Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The irony of this ad for Cadillac

Particularly the closing sentence. Undoubtedly you are all too familiar with the plight of GM. This is well worth the read:

The Penalty of Leadership

In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity. Whether the leadership is vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work. In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same. The reward is widespread recognition, the punishment fierce denial and detraction. When a man’s work becomes a standard for the whole world, it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few. If his work were merely mediocre, he will be left severely alone – if he achieves a masterpiece, it will set a million tongues a-wagging. Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace painting. Whatsoever you write, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass, or to slander you, unless your work is stamped with the seal of genius. Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious continue to cry out that it cannot be done. Spiteful little voices in the domain of art were raised against our own Whistler as a mountebank, long after the big world had acclaimed him its greatest artistic genius. Multitudes flocked to Bayreuth to worship at the musical shrine of Wagner, while the little group of those whom he had dethroned and displaced, argued angrily that he was no musician at all. The little world continued to protest that Fulton could never build a steamboat, while the big world flocked to the riverbanks to see his boat steam by. The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership. Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroy – but only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant. There is nothing new in this. It is as old as the world and as old as the human passions – envy, fear, greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass. And it all avails nothing. If the leader truly leads, he remains – the leader. Master-poet, master-painter, master-workman, each in his turn is assailed, and each holds his laurels through the ages. That which is good or is great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial. That which deserves to live –lives.

Cadillac Motor Car Co. Detroit, Mich.
Copyright 1914

Previous post on GM.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

2012 - Official Movie Site and Trailer

December 21, 2012: End Of The World?

Here we go again with the doomsday crowd. I had no idea that this was coming. Silly me.

Wikipedia has the following:

John Major Jenkins and others[11] believe that an alignment will occur when the sun rises above the horizon on December 21 2012, at which point the sun will rise in the middle of the Milky Way Galaxy, thus causing an alignment between the earth, sun, and the Galactic Center.[12] It is suggested that this event will cause numerous changes on Earth. However, the event is only a visual phenomenon from the Earth's perspective, which is caused by the precession of the equinoxes or the 26,000 year wobble of the earth, and thus only changes our perspective, not the actual position of the earth in relation to the galaxy. In short, there is no gravitational force or radiation to be expected from this event because other than the tilt of the earth; nothing will be any different from what occurs in any other solstice. [13][14][15]

Michael Tsarion [16] and others think that an actual physical alignment of our entire solar system will occur with the horizontal plane of the Milky Way Galaxy on that day. The solar system is moving around the center of the galaxy every 225 million years or so, and while doing so is moving up and down in a cycle crossing the plane every 33 million years. According to the Journal Nature, however, there is evidence of the solar system crossing the galactic plane 3 million years ago. This would mean that we are moving away from the galactic plane, not toward it, and we will not be due to cross it for another 30 million years.[17]

There are also theories that a currently unknown planet, sometimes referred to as planet x or Nibiru, which has an odd orbit that only enters the local solar system every 3600 years will return in 2012 causing many problems. [18] The idea is traced back to Zecharia Sitchin's translations of Sumerian texts, and specifically to his interpretation of the VA 243 cylinder seal, which he says shows that the Sumerians knew of 12 planets (sun, moon, and ten others). This idea has been challenged by his peers, most notably Michael Heiser.[19][20]

Among other possible scenarios is that a shift of the Earth's magnetic poles may occur, and that this will leave the earth vulnerable to harmful radiation from the sun.[21] According to NASA magnetic pole reversal does not occur on a particular day or year, but over the course of thousands of years. Furthermore, the magnetic field does not vanish during this natural cycle, but becomes more complex as it makes the transition.[22]

Some proponents of the pole shift scenario claim that this shift would be a physical movement of the poles of the earth, and not simply a magnetic shift. This event is called a true polar wander. Earth has experienced a few degree shift in the past, but nowhere near a reversal, and there is no reason to suggest this is likely or even possible. According to William Sager, a Texas A&M Oceanographer, this event could not happen on a particular day or year but only over a long period of time. [23]

Friday, March 27, 2009

Country Road To?

James Taylor or John Denver? Both bring back memories of childhood, although JT lent himself much more to my adolescence and teenage years. These roads have been painted, photographed, memorialized in songs and in poetry. There is a certain attraction and as a good friend put it, that fine line or "friction" that exists between solitude and loneliness. We all seek the solitude, that's what makes roads like this so irresistible, but they also make us a little sad with the idea of being all alone. Funny how this is yet another corner of life that begs for balance. Where does this one take you?

Older roads.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Beautiful & Talented Wife: Karen Gray Design

The official opening is TODAY, March 27th, at 10 AM. We will have a more formal "Grand Opening" in a month or so. Anyway, consider yourself invited and please help me spread the word as this is a dream realized for Karen and I could not be more proud.

117 Reynolda Village
Winston-Salem, NC 27106


Please visit her virtual store as well.

Reynolda Village

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mom's 70th Birthday

I cannot explain in a way that would do justice to the influence my Mother has had on my life. I will say it was great to see her so happy. The best I can do is to share my toast from the party -

Mom’s 70th Birthday-

Thanks all around for the level of sneakiness displayed by everyone, I do believe Mom was close to preparing Birthday Soup. It was hard to settle on a toast. Should it be serious? Poignant? Humorous?

I settled on borrowing two and modifying a third:

So, Humorous - Irish:

May you live to one hundred years
With one extra to repent!


Here’s a health to the future
A sigh for the past
We can love and remember,
And hope to the last,
And for all the base lies
That the almanacs hold,
While there’s love in the heart,
We can never grow old.

I will preface the “serious” with the comment that Mom and I have had several long discussions regarding community and family and what it means to be a part of both. So, borrowing from one of Mom’s greatest gifts to me, James Allen’s “As A Man Thinketh” I offer this thought:

“Those who cherish a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in their hearts, will one day realize it. Columbus cherished a vision of another world, and he discovered it. Copernicus fostered the vision of a multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it. Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered into it.

Cherish your visions. Cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.”

This is what you have lived and this is what you have taught.

With all my love, Happy Birthday Mom,


Link to the photo album of the party.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Its Almost That Time Again: Back To The Garden

These are from last April. I am looking forward to getting my hands in the soil and spending time with my family outdoors with the cell phone off. We'll open the windows of the car leaving the satellite radio on the bluegrass station as we work and play. About mid-afternoon, I'll fire up the grill and burn something barely suitable for human consumption and then head home just after sunset. We include a few friends in this effort as the idea is to spend quality time with each other. The only difference this year is that we will not plant pumpkins as we about had to burn down the east end of Lewisville to get rid of the vines. Additionally, we will not attempt the water melons or cantaloupe as they simply did not do very well. There will be tons of tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, squash, carrots, zucchini, beats and possibly some collards. We may even try some egg plant. Of course we will have plenty of flowers - the photo at the top of my blog is from the end of last season's flowers.

Brookberry Farm

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Back From Boca Grande

As I sit here going through about 300 pictures, editing, deleting, etc. it is about 40 degrees and raining only adding an exclamation point to how beautiful and relaxing our week down in Boca Grande was. The Innlet was a terrific place to stay, breakfast on the patio on the water every morning was wonderful - much better than a large cup of coffee behind my desk that I am accustomed to. Lunches and/or dinner at the Loose Caboose, South Beach, The Temptation, PJ's Sea Grille or Sisters was always wonderful. Fishing, tennis, swimming, biking and walking occupied our time between stopping for yet another meal. With other family (Mother, Sister, cousins, etc) having spring break at the same time, there were 18 of us on island, so there was never a shortage of people to play with. My Grandmother, even at 95, was wonderful and completely engaging with a truly enviable intellect. I need to make more time for our one on one conversations. I visited with Gary (aka The Chronic Iguana) at the Boca Beacon (link to the right) to lament about the economy and catch up on island issues. Below is a link to the sideshow set to music of my photographs should any of you be experiencing insomnia or are as enamored with Boca Grande as I am. Lastly, I need to mention how wonderful my time with my Daughter and Son was, my children are truly exceptional people who are gifts to me that I hope I am worthy of.

Boca Grande 2009 Sideshow (the slides are low res to improve download speed. To see high res images, click the link below).

Link to photo album. Please note that there are four pages of photographs.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Headed Back to Boca Grande

I know y'all are probably tired of my constant yakking about Boca Grande, but I am grabbing the kids and headed down for all of next week. I truly love it there. I have my fishing plans set with Capt. Tommy Locke, dinner with my 95 year old Grandmother, dinner out with my Sister and Brother-in-law and yes, even bingo on Monday night at the Gasparilla Inn. So, this will probably be my last post until the following week. I should return with some good new pictures to share. This year more than ever I need to get down there and decompress. Being in finance has been a terrific tonic for my gray hair harvesting. We are all going to survive and the markets will recover, but I need a short breather. Anyway, I will probably not miss any of you that much while we are on the beach, but I will be thinking of you while I am out taking pictures of anything and everything that "speaks" to me. I will have access to email, but sparingly.

Tchuss Moi Droogs (Yeah Hulk, that one's for you and the Lubeckers)

****Its 4:35 AM Sunday and we are about to get in the car, have a nice week everyone*************

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sunset in My Back Yard

I am so happy to have my camera back that I had to just step outside a snap a couple shots of the last vestiges of the sun today. I have to say that there is something very calming about the color that the top half of the trees turn when the sun is so low in the sky. When we lived in Minnesota, the geography was not nearly as rolling as here in NC. This produced an amazing effect at sunset in the winter. Very long shadows and the trees would turn so orange that it almost looked as if they were on fire. Entire sections of forest would glow for about five minutes every afternoon (except in February when by law Minnesota is not allowed to have bright sunny days). Anyway, I saw a little of that here today.

Still waiting

I did finally get somebody to answer the phone at Ritz Camera yesterday only to be told "no, we do not have your camera." So I will try again today. I have been really patient and really polite with all those involved thus far. I am afraid that if I get the same response again today, I am going to not be as polite. The part that bothers me is that since they filed for bankruptcy two weeks ago, then they would have had to engage a law firm to advise them and arrange for debtor in possession (DIP) financing in mid December at the latest. They should have had contingency plans for the equipment they had taken in for repairs THEN, not after the fact. So, my camera was sent to repair facility A, then on to B and C (their own repair facility in EBF). This was done without informing the local employees who assumed it was still at "A" and with the hope that I, the customer, would not ask questions.


God Bless Sharon and Susie at RC HQ. I now have it back and I was spared the opportunity of having to apologize for being rude and nasty. All is well.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Exactly one month ago I took my camera to Ritz Camera for a cleaning and tune up. In the interim they filed for bankruptcy. I called the store who told me they were not sure where my camera was. I called corporate HQ who, one week later, told me that my camera would be at the store today. I called the store today, three times, - no answer. I am frustrated as I am running out of photos that I like and more than that, I am about to head out for one week with my children and I would like very much to have my camera. Not to sound too petty, but those Nikon DSLRs are expensive and I am not in the mood to buy another one as much as the D300 is one of the sexiest things I have seen in a while. Anyway, in the mean time I sit, much like this iguana, waiting. With any luck, tomorrow I'll get it back and be able to take more pictures of iguanas in Boca Grande the following week.

By the by, this is the king/queen of the iguana colony at the very south end of the island where the old light houses are. He/she (I am not sure how to distinguish between the iguana sexes) keeps a wary eye trained on the local tourists, suspicious of every action. Not sure if I should be amused or afraid.