Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Virginia State Capitol Building

Detail of Thomas Jefferson's Design

Capitol Square
The Virginia Capitol shows Jefferson's Classicism.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Last Great Agricultural Innovation...

...Out of Southern Augusta County

McCormick's Mill in Southern Augusta County.

If someone were to ask you: "what was the last agricultural innovation out of Augusta County to go worldwide?," you'd probably guess the McCormick Reaper. But innovation in our part of the valley does not end with the reaper. Augusta County Farrier, W.J. Tomlinson has invented a hoof maintenance tool known as Rider's Rasp [click to read] which is selling on the internet around the world. The device, and its popularity were the subject of a recent article in the Staunton News Leader.

The tool's unique design allows the average horse owner to round the hoof wall between professional visits to prevent splits. It also allows a rider to round a hoof if their horse loses a shoe on the trail. The ergonometric design allows riders with different hand sizes to comfortably use the tool, holding it in one hand. It's beauty is in the simplicity of design that allows for simplicity in its use.

Working Weekend

Finishing a Big Project, Considering the Lillies

Working Weekend
Putting the final touches on a village center.

Japanese Maple
There is always time to enjoy the bright maple...

...and to 'consider the lillies.'

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sonora is NOT Boycotting Arizona

From Sonora's Official Tourism Website:

"In Sonora we are looking for people from Arizona, who want to have a great time!

Thanks to its privileged location, Sonora is advertising a unique andsafe tourist destinations, awaiting inquisitive visitors. Sonora tourism wants you to discover its legendary cities, beautiful beaches and spectacular views of landscapes where ocean meets desert and mountain."

Sonora Tourism Site [click to read].

And no, Sonora is not one of the "57" United States, it is part of MEXICO. It does border Arizona.

Straight Talk to New Graduates

It's That Time of Year Again...

Rush Limbaugh's Commencement Address [click to read] is a classic.

"I'd spend some time inspiring them and teaching them a little bit about America to counteract what I thought they had been taught in their classrooms over the course of these past four years or five, depending on how long they've been there. But it would be optimistic, it would be upbeat, it would be positive: You live in the greatest country in the world, and you're gonna hear every day how we're the worst, you're going to hear how we're responsible for global warming and we're destroying the world." -- Rush Limbaugh

So is Phil's [click to read].

"Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs."

Moody Graduation
Graduation at Moody Bible Institute.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Geography for Politicians

We've Learned a Lot of New Facts Lately

So here goes, "with a little help from my friends" as the song says:

Guam is in Danger of Tipping Over [click to read] according to Hank Johnson.

Arizona Doesn't Border Mexico [click to read] according to Milwaukee supervisor Peggy West.

Augusta County Supervisors Don't Actually Represent Augusta County [click to read]. We'll let you know when we find out who they DO represent. When BOTH major newspapers and a lot of people agree that staggered terms would be a good thing, who are these people listening to?

You Can Be the Center of Your Own Universe [click to read] if you are an elected official. Clint Webb imbibed some truth serum before recording his political advertisement.

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue XXVI

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] has a feature on Thomas Edison [click to read]. Our legacy is one of great inventors and problem solvers. Yet today we have given over energy policy and creative force to the loony luddite left.

It would be a simple matter to complete Edison's marvelous machine with nuclear power plants but in the 1970's we allowed hysteria to overrun history. We're still using fossel fuel for much of our electricity.

Indeed it is a very real problem that much of the fringe environmental movement's focus is to STOP innovative technology.

We've Let Disasters Define Energy Policy Before
How Hysteria Short-circuited Edison's Vision Being Completed

Three Mile Island.

Back in the 1970s we were poised to build nuclear power plants enough to meet our energy needs. Unfortunately the accident at Three Mile Island was used by opponants of nuclear power to halt much of that planned capacity. Today we depend on fossil fuels and lay a haze across the Appalachians to meet our electric needs. It didn't have to be so.

In the wake of accidents, safety procedures were improved. Nuclear energy powers much of Europe and Japan without problems.

In Brand New Green [click to read], Peter W. Huber discusses how Environmentalist Stewart Brand has discovered that nuclear energy is really pretty environmentally friendly. Brand says: "The question I ask myself now is: “What took me so long? I could have looked into the realities of nuclear power many years earlier, if I weren’t so lazy.” When he got over his nuclear sloth, here’s what Brand learned. (Most of the words quoted here are Brand’s own, but some are Brand quoting others approvingly.) “Fear of radiation is a far more important health threat than radiation itself.” “Reactor safety is a problem already solved,” and the new reactors are even safer than the old. Waste isn’t a problem; we need the $10 billion Yucca mountain disposal site “about as much as we need a facility for imprisoning dangerous extraterrestrials.” Nuclear power isn’t just the cheapest practical carbon-free option around, but the cheapest, period, when not snarled up in green tape. Scientists “invariably poll high in support of nuclear.” The people so pragmatic that they actually keep the lights lit, he might have added, have polled that way for 40 years, on the strength of reams of data and analyses, as well as the operating experience of our nuclear navy and a wide range of commercial reactors scattered across the planet."

Today the President suspended offshore drilling in a move reminiscent of the nuclear policies of the past decades. The specter of disaster is being used to stifle the legitimate development of energy resources. Indeed, if deepwater wells are more dangerous, then why not allow drilling closer to shore... or from the shore itself. There are ways to exploit our domestic resources safely and it is a matter of national security.

We simply cannot cap off our own resources and put ourselves at the mercy of despots like Hugo Chavez.

We need a president who really is on top of energy policy, not one who says he is but fiddles while Rome burns.

Mr. President, let me help you. Here's what "On Top of It" looks like.

First, get your stinking foot off of BP's neck. It's really not there anyway. No one wants to lose eleven of their best people in a horrible explosion. We have a bad situation but BP is trying to solve the problem. Let's give them some support. Then we can analyze how we'll keep it from happening again.

Second, Governor Jindal asked for permission to build barriers to contain or mitigate the spill. Your correct response would have been: "Governor Jindal, I hope you're already getting your men in place. I'll clear the red tape for you... oh, Governor Jindal, Do you need any Seabee's from Gulfport? Do you need anything from us to do the job?" You know, if you had been a GOVERNOR instead of a 'Community Organizer,' you'd know how to do this.

Third, stop politicizing this disaster. America needs to safely extract energy from the ground. Wind farms just won't meet our needs. You wouldn't stop airplanes from flying because occasionally one crashes? You analyze failures and make things safer. Real leadership is stepping up to the plate and explaining just that.

Update: Augusta Conservative [click to read] brings us This from Reuters [click to read]. The drilling halt may cause more economic damage to the Gulf region than the spill.

Judge Suspends Drilling Moratorium
Jindal Applauds, Obama Vows to Appeal

We didn't shut down tanker transport after the Exxon Valdez spill.

Yes, the President still wants to shut down the entire Gulf oil industry, throwing many out of work in the region, citing 'Concern for the Environment.'

"Wait, what? Concern for the environment? When did that happen? Did Obama waive the Jones Act and let those Dutch skimmers come in? Did I miss that?" -- Pat

Also, what does it matter that shutting down the rigs is actually a process that increases the risk of something bad happening? The POTUS is showing his hand here and it's not about saving the planet... it's about control.

And So it Goes in Shreveport [click to read] has more. ht/SWAC Girl

Government Aggravated Tragedy [click to read]. Walter Williams tells it like it is, futher explaining the folly of legislation such as the Jones Act.

Tilting at Windmills

The one possible exception to the Left's Luddism is when it comes to such developments as wind power. Even though wind is sporatic, large wind turbine farms are on the drawing boards. European speculators are out buying "rights" to build windmills on Pennsylvania ridgetops. The Chicago Climate Exchange is up and running... just waiting for Cap and Trade... I haven't even mentioned 'global warming' until this point.

The Logic of Global Warming [click to read] is about as convoluted as the scripts of some old sitcoms from the sixties.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Farewell to a Valley Hero

Brian Anderson Remembered

Lynn [click to read] at her best, in the Washington Examiner:

"He was a hero who had died in Operation Enduring Freedom, the war in Afghanistan, only two months after arriving with the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, New York, when insurgents attacked his vehicle using an improvised explosive device (IED) on June 12.

The place Spc. Anderson died was a long way from the peaceful, green Shenandoah Valley that he loved, and his final resting place was in the Linville Creek Church cemetery in that beautiful Valley."

Northern Augusta Farm
The Valley.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Finding Community Serving in Congress

John Kasich's Shared Journey of Faith

In his book: Every Other Monday [click to read], Kasich shares his exploration of faith and what it means to life with a handful of friends. I hear many young people express a desire for more 'community' and less 'church.' The presupposition being that you have to 'go somewhere else' to find it.

Kasich's experience is that you can build those meaningful relationships, often with the friends you have now... and that it can be very relevant to the world you live in every day.

"What Can You Do with a General?"

Gen. Stanley McChrystal's Complex Conudrum

It seems strange enough that a military commander is granting interviews to Rolling Stone, but the fallout is stranger yet. Eliot A. Cohen [click to read] in the Wall Street journal gives a good overview of the larger issues. Joel Rosenberg [click to read] has some good thoughts as well.

SWAC Girl [click to read] has some thoughts on the situation and references the complex 'rules of engagement' that virtually guarantee the spending of young lives with minimal results.

What is needed is for someone with a clear sense of history to take McChrystal's place and bluntly deal with the very real threats that confront us. Unfortunately our President is more intent on waging war with oil companies and Arizona than real terrorists. That does not give a person great hope in this situation.

Judge Suspends Drilling Moratorium

Jindal Applauds, Obama Vows to Appeal

We didn't shut down tanker transport after the Exxon Valdez spill.

Yes, the President still wants to shut down the entire Gulf oil industry, throwing many out of work in the region, citing 'Concern for the Environment.'

"Wait, what? Concern for the environment? When did that happen? Did Obama waive the Jones Act and let those Dutch skimmers come in? Did I miss that?" -- Pat

Also, what does it matter that shutting down the rigs is actually a process that increases the risk of something bad happening? The POTUS is showing his hand here and it's not about saving the planet... it's about control.

And So it Goes in Shreveport [click to read] has more. ht/SWAC Girl

Government Aggravated Tragedy [click to read]. Walter Williams tells it like it is, futher explaining the folly of legislation such as the Jones Act.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Premier Network of Veterans' Services

Just Saying 'Thank You' Isn't Enough...


Who we are:

We believe that the community plays a significant role in shaping our citizens as well as our veterans. However, when our veterans return from the wars, they are faced with many challenges; many of which they cannot fully appreciate or understand. The world changes and both the community and the veteran are different when they return from the war. Many veterans suffers from illnesses that they may not even be aware of like "post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, alcoholism or drug addiction, etc... PNOVS is here to help. We are creating a national model that will change the "community framework of support" for assisting veterans and their families. PNOVS National Center will be created in the Richmond metro area.

Visit PNOVS on Facebook [click to read].

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Walk in the Woods

Observations on Divine Design

Trail to Humpback Mountain.

Two men go walking in the woods. They quietly take in the wonder of nature as they press deeper into the forest. Suddenly they come upon a lovely little house nestled into the trees and admire its design. The house is situated to take advantage of the cycles of the seasons, bringing sunlight in in Winter and providing shade in the heat of Summer. Large windows allow the occupants to experience their surroundings while protecting them from the rugged mountain conditions. "Surely," the first man remaks, "this is the work of a master architect." Indeed the work is recognizeable as that of someone well known for certain design features evident in the house. "Who built it?" the man wonders. The stonework looks like the work of fine Spanish masons, but there is little else to indicate who built the house or their methodology.

If the man's companion were to then state that nature had responded to the harsh mountain conditions to create this wonderful dwelling and that this had happened randomly without any oversight from a master designer; he might legitimately be accused of ignoring the body of evidence that suggested otherwise.

Yet, many walk in the woods every day, ignoring a body of design that is even more wonderous and complex than that embodied in a house. Consider the many intertwined organisms that make up the forest world. Consider the elegant efficiency of so many functions in nature and the beauties and symetries to be found. That is just in what we can see.

In his book Signature in the Cell [click to read] Stephen C. Meyer looks at the blueprints involved in those complex creations and gives us even more evidence for the Master Designer.

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." -- Romans 1:20

Why is it so important to see evidence of the Divine hand? Hebrews 11:6 puts it this way:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Years ago, walking in the woods as a young man, I observed the buds of Winter trees growing fat for the blossoms to come in Spring. To me that came as Divine assurance.

A dogwood blossom displays balance in design.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Japanese Maple Leaves

Contrast in Colors

Japanese Maple
The Japanese Maple, bright red against the Summer green.

Japanese Maple
Maple "propellers."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Reverend Richard's 4th of July Prayer

From Homer Hickam's Book: 'Sky of Stone'

I was reading Homer Hickam's book: Sky of Stone when this passage riveted me with its profound wisdom, succinctly stated. Hickam describes a 4th of July celebration in Coalwood where the Reverend gave this invocation [1.]:

"Dear Lord, we are gathered here to celebrate not just the independence of our great land, but also the document on which it stands. There is much to admire in that document but what we best remember is this: We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

To prepare for this invocation today, I have pondered long and hard these words. Most of you know that I rarely go anywhere without my Bible. It is an old Bible. It belonged to my grandfather. What you don't know is that inside this book, I have always kept a copy of the Declaration of Independence. It also belonged to my grandfather. He believed it to be as Holy as his Bible.

When I was a boy, somebody once asked me if my grandfather had been a slave. I couldn't imagine that could be true so I went to him and asked him: Grandfather, were you a slave? He said, Child, a man called me that but I was never a slave and you know why? Because I could read. My mama, she taught me when that man wasn't looking, just as her mama taught her.

When he became officially a free man, my grandfather purchased this Bible and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. He kept them both until the day he died. He left them to me.

I have come to understand my grandfather was right. No man or woman can be a slave if they can read. Especially if they can read the Bible and the American Declaration of Independence.

But that means there are still slaves in this land. There are slaves who do not know that they have inalienable rights given to them by God, and that they also have, by the grace of the Lord, life, liberty, and the right to pursue their happiness and the happiness of their families.

They are slaves to their own ignorance. Ignorance is the ultimate slave owner.

So on this 4th of July, I pray a special prayer.I pray for the day when the tyranny of ignorance will be banished all across this great land and every man, woman, and child can read and understand what they read.

I pray for that day.I pray every day for that day."

The good Reverend had planted in me a renewed vision of the mission before us. That is the mission of educating ourselves and our children.

The U.S. Capitol.

Friday, June 18, 2010

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism With a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue XXV

Why This House is Upside-down...

Washington's Bankruptcy reflects a crisis that is more in the American spirit than in her fiscal policy. Just ask any woman who's tried to run a household and feed her kids while her husband goes on unending binges and drinks away his paycheck.

Using the excuse of 'compassion,' Washington has taken over so much of the function of society that once was accomplished by G-d fearing men and women without so much as a nod from government. Our great hospitals and universities began as works of ministry for the most part. Government merely provided a secure infrastructure for the good works of mankind.

It might surprise you to know that African American unemployment was far lower before the Great Society was initiated. Communities were healthier before the state built large Soviet style 'projects' to 'improve' housing conditions. More fathers were involved in their childrens' lives before the government became the sole provider for so many families. Just something to think about...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

War Memorial, Halifax, Virginia

Striking Simple Classical Form Gives Tribute

Halifax County War Memorial
Driving into Halifax I noticed this beautiful memorial.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Regal Moth

Also Known as the Royal Walnut Moth

Regal Moth
Citheronia regalis, photographed near Brookneal, Virginia.

Photographing Sir Winston Churchill

Yousuf Karsh's Famous Portrait, Without the Cigar!

Winston Churchill as photographed by Yousuf Karsh.

The great photographer Karsh wrote in Faces of Our Time: "Two niggardly minutes in which I must try to put on film a man who had already written or inspired a library of books, baffled all his biographers, filled the world with his fame, and me, on this occasion, with dread."

Churchill marched into the room scowling, "regarding my camera as he might regard the German enemy." His expression suited Karsh perfectly, but the cigar stuck between his teeth seemed incompatible with such a solemn and formal occasion. "Instinctively, I removed the cigar. At this the Churchillian scowl deepened, the head was thrust forward belligerently, and the hand placed on the hip in an attitude of anger."

Thus was the great wartime portrait of British defiance created... by the removal of a cigar!

Phil has some comments on modern attempts to remove Churchill's Cigar [click to read]. A museum exhibit designer has removed the great man's cigar in a profound misuse of Photoshop. [I should know]. The problem is that in doing so, the mouth is wrong. Churchill looks like he's having a stroke. They need to substitute Karsh's photograph if they want a tobacco-free alternative.

Immediately after the scowling photograph was taken, the mischevious Churchill smiled and Karsh snapped what he considered his favorite portrait of the great leader.

In Churchill's Finest Hour [click to read] Mark Riebling discusses a new biography of Churchill in City Journal.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

White Rock Falls

On the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Slacks Overlook

White Rock Falls Trail
This waterfall is about a mile's walk hiking from the overlook.

The Voyage of the Dove

At 16 Robin Graham Sailed Around the World

His adventure [click to read] was chronicled in National Geographic. It was pretty exciting. He lost his mast in the Indian Ocean and had to improvise repairs on his boat to keep on sailing.

He survived bouts with loneliness, being swept overboard and a close encounter with a larger vessel in his quest.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Alien in the White House

He's Not One of Us and More People are Noticing That

The President's youth was not spent learning values many of us identify with and consider basic.

Dorothy Rabinowitz [click to read] in the WSJ.

"A great part of America now understands that this president's sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the demented fringe."

Dorothy Rabinowitz Discusses Her Op-Ed [click to read]. ht/Phil

George Washington was a Surveyer at 15

Abby Sunderland Sails the World at 16

My question is for all the kids who are still trying to 'grow up' at 26!

Virginia Right Has the Story [click to read] about Sunderland's thwarted attempt to sail around the globe. Last night we watched 'Amelia' at our house and I find myself firmly on the side of "why not?" My parents were aircraft designers. I thought the 'great adventure' was an essential part of life.

We've created a nation of adolescents. Young people are delaying marriage and supposedly 'peaking' at their careers. If they are 'peaking' then why are the results not astounding. Is it any wonder that Sunderland, a "dangerous" homeschooler [1.], might have been taught to aspire to higher goals than her peers?

More About Ms. Sunderland [click to read].

Abby Sunderland's boat.

Friday, June 11, 2010

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue XXIV

Special Issue: Cleaning Up Dirty Birds!

My Mother used to have a favorite saying: "It's a dirty bird that sullies its own nest." No doubt she was referencing our own adolescent housekeeping skills but the saying applies here as well.

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] features a dirty bird from the Gulf and we at THYME have our own dirty bird cover as well.

Our dirty bird paid himself $90 million in bonuses while he bundled bad mortgages as 'investments.' Had he been in the private sector he'd be doing time by now. As it is, he hasn't even had to give the bonus money back.

With willing accomplices in the media, the private sector can take the hit. Still, here is where we have to begin if we really want to cleanup the mess in Washington. The dirtiest birds seem to roost in the nation's capital. So grab your gloves, your mask and your detergent. THYME is on a mission. Here's our special pullout section:

A Field Guide to Washington's 'Dirty Birds'

Reid's Roadrunner.

Pelosi's Pelican.

Franklin's Finch.

Barney's Bowerbird.

Gibb's Grouse.

Obama's Oriole.

Carter's Crow.

Biden's Booby.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Here's an Idea for Martin's/Ukrops

Bring the Best of Richmond to All Your Stores

Why not preserve the successful Ukrops brand?

SWAC Girl is Writing About Ukrops Again [click to read]. Here is an idea who's time has come. Why not bring not only the Homestyle Foods but some of the other wonderful features as well. While you are at it, the Ukrops logo is so much classier than Martin's. Here is a thought for a new look for your stores.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Phil is Running for Spot on SVEC Board

Vote for Him at June 10 Annual Meeting


At 7 PM on Thursday, June 10,2010, at the James Madison Convocation Center in Harrisonburg there will be an election for 3 members of the Board of Directors for the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC). That's tonight.

Fellow blogger Phil Lynch is running so get out and support him. He has experience in business and law enforcement as well as his community involvement.

PNOVS Operation Vector

Helping to Create a Vision for Veteran Services

Depasquale Delph Gentilhomme Group Architects asked me to illustrate the new center for Premier Network of Veteran Services. Photo by E. Strong.

Operation Vector is will be a community outreach and education event for Veterans, Veterans Families, Veterans Supporters, the Media, and the General Public. We expect hundreds to attend and also expect appearances and remarks by elected officials from The Commonwealth of Virginia. The event is open to ANYONE and we cordially invite all interested in attending to be our guests.

The event is sponsored and organized by PNOVS (Premier Network of Veteran’s Services), a Non-Profit organization of Veterans helping Veterans. PNOVS’s mission is “Restoration” for Veterans in despair. PNOVS’ goal is to restore a Veteran’s honor, dignity, and hope by providing world class, integrated physical and behavioral health care, counseling, and benefits support services that will be delivered in a short term residential setting.

At the event, PNOVS leadership will share their observations on some serious problems faced by some of our nation’s veterans. PNOVS has repeatedly observed a problem with many Veterans returning to their communities “broken” and in situations where they absolutely should not be. That is, jobless, chemically dependent, homeless, in jails, in prisons, in mental health systems, and in despair. Once in this vicious cycle, it’s hard for the Veteran to break free. At the event, PNOVS leadership will present its visionary and innovative solution to this problem – a project called The PNOVS National Center for Veterans. You won’t want to miss hearing about this breakthrough solution. You will also have the opportunity to have your voice heard and learn about how you can join our team and contribute to this important project that will positively impact the lives of Veterans in despair.

Operation Vector Event is Thursday, June 24, 2010 from 2pm to 4pm at the Double Tree Hotel (5501 Eubank Road, Sandston, VA 23150)

RSVP: Wilson Washington, Jr., 804.878.2432 or AJ Miah, 804.240.0598

PNOVS Center
Depasquale Delph Gentilhomme Group, Illustration by Bob Kirchman.

Some projects just grab you. PNOVS [click to read] was one of those... an opportunity to put some substance to the gratitude we feel for our troops.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Broken Compass

Let's Hope the World is Right About 'Evil' Israel

Can we trust the world's compass if it is that broken?

Dennis Prager [click to read] in Jewish World Review.

"The reason mankind has to hope that the world, its leaders, its newspapers, its so-called human rights organizations and the United Nations are right about Israel is quite simple: If Israel is the decent party in its war with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas — and nearly all the world's countries, nearly all the world's media and the United Nations are morally wrong — what hope is there for humanity? If the world's moral compass is that broken, are we not sailing into a dark age?"

The Plain Truth about Israel [click to read] by Caroline B. Glick.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Don't Blame Bush, Its All My Fault

It Was I Who Shared this 'Inconvenient Truth'

File photo of 'Augusta Al.' No woman that I know wants to be married to a rodent.

Stalking a Bear in Shenandoah Park

Excitment on an Early Morning Walk in the Woods

The AT at Jarman's Gap.

Black bear walking through the woods.

This morning before work I headed up to Jarman's Gap in Shenandoah National Park for an early morning walk. I soon found myself stalking a bear. I noticed the bear walking across the Skyline Drive at a distance as I approached mile marker 97 and realized I could probably get a good look by walking back on the AT from the gap.

The bear was walking slowly in the forest as I walked as silently as I could, hoping to get a better look. I walked along the trail and listened for the sound of the bear breaking twigs in the forest. All was silent. I decided to backtrack and heard something dropping from a tree, or at least I thought I did.

Walking under a medium sized cherry all was quiet. "Must have been a squirrel," I thought. After I passed under the cherry, rustling from the tree caught my attention. There was the bear! High in the tree. I had just walked right under it!

The bear hastened down the side of the tree away from view and scrambled into the deep woods. That was the last I saw of it.

The bear, who I had just walked right under!

The trail, quiet in the early morning light.


This Photo Says It All

Protest of Planned Mosque at Ground Zero

How about some 'tolerance' from the Muslim world first?

SWAC Girl [click to read] and Phil [click to read] have more.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

THYME Magazine

Cirizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue XXIII

A Blogger's Guide to the World Situation

“Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.” -- Edmund Burke (British Statesman and Philosopher, 1729-1797).

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] is geared up for the 2010 World Cup. THYME is concentrating on a game where the stakes are much higher for all of us.

This week Israeli commandos stopped a flotilla of activists... er, I mean "Artists, Intellectuals and Journalists" [1.] heading from Turkey to Gaza. Some of the people on the boat admitted they were looking forward to 'martyrdom,' but nah, this is just a HUMANITARIAN mission.

While the US media was wrapped up in reporting an umpire's admitted bad call that cost a young pitcher a perfect game, few were discussing the 'bad call' by the world's 'umpires' about Israel's rationally acting in self defense. The MSM, the UN, the POTUS [2.] are all calling the game wrong. In doing so they simultaneously ignore history and step in it at the same time.

The problem is that if history is correct and history repeats itself; it will cost mankind a whole lot more than a 'perfect game.'

Friday, June 4, 2010

"We Are All Arizonans at this Moment"

Dennis Prager On the Left's War on American Values

I'm listening to Dennis Prager who is a guest on Dr. James Dobson's new program, Family Talk [click to read]. He's pointing out that the Left's war on Arizona is unprecidented in American history. We didn't boycott Berkeley when they kicked military recruiters off campus. Even though we disagree, there is no intent on the part of the Right to harm those who we consider fellow Americans. That, says Prager, is why we need to rally behind Arizona now.

The Left, however, while they believe we need to 'understand' jihadists, clearly believe Tea Partiers are the enemy. They do not want to work with us, they want to defeat us. What of the concept of E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one? America is in fact one of the least racist societies in the world -- if you don't believe me visit Saudi Arabia. The Right sees America as a unification of people from diverse backgrounds. We came into being with all of the prejudices and inequities that are all too common to the human condition, but the mandate to change came from within our society -- often driven by people who saw G-d as the author of their struggle.

Prager points out that the Left values equality of results over Liberty. He points out that the Left considers Cuba equal to America in healthcare because all have access to the same miserable results. They prefer equal delivery to a system like ours where exceptional results are obtained but not immediately available to all. They fail to consider how markets actually work to bring the better results to an ever increasing number of people.

Prager now points out that American society is based on the ideaa that G-d is the grantor of human rights. The Left does not acknowledge this history. This is what is behind the drive to remove all reference to America's Christian roots from her public squares.

"The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen" -- Prager points out that the increase in the role of the state diminishes the role of the citizen. Removal of the Divine only places the state in an awkward position of assuming his duties in managing the universe.

Prager also reminds us The Left and Right do not Want the Same America [click to read].

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lining Up to 'Stop Him from Stealing'

Seven in Primary for Right to Challenge Perriello

It's fun driving around Charlottesville these days. Tuesday's Republican Primary [click to read] features seven candidates, all running for the chance to take on Tom Perriello. [1.] The advertisements on the radio are interesting. The race should be interesting as well.

Here's the lineup: Robert Hurt of Chatham, Laurence Verga of Albemarle County, Ken Boyd of Albemarle County, Michael McPadden of Albemarle County, Feda Morton of Fluvanna County, Jim McKelvey of Franklin County and Ron Ferrin of Campbell County.

It is heartening to see non-lawyers in the race like Feda Morton [click to read]. Ms. Morton is a teacher and a Mother of five. Feda’s broad experience includes roles in public education, administration, coaching state championship high school teams, local government, civic organizations, Christian education, home schooling, successful campaigns for elected office, and political organizing. She also co-founded and managed a successful construction company and is a member of Fluvanna Baptist Church where she teaches a four and five year old Sunday School class.

Feda began her political career in the early 1990s with Russ Moulton’s campaign for State Senate and as the Fluvanna County Coordinator for the Lieutenant Governor campaign of Mike Farris, President of the Home School Legal Defense Association. Feda was then elected as the Chairman of the Fluvanna Republican Committee and turned a very small organization into one of the strongest in the state for voter turnout for conservative Republican candidates for the next decade under her leadership. Feda also served on the 5th District Republican Committee and was elected from there to serve on the Republican State Central Committee.

Today, Feda is seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District for the 2010 election. It is her vision to restore our nation to the original intent of our Founders by reducing government to its Constitutional size, scope, and role. Feda hopes to be a catalyst in reinvigorating the American spirit of independence, individualism, and capitalism – the very principles that are her guiding light as she defends freedom and the Constitution with the same energy and commitment she has applied throughout her life.

Feda Morton.

"Peace" Activists on the Boat to Gaza

"Artists, Intellectuals and Journalists"

Kind of reminds you of some 1960's 'peace' activists.

Remember Al Capp, the cartoonist who drew 'Lil Abner? Although he billed himself as a 'certified hillbilly cartoonist,' he lived in New England when the student protests erupted on campuses like Harvard. He created a charicature of the wild angry students he dubbed "Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything," or S.W.I.N.E.

The artists, intellectuals and journalists in the Gaza boat seem remarkably similar to the angry students depicted by Capp.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Comfort Zone Camp in the WSJ

Good Press for a Great Work

Comfor Zone
My rendering of proposed facilities for Comfort Zone Camp.

Pick up a Wall Street Journal [click to read] today and you will see the Hughes family on the front page. Comfort Zone Camp Founder, Lynne Hughes, was interviewed about the life long affect of losing a parent or sibling as a child. The article includes information from a study recently released by Comfort Zone Camp, funded by the New York Life Foundation.Comfort Zone Camp is trying to create a national conversation about the impact of childhood bereavement.

I did a rendering for Lynne's proposed facilities a while back. It is good to see that people are taking notice of her work!

Rays of Morning Sunshine

Mist Outlines Light in the Forest

Morning Sun
The morning sun through the trees.