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Showing posts from January, 2013

Letting a Landscape Breathe

Why does it always sound like such a left-handed compliment to call something or somebody, "Old Reliable?" Once upon a time I read everything I could get my hands on about the War Between the States. When they said that Robert E. Lee called General Longstreet his "old warhorse," I felt sorry for Longstreet and felt envious of the reckless flash of Stonewall Jackson. Likewise, how would you like to be the minivan in the garage that gets call "old reliable?" (Next to it sits a useless and pampered sports car that only gets used on Sunday afternoons when the weather is good.) Would a wife's ego be flattered if her husband thought of her as "Old Reliable?" The term is actually a serious compliment, and its user would quickly wise up if Old Reliable were taken away. Thus I always feel a little guilty when thinking of walking/hiking as a "mere" backup sport for what I really want to do. _____________________________________________

Wet Deserts and Creepie Crawlies

Yuma, AZ. I saw two of these creatures in a sandy desert on a rainy day. The body is 0.25--0.35 inches long. But the color really leaps out at you. Any guesses?   The photo above shows the color as too burnt red. In reality it was more scarlet red, such as this: That's the head coming to get the cameraman. This thin g, or rather, its color really amused me.

Time to Drop Verizon Wireless Internet?

Would it pay off to drop my Verizon Wireless internet connection? I'm talking about more than the $53 dollars per month. The main benefit would be the killing off of the bad habit that the internet has become. But there's more: without worrying about internet coverage, North America will be a much bigger and better place to camp. Does the reader know of anyone who has done this, and whether they are happy they did? There would still be wi-fi in town or at country stores. I r eally like the camping-style of coming to town once per week to do the usual errands. Internet usage w ould just be one more errand. It would be fun to look forward to it. Access once per week would be adequate for paying bills, catching up on the news (mostly just entertainment trivia), and reading websites and blogs (more trivia). Once per week would be adequate for a little bit of internet shopping. Nor would dropping Verizon Wireless internet service mean that my computer lies fallow all week.

Success in Finding a Worthwhile Blog

Do our habits and attitudes carry over from "old" technology to newer tech? For instance, many people (and most men) do not like to shop. They already know what they want when they go into a store. They want to find it quickly, buy it, and get the hell out of there. But what happens when the reluctant shopper has to go to a search engine on the internet? How can he not growl at the 3.6 million hits for his search? That's as growl-able as going to a flea market at Quartzsite in January, and sifting through a ton of unsorted detritus piled up on a table. Recently I've been complaining a lot about wasting time on the internet, reading repetitious trivia. And yes, I have considered the possibility that some of this problem is self-inflicted. Perhaps I would find something fresh and worthwhile to read if I stopped being so impatient with those search engines. Where are the blogs that are reminiscent of the periodical essays of the 1700s? So I used "periodical

"The Artist": Clever and Charming

I'm about to praise a fairly new movie, but i n order to appreciate it fully, let's invoke some words from Samuel Johnson, in Adventurer # 67 :   Ha ppiness is enjoyed only in proportion as it is known; and such is the state or foll y of man, that it is known only b y experience of its contrary. Thus we must contrast this enjoyable movie with the cultural sinkhole that Hollywood has become. You must be brave enough to look into the abyss and appreciate how truly dreadful most movies are... ...the formulaic date movies, obligatory bedroom scenes, boring computer graphics, the F word in every other sentence, MTV-style of cut-cut-cut action trash... I really didn't know what to expect when I picked this DVD at the public library. It looked like some kind of furrin' or independent flick. During the opening credits there was mention of several French corporations or government funding agencies -- now that was a scary way to start a movie! (But actually, it w

Update -- Why Do Some People Dislike Apple So Much?

i S chadenfr eude is ever ywhere! I t is another bad day for AAPL stock due to a slowdown in the Apple pipeline of orders. AAPL bears are rejoicing -- they want to see the stock fall down through $500 because of the psychological significance. Even though I am an Apple hater, I will try to take a philosophical look at the anti-A pple syndrome. First of all, why should any of us hate Apple? Is it just envy? How can we not be grateful for the innovations that Apple has brought forth, with some even benefiting the consumers of rival products? And what about all the jobs? (Some are even in the USA.) One of the more emphatic critics of Apple is Karl Denninger, who recently said: There are plenty of people who hate the linkage with iTunes that comes with Apple products... Everyone on Wall Street wants to talk about ecosystem , but what they're really talking about is a walled garden -- and the wall has razor wire and broken bottles embedded in the top.  It's a prison ,

The Great Charnel Houses in the Cloud

I w a nt to follow up with some suggestions about conquering the Uni nterrupted Prose Syndrome, by making verbiage "breathe" with some kind of pictorial illustration, gotten somewhere . (Let's ignore the fact that music might be eve n better for this purpose, since it's pr obably more technically difficult to get it into the blog post.)  So off I will go, searching for shareable photographs in the great charnel houses for internet photographs, such as, Picasa, or Flickr. Blogs that have a Creative Commons License, such as a commenter's blog , are also worth a serious look. Oops. There is a likely problem that we must address before rolling up our sleeves. Recall the controversy that good ol' Leo Tolstoy got into in the Colorado arts scene, one summer not so long ago. (grin) By invoking his arguments on "What is Art?" (free on Google Books), I am not trying to con you with an "appeal to Authority," as it might

Letting a Book Breathe

Now don't be sus picious or skeptical if I boast of progress in my de-internetting project by reading adulterous love triangles. Thanks to getting a library card from the Yuma library, I picked up the late-1940s movie, Anna Karenina , starring Vivian Leigh. She was good in the role and, let's face it, agreeable to look at. It served as inspiration for a rematch with Tolstoy's novel. It took about 40 pages for the main characters to start the soap opera, proper, after which I just rolled my eyes and put the book away. Ahh but wait. Maybe things are different when re-reading a book.  Let's try to learn something from rewatching a movie. Years ago I learned the trick of focusing away from the center of the screen. Without any special effort, you prob ably would be focusing dead center, where the action is an d the leading c haracters are.  Perhaps this could work for re-reading a novel? For example I am merely skimming the main chapters in Anna , all ghastly s