March 01, 2014
February 28, 2014
I know... we’re weird.
February 27, 2014
y passion for photography has grown through many stages, but I have always had a love for natural light. I particularly love backlighting or strong side lighting. I have also come to love dark interiors with bright light streaming through windows or doors. But the high contrast of such pictures makes it very hard to capture photographically.
One week ago last Saturday my family went to a local restaurant for lunch. We got there a bit early and were the only customers in the dining room for a while. The decorations were beautiful and the lighting was outstanding. So I rested my elbows on the table to give more stability in the extremely low lighting conditions, and I took a few pictures.
This first picture is the hostess, waiting for diners to arrive. She is looking at a large wine rack in a darker part of the restaurant, but the strong light shining through the windows and door to her left plays along the edge of her hair and defines her clothing. I loved the effect.
The decorations were beautiful in this Italian restaurant and used a lot of food, oil, and wine to set the tone of the dining area. These lemons, peppers, and water pitcher were very close to our table, but the light was so low that I had to use a very long shutter speed. I love how this one turned out.
Photography! What a great hobby!
I love playing the bass. The lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and lead guitarist all form the personality of the band. But the bass player and the drummer are the heart and soul of the band. And it’s a great role to play.
There are, however, some bass players who are so incredibly good that they can do it all. Victor Wooten is probably the best of the best.
January 24, 2014
The King’s Singers are the longest running male choral group in history. This group has been active for centuries with never a break. When someone gets too old, they recruit a new person to replace him and carry on. This group has been performing for the British royal court for a very long time. They’re absolutely awesome!
January 21, 2014
They forecast snow for today and... for once, the weather reports were right. The snow began to fall at about 6:00 this morning and has been falling ever since. We have around six or seven inches of it now (at 6:00 pm) and it’s coming down harder now than it has all day. And my beautiful clean Camaro that my son and I just washed yesterday is now covered. Oh well.
So, of course, I sent my son out to clean off the windows. And, man, is it ever cold!
Thanks to Google Auto Awesome for these cool animations.
January 17, 2014
January 16, 2014
olitical conversation has gotten a lot more heated and a lot more common in recent days. I began to notice it shortly after the A&E/Duck Dynasty controversy, and I have a theory about why this has happened. Maybe it’s only that I have begun to notice something that has been going on for a long time. But I don’t think that’s it because I’ve been posting political things for about a decade. Nobody has any doubt where I stand on current events and political issues. But just over the past couple of months I have been inundated with push-back from my liberal-leaning friends. Some of them have “unfriended” me on Facebook. Others have called me on the phone or sent me emails. Not one of those friends said anything about my political posts until the past few months, even though most of them have been reading my blog or my Facebook page for years.
What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
I think the change came when A&E decided to suspend Phil Robertson for quoting scripture and stating his personal experience and saying that he is heterosexual. A&E bowed to the pressure of the intolerant GLAAD and put out a statement saying that they stand with the homosexual community against homophobic and intolerant statements made by Duck Dynasty’s patriarch Phil Robertson. This, of course, shocked the Christian community because he had said nothing of the sort. In fact, he said he loves everyone. But he quoted scripture that speaks against homosexuality and he stated his preference for females.
A&E also received pressure from the NAACP who claimed that Phil Robertson’s statements that he had not personally seen any evidence of racism when he was growing up and that the black folks he associated with most frequently seemed quite happy constituted blatant racism. The liberal media then ran with this part of the story and created a narrative out of whole cloth saying that Phil Robertson had said that blacks were better off under Jim Crow laws than they are now. He had never said anything of the sort, but liberal people lapped it all up and spat it back out... at me. In fact, they kept repeating those things even after it was pointed out clearly to them that Robertson had never said anything like that but had just answered a journalist’s question by stating what he had seen growing up. This part of the story caused non-religious conservatives to join with the religious ones in thinking, “this could happen to me.” The whole story made us realize that we are very vulnerable in our society’s current atmosphere.
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
So the conservatives and the religious people began speaking upa lot more. I’ve always been outspoken about these things, but now so was everyone else. And I think this outpouring of conservative thought from everyday people has caused my liberal friends to freak out. They’re bothered by speech that they had not heard much before, but all of a sudden it was everywhere around them. The conservatives and the Christians were speaking their minds.
That extended beyond the Phil Robertson flap. Especially the Christians realized that our culture no longer understands the things of the bible. When a scripture verse is quoted and that is proclaimed as vile hate speech, our culture is clueless at a level that most Christians cannot comprehend. And we realized, we have a long way to go to pull our society back from the brink of disaster.
The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
While all of this is happening, Barack Obama has pushed his authoritarian, dictatorial ways further with the beginning of this new year. He has stated that he will not wait for Congress, but will act unilaterally where he can. “I have a pen and I have a phone,” he stated, emphasizing that he will use his pen to sign executive orders and he will convene meetings with those he deems worthy through his phone so he doesn’t have to wait for the pesky checks and balances our founding fathers wrote into our Constitution.
You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
It’s getting scary.
And from his recent speeches, it seems that Mr. Obama’s primary goal this year is to overcome “income inequality.” This was the context of his threat to govern by dictatorial fiat when he mentioned his pen and his mobile phone. We’re in a heap ’o trouble!
So... considering income inequality and income redistribution, I ran across two stories that I thought I would share here. I hope they can help some people understand what a terrible idea this is. And may God have mercy on our nation and protect us from this administration.
Story #1: Economics Professor fails entire class
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan.” All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A (substituting grades for dollarssomething closer to home and more readily understood by all).
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that.
When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
Story #2: The obligatory bar joke
Suppose that every day, 10 men go out for beer and the bill for all 10 comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…
- The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing
- The fifth would pay $1
- The sixth would pay $3
- The seventh would pay $7
- The eighth would pay $12
- The ninth would pay $18
- The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59
- And so, the first four men still pay nothing (no change from before)
- The fifth man continues to pay $1 (no change from before)
- The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving)
- The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving)
- The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving)
- The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving)
- The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving)
With the exception of the fifth man (kinda the lower middle-class guy), each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.
“I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,” but he got $10!”
“I got nothing at all,” exclaimed the fifth man. It’s unfair that he got $10 back when I got nothing!” “That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”
“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”
“And does it on the backs of the lower middle-class,” chimed in the fifth man.
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore (see “Atlas Shrugged”). In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
I truly hope the conservatives don’t bow to the pressure being recently brought to bear upon them by their liberal acquaintances and friends. When common sense is removed from the conversation all that’s left is nonsense.
Yes... left is nonsense!