Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Blue Gumball Called Oregon

Pray for blue
A friend of our son posted a video advertisement for a new series that will be presented the next three weeks at their church. It touched a place deep inside of me. My gumball is Oregon. I have always thought about how green is our home state - today it has become blue. As it happens, I am slowly making my way through Tim Keller's book titled, Prayer. I have been mixing it with a slow read of the book of Proverbs - a chapter at a time. I can add in a prayer for blue as well - a hope for a blue gumball named Oregon.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Last Word On Truthfulness

A source of truth or consequences
An end of another era: both Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are off the air - thank you to Comedy Central. I didn't watch their programs all that regularly, but them going off the air is like the loss of Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County. I thought the final commentary by Stewart was relevant to the era he and Colbert panned with great skill. There are no easy fixes to complex challenges we face at home or abroad, but truthfulness underpins whatever long-term solutions we will find. In addition to ruminants belching methane and passing digested forage, the consequences of lost moments of truth are as damaging as a bull in a china shop. Good bye Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
August 5, 2016 Epilogue:
Jon Stewart is still able to keep to true form. See him on the Tonight Show with Stephen Colbert the week before last. Click here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

MLB Records - Someone Always Watching and Waiting

Justin Hayward - Watching and Waiting
While driving on our way to Panda Express for dinner, we were listening to NPR All Things Considered news and heard that a new Major League Baseball record fell last night - for the first time. It seems there never was a day in the past 150 years (at least since the expansion to 30 teams), that all 15 home teams won all of their games in a single day. It was especially fun to hear that the Seattle Mariners were the home team to win their home game last night, and in extra innings against the Baltimore Orioles. The NPR news report made a point that there was actually someone out there who was watching and waiting for new records - in this case, one that was not in the record book before.

It is humid out this evening, and greenish dark storm clouds are forming this evening over the Front Range in northern Colorado and making their way to the east of the western Great Plains. I can watch and wait for the August days these weeks to pass by as we head to September. A good time to remember watching the Seattle Mariners baseball games on our television back in Corvallis, waiting for the rains in the early evenings here in Fort Collins, thinking about and listening to the Moody Blues play Watching and Waiting.

Watching and waiting
For a friend to play with
Why have I been alone so long
Mole he is burrowing his way to the sunlight
He knows there's some there so strong

'Cause here there's lot of room for doing
The thing you've always been denied
Look and gather all you want to
There's no one here to stop you trying

Soon you will see me
'Cause I'll be all around you
But where I come from I can't tell
But don't be alarmed by my fields and my forests
They're here for only you to share

'Cause here there's lot of room for doing
The things you've always been denied
So look and gather all you want to
There's no one here to stop you trying

Watching and waiting
For someone to understand me
I hope it won't be very long


Friday, August 7, 2015

Back In The Groove, A Little, Haiku

A 2-2-3 haiku.
Pursuit – the hunt; bag the game.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Leadership - With Integrity and Grace (A Second Chance)

TEDx Talk speaker
There is nothing like hearing a good story. I saw a great TEDx Talk posted by the U.S. Navy on their Facebook page today. The ten-minute presentation by Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations is excellent. Admiral Greenert is a native of Butler, Pa. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975 and completed studies in nuclear power for service as a submarine officer. Greenert became the 30th Chief of Naval Operations Sep. 23, 2011. Here he tells the audience a little bit about this background, the point of his talk up-front, and then tells a story that winds up with a personal ending that brings the message home.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Across A Landscape - More Ellie Bogardus

The Streaker by Ellie Bogardus
This past week I received an email from Ellie Bogardus aficionado Allesandro who has furnished other information about Ellie and pieces of her art to this blog. This latest is titled, "The Streaker," which shows a naked man (the streaker in the upper left hand corner) running into a complex park landscape scene. This painting is the most complex in subject matter that I have seen, next to the mural that was etched into the south wall of Ellie's house in Cambria. The information that Allesandro furnished about the painting was it was given to his brother Alberto by Ellie when he visited her in Cambria around 1982. The painting is now displayed in a place where, "...he can often look at it, taking a pause or enjoying an holiday relax time." I appreciate all of the different sub-stories that are shown: a nun following a group of school children walking in a line, a dog-walker, people talking at a park bench, men playing chess, a woman walking behind a baby stroller - very interesting. The style/colors are still very Ellie Bogardus.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Airline 1964 Acoustic Guitar - Restored

Restored Airline tuning pegs
My college roommate from the last year before I was married gave me his acoustic guitar as a wedding present. Phil taught me a couple of songs while we roomed together - me using his six-string, while he showed me what to do while playing on his 12-string. After getting married, I didn't pick up the guitar very often, but it followed us each with each move: from our first apartment in Fresno, to one in Clovis, to Oregon for graduate school, and then to my first job in Fresno, back to Oregon for almost 18 years, and then to Maryland for seven, and now in Fort Collins. Along the way one of the tuning pegs
Airline bottom to top
was lost, and so was the pick guard. I had insisted that we not throw away the guitar while we were preparing to sell our house in Annapolis, so it was pack and shipped with the rest of our belongings. Once we moved in and unpacked in Colorado, it was kept standing against the wall in the "Girls' Room", the extra bedroom where our granddaughters sleep. I commented that I should get the guitar fixed. I didn't have any idea about the Airline brand, so I looked it up on the Web. To my surprise, it is a classic that was sold by Montgomery Wards catalog stores in the 1960's. Back in the times before The Guitar Center chain and others (I would go into Pryor's Music Store in Visalia when I was a kid and wanted to play), department stores were the places to buy sports gear, musical instruments, vinyl records - both long plays and 45's - they were a general purpose mercantile.

Montgomery Wards Catalog
A close up on the catalog page shows two guitars that could be mine: one for $21.50, and the other $52.50. Regardless which it is, listing on eBay and Google run anywhere for $350 to $500. So now that my guitar is restored, I am going to have to learn to play. Jan sent a text to our youngest son who is a good musician about a water and sand play structure she found, and mentioned that we had picked up my repaired instrument. He thought that was good, and recommended I check out a tutorial on-line, "You can learn about anything: advanced calculus and playing the guitar." I knew just what I want to learn, but we will see if there is any talent in my fingers.
Below is a posting about an Airline guitar for sale on the Web. It gives a great desciption of what I have.

Check it out..I bought this Airline Grand Concert Guitar for parts..and again, I just couldn't bring myself to let this one go..LOL...I cleaned it up and revealed the awesome original finish on this guitar and just had to get it put back together.. Jeff the Tech did a great job with the setup..It plays now with awesome easy playing action . The original bridge was almost off. We reset and reglued it properly. The original nut was missing so I had Jeff make a new bone nut for it...

Its a Grand Concert Guitar from the 1960's Montgomery Wards Catalogs...The lower bout measures 15  inches...This model with the Airline Stencilled Headstock was made from 1963 to 1964. Airlines best Flat top acoustic guitar sold in that time. This one I am calling a 1963 but it could very well be a 1964. Only one of two years for this one.

This is how a much loved guitar looks after a lifetime of play...You won't look like a Rookie with this one....We sanded the bridge down to help the action. It will keep this guitar playing great for many years... We added a new bone nut as the original was missing...Complete with Original Kluson Double Line Deluxe Tuners that work great. 

This guitar looks great but its not perfect as you can see....superficial dings and scratches as you can see in the pics.. ......the original frets are nice and bright..not a lot of wear on them...see pics...I left the cool Music store sticker on it as found. I thought it added to the cool look. see pics!

This guitar is a blast to play ...What a looker!! sounds great and its all original..... You don't see these Airline Grand Concert Guitars everyday and they aren't making any more...My tech has become an expert fixing and setting these old timers up ..The bolt on neck makes these easy to set up and adjust as time goes on.....
I ship World

Hit that BIN!!

It looks good, sounds good, and plays great .....It is a used guitar so it has scrapes and bruises ......Nothing that detracts from its terrific looks...see will all be pro-packed by yours truly...I do this alot and have not had one complaint.... It has very few nicks and scratches as seen in the pics but it is a solid 8.5 out of 10 Guitar..

.....Now this guitar is beautiful but used and old so it will be sold as-is no returns... but it will not disappoint the new owner..check my feedbacks ...This one will be no exception... it will be pro-packed by yours truly...I do this alot.....The lucky bid winner pays $38.00 Shipping for the lower 48...all others please ask first...

Please check my other auctions for other cool vintage guitars, amps and guitar parts!

Thanks for looking ..

Mike at Lawman Guitars

Product Specs 

Condition: Very Good 
Make: Airline 
Model: Grand Concert Bolt-on Neck 
Finish: Sunburst 
Categories: Vintage (pre-1980), Concert 
Year: 1963 
Made In: United States

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Short Story Idea: Ionizing-Radiation-Human-Mutuants-From-Mars, Return To Invade The Earth

A short story idea came to mind when driving to work a couple of weeks ago while listening to a feature on NPR's Morning Edition - Are Humans Really Headed To Mars Any Time Soon?

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk is focused on settling Mars, and has the vision and money to invest in new technology to support mass immigration from Earth to our neighbor planet.
In relatively near time, earth people mass migrate to Mars in people movers produced by Musk's ventures.

Precautions were taken to protect the travelers, but the dangers of radiation exposure were not completely realized.

Radiation-induced mutation is initiated while people cross space between Earth and Mars.

Slowly the exposed human population experiences genetic shift that occurs on Mars by the emigrants as they procreate.

Over time, the human population of mutants evolves into creatures different than Earth people that remain behind.

In the future, the Mars mutant population invades Earth with violent results that were unimagined at the time of the earlier first wave of migrants from Earth.

Use these story lines to re-connect to the origins of invader/invasion stories such as War of the World, Alien, and other. It would be more exciting than those television series that link different fairy tales or Disney stories together.

                                                                                                                                          © J.J. Steiner, 2015 
(1) NASA paper on protecting space travelers found here.

Pulp Fiction - George Plimpton - Sidd Finch - Baseball Is Around The Corner

My son noted on Facebook that I should view an ESPN video feature: Unhittable: Sidd Finch and the Tibetan Fastball. I was sitting out on our patio Saturday, enjoying a quiet afternoon, and had time to catch up on posts. I had no idea what I would see, particularly since it was more than seven minutes into the piece when it was revealed: this was a report on an April Fool feature from 1985, and I am one, 30 years after it was published - pure fun.

MLB Spring Training has been under way for some time now, and opening day will soon be on us. My old iPhone died this past week, and since I hadn't backed up the applications that were uploaded, I had to reload my app. Of course, I chose the Mariners and Giants as my teams to follow.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Sunday, Snowy, Sampling

A quick look at the what was hanging out at our backyard bird feeder a couple of weeks back, yesterday Sunday. The Goldfinch are beginning to take back their yellow feathers. The male House Finch stands in contrast with his red-color coat - he never lost it for the winter. The White-capped Sparrow stands incognito - its brown coat blending into the barberry branches and thorns that have been left bare for the winter, and the white cap, the perfect camoflague, that matches the small patches of snow caught in the shurb; the Hairy Woodpecker has adapted to picking the fine seeds from the artificial bark that the finch-feeder-mesh can substitute for the house siding in summer on a humid lake; and the frame of that large brute, the Northern Flicker, that comes and goes where it wants, hammering like a power tool on the metal rain gutters, sounding like a construction project on an otherwise quiet Sunday morning.

American Goldfinch and friends

House Finch

White-capped Sparrow

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Red Potatoes and Poet Laureate Phillip Levine

Preston Stanley
The news of United States Poet Laureate Phillip Levine's passing was on NPR Morning Edition yesterday. I came across this poem, that happened to be about red potatoes. It also just happens to be that last week was the Southern Rocky Mountain Agricultural Conference at which the Colorado Certified Potato Growers Association display of potato varieties that are marketing in the state, around the country, and around the world. Red potatoes, yellow potatoes, white potatoes, harlequin-skinned potatoes, purple potatoes, fingerling-shaped potatoes - the diversity expressed by these potatoes is remarkable; a credit to the Colorado State University potato research program that develops these for our industry partners.

The Simple Truth1

I bought a dollar and a half’s worth of small red
took them home., boiled them in their jackets
and ate them for dinner with a little butter and
Colorado Rose

Then I walked through the dried fields
on the edge of town. In the middle of June the
hung on in the dark furrows at my feet,
and in the mountain oaks overhead the birds
were gathering for the night, the jays and
squawking back and forth, the finches still darting
into the dusty light. The woman who sold me the

was from Poland; she was someone
out of my childhood in a pink spangled sweater
   and sunglasses
praising the perfection of all her fruits and vegetables
at the road-side stand and urging me to taste
even the pale, raw sweet corn trucked all the way,
she swore, from New Jersey. “Eat, eat," she said,
“Even if you don’t I’ll say you did.”
Purple Majesty

   Some things
you know all your life. They are so simple and
they must be said without elegance, meter and
they must be laid on the table beside the
the glass of water, the absence of light gathering
in the shadows of picture frames, they must be
naked and alone, they must stand for
Fortress Russet

My friend Henri and I arrived at this together in
before I went away, before he began to kill
and the two of us betray our love. Can you taste
what I’m saying? It is onions and potatoes, a
of simple salt, the wealth of melting butter, it is
La Ratte

it stays in the back of your throat like a truth
you never uttered because the time was always
it stays there for the rest of your life, unspoken,
made of that dirt we call earth, the metal we call
in a form we have no words for, and you live in it.
A box of genetic diversity

1 Posted at the Website for

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Another Camera Trick - Minolta Auto Bellows 1 And Nikon D3100

Bellows mounted on a digital camera
In an earlier post, I explained how I was able to adapt a prism lens filter from my old Minolta SLR film camera for use on my Nikon D3100 digital camera. Along the same line - adapting old onto the new - I finally bought a an adapter ring that fits between my Nikon camera body and a Minolta Auto Bellows 1 so I can take very close-up photographs with my digital camera. The Fotodiox Pro MD-NIK works like a charm, so now I can take macro-digital-photographs what were really difficult to do with my old Minolta film camera because of needing to estimate exposure
First attempt at macro-digital-photography
times. With my Nikon set to M for manual, with daylight coming through the window, I have had no difficulty getting perfectly exposed images. My bother-in-law Marc bought the bellows set up for me on his second deployment to Asia in the 1970's during the Vietnam War. I had given him a list of "wants" to pick up for me when he was able to shop at the base exchange on the Sasebo Naval Base in Japan - things were really cheap on base back in those days before Amazon and other on-line shopping.. As I remember, I had really wanted a 300 mm Rokkor lens, but there weren't any available, so he picked up my second choice, the bellows. It was probably around 1985 that I finally bought the Minolta MD Macro 50 mm lens shown in the photograph of the set up. As it would be, it took more than 40 years to finally get everything in sync.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Just Wondering - XC Skiing Dreaming

Ma and Pa giving it a try
The temperatures here in Fort Collins are up in the 60's today, so the snow is melting fast in front of the breeze. Back with the earlier snowfall weeks back in the teens, conditions seemed just right for cross country skiing. We haven't tried to ski since back in early 1990's when we stayed at Black Butte, Oregon. Other than going to REI and Sierra Trading Company stores a couple of weeks ago to just look at equipment, I have really no idea about the right kind of equipment to get. Good thing for the Internet, a quick search and I found an informational video by Ors Cross Country Ski at the bottom of the article titled: Don't Make The Mistake Of Spending Big Bucks For XC Skis that gives an introductory overview about skis and boots.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Our Children's Losses

January 16, 2015
An excellent article today in the Washington Post that shows the effects of war on children left behind by lost service parent since the war in Afghanistan started following September 11. A difficult read, but good for remembering - not to turn away from because of the uncomfortableness of it all. Children of the Fallen: Portraits of Loss. A child's story for each year since 2001.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Nature and Artists Juxtaposed - Search for Ellie Bogardus

We have admired Melanee Sylvester's landscape paintings for as long as we have been aware of Cambria. Her style has evolved through the years, slightly, but her work is our favorite of what we have seen on the Central California coast - her work characterizes this part of the world.(1) Jan and I have purchased a half-dozen of her prints and have them hanging on the walls around our house. For what would have been a steal price-wise now, the cost of her oils were more than what we could have afforded then - such it is. When coming into Cambria along Highway 1 as we are approaching the stop light,  I always look for the back of her gallery in the row of stores along West Village on Main Street.

Today I received an email from a blog viewer who kindly furnished a picture of an Ellie Bogardus painting that she and her husband have. They were in Cambria this weekend on a mission to find out more about Borgardus, and were wondering if I had any leads to share. They had checked with a woman at the Artifacts Gallery (another of my favorite places in Cambria), and found that she had used to work with Ellie at the production company that made the Peanuts cartoons, but didn't know of the Cambria connection. I gave a few suggestions, and hope to hear how their quest turns out.

Melanee Sylvester at work
A natural landscape on Park Hill
 Ellie Bogardus' and Mellanee Sylvester's works couldn't be more different - than Matisse and Renoir.

Tracy Sylvester-Harris' work
Melanee's daughter Tracy paints scenes of life along the California Coast as well. Her art is displayed at the Sylvester Gallery as well and information about her is found here, but I saw she has showings at other venues and media as well. Click here, here, and here to view. The later has very nice images of her work. An inventory of her exhibitions are found here.
 (1) Sylvester's work is even referenced in reports of such prosaic events as the drought and its non-effect on a kind of local flora (click here).

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Blue Skies

“Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have."

“Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones.” Puddleglum the Marshwiggle

C.S. Lewis
The Silver Chair


Irving Berlin, Blue Skies

I was blue, just as blue as I could be
Ev'ry day was a cloudy day for me
Then good luck came a-knocking at my door
Skies were gray but they're not gray anymore

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're in love, my how they fly

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on

I should care if the wind blows east or west
I should fret if the worst looks like the best
I should mind if they say it can't be true
I should smile, that's exactly what I do