New Gallery Pictures!

photography 1 Comment »

canon-rebel-xt.jpgI just picked up a new Canon Rebel XT and decided to give it a spin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, a living museum of rare and tropical plants. While not typically a “flower child” I photographed anything that bloomed. The Rebel XT is an amazing camera, with very little shutter lag, and relatively low noise at high ISO settings, which means you don’t always have to rely on that pesky flash!

flowers.jpgTo the left is one of the new images I have placed under the What’s New section in the Gallery. I imagine they’ll be plenty of new images added over the coming months as I attempt to justify the purchase of the Rebel XT. 🙂 I also plan to add more older pictures (previous travels, events, etc) as well so please check back often. And on top of that, I plan to add a full-fledged photoblog soon just to showcase those photos and images I am most proud of.

Well, that’s all for now, so until next time…

Somebody please give Bill O’Reilly A Holiday Cookie!

media, politics No Comments »

Seems Bill’s kilt is all ablaze over a Lowes in Texas which posted a sign selling Holiday trees instead of Christmas trees, and views that and similar efforts as a sinister and highly organized attack on Christmas and all its symbols.

Sorry, but it sounds a little conspiratorial to me. For the record, bringing a tree into the home and decorating it around Christmas is a German tradition that hardly dates back to the time of Christ. It’s also a tremendous symbol of commercialism, and therein lies my argument. Isn’t it more likely that calling it a Holiday tree is an attempt to be more inclusive, considering the diversity of peoples and faiths of this country, and to appeal to a larger audience? Perhaps, to sell more trees?

What about greeting cards? Retailers also recognize the convenience and the need to sell “Happy Holidays” cards. For instance, if one has Jewish and Christian friends, it makes more sense to buy a box of Happy Holiday cards instead of spending twice as much on Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah cards

The irony here is the loudest voices opposed to this generalized holiday message tend to be pro-business, and pro profit. And that’s exactly what the retailers are up to, and not laying siege to a holiday the symbolic importance of which diminishes every year beneath the weight of the almighty dollar.

Don’t get me wrong. I prefer Christmas trees to Holiday trees, and Merry Christmas cards to Happy Holiday cards (unless I am short on cash). That’s how I was brought up. That’s how we celebrated. But I am not offended that some choose to generalize the message. There’s plenty else to be concerned about. I am more offended by obscene greed. And by obscene profit. Both of which go on during the holidays and year round.

Perhaps if we were placing presents at the foot of a crucifix and laying out cookies for the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost there’d be good reason for this row. While admittedly an extreme example, Christmas would likely have a lot more meaning than it does now.

Good Night and Good Luck

filmmaking, politics 1 Comment »

goodnight_officialposter.jpg.w180h267.jpgDespite the title, no.. this is not my swan song. Far from it. Instead it refers to a wonderful film of the same name that chronicles the conflict between Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy during the 1950s. It’s both absorbing and amazing, and is startling relevant in the times we now live. I quote now from a speech Murrow made in 1958 which is also in the film:

“Our history will be what we make it. And if there are any historians about fifty or a hundred years from now, and there should be preserved the kinescopes for one week of all three networks, they will there find recorded in black and white, or color, evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live. I invite your attention to the television schedules of all networks between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m., Eastern Time. Here you will find only fleeting and spasmodic reference to the fact that this nation is in mortal danger. There are, it is true, occasional informative programs presented in that intellectual ghetto on Sunday afternoons. But during the daily peak viewing periods, television in the main insulates us from the realities of the world in which we live. If this state of affairs continues, we may alter an advertising slogan to read: LOOK NOW, PAY LATER.

For surely we shall pay for using this most powerful instrument of communication to insulate the citizenry from the hard and demanding realities which must be faced if we are to survive. I mean the word survive literally.”

I strongly urge you take time out and see it, and hope to read your reactions to the film here.

A Peso for your Thoughts…

politics, video 4 Comments »

It might be just me but I found the clip below which ran recently on a local TV station outrageous. The Federal Reserve along with local banks and credit unions want to take the sting out of sending money south of the border by offering services that make it easier and less expensive. Over 5 million people send money back to Mexico on a regular basis.

[flvplayer 320 240]

If someone has earned the right to be here, I have little problem with them sending money home. But to those who are here illegally, I feel strongly that they are taking advantage of the system, and suspect that group in particular is who the Federal Reserve is targeting. To them they aren’t illegal aliens breaking the law… no.. they’re an untapped market. Why should Western Union have all the fun?

But tell me this, isn’t taking your paycheck and then spending it “here” a big part of keeping those economic wheels turning?

A peso for your thoughts…