to my moribund blog. I truly am pathetic.

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The large silver maple tree in our backyard. It is a pain with all the seeds and leaves . . .but it is good for shade ...and the squirrels love it.

Click the image for the larger pic ...it definitely looks better.



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A stained Adirondack chair that sits on our deck under the silver maple tree . . .and the shadow cast on it, and by it, as the sun falls in the west...



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The bleached rib-bones of a long-dead dinosaur ...at least as imagined for the kids' play area at our local zoo.



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This tool shed has not been visited recently ...dust and spider webs seem to rule now...



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My brother-in-law's bride and her father ...from the arm of one to the arm of another...



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No ...it is not Arabic script. After the wedding, above, was completed, the festivities continued in a back yard full of trees. Strung from the trees were strings of small LED lights. Which produced the above image after dark with all the other lights off. I found it interesting...



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Anyhoo . . .just some recent pics.



...tom...
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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Random Pics 2011

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Random pics taken in fall/winter 2010 and 2011

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A white moth resting on a window screen, strongly backlit with outdoor light.

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A bee gets his pollen on at a flower in our yard.

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A barbed wire fence at a local farm.

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A pre-storm evening shortly before sunset.

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A praying mantis found in our front yard while mowing. Luckily I saw him before I ran over him..!!

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I will leave this one for you to 'figger out' what it is and how it was taken...



...tom...
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

...to Be a Cub

... Waveland Avenue. 'the Friendly Confines', ivy on outfield walls, 'Hey, hey..!! ', 'It might be, it could be...', 1969, 1984... Many words, phrases, and years evoke only one place and one team for a baseball fan ...Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs.

When you add the names ...Brickhouse, Williams, Santo, Sandberg, Caray, Smith, Durham, Sutcliffe, Dawson, Maddux, Wood, Zambrano ...when you add the remembrances of these individuals, and many more, sharing their experiences as a Chicago Cub ...there is no doubt What It Means to Be a Cub will be a paean to the life of a Cubs player and others closely associated with the team.


Photo credit: flickr user wfbakker2 via Wikimedia Commons




Read more about What It Means to Be a Cub on Epinions dot com.



...tom...
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quarterback Abstract

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I am a fan of books that list or compile or compare ...places to visit, best books, words to know, etc.. When you start comparing 'this' to 'that' ...in a heartbeat 'my guy is better than your guy' breaks out and soon David is slinging a stone at Goliath. Fast forward several thousand years, mix in competitive sports ...and the 'Manning vs Brady vs Favre' discussion/argument is on.


"The quarterback has been the pivotal position in football since the 1940s ... Since 1950, 339 men have started at least 10 games at the position. Quarterback Abstract has gathered them all, along with 27 notable pre-1950 QBs."
--Back cover blurb, Quarterback Abstract



Photo credit: bk-robat at flickr dot com



John Maxymuk, librarian and author, has published eight books about professional football. Quarterback Abstracts demonstrates he knows how to collect data, crunch numbers, express opinions, and have fun as a 'sports writer'. All resulting in a 'very helpful' pro football resource book ...one that is fun to read.





Please check out the rest of my review of Quarterback Abstract on Epinions dot com.



...tom...
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gentle Willow...

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"Gentle Willow is a book for children who may not survive their illness. This comforting story ... will also help all children with the death of friends, family members, or even pets."


Pretty heavy task for a kid's book. But too often the specter of death intrudes into a family and into a child's life.

Gentle Willow is a thin, full-size children's storybook written by Joyce C. Mills, a marriage and family therapist. We meet Gentle Willow, a beautiful tree as sweet and friendly as her name suggests. Across the pond lives her friend Little Tree. Cavorting through the branches of Gentle Willow is her friend Amanda, the happiest, care-free squirrel you could ever imagine.





Life is good. Amanda likes to "chase the big yellow butterflies who (dance) within Gentle Willow's long and graceful branches."

One day Amanda noticed her friend "looked different. Her bark was lumpy and bumpy. Her leaves were turning brown, and her branches were turning droopy."


Read the rest of the review at my review page at Epinions dot com.



...tom...
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