Shenandoah Valley

The picture for this Saturday is one taken in 1988 in the Shenandoah Valley.  The eastern mountains are just as impressive as the western, just in a different way.

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Ode to The Hardware Store

I am old enough to remember hardware stores like the one below. They were a big part of my growing up as I found myself fascinated by all the things and wanted to know what they did.

This hardware store is still in service in a small town in Indiana.  There aren’t any Lowes or Home Depots near so maybe it will survive a few more years.

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Beauty In Nature..

I am a person of logic and order so I greatly appreciate finding crystals in nature.  No, I didn’t find the one on the picture below in nature but it is beautiful all the same.   It was in a large collection at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.

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It’s Time For A Divorce Between Red America & Blue America..

crayon-banner  This is a continuation of yesterday’s post about a divorce between Red America and Blue America. This time I will start putting forward my rather warped view of how that might happen.  If you missed yesterday’s post that started this discussion I would recommend that you click the “Home” button at the top of this page and see the post from yesterday directly below this one. Now on to the matter at hand.

Our flag is just too tattered to even recognize it any more. It might be time to go our separate ways but how do we divide up what we currently have? The divide between Red America and Blue America has always been there but it has become a deep abyss in the last almost forty years.  I could start this divorce with in November 2016 but that would not really represent anywhere close to reality. That year was the result of laziness of Blue America to put their voices forward. It allowed Red State America to push forward their extreme candidate.

Now I realize that no State except maybe for Texas (those people are beyond description) is all Red or Blue so there will have to be some migration as a result of this divorce.  You could say we all will be the children of divorce.  Since it doesn’t seem possible to move between our Red and Blue parents we gotta find another way.  For a solution you gotta start somewhere and I propose to do that with the 2012 electoral map.

Looking at the map some things pop up. The northeast and west seem pretty blue so that is probably the core for Blue America. But in order to make a country viable it needs to be connected. To do that means that Indiana, Montana, North Dakota and Arizona will have to give up some land. The question is how much?  Part of the answer is apportioning by population and that is where the next map comes in.  It l

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ooks strange because the map is proportioned by population of each State.

Looking at this population map there just aren’t many people in North Dakota or Montana.  Maybe we could give all those folks who don’t want to be part of Blue America a million bucks each to migrate south and just move those States from Red to Blue? Since the northern part of Indiana is pretty much blue I think we could work out a 30-70 split without a lot of work. I don’t mean to totally ignore the fact that Idaho is in play with a small strip but since no one likely lives in that sliver of Idaho no one would even notice that it switched from red to blue.

2017-10-01_11-51-21Arizona and Utah need to turn blue too so let’s swap those two States for Florida. Population wise the trade would benefit the Red States  so they just might buy into it. Now with all this initial swapping done what would  Red America and Blue America look like? I will hold off on showing you that until the next post in this series early next week.

If you want to chime in on all this silliness put in your two cents now or forever hold your peace. 🙂 I never said that my view of the world was a totally sane one.

 

 

 

 

 

I Think It’s Time For A Divorce..

canstockphoto2610264.jpgcrayon-banner  I imagine the title at got a few of you to click it.  No, although I have sometimes thought about it, it is not about me divorcing my wife of 32 years. I kinda think it is time to start thinking about a divorce between Red and Blue America for irreconcilable differences. I am just not sure if we’ll ever listen to each other anymore let alone come to any agreement on compromise. Our flag is becoming too tattered to even recognize anymore. Its time for a change.

It’s time to start getting ready to go our separate ways and that is what this series of posts is all about. Before I get to a how we do this let’s talk a little about how we got here:

Red America’s solution to everything seems to be to take us back to the States. We tried that solution over two hundred years ago. It was called “The Confederation of American States” where each state was actually almost a separate country with their own laws and regulations. The early founders discovered that type of rule totally unworkable. Red America’ mantra is survival of the fittest. They believe those who accumulate wealth have no more responsibility toward society than those who have nothing.  These  Red America beliefs are very foreign to those in Blue America.

Blue America desperately want healthcare for all, much the same as the rest of the 1st world countries. They think that government, yes even the federal government, is to do the people’s business.  It is to make sure that we all have the same opportunities in life. To do that educational opportunities must be available to all. They think that  we are all in this together and each shares responsibility for the other. Blue America is definitely a brother’s keeper place. The Blue America beliefs contain WAY too much empathy for Red America.

I think we can point to one particular point in history where the abyss between Red and Blue America started and that is in the early 1980s. It is when Ronald Reagan flatly said that government is not a solution to our problems but instead the main reason for them. That started the ultra conservative fringe in America and has increased dramatically since then. Now the abyss in almost bottomless. No one seems to be able to see across it anymore.

Flash forward to today where we have a president that no one could even imagine thirty years ago. He is the epitome of “self-centered”. Nothing matters to him if it doesn’t directly benefit him.  He viciously trashes anyone who dares to criticize anything he says or does.  It seems that RedAmerica loves this guy while Blue America despises him.

It’s time for a divorce due to irreconcilable differences.  Next time I will start giving you  my solution to a successful divorce between Red America and Blue America.

If you feel like getting into this swamp water, post a comment…

Hinterland Beauty

ISOA Banner   For this artsy Saturday I wanted to give you a simple picture that I took about ten years ago while traveling through the middle of our country. I don’t really recall exactly where it was taken; it could be almost anywhere.  But I think it shows the beauty of the country. The general saying is that 50% of the people live within 50 miles of a coastline. While the oceans are beautiful, those folks are missing another type of beauty if they don’t visit the hinterland once in a while.

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Serene..

For this artsy Saturday I want to put up a picture from my many visits to northern Wisconsin.  I don’t really remember exactly where this one was taken as it was in 1998 and there was no GPS at that time. But to me it absolutely reeks of serenity.

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Playing With Light…

Light.jpgI just returned from a four-day road trip InSearchOfAmerica to the Chicago and Rockford IL area. It was quite a trip and made up for the very disappointing one that preceded it.  One site I just came upon ended up one of the most enjoyable.  It was at the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. The special exhibit on display was from the artist Bruce Munro.   From his book that I purchased it stated that he captures light based themes. I will be talking more about that in some coming posts but for now I wanted to give you an idea of what that description means.

I became very fascinated by the idea of using light as primary artistic medium and hopefully will be trying my hands at it in the coming months.

The one picture below is kind of my version of playing with light. The octagonal shapes and sparkles are from a Munro picture on the wall and all the other things in the picture are actually reflections off the picture glass of the other objects in the room.  Kind of neat, if you ask me..

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Shaker Symmetry

I have always been attuned to Shaker furniture and symmetry.  It is probably the most beautiful form to me.  This picture was taken during one of my many trips to Pleasant Hill Shaker Village near Lexington KY.

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A Bunch of Marbles & A Box of Eggs..

Sometimes beauty show up when we least expect it.  That is the case with the pictures below. Who would have thought that marbles and eggs are beautiful?  But, at least for me, these pictures prove that they can be.

I really don’t know how I came to associate these two pictures together. The marbles were taken at a prairie museum in a high plains State and the eggs were taken four years earlier at a Des Moines museum. Somehow they both crossed my mind simultaneously to make this post.

If we just stop and take the time we can find beauty in many unexpected places.

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Creative Beauty

To me certain things are necessary to call something beautiful. Most often they are form, symmetry, and color. Just the right combinations of these three almost always result in something being beautiful. To add the adjective “creative” to the beautiful tag means something that didn’t exist prior to the beautiful thing. Most often that is a man-made creation.

Being a car guy the picture below is one of those objects. I was not enthusiastic about the Avanti line when it was created in the 1950s by Studebaker or when it was resurrected by the Avanti Car Company in 1963. But I have come to appreciate the creative beauty of these cars since then, especially the orange one below found in the Auburn Museum in Ft. Wayne Indiana.

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A Story Behind Every Picture..

slice7.png  I have over 20,000 pictures in my current photo portfolio and there is a story behind every one of them.  Given that I am again reaching my breaking point concerning today’s politics I thought I would drop back into my cave and tell a few of those stories.  To that end I spent a couple of days this week going through my pictures of my life.

One of the criteria for this new category it that the pic needs to be “artsy” at least to a degree and the other is that I can describe a story behind the picture.  I don’t know how long it will take before I have the stomach to return to this maddening world but I won’t likely run out of picture stories for quite some time. So let’s get started. 🙂 

In The Beginning….

No I am not going to recite Bible verses here. That practice is way overused as far as I am concerned.  Instead I am talking about the beginning of my marriage. I know that since I didn’t get married until almost 40 that is not really the beginning but it did start a new and very different phase of my life. Anyway that is enough of the pre-story. Let’s look at a couple of pictures.

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I never dreamed I would ever get married let alone in the whirlwind pace that it happened.  My Aspie traits prevented me from having much luck with the dating scene. I just could not figure out what girls wanted. I had a few dates in high school and college but the relationships were all short-lived. After college I seriously tried to have a meaningful relationship for a while but again not much luck.

Then came that day in December 1985 when someone asked me  if I wanted to go with them to a company party. I reluctantly said yes. By that time I have  pretty much given up  the idea of a female relationship so I guess the stress was off. After the party we ended up talking until the wee hours of the morning. She didn’t seem to mind that I only occasionally had eye contact with her and that I was probably not asking the “right” questions.

After that night I just couldn’t get her out of my mind. I very often did not get to sleep until 3am or so.  We had quite a few dates in a short period of time and then things got serious. We were engaged three months after that first date and married about three months after the engagement!

We spent a surreal honeymoon in Hawaii. The pictures here are three of about 100 hundred that we took on the trip.  I’m pretty sure they were taken in Maui. The first two were off the lanai of our hotel room and the third was a volcano on top of a mountain.

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I can’t say that our relationship in the 31 years since then has all been smooth sailing. We, like most others have had our spats. Some more serious than others.  I still struggle with my Aspie traits but at least my wife seems to understand that I really do love her even if I don’t show it as much as most husbands…

Box Of Eggs..

Sometimes creative things sneak up on you. That was the case when I came across this picture in an Des Moine museum a few ago.  I don’t know who put this box of eggs together but they were genius.

Box of Eggs

They Come And Go..

Spring is my absolute favorite season. Everything springs to life after a cold and often cruel winter.  The menagerie of flowers that quickly come and go is sometimes breathtaking.

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Click on the picture to see a larger version