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It Rained Today. October 26, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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So I slept in.  It’s hard to get motivated to go tromping around in the rain when you could be sleeping in, especially when your job makes you a Monday through Friday 5am kinda guy.

So I pulled the comforter up tight and rolled over and slept in.

When I did get up, the pallid grayness of the world outside slowed my movements, imparting a low-light torpor to my world, as though I might be getting ready to hibernate for the winter.

But I’m not.  I’m getting ready to dive chest deep into winter.

So I shook off the torpor, threw on some clothes and headed out.

Outside, the heavens were held at bay by a swirling gray blanket, clouds scuttling by in a ground-level mist, intermittent wipers a must.  I headed up into Hawley, hoping to get a view back down into the valley.

I got lucky.  As I four-wheeled out to a remote point in the hills, the rain let up and the mists consolidated in the valleys, and I got these shots:

Sometimes I find myself at a loss to express my appreciation for the world in which I live.  This is, after all, Massachusetts, inextricably linked to visions of Boston Commons and Cape Cod.

But Western Massachusetts isn’t that.  It’s this.  And I love it.

Riverine. October 25, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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In nearby Hampshire County, the Connecticut River runs deep and wide:

The only river crossing in the County is the Calvin Coolidge Bridge on route 9:

Him I don’t like, but his art deco namesake is pretty cool.

Playing. October 24, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Found some still-vibrant leaves languishing on the ground and took them home to a warm place, offered them a drink and convinced them to pose for me in their all-together.

A yellow one:

A red one:

Comfortably arranged on a black silk button-down shirt.


What Would You Do?. October 24, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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My local Public Radio station, WAMC out of Albany, New York, has a daily “Morning Poll Question” which listeners are invited to call in and answer.  Sometimes the questions are light or whimsical, about favorite movies or favorite moments, and sometimes they’re topical, about where people stand on political or social issues.

Today’s question was something like, “What should the first priority of the next President be?”

I liked the question.  It was polite and unassuming, yet it demanded that you step forward and state your position.

The first few callers made their cases for Job One, but I was busy at work and missed the gist of their ideas.

Then a woman called and said, “If I were President for a day, I’d…”

Her answer involved making a list of objectives, short term, medium term and long term, and prioritizing them, and then getting all of the important things started, recognized and codified, so that long term goals would be pursued through subsequent administrations.

It sounded like a very practical, “management style” approach, and seemed very worth considering.

But I was more interested in her perspective, in her rephrasing of the question, to “If I were President…”

Kinda gets you thinking, doesn’t it?  About what your first priority would be if you were President.

Think about it, and get back to me on that.

Dinner With TCR. October 24, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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After a recent visit to Hill’s Country, where she mentioned having pasta with shrimp , I got a hankerin’.

So I done some up, and Saw that It Was Guuud:

Lemon Shrimp and Wilted Baby Spinach over Squid Ink Linguini.

That’s how I got so big!


Truth Vs. Lies October 23, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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Today at Politits I found a link to a “point/counterpoint” encounter on Fox News, wherein progressive pundit David Sirota tries to have a conversation with right-wing mouthpiece Jennifer Millerwise Dyck (isn’t she cute?  I would.  But that’s not the point.)

And while their “discussion” of Obama’s proposed tax strategy quickly moved to an argument over the real corporate tax rate in this country (with Dyck claiming that it was unconscienably, job-killingly high and Sirota calling bullshit  on her,) the real travesty of the interaction was Dyck’s initial assertion that Senator Obama wants to tax the working people of this country in order to give our money to people who don’t pay taxes because they don’t work.

If this right wing machine is anything, it’s consistent.

Because repeating a message consistently enough legitimizes it in the minds of the masses, even if it’s patently false, even if it’s blatant lies, even if it’s total bullshit.

Mr. Sirota seemed fixed on calling Ms. Dyck on the corporate-tax-rate lie, but let her get away with her premise statement, which was that Obama would redistribute your money and mine to welfare folks (read: Those Ones. )

We The (Progressive) People can’t let these smiling, insipid Stepford Cuties repeat these lies without answering them with the truth.

And if you’re reading this (which you are) I have to assume that you can understand American English, heard what Obama said, and know what that truth is, so I’m not even going to bore you with it.

But I will urge you to get back up there and click that link (ok, you can do it down here,) because Sirota has some real numbers for you to throw around the next time some Charter Member of the Hook, Line and Sinker club starts to spew that wild-eyed bullshit about robbing Joe The (wishes he were a) Plumber to redistribute his “wealth” to jobless low-lifes.

Sadly, the Club members won’t understand your words, won’t hear your facts, won’t even know you’re talking about the same thing, because their brains have literally been unwired by Bullshit Immersion Therapy.

But you’ll know, and they’ll know you know, and that may be the best we can hope for until we make our world, and theirs, a better place.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

I Told  You It Was Coming! October 23, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Winter, that is.

I usually like it when the Big Snow holds off until the leaves have dropped; Pagan Sphinx will remember the occasion which taught us that lesson.

But I’ve been feeling the bite of the changing seasons, and when the sun came up over my job site, I was greeted by this:

A blanket of ice fog rolling over the summit of Mount Greylock, nearly obscuring the Veterans’ Memorial Tower.

The snow line came down to about 1800 feet (I’m estimating,) leaving the valley dry after the morning dew blew off.

I’m cold, as I always am at the beginning of Winter, but excited; I know I’ll thicken up to it, and Winter in these parts is my favorite time of year.

It’s just so damned beautiful.

Flame Grillin’! October 21, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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And I do mean “flame!”

That’s asparagus, roasted red peppers and a bulb of garlic doin’ their mavericky thing on my porch.

To this was added some lemon-and-oil marinated chicken, and voila! :

…with a couple of the onions I pickled this past week.

For Jeff at Nature Hills Nursery, because he asked!

The Ever Growing Constellation. October 21, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in music.
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This past Saturday, a warm breeze blew lovingly through State College, PA, and lifted the soul from a giant of the modern musical world.

Dave McKenna, one of the most gifted pianists since Art Tatum, succumbed to lung cancer, joining the pantheon of stars in the musical constellation of history.

I had the great good fortune to see Mr. McKenna play in Carnegie Hall ’round about 1971 or ’72, taking his solo turn at a Yamaha Grand Piano in a line-up of seven Greats of The Ivories, including the legendary Eubie Blake.

It went something like this:

What a night.

Thanks, Dave.  You’ll be sweetly remembered and greatly missed.

Winds Of Change. October 21, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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The hard freezes of this past weekend presaged a transition in the weather, from the chill nights and warm days of September to the damp, bone-chilling fare of November, by way of these few fleeting weeks of October.

Today a cold rain blew through, treating us Northeasterners to gun-gray skies incongruously offset by the remaining leaves, illuminated as they were by itinerant bands of sunlight:

Half the leaves have headed for the coast, and the corn is in the silo, revealing a soon-to-be-busy snow fence:

Whether by prescience or procrastination, it stands ready to serve.

Soon, My Friends.