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for reasons unknown, the server that runs walljm.com and the rest of my web properties ran out of memory and was unresponsive for the last couple days.  its back up now.

I’ve been offline here at walljm.com for nearly three years.  In that time I’ve moved away from Saint Louis, settled in near Washington, DC, changed jobs (but not companies), and gone back to school (lets give it up for cdia!).

So a few things have changed around here.  For the first time, walljm.com is no longer being run by the custom cms I built in college, and is instead running on the nifty wordpress platform.  Truth is, I just got tired of doing my own support.   Things are still a little rough, and hopefully as time goes by, I will tweak things and it will start to feel more like home.

In the mean time there will be fresh content.  I have about 180+ pieces of poetry to put up, and I want to post the occasional photo story and/or single image as well as the odd long/short form piece when the mood strikes.  Look for a new poem every week, probably on mondays, unless I decide I like a different day of the week better.

It occurs to me that the word Evolution is often used in contexts that it does not strictly describe. This is because the word Evolution carries with it so many broad connotations.

For instance, in a recent excerpt by Jason Kottke on Altruism in Economics the author of an article in Ode Magazine writes this

The theory is based on the premise that humans evolved in small groups with strong social contracts and plenty of contact with strangers. Cooperation within the tribe was advantageous so long as free riders were punished. It was also the best gambit on encountering strangers. Cooperation, particularly in times of famine, was the only means of survival, so altruism became a favored evolutionary trait.

(emphasis mine)

What strikes me about the use of the word evolutionary in the last statement is how its not exactly untrue, even in a creationist viewpoint. This happens all the time when scientist appeal to evolutionary theory to explain observed behaviors in people. It is entirely possible that a created humanity learned the use of altruism as a necessity in certain situations. That humanity is adaptable isn’t in question. The use of the word evolution here can be seen as descriptive of the situation, but because of the broad connotations, it implies cause that hasn’t been demonstrated.

I have become increasingly more and more frustrated with the act of trying to stretch or make something mean more than it really does, and i recognize that i am probably as guilty as anyone of such offenses. But it would be nice if we were more careful about making assumptions, or trying to make an observation mean more than it does…

oops… that just became a screed. err… sorry.

 

Lately I’ve had a lot to say. Quite paradoxically, this means I’ve spoken less. Words, like many things in life, need context to have meaning. That context doesn’t end with its typographic neighbors, but extends to the time of day, the place, the number and particulars of the persons to whom they are given. Words are a gift. For some, a precious and finite resource, saved up to be given at times most appropriate.

I was thinking about introversion today, among other things, and as is my want, my thoughts turned inward. It seems, for good or ill, my self is the dominant subject of my mind. My thoughts on introversion, sparked by an article on said subject, raised a thought I’d thought before, mainly that, though I identify very much with the introvert, I’m not fully one. On a scale, I seem to be to the side of center. Such thinking devolved. It usually does.

I find myself fascinated with neuroscience and psychology. This fascination is new, or at least, relatively new. It occurs to me that it grows out of a long standing and persistent need to be in action who I see myself in thought, the constant tension between idealism and practice, and the … frustrations of not having control over my own self.

Neuroscience, it seems, reveals a persistent bias, long suspected. We are paradoxical. Perceptions, the product of our senses, are filtered, adjusted, stitched together and modified for our own consumption. We take shortcuts. And often, we lie to our own selves. We feel certain about things that are false. Often. Yes, it does happen. And I can’t help but wonder how, with all the false information, and all the flawed perception, it is possible to know anything with any certainty at all. Pascal summed it up best I think, for he said, “It is not certain that all is uncertain”.

I used to hate to end a poem on a low note. They always felt incomplete, unfinished. Somehow there had to be a way to resolve the tension. For all the lack of understanding there is in this world, there seems to be a very real need for harmony, a way to take the disparate parts of our soul and impart meaning.

I still hate to end a piece on a low note. Somehow it feels like giving up. There is vital part of myself that refuses to give up hope for the resolve, that fantastic and satisfying moment in a symphony which has been building, back and forth, never quite reaching the tonic, and finally coming to a close, takes all the disparate themes, the discordant notes, the unsatisfying moments along the way and ties them up, settling once and for all the whole of the matter.

Well… that’s all for now I think.

Mexico City Policy – Voluntary Population Planning

What it does: "The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151b(f)(1)), prohibits nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive Federal funds from using those funds "to pay for the performance of abortions as a method of family planning, or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions." The August 1984 announcement by President Reagan of what has become known as the "Mexico City Policy" directed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand this limitation and withhold USAID funds from NGOs that use non-USAID funds to engage in a wide range of activities, including providing advice, counseling, or information regarding abortion, or lobbying a foreign government to legalize or make abortion available."

What Obama Said:"These excessively broad conditions on grants and assistance awards are unwarranted. Moreover, they have undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning programs in foreign nations. Accordingly, I hereby revoke…"

So now my tax dollars are being used to pay for and promote the practice of abortion in foreign countries. *awesome*. 

Along the Tracks by Chromasia.

You use this HDR technique a lot, and it adds a surreal quality to the images. In this case, I like the subtly. I prefer it in fact, to the the image you posted a few days ago, of the church interior.

I’ve always been fond of the desaturated color palate. It conveys a feelings of bleakness, and if you aren’t a bright person by nature, that studied lack of pretension (is use pretense lightly, i’m not sure its exactly the word i’m looking for) is soothing.

Compositionally i like the use of leading lines. Looking out into eternity adds to the restful nature of the photo. It also adds a bit of mystery. Where do the tracks lead? The subject itself taps into the cache of trains and brings to mind a bit of nostalgia, emphasized, I think, by the desaturated color palate.

I’ve been thinking about the idea of contrast in composition lately, and this photos use of it is interesting. In some ways, because of the use of HDR, there is less contrast over all in the dynamic range. HDR compresses the extreme ends, and this photo in particular has flat elements to its color.

on the other hand, you brought out contrast in color, in order to emphasize the texture of the tracks and railroad ties.

I noticed the HDR gradient effect, where in the texture of the tracks, it almost looks like a mask of clouds was added. That gives the photo as a whole a slightly dirty look, like it has been abused, which lends itself to the photo along side the overgrown nature of the scene.

Overall I see abandonment, nostalgia, and a touch of wanderlust all cast in a sense of heightened drama.

Very nice. :)

 

Everything communicates something

Start with what you want to say, start with the story.
Know where you are going. (what’s your destination)

You are answering the question WHY. Why is the photo important. How am I going to use it. What am I trying to say.

Knowing how you’ll use it is important, partially because the end product may introduce constraints such as aspect ratio, resolution, etc…

When thinking about the why, ask yourself, what compositional elements do I need to tell that story.

Consider not just your own perspective, but consider the perspective of your intended audience. Consider the cultural context you will be communicating in.

Powerful images eliminate distractions.

Re: portraiture, know your subjects personality. Find ways to draw that personality out to say what you want to say.

Emphasize what is.

Art is about drawing attention to specific elements in life and the world around us. We use all sorts of techniques to warp what is seen to add emphasis to the parts we think are important. Boring photos emphasize nothing.

All images are relational, by which we mean, we relate the subject matter of the image. You, as the artist, define that relationship and manipulate it, in order to create in the audience an emotion.

Elements of composition

Dimension
– Texture
– DOF
– Foreground/Background
– Shadow (directionality of light)
– Rim lighting
– Size of subject

Perspective
– Shooting down,
– Shooting up, Shooting at subjects level,
– Profile,
– Mug shot, etc…

Balance (deliberate use or disuse)
– rule of thirds
– symmetry

Time/Timing
– Progression (DOF, repetition with slight changes)
– Freeze frames
– Repetition
– Blur

Leading Lines

Contrast
– light/dark (more contrast adds impact. The faster you go from light to dark in a gradient the more rich a photo will appear.) (see the concept of compression as it relates to dynamic range, similar to the way an audio engineer will use compression)
– anachronism (using two objects that don’t fit together – wrong time periods, opposing ideas [short/tall, thin/fat]- to emphasize the differences between the two.)

Know when to edit. Not all photos should be kept.
– Is the photo deceptive, unflattering?
– Quantity doesn’t mean quality.

Be familiar with moods/emotions. Be able to recognize them quickly, know how to work with each emotion.

Basic compositions for portraits:
– face
– head/shoulders
– waist up
– full profile

almost anything else is awkward.

 

With a post title like above, you probably expect a long article. But i’m not a voluminous writer. Over the past several years one of the things I’ve seen over and over again, both in the news, and in my personal life, is that our perception of the world is rarely complete. We just don’t see the whole picture, and that happens not just occasionally, but most of the time.

Too see a situation for what it really is, wholly, is rare. very rare.

I cite this article about impressions of Bush as an example.  

Lose-Lose on Abortion: Obama’s threat to Catholic hospitals and their very serious counterthreat.

If the Freedom of Choice Act passes Congress, and that’s a big if, Obama has promised to sign it the second it hits his desk. (Here he is at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund event in 2007, vowing, “The first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do.”) Though it’s often referred to as a mere codification of Roe, FOCA, as currently drafted, actually goes well beyond that: According to the Senate sponsor of the bill, Barbara Boxer, in a statement on her Web site, FOCA would nullify all existing laws and regulations that limit abortion in any way, up to the time of fetal viability. Laws requiring parental notification and informed consent would be tossed out. While there is strenuous debate among legal experts on the matter, many believe the act would invalidate the freedom-of-conscience laws on the books in 46 states. These are the laws that allow Catholic hospitals and health providers that receive public funds through Medicaid and Medicare to opt out of performing abortions. Without public funds, these health centers couldn’t stay open; if forced to do abortions, they would sooner close their doors. Even the prospect of selling the institutions to other providers wouldn’t be an option, the bishops have said, because that would constitute “material cooperation with an intrinsic evil.”

 

1) Perception is flawed. To believe otherwise is to open yourself up to deception.

2) We rarely have all the facts.

3) Until the law came, there was no sin.

4) Hope in anything except Christ is false hope.

5) I’ve become a very very jaded man.

6) I predicted Barack Obama would become the next President of the United States 2 years ago, before he declared he was running. Because people underestimate the power of words, and a silver tongue is more valuable than gold in politics.

7) I hope, very much, that Barack Obama’s decisions in the White House do not result in more freedom for women to murder their unborn children.

8) Its never good when the legislative and executive branch are controlled by the same party.

9) Its never good when the Senate and House have clear majorities on the same side.

10) Republicans and Democrats can’t be trusted.

11) We rarely have all the facts.

12) People lie, exaggerate, gloss over, and leave out information. Its not really done on purpose.

I thinks that’s everything. For now. 

Public Discourse – Obama’s Abortion Extremism, by Robert George is a great article, articulating much better than I ever could, why voting for Obama for President is a patently unwise action to take if you wish to preserve the sanctity of human life. Below is a quote from the last paragraph, but please take the time to read the full article, which documents where Obama, by his actions, stands.

What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama’s America is one in which being human just isn’t enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama’s America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the law. In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: "that question is above my pay grade." It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator’s pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy – and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.

 

Its going to be a long winter. well. maybe it won’t, but right now, in the middle of the season I love best, I’m beginning to feel the dread of a long winter.

I wish I understood how I felt. I’m not usually short on words to describe my feeling, being the kind of rare individual who spends more time than is possibly healthy examining his own soul. Its a complex knot.

There are a number of issues I’m currently feeling strongly over. So I’m going to list them here:

1) Two of my best friends are going through difficult times right now. A lot has changed for them in the last year. They’ve grown in huge ways spiritually and when that kind of growth happens, its usually because of hard hard circumstances emotionally and physically. I’ve watched from a distance while they have walked though it, and I haven’t said much. I frequently don’t say much. Its a fault of mine, not wanting to tread lightly on matters I feel are tremendously serious. Their circumstances remind me of what a member of my family had to go through, and I hope they know that this kind of tempering is something to cherish. Its far far worse to be comfortable, because comfort changes little. I hope they know that I am praying for them, that even if I don’t speak up often, they are frequently on my mind.

2) Speaking of comfort, that’s where I am. The last year had been a period of growth for me. Rich growth. Areas of my life that God had been quietly teaching me about had underwent maturing, and there were exciting things happening. I had grown accustomed to the rich emotional content of it all. Then, in the last two months, things settled down to the generic rhythm of life I’ve had for the last 6 years. And I miss desperately the feeling that God is up to something. Right now I feel unable to stand, unable to grasp His promises. Everything is colored by this feeling I can’t shake that nothing matters. I have brief moments of joy, but they don’t last.

It isn’t that I believe God isn’t going to do something great. But right now, I can’t see any farther than the next work day. Few of the things I know to be good in my life are generating the kind of excitement I’m craving, and I’m feeling, in general, emotionless.

Its hard to trust when you can’t see anything but gray skies ahead. Its easier to deal with the discomfort now if you know something better is coming, but the disconcerting emptiness ahead is sucking the life out of me.

3) This election cycle has been particularly frustrating. Its like watching a train wreck happen, slowly, knowing things are going to crash and being unable to stop it.

Politicians lie. This is a fundamental truth. Its sad, but true, of the populace (i include myself in this) that we care more about image than substance. This election is as much or more a popularity content than it is a vetting of qualified candidates for the highest office of the United States. Watching the candidates is like watching high schoolers and their juvenile posturing. Its depressing.

It has been particularly frustrating to me to see good friends, christian friends, embrace the marketing. I’ll say it openly. Obama is not a friend to Christians. Not politically. For all his talk, he is the same old liberal agenda, with the one exception that he is much much better at speaking than any other liberal for a long time.

He has a silver tongue and because most people tend to base their decisions on the thin substance of speeches and words (which are worth less on election day than a junkies promises) he has gained quite the religious following. He sells hope, preaching a peculiar kind or secular religion. But unlike Christianity, whose hope is grounded firmly on the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Obama stands mostly on little else than his ability to make a tired agenda look sweet and appealing.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think he’s the antichrist. I don’t think he’s a terrorist. I don’t really buy into the conspiracies or the hype McCain’s campaign or the well and not so well meaning supporters of McCain send out. But Obama, regardless of how he chooses to spin it, and I trust nothing a candidate says while running for office, votes pro choice, believes that the government should be more involved in our personal lives, and thinks the government should be the agent in this country for giving of one mans wealth to another.

In the end, no matter how nuanced and careful or thoughtful he might appear to be, he chooses to deny the rights of millions of innocents. A man who can turn his back on those most in need of his help, is a man I don’t trust. He can say he cares, but really, how much are words really worth?

I realize this screed isn’t exhaustive. I simply don’t have time to spend days compiling a dissertation and trying to tease out the truth of hundreds of pages and hours of talk by the candidate to proffer you unequivocal proof. And that frustrates me too.

The next two presidents of the united states will be in office for a total of 8 years. 8 Years. But far more important than that are the 2-3 supreme court justices those two presidents will appoint. Justices who will be in office for 30 years. I cannot understate the importance of this. I am not happy with McCain. But he has consistently, over 30 years, voted pro life. He is our best chance of getting conservative justices appointed. Justices who will defend the constitutional right of the unborn to live, who will stand against the erosion of states rights. Long after the war and the economy are over, those judges will be making an impact.

I could go on and on about this, but will spare you the repetition

For all my frustration, I want my christian friends who disagree with me, and even my non christian friends to know that I do not take this as cause to change how I feel about them. I’m not going to castigate you for not agreeing with me. Even if you are wrong wrong wrong. ;)

There was I think, another thing going on. But I can’t remember it. Another time perhaps.

 

These are some notes I wanted to get on paper, as a way to remind myself of things to remember. Thoughts and conclusions I’ve come to from leading music at my church for the last 6 years.

  • First and foremost, understand that your job is not to train, it is to minister.
  • The congregation isn’t a choir. Your job isn’t to train them to sing well, or to teach them technical aspects of music. It is to lead them to worship and praise by example and entreaty.
  • Ask, never tell.
  • Repeat the song # at least twice, preferably 3 times. Once to begin, and again after a small pause. Most people, if they don’t hear the first one its because of a distraction. They’ll need a little time to allow the distraction to pass before hearing it again.
  • Avoid too much introduction and talking during the service. Its ok, even beneficial to give some introduction, or to occasionally remark on an observation, but your primary purpose isn’t to preach, it is to lead in music.
  • If you are going to try something different, explain first what you are going to do, and offer the reason why. Its good for the congregation to understand the purpose, making it feel less like they are being manipulated, and making it easier to follow your lead.
  • When doing something new, take the attitude that you are going and here is why, not they should go here and this is the reason why. Lead don’t command.
  • The Pianist will follow your hand if you are reliable. The congregation follows the piano mostly, but cue’s more from your body language than your hand. So be obvious and sure about when you start and when you stop. Feel free to exaggerate your body language a little. (e.g. take an exaggerated breath before starting a verse.)
  • Be aware of the context of the church, where its going, what the emphasis is, the season, the holidays, the tenor of the pastors messages. These things will feed the direction of the music, not always directly, but indirectly. Watch the pastor. He is who God will lead the church through, so cue from him.
    Sometimes its good to be playful. :)
  • Even if you don’t feel it, try to convey that you are happy to there. This doesn’t always mean you have a huge smile of your face, but it does mean conveying how much you value and honor the privilege to serve them in this manner. Because to lead in worship is a great privilege.
  • Be sensitive to God’s direction and leading. Pray before picking out the music, ask God to guide your heart and mind to pick out the music He want’s be sung that day.
  • Humble yourself. Be aware that you are being used. as a servant. That the congregation is whats important. that God is the focus. This isn’t an opportunity to demonstrate your chops in music, its a chance to use your talents to glorify God and help others do so by example.

You emailed me asking if you could use a poem of mine in a story you were writing. I wanted to let you know I would be delighted. But your email address came back, and I can’t contact you. Please send me another email so we can get in touch. :)

Best Regards,
Jason 

Lore linked to an article on the current Brouhaha raging over Sarah Palin. Reading it I couldn’t help but agree with much of what author Camille Paglia writes. But it wasn’t until the end that I nearly stopped dead in my tracks.

She writes,

Let’s take the issue of abortion rights, of which I am a firm supporter. As an atheist and libertarian, I believe that government must stay completely out of the sphere of personal choice. Every individual has an absolute right to control his or her body.

But the pro-life position, whether or not it is based on religious orthodoxy, is more ethically highly evolved than my own tenet of unconstrained access to abortion on demand. My argument (as in my first book, “Sexual Personae,”) has always been that nature has a master plan pushing every species toward procreation and that it is our right and even obligation as rational human beings to defy nature’s fascism. Nature herself is a mass murderer, making casual, cruel experiments and condemning 10,000 to die so that one more fit will live and thrive.

Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue. The state in my view has no authority whatever to intervene in the biological processes of any woman’s body, which nature has implanted there before birth and hence before that woman’s entrance into society and citizenship.

Emphasis mine.

Its shocking. And I can literally not wrap my mind around how someone can freely admit that abortion is indeed murder, the “extermination of the powerless by the powerful” and then fiercely defend her right to do just that, or in her own word, her right to “unconstrained access to abortion on demand”.

*sigh*

She did make some astute observations. Note the following:

Over the Labor Day weekend, with most of the big enchiladas of the major media on vacation, the vacuum was filled with a hallucinatory hurricane in the leftist blogosphere, which unleashed a grotesquely lurid series of allegations, fantasies, half-truths and outright lies about Palin. What a tacky low in American politics — which has already caused a backlash that could damage Obama’s campaign. When liberals come off as childish, raving loonies, the right wing gains. I am still waiting for substantive evidence that Sarah Palin is a dangerous extremist. I am perfectly willing to be convinced, but right now, she seems to be merely an optimistic pragmatist like Ronald Reagan, someone who pays lip service to religious piety without being in the least wedded to it. I don’t see her arrival as portending the end of civil liberties or life as we know it.

She notes, and I agree, that the same tactics have been used on Obama. Sometimes I just wish people would refrain from hysterical and grossly ignorant gossip that frequently flies willy nilly through the media (all forms, mainstream and private [blogs, i’m looking at you]) during the political seasons. I take that back. Not sometimes, all the time. But that’s an absurd request. You can’t expect grown adults to behave maturely. History teaches us that.

It is nice to see Palin’s star on the rise, and its true her media splash has all but eclipsed Obama. Which is good, because campaigns are won and lost on media coverage, a sad affair, but true. Words need not be true to be effective, and the vast portion of information delivered to us by the “media” is misleading at best and false at worst.

Oh well. Lord come quickly…

 

Oops. I was trying to get something working and accidently deleted everything in my DB folder. which means all the posts posted after Aug 8th are missing. *sigh* not all that bad considering i had only posted one post and i can get that from my google reader archive. but it also means i have to restore all the photos i posted last night… gah. so um. bummer. 

Ancestry.com has a new feature that will tell you famous people you are
probably related to based on the information in the OneWorldTree
compiled from member trees. Information is only as accurate as the
individual trees, so we all take this with a grain of salt, but still.
Its fun to dream.

Below is the list generated for me. Some
relations are more fun than others. That I’m related to a couple famous
poets, a number of famous writers, and a couple founding fathers and
presidents is pretty cool. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton is my 8th
Cousin twice removed. Oh well, nobody’s family is perfect. ;)

  • Richard Lovelace (1618-1657) English Poet

    • Richard Lovelace was an English Nobleman and poet. His “Lucasta” poems brought him fame.
    • Relationship: 9th Great Grand Uncle
  • Angelica Van Buren* (1818-1877)First Lady

    • Angelica
      Van Buren was the daughter-in-law of President Van Buren. His wife
      passed away several years before his presidency, so she assumed the
      role of First Lady and White House hostess.
    • Relationship: 4th Cousin 4 times removed
  • Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman (1885-1982) First Lady

    • Elizabeth
      Wallace Truman, often called “Bess Truman”, struggled with the lack of
      privacy that surrounded the family of the president. However, her sense
      of duty prevailed and she supported her husband in his duties.
    • Relationship: 6th Cousin 2 times removed
  • Frank James (1843-1915) American Outlaw

    • Alexander
      Franklin James was the older brother of Jesse James, and an outlaw in
      his own right. James became an outlaw during the American Civil War
      after he was captured and then released by Union soldiers. He joined a
      gang and was involved in several robberies and murders.
    • Relationship: 5th Cousin 4 times removed
  • William Williams (1731-1811) Connecticut Representative

    • William
      Williams, a merchant and politician from Connecticut, signed the
      Declaration of Independence. He was a Harvard graduate who studied
      theology.
    • Relationship: 3rd Cousin 8 times removed
  • Helen Adams Keller (1880-1968) American author and activist
    • Relationship: 6th Cousin 3 times removed
  • Lucy Ware Webb Hayes (1831-1889) First Lady

    • Lucy
      Ware Webb Hayes convinced her husband, Rutherford B. Hayes, to fight in
      the Union army and to oppose slavery. He later became an influential
      part of the abolitionist cause.
    • Relationship: 6th Cousin 3 times removed
  • Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734-1797) Virginia Representative

    • Francis
      Lightfoot Lee was a radical patriot during the revolution. He worked
      with Patrick Henry to oppose the Stamp Act. He later signed the
      Declaration of Independence.
    • Relationship: 2nd Cousin 11 times removed

  • Sam Walton (1918-1992) Amercian Businessman

    • Samuel
      Moore Walton founded Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. From the very beginnings
      of his store owning years, he made sure to have a variety of goods at
      low prices.
    • Relationship: 7th Cousin 2 times removed
  • Edward “Ned” Kelly (1854-1880) Outlaw

    • Ned
      Kelly is the most famous Australian bushranger of the 19th century. He
      was a cattle rustler and bank robber, and became a folk hero for his
      defiance of colonial authorities. He is immortalized in numerous books,
      films and songs.
    • Relationship: 6th Cousin 4 times removed
  • Mark Twain (1835-1910 American Author

    • Samuel
      Langhorne Clemens thought of his pen name, “Mark Twain,” while working
      on a riverboat. This humorist’s works include Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
    • Relationship: 6th Cousin 4 times removed
  • Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919) American Activist and Surgeon

    • Dr.
      Mary Edwards Walker was a feminist Union surgeon. She was given a Medal
      of Honor after the Civil War for her bravery as a prisoner of war,
      making her the only woman to have received this medal.
    • Relationship: 8th Cousin

  • James Abram Garfield (1831-1881) 20th President of the United States of America

    • Serving
      the second shortest term in U. S. history (only 6 months), James
      Garfield was the second President of the United States to be
      assassinated.
    • Relationship: 8th Cousin
  • Samuel Adams (1722-1803) Massachusetts Representative

    • Samuel Adams helped to organize the Boston Tea Party. From the beginning he was a loud voice for independence.
    • Relationship: 4th Cousin 8 times removed
  • Mae West (1893-1980) American Actress, Screenwriter, and Playwright

    • Mae
      West, born Mary Jane West, is considered one of the most controversial
      stars of the 1930’s. Her scripts often endured huge amounts censorship,
      but also huge success with audiences. She wrote and starred in She Done
      Him Wrong and I’m No Angel.
    • Relationship: 8th Cousin 1 times removed
  • Willa Cather (1873-1947) American Author

    • Willa
      Cather has been called one of the most eminent American Authors. A
      muckraking journalist at first, she penned the famous My Antonia.
    • Relationship: 6th Cousin 5 times removed
  • Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856-1915)

    • American educator, political leader, author
      Booker
      T. Washington was born as a slave but was freed at the age of 9. He
      received national attention as a spokesperson for African American
      citizens.
    • Relationship: 7th Cousin 3 times removed
  • Pretty Boy Floyd (1904-1934) American Outlaw

    • American
      bank robber and alleged murderer, Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd robbed so
      many banks in the 1930s that there was a $56,000 reward on his head.
    • Relationship: 8th Cousin 1 times removed

    • Ray Bradbury (1920-) American Author
    • Ray
      Bradbury is an American horror, science fiction, and mystery writer
      best known for his books Martian Chronicles and Farenheit 451.
    • Relationship: 8th Cousin 2 times removed

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton (1947-) First Lady

    • Hillary
      Rodham Clinton is the wife of former President Bill Clinton. She was
      the first First Lady to be elected to public office. She remains
      committed to women’s rights and children’s issues.
    • Relationship: 8th Cousin 2 times removed
  • Gerald Ford (1913-) 38th President of the United States of America

    • President
      Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. became President after the resignation of
      President Nixon. He struggled through economic problems and even a few
      assassination attempts.
    • Relationship: 8th Cousin 2 times removed

  • Judy Garland (1922-1969) American Actress

    • Judy
      Garland, born Frances Ethyl Gumm, was a child prodigy who’s singing and
      acting career soared after The Wizard of Oz. Her untimely death at 47
      was caused by a drug overdose.
    • Relationship: 9th Cousin 1 times removed
  • William Faulkner (1897-1962) American Author

    • Mississippi
      native William Cuthbert Faulkner was known for his long, winding
      sentences. Some of his famous novels include Go Down Moses and As I lay
      Dying.
    • Relationship: 9th Cousin 1 times removed

  • John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) 35th President of the United States

    • Irish-American
      politician John F. Kennedy is an icon of American liberalism. His
      presidency saw the beginnings of racial integration the Space Race and
      the Cuban missile Crisis. He was assassinated while in Texas.
    • Relationship: 9th Cousin 2 times removed
  • Agatha Christie (1890-1976) English Author

    • English
      writer Dame Agatha Christie is the world’s best known crime-fiction
      writer in the world. She wrote the famous mysteries “Death on the Nile”
      and “The Mousetrap”.
    • Relationship: 9th Cousin 2 times removed
  • John F. Kennedy, Jr. (1960-1999) American Icon

    • John
      F. Kennedy, Jr. was a lawyer, journalist, socialite, and publisher. The
      son of President John F. Kennedy, John Jr. grew up mainly on the Upper
      East Side of Manhattan. On July 16, 1999, John Jr. along with his wife
      and sister-in-law, were killed in a plane accident over the Atlantic
      Ocean.
    • Relationship: 10th Cousin 1 times removed
  • John Cage (1912-1992) American Composer

    • John
      Milton Cage was an American experimental music composer, writer, and
      visual artist. He is most widely known for his 1952 composition 4’33”,
      whose three movements are performed without playing a single note.
    • Relationship: 10th Cousin 1 times removed
  • George Orwell (1903-1950) British Author

    • Eric
      Arthur Blair is most commonly recognized by his pen name, George
      Orwell. His political commentary is a major theme in his most famous
      works: “1984”, “Animal Farm”, and “Down and Out in Paris and London”.
    • Relationship: 9th Cousin 4 times removed
  • Button Gwinnett (1735?-1777) Georgia Representative

    • Button
      Gwinnett has one of the most famous signatures in American history.
      This signer of the Declaration of Independence has a Georgia county
      named for him.
    • Relationship: 9th Cousin 7 times removed

 

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by the Turner Publishing Company about my interest in recieving a copy of a book coming out soon called, Historic Photos of Saint Louis. The copy was free, they asked my to review the book if I wanted, but was under no obligation. So I told them I’d be happy too, and two day later I received my copy.

I’m a fan of Saint Louis history, and its architecture in particular. I’ve purchased a couple of photo books about Saint Louis for this very reason.

So after taking some time to look through the book, and then taking some time to try and catch up on my life, here is what I like about Historic Photos of St. Louis.

1) Broad selection of photographic types. In addition to photos of historic buildings, they included photos of major events (worlds fair) and not so major events (building openings, people on the street).

2) Good captions. This is a photo book and the photography takes center stage, but the captions included with the photographs strike just the right balance of information, giving addresses, and telling you a bit about whats going on.

3) Good binding. Its a solid book, 10×10 with a nice dust jacket.

4) They divided the photos into 4 major historical periods.

All in all, I found myself enjoying it more than I expected. I work downtown and have photographed a lot of the architecture around the city myself. I particularly enjoyed seeing photos of buildings that still stand, and what the intersections looked like back then. So go pick up the book. I would recommend it.

 

I don’t do memes as a general rule. I don’t know why. There’s something very stubborn in me that resists following the crowd (though I follow the crowd in a great many things, so the stubbornness isn’t really rational).

but today i felt like it. so here:

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Bicycle Repairman
2. Painter
3. Janitor
4. Music Director

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
1. The Princess Bride
2. Lord of the Rings (extended cut, Jackson version, all three)
3. The Shawshank Redemption
4. Monty Python and The Holy Grail

Four places I have lived:
1. The house in Arlington, Texas, where I got saved, and first kissed a girl (we were four, and i was gullible)
2. The house in Fort Worth, with the trails at the end of the block, with the stream where i cut my foot open and had to get stitches.
3. Missouri Baptist College Dorms
4. Manhassett Village, my first apartment.

Four T.V. shows that I watch:
1. Stargate Atlantis
2. CSI:Miami
3. Num3ers
4. Eli Stone

Four places I have been:
1. Galway, Ireland
2. Washington, D.C.
3. Soroti, Uganda
4. San Francisco, CA

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Chili (of any sort)
2. Steak
3. Lasagna
4. Fried okra

Four places I would like to visit:
1. Venice
2. A South Pacific Island (Samoa or one of the less populated islands of Hawaii)
3. Potsdam, NY
4. Rockies (the mountain range)

I am looking forward to in the coming year:
1. Traveling, somewhere
2. Autumn
3. A visit from the Bergeys (i hope)
4. this one I’ll leave a mystery. ;)
 

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