Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Props for Mussolini

When someone wants to defame a politician, they invariably compare him (or her) to Hitler. This, I feel is unfair to Benito Mussolini, who was a right big asshole in his own right, I mean he was so bad his own people killed him. So next time you want to brand one of your representatives or even a neighbor a fascist, don't forget poor old Benito. Fortunately his name, sort of, seems to be making a comeback in our culture...

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quail

Gambol's Quail is fairly common out here, but very timid. I attempted to be as stealthy as a an old fat guy can be on gravel, but the quail were able to stay ahead of me. It was more as though I were herding them. I did manage to get a few shots to before they tired of the game and flew off.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Moving Right Along: Focus


Boneman brought up gathering rocks in a sack, reminding me of the rock stacks I'd see outside Buddhist temples in Korea. Both achieve the same result, that is, focusing the mind on simple task that has no purpose other than to help us focus, quiet our mind and draw us inward.

I suspect that is why I enjoy cameras. It isn't so much the picture that matters as tinkering with the camera itself. The mechanics cause me to focus closely yet allow part of my mind time for quiet introspection - keeping the wild "monkey mind" that tends to jump quickly from one thing to another, carefully channeled with a motor based task. My version of mindless rock stacking. This coupled with the usual solitude of my location allows me to listen to that inner voice, to find my own way vice rely on the opinions or thoughts of others, my distillation unadulterated by the thoughts of others.

Of course this amounts to a moment here and there, eventually I must stop and press the shutter release, but cling to the moment in time where all is still as long as possible. Mind you this is only possible while taking pictures of a saguaro that has stood in one spot for literally hundreds of years, my grandson is quick and is strictly an auto-focus point and shoot kind of situation. But I envy him the fact he is his own man, relys on his own perceptions, is yet to be tainted by outside opinion and has developed the self-reliance we should all foster in ourselves.

Mute Monday: Free Stylin' - Polka Macht Frei

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Get a Chance, Visit Gnat and see some awesome glass...

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Passion

I am not going to address anything that goes on in the bedroom, this is not about that type of passion, but rather about a passion for things we find in life, whether it be vocation or avocation. I have met many passionate people. My brother has a passion for bicycles, Jin for Bakery, Gnat for glass, Jewels for beading, SHE AKA K9 for painting, Ruela, GT3, and /t. for art, FairScape, unfortunatley no longer with us and Dianne for poetry. I knwo I haveleft some of you out, don;t feel disappointed - your links wouldn;t appear on my page if I didn;t feel a apssionwihtin you. but I own a piece of Gnat's glass work, one of SHE's paintings, have tasted Jin's bakery first hand, and have seen examples of Jewels beading and Ruela and /t.'s art is available to everyone. You can see their passion in their work, each piece is a piece of their soul, they have put their love of their craft, their heart if you will, into everything they produce and you can see it. Gnat and Jewels work look as though they belong in a museum, SHE's work should be hanging in galleries, Ruela's is, and /t.'s pieces are exquisite. Pink and Foam have have photo's that should grace the pages of magazines and Little Lamb is coming up fast on the inside track with her pictures. Jin's bakery tastes of the love she has put into it and if your bike is broken or you need a new one my brother will put his all into ensuring you receive only the best. Dainne and FairScape produce poetry that should be on bookshelves everywhere. Every one wiht a link here has somethign special that deserves recognition, I am writing thies hurridly so I have may have lef ta lot of you out, and the mispellngs are probably legion, but I wanted to strike while the iron was hot - I will fix things later. I also realize this may be coming off as an ad for their work and I suppose in a way it is, however, I wanted to take time to encourage you to visit their sites. Gnat in particular is holding a contest to advance his glass art, that is how I came by my piece of his work. Though a simple paper weight it sits in my front room display cabinet brcasue I can see his passion, his heart, his love of his work in the piece. He is charging nothing, seeks no monetary gain in his contest, but rather wants to share his passion wiht you, so I encourafe you to visit his site and give it a shot, if nothign else scroll through some of his past posts ot see delicate flowers, pumpkins, shells, and other fine glass work. I will insert links ot all these sites later, but for now please use the ones on my side bar.

I unfortuantely haev attained only dabbler status. I'm am intereste in many things but aside fomr Mrs. Phos have yet to find my one true passion. Perhaps it will come to me one day, perhaps not. If I ahve a passion at all it woudl be curiosity as I harbor a strong desire to know about everything, yete xcel at nothing in particular. Please check out all the links on my sidebar, meet the interesting peopel I ahve come across who each have a passion about somethign whther it be philosiphy or hadicrafts. Once again forgive the sloppiness of this post, I am writing before I go to work and will try to ammend the mess when I get home. Meanwhile search your heart, listne to that innner voice that leads you to smethign that you cna put your soul inot - it will show in the finished piece, belive me...

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wide Awake


Sure, almost midnight here and I feel awake - figures. I lie in bed as I often do and my thoughts kind of swirl around me, jumping from one thing to the next. Tonight I began thinking about the glue that binds everything together, Emerson's Oversoul, god if you wish, that spark of divinity within each of us that comes forth to speak with us when we quiet our minds and escape the busy highway of life. I think that is why I admire Buddha - I do not worship him, for I do not believe he would have intended that, but I admire him and Emerson alike for realizing that god lies within. All we have to do is find a moment of solitude and listen to the very quiet voice normally drowned out by the day's turmoil to find our way through life, to make the proper decisions, to feel empathy for all we are connected to, every particle in the universe, ever other being. Buddha saw this, he got it and I believe we can too. He had the one precious gift, the ability to listen to the inner voice and understand what life is about, what he was about, what his true calling was - not to be a god but to spread the secret to finding the key to life, the presence of an oversoul, and help his fellows realize the divinity within and the bond with the universe as a whole. I thought about that a lot as I sat in the quiet of Wisconsin away from cares and worry, listen to the noise of traffic die away and the rustle of the leaves and the thoughts of being home, home again calmed me to the point where I could hear myself for the first time in a long time. I have never felt such serenity as I did just sitting there where I was raised.

Back again in Phoenix, the noise the bustle too many people crammed into too small a space - the continuous din drowns out the voice entirely. No wonder large cities have such crime, everyone is so busy trying to get somewhere in a hurry they don't stop to allow their inner voice to guide them on the right path. There is no way to escape the constant pounding of the city, no time of day or night, there is no where to escape to, even the desert is filled with ATVs, loud tourists, and the noise of motor bikes. Here all I feel is anxiety and miss the moments of serenity found in my old back yard. I'd give anything to capture that feeling again.

Mom's Microwave


I know what you are thinking - that is not a picture of a microwave, and your right, but when I was kid it was the fastest way to a one pot meal known to man. It's a pressure cooker and can do one thing a microwave can't and that is turn an nearly inedible cut of meat such as a chuck roast into a mouthwatering tender treat. I don't care how long you microwave a chuck roast, you are still going to need a hatchet to cut it.

Originally invented by a Frenchman who was undoubtedly looking for a fast way to cook dinner and still have time to run up his white flag before the German's showed up, it became a fixture in most American kitchens and ours was no exception.

My first recollection of the pressure cooker in our house looked suspiciously like a scale model of the first A-Bomb detonated at Los Alamos. It weighed a ton, but then I was pretty small. I am not sure if it was cast iron or cast aluminum, but it had a rough outer finish and when she started up it was time for me to vacate the kitchen. I remember all too well my dad pointing out a spot on Grandma's kitchen ceiling where years later you could still see damage done from opening the cooker a wee bit too early.

The next iteration was a stainless steel model with a little rocker on top. In fact I think you can still find them. The rocker's job was to keep the pressure at 15 pounds per square inch. To cool it down you pulled the rocker off and ran the pot under cold water, or let it cool off on it's own. There was still the possibility of opening the thing before all the pressure was released.

Truth be told I have always been a little afraid of the pressure cooker, envisioning a kitchen filled with steel shrapnel and red hot food flying in all directions - where do you hide from something like that? Once again my brother pioneered the return of the pressure cooker, dusting mom's old one off and taking it for a spin.

Shortly there after I decided to purchase one for myself. I chose a little more modern model, it has a valve instead of a rocker and a locking mechanism the prevents you from opening it and pulling the pin on a food grenade in your kitchen.

In fact I used it on a Tri-tip roast tonight, one I would normally braise for over 2 hours in under 50 minutes, along with potatoes and carrots. I won't go into a recipe for potroast as it is called because it varies with every family that has ever made one and theirs is always better than the one your family has.

Just a couple words of advice if you go to purchase one. Make sure it is sturdy, Stainless steel is best, and most important of all, read the manual before you use it, unless you want to redecorate your kitchen and scald everything within 50 feet.

Happy Cooking!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Enough is Enough

Got to thinking about what /t. said about the ongoing media circus surrounding our political machinations plus having to put up with Canada's as well (they celebrate Thanksgiving early and apparently have adjusted their day to vote as well, guess they don't want to seem like copycats), so no more political crap on my site. Unless I get really pissed off. Instead, here is "Sam" the Flamingo to entertain you...



OK, I don't really know if his name is Sam, I just made that up.

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Before You Dangle That Chad

Pull that lever, cross the line, fill in the dot or whatever you do to vote, please read this book .




Whatever you think of Lou Dobbs, there are some startling revelations in the text that might make you change your mind. Remember you do have other choices. The Constitutional Party, the Green Party, and the Libertarian Party. A vote for one of these is not a "wasted vote," as many of the members of the two big money parties would have you believe. Aside from the presidential race, there are Third Party Candidates in other races, please do some research before you vote and don't swallow the sheep manure fed to you on a daily basis by a co-opted media.

My apologies to the rest of the world that has to watch this circus for such an extended period of time. It embarrasses me to no end to realize the rest of the world is witnessing the mudslinging that goes on because neither the Republican or Democratic candidates are willing to address the real issues, or tell you what they have accomplished vice what the "other guy" hasn't done. Without the Third Parties this election just becomes a choice between the lesser of two evils.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mute Monday: J










Our Only hope is here - Don't be a Jackass and vote for the big money asses...

It was like that when we got there!!

When my brother and I were kids our folks would drop us off at the zoo for the day form time to time. We had a favorite animal in each area so we'd have to visit them and usually taunt them. Back in the good old days you could toss marshmallows to the monkeys on Monkey Island, feed the birds some of your popcorn, and toss stuff to the bears. Once we saw a dude with an entire box of ice cream sandwiches tossing them to the black bears so they'd do some tricks. Now one marshmallow toss could cost you $500 because "the man" doesn't let you feed the animals. Needless to say, being kids, we would taunt some of the animals. It was fun to see Samson the gorilla slam his fists against the glass of his cage, and see how many times you could get the Emu to smash its head into the glass cage by pretending to peck at it with your hand.

I bring this up because last night on the news we saw that one of the Polar Bears was out of its enclosure and lying in the moat below. He's ok, just wanted to climb down there for some mysterious Polar bear reason. Mrs. Phos instantly accused my brother and I of having something to do with it, since we did pay a visit to the zoo, but I swear this time it wasn't us!!



Polar Bears at the Zoo



Vultures for Little Lamb

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Blue Streak


My brother was kind enough to hook me up with a bike before I left, hoping it would help my mobility, or lack there of, and though too kind to say anything probably work on the slight weight problem I have. Of course all the eating and many, many Lienie's Oktoberfest beers we drank were definitely a step in the wrong direction and will undoubtedly keep me out of this months issue of "Healthy Living" magazine.

At any rate I took the Blue Streak for its maiden voyage this morning - not very far mind you as I didn't want to have to wait long for an ambulance in case my extraordinarily rusty bike riding skills took their toll. Of course I wore the helmet and way cool riding gloves my brother gave me, because I know chicks really dig that look. Ok, I'm lying, I wore them in case I took a big sprawler - in retorspect I should have asked my brother about knee pads and body armor too; I'm trying to limit any potential road rash to a small area...

Plan is to load The Blue Streak up into Li'l Willie, my Honda Element, and take it out to ride on the base in the wee hours of the morning. Why so early? Less traffic, it's cooler, and slim chance of anyone seeing me testing the pavement for durability if I fall off. As I and my knees get used to the bike I am hoping to use it during the winter to go between the squadrons, but for now, baby steps...

A big thanks to my brother for the bike and his patience giving technical pointers over the phone as my son reassembled it, and thanks to my son for putting the creature together for me...

Brookfield Cycle & Fitness

2205 N Calhoun Rd
Brookfield, WI 53005 Map

  • (262) 784-3151

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Max Turns Art World Upsidedown

All of you artists out there best be looking over your shoulder because my grandson Max is coming up fast on the inside track. He started with black permanent marker on fabric (mom's red couch), moved on to red permanent marker on white tile (the floor), but his latest media, simple though saving mom a lot of work, is chalk on chalkboard. He chose to restrict his color pallet, and went for a minimalist abstraction entitled "Outside."


From what I have seen so far the sky is the limit as far as the fine arts go, especially after I teach him how to make microwave sculptures out of plastic toy soldiers in the microwave...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bad Things Happen to Good Computers

My posting will be a bit sketchy the next few days. Either the main SATA drive or the controller has shuffled off this mortal coil. I am typingt his on my mini-note, but with my eagle sharp vision and the size of the screen it is tough to write much at one time. That and most of my pictures are stored on a secondary data drive. I think I'll be able to get to them once I fgure out the exact problem.

We are also babysitting our grandpup and our grandson so I don't have alot of time to fool with the machinery. Hopefully I will be back in business soon...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

IR WI

Civet Cat




Lake Michigan




Pacu


Shark



Little Lamb??


BATS



Another Shot of Mr. Muskie



Gar for K9


Sunflower in Sister-in-law's garden


Phos Ancestral Home


Dead Tree Rat in IR

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mom Never Told You Everything

My brother and I always got the "You have to wait an hour after eating before you can go back in the lake," from mom, but she never told us what was out there swimming with us...

And this one is just a little guy...

Musky

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

But Wait, There's More!

Remember when you went to visit someone that just got back from a trip and they got out the 35mm slide projector and had to show you every minute of their trip - this is kind of like that...

Lake Michigan


Milwaukee Skyline


Mauthe Lake


Dundee Mill, Brother spitting over the side


The Shitter at Dundee Mill Park



The Burger Haus (home of the second best cheeseburger in the world)


Leaves just starting to change

Monday, October 06, 2008

Wisconsin Wild Life

I had hoped to get some animal pictures while back home, but things didn't work out too well on that count. I did see some wild turkeys, but by the time I would have gotten out of the car, they'd've been long gone. I had read that John James Audubon killed many of the birds he painted to get the plumage right, so I decided to take a page out of his book, though I didn't actually kill the creature - kind of found it that way...


Dead Tree-rat

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Most Gracious Hostess

I couldn't go on yakking about my vacation without mentioning my meeting with one of the most incredible people I have ever come across, and I have come across many incredible people. My brother was kind enough to schlep me all the way up to Manitowoc, WI to what first appears to be a fairly typical residence - till you note a sign out front...







Though the sign said "closed" I rang the bell anyway and was greeted by Jin. She wasn't taking any chances - was this some grizzled old bum trying to make off with some "free samples?" Fortunately she found out it was only Phos and brother o' Phos (we even passed the Brioche test) and we got a much warmer reception plus a "Baker's Tour" of the Unique Bakery.





I have to say at this point that I always thought Jin was amazing, but after seeing the size of her bakery, realizing she is the only one doing the creating and baking I am truly in awe. How can so many beautiful creations come out of such a small space, so perfect, so quickly, and all done by one person??






We had a great visit, she actually knew we were coming and had baked some most excellent cookies and muffins. She trotted out some of Jewel's handiwork, some of the most amazing bead work I have ever seen, and then off to lunch. The sandwich shop was guarded by a husky (didn't think I'd miss a chance to include a dog picture did you?) and much chatting ensued.







I want to thank her for a wonderful visit and let her know I stand in awe of her amazing accomplishments. Even after all her gracious hospitality she fixed my brother and I up with a basket of goodies to take home, demonstrating once again what a big-hearted giving person she is. Thank you Jin! Please visit her bakery and if you are fixing to finally make that big commitment to the love of your life, or just have a sweet tooth consider her bakery for the job - you will not be disappointed, believe me.

So thanks to my most excellent brother for hauling me up there and thanks to Jin for and Incredible visit!!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

My Hosts

I have to take some time to thank my brother and his wife for all their hospitality. Being a bit curmudgeonish I am not easy to deal with, but they happily housed the Phos. It was nice to see the Phos ancestral mansion and how my sister-in-laws decorating and skills have really turned the place into a beautiful home - the Tiki Bar was a nice touch as well. At any rate, I appreciate their kindness and miss them already, not to mention the Leinie's Oktoberfest beer that became a staple while I was visiting.

There are several others I have to mention, the cool cats McGee, Murphy, The Black Streak (AKA Max)and Gus the Dog, the actual owner of the home and landscaper extraordinaire. He likes to help my sister-in-law dig, though as with Yukon he always seems to pick the wrong spot. He is also a hero - he keeps Lake Michigan from flooding Milwaukee by biting the waves.

They are an incredible family and made it all that much tougher to leave. There was another hostess up in Manitowoc, but she deserves her own post and I'll get to that tomorrow...


My Brother and I giving the Tiki Bar her maiden Voyage
(I'm the handsome one)

Brother, S-I-L, and Gus


Gus Regulating Lake Michigan