Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CNN’s stupid T-shirts

A while back I noticed that CNN was marketing T-shirts featuring its daily (and hourly) headlines.  It's not a bad concept, really. It seems to me like a way to make money, and they do it in an innocuous manner, although it does make their brand of journalism a bit cheaper. What does bother me, though, is their selection of headlines for the shirts. They bypass the good ones and only use the lame and boring ones.  Here is one from today that you can get on a shirt:
Gonna Procrastinate? It'll cost ya!
And here are the ones that they skipped, all of which are much more interesting or provocative:
Woman, 88, yanks nude intruder's testicles
Death, mutilation of al Qaeda suspect a mystery
Israeli PM: No point in discussing truce


Friday, December 26, 2008

One of the coolest photos ever

This was taken by the girls' Aunt Pam at her apartment. I think it was during September's prolonged power outage. It has multiple layers of fun and visual interest.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Walnut ink drawing

This drawing is 6 x 9 inches. I think I like the other drawing better because of interesting shadows and the asymmetry, but this one is much better than I at first thought it would be: the simplicity of the symmetry and the dark punctuation of the window shutters come off pretty well in this small format.


Walnut ink drawing

This is 12 x 7 inches on paper, using my homemade walnut ink with a brush and dip pen. I'm quite happy with it, even though there is a very obvious problem with it that drives me bonkers. Oh well. I still like it overall.


Monday, December 22, 2008

birthday race

For those who have not yet heard the story, I had this conversation yesterday – Jill's birthday:
Jill: "How many days until Christmas?"
Me: "Uh, four. Four days until Christmas."
Jill: "Four days until Jesus' birthday!"  And then, in a sing-song taunt: "...I beat Jesus."


"I'll just check with the boys down at the crime lab, they've got four more detectives working on the case."

I can't imagine this happening in this country; definitely not in this city.
I thought it was interesting, especially in relation to the movie scene from which the above subject line quote was drawn.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I think I just ate some Christmas candy, although it might have been some sort of little decorative guest soap.
Speaking of blurred borders, at what point does a muffin become a cupcake? Because yesterday building management gave everyone a nice breakfast in the lobby, and I grabbed what I thought was a muffin. After a couple of bites I decided it was probably an un-iced cupcake. How does one distinguish?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sandhill cranes

After reading my Dad's comment on a post below, and doing a little internet research, I've decided that he is probably right--I think the birds I saw high above me at Otter Creek were sandhill cranes.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Otter Creek excursion, part the last

On the way home I stopped at the Garnettsville Cemetery, close to the park. Garnettsville was a town that existed on the area that would later become the border between Otter Creek Park and Fort Knox; it disappeared when Fort Knox was created. The cemetery is still there and open for business next to the highway, and this part of the cemetery in my photos had the weather-worn graves of some of the area’s first white residents.

I drove through, reading a few head stones, and found it both fascinating and touching. There were the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War; babies who’d lived just a few days; farmers and mill workers who were born when Andrew Jackson was president; and married couples, men and women who’d outlived their spouses by decades before being buried next to them. Old headstones were worn and toppled, with thick old trees growing from the graves they marked. New headstones, looking shiny and modern, spread out across the other end of the yard.

- - - - - - -

I saw myself on the six o’clock news that evening, on both WHAS and WLKY. I was in the crowd. You would have had to look quickly and closely to see me.

Otter Creek excursion, Pt. 5

I drove down to the boat ramp and walked out to the spot from which I had painted three of my best paintings, all the same view. The water was clearer than I’d ever seen it, giving me a good view of submerged rocks near shore. I enjoyed the scenery for a few minutes, and then walked back to my car. The WHAS news vehicle was parked near mine, and the cameraman was taking footage of the river. I remarked to him how pretty the area was, and he asked me how to get down to the boat ramp.

Otter Creek excursion, Pt. 4

On the way back along that trail I began hearing a throaty, faint birdcall. It got louder and louder, so I stopped to try to figure out what it was. I seemed to be coming from the direction of the river, and I guessed it was a bird in one of the trees at the top of the steep bluff. I stared at the trees, trying to spot the origin. Then there were more calls: two or three birds, or more, getting louder. I couldn’t see the river from where I was, and I thought that perhaps it was ducks flying low over the water and getting closer. However, it was by this time getting quite loud, and I realized that the voices sounded like geese, although they weren’t the typical Canada geese “honks.” They were more drawn-out.

It no longer sounded like the geese were near the river; it sounded like there were passing me, but when I looked around me the woods were empty except for trees and fallen leaves. The effect was a little disorienting. After a few moments, though, I realized there was only one place I hadn’t looked—straight up.

Circling in the clear sky, so high that they weren’t much more than specks, were about 50 geese. They were wheeling and calling intermittently. Flying among them I saw something else—they looked like a smaller number of littler birds, whitish. Maybe they were gulls. It looked like a flock of gulls and a flock of geese were involved in some sort of interaction that I couldn’t make out from so far below. After a few minutes, the noise stopped and the birds drifted out of view.

Otter Creek excursion, Pt. 3

I passed a few other people hiking or jogging. Two ladies were watching with binoculars, and one of them said she thought she had seen a bald eagle that morning. In recent years there has been a nesting pair in the area.

I stopped and took a couple of photos at the overlook where I proposed to Kim in 2001. The idea that I might not again be able to return to this spot is the worst thing to me about the park closing, although this area is so wonderful that I have a hard time believing that it won’t remain public land in some form or another.

The first photo is just a shot looking from the trail to the Indiana side of the river. The next picture is of the spot I proposed to Kim, and the third is of the view from the spot I proposed. I also recall sitting on this spot as a Cub Scout and listening to Boy Scouts tell stories about river pirates and Indians.

Otter Creek excursion, Pt. 2

After a while things started to break up, so I wandered around a little. I walked the trail along the bluff over the river near the rental cabins first. The day was clear and brilliant, turning the river blue, and the Hoosier farm and hills on the other side of the Ohio were very pretty in their difficult-colors-to-mix-with-paint sunshiny earth tones.

One of the cabins had been smashed by a fallen tree during a thunderstorm a few years ago, and I saw that it has been replaced by three tiny cabins—cabins 3A, 3B, and 3C. I tried to look in the windows (there were no cars parked there, so I assumed they were empty) but the blinds and curtains were all down.

The trail between the cabins and the river overlook had been the scene of a lot of tree damage in that thunderstorm. I don’t know how much of it was from that storm (I remember the storm, but I can’t remember when it was… I think it was in 2004) and how much might have been from later storms, such as when Hurricane Ike came through in September. Lots of fallen trees had been cut with chainsaws and moved off the trail.

Otter Creek excursion, Pt. 1

On Sunday afternoon I drove to Otter Creek for a rally to Save Otter Creek Park. It was a cold day, with the temperature barely reaching the freezing point, but the sun was shining and everything was looking as pretty as it could in December without the benefit of snow.

The gathering was next to the campground, at a park pavilion. It’s a part of the park that I’m unfamiliar with, but I found it with no problem and with twenty minutes to spare before the appointed 2:00 meeting time.

There were already more than a hundred people gathered, and over the next 40 minutes it swelled to what I estimate was a group of about 200. Someone had started a small fire for warmth, and someone else had set up a giant gas heater. WLKY, WHAS, and Fox41 news crews were there. We signed some pre-generated letters to Mayor Jerry Abramson and a petition, and I listened to plenty of passionate people discuss ideas for keeping the park open. I have no ideas myself, but I thought it was important to be there.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Communication skills

I was awake extra early this morning because Jill joined us in our bed sometime…I don’t know exactly when, because I can’t read the clock with my glasses off, but I guess it was around 4:00 or 4:15. Lately she’s been doing that and going back to sleep, but this morning she fidgeted, squirmed, and whined while still half-asleep until she finally snapped out of it at around 4:50 and asked for a drink. I got up with her hoping that Kim would be able to get a little more sleep before I had to leave for work. She drank some juice and then started playing on the floor, and then we had a conversation that was similar to about 10,000 other conversations I’ve had with her and her sister.

Jill picked up a little plastic toy off the floor and asked me what it was.

“That’s just a little Lego person,” I said.

She shook her head and said, “It’s not a person, it’s a boy.”

“Boys are persons, too,” I said. “Little girls and little boys are persons.”

“No, boys are jinnelamins!” she replied.

I didn’t know what she was saying. “They’re what?”

“Boys are jinnelamins. You told me that.”

“I did, huh?” I had to be careful. Making her repeat a word that no one else understands more than a couple of times often leads to her throwing herself on the floor and wailing in frustration, and it was still just ten minutes past five; everyone else was still asleep.

I decided to triangulate, in a way, on the word she was using. “What are little girls, then?”

“Little girls are layadees.”

It worked. “Oh!” I said, “Ladies and gentlemen. I got you.”

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Pretty Pretty Princesses

Here I am playing a game (The Plastic Princess Bling Bling Blowout) with the girls and their Auntie Pam at Kim's dad's.

Thanksgiving 2008

My Uncle Mark and my daughters playing with cardboard telescopes.

A great great Thanksgiving

Here's Jill, age 3, examining and being examined by her
Great-Great Uncle George, age 97. Jill's singularly Great Uncle Mark spectates.

Water from the Same Source

I found this guitar cover of a Rachel’s tune on YouTube and I really like it. Rachel’s hasn’t had an album out in a few years, but I hear them pretty frequently during NPR news program segueways.