Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Art Gene

My brother and another relative had a discussion at to where all the art genes in our family went. We had a couple of older aunts who were fair painters, and a cousin who is a musician . I am not sure if they were just considering drawing, painting, and sculpture or included photography, music, and dance. I am not very sure that any art ability is genetic in the first place. I mean Picasso and some of the other classic artists could have fathered (or mothered) ditch diggers instead of an heir to their art - at least the artists that were interested in women instead of young boys. I’d also read a theory that the father doesn’t pass much if anything along gene-wise. The presence of an art gene seems rather shaky.

At any rate, I don’t think the art genes, if indeed there are any, have totally abandoned my family. My brother learned the guitar, we have a cousin who is a fine musician, my father took some excellent photos, and I can draw and paint a bit. Even had a painting in a show once, though I haven’t done anything since. I wonder if it isn’t so much a genetic deficit as it is a time deficit. You have to make time for whatever art you wish to practice and I find time is in short supply, especially as I get older. I would love to sit and paint, but that just isn’t going to happen. I have even gone so far as to buy some paints, which have been baking for several years in our garage. I suspect the consistency of that paint has suffered somewhat because of the heat.

In conclusion, I would like to say I believe art isn’t dead in our family, just on hiatus. I hope that some day I will be able to retire (as if that’ll ever happen), buy some new paint, and slap it on the canvas. As kind of a bonus, I will probably be too old to see very well so that everything I paint will look great to me.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

King of the Rake

Finally got a few shots of the little guy that likes to perch on my leaf rake so he can keep an eye on the feeder with the broken flower.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Other White Meat

Despite the threat of rain and the incredible humidity, I opted to grill some chops for dinner. I used some mustard as a base, a quick rub, and mopped occasionally as the pork cooked - the same technique I use for ribs. I used lump charcoal for fuel, some hickory chunks for flavoring, and indirect heat to keep the sugars in the rub from burning. Meanwhile I had some Asparagus in the steamer.

A Quick Mop Down

Asparagus drizzled with Olive oil and a little salt and pepper

I had some company whilst grilling and managed to get a shot or two (only used a camera FairScape) of the little guys.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

That Time of the Year Again

Monsoon Suite

Monsoon winds
Tip over
The Lemon Tree

Wall of Dust
Propelled West
By July winds

Dry Wash
Scoured clean
Flash Flood

Rivers where no rivers
Lakes appear
Rain in the desert

The wind
Knocks at my door
Plays with chimes

Taste of dust
Freshening winds
Desert on self-clean

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Apology to CS

I overreacted on a Blog post I read and I do have to apologize for snapping. I am touchy about any perceived slights to the military, it was my life for 20 some odd years, and odd they were.  That and a lot of my friends are ex-military, from Vietnam Helicopter pilots to Sidney the Marine who went from private to lance corporal and back to private all in the span of our little stint in Bahrain.

There was always some bullshit, like any job, but by and large it was always interesting and I managed to have some fun along the way – met lots of nice people as well.  

Once again, sorry I blew up.  I’d like to promise it’ll never happen again, but why kid myself.



Some pictures taken during DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. I was part of what I like to call the Bahrain Occupation Force, supporting the 35 FW(P) Wild Weasels. I was an enlisted Ops pogue conducting pilot briefings and such. The only real action I saw was getting up close and personal with a Patriot Missile Launch. The missiles flew right over my noggin as they went to intercept 2 – 3 incoming Scuds. The Patriot worked as advertised that night and it was interesting to watch. If you ever see a glowing red streak in the night sky it is time to hide, because that is a Scud.

It wasn’t all work and no play. During the SHIELD portion, we hit downtown Manama, a very pretty city on the gulf. I would actually like to visit again sometime, as soon as the boys get that beheading crap out of their system. Worked some long shifts, lived in chem gear for a month during the height of the war. Never a dull moment, but I did miss the family. For me that was the hardest part of any TDY (Temporary Duty) and I suspect it is the same for those deployed today.

I’ll try to put up more photos as I find them (I am not terribly organized and finding the pictures is kind of a treasure hunt)…

This was my home for about 10 months, pretty snug and I couldn't kick - the box in the right foreground is a heater/cooler. Kept the place pretty nice when we had electricity.

This is looking out over the gulf. It is midday, the bright object in the upper right is the sun. You could watch it through the oil smoke and actually see sun spots.

Here's a fellow Airman extending me a warm greeting. This dude was a Com troop and in my opinion the hardest working dude at Shaik Isa.

We did get some breaks. Here's a young Phos, sans Chem Warfare Gear enjoying a cold Fosties at the Cloud Nine Club. Apparently if Allah can't see you ( Bahrain is one of his blind spots) it is ok to drink, though you pay for your sins - that beer was three dollars. We really had it easy, the marines in Bahrain, the soldiers in Kuwait, and our pilots were on the cutting edge day in and day out, so I got off really light. Note: I am also extending a warm greeting, nothing personal, I don't think there are may pictures of my not greeting everyone...

Just Make Yourself at Home,Why Don't You?

There’s a husky on my bed, on my bed,

There’s a husky on my bed, on my bed,

There’s a husky on my bed

And his name it isn’t Fred,

There’s a husky on my bed, on my bed

Lazy Saturday

It is a perfect day to fire up the grill, slightly overcast and only 100. I bought some Bratwurst and some Kielbasa, have them simmering in some beer and will toss them on the grill as soon as the coals are good to go. I had talked with my brother last night and he was talking about the brats he and his co-workers grilled up, and that got me in the mood. Even bought some kraut to go with.

I was hoping to take some hummingbird pictures, but I expect I will have to wait until evening when it cools a bit. I didn’t even see the little guy that uses the tines of our leaf rake for a perch. He is camera shy and won’t stick around when I go out back. I took out my father’s old camera, and apparently it is a scary camera because when I went to take pictures of the dogs they high-tailed it back into the house. They probably think it is some sort of portable vacuum cleaner. They hate the vacuum, though if I was covered with fur and saw the vacuum suck fur up, I guess Id give it wide birth too.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Up the Country

The Fourth of July is a ways off yet, but a post on another Blog really troubled me. An individual posted a comment stating he thought, “Maybe the United States was a mistake”. The sad part is he claims to be an American. It is hard to believe anyone would make such a disrespectful comment about his or her country – I don’t care what country they are from. I think folks get confused about the difference between politicians and their actions and the nation itself. There are many great people in America doing great things, extending their hearts, their hopes, efforts and treasure, even their lives to help others inside and outside the borders of the country. To condemn an entire country condemns these folks as well, and that is despicable.

If you dislike the politicians and the decisions they make (or fail to make) that is fine, in fact that is your right. Write them a letter, vote against them, write an editorial, lampoon them on your Blog, whatever turns you on, but don’t think for a moment their actions define the entire nation – the hearts of the people are the defining factor. I have said this before and will say it again; if you think your vote actually put any politician in office, beyond any local yokel elections, you are mistaken. If you think your representative actually gives a damn what you think, unless you are one of his big business backers, one of the folks attending his $1000 a plate dinners, or a lobbyist with a pocket full of cash, once again you are sadly mistaken. Then there are the cronies we didn’t vote for, because each official comes as a package deal. What I am driving at is each “elected” official and/or their cronies have his or her own agenda predicated on who fronted them the money for their campaign and not the “will of the people”, and therefore are hardly representative of the entire population of this great country.

Folks should be proud of their country, its achievements, and the people that strive to make our lives safer. Instead of grousing, take some action that makes the country a better to place live. Sitting back sipping daiquiris in your hot tub and badmouthing an entire country full of great folks is horseshit. If you are truly discontented there is another tenet of our freedom, you can certainly move elsewhere, somewhere that suits you better. Hell, I’ll even help you pack.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

4 the Birds, cont...

Birds have always been a big part of my life, even now they continue to play some part. I was interested n nature from a young age, mostly rocks and minerals. When I was a kid birds were something you shot off the high wire with a BB gun. It wasn’t ‘til I was older that I developed a better appreciation for them, though I still consider pigeons fair game. That is one reason my wife won’t let me have that pellet gun I have had my eye on.

I was fortunate to meet a fellow student who was all about birds. I helped with a bird count along the Mississippi, and sat in a blind to trap, weigh, and band raptors. My friend eventually took up falconry and that was very interesting. It is one thing to see the bird perched in a tree, or flying along, but quite another to be up close and personal with the birds. .I even had a Kestrel perch on my noggin – very uncomfortable for me as they have very sharp talons, but it would be tough to get any closer than that. My kids were lucky enough to be a long for a visit later in life and got to pet a Great Horned owl my friend was nursing back to health and see his Goshawk in flight. It took my wife a while longer to get over the dead rabbit parts along side the food in their freezer when she helped make lunch. Hawks have to eat too.

I learned a lot and really fell in love with the wide world of birds. Now I only have humming birds for the most part. I did put out a regular bird feeder, but the pigs pushed all the seeds out and chased the hummingbirds off – all I was getting wee the flying rats that seem to dominate the city landscape. I have managed to get out a bit and see some local birds and hope to do more of that as soon as things cool off a bit. At least a trip tot eh Sonoran Desert Museum would be fun; they have a nice group of desert birds on display as well as a hummingbird enclosure. I’d like to get back to Montezuma’s Castle again as well, Beaver creek runs through the area with some nice cotton woods so there should be a lot of birds. I will wait until we can take huskies without worrying about hot paws!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Squash Pictures, as Promised...

This is the chopped squash, ¼’d onion, mushrooms and peppers. In the background is the Wok I would use on the grill – as you can see by the holes it wouldn’t be very good with any kind of sauces, but it does allow the heat and smoke in for a good “Stir-grill”. I usually drizzle the squash with a bit of olive oil and some Italian seasoning while flavor – this can be done on the grill, but mind you don’t hit the hot coals with too much of the oil or you will be doing Squash Flambé before you know it.

This shows the finished product – the sausage of choice tonight was Louisiana Hot Links, gives it a great bite.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Squash, it's what's for Dinner!

Ok, there are supposed to be pictures, but once again Blogger has decided the hell with that and won't let me post any, I promise I will try again later. Rassin' Frassin Rakkin' Frakkin' Blogger...

Promised Jin a vegetarian recipe, and so it was right up until I dumped the Louisiana hot links in to the wok. You don’t have to put any meat in, so to speak, so you grazers out there are still in luck. The squash recipe started out as a low carb lasagna filling I saw on a cooking show, but has morphed into a meal in and of itself.

The basic dish is one zucchini, one yellow squash, both sliced into small chunks, a small red onion quartered, and a pepper. I usually like to use a red bell - the color helps offset all the greens and yellows, but at $1.49ea the market can keep them. I sometimes find multicolor baby peppers in packs at the market and these work well.

This is a very flexible dish. I have tossed in broccoli florets, shrimp, Portuguese linguisa, mushrooms (fresh and dried), and leftover chicken. More folks show up then expected? Toss in more squash. You can use summer squash, acorn squash, chayote, et al. The chayote tends to be a bit on the sweet side, but it is unusual looking and lends a freshness the other squash do not. You can squeeze a lemon over the mix prior to cooking this will also bring out the flavors.

Tonight I kept it simple, started the Hotlinks in a table spoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil first, after they browned a bit tossed in some fresh crimini mushrooms added a pinch of salt and ground pepper over the dish (about ¼ Tsp). Once the mushrooms started to cook I tossed in the onion, pepper and squash. Just stir fry until everything is heated through. I don’t; like to cook the vegetables until they are soft, I prefer a little bite left. I believe the longer you cook the veggies the more taste you lose. I sprinkled a dash more slat, ½ Tsp of Italian Seasoning and a shot of white wine. I let the wine cook off and served.

This dish is quick. Easy, and can be cooked several ways. You can grill it in a special grill wok, put the ingredients on skewers, or cook it in a standard wok. I chose the stir fry method tonight, but have grilled it kebab style. The smoke adds an interesting element to the taste, quite good actually.

You could even drop in Soy products if you were of a mind to, however, I strongly advise against putting any soy “meat” products on your grill as it angers the fire gods and there will be retribution. Sorry, but there you are.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Back on your Heads!

I was hesitant to celebrate another day after the Phos Boithday Massacree, but all turned out well for Father’s Day. It was a lot of fun, in fact. It is always nice to see the kids, I know ‘Strella Dog and Yukon love it!  Austrella usually camps out between my daughter and her husband up on the couch within easy petting range.  Can’t get enough attention, in fact the daughter calls ‘Strella the “Black-hole of affection” because she sucks everyone in for attention.  Yukon makes out all right too, though he doesn’t appreciate my daughter’s attempts at brushing him.

Ate a lot, which is typical for Sicilians, I guess.  Had Italian Saturday, Mexican and Chinese Sunday.  I didn’t cook a lick, not that I am complaining. I do love to cook, but a couple days off are nice too.  It has been a while since I have fired the old grill up so I expect I will have to remedy that tonight.  May grill some more “Crazee Fish” and a steak (Ms. Phos hates fish).  I’ll probably whip up some squash so I can post the process for Jin.  

I like grilling squash because it cooks fast and always seems to turn out so good. That and I really like squash. Sometimes I’ll toss in some portabellas, sometimes some Louisiana hot links.  Rough on the grazers in the crowd, but you could toss in some jalapeños to punch it up a bit, if you don’t want any meat.  Actually, with the hot links there is little chance you’ll be eating any meat anyway, I think sawdust is the first ingredient on the list. BTW Squash is low Carb and high fiber for the Carb Nazis in the crowd.

Anyway, hope everyone had a good week and I will have to write more when I am feeling a bit more clever – that may take a bit!!  

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Father’s Day! Hopefully you know where and who your children are, and aren’t making a career of appearing on the “Who’s yer Daddy” episodes of daytime talk-schlock. Marriage often seems to be an after-thought if it crosses the mind at all – not being a prude here, but if you are going to have a family it is important to have commitment and an active partner. I’ve seen too much of the mom, her four kids, and her current boyfriend scenario to be able to safely say that a transient “dad” doesn’t work. The kids will be invariably dicked up, or the boyfriend will kill, abduct, or molest them. Just watch the news, it appears boyfriends around these parts like their babies like their martinis, shaken and not stirred. It is a great tragedy and unfortunately all together too common in the Great State of Arizona.

The other common scenario out here is the “If I can’t have them no one can” syndrome where the jilted boyfriend breaks into the ex-girlfriends home and kills everyone including himself. This appears to be an extension of the Machismo standard imported from South of the border.

I am lucky in that I have a wonderful (and extraordinarily patient) wife, and after listening to acquaintances and watching the news two perfect children. Yes, I said perfect. I don’t have to wait for visiting hours to go see them, they have never appeared on “Cops”, and both are married and have good mates. Even better we all keep in touch and support each other – that is the idea behind family units; mutual support.

Anyway, we’re off to eat too much Mexican food, then the theater, and then a little shoplifting at the local Target with my daughter and her husband. Don’t get any better than that!


Dad is off hunting
at Butler Lake

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dangerous Toys and the Kids That Love Them

I think we were all looking for the big blast and the toy companies were more than willing to accommodate the childhood arms race. When I was young you were on your own, none of this dangerous toy list crap. I had a friend that received and action missile boat for X-mas, and the forward missile launcher had enough smash to drive the 4” rubber tipped missile through dry wall, much to his father’s delight. Nowadays “Mother’s Against Damn Near Everything Fun” (B.I.T.C.H.) would be wetting their pants as they dialed the local news to get the word out about the lethal boat. Well, you probably couldn’t kill anyone, but say you took off the rubber tip (it wasn’t doing much anyway), sharpened the head end of a nail, heated it up and inserted it into the now uncovered plastic = instant warhead. After that modification, not only did the missile make it through the dry wall, but there was also a substantial amount of nail protruding through the other side.

My brother employed the same concept when he cut the rubber tip off some Zulu Darts, heated up a needle and stuck the needle into the dart. No more of that baby safe soft suction cup crap for us. Most toys were deadly right out of the box, but some needed modification. There was a black .38 snub-nosed style revolver for instance. It fired the new-fangled plastic caps that came in a little ring. If you bored out the barrel with dad’s power drill (don’t; forget to leave it laying somewhere where he can’t find it later, that’s always a good vocabulary builder) you could get a pretty respectable tongue of flame coming out of the barrel when you fired it. Enough flame spewed forth to fry ants, in fact, though not as efficient or fun as the ol’ magnifying glass.

Some kids made there own dangerous toys, such as the two neighbor boys who found a way to turn a butter knife into a spring for a cool crossbow. Those two also developed “war boards” and piece of plywood with a viewing slit in it. It was wide enough you could hide behind it while lobbing rocks at the other guy behind his war board. Fortunately, the boards ensured the damage to each other was light, aside from some shrapnel that might make it through the viewing slit.

The kid down the block had a contraption made out of an old spring loaded clothespin that could launch a Farmer’s match (strike anywhere they call them now) which would burst into flame upon impact. A modification to this came later when someone vandalized a pen and turned the bottom barrel and associated spring into a launcher. Use tape to make crude fins for the wood end of your farmer match, roll the fins, and tuck the assembly into the pen barrel and fire when ready. The fins assured that the match would fall head down and ignite. You may have noticed I have been careful to leave out some of the details, not because I am worried your kid might try it (eventually, he will), it is just the child should have the same chance to learn that I did. Now’d be a good time to go check up on little Billy – he’s been pretty quiet. Not to say li’l Sally couldn’t be up to something, it just seems boys are generally more likely to push the limits of their folk’s patience as well as the toy design.

Childhood Explosives

Even with all the important events in the world, Al Qaeda bosses being snuffed, Bush and party up to their usual antics, global warming, etc, my mind still turns back to a bigger problem from my childhood – how to detonate an entire box of roll caps at one time.

First some explanation for the kids who weren’t allowed to play with toy guns. Once upon a time, boys played with guns and that was ok. Some of the guns fired a class B explosive called a cap, a paper strip with perforations and a dot of gunpowder every 1/2 inch or so. You loaded the roll on a spindle in the grip. A mechanism in the gun would fit into the perforation on the strip and advance the roll every time you would squeeze the trigger, placing a dot of explosive under the hammer. Pop, pop, pop, all day long. It was cool, but not very loud.

How to get more bang for the buck, literally? Burning the caps wasn’t the answer. Sure, you got one hell of a fire going and could hear some sputtering as the flames hit the explosive, but fire wasn’t the answer. You could bash large boulder down on a roll of caps, and that made a satisfying explosion, but still not enough to have mom come running out of the house to see what the hell we were up to now ( I think she got most of her exercise that way). My father had an old muzzleloader and we could cock the hammer back, place an entire roll on the nipple and then fire the gun. That was stupendous, once I couldn’t hear anything for about three hours after firing off a roll, and had a cool powder smudge on the side of my face. All that the “one roll wonders” did was fire the ambition to set off an entire box.

I fear we never came across the answer, and now guns are bad and boys play with dolls and that is ok (that may also explain why we are breeding a race of pussies and skate rats, but that is just my opinion). Therefore, the question may go unanswered. Maybe the moment has passed. I have seen some pretty cool explosions – after you watch EOD blow up an old French 2000Lbs bomb, a box of caps seems anti-climactic. Still…maybe the microwave…

Monday, June 12, 2006

Hospital Haiku

Hospital Haiku

Night nurse draws blood
     Once danced Calypso
In Sierra Leone

Racking cough
     Sweeps through
Our sterile environment

Old woman
Won’t see Winter

Monotony rules
     Hospital blues
No end in sight

Out the window
     Only one balloon
Rises in the warm morning

     In between
Learned prodding

All the Doctors
     Have the same name
And come from the East

Nurse wakes me
     Rolled over on
The damn call button again

Hot summer day
     Being released
Pull the IV

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I Ain't Dead Yet

Go in for a simple medical test and wind up in the hospital, go figure. I will attempt to post in the next couple of days…

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Queer thought

I’ve given the whole gay marriage a second look and think maybe it isn’t such a bad idea.  They want all the advantages of being married, why not? Every April the 15th I take it up the ass in taxes as punishment for being married, and as misery loves company, and at least some of them are used to taking it up the ass anyway, I think gays should be allowed to join the rest of us disenfranchised.  I would think politicians, many of whom were lawyers in a past life would be jumping at the chance for the extra taxes to fund their hot tub parties and to increase the divorce case opportunities for some of their fellow shysters.  Big money and a chance to rain misery into people’s lives, then off for a quick round of golf.  Good work if you can get it.

I say more power to anyone wants to volunteer for double taxation and their day in divorce court if and when that time comes – custody battles, property settlements all the nice gritty crap that comes with being married should be theirs as well.  As a bonus I won’t have to listen to the fucking whining anymore – it’s a win/win. Enjoy!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

News Flash: Inner Child struck by Cement Truck: update at 10

The cake was great

Birthday: A crappy weekend followed by a blow to the head.

The spice cake was to die for though. Best ever, I could live on it (and it looks like I do). I really enjoyed that cake.

Whining ensues:

Looking back I don’t know what happened. All I do know is I am no longer having any fun. Not sure why. Maybe that’s why the grandpas in the store look like they have a cactus up their ass. I know you can’t have fun all the time, but hell once-in-awhile wouldn’t hurt, would it?

Every year I look forward to holidays as though this year it is going to be any different then the abortion last year and it never is - it is as if after you hit adulthood the only benefit from a holiday is you might not have to work. I sure as hell ain’t celebrating any more, especially my birthday. Damn sure ain’t taking off work again, learned my lesson on that one.

An Unfinished Book

An Unfinished Life

By Mark Spragg

This is a book about beginnings, though it starts out at a dead end ranch whose denizens shouldn’t be making any long range plans - even the dog is on its last legs. Einar, the geriatric rancher and sauna buff is pining for his dead son. He holds his daughter-in-law responsible for killing the son and doesn’t know he has a granddaughter. The ranch gets an inoculation of life with the arrival of said young granddaughter and the daughter-in-law, Jean. Jean is a professional punching bag who is on the run from her latest mistake, a very weak antagonist, named Roy. Ala “Second Hand Lions”, the granddaughter charms the curmudgeonly old rancher and though there are no lions there is an old grizzly bear that mauled Einar’s war buddy.

This book was highly predictable, the antagonist wasn’t very antagonizing (he gave up way to easily), Einar makes nice with mom, and Roy gets his. Everyone, including the bear, winds up living happily ever after. The book wraps up suddenly leaving the impression the author had hit his page count and wasn’t going to write any more than what he was getting paid for. I guess if you are looking for a “feel good” book with no intellectual challenges, no unsettling surprises, and a fairytale ending, this is your book. I think Mr. Spragg owes John Whitman some money, though.

Flowers at Sunrise

I was delighted to see our Monstrosa, AKA Mexican Pipe Organ cactus has been busy generating blooms again and thought I would share a couple of the shots. I caught them at dawn, just before the blooms closed up shop.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Recipe Contest WInner

I finally decided on a winner for the recipe contest. It was tough – the recipes I got from Die Murane and Eternal were excellent, but FoodCrazee’s turned out great, even after a few problems – all on my part.

The first problem was I dropped the bottle of fish sauce, which pretty much exploded in the kitchen. After cleaning the floor, it only smells a bit like high tide in the house - we have to press on without fish sauce. No banana leaves, though I did find lemon grass. No bird’s eye peppers, so I substituted Ms. Habanera. I guess if you are serving the girls during tea you could stick with the bird’s eye peppers, but the Habaneras are a “come to jesus” kind of pepper and will really add some bite to your food.

Anyway I pressed. I heated 2Tbs of peanut oil laced with diced Habaneras and garlic in the microwave, thinly sliced the lemon grass and use my vegetable peeler to zest the lime. I sprinkled two Mahi-Mahi fillets with a pinch of salt and black pepper, then squeezed the lime over them and brushed on the flavored oil. I scattered the lemon grass and lime zest over the fillets, then wrapped them in foil leaving an end to the pouch open so I could pour in a bit of rice wine (I wanted something to make up flavor and moisture lost when omitting the for the fish sauce that met its fate at much too young an age). Crimped the edges of the foil pouch and tossed it on the grill.

I did take a picture of the finished product., but it was way over exposed so I am not going to waste your time. The fish was great, even with the substitutions I was forced to make.

If you are interested in Oriental food motor on over to Food Crazee’s site he has some kick ass dishes!

I am going to donate the $100 to the Westside Food Bank in his name. Thanks to all who played!!! I will post the results of my efforts with your recipes later. Still wish I would have gotten some Aussie recipes, but maybe you can’t do much with roots and grubs. Yeah, that’s a challenge to you upsidedowners…

Do yourself a favor and visit the links on the right, there are some interesting folks out there - a very mind expanding kind of experience!

You can take the boy out of...

I think everyone has someplace they are particularly fond of, a place that calls them. It raveled a lot, different states, other people’s deserts, and so on, settled in Arizona a state now going through “clear cutting” courtesy of developers, builders, a population more interested in running over the desert on “Quads” or their four-wheel monsters, and a government on the take. It is a damn shame, but money talks so the desert will soon be isolated pockets – a museum rather than a landscape. Have to have that mall, though!

Anyway, my special place is Wisconsin. I would dearly love to go back there but one of my greatest fears has come to pass – being stuck in one place. Say what you will about the military the experience made me a lot worldlier than the kid from Wauwatosa. I always thought I would wind up back in Wisconsin. It wasn’t all that long ago most folks lived worked and died within ten miles from where they were born. Hell, I knew families that all lived on the same block! Now things are different, people tend to be more scattered (location-wise not mentally, although…) and our family or what is left of it is no exception. Bloom where you’re planted. I hear that all the time and is right up there with the statement “Just walk it off, son” found in the “Webster’s Book of Bullshit Quotes”, $10 new or used on The right to move freely about the country is limited by the need to pay bills and keep everyone happy. So be it. I can close my eyes and still see the thick brush, hear the wind playing through the colored leaves on the forest floor, and smell winter on the way (you can smell winter, you know).

I added a picture of a couple White-tailed Deer. I wish I could take credit for that picture as it is a great photo. Well composed, especially considering the subjects aren’t usually very cooperative, and the subject matter is near and dear to my heart, no pun intended. My father took that shot, he was quite the photographer. I am sorting through photos and came across some of the pictures he sent to me, and thought I would share some of them from time to time. I think this one was taken on Deer Island up near LaCrosse on the Mississippi.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Phos: The Ugly American Tour

I was after Cherry for some photos of Italy (which she posted) and happened upon some of my own. The last picture is just to prove I am not an Ameriphobe.

A couple of tips for you would be vacation photogs:

- Write where you took the picture and what the subject was on the back of the photo as soon as you get the film back.

- Don’t leave the exposed film just lying around it doesn’t age well

- Resign yourself to the fact you are always going to have some snapper heads in the shot and some a-wipe is going to ask you, “oh, and who is that in the picture”. Like you’d know.

The following pictures were taken in Venice:

This is one fo the snapper heads I warned you about...

Grapes in Vicenza - usually there are chickens and other domestic birds running around under the vines

Last but not least Devil's Tower. Typical christian ploy, if you don't understand it or it doesn't fit in your perfect little world then it must belong to the devil. Right.