Monday, August 13, 2012

Excerpt

I'm pretty sure no one checks in anymore, so I feel safe in posting a small excerpt of the longer work I've been writing while I have not been blogging. It's only a few paragraphs, but hopefully it will make any ghosts left around here happy.
 Jack looked intently at the old man. Unable to contain himself any longer, he asked abruptly, “Did you really ride for the Confederacy?”
The old man’s brow wrinkled, and his countenance darkened. He searched the younger man’s face for any hint of ridicule. After a moment, he nodded slowly. “Over two years,” he said, “I gave all I had. I watched good men and good horses give their lives to the cause. Two years that were longer than the rest of my eighty-five years combined.” He leaned back in his wheelchair, his gnarled hands pulling the plaid wool blanket higher in his lap. His eyes closed and he whispered, “Yes. I rode and fought plenty.”
Jack nodded, unsure if he should carry on. Resolutely he asked, “Were you a really a captain? Not to be insulting, but when I was a kid every old soldier that my dad knew claimed to be a colonel, a major, a general or a spy. I never knew a war could be fought without regular soldiers.”
Now the old man chuckled. His eyes opened and sparkled like a younger man’s and his lips curled into a crooked grin showing what few teeth he had left. For a moment, Jack thought he could see the visage of a much younger man. Younger, stronger and handsome… The face of a warrior looked back at him.
“Oh yes,” The old man said, his voice breaking with amusement. “For the better part of a month at the end of the war I was Captain Ross. Seventeen years old, all brass and balls. I was promoted after the last of our officers were killed or wounded too bad to go on. No one else wanted it. I tried to get our first sergeant to take it. He was a good man. He told me that he’d rather be a yankee than an officer and that he’d rather be dead than either one.” He snorted to himself and thrust his chin toward the younger man, “What about you, boy? Were you officer material in the Great War?”
“No sir,” Jack replied, smiling back earnestly. “Corporal was as high as I ever made it, and they took that away from me twice.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Big Ten Inch

Records.
In with all the photos and papers I've been saving I found a stack of old vinyl 78's from the late 40's and 50's.  My turntable (yes, I have a turntable) only does 33 and 45 like most modern record players...  
Then, for Christmas, Santa managed to get me a vinyl to CD recorder. He even managed to find one that looks like an old wireless (so it looks good in my war room), and it plays all three speeds!  
There's Tex Ritter and Little Booker and Happy Wilson. There's also Roy Rogers and Sons of the Pioneers and Gene Autry.
Then, while visiting a friend who runs an online auction house I found he had a small stack of 78's from the mid 40's.
I've been working my way through the country western, big band, blues and classical singles trying to categorize enough to burn on to CD's that don't just sound like mish-mash.  It's a work in progress (as if I didn't have enough to do), but its a labor of love.


Side note, posting will be on the increase again as a few of my other projects have come to and end and the holidays are over.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

What A Caricature

I met John Cox formerly of Cox&Forkum fame two summers ago at the Hysterics at Eric's birthday bash in rural Tennessee.  Weird dude.  Loads of fun, and one hell of an artist...
Anyway...  TRQ saw this youtube video over at Jimbo's place featuring an interview with John and recognized John's talent for what it was.  She asked me if I thought John would do a caricature of me for her.
I scratched my head and mumbled something along the lines of: "I don't really know him that well...  wouldn't want to impose... &tc."  So she dropped it.
Inside my head was:  "Ding, ding, ding!  Christmas present!"
So, I called John and he was 100% in.  He chose a picture by the lovely and amazing Erica Sherman (also a hysterics guest) of me in my bowler cap and turned it into a super amazing gift.  I (and Red) could not be more pleased.  Click the caption to see the original photo.
by:  John Cox 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Heart Strings

Photo by K-Nine

Whilst out Christmas shopping I happened to run across this abandoned banjo from the 1920's.  I asked if it would care to come home with me.
"Meh" it said in a most uninterested way.
I touched its head and a muted but echoing snare drum sound sprang forth.
"Hmm?", said the Banjo.
I plucked gently at one of the two strings it had left and a louder than expected twang issued from its resonator.
"Ah..." the banjo sighed.
"Come with me," I cajoled. "Your life has not yet ended, you have but slept."
"Very well" replied the banjo, "but though I have slept, I am still greatly tired.  I may never sing as you want me to."
Home we came and I tuned the remaining strings as best I could and I played simple melodies a single note at a time.
Then we went to the music store. "I knew it!" wailed the banjo.  "It's been too long since I was loved".
"No," I soothed.  "This is but a short trip from home."
The young man at the store offered to replace the head which was split and stained.  I refused.  Strings and tuning were all that I required I assured him.
Now the banjo sings.  It feels at home with its neighbors of antiques and instruments and it is happy.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Presents

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Pictures

The Red Queen is up in NYC right now, soon to be winging it to the west coast.  Sometimes when she's stressed she texts me and asks for "happy pictures".  I  usually do a series of the cast of the cast of characters she loves depending on where I am and what's happening.  Tonight I happened to be in the kitchen with all our boys close by.
Mother Egan.  Removed from the wall of one of my favorite Irish pubs (Mother Egan's) on the night they closed their doors for the last time.  Mother now hangs in our kitchen, TRQ's favorite room in the house (for now)

Big Jack.  TRQ's Bouvier.  Notoriously camera shy, sometimes I can catch him in a pose that doesn't make him look like a big black shaggy blur.  It's much like trying to get Bigfoot or Nessie to pose for you.

Merlin.  Easy.  He's as photogenic as he is arrogant.

Blue Jack.  My boy.

And me.  Sorry, it's been a long day.
We don't have to be happy in the pictures to make her happy...  Thank God.  I have two days left to get the living room ready for Christmas and I feel like I'm going Backwards.  Argh.  I may need a happy picture or two of my own pretty soon.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Oh Tannenbaum

 I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.- Linus Van Pelt

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Seventy Years...

My Dad, Schofield Barracks ca. 1941

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Negative Into A positive

I have been experimenting with scanning old negatives and then manipulating them into real pictures.  An inexact process considering I'm using equipment that wasn't designed for the task.  I usually get a washed out blurry picture with a lot of background noise and a fingerprint or two.
Well no longer.  Check this baby out.
The secret?  Well, I noticed the scanner wasn't picking up the detail that I could see on the negatives.  I was sorting negatives by holding them up to the window...  picture against a clear blue sky...  Just like...  X-RAYS!
So.  I took a sheet of white paper and placed it over a spotlight.  Placed the negative on the paper and details were plainly visible.  I then took a picture of said negative, uploaded it to the computer, clicked on negative image and...  instant picture.  almost no fuss, no muss and a MUCH clearer image.  In fact I can now tell that this young lad is holding a 1950's model Sawyer Viewmaster.
Possibly, if my educated guesses are right, the very same Viewmaster that was once used to view this particular disk:  Adventures of Sam Sawyer, Sam In The Land Of Ice.  Sam was a character (clay without the mation) invented by Sawyer to increase the sales of Viewmasters.  Disk 1 had him off to the moon long before NASA...  Sadly not a disk I have.
Last trip home, Ma gave me MY old Viewmaster, itself probably a Christmas present.  Now I can view my old disks of Tom and Jerry, The Six Million Dollar Man and Treasure Island as well as the disks that once belonged to the one in the picture of Sam Sawyer, Roy Rogers and baseball stars of the Major Leagues ca 1953.

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Ghosts Of Christmas Past

This is just a continuation of the old photos that I've been posting, I'm calling them ghosts because they are essentially abandoned memories.  Several of these, this one included, are nothing more than negatives that I'm scanning and manipulating with equipment that isn't designed to do that. Many of them are poor quality.  I don't care.  They deserve to be appreciated again.  Hope you enjoy.  Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day

I was gonna do this big long post about all the stuff I'm thankful for with pictures and everything...  But I'm not.
It's too late.
Short list:
The Red Queen, whom I love dearly
Jack, an awesome dog
Hermanito, a great horse
Big Jack and Merlin, without whom life would be too easy
My family, who drive me nuts, but that's OK because we're all nuts in my family
My blog family...  You know who you are
And last but not least, you my readers, thank you and Happy Thanksgiving! 
It's a good life, mostly because it hasn't always been and now I know to appreciate it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not Photoshopped

Photo by K-Nine

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Puzzling

I wasn't sure if this was a good idea or not. leave me a comment and let me know. If it's popular I'll do more of them. Good Luck!

Clarence

Friday, November 18, 2011

Disapointed

Very disapointed.
Photo by K-Nine

Jack models my antique spectacles which I just had refurbished.

Dogzilla!

Photo by K-Nine

On The Bright Side

Photo by K-Nine
I really don't have a post here.  Merlin is on my good side as I came down to feed the dogs the other night and he presented me with a (thankfully dead this time) mouse.  Plus, I'm still futzing around with the photography thing and this picture made me happy.
Hell, Elisson gets away with random fluffy cat posts, why can't I?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Holy Smokes

Sad News from the state of Texas.  I just got an email from my friend Jim about one of their dogs, Smokey.  My first morning ever spent on their ranch, I awoke early and went out to breathe some morning air.  I was greeted by Bud and Smokey.  Bud came right up and jumped up on me, placing his huge paws on my shoulders (thank God I was wearing a heavy leather jacket) and looked me right in the eye.  I was standing at the time.  Disconcerting to say the least.  Smokey on the other hand barked and barked...  until I called her a very pretty girl.  Then she came over and let me pet her, watching me until she was sure I wasn't after her goats.  I still think she had some of the prettiest eyes I've ever seen on a dog. Here's his letter:
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam

Smokey passed away yesterday, she was 13. This is way past her average which is 10 for this breed. I bought her at a goat auction for $60, she was a Pyrenees/ Commodore mix. She was 6 weeks old and a little fluff ball. Her fur was smokey gray in color hence her name. She turned into a 100 pound+ dog. Bud our other Pyrenees took her under his wing and they became the best of friends, never once having a spat between them. They would roam the fields guarding and protecting the goats. Never once have we lost a goat to a predator. About 5 years ago she and Bud went into retirement. They would climb the fence out of the field and into the house yard to be with the other dogs and us. If they sensed any thing wrong they would stay with the goats. Bud would climb back over the fences every night to be with the goats but Smokey got to liking the good life at the house. When Bud died suddenly at 10 Smokey had a sense about it and immediately with out any interaction from us went back to the goats and stayed there till we got a new Pyrenees (Phil) and she trained him. When she was sure he was up to the task she retired again to the house. For a dog who lived in a goat barn most of her life she adopted to house living fast and well. She was house broken almost immediately. She always stayed in the kitchen and pantry- her choice, except when it thundered then she tried to crawl under our bed. In her latter years she became extremely afraid of thunder and didn't like to be out when it was dark. She was real lady like although it was hard to tell from her appearance. She would only take a cookie if you told her how " beautiful and pretty" she was and then ever so gently. She loved to be groomed allowing U to trim her and do her nails.
I knew her time was getting short as these last few weeks were hard for her to get around and she slept ALOT. Yesterday she couldn't get up or stay standing and she was crying from pain lying in certain positions. As hard as it was I knew it was time. She would go in and out of deep sleeps but when she was awake I spent time with her petting and talking to her and feeding her tortilla chips, cheese crackers, begging strips which she gobbled down. I know she enjoyed it. U could sense she knew her time was close. She's buried next to her friend Chimay, ( border collie) whom she liked to play with, in the night pasture with her goats. It is so empty here at the ranch without her. Janet and I miss her deeply.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just My Type

Did a living history today...  There was a local photographer there that I had seen do a demonstration of  tin-type photography last year.  He was set up using original equipment.  We had discussed having him do one of me in the past and I had hooked him up with other reenactors who had theirs done.  So today I had my likeness made.  Pretty cool, no?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

These images depict America's fighting men from just after the War between the states until Vietnam. God bless them and all of those that put their lives on the line for our freedoms.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Style


McAdoo
And that's his first name!
Men's fashion has gone all to flinders.  I wish I could dress like this and not be stared at... That's just class.  One thing that continually bothers me:  Why did men's hats go out of style but ties didn't?  Ties are worthless bits of color, but a hat is a useful item.  I'm glad they're coming back some.  Note to men in hats, however; porkpies should only be worn by loose women and bookies.  So says me.

This post is particularly for some loyal visitors that I see on my sitecounter every day.  Live free or die!  Thanks for being loyal, even when I don't post as much.

Projection

Photo by K-Nine
I have a lot on my plate...  And I seem to be taking very small bites.  The house is coming along.  Patch plaster here, clean exterior there, move tools, start again.  The novel...  Not so much.  I have the story in my head, but I tend to over-do it on details.  It doesn't flow like I'd like, not to mention writing time is at a premium.  The reenacting season is over, but there are a couple of living histories and parades and parties yet to attend.  Lastly, I'm supposed to be learning German.  Rosetta stone rocks, but it's expensive and I feel guilty for not following through...  but there's the house and the horses and the reenacting and the blog and I'm supposed to do a household budget for the new year and have the taxes ready by the new year and dogs to the park and exercising and shopping so we can eat healthier and cooking so the groceries we buy don't rot in the refrigerator while we eat out because there is no time!
Whew.  I'm tired just from typing that.
The Red Queen is super stressed, but she is always super stressed...  I'm the laid back one here.  And then that seems to be a bad influence.  Deep breath...
There may not be time for everything, but there is A time for everything...  So, on to the next thing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Photogenesis

As a lot of you know, I was at a blogmeet in Tennessee recently.  Wonderful people.  A recap is coming soon...  very soon. 
One thing that has changed over the years of blogmeets (Our little group in particular) is that originally it was much like a bachelor party.  A camera could get you killed.  Since then as we have matured as friends as well as people, and now pictures are treasured and often posted as opposed to being used for blackmail. 
Most of us are still point and shooters, or cameraphoners, but Elisson and Erica (at the very least) are accomplished photogs...  and no insult to Elisson (especially since he was my 100 word stories mentor), but Erica has inspired me to start framing a photo or two and post some of my favorites. 
Granted, my technical skill is lacking and my equipment sub par, but the will is strong, and I've been told I have a good eye.  So, here we go...
Past reflections
Photo by K-Nine
This picture is an antique mirror that was hanging on my antique wall by the front door.  I noticed that if I sat on the stairs near the bottom I could see my reflection...  blurry though it be due to the old painted-on silver mercury type glass.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I Know...

I've been a bit of a slacker lately.  That changes today.  More pictures, more posts.  I know I've lost most of my regular readers, but I know there are a few people that stop by to check out what I'm putting down. 

Frost on a Dandelion
photo by K-Nine

click to enlarge...  it looks better that way


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Over The Mountain

Sorry for the bad sound quality....  I had my hands full.
When I come over the mountain
I take my time and gear it low
If I run off the mountain
Gather me up and send me home

It's hard to think of anything
When you are on my mind
Left hand on the steerin' wheel
Shoulder on the side
Straight up to the left of me
Nothing on the right
Trying not to look around
Knuckles turnin' white

When I come over the mountain
I take my time and gear it low
If I run off the mountain
Gather me up and send me home

I hit the road and paid the toll
I'm comin' home to you
Only thing between us is the distance With a view
Don't know what to tell you
How long it will take
Know I'm not too far away
I'm crossin' Loudon lake

When I come over the mountain
I take my time and gear it low
If I run off the mountain
Gather me up and send me home

Saturday, October 29, 2011

En Fuego

Looking Through The Windshield

A mountain lake in the great Smoky Mountains of western NC through the windshield of the Jeep on the way to Tennessee.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Help

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama

Woodrow E. at the Panama Canal Zone

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hat Tip

I like hats. To Hell with it. I refuse to explain myself.

Mouse over to embiggen

Friday, October 21, 2011

Don't Fly My Flag

First, a moment of clarification. 
This is a Confederate battle flag:

It was usually carried by individual units throughout the war, like this one was: 
It never represented the entire Confederate States of America.  If you didn't know that, don't fly my flag.

If you can't articulate a simple convincing argument as to why you do fly any of these flags, don't fly my flag.

It is not a symbol of hate.  It is a symbol of heritage.  It is a symbol of a lost but not forgotten cause.  That cause is NOT slavery.  Slavery is wrong.  If you do not know that, don't fly my flag.

If you are a racist, don't fly my flag.  You do not deserve to.  Many men of different skin tones fought and died for this flag.  White men.  Black men.  Native American Indians.  These men each fought for their own reasons.  Some were slave owners.  Most were not.  You get that?  MOST were NOT.  If you didn't know that, don't fly my flag.

You see, men died under this banner.  Good men.  Strong men.  Hard working family men.

They died because they believed in individual freedom.  Not mandates from a government that saw itself as all powerful and all knowing although it was far removed from the lives of it's citizens.

If you didn't know that, and don't believe it, don't fly my flag.

If you have hate in your heart.  Don't fly my flag.  Don't wear it on a shirt.  Don't put it on a licence plate.  If you think what you are doing only offends ignorant people, you could not be more wrong.  It offends me, and I am neither ignorant nor intolerant.

So, if you don't get what I mean by any of this, do us both a favor and don't fly my flag.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Now We're Cookin'

Next instalment of house pictures...  I was going to do a separate blog on the whole house restoration, but that never materialized, so I suppose I'll just stick a few pictures in here and there.  These are some of those.  When we moved in, there was no kitchen.  There was a room that looked like the zombie apocalypse had come and gone.  So, for your edification:  Our kitchen before and after...  Or after and before as the pictures may suggest.  Bear in mind that the kitchen has been in place for 8 months or so, these pics were from that time period.  It is still almost as clean...  Almost.
The back door, with obligatory blue heeler on guard duty.
All the door hardware is original aside from the round deadbolt.
Some of the bead board was missing, so I salvaged some.
It came from an 1830's house that was beyond saving.
Gas stove with convection oven and convection oven microwave.
We had a bench put under the windows by the back door.
It gave some extra storage and a place to sit...
Everyone knows all gatherings end up in the kitchen.
 Kitchen sink, and dishwasher.  We left the chimney exposed.
White carera marble counter tops and glass front overhead cabinets.
The picture is Mother Egan. 
When Mother Egan's Pub in Austin, TX closed, she came to live with us.
 Breakfast is always nice on our antique English drop leaf table.
The table is almost round.  when open it measures 48"x49"
We found matching chairs since this picture was taken.
The windows are original wavy bubble glass.
 Freezer on bottom refrigerator
Laundry room door with bulldog bottle opener.
Again, original door hardware.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Aim Low Boys...

...They're riding Shetland Ponies!

These pictures were probably taken 15-20 years apart.
Do people still do this?
Oh, and I just gotta do this...
Ladies and gentlemen, Jimmy the yodeling Shetland pony will not be able to perform tonight...
He's a little horse.
Ba-dum-bum.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Asa

Asa W. White
Photo taken in Le Mans, France 1918

His Dischage papers
Note going home
Paybook sleeve

Interior of paybook
Attached to front of paybook

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stair Off Into Space


Sorry, Been a little preoccupied lately. I still have a bunch of old stuff to post. I'll get back to that tomorrow... I'm also going to try to write a little something to go with each picture. A blurb, a story... Something. Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Decent Docent

I was a docent at a house for the October Homes Tour here in town on Sunday. The house was built in 1882, so I had to fast forward 20 years from being a confederate soldier on Saturday. Luckily for me, men's fashions change rather slowly.
Two people asked me if I was a ghost... One asked if I was Jack the Ripper.

Maybe I should make this picture blend in a little better...

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