Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't step in the exhaust (my carbon footprint series #2)

We live in the rural upstate NY town of Waterloo. The smaller town of Ovid exists some 15 miles south, with its rich Amish presence and that romantic horse and buggy culture. You see them frequently, distinct forms riding along the side of the highway. Along the roadside are sings for fine crafted canned goods, jams and jellies and of course those amazing quilts they make. Men in black hats and robin egg blue shirts with no buttons. The women so conservatively dressed. Perfect models of what a Utopian society could be...except, like the rest of us, they suffer from problems with their vehicular exhaust. I lie awake some nights sleeplessly wondering if I should care about greenhouse gasses? If I should buy a hybrid, or even a volt??? Am I wrong to be so selfish and just not care? But then I pause and look at "Utopia." The Amish with their amazing values...and I realize that they care even less. I mean, when it comes to vehicular waste products, at least I have a cataletic converter.
Note the handwritten silver pen-work below the wheels, "Please use the shovel." And to think, it's not just me who needs to be concerned about my negative contributions to the environment.
By the way, if you're ever in Ovid, be careful not to step in the exhaust!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

God and Architects

I heard a great joke today...
"What's the difference between God and an architect?"
"God doesn't think He's an architect."

Monday, November 22, 2010

The 1982nd Forward Surgical Team

Did you ever say anything really stupid? Like, imagine this young woman in this photo as she walked up the jetway in Chicago. "Where are going?" I asked. "Afghanistan." "Ooh," I replied with concern in my voice." I sort of recovered with a heart felt, "Thank you." She said "You're welcome," and we parted. The exchange has haunted me since that moment in Chicago. These brave soldiers heading off to Afghanistan, and my last words to one of them was one of impending danger.

So, my hour of googling to figure out who these fine men and women in uniform were. I was hoping I'd remember the unit patch, instead I found her face, their faces. I'll find their address now, and this time I'll chose my words much more carefully as I write one letter to Specialist Ashley Richardson, and a second to the commander. They're brave, they deserve to know it, and they deserve more from me. As I read their story I realized that while I was being inspired by General Colin Powell (Ret.) at Greenbuild 2010, they're following another general.

So to all of you who serve or support the 1982nd Forward Surgical Team from Niagara County, NY, from a former Infantry LRRP, God bless you...HOOAH!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Honestly, I have no idea who this guy is. I'm just an itninerate blogger who shoots a few photos and embelishes them with words. We're not related, and as far as I know he has no historical significance. Who knows if anyone alive still remembers him, or where he's burried? I stumbled on this stone while out geocaching near the town of Cheshire, NY. There are a number of these clay stones...they're really quite unique and beautiful. What strikes me deeply about these old cemetary's (1803 +/-), is the reverence for God by those resting here. Maybe it was a sign of the times? Maybe in the 1800's reverence for God and acknowlegement of heaven was more important, or at least socially acceptable? There are a lot of these around upstate NY, actually around the country. I guess I found myself wondering about William Gooding, age 42. I even googled the text to see if it was an poem...

So, as William Gooding was ushered into eternity, the question that I pondered was this. Did he live up to these words now immortalized in stone, or did he just have a good speech writer...

This saint of God, that sleepeth here,
Will at the judgement day appear;
In shing garments will be dres'd
And live forever with the blest
While he lov'd here, had praying breath
Smil'd often when he talk'd...
His conversation soar'd....
What this vain world in...

Monday, November 1, 2010

October 31st

I didn't write the name of the holiday up there, just the date. We don't really celebrate. But still, in the context of October 31st, I offer a few images...Right out of Psycho isn't it? Reminiscent of the Bates motel. And for the record, it is the Butler Psychiatric hospital. We stumbled on it geocaching yesterday.

To coin a phrase from my daughters, even "creepier" is the site right across the street. A short walk up a neatly hidden path leads to two discreet cemetaries for the patients. People who aren't worthy of names, but rather only numbers. 12" high plate metal markers with numbers raised on them. Life is but a vapor isn't it?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life is precious...every breath. Isn't it? Something happened this week to make it all clear once again. Life. It could be a minute. Could be 80 years. Could be two days. My blogging is simple for those who haven't read the early stuff. Take and post, or find, a picture. Write something about it. It's bound to be inciteful, or or the other. Repeat. I still have my facebook account. Not sure for how long, but FB does get one thing right. The sanctity of life. I don't know a thing aout j-puff, but I do know about the baby. "Created." 3 months ago. Must be a pre-me to be photographed ; ) But created none the less!

Hug your kids tonight!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I love the Great New York State Fair...the things that come out at the Center of Progress building is a mix of hucksters and great new ideas. I'm sure this photo represents one of those new ideas. Wire brush tires! For only $89.99 each, these tires not only roll down the highway, but they also scrub it whispy clean. And if you purchase by 2pm today you get 10 gallons of cleaner fluid to go with it...but wait, there's more!

OK, just kidding. Ever see the big black tire aligators on the side of the highway? This is where they come from. Kind of cool isn't it. I think the trucker doesn't feel the same. First - he now has to change the tire, and second - he had to put up with a car full of weirdo's passing and slowing and passing and slowing just so we could get this photo.

Funny, usually the family makes fun of my posting but not today. Today I heard a unanimous from the back seat, "you so have to blog about this day;" with a "yes hon'" from my foxy babe in enthustiac support!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Stand By Me

"The kind of talk that seems important until you discover girls..."
Stand by Me one of those movies that wraps so many wonderful ideas, memories and notions of what being a boy is all about. The talks, the adventures, the deep importance of everything. "If you could have only one food for the rest of your life..." for example!
And just before they discover the body the main character (whose name I'm too distracted to look up) is the only one awake in the morning. A deer stepped out into the clearing. The moment for him was magical for him. But like all magical moments a train like event takes it away. "The freight woke the other guys up and it was on the tip of my tongu to tell them about the deer, but I didn't. I kept tthat one for myself..." My advice for you...for me...find a few of those moments and just keep them for yourself.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Bucket List

I love the movie "The Bucket List." Jack and Morgan Freeman - a cast doesn't get much better than that. It's a great movie. It makes you think. It makes you feel. And it ends perfectly with Morgan Freeman narrating in just the right amount of detail...not a cloud in the sky.... Here it is, but don't take my word for it. Watch the movie.

"Edward Perryman Cole died in May. It was a Sunday in the afternoon and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. He was 81 years old. Even now, I can't claim to understand the measure of a life, but I can tell you this: I know that when he died, his eyes were closed and his heart was open, and I'm pretty sure he was happy with his final resting place because he was buried on the mountain, and that was against the law."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Redneck Lawnmower

This is the best I can do for a photo...what we really saw was a fairly nice riding lawnmower... towing two running push mowers. I guess there are are many options to solve the same challenge. Now that I think of it, NYS could save hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead of replacing those $40,000 mowers that have 60" decks and AC, we could simply have our states skilled mechanics rig four, or even six mowers to small and inexpensive riders!

My middle daughter and I drove up and down the road trying desperately to get a photo. Each slow pass he turned around and glared. On the last drive by he ducked off the road and out of sight obviously hoping to avoid a debut on youtube! But now we know he's there...and so will we be every Sunday afternoon until we immortalize him and his magnificent machine in digital imagery. Bet you can't wait for the real "redneck lawnmower!"

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

I don't like to clutter up Memorial Day with a lot of words. But the words are small so I offer a little help if you can't read this... It's from Henry the V by William Shakespeare, but applies to any soldier from any time. "Whoever lives past today and comes home safely will rouse himself every year on this day, show his neighbor his scars, and tell embellished stories of all their great feats of battle. These stories he will teach his son and from this day until the end of the world we shall be remembered."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Walk This Way (revised)

I didn't realize anyone really read my blogsite. I guess they do...I was thinking Steve Tyler, but wrote Steve Perry. At least two people corrected my obvious error. So to those who kept me honest, my gratefullness is "forever yours, faithfully!"
I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH this week. It was worth the price of admission in the first ten minutes. Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis...Bon Jovi's Harley. Springstein's Corvette. All very very cool!

As a teenager, I loved Aerosmith. Even painted their logo on my wall (still can't believe my father let me get away with that one). I spent years trying to understand the words to "Walk This Way." But it all became clear to me two days ago. I saw the original lyrics to Walk this Way in Steve Tyler's own handwriting, and suddenly I understood. The song is sung exactly as it's written. Two days ago I learned that though Steve Tyler may be a talented singer, he's nearly illiterate! I'll give him this though, he can read. He sings it just like he wrote it (not sure that's a compliment)!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge - myth is more potent than history - dreams are more powerful than facts - hope always triumphs over experience - laughter is the cure for grief - love is stronger than death."
-Robert Fulghum

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I know it's true, but I don't want to hear it

I'm learning about dying these days. A few weeks ago, it was about the worthlessness of the question, "How are you doing?" to a family who's just lost a loved one. I still haven't arrived at the appropriate greetings, but at least I know one that doesn't fit.

And today, we attended the calling hours of one of the most beautiful people I've ever met. She's a believer who has a faith and a heart that make mine seem shallow. At 36 years of marriage, she died young. As I stood for a few moments with her husband, a dear friend, I asked him how everybody's been? His answer was interesting for lack of a better term. Interesting and obvious and insightful for all of us. She's on her way to heaven...actually, "absent from the body, present with the Lord..." she's there now. The thing I most dislike he said, is when people tell me, "She's in a better place now." He paused, and then in a serious and personal tone he spoke, "I know it's true, but I don't want to hear it."

I have a theory on calling hours...that it's the faces of those who come, not their words. Maybe we should all just show up and shut up. Someday I'll have an answer for you...I hope that day is a long way off.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The cat

I filled out my Census 2010 (that's twenty-ten for those of you still engaged in the debate). Chris, age 44, male. Stacey...female. H,...female. G...female. E...female. I need a bigger garage! But then, just before I sealed the envelope I just had to do it; Skitty, Age 2, MALE! Do you think I'll get in trouble for listing the cat?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Late night poetry

A link off the CNN site brings attention to the top 10 whiskeys. As luscious and amazing as this one sounds, I can't believe I never became a scotch drinker..."sweet seaweed." Who writes this stuff?! I read and write while listening to the House vote on children are better behaved...maybe that scotch doesn't sound so bad after all!

Lagavulin 16 Year Old

The prince of the Islay malts, this is deep and dark, with notes of fruitcake and sweet seaweed. A volumptuous texture and a fragrant, smoky finish. For drinking with poetry, late into the night.

43 per cent ABV

34 Brave Democrats

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tango Uniform

I learned something important lesson. There are very special places where people don't say to one another, "how are you?" Times when you laugh only because that's all you have left. Times when knowing that even the most well lived life just isn't enough comfort. Times when being a "wingman" means being there over that right shoulder, and the only armaments available are prayer. I appologize for all of you who don't understand this posting, but there is one man who does. And I'm sorry I can't write more but I need to go call my dad...

While I'm doing that, maybe you'll revisit this

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Racecars and Palindromes

"Mom, what's a palindrome?" These words were uttered just minutes ago by my 8 year old. She was expecting an example, and my wife replied with one..."Mom, she said." "Oh, I was thinking racecar." What is an 8 year old doing thinking of palindromes anyway?
For those of you who have to look it up (like me), A palindrome is a word or sentence that reads the same forward as it does backward.
Personally, I like racecar. Like the one above - A 1973 Mustang Mach I. I used to have one, it was really fast and as I drove down the street it would cause me to accelerate quicly after having proclaimed, Was that car or a cat I saw?!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Perfect Church

I found it! I've finally found it. The perfect church! I'm so excited. I can't tell you how many years I've been looking...but I've finally found it. Of course, I'm the only member, and to join you must pledge absolute allegance to my version of church. Or scale the tripple concertina wire, the electrified fence, the guard dogs, and the motion detectors between you and my beautiful stained glass.

See you Sunday...or not!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I'd much rather be writing a review of Monty Python's Spamalot, but alas. Over the last four days I've noticed garbage comments to my blog. I guess I should be happy...I mean, it means I have an audiance right?! Anyway, I've added some minor security to my comment section to close the door to the incidious...
S P A M B O T !!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blogging - It's what I do!

I like stories. I like to write stories. This blogging thing just came naturally for me. See something cool, photograph it if possible. Reflect and write it down when possible. Repeat. Now it's become part of my life, and I realized very recently, part of our life. Our means us, my bride, my kids and me. You see, we were experiencing something cool together when my wife suddenly burst out, "Oh you HAVE to put that on your blog!" And I soon as I remember what it was! This photo captures it all so well... Oh, I'm so blogging about this...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Look what Twitter's done now (guns to a snowball fight)

It snowed in DC...a lot. For a city that doesn't get blasted like we do on the northeast, I applaud them for their enthusiasm! Apparently after a flurry of twitters, hundreds of people gathered for a snowball fight. Everything was fine until an off duty police officer drove by in his Hummer. A perpetrator had the nerve to actually strike his vechical with squished up ball of the white stuff. Not to be made a fool of, or have his precious paint scratched?, he of course exited his vehical brandishing not a snoball, but a 9mm (artistic liberty taken with the weapon due to the blurry images). One eye witness was quoted as saying, "It was pretty fun, and then, you know, when the gun came out, uh, it just changed the tone of the thing a little bit." Changed the whole tone of the thing a bit?!
So, Hummer guy, I say lighten up a little and stop giving DC police a bad name. I sincerely hope the snowball fight went on after his departure. As for me, I have a Twitter account. Maybe I'll actually give it a never know when you'll be invited to bring a gun to a snowball fight!