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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Late Winter Flowers

This whole month has seemed more like March than February. It's not just the unseasonably warm days that we've had, like today and predicted for tomorrow; it's the whole look and feel of the outdoors, even on the cold days.

The crocuses have been blooming for about a week and a half, but today was the first day I've gotten out to photograph them in the yard:


I can't resist taking these pictures every year. I managed to get a shot of a bee on this group of flowers. He's on the lower left:

 
Unlike the crocuses which are wild, the last picture is one of the hellebores Pam has planted:
 
 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Warm weather subtractive gardening

The uprooted tree that took out a large bedding area two years ago gave us the opportunity to add plants in the back yard last season. Other than annuals, there hasn't been such opportunities to plant in recent years since much of the yard is full, and gardening activity has mostly been cutting back and taking out. Truthfully, we haven't done either as much as we should, and many gardeners would describe our plot as over-grown.

Yesterday and the day before, the temperatures got over 70 degrees, and I took advantage of the warmth to work in the yard. Much of the time was spent digging up ornamental grasses which have become too numerous. We like the looks of these grasses, especially as they sway in the wind during the colder months, but those same winds also messily blow the dead stalks throughout the lawn. Adding to the labor of constantly picking up those stalks is the necessity of cutting the stalks back in the early Spring to allow for the new growth to emerge.

I've become increasingly aware of how easily ornamental grasses can spread by noting their increase in the wooded parkland across the street. Those plants almost certainly spread from ours, but upkeep of them I don't consider my responsibility. Although the woodland plants seem to do alright on their own, during the Spring growth I wouldn't be satisfied with the appearance of those which have spread in our yard, so they have added to the maintenance burden.


The poor dwarf spruce tree on the left of the picture above has had much of its foliage die off because of crowding-out by ornamental grasses that spread into that area. I dug out most of them in hopes of giving the tree opportunity to recover. Others, I simply cut back to reduce the work I'll have later when I'll cut them all.

We had some very cold days earlier this Winter. but the recent warming has fooled some plants and animals into thinking Spring is here. Some of the grasses I cut or removed had new growth on them which I normally wouldn't see in early February, and Pam and I have both seen forsythia blooming. Some of the Canada geese in the park seem to be pairing off in preparation for mating season, and I think that is earlier than usual. Humans, however, shouldn't be fooled because there could be cold and snow ahead since we're just half-way through Winter. Chances, are, however, that I'll still have time for more subtractive gardening before Spring when the lure of fishing distracts me from work in the yard.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women's Basketball

For a number of years I've been saying that I really should attend a Maryland Women's game to support what is always one of the best teams in the country. This year I've finally made it to two games so far. The first was against Connecticut which has a winning streak of about 90 straight games. I figured we'd probably lose, but I knew it would be a great experience to be there if our team managed to break that winning streak. We lost, but I'm glad I went. It's our only loss at this point.

On Thursday along with Stan and two other guys I went to the Michigan game.

 
The plan was to go attend the women's game which began at 6 while Stan taped the Men's away game which began at 7. After the Maryland Women's win, we picked up a pizza and went to Stan's house to watch the Men's game which had already ended. Since Stan fast-forwarded through the commercials and time-outs, it only took about an hour to watch the whole game; the whole game up to 53 seconds, that is, because that's when the screen went blank. Uncharacteristically, Stan had screwed up setting the timer. Up to then all four of us had been good about not checking our smart phones to see what the final score was, but we certainly immediately went to them at that point. Maryland was ahead by about 3 or 4 points when the image died, and with that lead with that little time left the team ahead would win the majority of times. But certainly not every time, so we had a few seconds anxiety before finding out the men also won.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Winter ground cover

A patch of green like this in the winter woods in Patuxent State Park catches the eye.

 
I call it ground cover, but actually I have no idea how big these plants get.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Music of the Mind

I recently finished the most provocative book I've read in years, Music of the Mind by Darryl Reanney. The scope is wide with the major points following in logical sequence, and any attempts by me to summarize them wouldn't do them justice. Instead, I'll describe some of the thoughts which particularly resonated with me. (The author would find my use of the word "resonated" as notable.)

Previously (12/6/13, and 10/22/14), I have written of my discomfort with the split I often note between the sciences and the humanities, and beginning with the introduction Music of the Mind holds that this divide is both unnecessary and damaging, that science and the humanities are not just consistent but are interrelated. Throughout the book quotations and foot-noted references appear from literary and religious as well as scientific writings.

Music and especially rhythm has always been of interest to me, and in recent years I have learned and written about the importance of rhythm in the universe in everything from the heart beats of humans and other animals to the orbits of planets. (11/9/13 and 8/26/14) Reanney writes on page 90, "Music is the most alchemic force of all, for the resonances it sets up can vibrate in tune with the inner logic of the universe. This is because the universe is rhythmic at root..."

The beginnings of this universe of ours are described in the early pages of Music of the Mind as the author explains the interconnection of all of us to everything else over the past 15 billion years since the Big Bang. He observes that the carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen of our bodies owe their creation to this 15 billion year old event so that "we are the children of the stars." Astronaut Edgar Mitchell who died a year ago has spoken of this realization while in space:
In a story he retold through the years, Mitchell described a moment during the return trip to Earth, as he gazed out the window of the spacecraft and saw the sun, moon, Earth and stars.
“Suddenly I realized that the molecules of my body and the molecules of the spacecraft and the molecules in the body of my partners were prototyped and manufactured in some ancient generation of stars,” he said in an interview for “In the Shadow of the Moon,” a 2007 documentary.
“And that was an overwhelming sense of oneness, of connectedness. It wasn’t them and us, it was, ‘That’s me. That’s all of it. It’s one thing.’ And it was accompanied by an ecstasy, a sense of -- ‘Oh my god, wow, yes’ -- an insight, an epiphany.”
Mystics from different religions and people with near death experiences often speak of this "oneness" in similar words as astronaut Mitchell. Reanney doesn't use the word pantheism, that God resides in everything, but that concept could be an interpretation. The author doesn't enter the realm of religion directly, and his references to God are few and often are quotes by others. Instead, he states that all atoms in the universe contain a "memory" that they were all together in the brightness preceding the Big Bang and desire to be reunited; that this desire is what we call gravity.
Music of the Mind's explanation of human consciousness and thoughts are complex, and although the author develops these explanations patiently, as I mentioned earlier, I would not attempt to summarize them here. This section of the book did, however, provide me with some insight as to why human communication is so difficult, a subject that I often pondered during my working years. Once I was one of the principle managers of a business and reported to the owner. Two or more times a week he would call me into his office to discuss general concepts he wanted me to put into practice in my organization. These concepts often sounded simple and obvious which would cause me to wonder why we were going over the same ground on multiple meetings. Then suddenly through a change in phrasing, or more likely an experience, I would finally grasp the full meaning of what he had been attempting to make me understand.
Darryl Reanney would describe this breakthrough as "knowing", a collapse of " the wave function of the relevant quantum ripple yielding a 'sharp-edged thing'-a word or a particle." No, I'm not going to try to explain what I just wrote even though I could follow it as I read along through Music of the Mind. As I read I often argued with specific points or phrasing and, although I doubt the author is right about everything he says, I found it stimulating reading. It will stay with me for a long time.
 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017

First snow of the year

An inch or two. The geese adjust.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Thinking ahead to next season's fishing

A couple of days ago Pam and I drove to Annapolis for the annual ritual of getting my new fishing license at Angler's Sports Shop. I dislike being without a valid license at the start of the new year ever since a New Year's Day some years ago when the temperature was in the 70's, and most of us fishermen yearned to take advantage of the weather by wetting a line. This was before you could get a license on-line, so there wasn't any way I could legally fish since I hadn't taken action beforehand. I still prefer getting the license at a tackle store rather than using the internet, and afterwards we traditionally drive to Mike's Crab House in Riva for fried oysters.

Taking an inventory of my flies, I decided there were five types I needed to tie in preparation for next season, about a half dozen of each type.

1. Marabou bead-head- Consisting of only a marabou wing and a bead on a hook, it's about as simple as a fly can be. Nevertheless, it is effective for trout and pan fish. Marabou are fluffy feathers whose name comes from the marabou stork. Since those storks are now a protected species, fly-tying marabou generally comes from turkeys and chickens. The fluffy feathers present a life-like movement like a small baitfish as the fly travels through water. Flies that imitate other fish are called "streamers".
 
2. Crystal bugger- This fly is a variation of the popular wooly bugger which in turn came from the wooly worm which was popular when I first began fly fishing 40 years ago but is seldom mentioned these days. The basic design for these flies may go back centuries. I learned the crystal bugger as well as the marabou bead-head from books by Joe Bruce, a Maryland fishing legend. The marabou tail of the crystal bugger dominates the picture below:
 

 
3. Black and bluegill- Another simple fly which I learned about from a magazine article. As the name implies, it was designed by a tier who lives in North Carolina to catch bluegills, but it also is effective on smallmouth bass, and some use it for trout. What makes a fish bite this fly is a mystery to us humans because it doesn't seem to look like anything a fish would eat. We call flies like this "attractors".
 
4. Bend-back flies- Unlike the first three, I haven't yet used this style steamer, but I was inspired to try it because the design allows it to go through heavy aquatic vegetation without getting hung up. There are places I've been fishing lately that this feature would be beneficial.
 
5. Soft hackle wet flies- A few years ago, I read article about using the feathers of starlings to tie these. I tried some with success and would like to get back to using them on trout streams like the Gunpowder River. Wet flies imitate a subsurface stage of aquatic insects.

Christmas 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Visiting Brookside Gardens and thinking about Capability Brown

Looking over the rolling landscape created at Brookside, I thought about an article I recently read about Capability Brown, 18th century British landscape architect. Throughout Britain, he created gardens that appeared natural but actually were thoroughly artificial, and his style influenced landscape architecture since. Prior to Brown, the wealthy landowners favored for their country estates formal gardens with geometrically straight lines, a style popular in France and Italy. Brown replaced these with pastoral fields, ponds, and woodlands. This style of landscaping is now common in the U.S. and can be seen in Central Park in New York City as well as most golf courses.


After walking around the park, I checked out the indoor exhibit where another visitor called by attention to the angel trumpet plants:


Monday, December 19, 2016

Goose population today


If anything, I think yesterday's estimate of 120-130 is conservative. Couldn't get an angle to get all of them in the picture.

Existentialism and personal identity

Just over two years ago I wrote about my thoughts concerning a character in a Richard Ford novel and his concept of a "default self", that a person's identity is defined by what they do. This concept came back to me this semester in college during a philosophy course where among the readings was a selection from Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness.

Ford's character's default self is very similar to Sartre's idea of "facticity", a person's essential nature. Sartre believed humans could transcend their essential nature by their own decisions about their actions. An example would be a shy person who chose to become a public speaker. Choices such as this give humans what Sartre calls "radical freedom." I suspect Ford was familiar with these ideas because he stresses that the default self is a person's own creation. His character's musings seem a slightly different slant on Sartre's concept of transcending facticity. I remember Sartre's plays, novels, and writings on existentialism as popular when I reached my early teens. I read a little Sartre, but I think I was too young to fully understand what he was saying. Being a little older, Ford may have gotten it better.

Both Sartre and Ford were looking at personal identity, a subject of interest to me especially when I look back to when I was younger. The philosophy instructor is a young man who recalled that when he first left home for college people advised him to "be yourself, Andrew", but he didn't know what they meant. I understand his confusion. Many young people resolve their questions of personal identity by joining a group which gives them an identity and sense of belonging. Jock, nerds, sorority girls are all groups which provide roles and identities. The large identity group when I was young were the hippies, although we more commonly referred to ourselves as freaks, and everyone else was the straight world. After college when I began working jobs which required wearing suits and ties I felt a clash with my established identity.

By the late 1970's, some college-educated people I knew began referring to themselves as professionals which seemed to have a broader definition than the traditional one of doctor or lawyer, and young, urban, professional became "yuppie". I suspected this group self identity served to set them apart from those who were not college-educated.

I never completely understood the "hipster" identity of my children's generation, but I believe it's some combination of hippie and yuppie although maybe I'm wrong about that. I'm often wrong or fail to completely understand things about young people now that I'm old.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Current goose population

Counted 120-130 the last two days, yesterday in the fields and today on the pond. It will be interesting to see how many remain after the winter.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Still icy in the afternoon

The waters:


The Woods:

Icy Morning

 Out the front window:
 
 
From the deck looking down:
 

 
On the deck:
 
 
 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Terps now 11-1


So far, I've seen four games this season. College basketball is great.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Maryland against Howard

I think this is the third basketball game I've gone to this year, and Maryland has won them all.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Seaton Street NW, Washington, DC

Walked around the Dupont Circle area while Pam was getting her hair done and thought this street was colorful:


Words and images

A course I took a few years ago entitled "Why Poetry Matters" made me think about how much poetry surrounds us in the way of song lyrics. Most of it is bad poetry, I would admit, but it's poetry nevertheless. In addition to song lyrics, we are bombarded with words constantly from radio and TV in addition to from people in our work and personal lives. Regarding written communication, the internet has added a huge amount on top of traditional newspapers, magazines, and books.

In a similar fashion, the art history course I'm currently taking makes me muse about how many images modern humans see daily. Movies, television, publications and, once again, the internet give our eyes a constant stream of images. With a few keyboard strokes, people can view images of the paintings of the great masters that once were available only to the select few owners and their friends.

I have read that it's been estimated that about 80 billion humans have lived on earth. That estimate depends on, among other factors, the length of time Homo Sapiens have existed, but I believe the current generally accepted figure is 250,000 years. What is certain is that for most of those years the amount of words and images available to humans was infinitely smaller than what it is today. The images drawn on the walls of caves in Lascaux 17,000 years ago and in Chauvet 30,000 years ago must have been regarded as precious to those who saw them. The number of animals in the Lascaux paintings have been speculated to represent either past hunting experiences or rituals to bring about the success of future hunts. Words were scarce as well since it's been just a few thousand years that they have been stored in writing. Oral story-telling was valued, and I envision extended families huddling around a fire at night listening to a practiced speaker recounting old tales of valor. This is how the Homeric epics were handed down.

So now we're comparatively wealthy in words and images, but maybe that abundance has cheapened the product. Here, I'm thinking of the internet again. Anyone with a computer can throw words out there, and a great deal of that content is simply false while much of the rest is cruel, crude or both. (I'm not oblivious that I'm adding to the total.) Images flood us as well, both still and motion, but the value of certain iconic images gets diminished in that flood. A few weeks ago in the art history class, we were analyzing Di Vinci's "Mona Lisa", and I realized the masterpiece has been reproduced and parodied so often in my lifetime that studying it as a painting was difficult for me.

Being provided with so many words and images makes us not spend time on any one of them. Often I hear complaints that people don't fully read e-mails and miss important points. The average museum visitor spends about 17 seconds on each work of art they view. We feel we have to hurry through all these words and images, so we have trouble adjusting to the ones that deserve plenty of time. The professor of the poetry class recommended letting a poem "flow over you" without getting too hung up on trying to figure out the meaning of each line and then going back for analysis. The art history professor had us study an established six step process: look, observe, see, describe, analyze, and interpret, with each of those steps explained.

Maybe the rule should be to devote the time to taking in an image or a written or oral statement as appropriate to how much time was expended in the creation.




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Rainy Autumn Day


Today during my walk in the park.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Son and daughter, Thanksgiving 2016

Greg and Rebecca photographed by Pam. The kitchen is in Dave and Jane Powell's house where we traditionally have Thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ornamental grasses changing color


This plant was across the street in the park, probably less than 60 feet from our yard, and  almost certainly it came from one of our plants. Nature doesn't recognize property boundaries.



The bottom picture is a nearby plant seated closely to a maple tree in our yard. It may or may not have been the parent.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fourty-seven years ago this past Tuesday

Saturday morning I got off the DC Metro train at the Archives Station and walked the few blocks down 7th Street to the National Gallery of Art. Noting that I was early for the designated time for my art history class, I walked around to the Mall entrance, just as a change from the closer side and back entrances I usually use. As soon as I reached the steps, I had a strong memory flash to a November day much like this one but many years ago. This is where we gathered for the March on Washington to protest the Viet Nam War in 1969.

The weather was remarkably similar that day, sunny with a bright blue sky and air temperatures in the 60's. I remember being comfortable in the light wool shirt jacket I wore that day and still own, I believe. I also remember the small 35mm camera I used to photograph the event but have no idea what happened to the slides.

The actual March I have little specific memories of. We proceeded, I believe, to the Washington Monument grounds, 500,000 strong, to listen to speakers and music. Crowds sometimes bring about a sense of claustrophobia in me, so I tend to skirt the edges rather than immerse myself in the middle. I'm like that now, and I was that was then. Staying on the move gave me more photo opportunities, and although the pictures are gone some of the images remain in my head.

When those memories came rushing back to me Saturday, I wondered if the date was the actual anniversary of the March. Later I checked and it was close because the anniversary was November 15th which was Tuesday. It was the largest of Viet Nam protests, but the war dragged on for, how many years? Three? Four? Five? How many more deaths? In the thousands, certainly. I sometimes wonder if we did any good.

Monday, November 14, 2016

This caught my eye today...

The light autumn leaves against the dark green background was the most visually interesting sight on my walk today.

Clarence

Pam took this shot. Clarence likes to bury himself under quilts.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

This afternoon at the Upper Patuxent

 

Election night jazz

Rather than watch the coverage of the election results on TV Tuesday night, I decided to attend the chamber jazz concert at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland.



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Autumn in Patuxent State Park

Yesterday was a beautiful day in the woods, however, with temperatures a very unseasonable 80 degrees I wished I'd had more water and fewer clothes.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Deep Autumn in the Park

Many years ago I decided that the foliage change "peak" was on Halloween here. Often when that day approaches I start second-guessing and wonder if it may be coming late or that it may be a year with less impressive colors. I usually end up deciding that both those possibilities are subjective and highly dependent on where you're looking.

On a chilly and cloudy afternoon, this was the scene which most caught my attention while walking around the pond. It's typical of this time of year there.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Yesterday afternoon from our deck


It was an unseasonably warm, beautiful Sunday. In anticipation I mowed the lawn, front and back and I hope for the last time this year, and did other yard work on Saturday, so I could goof off without guilt yesterday.

I admired the gardens from a number of vantage points and visited the park a couple of times. Knowing that there will be few days remaining when a person can relax outside in the sun makes days like this even more precious. From the deck I was contemplating the foliage change and periodically checking the movements of the clouds from the strong northerly winds when I noticed these cloud patterns which I found satisfying.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A. James Clark Engineering Building


New construction has been common at the University of Maryland, and three days a week I check out the progress of a 184,000 square foot building named for an alumnus and built by the company he founded, Clark Construction.


 Having been involved in much more modest construction projects during my working years, I marvel at the scope of this one.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Migratory geese are here

During the past few weeks, I've sometimes seen as many as 25 geese on the pond and wondered if they were migratory or residents visiting from a nearby home area. Seeing 65 today leaves me little doubt they are migratory. Some of them are pictured here.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Speaking, singing, and praying to rivers

A few days ago the newspaper ran a story about a group of Native Americans who were traveling the 405 mile length of the Potomac River to spiritually thank the river and to wish for the health and recovery from the ills brought upon the waters by humans. The ritual involves songs, speech, and prayers and carrying a container of water from the relatively clean section at the headwaters and pouring the water into the more troubled lower part to "give the river a taste of itself."

I have spent time on all sections of the Potomac but have never thought to speak to it. While near some small streams which ultimately empty into the river, I've sometimes felt they were speaking to me, the often described "babbling brooks", but I've never been able to understand any words. The river has given a lot to me, wonderful hours of fishing, boating, and kayaking, and maybe it would be a good idea to thank the waters myself and hope that it understands. Maybe the river communicates best with the Native Americans in their language. I certainly wish them the best in their river ritual because the Potomac can use any help it can get, spiritual as well as scientific.

The Potomac is one of the rivers I know best. The other two are the Patuxent and the Patapsco, and I spent yesterday afternoon fishing for trout on the Patapsco. The trout were unwilling but the bluegill were receptive so I had an enjoyable day, and next time I'll try to remember to give thanks.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Bob Dylan: Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Hearing the announcement a few days ago put a smile on my face for the rest of the week. When I was young it was common to hear that rock music was a trivial fad, and those of us who thought there was lasting worth were on the defensive about the sound and words we loved. Maybe I have continued to be haunted by this defensiveness because I finally feel vindicated by Dylan's official recognition in being awarded the Nobel.

Dylan's lyrics had an effect upon my life. I never questioned the segregationist environment of my youth until the civil rights revolution of the 1960's crashed into my suburban life, and Dylan's music was part of that soundtrack. "How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see" not only called attention to racial injustice but also redefined manhood. There must have been millions of other teenage boys who, like me, suddenly had an alternate measurement of what it was to be a man, a measurement more noble than physical toughness or sexual prowess.

Dylan's words also inspired and expanded our imaginations. I've been listening to this song for over half a century and the imagery never fails to grab me:

"Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy bench
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow..."


For those of us for whom Bob Dylan has been our Mr. Tambourine Man for most of our lives, we somehow feel that the Nobel Prize award was for us too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pond: late afternoon


It's perfect weather for taking a walk and stopping occasionally to soak in the sun, especially while knowing that the days when it's comfortable to sit outside are growing fewer.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Unusual wetlands


If I didn't know where the above photo was taken, I might guess it was along a Maryland tidal river. Actually the scene is within the University of Maryland campus in College Park.


It's clear to me that the site has been landscaped as very little of the 1,250 acres of the campus is in an untouched natural state. I've previously featured the various gardens created throughout the grounds of the University, but I keep encountering hidden gems like these wetlands.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Awakened by an owl's hooting

We don't often sleep with the windows open because it's usually either uncomfortably cold or hot, but there are periods in the spring and fall when we can. Recently an owl's hoots woke me in the middle of the night. We've heard owls here before, sometimes as we were just getting to bed, and it's always a nice sound with a distinctive rhythm. From what I just heard on YouTube, I'd say it was a great horned owl.

The next few nights I've hoped for a repeat performance and have been a little disappointed not to hear it. Maybe tonight.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Back Yard, Early Autumn 2016

The new bedding area where the tree was uprooted last year is filling in nicely.
 

These annuals were planted a previous year but came back:

Status of the park geese

The resident geese population has been 40-50 for the past few years, a number that the park authorities decided was excessive. Park management were likely influenced by people who complained about the large amount of goose excrement on the walkways and on the baseball fields, and a few months ago an attempt was made the eliminate the geese. The attempt seemed to be successful although lately we began seeing small numbers of the birds.



It's too early for these to be migratory, so I'm assuming these were resident geese who had made their home area elsewhere until recently.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Old Folks Boogie

When the band Little Feat first recorded this song Pam and I had just turned 30, and being "old folks" seemed a long way off. We saw them live at about that time, and I doubt that we considered the possibility we would be attending a Little Feat concert again almost 40 years in the future. But there we were at the Warner Theater Monday night with our friend Stan.

Entering the theater and passing by the busy bar downstairs, we noted that most of the crowd seemed in our age bracket. When the band came on stage and ripped into the opening song, "Rocket in my Pocket", all us old folks cheered and whistled and absorbed the power of the music for the next two hours. Many of the songs brought the audience to its feet dancing to the band's infectious rhythms. The crowd was enthusiastic, bordering on rowdy (fueled possibly by that busy bar), and that's the right atmosphere for rock and roll. I was proud of my peers for retaining that spirit.

I recently read a book review of a biography of rock pioneer Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records which was the first to record Elvis Presley. Although it sounds like an interesting book, I was most struck by reviewer Louis Menand's description of the early days of rock and roll and his grasp of the music's appeal:  "Rock and roll feels uninhibited, spontaneous, and fun. There's no show-biz fakery coming between you and the music." What he says about the early days still strikes me as essentially true even though beginning in the sixties there became exceptions: "Rock and roll did not have a message, unless it was: 'Let's party (and if you can't find a partner, use a wooden chair)'."

That concert certainly was uninhabited fun, and it's power has stayed with me even two days later. Although death has taken some of the group's founders and some current members have troubling medical conditions, Little Feat remains a great live band.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Art in the afternoon, baseball in the evening

Yesterday, Pam dropped me off to take the Metro to Dupont Circle to join my art history class at the Phillips Collection which featured an exhibit by the American impressionist painter William Merritt Chase. Not surprisingly, the painting which most attracted my attention was titled "The Lone Fisherman".


For a painter classified as an impressionist, many of Chase's works show sharp detail in spots, such as the rocks in the foreground here. In the distance the single human appears small and isolated. I noticed that Chase's outdoor scenes invariably contained man-made items such as the breakwater jetty which dominates this picture.

After leaving the art museum, I got back on the Metro to travel to Nationals' Park to meet my neighbor Jim for a baseball game.


Harper homered in the bottom of the eighth to give the Nats a 3-0 win over the Phillies. Although very hot, it was a good day and certainly a full day.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Algae on the pond


The modest waves of the pond cause the surface algae to form patterns.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Football Season

Maryland season opener against Howard University today.


At the second half kick-off, Maryland was already ahead 35-0. Tropical storm was heading up the coast to the East, but other than a stiff breeze we were unaffected.