Tag Archives: water

Slip Slidin’ Away…

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This past Saturday my wife and I took of just to get away for a while. Things have been hectic and a “get-away” was overdue. We decided to drive up the “alpine” Helen in the north Georgia “mountains”. It’s less than an hour from where we live and my wife loves a particular restaurant there. Personally, I can take it or leave it, but she absolutely loves going there.

The town of Helen has sort of a Danish/German/Bavarian flavor to the heart of the little town. There’s a beer garden surrounded by shops and places that are made to look alpine. But just outside of the town is an old mill that still operates and produces milled flour, grits, etc. It’s a fun place to stop and lots of interesting things are there to photograph.

One of the favorite things of my to shoot there is a dam. The creek that turns the mill stone flows behind the building. It’s a rather lazy creek, but the dam has water flowing over the top of it constantly, and this time I noticed that there are pipes a bit below the water surface on the down-dam side. I thought it was rather pretty to watch the water shooting over the top of the dam and through the pipes, too, so I took today’s picture of it to share with you.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1898, a massive explosion of unknown origin sank the battleship USS Maine in Cuba’s Havana harbor, killing 260 of the fewer than 400 American crew members aboard.

One of the first American battleships, the Maine weighed more than 6,000 tons and was built at a cost of more than $2 million. Ostensibly on a friendly visit, the Maine had been sent to Cuba to protect the interests of Americans there after a rebellion against Spanish rule broke out in Havana in January.

An official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry ruled in March that the ship was blown up by a mine, without directly placing the blame on Spain. Much of Congress and a majority of the American public expressed little doubt that Spain was responsible and called for a declaration of war.

Subsequent diplomatic failures to resolve the Maine matter, coupled with United States indignation over Spain’s brutal suppression of the Cuban rebellion and continued losses to American investment, led to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898.

Within three months, the United States had decisively defeated Spanish forces on land and sea, and in August an armistice halted the fighting. On December 12, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed between the United States and Spain, officially ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire with the ceding of such former Spanish possessions as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

In 1976, a team of American naval investigators concluded that the Maine explosion was likely caused by a fire that ignited its ammunition stocks, not by a Spanish mine or act of sabotage.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The Sahara Desert at one time was lush grassland and savannah. Overgrazing and/or climate change in 8000 B.C. began to change the area from pastoral land to desert. Now it is the world’s largest hot desert at over 3,630,000 square miles—roughly the size of the United States. Antarctica is considered the largest desert (of any type) in the world.

…Windy, Rainy Day

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Right now, the state of California is in a historic, very serious drought.  Some projections say that there is only enough water for one more year if something doesn’t change – and fast!  The really bad news is that the rainy season is typically over with by the end of March or middle of April, though sometimes it can linger a bit longer. But here’s the really bad news: most of California’s water comes not in the form of rain, but as melt-water from the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada range.  The most recent statistic I’ve heard said that the snow pack is only 12% of normal – meaning the water situation is only going to get worse!

If only we could ship some water from the Amazon to California!  Today’s photo was taken on one of the peque-peque’s (their word for a water-taxi) that ply the Maranon and other waterways in Peru.  We happened to be on one, heading upstream, when I took this picture.  It was raining, it was windy, the boat was heavily loaded and the sides didn’t extend all that far above the water with the load we’d put in it.  And to top it off, there weren’t enough life jackets for everyone (folks don’t worry about that kind of stuff in most of the world)…and then I learned that the young lady seated next to me didn’t know how to swim!  (I then started picturing scenarios where I’d grab a life jacket and share it with her if necessary…not very heroic, eh?)

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1989, the worst oil spill in U.S. territory began when the supertanker Exxon Valdez,owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, ran aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.

It was later revealed that Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Valdez, was drinking at the time of the accident and allowed an uncertified officer to steer the massive vessel. In March 1990, Hazelwood was convicted of misdemeanor negligence, fined $50,000, and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. In July 1992, an Alaska court overturned Hazelwood’s conviction, citing a federal statute that grants freedom from prosecution to those who report an oil spill.

Exxon itself was condemned by the National Transportation Safety Board and in early 1991 agreed under pressure from environmental groups to pay a penalty of $100 million and provide $1 billion over a 10-year period for the cost of the cleanup. However, later in the year, both Alaska and Exxon rejected the agreement, and in October 1991 the oil giant settled the matter by paying $25 million, less than 4 percent of the cleanup aid promised by Exxon earlier that year.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Holes drilled as deep as 5 miles into the Earth’s reveal that the rock temperature increases about 37 degrees Fahrenheit per 320 feet. Even on the deepest sea floor, rock remains slightly above freezing.

He’s baacccckkkkk…..

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From Israel – at the site of the Sermon on the Mount (Double or triple-click to see in larger size)

Yep, home again.  Most of you probably know my now from my emails or Facebook, but I was in Israel for the past 8 days or so.  “Israel!?!?!” you say.  “What a crazy time to go to Israel!”  Maybe so.  But, when duty calls, one must answer.  No, I’m not talking about  military duty, but just work.  It wasn’t through my regular employer, but I went there to help one of my sons with a business project with which he is engaged.  We had about three days where we could do some touristy type of stuff and we took advantage of it.

I am, as most of you know by now, a Christian.  This blog isn’t about faith per se, but about what’s going on in my life or the world and a picture that I’ve taken to illustrate some point.  While I was in Israel, I shot nearly 1000 pictures, but don’t panic: I’ve no intention of showing them all to you, nor of trying to convert anyone with these pictures.  I hope you’ll just enjoy the pictures for the sake of the history or scenery.  If you are a person of shared faith with me, you may even get something more out of seeing these pictures.

Today’s photo was shot at the location near the Sea of Galilee where it is said Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.  Today there is a church there and a Catholic retreat center (the pope has a private apartment there for use whenever he wants to “drop in”).  I took this picture as we were making our way back out of the place when I turned to look back for one more glance.  But you know what’s funny?  I didn’t notice the water splashing on the fountain that you can see in this picture (double click – or maybe triple? – to see it in larger size).  I thought it looked cool….and it was a beautiful setting!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  (NOTE: a bit of history, regardless of your position on capital punishment): on this day in 1890, at Auburn Prison in New York, the first execution by electrocution in history was carried out against William Kemmler, who had been convicted of murdering his lover, Matilda Ziegler, with an axe.

Electrocution as a humane means of execution was first suggested in 1881 by Dr. Albert Southwick, a dentist. Southwick had witnessed an elderly drunkard “painlessly” killed after touching the terminals of an electrical generator in Buffalo, New York. In the prevalent form of execution at the time–death by hanging–the condemned were known to hang by their broken necks for up to 30 minutes before succumbing to asphyxiation.

In 1889, New York’s Electrical Execution Law, the first of its kind in the world, went into effect, and Edwin R. Davis, the Auburn Prison electrician, was commissioned to design an electric chair. Closely resembling the modern device, Davis’ chair was fitted with two electrodes, which were composed of metal disks held together with rubber and covered with a damp sponge. The electrodes were to be applied to the criminal’s head and back.

On August 6, 1890, William Kemmler became the first person to be sent to the chair. After he was strapped in, a charge of approximately 700 volts was delivered for only 17 seconds before the current failed. Although witnesses reported smelling burnt clothing and charred flesh, Kemmler was far from dead, and a second shock was prepared. The second charge was 1,030 volts and applied for about two minutes, whereupon smoke was observed coming from the head of Kemmler, who was clearly deceased. An autopsy showed that the electrode attached to his back had burned through to the spine.

Dr. Southwick applauded Kemmler’s execution with the declaration, “We live in a higher civilization from this day on,” while American inventor George Westinghouse, an innovator of the use of electricity, remarked, “They would have done better with an axe.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Starfish have no brains.  (I know some people who must be starfish in disguise!!!)

Inky Blackness

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He glides silently, seemingly moved by invisible forces, effortless and graceful.  All around him are eddies and swirls, ripples and rills that dance on the surface of the water. Are the ripples there at the will of the fish below to spare them from being the main course for the intruder, or mere artifacts of the wind as it passes by?

The inky blackness hides what is beneath, obscuring it from view of surface dwellers and those who would venture out over the watery abyss.  Be there dragons and sea monsters lurking below, ready to wreak a swift and severe vengeance for having dared to invade their space and disturb their safe haven?

The depths of earth’s reservoirs of water have long haunted and terrified those of us who cannot breathe in the liquid. I contemplate the blackness of the north Atlantic for those aboard the Titanic, or any of the other manifold vessels that not-so-silently slipped beneath the waves, leaving dead bodies to dot the surface of the water like ducks on a pond.

And then, there are those who wear the dolphins of the Navy – who make it their calling to live below the surface on swift and deadly nuclear submarines, perhaps the greatest weapons of mass destruction ever designed by mankind. What kind of person does it require to sleep hundreds of feet below the water, let alone sleep there, knowing that outside the walls of the metal tube you call home is freezing cold death?

Fortunately, the goose in today’s photo seems oblivious to such things (though it appears to be trying to pierce the veil of blackness in the photo), but as an air-breathing human, I retain somewhat of a fear of the water when I can’t see the bottom or touch it. I am too dependent on air – this ether that fills our lungs, exchanges with our blood and which we so desperately need to be too comfortable in deep water.

Photo taken at Johns Bridge Park, Johns Creek, GA.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  Thanks to Hollywood, America’s collective consciousness (especially for those of us who lived through that time) of the Vietnam War is inextricably linked with the popular music of that era. Specifically, it is linked with the music of the late-60s counterculture and antiwar movement. But opposition to the war was not widespread in 1966—a fact that was reflected not just in popular opinion polls, but in the pop charts, too. Near the very height of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, on March 5, 1966, American popular-music fans made a #1 hit out of a song called “The Ballad Of The Green Berets” by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler.

Sadler was exactly what his name and uniform implied he was: a real-life, active-duty member of the US Army Special Forces—the elite unit popularly known as the Green Berets. In early 1965, Sadler suffered a severe punji stick injury that brought a premature end to his tour of duty as a combat medic in Vietnam. During his long hospitalization back in the United States, Sadler, an aspiring musician prior to the war, wrote and submitted to music publishers an epic ballad that eventually made its way in printed form to Robin Moore, author of the then-current nonfiction book called The Green Berets. Moore worked with Sadler to whittle his 12-verse original down to a pop-radio-friendly length, and Sadler recorded the song himself in late 1965, first for distribution only within the military, and later for RCA when the original took off as an underground hit. Within two weeks of its major-label release, The Ballad of the Green Berets had sold more than a million copies, going on to become Billboard magazine’s #1 single for all of 1966.

While it would not be accurate to call “The Ballad Of The Green Berets” a pro-war song, it was certainly a song that enjoyed popularity among those who opposed the growing anti-war movement. A year after “Green Berets” came out, Buffalo Springfield would release the anti-war anthem “For What It’s Worth,” which continues to be Hollywood’s go-to choice for many films and television programs depicting American involvement in the Vietnam War.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Experts estimate that in a lifetime, a human brain may retain one quadrillion separate bits of information.

Wade In the Water

There is an old spiritual that goes by the title of today’s picture post.  I haven’t heard it sung for years, but I always thought it was very soulful and emotive.

The song relates to both the Old and New Testaments, and the verses reflect the story of the escape of the Israelites under Moses and how they went through the Red Sea as well as the chorus, which relates to healing, based on John 5:4: “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.”

Many internet sources and popular books claim that songs such as “Wade in the Water” contained explicit instructions to fugitive slaves on how to avoid capture and the route to take to successfully make their way to freedom. This particular song allegedly recommends leaving dry land and taking to the water as a strategy to throw pursuing bloodhounds off one’s trail.  It is said that Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses of her people” for the help she gave to runaway slaves during the Civil War (she helped lead them along the Underground Railroad to the north) sang this songs to those runaways.

“Wade in the Water” was a popular instrumental hit in 1966 for the Ramsey Louis Trio, and later recorded by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and Billy Preston (both in 1967).

The picture today was taken at our hotel in Mumbai…rather, it was taken outside the hotel.  Do you remember the terrorist attack at on of Mumbai hotels a year or two ago where  many people were killed?  Well, because of that, we were not allowed to take pictures of the inside of the hotel that could have been used for “intelligence” purposes, but we were permitted to take photos outdoors.  So, one evening before dark, I went out in the back of the hotel where the pool was.  There were numerous statues on the grounds and in the pool.  What you see in the background is the Arabian Sea.

This picture made me think of that old spiritual…”Wade in the water, Wade in the water chillin, oh, Wade in the water, God’s a gonna trouble the water!”

Wadin’ in the water, Indian style.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1933, the US established the minimum hourly wage to be 33 cents.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in Sri Lanka, to say “Hello”, you should put your hands together under your chin in prayer-like fashion and bow slightly.

Chillin’ in Sweetwater Creek

I’m sure that you have heard that it gets hot in Georgia.  So far (cross my fingers and hope I didn’t just jinx us!) we’ve not had it to bad, but then again, it’s only June 10!  Today was overcast, cool and rainy!!!!  Not bad at all..but it is about 94% humidity according to the weather channel.

Yesterday (Saturday), Laurel and I packed up the dog and went to visit one of Georgia’s state parks: Sweetwater Creek.  It’s not that far from where we live, and we found out about it from a brochure we picked up last December when we stopped at a visitor center when we entered the state.

There is a fairly large lake, lots of wooded grounds, many trails and of course, Sweetwater Creek.  There was a picture in the brochure of the river – lots of rocks in the water.  The picture was taken in the fall when the leaves were turning color and it was really pretty, so we thought we’d check it out.  It was pretty and we had a good time walking down the trails by the creek.

It was a warm day, not hot unless you were in the direct sun, but definitely warm.  At one point, we stopped along the creek and Lucy decided that it was time to cool off, so she waded into the water and lay down to cool off.  She even tried laying her snout down in the water, but it was a bit too deep.  I got several pictures of her, but this one from the rear end shows a bit of the creek and the rocks that are all over in the creek.

As my wife pointed out when she posted a similar picture on her Facebook page: Lucy’s rear end isn’t really as big as it looks here in the picture…at least that’s what Laurel thinks.

Lucy, our yellow lab, chillin’ in the creek…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1939, after a full day without drinking, Dr. Robert Smith, better known as Doctor Bob, and his friend WIlliam G. Wilson, founded Alcoholics Anonymous.  It was the start of a lifetime without alcohol for both of them, and for any thousands more throughout the years.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: beets reminded early cooks of animals when they cut them open (due to the color of the juice that looked like blood), thus the name “beets”, which comes from the French “bete”, which means “beasts”.

Wade in the Water

What is it about children that has such a fascination with water?  I confess that I don’t quite get it.  I wonder if I was that way as a child.  I know I liked to get into boats and ride on the lake.  I guess I loved going to the swimming pool in Jefferson, Iowa.  It was a real treat for us farm kids to be able to get anywhere that the closest living being to you wasn’t a pig or cow or sheep or chicken.  There was some great candy at the pool snack shack, too.  I don’t remember what it was called, but it was like a rainbow, and it seems like it was about a foot long (probably was much shorter, but you know how everything seems bigger when you’re a kid), and I loved getting one of those!

When our oldest son, Doug, was just a wee one (about 4 months old, I’d guess), we moved to Asheville, NC.  We didn’t live there long, but fall was coming on and we took a drive up into the Blue Ridge mountains on the Blue Ridge Highway.  The leaves were awash in color and it was beautiful, but cold.  We still got out of the car when we came to a waterfall, and little Doug went right for the water.  He even sat in it in his diaper, seemingly oblivous to how cold the water in the pool of the waterfall was.

This past Sunday the weather was warm and after Easter services, I went with our youngest son and his family to a local park where Tim and his oldest little girl went wading in the Chatahoochee River that flows along the park border.  I couldn’t help but take this photo of my granddaughter’s feet in the water.  It almost looks like she’s walking on top of it.  I tried that many times as a child, fascinated by the story of Peter walking on the water with Jesus.  I never succeeded…not yet.  But I still have hopes that someday, it will come true!

But for now, I’m content to watch my grand kids wade in the water.  I always loved that old spiritual “Wade in the Water”…who knows?  Maybe I’ll roll up my pant legs next time and get my feet wet, too!

Wade in, wade in, wade in, wade in...wade in the water chillen'...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1790, the first circumnavigation of the globe by an American vessel came to a conclusion.  Three years earlier, Captain Robert Gray left Boston, sailed to the Pacific Northwest, then on to China and from there around the rest of the world.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: more than 260,000 people are buried at Arlington, which conducts approximately 5400 burials each year.  Funerals (internments and inurnments) average 20 a day.  Arlington has the second-largest number of people buried of any national cemetery in the US.  The largest of the 130-some national cemeteries is Calverton, located near Farmingdale, NY on Long Island.  That cemetery conducts more than 7000 burials each year.

WaterDance

If you are old enough, you remember that horrible movie, Waterworld, with Kevin Costner.  What a bomb.  They supposedly lived in a world that was completely covered by water – it was everywhere!  But you know, clean water is becoming a scarcer and scarcer commodity.  As the population swells and competition for water increases, there is less and less to go around.  And clean water is especially important because so many disease (both fatal and just plain miserable ones as well) are water-borne.  It is said that wars are fought over oil…but in the future, experts predict they will be fought over water.

One of the things that I love about the organization I’m working for (I Am 2 Partners, Inc.) is that we have a charter to get nutritious food, clean and safe water and protection to needy children around the world.  There is so much need it is overwhelming, and I’m just starting to scratch the surface of what is needed.

When we were in Marietta on Saturday, I shot a picture of the fountain in the middle of the square.  I liked the blue color – it surprised me because fountain water often isn’t that clean or clear.  I liked the way the water droplets were dancing a jig as they struck the surface of the pool around the base of the fountain.  And I was struck, standing there, about the importance of water.  Anyway, here’s today’s photo, and if it looks a bit chaotic, it is…but the world is getting more chaotic by the day and the need for water increases with each new birth and each new day.  Let’s use our resources wisely so there is enough for others, too!

Dancing water droplets...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: here in Georgia today it was just south of 70 degrees.  But it hasn’t always been that way on 3/12.  For instance, in 1888, one of the most devastating blizzards to ever hit the northeastern US hit, dumping 40-50 inches of snow and leaving drifts over 30 feet high.  Over 400 persons died as a result of the storm. 

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in excess of 1,130,000 packages of Jello gelatin are purchased or consumed each day.

Creekside

I love bodies of water.

The ocean is so powerful and the salty mist that blows off the rolling breakers is refreshing.

I love lakes, especially mountain lakes high up in the sky that fill bowls between the peaks and ridges.  I love lakes kissed by aspens and other trees as they perform their magical act of fall as their leaves explode into the colors of the rainbow and are reflected in the still, quiet mirror of the lake.

I love rivers and streams, dancing toward lower elevations over stones, boulders and across golden sandbars that defy the river’s power.

I love creeks, small, seemingly powerless, but through their patience they carve out ditches, valleys and even canyons.

On our way coming home from church today, I looked off to the left of the road about a block and a half from our house and was intrigued by the small creek that split a townhouse development into two halves.  The sun was shining down through the trees, the grass was green and dappled between the sun and tree shadows, and the little creek was oblivious to it all, going about its business without complain or sound.  I told my wife I had to walk back down and take a picture.

What you see today is one of my photos of the scene.  It actually is a composite of three pictures because I decided that with the range of light between the sunlit areas and the darkness of the creek bank and trees, it would be a good subject for a high-dynamic range image.  I rather like how it turned out, but you may not.  Not everyone likes HDR images…I don’t like them if they look too obvious as HDR, and this image starts to get to that point, but I still liked it.

The work of a lifetime done in silence...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1915, flame-throwers were used in warfare for the first time as the third guard pioneer German regiment used them against the French as Malancourt.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: a “nullipara” is a technical term applied to a woman who has never borne a child.