Sunday, April 30, 2006
We stopped in the California desert on the way to Las Vegas this weekend to stretch our legs at a rest stop. I shot a few photos of the enormous ravens that follow the I-15 looking for carrion. Ravens are generally viewed as a sign of bad luck. I am glad that I am not a superstitious man because my gambling trip turned out to be a bust. I played poorly at the poker tables and for the first time in recent memory, came back a loser. I also played poorly in a poker tournament. I had the dubious distinction of finishing dead last amongst 55 participants. Dead last is otherwise known as the “first man out” and is not a title to wear proudly. My wife went on to finish third in the same tournament. She played well.
On our way home, we spent over two hours stuck on the uphill grade west of Primm. An SUV rolled near the summit. We saw the ME loading a body bag into the coroner’s wagon. It was right out of CSI, except that the ME’s were short, dumpy, and wholly unattractive. The roadside death put a chill on our trip. It is always unsettling to see the results of a traffic accident. It is like playing to lotto, only you lose big time if your number comes up.
The bad thing about the drive to Vegas, besides the constant tragic accidents, is its inconsistency. On a good day, the drive will take 4.5 hours. On a bad day, it can take 9 hours. You never really know, it is a crapshoot really. When somebody dies along the side of the road, it can make for a long day. We departed at 11:30 and arrived at 5:45. It was a long day. Like I said, it is a good thing I’m not superstitious. I can understand how some people can be.
*** I sure wish I could spell better ***
Technorati Tags: Las Vegas, Photography, Poker, Driving
Friday, April 28, 2006
Well, since I don't believe in "the Lord" I guess it might be ok to use his name in vain. All it's going to take is one more fill up at $10 more than I am used to paying. These prices suck. Yesterday EXXON announced record profits. I think we all know how EXXON did it
Technorati Tags: Gas Prices, EXXON, GAS
Thursday, April 27, 2006
This smells like bible school at public school. Teach the bible in Sunday school. Keep religion out of the public school system. It makes sense. Our children need to learn about how to learn, not what to believe. Science teaches how to learn. Parents teach what to believe
A line from the article – “We simply have to teach ‘This is what happened – make your own judgments’,” sends the real message that Christian zealots intend for our children. Christians want an opportunity to teach our child about their religious beliefs so that our children can determine if they wants to become a Christian. Great – does they get to learn about Islam, Buddhism, and Wicca too? I ask, does this metaphysical indoctrination program really belong in our schools? Oh hell no.
I predict a crushing defeat three years and 10 million dollars into the future. And… a 10% drop in George’s SAT scores.
Georgia, Purdue, Nutballs, Religion, Christianity, Newsweek, Bible, Bible Literacy Project
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
A tip of the hat to my friend and coworker Mark. He spotted this monstrosity on Sepulveda in Carson a few days back. What can I say, this car is so Carson.
Technorati Tags: Carson ugly, Carson, Photography
...see things as Spinoza urged, sub specie aeternitatis—“under the perspective of eternity.”In other words, atheists are encouraged to get religion. Rabbi Gellman, shame on you. Why am I an angry atheist? Because few days go by without somebody, usually a fundamentalist Christian, attempting to tell me that I am (i) evil, (ii) blind, or (iii) need Jesus. The effort is so insidious, so pervasive, so overwhelming intrusive that in the end, a simmering anger lies just below the surface of my jovial smile. Sometimes it erupts, but rarely in public. For my part, these eruptions take the form of sarcastic commentary. I enjoy poking fun at the insanity of modern fundamentalist Christianity. Humor is my therapy.
Atheists, Christianity, Christians, Gellman, Religion
The Day of Silence has a PDF if you are interested in organizing in your school. (well.. maybe next year)
gay, lesbian, doyofsilence, dayoftruth, christians, atheists
Technorati Tags: Isreal, Iran, war, Religion, Islam
Monday, April 24, 2006
I attended a family wedding this weekend were I took this moody photo of my cousin Brian. This is the only un-wedding reception wedding photo of the bunch. The rest look like they would be part of a wedding album. Not that I mind – it was a very special occasion. My brother-in-law finally tied the knot. It was a Catholic wedding, a long ritual I had not been exposed to in years. I had forgotten how symbolic every little aspect of the ceremony was designed to be. If I had not been a sponsor/candle lighter, I would have missed most of the symbolism. I don’t get it – Vegas is so much more my speed. Play some cards, have a few drinks, get married, it’s all good.
Congratulations Don and Vicky!
Technorati Tags: Photography, weddings, family
Saturday, April 22, 2006
I am trying to teach my 11 year old son two things currently, how Dawin developed his thinking on evolution, and the art of photography. I call it specialized extracurricular home schooling. I teach Darwin in response to his exposure to a nutball fundie friend who filled his head with unscientific crap-o-la. I teach photography because I love it and he appears to be interested in the subject. I gave him my camera at a recent party. His only instruction “be careful”. He produced this photo of his cousin Pong – I love it. He also shot two dozen other outstanding photo’s. I asked him what he was thinking while he was shooting, he said he was trying to take pictures that I would find interesting. He did a good job, there was not a single snapshot in the bunch.
This picture is his best. I gave him instruction in the zone system a few months ago. He used it in most of his photos. In this one, he lined up Pong’s left eye in the upper left zone junction. The effect is visible. The picture is interesting. He made his poppa proud.
Technorati Tags: Photography, Teaching, Home Schooling
Friday, April 21, 2006
Atheism, Religion, Christianity, Fonda, Turner
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
This photo is yet another reason why Carson is an ugly city, unregulated construction. This door is so narrow that a normal man must turn sideways to squeeze through. Once inside… well let’s just say it take a brave man to use the facilities.
The shot is from a Chinese restaurant – I ate there once in 01. It was not a good idea.
Technorati Tags: Carson, Carson ugly, Street photography
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The mission created a writing contest about Iranian history, hopes to set up a ''reflection group'' on Islamic subjects and earlier this month hosted a reception to mark the anniversary of the birth of the prophet Mohammed.Cuba’s Communist Party Department of Religious Activities has appointed an official to work as liaison with the new Muslim converts. It is not surprising, Castro has been a staunch supported of Islamic strongmen like Yasser Arafat and fundamentalist groups like Hamas. Now Castro can pay the price for cutting deals with the devil (so to speak) as his populace shifts toward religious extremism. It is only 300 converts so far, but fundamentalist Islam is like a virus. It will spread.
Technorati Tags: Islam, Iran, cuba, Castro, Ahmadinejad, religion
Technorati Tags: Parody, comedy, humor, video, china, google,
Monday, April 17, 2006
For now, Ahmadinejad is officially classified as a nutball.
Technorati Tags: Islam, Iran, Ahmadinejad, religion, nutballs, Israel
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Technorati Tags: Long Beach, graffiti, street photography, culture
Friday, April 14, 2006
Baby Got Book is work safe. Enjoy!
Technorati Tags: religion, humor, satire, Christians, Christianity
This lovely woman is my former neighbor Daphne. I have known her since she was a young girl. She used to watch my oldest son. Now her son and my youngest son are playmates, weird. Daphne now works as a freelance travel writer. I’m going to have to track down some of her work.
Technorati Tags: Photography, people, portraits,
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
This is an eight-foot high mural of the Virgin Mary blessing low-rider cars in the city of Wilmington. It is absurd and yet another reason why I scratch my head in wonder when presented with the religious beliefs of others. In this case, asking the Virgin Mary to "pray for us" seems odd given that it is painted on the wall of a broken down second hand muffler shop. Is the owner asking the Virgin Mary to pray for all motorists, or just those who drive-low rider cars, or maybe just those who drive low-rider cars and speak Spanish? I thought the Virgin Mary spoke Arabic or some such language. Does she understand Spanish or even English for that matter? Where is Monty Python when you need them… Blessed are the cheesemakers…
Technorati Tags: Murals, atheism, religion, Christianity, street photography, photography
Monday, April 10, 2006
John Stolpe, a police officer running in the April 11th election for the Mayor of Long Beach, was arrested for exposing himself near the Los Angeles Zoo. Why is John Stolpe a nutball? Well, for starters he could have simply withdrawn from the race, or he could have actually came out of the closet in some less creepy way. But no, he choose to let the world see him for what he really is - a nutball.
I predict a horrible defeat. Then again, I do not think he had much of a chance. Stolpe is not affiliated with any political party that I can find and he does not have a website - so he might be a crazy libertarian. Let me think, exposing oneself in a park, joining fringe political parties, and promoting odd positions on important issues, this tends to lead toward crushing defeat. I think this time he has only himself to blame.
I love the fact that he likened his experience to the Rodney King beat down. What a load of crap-o-la, playing the victim only works when one is actually a victim. Stolpe is a cop. I think there is a word for this…. Oh yes, hypocrisy.
I cannot wait for the round of excuses that will follow his defeat. I am sure we will hear his political opponents “set him up”, or that maybe the police lied (duh – he should know this). Of course, he might try to hide behind sex addiction or claim that he has found forgiveness in the church. It is always the after failure story that marks the true character of a man.
Why do I care? I met Stolpe once; it was not fun. He is kind of an ass-hat.
Stolpe can be reached at 562.988.8532 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to send him well wishes.Technorati Tags: nutballs, Long Beach, politics
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Principal Sergio Garcia applied wheel-bearing grease to the tops of the fences surrounding the High School in a misguided effort to stop students from attending immigration reform demonstrations in Los Angeles. I hate to say it, but Garcia’s efforts seem well, uneducated. What was he thinking? The fences are ten feet high; students could have been seriously injured, or even killed by slipping on the grease. Safety is a vitally important issue. I work at one of the safest companies in the world. Work place safety is my company's most important value. Based on my training and experience, Garcia efforts can only be viewed as irresponsible. He should be fired.
Now, for those of you who know me (and my murky history at Artesia) – I do not want to hear anything about how I once stole all of Artesia’s school bells and then greased all the classroom door handles. That was a long time ago, I was an irresponsible kid, and the statute of limitations has run out. The issue today is completely different. Garcia is unfit to manage the safety and education of the children in his care. His actions border on crazy, yet my wife does not agree that Garcia fits my blog’s “nutball” category. Apparently, there is more to the story. Therefore, I will not add him to the Nutball Hall of Fame at this time. However, I will be watching from now on. After all, I have a son destined for Artesia.
Technorati Tags: AHS, Artesia, Lakewood, Sergio Garcia, nutballs
Friday, April 07, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Take Matisyahu for example. I picked up both of his CDs a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve listed to King without a crown 26 times – I love it. However, if you asked me what the lyrics are, or even worse, what they mean I would have to say, I don’t really know. Brad, a music-loving friend, takes it one-step further. Brad loves Matisyahu too, and he can tell you why. In his recent review of Matisyahu’s “Youth”, Brad analyzes the spiritual content and implied meaning of Matisyahu’s lyrics. Brad focuses on the lyrics from the album's title track. I think he comes to some insightful conclusions. The review is well worth a read.
My atheist’s friends and readers should be forewarned – Brad is better known as Pastor Brad. His review of Matisyahu’s work is from a healthy Christian perspective.
Technorati Tags: Music, music reviews, matisyahu, youth, religion, Christianity,
Sunday, April 02, 2006
(Sorry readers, I must have deleted the lead in paragraph last night when I posted this) Let me preface what follows with this: I collect odd things, signs being one of them. I happened to be in the parking lot of the Del Amo Center waiting while my sons were fitted for tuxedos. The wait was considerable. I grew board, restless, and then started to look for something to photograph. I had been sitting in my truck for almost half an hour when boredom overcame common sense. What follows is typical for me, I collected a story as well as a few photographs.
I grew bored after a round or two of Tetris so I ventured outside with my camera. I happened to see the sign for Snug Harbor affixed to a dirty stretch of faux stone, and started shooting. I am normally oblivious to the happening of the world when taking pictures. I like to concentrate, it take a certain amount of focus to make a good photograph. The sign for the bar was so 1960s retro, I had to capture it for my odd signage collection. Normally, my activities would attract little attention, but apparently, Noon on a Sunday is prime time for this little dive bar. A few patrons noticed my activities. I was watched closely by two old men who were visibly staggering. I shot a few more pictures, and then went back to my truck. I waited….
Time passes slowly, I was waiting after all, and time seems to pass very slowly when one is waiting. I noticed one old rummy come out of the Snug Harbor and jot down my plate number on a slip of paper. He made a great show of it, he actually tried to be covert (very hard for a drunk). The bar patrons must of thought that I was some kind of not-so-subtle private investigator – After all, I was standing in the middle of the parking lot at Noon with a very large camera.
More time passes, I’ve been in the parking lot for an hour now. I am very bored. I notice a sheriff’s black and white pull up behind me, and then another off to my side. The rummy old barfly had called the cops! The police officer was nice enough – I told him what I was doing, he determined I was no threat. He asked what I had been shooting, when I told him it was old signs he looked at me funny, but was professional enough not let the obvious “what the hell for” past his mildly sarcastic smile. Yep – he thought I was nuts (I know the look). The funny thing is, I had had the exact same conversation with a young bar punk in the parking lot of the White Rooster Pub in Cypress just the day before. He thought I was nuts too, only he did not posses the sheriff’s self-control.
btw - the White Rooster Pub is behind Grandma's Chicken House. Grandma's is run down but boasts some damn good broasted chicken! The attached pub has a white trash skinhead kind of feel to it. I did not go in. I was happy enough with chicken and a few pictures.
Technorati Tags: Photography, Photoblogging, signage, dive bars, essays
Welcome to my blogroll Neural Gourmet!
Technorati Tags: Atheism, COTG, Religion
Saturday, April 01, 2006
My Father-in-law is the best gardener I know. Each spring brings a different mixture of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. it is normally dazzeling. He always has a few orchids, they are the star of the show.
I have a few more shots at my flickr blog.
Technorati Tags: Photography, flowers, orchids, purple