The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 4th, 2017: Look Back and Laugh…and Sigh

We need to take a break from the horror that America has become under a dark, grim authoritarian regime that’s less than two months old, and look back at what – in now-stark contrast – were the halcyon days of Barack Obama, The Laughing President.

President Obama was always at ease with himself, so he was also (almost) always at ease with foreign leaders, celebrities, his fellow Democrats, former Presidents from both sides of the aisle, even the Pope, for heaven’s sake; and even, FFS, the PRESS, that “Enemy of the American People”:

Notice that German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn't mind President Obama touching her.

Notice that German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn’t mind President Obama touching her.

Jon Steward and President Obama share a pose and a smile

Jon Stewart and President Obama share a pose and a smile

President Obama has a good laugh with David Letterman

President Obama heartily laughing with David Letterman

V.P. Joe Biden and President Obama acting casually.

V.P. Joe Biden and President Obama perform synchronized laughing.

Patently genuine laugh between Hillary Clinton and President Obama

Patently genuine laugh between Hillary Clinton and President Obama

Hillary's losing it, but Obama is happy to provide support

Hillary’s losing it, but Obama provides support

President Obama and former President Bill Clinton having a good time

President Obama and former President Bill Clinton having a good time

"THERE ARE FOUR PRESIDENTS [laughing]!"

“THERE ARE FOUR PRESIDENTS [laughing]!”

The President and The Pope

The President and The Pope

President Barack Obama's mic drop at his final Nerd Prom

President Barack Obama’s mic drop at his final Nerd Prom

But the ease and warmth that he obviously shared with so many others pales in comparison with the almost-visible aura of the unmistakable ease, warmth, humor, respect and love that he shares with his wife Michelle:

Barack and Michelle, side by side, as a loving couple should be...

Barack and Michelle, side by side, as a loving couple should be…

Date night out?

Date night out?

Now THAT'S "Class!"

Now THAT’S “Class!”

I won’t sully this brief remembrance of better times with the name(s) or photo(s) of the current fake occupier of our White House. I hope that, as I did, you couldn’t help but smile in response to President Barack Obama’s infectious grin.

[…sigh…]

This is our Open Thread, a bit late – enjoy!

Advertisements

The Watering Hole; Friday October 21 2016; “It is not now as it hath been of yore”

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
the earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

Those are the opening five lines of the first stanza of William Wordsworth’s classic work of poetic art entitled “ODE ON INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY From Recollections of Early Childhood”  (comp. 1802-1804). What’s long fascinated me is the fact that even though ‘Intimations’ was written more than 200 years ago, its words still describe — with amazing precision — moments of emotional recognition that most any cognitive mind can find itself pondering even today.

In the summer of 2007, for example, we spent pretty much the entire month of July camped in Arizona’s Apache National Forest, on the edge of a forest meadow (Cienega) which was located some 30 miles from the nearest town, some 5-6 miles north of the edge of Arizona’s grand escarpment, the Mogollon Rim (elevation approx. 9000 ft.) and roughly 10-15 miles west of the New Mexico state line. The forest meadow was named Butterfly Cienega, and it lay in a lush and peaceful corner of a forest teaming with life.

The following series of photographs effectively portrays a tiny portion of the experience, and essentially acts as a bridge to another event that was to occur some four years down the road — May, June and July, 2011. The photos are presented in no particular order, but are interspersed with three additional excerpts from Wordsworth’s ‘Intimations’ Ode which together re-tell the story implied in the Ode’s nine-line first stanza, as quoted up top and in the four lines immediately below.  Continue reading

The Watering Hole; Thursday October 13 2016; Politics? No Mas!

 

Politics. Enough is Enough! as someone once said. I can buy that. Boy, can I buy that.

I confess. I’m sick to death of politics. I wait with baited breath for this election season TO END! and for Donald Trump and all like him to wind up as floaters in the political sewage lagoon where they belong. Manifest Destiny, in a word (well, two words, actually, but what the hay).

So to hell with politics. To hell with Trump and all he “stands” for (i.e. himself, nothing else; it’s so simple, really). Why not a look around at something else, at things and scenes that are well worth a view, a view that has absolutely ZERO to do with today’s political mess that’s come to define this nation’s existence at this unfortunate point in time?

Great idea, seems to me, so following are some ‘snapshots’ of highlights gathered from days past (within the last forty years, give-or-take). Each and all still stand tall as depictions of what once was – ‘Out There’ – in a world devoid of politics and filled instead with LIFE — as each and every moment can easily become.

So relax, lay back, prepare for a non-political — relaxing (and peaceful, mostly) — soliloquy. Enjoy!

flower-004

▲Bird of Paradise; Kauai, 1978▲

▲Bald Eagle; Lake Beckwith, Colorado; 2009▲

ca-1975-mcdowells-saguaro-backlit-350pxl

▲Backlit Sonoran Desert Giant Saguaro; ca 1975▲

corals-anse-chastanet-st-lucia-sept-1983

▲Coral Reef; St. Lucia, Caribbean; 1983▲

ca-1980-cabo-san-lucas-seal

▲Seal, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; ca 1980▲

▲Chipmunk, San Isabel N.F., Colorado; 2009▲

2014-june-29-bullsnake-116

▲EEK! Gopher Snake, Colorado; 2014▲

0716-indian-paintbrush-detail

▲Indian Paintbrush Wildflower, Arizona, ca 2002▲

cocoa-palms-lagoon-water-lillies

▲Water Lillies, Kauai; 1978▲

A world without politics; a world without Trump! Imagine it! The Peace! The Beauty!

▼EEEK!! TRUMP??▼

▲Pu’uhonua, Hawaii; 1978▲

Seriously, did King Kamehaha have to deal with his own version of Trump? Really? I see the dude does have small hands; and what about the face? The hair? They had to deal with the sum of all of THAT too? In ancient Polynesia? Way back then? I mean, really, that’s just plain bizarre!

*sigh*

Brings to mind this one. It’s not one of mine, but whomever it was that tripped the shutter captured the best summation of the entire of the Trump “movement” I’ve ever seen!

gop-training-film

▲Dump Trump!▲

Eww. Guess we’d better leave it there.

******

OPEN THREAD


 

The Watering Hole, Tuesday, August 30th, 2016: “Invest in Beauty”

I was going to tell a dreary tale – about a disturbing conversation I had with a customer who, somewhere in the discussion of her foot problems, managed to bring up Trump and her buzzword-laden approval of him – for today’s post. Instead, thanks to two Zoosters’ comments from yesterday’s thread, here’s some cat stuff.

In yesterday’s comments, pete contributed the following:

“I have often thought that the world would be a better place if evolution had just stopped after cats; large and small. Sure. They are vicious predators with a complete absence of mercy but they are also graceful, intelligent, and have a fantastic sense of humor.”

Not much later, fatherbob posted a link to an article about a lost cat being found next to its “missing cat” poster. The same site had another article about professional photographer Robert Sijka’s photos of “Bearded Cats”, aka Maine Coons; the article includes a brief gallery of glorious creatures, and a link to more. You HAVE to check them out.  As the author of the article says:

“Maine Coons are the largest domesticated felines in the world, able to grow up to four feet in length. The breed is characterised by their gentle nature and their fabulous fur, which can easily be mistaken for a scruffy beard.
Basically, they’re kinda like a lynx, except that they won’t try to kill you.”

Of course, Maine Coons start out all tiny and innocent-looking, like these:
MaineCoonsPictures-1024-768-Origami-MCO-f2203-photos-Ni794815Maine_Coon_cat_licking_its_paw_044972_But they eventually turn into the fiercely beautiful, majestic, dignified, imperial creatures that all cats innately are, regardless of size or fur length.
MaineCoonSilverTabbyMaine-Coon-Cat-6-1024x680There, that’s better than some scary Trump supporter, right?

Last week I ran across a quote on a greeting card that I’m compelled to share:

“If you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.”

~ Frank Lloyd Wright ~

This is our daily Open Thread. You know what to do.

The Watering Hole; Friday June 10 2016; A Look Back

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks going through old boxes filled with old photographs, looking for old prints worth digitizing. Found a bunch of 8×10 Cibachromes that I developed myself in my own (tee-tiny) darkroom all those many years ago, and believe it or not, they served to make the moment a lot more enjoyable — not so much for the memories, even though they were, indeed, remindful of that younger world in I (we) once lived. I guess what really caught my attention was that, first, there was no hint of Trump anywhere in either the photos or the memories, mainly because back in the 1970’s I’d never even HEARD of the bastard! Wow, speak of a delightful era!

Anyway, I found about fifteen that were worth digitizing — scenes from various 1970’s destinations including Minnesota, Colorado, Arizona, California, and Hawaii — and thought maybe a handful were worth a wider look. So go ahead, close the door on current politics and wander, instead, backward some forty or so years to that other era — not the era of Tricky Dick, the Nam, and Gerry Ford, but those more peaceful spots that were, back then, far more accessible and less traveled than they are today.

Enjoy the soliloquy.

Colt, MN, Heselton,ca 1975 - 350pxl▲Very Young Colt; Faribault, Minnesota; circa 1973▲

 1975 Yucca McDowell MtnsYuccas in full bloom; Arizona, circa 1975

 Ocotillo Blossom ca 1972 350 pix▲Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) flower; Arizona, 1972▲

La Jolla Sunset ca 1978▲Sunset, La Jolla California; circa 1974▲

1978 field of flowers, Haleaka, Maui▲Wildflowers on Mt. Haleakala, Maui; 1978▲

Flower 004▲Bird of Paradise, Kauai, 1978▲

And finally, this:

▼Rocky Mountain Crocus on Mt. Evans, Colorado, 1971▼

Rocky Mtn Flower

So there you have it, the 1970’s revisited. Hard to believe some of that stuff is ‘already’ more than forty years old, esp. when each one seems like it was captured maybe yesterday — last week at the most — all via those old-fashioned cameras that even required a roll of film in ’em before you could make them work.

In any case, they did their job quite well, and even now at this late date, the flashbacks offered can be fun and very peaceful . . .

. . . unless they should happen to remind one of the crap that’s prominent in today’s world (see below).

DT4Pres-2

How could a Ki’i from Hawaii’s Pu’uhonua o Honaunau — photographed in 1978 — possibly remind anyone of Trump in 2016?

Must be the hair; the hands are way too big.

Sigh. Guess it’s back to the future. Again.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Friday May 13 2016; The Meaning of Life

Take all away from me, but leave me Ecstasy,
And I am richer then than all my Fellow Men . . .

In today’s human world,  the sad reality is that all that really counts is money, both the acquisition and the possession thereof — the more the better — all without any concern whatsoever for anything else, the earth and everything on it included. As a consequence, one need not look far to find massive evidences of human-directed destruction and contamination of virtually every aspect of the planetary environment from air to land to water to everything between, including virtually any and all life forms, humans included.

We (humans) are not all like that, thankfully. In fact, large numbers of “us” find infinitely more pleasure and purpose in hanging out with and observing critters who have zero interest in money or wealth; they don’t even know, much less care, what money is. No reason to know, because, after all, when your corner(s) of the world provide everything needed to make life meaningful, what would be the purpose of Money? It has no meaning to the talented, to the self-sufficient, to the gifted; it only has meaning to those who have no talent, no gift, no self-sufficiency, to those who can find no real meaning in life itself.

Below are eight photos — each and all from 2016 — which portray the genuine Meaning Of Life, a meaning which seems to, with every passing year, elude ever more humans, most especially those whose sole interests are Money, and Politics, and the presumed Power that comes along for the ride. But “Meaning” does NOT elude these critters!

The first four are of some local Colorado Front Range Canadian Geese including this year’s crop of goslings. I managed to get them to “pose” for me earlier this week, on May 9, when the little ones were roughly three weeks out of the egg. Already they’re out exploring the world — under the close watch of their moms and dads, of course — and already are more aware of legitimate survival techniques than the great bulk of humans of most any age. And they don’t have/need either a bank account or a gun, even!

May 9 2016 goose family 2244

May 9 2016 two goslings 2249

May 9 2016 goose family on water 2263

May 9 2016 goose family on water 2260

Next are four photos of one of this year’s family of Sonoran Desert Great Horned Owls, courtesy of Arizona Naturalist and Photographer Denny Green, longtime friend and resident of Tempe, AZ. These feathered folk typically nest in Giant Saguaro Cacti which are, I’m sure, one of the planet’s safest domiciles.

Great Horned Owl X7A9326

Great Horned Owl chicks X7A9009

Great Horned Owl chicks X7A8960

Great Horned Owl family X7A9511

Speaking of close-knit families! As for money, who needs it!

******

Finally, a bonus shot, this one from Thursday May 12:

May 12 2016 Gosling 2279

Money and wealth, polytics, power — Bah Humbug!

Ill it becometh me to dwell so wealthily
When at my very Door are those possessing more,
In abject poverty –
(Emily Dickinson)

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Friday April 22 2016; Eternity

I’ve dropped my Brain — My Soul is numb —
The Veins that used to run
Stop palsied — ’tis Paralysis
Done perfecter on stone
(Emily Dickinson)

I spent WASTED about five minutes yesterday, briefly watching Matt Lauer’s “interview” (yeah, right) of Donald Trump in a Town Hall, somewhere. My response, having shut the damn thing off as soon as I could find the remote, was to IMMEDIATELY thank Emily Dickinson for those four lines. Why? Because as a result of that momentary indiscretion on my part, I’ve dropped my Brain — My Soul is numb — eight words that have actually become the most able summation of my reaction to this year’s political asininity that I’ve run across to date.

And, as if Drumpf wasn’t bad enough, here are a few additional tidbits that induce even more dropping of the brain, more numbing of the soul:

Oath Keepers Website Warns Clinton Victory Could Lead To ‘Outright Civil War’

Pamela Geller: Obama Is Enforcing Sharia

David Kupelian: The Left Is Driving ‘Good Decent Christian Patriotic Americans’ Insane

And finally this nugget — the approximate equivalent of accidentally stepping in a pile of cow shit whilst enjoying a morning walk in an otherwise pristine forest or meadow:

Pat Boone: Those Behind SNL’s Christian Movie Parody Are Going To Hell

“When you speak against God and his purpose, we don’t have to ask for an apology. We need to stand up for what’s true and right, but then step aside because they’re answering to Him, not to us. That’s outright sacrilege and, as you know, I don’t think people will be offended by this, Jesus said that every sin a man can commit can be forgiven except against blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Well, the Holy Spirit is God and that sin is not to be forgiven in this world or the world to come. So my feelings now are not so much anger as sadness for what I fear is ahead for the people that are doing these things.”

Conclusion: Jesus H. Christ and Goddammit! I’m apparently doomed to the worst hell I can imagine — spending eternity as Pat Boone’s eternal roomie!

OK. I give up. Hell with politics, hell with religionistas, hell with their subterranean level of brainpower, of eternity. As Voltaire put it, Écrasez l’infame. ‘Crush the infamous.’ I couldn’t agree more. Amen.

Here’s my better idea; explore — again and always — THIS eternity! A new and fresh one begins and ends EVERY DAY! Examples:

Aug 2014 Dawn over Beckwith 252a

▲Sunrise, Lake Beckwith Colorado, 2014▲

Wailua Sunrise, Kauai

▲Sunrise, Wailua Bay Kauai, 1978▲

▲Sunrise, Cabo San Lucas, 1983▲

Nov 2001 Desert Sunset

▲Sunrise, Sonoran Desert Arizona, 2001▲

▲Sunset, West Maui, 1978▲

There. Soothing. Gentle. That’s what the world could easily be . . . sans that unbelievably immense pile of subhuman dregs and their ever-boisterous advocates; learn from them, once again, that ancient lesson, and note that — indeed — some things never seem to change:

“Zapata . . . took to preaching God in all simplicity.
He announced to men the common Father, the rewarder,
the punisher, and pardoner. He extricated the truth from the lies,
and separated religion from fanaticism; he taught and practised
virtue. He was gentle, kindly, and modest; and he was
burned at Valladolid in the year of grace 1631.”
(Voltaire)

Take instead that other path — Wander. Observe. Enjoy.

And tell Drumpf, et al., to SHUT UP!

******

OPEN THREAD