The Beginning....

The Beginning....
When William Least Heat-Moon toured the country many years ago, his steed, if you will, was a van that he named Ghost Dancing. His journey of America was 13,000 miles. His book is Blue Highways, A Journey Into America. My steed will be a Subaru WRX. My travels will be, what in the past were called, the blue highways of Virginia. Years ago, maps showed secondary roads in blue. Yes, the ones less traveled.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Yard Angel II to the Rescue!




Yard Angel II (Jackie) is my delightful next-door
neighbor. Jackie, her husband Kevin, and Jackie's mom Linda look after me. Well, you know... Check-up on me from time to time. Jackie keeps my walk clean of snow.



The Yard Angel moniker started with Jackie's sister Erin, many years ago. I nicknamed Erin
Yard Angel after she started taking care of my yard. And, yes, then Erin moved away and Jackie took over for her; hence, Yard Angel II.

And, yes folks, we actually get a little snow in Virginia. This was the result of about 6". 

NOTE: All 'snaps' taken from my front porch.










Yard Angel's House.....


My neighbor's house across the way...



Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Post From Another of My Blogs-Originally Posted March 13, 2013.

I have ten or so posts that I have started. Tonight, for some reason that I can't quite fathom, I wanted to post something. I looked at the ones that I've started and saved and decided I would look at old ones that are posted on other of my blogs. Here's the one I chose.

Ah, Tomorrow is Easter...Prayers to You???

Well, have been meaning to post this comment for some time. Decided Easter might be appropriate. So, here's what I want to know about Christians and their praying...

I follow our local online newspaper and for many of the articles read the comments. So here are the type of comments I'm wondering about.

There will be a death and the comments will go something like this: Prayers with you, I'll pray for you, You will be in my prayers, Prayers out to you, and so on.

OK, someone is killed in an accident, here's what I want  to know...who are you praying to and what are you praying (for)?

Yes, I'm fumbling around here. Let me try again.

I would imagine that most Christians believe that their god is all powerful, knows everything, can do anything, can cause healings, can perform miracles, and so on. OK, now if that's the case that your god is all powerful and controls everything, why in the heck are you praying?

Back to the accident. A good person, in fact a good Christian person, is killed in an auto accident. Now, if you believe your god controls everything and makes everything happen, it would seem like he wanted that person dead or it wouldn't have happened. With me, so far?

Of course, I would imagine some Christians may counter with god doesn't control everything. Ah, well, how does he decide what he controls? Well, he works in mysterious ways. That's a good one.

DON'T MENTION  FREE WILL! I'll have my pup track you down.

OK, if he's not running the show and is not all powerful, then what's the deal? He's not powerful enough to stop a car accident but he's powerful enough to put you in hell? Dang, it seems like it'd be easier to stop an accident than put someone in hell...

Well, this article or rant  is not going as I expected. OK, back to the basics.

A person is murdered, "Prayers to the family." OK, when you get down on your knees what do you pray? please make sure this person goes to heaven (hasn't that already been decided?). Pray that they have a nice trip? Pray that they get first class and not economy? Pray that they aren't held up in some type of purgatory? Pray that they get a waterside view in their new condo in heaven? What are you praying (for)?

You know, again...yes, sometimes we learn by rote. The guy who in your mind is in charge is the guy who caused the accident or allowed it to happen or who just doesn't care enough to be concerned about it at all and you're praying to him for what?

Now, the bible says your prayers will be answered. Obviously, that's not true. Are we back to god works in mysterious ways? Or, he only answers prayers that are worthy. Worthy, what is there, some type of commission that meets and votes on what's worthy and what's not?

One of the best ones I've heard, is that you should pray for god's will to be done. Good one. The most powerful guy around and we need to pray that his will be done. That'd be like me praying that Babe Ruth will let me help him learn to hit more home runs. 

Now, is a prayer merely a means of communication or is there something more to it than that? You pray so that god can know what you want? A means of communication... Well, if he knows everything he knows what you'll be praying about. So, why bother? For instance, you have a loved one who is ill...surely this powerful god knows that when you pray you'll be praying that he'll heal your loved-one. Or maybe prayer is something about accumulating a Green Stamp type of rewards. You know, for every hour of prayer you have XXX of heaven or prayer chips accumulated.

Yeah, like a heavenly bank account. In fact, that'd be another religious or heavenly scam. Lets's see, you'd go to your corner preacher, "I want my loved one to be cured."


"Well, yes, god and I understand that; however, you need to pray for 1732 hours plus give me $2775 in small bills."


Folks, not sure what you guys are looking for or trying to accomplish, but prayer ain't gonna get it for you. See the photo/snap on this page. You folks are looking in the wrong place and trying the wrong things. You keep praying and there is absolutely no evidence that a prayer has ever been answered. None. After no telling how many years of millions of people praying  and you think you are so special that this so-called god of yours is going to answer your prayer?


And, to add to it all you guys are going to church tomorrow to praise Jesus or something. So, how does the fable go? God allowed his only son to be crucified so that your sins are forgiven or something...and this so-called god resurrected his son. Wow, the god who is so powerful that he can kill his son so we can sin with impunity and then resurrect his son... If I've got this story even half-right, I'd say your god ain't real smart if he couldn't have figured out a better way to go about this.


Why couldn't he have just flapped him arms and spun some kind of miracle so our sins would be forgiven...while being in a bar and having a beer with his son? He really had to kill his son? Isn't that being a little overly dramatic?


Well, in the end, I am thankful and pray every day that I don't have to believe any of that bullshit.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ladies, Do You Get Your Privates Steamed? More Great Medical Advice From Hollywood!

This is the latest medical advice from Hollywood.  OK, ladies, is this what you've been
Sorry Mark,  this is the best I could do.
waiting for? Yes, Gwyneth Paltrow gets her privates steamed and is crazy about it. Actually, this can be an educational moment.


Here's the link to the steaming.  Now, take a minute and read all the great things that can be accomplished by merely getting your privates steamed. Sounds pretty good. In fact, it's a wonder they didn't say it'd take a few points off your golf game and add points to your IQ.  Now read the following statement.

The above statement have (sic) not been evaluated by the FDA. The above product/service is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases or conditions.

Yes, they tell you how great it is and everything it can do...then tell you it's not intended to do anything.

Here's some of the other "bullshit" they have to offer.  Folks, just take a couple of minutes and read. Bullshit statement after bullshit statement. Yes, and look at the so-called credentials.

I guess I could sum this up by saying, that if you're seeking medical advice, please talk with your doctor. If you want to be an actress....well, maybe you would talk to one of Hollywood's actress/medical advisers.

Yes, this is poorly written. I apologize.

EDIT: About fives years ago, I covered this on one of my YouTube videos. No, you truly don't want the link. Trust me.....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Don't Be Stupid! Get Your Kids Vaccinated!

Measles
RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION: The Code of Virginia allows a child an exemption from receiving immunizations required for school attendance if the student or the student’s parent/guardian submits an affidavit to the school’s admitting official stating that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with the student’s religious tenets or practices. Any student entering school must submit this affidavit on a CERTIFICATE OF RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION (Form CRE-1), which may be obtained at any local health department, school division superintendent’s office or local department of social services. Ref. Code of Virginia § 22.1-271.2, C (i).

Sadly, Virginia, as do many states, allow parents to skip vaccinations for religious reasonsTerrific. 

You believe in myths and superstitions and therefor it's OK to say no to vaccinations. Does your Bible actually tell you to not use vaccinations? Hmmm, did ole God just whisper in your ear? How do you religious people come up with this crap. Folks, it's 2015 for cryin' out loud. How long are you going to allow yourselves to be shackled by what, at best, are not well-written or imaginative doggone fairy tales!

Jenny McCarthy...Yes, borrowed  from Playboy. Hmmm... I'm not exactly sure why this is relevant. Well, I do mention  her name.  OK, I'll blame this on Mark!


Who do you rely on for medical advice? Go to your chiropractor? Great! Your naturopath? Homeopath? Oh, maybe your astrologer? Or, maybe you rely on Jenny McCarthy? Suzanne Somers? Dr. Oz? or Oprah?

Sometimes, there's just no fixing stupid.

EDIT: I asked my pal, Mark, to look at this before I posted. He said, It's OK, just make Jenny McCarthy's photo larger... OK, Mark. It's larger.

Mark, also provided this link about how vaccines cause autism.

BTW, if I thought my mom could see this, I wouldn't have that awful photo or the above link.....

EDIT: January 30, 2015

 Now over 90 cases of measles reported. Some pediatricians have stopped seeing children who haven't been vaccinated.

Here's an article from CBS news.

Another article from MIC.COM. Please read.

Larry Wilmore,  on Jenny McCarthy.

EDIT: January 31, 2015    Just watched a segment on CNN. Two MDs. One for vaccinations and the other saying we don't need them. Just let the kids get measles. This so-called doctor mentioned chiropractic. What the hell is going on out here????? Chiropractic!!!

This doctor  will no longer treat children who aren't vaccinated.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Do You Know These People? If Not, You Should.....


Who and what do you rely on for information and advice?

What do you mean, George?

Simple, when trying to gather information and evidence, learn about, or make a decision about religion, a so-called alternative 'medical' treatment, astrology, whether to use your chiropractor as your 'primary care doctor, which Reiki master to use, whether to rely on a psychic when making life-changing decisions, and so on, what do you do?

Here are some folks and places where you should seek help:

Pat Condell,  can pretty much answer all of your religious questions.

Dr. Barrett's Quackwatch has tons of information about so-called alternative medicine, chiropractors, and all of the bogus treatments out there. 

Dr. Andy Lewis, a British physician, has Quackometer. In addition to the articles he writes, he also has the Quackometer. Enter a name or website address and the Quackometer will evaluate it for you. 

Christopher Hitchens,  sadly is no longer with us. The world lost one of the greatest intellects, ever. He's written many books and engaged in hundreds of debates.


Orac  is a surgeon specializing in breast cancer. He spends much of his free time ferreting-out the quacks and charlatans who prey on the uninformed and gullible. Yeah, you know the ones.

Harriett A. Hall, MD, is a retired family physician and former Air Force flight surgeon. She writes about medicine, quackery, critical thinking, and so on. She's a great writer and there's tons of information on her site.

Give Tim Minchin  ten minutes and he'll explain just about everything you need to know about so-called alternative medicine, psychics, and such. And, it's funny.... Do yourself a favor.

You surely don't go to chiropractors, do you? It was dreamed-up in 1895 by a grocer who had no medical training. He spoke of innate intelligence and vitalism. He said just about any illness could be fixed by crackin' your back. He said that there are vetebral subluxations that can be fixed, by yes, crackin' your back. OK, let's say adjust. Since 1895 chiropractors have been adjusting to fix the vertebral subluxations. The only problem is, there isn't such a thing.

Want to learn about evolution, biology, science, and god(s)? Richard Dawkins might be able to help you.

Think your psychic, astrologer, energy healer is the real deal? Mr. Randi will give them $1,000,000. Yes, all they have to do is prove they're the real deal. Mr. Randi has been traveling the world for 3o years testing these folks. And, he still has his million dollars.

So, Aunt Sue pisses away a few bucks a week with her fortune teller, What's the harm? Hazel visits her chiropractor a couple of times a month, What's the harm?  Francis gets advice from her astrologer every month or so, What's the harm?  Helen sees a naturopath, they're real doctors, aren't they? What's the harm? Well, folks if you think all these people and their treatments and advice, for lack of better words, are always benign with no harmful or serious consequences, take a look here and find out for yourself. 

Dara O Briain, the most energetic and brilliant comedian I've ever seen. And, he skewers the "New Age" whack jobs. Do yourself a favor and watch this video.

This actually took quite a while to look-up these links and type out these few words. 


Well, for you doubters, remember Who has approved my website.  Yes, the Man upstairs. You think I'm wrong? Hmmm, suppose I'm not. What will He think if you don't follow these links?



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Religious, Believe in a God? Sure You Can Kill Your Children. The State of Idaho Says It's OK... Kill Away, Nothing Will Happen to You.

Yes, I know much of my rantings and ravings don't amount to much. But, I'm asking that you please read this post.

Of the 604 people buried in Idaho's Peaceful Valley Cemetery, 208 appear to be children, more than 35 percent. 149 of those children—a full 70 percent—were buried there after Idaho adopted its religious defense to manslaughter laws in 1972. This photo is the property of Linda Martin.








Yes, I am sure that daily, somewhere a Muslim is killing someone because of their faith. They are killing because of religious beliefs. And, here in the States, Christians act superior and say that they would never do that. But, they do.

Not only does Idaho allow you to murder your kids, it would seem from this CNN report, that the State is not doing anything to stop the killings.

Here's a link to another CNN report about a Pennsylvania couple who killed two of their children.

And, yet another article you should read.

Children's Healthcare Is A Legal Duty, Inc. (CHILD, Inc.), is an organization trying to do something to protect children. Please take a look at their website. There's lots of information.

I'm not grandiose enough to think thousands of you daily stop by my blog. Actually, I have a visitors' meter so we all know how many are stopping by. I would imagine that if you're religious and you take a look, you may well never come back here. Yes, I can understand that. However, it'd be nice if one day you'd temper your beliefs and faith with a little reason, logic, common sense, and a willingness to see things for what they are...and, not what you want them to be.

I often say that religion is the world's greatest evil. And, here's an example. How is it that these people can stand by and watch their children die? Best guess is being infected by some-type of God virus. It seems that once reason goes out the window and you decide not to question your beliefs, you're capable of anything.

Well, I'll stop here, as I'm getting a little riled-up.....


Edit: Note, this is a post from another of my blogs.

December 2011

Yes, it seems as though the Commonwealth of Virginia will let you let your kid die if you're religious. Yep, talking about no separation of church and state.
 

This is part of Code of Virginia 63.2-100

“However, no child who in good faith is under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination shall for that reason alone be considered to be an abused or neglected child.”
 

All states have provisions to protect children from abuse and neglect. Gosh, Virginia, you have really failed. This is almost 2012 and you have something like this on the books. What does it actually mean?

Yes, folks, I know I have no legal training and shouldn't be so bold as to try to interpret what this means; however, to the guy on the street, yep, that’s me, this really doesn't look good if you're trying to protect children from dying when they don't have to.


It would seem, yes, my interpretation of this code, that if the child is in a household that is clean, has food, and so on, that if the child has a life-threatening disease, and the family, or those responsible for the child’s welfare, just want to pray and not seek medical help, then that is OK.


As an aside, what the hell does, “a recognized church or religious denomination mean?” Recognized by whom? Man oh man, is there any hope for us?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Will Your Heaven Have Strippers and Beer Volcanoes? Or, Will You Just Spend an Eternity Praying?

In 2005, Bobby Henderson, a college student majoring in physics approached the Kansas School Board and
lobbied to have The Flying Spaghetti Monster taught in school. At the time, it was before the school board to teach Intelligent Design along side evolution. 

The followers, believers, adherents to The Flying Spaghetti Monster believe that when you go to heaven it is filled with stripper factories and beer volcanoes. This is what He has promised. Hey, guys, how does that sound?
Now, are you going to throw in with the FSM? Or, would you rather go to the heaven that's up in the clouds and have to pray all day.


Strippers and beer
or pray all day?
Ladies, no, I haven't forgotten about you folks. I'm sure the FSM isn't a misogynistic god. He truly loves and cares about all of his children. I have an emergency phone call placed and I'm sure I'll hear from Him shortly.
EDIT: Note this was posted on another of my blogs, January 1, 2012.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dinner at the No Frill Grill, Virginia Beach, Virginia...





Mr. C after a hard day at the office........ 6400 at 1/25 and 2.8
Shelby, the lady who took care of us, was quite accommodating and put up with two old men. Absolutely terrific service an OK food.......


A couple of lessons learned....  Watch the exposure. Yes, the camera will let you know f/stop, speed, and the ISO it's going to use. I wasn't paying attention. The camera may be magic but, dang, pay attention. It was just about pitch black when these were taken..... Yes, I had to use a little brightening. Also, watch what's in the frame... Would have been a little better if I'd gotten Shelby's right arm, in this (Actually, the Ricoh 28MM I've been using for the past 7/8 years would have gotten her right arm.). Oh, well...... Next time.....

The Pope.... Yep, Don't You Impoverished People Use Birth Control! God and I Won't Be Happy!!!

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Pope Francis issued his strongest defense yet of church teaching opposing artificial contraception on Friday, using a rally in Asia's largest Catholic nation to urge families to be "sanctuaries of respect for life."
Francis also denounced the corruption that has plagued the Philippines for decades and urged officials to instead work to end its "scandalous" poverty and social inequalities during his first full day in Manila, where he received a rock star's welcome at every turn.
Police said another 86,000 gathered outside one of Manila's biggest sports arenas, capacity 20,000, where Francis held his first encounter with the Filipino masses: a meeting with families. There, he firmly upheld church teaching opposing artificial contraception and endeared himself to the crowd with off-the-cuff jokes and even a well-intentioned attempt at sign language.
"Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death," Francis exhorted the crowd. "What a gift this would be to society if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation."
Francis also urged families to be on guard against what he called "ideological colonization," an apparent reference to gay marriage, which isn't legal in the Philippines. The church opposes gay marriage, holding that marriage is only between man and wife.
The above, By NICOLE WINFIELD and OLIVER TEVES Associated Press January 16, 2015
Terrific, the pope goes to one the poorest countries in the world, a place where there is little health care and the citizens struggle to make it day-to-day. A country where I am sure many go to bed hungry. And, the pope is saying, if you're going to have sex you mustn't use any form of artificial contraception. No, just continue to have children who you can't care for. God and I will be happy.
Our local talk-show host, Tony Macrini, said, If the pope doesn't want people to laugh at him, he should stop wearing a dress and beanie.......

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Well, Did I Go on a Trip Today? A Few Hours at Norfolk Botanical Gardens.. and, Some Quite-Ordinary Snaps.

 Trip: a journey or voyage... Looked at two definitions, neither of which mentioned a
Fuji X100T
minimum distance required for a trip.

OK, I traveled seven miles each way...... but, I did leave Virginia Beach, if that counts!

I used to go to the Gardens fairly regularly. It's always been a nice destination to just get out and wander around. Take a look here for more information. The Gardens is celebrating 75 years.

Folks, keep in mind I'm not deluded enough to think these photos are great. I just enjoyed taking them and my new camera is truly a delight to use...  And, there you have it.













Cropped a little more.....












Haven't a clue as to why I'm posting this.....





So-Called Religious Group is Dictating USN SEAL Training... (This is a reprint from one of my other blogs.)

Edit: With all of the horrible tragedies recently, "In the name of Islam," I thought it appropriate to post this, again.
June 30, 2012
Please note, all text with quotation marks is taken from Kate Wiltrout's article in the Virginian-Pilot.

"The Navy will not use a target depicting a Muslim woman holding a gun at a new training range for SEALs in Virginia Beach.

The announcement came hours after the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked the Pentagon to remove the target. A picture of the cardboard target, which shows a woman in a headscarf holding a pistol, was published in The Virginian-Pilot on Tuesday. The image shows verses of the Quran hanging on the wall behind the woman, which also generated criticism from the group.

Nihad Awad, executive director of the Washington-based council, said in the letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta dated Friday that the target "is offensive and sends a negative and counterproductive message to trainees and to the Muslim-majority nations to which they may be deployed."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we the tax payers just spent millions of dollars to open a new training center for our special forces. Obviously, we would all want it to be as realistic as possible. But, that is not going to be.

"Naval Special Warfare Group Two, which oversees SEAL teams 2, 4, 8 and 10 at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, has not yet put the $11.5 million facility to use.
The 26,500-square-foot building contains 52 interconnected spaces, including mock-ups of markets, a hospital, schools, a bank, a bus depot and two mosques. It will allow small groups of SEALs to practice enemy engagement at close range.
Many of the details were taken from actual raids over the past decade, Capt. Tim Szymanski, the commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 2, said during a tour of the facility Monday."

Religions of all stripes are continuing to push their tentacles into our government. They are ongoingly trying to change our laws and policies based on their so-called religious tenets. What the hell has happened to our society? I don't guess there's much else to say. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Your Religion is Weirder Than Mine..... Chapter Two. Ahh, the Grahams, Billy and Franklin.

Let's see, where to start?                                                                                                   


Do you folks remember, Romney? Yes, the fellow who wanted to be president a while back. Initially, Billy Graham had said Romney's religion, Mormonism, was a cult. 

Then, Romney went to visit Graham, supplicated himself I assume, and all of a sudden, just like that, Graham no longer considered Mormonism a cult. Yes, just like that. BTW, at that time there was no mention of magic underwear.

OK. What's going on now?

Recently, Duke stated they were going to sound the horn, or whatever it's called, to announce the call to prayer for their Muslim students. And, here's what Franklin, Billy's son, had to say. 

Franklin Graham, son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, took to his Facebook page to call on donors to pressure the university into reversing course.

On the page, Graham says "Duke University announced today that they will have a Muslim call to prayer from their chapel bell tower every Friday. As Christianity is being excluded from the public square and followers of Islam are raping, butchering, and beheading Christians, Jews, and anyone who doesn’t submit to their Sharia Islamic law, Duke is promoting this in the name of religious pluralism. I call on the donors and alumni to withhold their support from Duke until this policy is reversed."


This quote from WLOS, an ABC station.......


And, so it goes in the world of religion......

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Auto Show Redux....

Elliot, a gentleman who I met on a photography forum, looked at my photos and made suggestions about cropping several of  them.  Thanks, Elliot. I greatly appreciate the time you spent. Yes, they do look better. A lot better. Note: Many of these have been severely cropped and most are at 3200. I think it's amazing that with so much enlargement the quality is still decent.






















My pal, Eddie, suggested this crop........

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Primarily Black & White Day at the Auto Show, Virginia Beach Convention Center, January 10, 2015.

The show was primarily manned and ladyied  by the manufacturers. It was referred to as a no selling show. There were no dealer stickers on the cars.

Yes, I used my new camera, Fuji X100T. Unfortunately, it doesn't help with the composition.
I used + 1 sharpening in the camera. Other than cropping, nothing else was done in processing the snaps. I'm truly pleased with the sharpness.

The software gods were after me today. I couldn't even place the photos where I wanted them...never happened before. They literally jumped all over the place. Not kidding....

The show seemed perfect for people who were interested in comparing cars and gathering information in a relaxed non-selling environment.

Want to thank the young ladies who allowed me to take their picture.... They were good sports.......

Gotta love the Beetles....

Ford ST. Nice peppy car.
Fiat Abarth, almost $30,000......





VIR had a display. Once of the nicest race tracks and facilities in the country. Yes, they even have a motel and condos. Yes, right here in Danville, Virginia.

The manufacturers spared no expense. Nice displays from most.

Lots of us older folks at the show....








The Veterans' Garden......


The Buick lady.......


The Toyota lady.........


Folks taking pictures of cars and I'm trying to take pictures of folks taking pictures of cars..















Ahh, we can dream. Folks like to have their picture took in fancy cars.

Megan, the Volkswagen lady.....



This Mini had to be in color......


Mayra, yes, as the sign proclaims, she's the Chevy Lady.....


The Ford lady......
Fellow resting..overcome with all of the choices.....
Guy starring....were lots of them, today........
Toddler is over it!
Lexus lady......
Guys love those Mustangs....and like starring at the engines....


This was a cool Fiat. It's styled after the 1957 model.