Take Some Pictures

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Last Thanksgiving, I got to spend the day with some wonderful people. At the end of the day, we took several photographs of everyone. I was thinking about it and I realized that we don’t take enough pictures of our loved ones. Those of us that are photographers are always looking for flowers or trees or the abstract pattern of architecture but we rarely have time to turn the camera towards our loved ones. We are either too busy making art or we let their protestations discourage us. We simply don’t take pictures of them. My niece used to tell me that I took too many pictures. But I wouldn’t trade pictures of her for anything. I let my family’s protests keep me from taking any pictures at picnics and holidays.

But now I am taking photos at every opportunity. I have even begun taking my camera everywhere I go. I take pictured at church programs, ball games, school events and anywhere else people are gathered with family. I have taken to giving people the pictures or posting them to Facebook and tagging them so they can download them. An important thing that I have learned when importing photos to the computer is to tag them. Whether your program uses keywords or tags, be sure to stick a name to that person. I have been to too many funerals in my life and at several of them I have heard the family say that we have no photos of …

My aunts and mother have a chest from their mother that is full of photos: school photos, vacation photos and holiday photos. I thought if they could hold on to these paper copies of photos from 50 years ago, how we can have an excuse in the digital age not to have photos. We clear out our computers and hard drives and delete photos to make space. We determine that the silly picture of the kids taking a bath, riding a bike or picking flowers isn’t important enough to keep. That is so unnecessary. There are CDs, DVDs, portable hard drives and flash drives to back them up.

So take pictures people. Lots of them. Tag them, save them and print them. Hang them on walls and refrigerators. Scrapbook, journal or just reminisce. But take some pictures and share and enjoy them.

“Wild” Life

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I spent a couple of weeks travelling through the Upper Midwest and I have a few observations. I know you are surprised by that. I was disturbed by few things along the way. Two of these things involved “wildlife”. I visited a bear ranch and a deer ranch. Both were interesting.

I will admit that it was nice to see albino deer and bears up close but the disturbing part was how domesticated they had become. At both sites you could buy food to give the animals. The deer got carrots and celery and apple slices. You weren’t allowed to feed the fawns. The bears got apples and the cubs got froot loops.

The deer seemed to be comingling as buck, doe and fawns. The fawns were in a small shed when I was there. The bears were segregated. The cubs were in a small cage and the males and females were separated in different fenced enclosures.

The deer had a sand and gravel floor and the bears had a more natural enclosure with a waterfall feature and several trees. The bulldozer knocking trees down and clearing areas didn’t even seem to faze them though.

The feeding of the animals was the part that bothered me the most. One I am not sure as to carrots and celery as deer forage. I do know they eat apples and pears from my trees in the yard. The deer were able to poke their noses through the fencing and would run towards you as soon as you appeared on the path around the fence seeking a snack. The bears were inside a double fence and you had to toss your apples over the fence for them to eat but they did come to the fence. One bear had learned to sit on his haunches in front of an observation tower and catch apples in his mouth. This got a lot of people to feed him and watch him perform.

The cubs was a completely sad affair. They were in a double fence and there was PVC pipe running downhill towards their cage. You would place the froot loops in their and the “thumping” sound would attract them to their end of the PVC. As many people discovered, you could tap the PVC and the poor cubs would try to stick their face all the way in it to seek the food that hadn’t fallen yet. I watched as amused adults and children tormented the cubs in this manner.

I also visited several National Wildlife Refuges and Preserves. Many had visitor centers and guided tours or self driving tours as well as hiking paths. I found these more enjoyable for a couple of reasons. One the animals were free and truly wildlife. Second was the joy of hearing and then having to find the frog, bird or mammal. The first trip, I heard a bald eagle calling to its mother and was able to find the nest and view it as she returned to feed them. No tubes or froot loops or carrots involved.

The saddest thing I saw on the trip was an injured hawk that was in a small room at a nature center. HE was perched on a limb staring out at the kids running by and just watching. Sitting and watching. I understand he was injured but it was heartbreaking to think of him watching mice, moles and skinks running by that I never saw and just having to watch.

I realize that some “ranches” have a teaching aspect to them and some are places for rehabilitation or retirement for animals that are too injured for the wild. But even that concerns me. Life has its patterns. Some animals become injured and die slow deaths unable to feed themselves. It may sound harsh but to be strictly an animal lover is to allow this to happen. Some young  lose their parents and must learn to fend or die. It is the way of nature.

The refuges also have a teaching capacity that impacts the animals minimally. They aren’t caged. They are free to roam in their nature environs. They are wildlife.

Hmm?

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Johanda Edge Nall wrote:

Copied from a friend……Love it!!!!

Checking out at the grocery store recently, and the young cashier suggested that I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.” She was right about one thing — our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then…? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day here’s what I remembered we did have…. Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day. Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day. Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then. We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then. Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Lack of Information

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Price Hikes

So now that the networks have cut back on foreign news rooms and we have all turned to the internet for our news, internet providers do this. I wonder what my bandwidth usage was for watching Reuters and BBC and NHK coverage of the earthquake and tsunami. And that five hours of streaming Hawaiian radio must have ate up the bandwidth too.

We are always being told how the internet can be the new media and offer us unfiltered news and opinion. Well apparently only a limIted amount of it.

Now I know that there are people who have youtube streaming 24/7. I know because I get bumped into them all the time. I also know that there are people streaming Pandora radio 24/7. Yes even while they are sleeping. It is there white noise machine. The new tranquil springs soothing them to sleep.

I realize that these are the abusers of the bandwidth that companies are seeking to rein in but I see unintended consequences. I also know that they are encouraging the use of the internet for everything also.

The family of six that shares a connection all playing flash based games for a half-hour a piece. Perhaps throw in a family movie. Toss in grandma’s video update on how the grandkids are doing. Dad skyping from a business trip. The video lecture for mom’s online course. Some science videos for research. And yes some leisure Xbox live play or iTunes video podcast downloads. I haven’t even touched on sitting through a 90 second ad before I can view a news page or the flash-based ads running in the sidebar. It all adds up.

My two little computer screens that show my connection traffic are always blinking. Even when my computer is “idle”. My phones connection arrows are always pointing back and forth with pushed content. I am sure I can block or at least curtail much of this with flash blockers and turning off all automatic updating and real-time virus protection. But I don’t want to keep myself from viewing any web-based site or miss out on playing farmville. And that real-time virus protection: I kinda like it.

I know there is no use griping about it. When Comcast was allowed to do it everyone was going to follow suit. Yep the free market and its increased competition. What I see is the free market colluding and saying well if they are doing it so can we. I mean what are we going to do find some new open means of gathering information from around the globe in the privacy of our own home.