Sat - March 19, 2005

National Zoo Part 2

Went back to the National Zoo. This time I met up with a few friends from my favorite online photography forum. We walked around for over 4 hours taking pictures of the animals. Here are two of the best shots. Click on either to see a few others.

Posted at 02:55 PM  |   | 

Sat - March 12, 2005

Anson Photoshoot

Today I went to a friend's house to take pictures of his 4-month-old son Anson, along with mother in some of the shots. They were thrilled with the results, which is always a nice reward. I'm happy too. He was a bit of a tough subject, although you wouldn't know it from these pictures. Here's one shot. Click on it to see others.

Posted at 03:03 PM  |   | 

Sun - March 6, 2005

National Zoo

Went to the National Zoo this afternoon on the spur of the moment late in the day. Took 31 pictures, and this was one of the best. Click on it to see an album of other good ones.

Posted at 09:11 PM  |   | 

Fri - February 11, 2005


The following quote comes from a new friend I met online, and was inspired by my own writings. I wish I wrote it myself. It sounds so much like something I would write. I think I'm going to adopt it into my own philosophy.

Enlightenment is the point at which you no longer have a need to ask questions, because you've discovered how to find any answer within yourself. Enlightenment is the place in which pure, unconditional compassion exists. It is fulfillment. It is transcendental joy. It is understanding. It is fully knowing the deepest part of one's self. It is peace. It is love. It is an awareness of everything, and a need for nothing. It is where fear, shame, negativity, and pain are all powerless. It is all of this, and yet it is simplicity defined. It is brilliant white radiance.

Posted at 09:47 PM  |   | 

Evolution vs Intelligent Design

NPR this week had a story entitled An Astronomer's View of Christianity and Science on the debate in Kansas over teaching Evolution vs Intelligent Design. More interesting was the letter to NPR from a listener who wrote:

Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. Your report touched on this, but did not go far enough. A scientific theory makes predictions that are TESTABLE. The role of science is not, and has never been, to replace or disprove religion. Those who feel threatened by science must have a very tenuous hold on their faith, because true faith can stand up to questioning.

This reminded me of a flash news tidbit that I just read in the February issue of Discover Magazine that read:

Gallup poll: One-third of Americans don't believe evidence supports Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Another third does, and the remainder doesn't know. Pollsters found 45 percent believe God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years.

Oh my! Forty-five percent? I'm speechless.

Posted at 09:39 PM  |   | 

Thu - February 10, 2005

Opening Flowers

Once again I find myself quoting a comment from my mom about one of my recent entries. This was in response to my writing last week To Really Know Someone.

You might also like to entertain the metaphor of a tightly closed flower bud that with the gentleness of the warming sunshine (love) and soft cleansing of the drops of rain slowly but assuredly opens its petals to reveal its inner beauty (soul).  Two such opening flowers discover they are "soul mates".

A beautiful thought.

Posted at 11:20 PM  |   | 

Thu - February 3, 2005


Late last month I was in LA (West Hollywood, actually) on a business trip for 5 days. During an afternoon off, I took a tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills for some picture taking. Here are the four I liked best. Click on them to see the full album.

Posted at 08:15 PM  |   | 

Wed - February 2, 2005

To Really Know Someone

I've pondered at times whether it's possible to ever really know someone. As a young adult, completely trusting and somewhat naive, I would wholeheartedly have said yes. I had since concluded in the past few years, and said (not here, but to friends) that I didn't think so anymore. It's too easy, through fear or shame, for someone to hide something. Those two emotions are way too powerful, even in small amounts, not to have an effect on a person's level of openness.

Well ... I've changed my mind again. I think it is indeed possible to have an implied open book policy that is so open and free of judgment, that truly knowing someone down to their core is attainable. The key phrase there is "free of judgment". That's the elixir. With an absence of judgment, understanding and compassion and trust flourishes, and any fear or shame that is shackling those secrets just melt away. The book is allowed to open wide, revealing the truth within.

Posted at 11:52 PM  |   | 

Sun - January 16, 2005

Not Just a Tree

I took this photo while I was in Florida over Christmas. I should have posted it back then. I'm finally sharing it today because ... well, just because I felt particularly inspired today.

I should get back in the swing of posting again. I think I'll try to do that. It won't be for at least another week, though. I'm soon heading to LA on a business trip, staying in West Hollywood. I've never been there.

Posted at 08:33 PM  |   | 

Sun - December 5, 2004

DC Dusk

I was near the Mall area of DC yesterday near sunset, so I headed to the area of the new WWII Memorial and Reflecting Pool to take some pictures in the improving light. I hung around for over a half hour and ended up with five images that I'm pretty happy with. Here are two of them. Click on either to see a page with all five.

Posted at 10:18 PM  |   | 

Sun - November 7, 2004

Composite Long-Exposure

I'm starting to experiment more with digital photography. I took this shot outside my new place. It's actually two shots, taken from the same location using a tripod, and then combined in Photoshop. Can you tell what parts belong to which shot?

Posted at 04:22 PM  |   | 

Wed - October 20, 2004

Colorful Weekend

I spent another weekend in NH visiting family. It was perfect timing with the peak color season underway. Although not the best capture of color, here's one photo to share.

Posted at 07:18 PM  |   | 

Sun - October 17, 2004

Why ... voting for Kerry

An opinion article recently appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, written by my great uncle, entitled Why this Republican ex-governor will be voting for Kerry. It so eloquently expresses a view I agree with, from a family member I so admire, that I feel compelled to quote it here in its entirety.

Why this Republican ex-governor will be voting for Kerry
Elmer L. Andersen
October 13, 2004

Throughout my tenure and beyond as the 30th governor of this state, I have been steadfastly aligned -- and until recently, proudly so -- with the Minnesota Republican Party.

It dismays me, therefore, to have to publicly disagree with the national Republican agenda and the national Republican candidate but, this year, I must.

The two "Say No to Bush" signs in my yard say it all.

The present Republican president has led us into an unjustified war -- based on misguided and blatantly false misrepresentations of the threat of weapons of mass destruction. The terror seat was Afghanistan. Iraq had no connection to these acts of terror and was not a serious threat to the United States, as this president claimed, and there was no relation, it's now obvious, to any serious weaponry. Although Saddam Hussein is a frightful tyrant, he posed no threat to the United States when we entered the war. George W. Bush's arrogant actions to jump into Iraq when he had no plan how to get out have alienated the United States from our most trusted allies and weakened us immeasurably around the world.

Also, if there as well had been proper and careful coordination of services and intelligence on Sept. 11, 2001, that horrific disaster might also have been averted. But it was a separate event from this brutal mess of a war, and the disingenuous linking of the wholly unrelated situation in Iraq to 9/11 by this administration is not supported by the facts.

Sen. John Kerry was correct when he said that seemingly it is only Bush and Dick Cheney who still believe their own spin. Both men spew outright untruths with evangelistic fervor. For Bush -- a man who chose to have his father help him duck service in the military during the Vietnam War -- to disparage and cast doubt on the medals Kerry won bravely and legitimately in the conflict of battle is a travesty.

For Cheney to tell the hand-picked, like-minded Republican crowds in Des Moines last month that to vote for John Kerry could mean another attack like that of 9/11 is reprehensible. Moreover, such false statements encourage more terrorist attacks rather than prevent them.

A far smaller transgression, but one typical of his stop-at-nothing tactics, was Cheney's assertion in last Wednesday's vice-presidential debate that he'd never met Sen. John Edwards until that night. The next day -- and the media must stay ever-vigilant at fact-checking the lies of this ticket -- news reports, to the contrary, showed four video clips of Edwards and Cheney sitting next to each other during the past five years.

In both presidential debates, Kerry has shown himself to be of far superior intellect and character than Bush. He speaks honestly to the American people, his ethics are unimpeachable and, clearly, with 20 respected years in the Senate, he has far better credentials to lead the country than did Bush when he was elected four years ago. And a far greater depth of understanding of domestic and foreign affairs to do it now.

Not that the sitting president has ever really been at the helm.

I am more fearful for the state of this nation than I have ever been -- because this country is in the hands of an evil man: Dick Cheney. It is eminently clear that it is he who is running the country, not George W. Bush.

Bush's phony posturing as cocksure leader of the free world -- symbolized by his victory symbol on the aircraft carrier and "mission accomplished" statement -- leave me speechless. The mission had barely been started, let alone finished, and 18 months later it still rages on. His ongoing "no-regrets," no-mistakes stance and untruths on the war -- as well as on the floundering economy and Bush administration joblessness -- also disappoint and worry me.

Liberal Republicans of my era and mind-set used to have a humane and reasonable platform. We advocated the importance of higher education, health care for all, programs for children at risk, energy conservation and environmental protection. Today, Bush and Cheney give us clever public relations names for programs -- need I say "No Child Left Behind? -- but a lack of funding to support them. Early childhood education programs and overall health care are woefully underfunded. We have not only the largest number ever of medically uninsured in this nation, our infant mortality rates, once among the lowest in the world, have worsened to 27th.

As taxes for the wealthy are being cut, jobs are being outsourced if not lost and children are homeless and uninsured, this administration is running up the biggest deficit in U.S. history -- bound to be a terrible burden for future generations.

This imperialistic, stubborn adherence to wrongful policies and known untruths by the Cheney-Bush administration -- and that's the accurate order -- has simply become more than I can stand.

Although I am a longtime Republican, it is time to make a statement, and it is this: Vote for Kerry-Edwards, I implore you, on Nov. 2.

Elmer L. Andersen was Minnesota's governor from 1961 to 1963.

Posted at 10:42 PM  |   | 

Wed - October 6, 2004

It's Not Just a "Global Test"

Bush's camp was out in force on weekend talk programs with one particularly non-sensical talking point regarding Kerry's comment during the debate, when he talked about never ceding the right to defend the U.S., but that the means to that end must pass a "global test". The Bush camp pulled that two word phrase out of context in order to make fun of it.

Well, last night on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was the following particularly entertaining comedy bit on the subject:

Jon: I'm joined by Senior Political Analyst Rob Corddry. Rob, I have to tell ya. What is going on? The media is playing this out like this "Global Test" phrase is up for grabs with what Kerry meant by it, when it really seems very clear to anyone listening to the context.

Rob: Yes, Jon, and therein lies the fundamental problem with the Kerry campaign: the enormous gap between what John Kerry means, and what the Republicans say he means.

Jon: I don't think I follow what you're saying.

Rob: Look, Jon, the Bush camp's been very clear that John Kerry would give France the veto over U.S. security. And John Kerry has had a real hard time being straightforward about admitting what the Republicans say he believes.

Jon: But why should he admit that? It is the opposite of what he said on the debate.

Rob: Right, Jon. And that's the problem -- this constant flip-flopping. Jon, say what you will about George W. Bush, but you always know exactly what he says John Kerry stands for.

Jon: But this was not a flip-flop. Kerry's been relatively clear and consistent in this one.

Rob: No, see, Jon. First he's a flip-flopper. Now he's not a flip-flopper. Which is it John Kerry? Huh? Make up your mind, man!

Jon: ... Rob Corddry, everyone. We'll be right back.

Posted at 09:55 PM  |   | 

Mon - September 27, 2004

It's Not a War

I've been thinking more about why I'm so bothered by this War on Terror thing. Last time I talked about how "War on Terror" is a misnomer as it's not a war on anybody. But then I started asking myself why that should bother me? We've used that idiom before: "War on Drugs", for example. What's wrong with using the same idiom in this case? Well, nothing really, unless you have a leader that actually treats it like a real war!

Terrorism cannot provoke a war because there's no state entity on which to declare war. Terrorism is a law enforcement problem, pure and simple. When Timothy McVeigh carried out his act on Oklahoma City, we didn't look for some country to invade, did we? Since America produced Mr. McVeigh, should we have invaded ourselves? Or maybe we should have sought a regime change in the state of New York where he was raised? Of course that's nonsense. And so is our reaction to this War on Terror. There's nothing wrong with our military getting involved. Just be sure to treat it like the law enforcement issue that it really is.

Most of America is blind to this distinction. They hear our leader bang the drums of war, let him instill fear that any way other than his way will risk more terrorism, and allow him to continue his bullying ways on the rest of the world. Well the rest of the world is not being fooled. I heard on NPR recently a story about Europe's take on our election. If our election was decided by European voters, Kerry would beat Bush by a factor of six to one. Six to one! I'm convinced Europeans are smarter than most Americans.

Posted at 12:49 AM  |   | 

Mon - September 20, 2004

Refrain, by John Kerry

John Kerry made comments in a speech today that sound like a simple rewording of the main message in my blog entry from yesterday:

Invading Iraq has created a crisis of historic proportions. If we do not change course, there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight.... The satisfaction we take in [Saddam's] downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.... [Bush's] miscalculations were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures in judgment, and judgment is what we look for in a President. [If he is elected again], he will repeat somewhere else the same reckless mistakes that have made America less secure than we can or should be.

Posted at 07:34 PM  |   | 

Sun - September 19, 2004

A Path to Destruction

I heard the following (paraphrased) on a political commentary news story on NPR:

The War on Terror is a misnomer. Terror is a tactic, and you can't have a war on a tactic.

This argument may be mostly semantics, but it raises a good point. Why are we not declaring war on an actual organization? The obvious answer is because we have multiple enemies using terror against us. We have aroused the anger of multiple groups of people. Unfortunately, we are a people who hates to stand by and do nothing when we are attacked, literally or otherwise. Unfortunately for us, we also have a leader who knows but only one counter tactic. And this brings me to the main point I want to make:

George Bush's foreign policies have us on a dangerous path. More and more he is using hard power to further our interests, rather than soft power for influence and respect using cooperation and collaboration. The hard power route instead engenders disrespect at least, and anger at worst. When you are the sole superpower, you cannot flex your power while standing alone. The American success is nothing without the respect and trust in the good faith and credit of the American financial system (our bond debt) and our ideals (foreign policy). Jeopardize our respect in the world, and we jeopardize the very foundation of our success.

We have successfully blazed a path for over 200 years that had much of the world following in our footsteps. But in the last few years that has changed. We are more alone on our path now than at any time in modern history, and more than most Americans realize. Continue down this path for a couple more decades, and it will be the undoing of the American Empire.

Posted at 10:52 PM  |   | 

Sat - August 14, 2004

Quotable Quotes

Here are few quotes I've collected recently, along with another photo from the farm...

The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you. - Bill Murray (Bob Harris), Lost in Translation

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. - Andre Gide

There's nothing like biting off more than you can chew, and chewing it anyway. - Mark Burnett

You cannot see a horse's heart by looking at its frame. - Seabiscuit

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. - Aristotle

The older I get, the smarter my parents get. - unknown

Posted at 08:11 PM  |   | 

Wed - August 11, 2004

Apple of my Sky

Just a photo to share, taken at my second cousin's farm in PA this past weekend.

Posted at 11:58 PM  |   | 

Tue - July 13, 2004

Something You Should Be Proud Of

With what is becoming a series of entries about thoughtful comments between spouses, I have another example, once again from reality TV. This time it's from A&E's show Airline UK. The quotation is from checkin assistant Katrina (seen here with her husband), a few weeks after a successful operation to remove her cancer:

I remember the day when I had come home and I had my first bath after the operation. I had a big cry because I really thought my body was a mess. I mean I've got scars all over now. But then, as [my husband] Julian reminded me, "These scars are saving your life, and it's something you should be proud of." And I think it's changed my view, and once again I am proud to show them. And this summer I'll be wearing my bikini, and showing it off with pride.

Posted at 09:20 PM  |   | 

Sun - July 4, 2004

Happy Fourth

I was warned by the long-time locals about the crowds, but braved them anyway to head down for the fireworks. I'd never been to a DC show, and only remember well recent shows in small town New Hampshire. Upon arrival I was surprised to find the entire Mall area a security zone with checkpoints to enter. I came upon a checkpoint at a major cross street. The line was a block long, probably a 20 minute wait. So I continued down the street half a block and almost missed the next checkpoint, because there was absolutely no line. I was shaking my head with a puzzled smile for 5 minutes.

So what did I think of the DC show compared to small town New Hampshire? I was underwhelmed. I think it was because I'm used to sitting much closer, where the fireworks fill the sky above me, and I'm able to hear the music. The pictures came out OK, though:

Posted at 11:06 PM  |   | 

Sat - June 26, 2004

Beware of sniper kitten

I found this on the internet, and felt compelled to share it ...

Posted at 11:11 PM  |   | 

Sun - June 20, 2004

Cherished Words

While I was up north visiting my kids this weekend, I had a rewarding short conversation with my son, who is only 6. It started with the simple statement, "I'm proud to have you as my son." I could tell it caught his attention. He stopped what he was doing to process it, smiled, then replied, "Can you write that down for me, because I don't want to forget it, like while I'm sleeping?" Before I could answer he continued, "In fact, can you repeat it again because I already forgot it?" I did as he wished, then added, "Don't worry, I won't ever let you forget it."

That was the best Father's Day present I could have asked for.

Posted at 08:18 PM  |   | 

Sun - June 13, 2004

Dido In Concert

Through some good fortune and luck, I found myself with an invite with two hours notice to go see Dido in concert last night at Constitution Hall in DC. It was amazing, probably enhanced by the fact that attending was such a surprise and I had no build up of anticipation. This is a perfect opportunity to quote again from her song Life for Rent, as I did previously:

... If my life is for rent and I don't learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine ...

Posted at 09:11 PM  |   | 

Sat - June 12, 2004

Let it happen

When circumstances conspire in favor of a particular outcome, and the path towards that outcome continues to feel comfortable, don't fight it.

Let it happen.

Posted at 03:04 PM  |   |