Saturday, April 30, 2016

This is either a metaphor for life-is-a-carnival, or a Sisyphean warning about the hamster wheel on which we all find ourselves.  Or both.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Self-Portrait Standing On An Old Paul Broun Campaign Sign

Paul Broun (R-Athens) served as the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 10th congressional district from 2007 to 2015.  A member of the Tea Party Caucus and an outspoken critic of science in general and evolution in particular, Broun won re-election in 2012, although Charles Darwin received about 4,000 write-in ballots during the election as a protest against Broun's views.  Broun planned to run in the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate, although he wound up losing in the Republican primary and left office in January 2015.

Here are some of his more memorable quotes:
"All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell." - 9/27/2012
"In fact, the thing is, we don’t have constitutional authority under the original intent of the Constitution to fund Planned Parenthood or NPR." - 4/6/2011
"We hear the CBO says well if we don’t raise the debt limit, it’s going to put so many people out of work, I don’t remember the number, I think it’s 250,000 or something, are gonna be put out of work. Well those are gonna be government employees that are put out of work. There are a lot of government employees that need to go find a real job!" - 6/7/2011
"If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that's in people's pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the War Between The States -- the Great War of Yankee Aggression." - 3/19/2010
"Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson started this process of socializing America, and they did it with the, Woodrow Wilson, particularly, pushes the 16th amendment that taxes income directly, and the 17th amendment that allows the direct elect of US senators, because the US senators initially were supposed to represent the states. . .  I’d like to see the 16th amendment and the 17th amendment to be repealed finally, and that’s going to be a long process." - 7/9/2010
"Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus." - 6/26/2009
And, of course, my personal favorite:
"Just today, Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said people in America are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. They want to give all the power to the federal government to force you to eat more fruits and vegetables. This is what the federal, CDC, they gonna be calling you to make sure you eat fruits and vegetables, every day. This is socialism of the highest order!" - 9/30/2010

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Your humble narrator, apparently explaining golf or something in a darkened room.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going -
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.

- Kozan Ichikyo, d. 1360

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

It's a lot of work taking down a tree that size, and it's even more work taking out the downed branches and limbs.  Work continues, but we're still not through yet.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The big scary tree hanging over my house was no match for the tree contractors who showed up today.

Day One is complete now that all the branches and big limbs hanging over the house are gone.  Just the trunk remains and they're coming back for it tomorrow. Amazingly, not only did they not damage my house, they didn't even damage the tool shed back behind my house.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Your days are numbered, big scary tree leaning over my house.  If the contractors live up to their promise, you're coming down tomorrow . . .   

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Moving slowly toward resolution . . . I've had three things hanging over my head, in some cases literally, that are finally getting taken care of these past few weeks.

First, I had a deposition on a court case I'm supporting as an expert witness that had been weighing on my mind, and was finally held, after several delays and reschedulings, last week.  So, one down.

Second, I had to give a presentation to a professional organization on the work that I've been doing over at Fort McPherson.  After much preparation, I gave that presentation today and it was very well received.  Two down.

Finally, on Monday and Tuesday of next week, the much discussed killer tree leaning over my house will be the third thing to come down  - not crashing down in a storm (I hope), but taken down by a professional tree removal company.

I'm sure my mind will come up with new things to worry about after that's done, but I've made some real progress on taking down three of the burdens recently troubling my state of mind.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Flowers, in this case on a well-trimmed hedge, can even make a Chik-Fil-A look like, well, more than a Chik-Fil-A.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Isn't it funny how wildflowers can even make the hard, physically demanding work of drilling and soil sampling appear pleasant and delightful?  I know it's a stop-and-smell-the-roses cliche, but sometimes we really should just step back a little and reframe our perceptions of the work that we're doing.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Meanwhile, Out In The Neighborhood

My neighbor just turned 60 (welcome to the club, pal).  His family rejoiced.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Been There, Done That

Mount Shasta, February 2008.

In unrelated news, today, just when you think you've seen everything, I met a man who keeps a opossum in the tool box of his pickup.  He (the man) keeps the tool box open at night so the opossum can go out and forage for food, but in the morning it keeps returning to the tool box and seems perfectly content to ride around all day with the man.

Finally, for those of you keeping score at home, I finally found my eyeglasses over the weekend in the pocket of a shirt hanging in my closet.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Today's Walk In The Park

“When you paint Spring, do not paint willows, plums, peaches, or apricots, but just paint Spring. To paint willows, plums, peaches, or apricots is to paint willows, plums, peaches, or apricots - it is not yet painting Spring.” 
― Dōgen

Trying to capture a spring day like today in photographs is like trying to capture an ocean breeze in a mason jar. 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Long, long ago, in a time that scientists call "the 1970s," my mother took a clerical job at Boston University.  Using her employee benefits, she managed to get me free to discounted tuition there, essentially putting me through college all the way to a Masters Degree with her hard work.  I wouldn't be who I am today or where I am today if not for her hard work.

Now get this - I'm the oldest of four children, and she stayed at BU and provided that tuition benefit to each and every one of us, who all used it to various ends.  

And she stayed on even longer, helping her children out in times of financial hardships, emotional distress, and illness, through divorces and breakups and job losses and crises.  She kept on working, year after year, decade after decade, most recently sending most of her hard-earned paychecks to my single-mother sister on the west coast to help her make ends meet.  

She kept on working, well past the usual retirement age, until the age of 82, when the university finally intervened and told her this week that "enough's enough."  Her only regret about leaving was that she couldn't send any more money to her grandchildren.

The Buddha pointed to "parental mind" as an example of selfless loving-kindness.  I think my Mom could have taught the Buddha a lesson or two.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

It turns out the contractor who was going to take down the tree over my house was under-insured, so I had to let him go.  He had General Liability insurance, but no Workmen's Comp, and if anyone got injured, I could be liable for medical and other costs.  With workers climbing trees with chain saws and swinging multi-ton sections of wood on zip lines and slings, what could possibly go wrong?

I'm back to getting bids again. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Monday, April 04, 2016

Trees coming down everywhere in Atlanta . . . and soon to be coming down at my house.

On an unrelated note (and proof that catastrophes occur in threes), I somehow managed to lose my eyeglasses today.

Friday, April 01, 2016

An even earlier picture of the backyard, this time from 2004 (and with people in it!).

In related news, I finally got a reasonable bid on removing the dangerous tree leaning over my house, and my neighbors, who actually own the tree, have agreed to share half the price.