So my car won't be ready until Monday afternoon at the earliest and it is going to cost. This is not the information you want to hear immediately as you wake up.


On my way home from visiting the family, my car revolted. Fortunately this happened only about a half hour into the trip. Replacing the thermostat didn't work, so now my poor little ride is in the shop, and my family is still stuck with me. (Secretly I think someone sabotaged my car. A congressional probe is being launched.)

Of course it has been nice to get away, and now I have another day to enjoy the lovely company of my subversive family, but knowing my wonderful car is hurting just ruins the whole experience.


I once subscribed to this photography listserv, and one of the prominent contributors had an Email signature that was something along the lines of, "I set out to discover the world, but haven't yet made it out of my backyard."

I always took that to mean that there are many tiny, but amazing things close by to examine. A very keen observation that I've never followed up on. After all, my backyard is grass and leaves and oak trees. But today, as the sun was sliding down the sky, I set out to discover Rick and Mom's backyard. Then I got sidetracked by the golden retriever.

I'll show you the pictures when I get home.


I made a brief return today to an old love, rural photography.

Normally I shoot old delipidated barns and tractors, but in this part of the country the barn is more than a rustic symbol. The original purpose is still in play here. Barns aren't merely landmarks with porous roofs. Fields here have't seen their fate to be a victim of urban sprawl.

The flat fields are now muddy, the blossoms falling off trees. They are alive, now with wildflowers, holding the promise of another year's reward for hard, long hours at a difficult art. Soon the big roaring machines will return to sculpt the land. The summer's rich green bounty -- forever racing to the clouds -- will overwhelm the casual visitor.

Low murky clouds worked to blot out the characteristic light blue sky of afternoon. The sun came out for one last hoorah before quickly disappearing behind the silhoutte of trees still earning this year's leaves. Late in the day, one wicked wind blew in from the northwest, followed by a moment of rain and a siamese rainbow.
Pardon the mess. I'm working on some of the problems around the blog. This is the preliminary stage of a near-total overhaul of the site. The archives are now in a monthly format and should now work, allowing you to browse back in time once again. In the next few days, you should also begin to see changes elsewhere. Please be patient with me as I tweak code and try to get the bugs out of my new format.


From a Southern friend displaced and now living way up north.

"A woman asked me the other day whether we are getting ready to have children. I said, 'Not anytime soon.' She said, 'Why not?" I said, 'Ma'am, my ancestors didn't spend countless hours pouring minie balls into thousands of Yankees so that I could make more of them!"

He was, at least, half-joking.
My little brother is getting so big. He had his first prom last night. Oh the stories he can tell ...


A first: Comedian Tim Wilson made a woman cry from on-stage tonight.

Wilson, who we'll call lovably abrasive, had pointed out a few empty seats up front at the begining of his act. Much later they were filled by women talking, haggling over their tab and generally interrupting the show. So Wilson saunters over to that side of the stage again and tries to get them to stop. His jokes and wisecracks aren't working. One woman only talks more, and now to the comedian. The back and forth comes to a grinding halt when she says, "My husband and I saw you a year ago ... He died two weeks ago and my friends thought this would be a good idea ... "

Collectively, we groan and it gets ugly in a hurry, but your headlining comedian can't back down now, even after this news. So he replies with, "Wherever he is now, I'm sure he'd be happier if you'd just be quiet so he could hear me." Initially, I was curious to see how he would respond. Even though he's been performing for two decades, he admitted this was a first. After his second comment, her tears got started and he got more and more caustic, it went from funny to brutal in a hurry.

Don't let me turn you off to Tim Wilson here, though. Even in this moment, he was hysterical. The circumstances, however, didn't allow for the brightest moment in comedy.


So I drive from Birmingham to Indiana today. Nice pretty sky through most of Alabama. Rains in Decatur. Gets nice again at the state line. It rains (hard) again before Nashville, but clears back up. I'm slowed in the Music City because of an 18-wheeler accident that forced the shutdown of one lane for about 50 yards. This problem couldn't have been placed in a more strategic location. The closure of one lane shutdown I-65 for seven miles (and this is pre-rush hour gridlock) and backed things up on at least three other interstates as far as I could tell. After that, it was smooth sailing. Finally I arrive in darkness. Because of so many changes in the day, this eight hour trip (counting lunch and later, the traffic in Nashville) seemed like it took four days.
Postdated: Trying to track down an old college buddy with whom I've lost touch. Never let this happen. It just breaks my heart every day when I think of those people that I thought I would never lose, only to realize I haven't spoken with one in almost three years and another in almost a year.

So after writing every random Email address I could think of, looking at the University website, looking at the alumni site, I'm down to calling information. So I take as many numbers as they would give me and on the second phone call, I reach the guy's grandmother. That dear lady said she would try to get a number to reach him and call me back. I hope she does. I miss my friend very much.


Being a poet is bad for your health and general lifespan. You just know this guy got a government grant to do this all-important study.


Someone want to come finish the housecleaning for me? I've been telling myself to do it all day, but the body just doesn't seem to be responding to the mind's commands this afternoon. Wonder why that is.


Hey, I just realized I haven't written anything here in days. A good headache will do that for you I guess.


Have you ever wondered how much damage a meteor could do if it struck a neighboring town? Now you can get some idea with the Earth Impact Effects Program. Developed by researchers at the University of Arizona, this program allows you to put in the variables and estimate the damage in terms of radiation, seismic activity, ejecta, crater size and more.

Of course, at the bottom of the page is a disclaimer. The estimate comes with absolutely no warranty.

Despite the obvious uncertainty, scientists are using this program to determine what we might expect from such a catastrophe, and now you can play along as well.


More good news out of the frigid northeast: Stephen has been accepted into the graduate school at Penn State and has been granted full funding. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I'm very proud and happy for him. And with the hard part out of the way, I expect nothing but great things from him.

And I hope he keeps paraphrasing Fiddler on the Roof for my benefit.

"If good fortune favors such a man it stands to reason you deserve it too!"


Just got in from the UAB-Bama baseball game. My friends in the green and gold called me Monday morning and asked me to run their between-innings promotional programs. One guy fell flat on his face in one game, another guy later took a spill of a different sort.

I was on the jumbotron a lot. They had a handheld cameraman and he shot all the little games we played. Hopefully I stayed off the actual television broadcast. Sometimes it is hard to tell a story, introduce kids, plug a sponsor, make a joke and get the kids off the field in a minute and a half.

Got a nice goodie bag and dinner for my efforts. Caught up with a few old friends and got promised a lunch meeting with some of them. I also ran into the guy that produces the UAB football broadcasts. Trying to get myself involved with him this fall. No money in it, but good fun, exposure and a D-1 program. I'm all about the networking.
Today has been pretty eventful.

A phone call brought good news. There's a UAB baseball game to work tonight. I downloaded some software that resizes images by the batch (speeding things up considerably). And last but not least, there are five new photos on the 'visual' page. After filing my taxes Monday I found some pretty flowers to show you.


If it is after Easter -- but 37 degrees, wet and overcast -- can you still wear white?
In deep, state leaders are looking for federal help with Medicaid. The timing is interesting, considering a new watchdog report on Alabama's federal waste.


I learned something new today. If you go to Lowe's in a suit, they go to great lengths to tell you every little thing you need to know about what you're buying. A very nice man just gave me a four minute lecture on handrail brackets. I appreciate it sir, but there are only five screws, even I can't mess this up.

So, the next time you have to buy something from the hardware store that you aren't sure how to install, just dress in your Sunday best.
Heard a first in church today. The song leader, in between hymns, made an announcement, "Just a quick note, I've been asked to tell you that someone is going to have a bad day if they don't go outside. The driver of a purple Thunderbird, you left your lights on." Then, He is Risen, unlike your car battery. Later, the preacher did a magic trick.


I know I'm a week behind most of the country (thanks APT) in seeing Austin City Limits, but I am now reacquainting myself with Alison Krauss. Sadly, it has always been too easy for me to forget how talented she is.

If you didn't catch it -- I happen to know its on KETV out of Louisville next weekend, otherwise check your local listings -- they do a couple of selections from the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, including an a cappella version of 'Down to the River to Pray.'

And The Flatlanders reunite to round out the show!
Erased tape outrage.

"This high-handed and unlawful seizure of a journalist's work product without any regard whatsoever for the rights and responsibilities of the news media product is totally unacceptable," she wrote in the letter published on the group's Web site.

This is one of several critical -- and dead on accurate -- complaints in response to a U.S. Marshal forcing the erasure of two taped recordings of a speech by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
If you don't have Fuse you are missing out on videos ... And now you're missing out on great station promos as well.

Picture, a young girl in the kitchen, roller in hand, mashing a banana to nothingness. "Honey look, I am making you homemade fruit rollups!"

A short conversation takes place and you are to assume they are making fun of whatever the newlywed show on MTV is. And then a graphic hits the screen: This crap replaced music videos?

This is exactly the thought that comes to mind everytime I get to channel 47 on the dial.


Here's a valuable lesson in consumer affairs and safety.

If you're holding a styrofoam cup between your legs while driving don't drop anything, like a book of CDs, on top of it. After you've busted the bottom of the cup you'll end up wearing your tea, as opposed to drinking it.


So I'm flipping through the TV, and when I get to CSPAN2, I catch an Outkast video. And then karaoke: a white woman singing Prince and then a black man singing Toby Keith. Badly.

So much for seeing government in action.
Alabama's courts are unfair, say corporate lawyers.
Thomas Donohue, chief executive of the national chamber, said states receiving high marks for fairness in the report have an advantage over states, such as Alabama, that ranked low. "Businesses go where they are wanted, and they bring jobs and economic growth to the states with the fairest legal systems," Donohue said.

Skip Tucker, executive director of Alabama Voters Against Lawsuit Abuse, said Alabama's low score for fairness is the state's second low score in as many years, and "it proves that wealthy personal injury lawyers are interested in lining their own pockets rather than fairness and justice."
Really? Who knew?
Now all sober-minded observers of Montgomery politics can have an answer to the question, "What are they drinking?"

Alabama Senate approves official state whiskey.

If you get pulled over snookered on the state spirit, can you still be arrested?

Sure glad we solved this crucial problem.


Within the first minutes of installing it, I'm liking Firefox. This is just the .8 version, so there are a few bugs to deal with. Though right away, you can clearly tell how much faster this is as a browser compared to IE or Netscape. It has to do with the way it reads Mozilla code. And that's all the pretending I will do about understanding the innerworkings.

Who needs to know that when you can internally block pop-ups, surf quickly on multiple tabs and -- the coolest feature so far -- google from the browser. Need some info? No longer do you have to go to Google, Firefox brings it to you.
Well that took all day. Glad I didn't sit here for it.

Decided it was time to do a little spring cleaning on my PC, so I ran a disk cleanup and scandisk. They aren't kidding about several hours are they? I can't make myself run a defrag just yet. Maybe tomorrow.

On the upside, my computer probably should have locked up by now, knock on wood. And it is allowing me to download again, a problem that crept up in recent days. So I'm going to try out Firefox. I'll let you know how that goes.

Now I'm just waiting on 9!


Tried a new church today. It was one of those megamall, pop concert kind of places. Good preacher, fine sermon. Six people were saved (with their various pastors leaning over the baptismal, not actually in it).

On the whole it was a bit too casual for me. I come from the small country church background and was raised with the thought of dressing well for church. Kids at this place looked like they were in the mall or something. Clearly it is a success, they hold three services each Sunday morning on their huge campus (they have shuttles for the parking lots) and have activities all week long.

As a vehicle for delivering a message it is obviously working. I just prefer a different vehicle.


Driving to my grandparent's I passed this Lexus. It was hauling a trailer holding two La-Z-Boy recliners. Only in northeast Alabama.


"A man with an argument is always at the mercy of the man with experience." -- A charismatic TV evangelist.

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