Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Day After the Storm

I took a walk down the Cliff Walk this morning. The seas were pretty rough, but not really surf-worthy, despite the guy I got below. There were only three people out there, and in the hour that I hung around that was the only run anybody made. Still, that was some rough water!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

This just in: Apparently Scott Brown is still pretending that Rachel Maddow is after his Senate seat so he can raise more money. Rachel finally said "enough's enough" and is calling him out on it:

Scott, if we weren't already convinced you were a moron, this oughta do the trick!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Glenn Beck Fails Again

Good ol' Glenn has managed to make a public spectacle of himself again, and this time he's even managed to alienate more than a few of his usual allies. It seems that he's taken to delving into theology without actually studying the subject first, and in the process he's managed to stomp on the toes of just about the whole range of denominational Christianity, including his own home church, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, aka Mormons.

So what did Glenn say? Basically, he told his listeners to run away from their church if they believed in social justice, calling it a code word for communism and fascism and a perversion of the Gospel. Here are his exact words:
I beg you, look for the words ’social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes! …

If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop and tell them, “Excuse me are you down with this whole social justice thing?” If it’s my church, I’m alerting the church authorities: “Excuse me, what’s this social justice thing?” And if they say, “yeah, we’re all in that social justice thing”—I’m in the wrong place.
That was from his original radio broadcast. The next is from a follow-up broadcast:
Where I go to church, there are members that preach social justice as members–my faith doesn’t–but the members preach social justice all the time. It is a perversion of the gospel. … You want to help out? You help out. It changes you. That’s what the gospel is all about: You.

Social justice was the rallying cry—economic justice and social justice—the rallying cry on both the communist front and the fascist front. That is not an American idea. And if we don’t get off the social justice economic justice bandwagon, if you are not aware of what this is, you are in grave danger. All of our faiths–my faith your faith–whatever your church is, this is infecting all of them.
Did you notice that one parenthetical aside? He says that while there may be members of his church who preach social justice, his church itself doesn't. And he couldn't be more wrong. In fact the LDS does indeed both preach and practice social justice, starting with exhortations in its chief scripture, The Book of Mormon. I'm not an expert on the LDS, although I've read both the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price, as well as some church documents. But I would never pass myself off as a spokesperson for the church. There are two excellent articles online by people who are Mormons and can speak for the church, and I urge you to go read them: a post on the Spiritual Politics blog and an article by Jana Reiss on Beliefnet. Both of these state the LDS policy on social justice clearly, and it's obvious that Glenn Beck doesn't even know his own church's teachings on the subject. Gee, Glenn, looks like you're gonna have to leave and find a new place to go on Sunday mornings!

Not that he'll have much luck. He calls social justice a perversion of the Gospel, but the fact is that it's pretty much hard-wired into all four of the Gospels. Jesus raises up the poor and condemns the rich for hoarding all their money and allowing the poor to get even poorer. He exhorts his followers to care for the poor, the sick, the widow, the disabled, but he doesn't stop there; he makes it an obligation, and punishable by an eternity in hell if you don't. Check out these passages:
20) And he raised his eyes to his listeners and preached: Congratulations, you poor, for God's domain belongs to you.
21) Congratulations, you who starve now, for you will be filled. Congratulations, you who weep and wail now, for you will laugh.
22) Congratulations to you when people detest you and exclude you, and rail at you and drive you out and call you evil because of the Son of Man!
23) Rejoice on that day and leap for joy! Behold, your reward in heaven will be abundant. Remember that their ancestors treated the prophets the same.
24) But beware you wealthy, for you've already received your consolation.
25) Beware you who are filled now, for you will famish. Beware you who laugh now, for you will mourn and wail aloud.
26) Beware whenever everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors regarded the false prophets.
– Luke 6:20 - 26
That's the Beatitudes, the Lukan version (and in my own translation). And here's the passage from Matthew where he makes it an obligation to care for the poor and the weak:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you? Then he will answer them, saying, Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
– Matthew 25:31 - 46 (ESV)
Every denomination, and even the independent churches, go out into the community to help the poor and the sick and the homeless; they all, and I emphasize all, have social outreach programs. Not only that, but they also all petition the government to legislate on and promote such activities, which is really what Glenn is objecting to. He objects to the social activism of the liberal churches, but the conservative churches see their programs against state approval of things like abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, etc. as social justice issues, and the Southern Baptist Convention has even gone on record as scolding Beck because of exactly that. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said on his weekly radio program March 13 that if taken literally, Beck would be asking people to leave Southern Baptist churches. That is because the denomination's official confessional statement, the Baptist Faith and Message, includes an article titled "The Christian and the Social Order" that challenges Southern Baptists "to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society."

So Glenn Beck has failed big time. He's even managed to embarrass his usual supporters. He's failed both New Testament 101 and Book of Mormon 101. Do you think it'll teach him to do a little more studying before he opens his mouth on a subject he doesn't know? Naaaah!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Constitutional

I did my usual Sunday constitutional today, visiting Ballard Park, Gooseneck Cove at Hazard Rd., and Newport Harbor. While critters both winged and four-legged seem to have avoided me, I did get some interesting scenic shots.

In Ballard Park Frank Amaral and his crew of volunteers have been doing some Spring cleaning, especially down in the Quarry, cutting out the invasive Multiflora Rose, Asiatic Bittersweet, and Japanese Honeysuckle. And they seem to have uncovered some leftovers from the Quarry's checkered past as an unofficial dump - the front cover panel to an old TV (below left) and an old washing machine tub (below right).

Meanwhile, there are other things going on in the park; I found this Praying Mantis egg case on a branch lying on the ground. After taking some macro shots while holding the branch in my fingers, I went to find some underbrush to prop it in so the hundreds of little Mantids who hatch later on in Spring will have a proper start in the world.

Walking down Hazard Rd. I discovered that Gooseneck Cove was pretty much deserted by birds, deer, and even people. However, I noted that somebody has put up an Osprey nesting platform to the east of the road on the tidal flat. Normally an Osprey platform is a telephone pole topped with a flat platform, but the terrain here would make that a pretty unstable proposition. This tripod form will be much more stable given the circumstances. Note that they've put chicken wire up in the "crow's nest" at the top and put some sticks up there to advertise that the space is ready for occupation. I hope a passing Osprey couple take up that offer!

Meanwhile, since wildlife seems to be scarce, I can always take a landscape shot.

On the way back home I hopped over to King Park at the south end of Newport Harbor. This area usually hosts a fair-sized flock of Red-breasted Mergansers, and it looks like they're still around. I was able to get some good shots of a drake (top) and a hen (bottom) fishing just off the public beach in the park.

And as we leave the harbor to head for home, let's take one last look over the docks and piers toward the Newport/Pell Bridge. The docks are empty now, but in a couple of months there will be plenty of boats to clutter the view. So let's enjoy the look of an empty harbor while we still can!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ghosts of Newport Past - Common Burying Ground Odds and Ends

Two weeks ago I went wandering through the Common Burying Ground looking for stones that looked to be out of the John Stevens Shop "norm". I found some good ones, and a John Bull stone I'd been looking for. Today I went back on the same mission and found two more "odd stones out", and identified a new carver to boot. So here's what I found. [Note: Click on the pictures to see an enlarged version.]

This is the stone for Col. John Topham, who died in 1793. I have no idea who carved this stone. It's awfully primitive for something carved that late, almost going back to the Coggeshall Carver and the early work of the first John Stevens with the scratched-on design and lettering rather than full carving. What caught my attention with this stone was the anthropomorphous sun peering over the horizon like an 18th Century Kilroy. I did an extensive search on the Internet and looking through both Luti's Mallet & Chisel and Graven Images, but I can't find a carver who was doing this work. There's another stone with that same design on the tympanum, and that might help when I get around to looking at the records to find out who was paid to carve the stone.

Christopher and Elizabeth Almy had a tough time losing children at an early age. Young Christopher here to the right died at 6 months in 1725. The unnamed son (below left) died in 1722 after 6 hours! And William (below right) died in his 10th month in 1724. It was a tough life back then!

The two stones below were carved by John Stevens I, but this stone to the right was the one that first caught my attention, with all that scrambled-egg vegetation on the tympanum. Vincent Luti identifies the carver as the BOBSS carver (Big O, Bulb Skull, Square Skull), who he's pretty sure was John Stevens' second son Phillip.

The two stones below are each interesting in their own right. On the left is the Hannah Fitzhugh stone carved by John Stevens II. Note the hourglass in the tympanum and the Grecian columns on the borders; while that hourglass is, if not common, at least not rare, those columns are definitely a unique stylistic touch. John Bull would get into that kind of innovation in another 50 years, but in 1722 that was a new thing. (About carving the date as 1721/2 - in those days it was still a dilemma as to whether the new year started on January 1 or March 21, so deaths and births registered in January, February, and March were given both the old year and the new year.)

Speaking of John Bull, the James Lyon (1775) stone below right is one of his, and is one of my favorites of Bull's work. I like the clean layout of this, especially those circled lilies on the finials with just a carved line for the borders. The man most definitely had an artistic eye!

As I mentioned above, I identified a new carver. This would be Henry Emmes of Boston, who came down to Newport and worked with John Stevens II in the early 1760s; in fact he died here in 1767 and is buried somewhere in the Common Burying Ground (I haven't found his stone yet). Like the Stevens family, Henry Emmes also came from a dynasty of carvers. His father Nathaniel ran his shop in Boston and trained and employed both Henry and his other son Josua, as well as apprentice William Codner, who went on to establish his own shop. It was Henry who introduced the Stevens family to portrait carving, an Emmes shop trademark, and was a major influence on John Stevens III's style.

Below are two stones by Henry Emmes. Below left is the Catherine Langley stone (1765), with one of Henry's best-known motifs - the skull and crossbones on the tympanum. This is also found on the Thomas Sturgis stone on Cape Cod. The minimal finials and borders is another Emmes hallmark. The Hannah Stearns stone (1761) is another fine example of Henry Emmes' work - the 3-dimensional head with lifelike hair and the sinuous wings on the tympanum and the crossed bones at the bottom of the inscription. On both stones you can see the inscription is carved on a flat surface separated from the rest of the stone like a plaque, another Emmes shop hallmark. It's great to see these works by outside carvers; the Stevens style can get a tad overwhelming after a while!

I hope you've enjoyed this little tramp through the Common Burying Ground.

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sight & Sound - Between

No longer Winter, but not quite Spring.

Music: "Reconcile", by Thomas Ronkin on his 1997 CD Within: Distance

Photo © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger
Note: I've been interviewed on! Check it out here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Theme Thursday - Sign

Some signs seen in Newport this week while just wandering around.

The Newport Restoration Foundation was created by Doris Duke to restore as many of the still-existing colonial-era residential buildings as possible. She inspired others to do the same, both individuals and restoration projects like her own (Operation Clapboard was the most prolific). All NRF houses have a plaque like this on them.

My doctor works here.

Outside Busker's Pub on Thames St.

The Red Parrot Restaurant, at the convergence of Thames St., Memorial Blvd., and America's Cup Blvd.

And now for the music!

This long-haired hippie person remembers this song by the Five Man Electric Band with great fondness.

Ah! Remember Petula Clark? She's actually still around and performing (mostly acting on stage).

Last and certainly not least, the legendary Albert King with the equally legendary John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (that's Mick Taylor on guitar, post-Stones) performing "Born Under a Bad Sign", one of the icons of the Blues repertoire. Finding this video for today led me to finding more videos featuring the tune, so I ended up doing a post on it on Citizen K's Just A Song blog. Enjoy!

Photos & text © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tsk, Tsk, Scott Brown

It seems that freshman US Senator Scott Brown, R-MA, has stooped to the old right-wing bad habit of sending out fundraising letters based on scaring his fan base into coughing up the moola. In this case, Cosmo Scott claims that the MA Democratic Party is trying to recruit MSNBC news anchor and commentator Rachel Maddow (who lives in MA) to run against him in 2012. The problem is, it's news to Rachel; nobody's approached her, and she wouldn't run anyhow. Here's her reaction:

Tsk, tsk, Scott Brown! Do you really think you deserve Teddy Kennedy's seat?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sight & Sound - Tao Te Ching, Part II

This is a continuation of yesterday's post showcasing Ursula K. LeGuin's version of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, on CD with the music of Todd Barton.

#29 - Not Doing

#43 - Water and Stone

#76 - Hardness

Photos © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sight & Sound - Tao Te Ching, Part I

Last week I went to our local Barnes & Noble bookstore with a $25 gift card I'd been given for my birthday. One of the places I always visit in a bookstore is the Religion and Spirituality section to see if there's a new translation of some world scripture out that I might be interested in. And in this case I was in luck; something I'd been hearing about for years was right there on the shelf saying "Buy me! Buy me!" It's Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching - An English Version by Ursula K. LeGuin. This isn't an actual translation by Ms. LeGuin, but her own interpretation/paraphrase based on several English translations. I'm a huge fan of her books, and her interest in the Tao Te Ching is often evident in her writing, so this was a great find. But what's even cooler is that the book comes with two CDs of Ms. LeGuin reading the Tao Te Ching with background music by Todd Barton, who wrote and performed the music used in her book Always Coming Home. This is great stuff, and I just have to share it with you, illustrated with some of my own photographs. This is Part I; Part II comes tomorrow. Enjoy!

#40 - By No Means

#11 - The Uses of Not

#23 - Nothing and Not

Photos & text © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Birds

Yesterday may have been the Vernal Equinox, but today was the first full day of Spring. We had our biweekly Sunday bird walk today, and again we stayed on the Norman Bird Sanctuary property rather than go a-visiting elsewhere. Lots of bird song going on; the woods and fields were noisy with it. We saw lots of Song Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Cardinals, along with a few White-throated Sparrows, and heard (but couldn't quite spot) quite a few Carolina Wrens. Down by the old flooded quarry we spotted a bunch of Yellow-rumped Warblers and Gold-crowned Kinglets busily feeding on the newly-hatched bugs by the stagnant water. Plus we got a big surprise: down at the Red Maple Pond we spotted 5 Wood Ducks and 2 Green-winged Teal. Unfortunately they got wind of us before we could get in camera range and took off, and I wasn't fast enough on the trigger to get shots of them in flight. Oh well... And of course all the rest of the birds we spotted were either out of camera range or moving too fast to get a good shot.

As is usual for me, after the bird walk I wandered down to Ballard Park and Gooseneck Cove. The Cove was practically deserted except for some stray Mallards and American Black Ducks, but in Ballard Park I was hearing lots of Red-winged Blackbirds and seeing lots of Robins. But most prolific and noisy were the Song Sparrows and the Tufted Titmice. And yes, here I got pictures - Song Sparrow below left, Tufted Titmouse below right.

And just to finish this post off in seasonal style. let's have a rousing chorus of George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun". I even found a video with the lyrics for those of you young'uns who weren't around when the Beatles walked the Earth along with the dinosaurs and us old hippies.

Photos & text © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Walking the Harbor Waterfront

So... It's the Vernal Equinox, the temps are in the lower 60s (15º - 17ºC), a slight breeze out of the SW to keep it from being too warm, and a bright sunny sky. A perfect day for a walk. Unfortunately, I had errands in town so I couldn't do a nature walk, but a walk down the Newport Harbor waterfront from north to south would fit the bill just right.

I started out on the Van Zandt Pier on Washington St., just under the Newport/Pell Bridge, the northernmost end of the harbor.

And then swivel to the left and shoot south toward the Goat Island Causeway. By the way, those are all private docks; some people just have to rub it in!

Down at the southern end of Washington St. is the State Pier. You get a good view of the fishing docks at the pier from a little postage stamp-sized park at the corner of Washington St. and Long Wharf.

Along Long Wharf, which forms the north end of the inner harbor, are inexpensive docks for local fishermen. This small floating dock houses a little one-man lobster operation.

There are too many tourists in the way along the rest of the route down the harbor, so we don't get back to the waterfront until King Park at the southern end of the harbor. But you get a nice view looking west from the baseball fields, looking across the park's waterfront walkway to the Ida Lewis Yacht Club and Fort Adams beyond.

And with that, it's time to leave the water and go do errands. You can hang out here by the water if you like, though. Enjoy!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Theme Thursday - Breakfast

My usual breakfast - oatmeal, toasted bagel, and tea.

And now for the breakfast music! I've never heard of the band Deep Blue Something, and I never heard their song "Breakfast at Tiffany's", but when I fed "breakfast" into YouTube's search engine this was at the top of the list. I like!

Near the top of that list was another song by another artist I've never heard of, "Banana Pancakes" by Jack Johnson, and I'm liking this one a lot, too. Actually, this song has me thinking I may need to look up more stuff by Jack Johnson.

And last but certainly not least, I decided to add a little cultural uplift to the proceedings. Since coffee seems to be a major element in breakfast, I went and found J.S. Bach's paean to coffee, Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (Be quiet, stop chattering), BWV 211, aka "The Coffee Cantata". What I've posted is movement #3, the aria Ei! Wie schmeckt der Kaffee süße (Ah! How sweet the coffee tastes). Enjoy!

Photos & text © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Answers to Yesterday's Post

Yesterday I posted the first lines of 10 famous, or semi-famous, novels which I have in my own personal library and challenged everybody to figure out where they were from and post their answers. People have been having fun with this, but as it's been about 24 hours since I posted it, I thought it only fair to post the answers and give credit to those erudite souls who got the right ones!

1. "Hapscomb's Texaco sat on Number 93 just north of Arnette, a pissant four-street burg about 110 miles from Houston." Megan got this one right - It's the opening line from Stephen King's The Stand.

2. "In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the Army." Citizen K got half of this one - it is indeed by Arthur Conan Doyle. The book? The very first Sherlock Holmes story (and yes, it's a novel, not a short story), A Study in Scarlet. This is the world's introduction to John H. Watson, M.D.

3. "I'll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination." Nobody got this one. This is the first line to Ursula K. LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness, for me the second best book by this author. For me, her best book is The Dispossessed, but the first line in that book is "There was a wall." Somehow I didn't think that would be fair. Heh, heh!

4. "The Mole had been working very hard all morning spring-cleaning his little home." (I know, this one is a giveaway, but I love the book and had to include it!) Well, I did say this one was a giveaway. Stephanie, Citizen K, and Antares got this one: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. This is one of my favorite books, and Antares was around when I did a paean to Pan based on Chapter 7, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn".

5. "I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on Fifty-second Street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me." Stephanie got part of this one; it is indeed The Thin Man, and it was written by the great Dashiell Hammett. I wanted to use the first line of The Maltese Falcon, but Hammett named Sam Spade and his secretary Effie Perrine in that sentence, so that was no good.

6. "The town shone in the snowy twilight like a Christmas window, with the electric railway's lights tiny and festive at the foot of the white slope, among the muffled winter hills of the Tyrol." Nobody got this one, but it's one of the 20th Century's literary classics - The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw. Not only is the book a classic, but a classic movie was made of it in 1958, starring Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Dean Martin, Hope Lange, and others. Shaw actually got to write the script, too.

7. "It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed." Ahhhh! Nobody got this one either, and it's another 20th Century classic - Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. That man has the most poetic prose style of any contemporary writer I know of!

8. "It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills." Another one nobody got. This is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. Huh! Chandler and Hammett, eh? Well, I did warn you I was a freak for noir!

9. "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." I'm surprised nobody got this one, although Sophie said she guessed this one but forgot to report her answer. A definite classic: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. This is the second most famous opening line by Dickens, the most famous being the opening line of A Tale of Two Cities; I opted out of that one as just a little too easy!

10. "The full truth of this odd matter is what the world has long been looking for, and public curiosity is sure to welcome." This one's another classic, although it's not this author's most famous book. This is the opening line of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Master of Ballantrae; while not as famous as Treasure Island, it's still treasured as a classic. I didn't use the opening line of Treasure Island because it names Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and Treasure Island all in the same breath. Not much of a challenge there!.

So those are the answers. In closing, I just want to throw this one at you that I didn't think of until yesterday's quiz was well under way. But this is another classic; see if you can't figure it out.

"On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it was Court Hand and Summulae Logicales, while the rest of the week it was the Organon, Repetition and Astrology."

Have fun!

Photo © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ten Famous (Sort Of) First Lines

My friend Stephanie (Rocket Scientist, Ask Me Anything, Rockets and Dragons) has this great thing going on all three of her blogs; it's not exactly a meme because you're not required to pick more people to take it, but it is something of a quiz, in this case testing your knowledge of literature. She had ten first lines per quiz, and three quizzes, one per blog - classics, science fiction classics, and her personal favorites.

Bookaholic that I am, I loved it, and even managed to get at least one right on each quiz. So I decided to do one of my own, based on books in my own personal library. Be prepared; yes, there are classics in my collection, but I'm also a major fan of mysteries, science fiction, and noir. So some of these may be familiar, but others you may have to dig deep for. In any case, check these out and give me your answers in the comment thread.

1. "Hapscomb's Texaco sat on Number 93 just north of Arnette, a pissant four-street burg about 110 miles from Houston."

2. "In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the Army."

3. "I'll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination."

4. "The Mole had been working very hard all morning spring-cleaning his little home." (I know, this one is a giveaway, but I love the book and had to include it!)

5. "I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on Fifty-second Street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me."

6. "The town shone in the snowy twilight like a Christmas window, with the electric railway's lights tiny and festive at the foot of the white slope, among the muffled winter hills of the Tyrol."

7. "It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed."

8. "It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills."

9. "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."

10. "The full truth of this odd matter is what the world has long been looking for, and public curiosity is sure to welcome."

Okay, have at it!

Photo © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sight & Sound - Nor'easter

We're having a bad storm move through; the winds overnight were really bad, with lots of damage and power outages. I went down to the Cliff Walk to look at the ocean and got these shots of the waves attacking Forty Steps.

Music: Claude Debussy's La Mer, sketch #3: "Dialogue du vent et de la mer" - animé et tumultueux. Although what was going on between the wind and the sea today was less of a dialogue and more of a raging argument; however, "animated and tumultous" really is a good description!

Photos & text © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Birthday JT!

Yup, today is James Taylor's birthday! He turns 62 today, and he's still going strong. This man is truly the nicest guy in show business; everybody loves him, and he certainly seems to return the feeling.

Anyhow, here are some videos to help you join in the celebration!

First off, the song that put JT on the musical map, "Fire and Rain":

Then comes my personal favorite JT song, "Shower the People", sung live here with an excellent band and group of singers at the Beacon Theatre in New York in 1998:

And last but not least, from a 2006 PBS tribute to JT, here's Carole King singing the song that she wrote but JT made famous, "You've Got a Friend", with JT joining in halfway through:

Happy Birthday, JT, and we hope to hear you sing for many more.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Theme Thursday - Hat

Well, you could probably guess this was coming, given the theme. So here are some portraits of hats in my collection.

For videos this week, I entered "hat" into YouTube's search engine, and right at the top of the list was this gem by Joe Cocker, "You Can Leave Your Hat On". Heh, heh! That oughta give a kick-start to your day!

Not too much farther down the list was a song by an artist I hadn't heard of before - Ingrid Michaelson. The song is "The Hat", which is obviously a fan favorite. I like, too, and this is somebody I'm gonna need to check out in more depth. In any case, here she is live at Easy Street Records in Seattle. Enjoy!

Photos & text © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger