Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Too Little, Too Late

March 30th is Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day
Proclaimed on March 7, 2011 by the US House and Senate

Before I get into my post about the Veterans, I want to call your attention to the fact that Thursday, March 31, is the birthday of Cesar Chavez. An Icon of strength and courage in the labor movement as leader of the United Farm Workers. He's rolling in his grave today as the union busting idealogues strip the rights to bargain for working conditions and benefits from the working class people while adding millions to the larders of the rich.

Read about Cesar Chavez Right Here.

Now, for my take on the above logo and what it stands for:

The title doesn't mean I'm unhappy about the designation for March 30th to be Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. It means that a valiant attempt was made at changing history, but no one paid attention.

Earlier this month, the US Senate approved a bill that proclaimed March 30th to be Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. This was approved in the US House in 2009. I have no idea what took the Senate so much longer, but then again, it took the House only 36 years.

The Treaty of Paris was signed on March 30, 1973, the last troops left Vietnam on April 30, 1975. To World War II Veterans, June 7, 1941 was "The day that would live in infamy". April 30th 1975 was ours.

What the title is saying is that this valiant attempt to place some honor into the lives of the Vietnam Veterans was a miserable failure. There was no press, no TV or radio spots and I didn't see much of anything on the blogs except on the Facebook page of one US Marine Gunnery Sergeant named Eugene Curry, who heads up page after page of information about Agent Orange, the killer, with his Sprayed and Betrated, Destined to Die posts.

It was a miserable failure beause those of us that have survived don't give a shit anymore, and those that did are dead from the effects of Agent Orange, wounds received in battle, alcohol, drugs or suicide. All we need do is look into the eyes of one of our Vietnam Veteran Brothers and know the real horrors of war.

We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. If we say anything about war and combat, we're liars and making it up to get attention. If we say nothing, we are generally put into a pot that says, "They must have not seen any action, they're not talking about it."

If we wear military regalia, a Vietnam Veterans cap or a vest with unit patches on it, we're judged as warmongers. If we don't, we are judged as ashamed of the good ole' US of A. If we complain about Agent Orange or PTSD we are crybabys, if we don't, we get nothing in the way of care, understanding or benefits. Care, by the way, that was promised us when we enlisted or were drafted.

It's a fight every day of our lives, at least in our minds. I wouldn't wish the thoughts that eminate from my brain on anyone for any reason. The anger, the violence, the self pity, shame, guilt, fear, loathing and confusion that has leached me of anything serious and contemplative. I wish you peace daily as I know I'll never see it.

As I write this, I am seething because I am unable to make anyone understand. In fact, I accept the inevitability of loneliness as I struggle to be understood. I'll leave it here for now. This is what really lives in my mind. I just hope that someday someone will pay attention and stand up for the men and women that do the bidding of society, that'd be you, the people. You are the ones that allow the government to send people off to war.

You foreigners, from the UK, France, India, Australia, Canada and elsewhere, your countries are doing it to you as well. Ask any soldier from your own country and they'll tell you the same things I am. War is not the answer, and amusing us with a promise 40 years too late to say Welcome Home and Thank You is not amusing at all.

Here are two articles about the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. The first may make you feel good,  The second, is more like what has happened to this event in real life.

The YouTube video is about the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.

Turn your volume way up and hear the anthem of our lives, Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son"

So, instead of a welcome home for us, say Welcome Home to those Vietnamese and Hmong immigrants that had to leave their homes because we failed to do what the American war in Vietnam was supposed to do, that is, keep their country a Democracy. Welcome them here to our shores instead of hating them and discriminating because they are of Asian descent. Do the same with the Bosnians, the Somali people, the Cubans and other people from lands across the globe. Don't forget the South Americans that can't come here because they sided with what they knew to be right as we trained their armys and police to kill civilians at the School of the Americas.

Now you have an idea of what is in my brain, how I really feel, the rage these motherfuckers evoke in me. I was pushed to the edge when I saw this grand proclamation. All this as I continue to fight for rights and benefits that were suppose to be earned on the battlefield. Sorry. Too little, Too late, but thanks just the same.

“You've never lived until you've almost died, for those who fought for it; Life has a flavor the protected will never know” Unknown

Still, I wish for you      Peace

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This Book Report is Overdue

Some time ago I was tagged by a very good Blog friend to answer some questions about books. I’ll attempt a response here today. By the way, I am flattered, humbled and honored to be thought of and asked. Being asked and allowed to answer questions is one of the greatest forms of respect I can think of.
Before I answer the questions, I just want to say that I don’t read as much as I could, or should, or think I should or could. I am busy reading the blogs, for one. I’m busy writing stories to pass on to my Grandchildren as well. I’m just, busy! I know many people read in bed before they retire for the evening. When I get tired, it’s time to sleep. If I go to bed, I fall asleep. But I always get a sense of guilt when asked about books just the same.
I like Tony Hillerman’s books, but usually have no interest in murder mysteries. It is sort of funny that I did do some reading while down in New Mexico living alone in the RV. I read one of Tony's books, then started one I picked up at the Black Cat Coffee Shop and Used Book Store.
Black Cat, T or C, NM

I didn't read for very long. I fell asleep right away. I remember one time we had to stay in this cabin on one side of West Bearskin Lake in Northern Minnesota. There was thunder and lightning and heavy rain. To attempt to cross the lake in an aluminum canoe in such conditions would have been very dangerous.

There were others from the camp that stayed in the cabin as well. I laid down in a bunk and immediately fell asleep and started to snore. One of the others quipped, "Okay Joe, that was funny", as they heard me sounding like a roaring lion literally seconds after my head hit the pillow. Mrs. Spadoman, also along on the trip, explained to them that if I didn't get to sleep in a few moments, I had insomnia, and I wasn't pretending at all. They had to live with my snoring that night and let me have the aftermath for the next week!
Anyway, I better quit telling stories and get this book report done.
A Book that Changed My Life:

Comedian and Author, Louie Anderson of St. Paul, MN

“Dear Dad, Letters From an Adult Child”, By Louie Anderson
Yes, he’s the comedian. He’s from Saint Paul, MN. The book reports his family life growing up in a large family and tolerating the effects of an alcoholic Father and how it has influenced his career. I have not had the alcoholism in my life as such, but many similar experiences for other reasons. The book takes you on a journey of wondering and getting answers. He pulls his siblings together, one by one, and examines the other viewpoints. He comes away with a thoughtful reason to forgive and ask forgiveness of his Father. He cleanses his soul to us openly. It helped me attempt to cleanse my own soul, to my friends and to my family, in my mind and in my life.
A Book I’ve Read More than Once:

“Two Years Before the Mast”, By Richard Henry Dana
This ‘classic’, written from the point of view of a teenager sent to the high seas aboard an English working ship is epic history of a portion of a persons life. The descriptions of sea life and struggles over a period of time in a challenging environment is amazing. I reread excerpts, if not the whole book, often. Especially the narrative of sailing around Cape Horn, a well-known unsettled portion of the great oceans. It is adventure at its best. 
A Book I Would Take With Me If I Were Stuck on a Desert Island:

“Mutiny on the Bounty”, or better yet, the “Bounty Trilogy”, three books of the epic story of the HMS Bounty.  The narrative journal of Lieutenant William Bligh. The original written by James Nordhoff and Charles Norman Hall
Besides the obvious benefit of the tale of making it over 3000 miles of open water in a small open craft, the book is filled with adventure. I cannot accept how Bligh treated the crew, but must respect his resolve to see his plight and subsequent survival, just to meet the end of his own career when the truth be known back in England. I somehow transpose myself to these times, albeit as a pirate in a former life, and not as an English sailor. I could escape into this for hours. Seems I’d have plenty of these hours on a deserted island. The single, "Mutiny on the Bounty", is also a book I have read more than once.
A Book That Made Me Laugh:
I can’t think of any right now. I’m sure I’ve read funny books. Probably the last one written by Erma Bombeck before she left this world. Her view of life is uncanny and borders on hilarious.
A Book That Made Me Cry:
Here too, I cry at the movies, not so much in the books. I probably shed a tear or two or more when reading the first mentioned book by Louie Anderson. A comedian made me cry, go figure.
A Book That I Wish I had Written:
I wish I had written a book, or rather a guide, for returning soldiers from Vietnam, (and now other wars), about the affects of PTSD. The warning signs, coping skills, tools to combat the symptoms and live a happy normal life. Enough said about that.
A Book I Wish had Never Been Written:
The ones I want to read and just can’t find the time to get to them. If they had never been written, I wouldn’t feel like I need to read them. Crazy logic I know, but I just think everything has a reason. I really can’t think of a book title right now that should never have been written.
A Book I’ve Been Meaning to Read:

“Failed States”. By Noam Chomsky
It is about the abuse of power and the assault on Democracy. What can I say? Chomsky is a visionary and proves every point he makes with facts. I need some time, I’ll get to it. This book was written and gifted to me in 2006, but I feel it is still very pertinent for today.
A Book I’m Reading Now:

Actually, I just finished reading this one and haven’t started another. It is entitled “Midnight at the Dragon Cafe”. It’s an autobiography of a girl from Hong Kong who immigrates to Canada as a six year old. She narrates periods of her life through being a teen. Her Mother and father own a small Chinese restaurant in a small town near Toronto.
It is a showcase of character studies and the habits, morals and teachings of generational differences influenced by the change of countries.
The author, Judy Fong Bates, tells all. Her feelings, her observations and her secret thoughts to the reader. Like life itself, this book has no end that the author can write about as she is still alive and her life continued after the last sentence was read.
Honorable Mentions:

In the Heart of the Sea
Endurance: Shackletons Antarctic Adventure
Treasure Island

Look 'em up if you're interested. I gotta hand this in before grades come out.

Okay, that chore is done. It was a good thing to do. Thanks for “tagging” me my friend. As I mentioned, I am flattered. Sorry it took three years to complete the assignment.
Well, you never said I had to do it right away!
So, what are you reading, anyway?
Peace to all

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Avast Ye Matey! Thar Be Pirates!

Shadow Shot Sunday
March 27, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday eminates from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Have a look at Hey Harriet, mateys, and see how to participate, or just look at the fine art examples shown by the masses.

The day wasn’t very bright, but the shadows were cast behind the flag of the Pirate’s sleek ketch rigged craft. This particular flag has flown in some very unusual places in its lifetime. More about that later. For now, she be wavin’ aloft at The Cabinette near Ashland, Wisconsin, along the shores o’ the Great Lake Superior.
Tended by the acting Cap’n and First Mate of the good ship Quivering Thigh, taken in 1983 along with the bounty of the frigate itself, two chests of gold doubloons, forty pistols, 73 cutlass’ and one good-lookin’ dark haired wench of dubious chastity.
The Grandkids, raising the Jolly Roger, takin' orders from the Cap'n.
The replica was built on the shore to the specifications put forth by one Cap’n Jack Spadelow. Now don’t be confused with Jack Sparrow, the newcomer in the Disney movies. Spadelow has been around since the early 1980’s as you can see in the photo below. The head on the wall was a relief sculpted by those that wished for his head to be thusly mounted, but to no avail as Spadelow was too crafty of a seaman to be captured.
Cap'n Jack Spadelow circa 1983,
Spadoman himself in another time and place
Handing over the wheel to his Grandchildren, Spadelow is now retired from the sea and lives along the tiny Kinnickinnic River in Northwestern Wisconsin. Having all the gold a man would need and the same aforementioned wench at his side, he lives a peaceful life despite there being those that still hunt his head.
He tried to get retirement pay and disability. When asked how he lost his arm and his leg, he replied it was in the Pirate service, cut off by cutlass in hand to hand combat while boarding a British craft in the Mediteranian, a worthy and acceptable reason for losing limbs, and well acceptable to receive the compensation due a lifetime o' work upon the sea. 

But when he was asked about the injury and loss of his left eye, he mentioned the bird that spit forth his digestion while flying overhead and said, “Aye mate, it be the first day wit me new hook!”
The original crew of the Quivering Thigh, taken off the coast of the Snake River
Needless to say, the disability claim for the loss of an eye was declined. So he stirs little and watches the youngsters board and fight and hoist the black and white Jolly Roger, awaiting his inevitable trip to Davey Jones’ Locker.
The Thigh, plying paddle across the border, Brule Lake, MN
The flag has seen the heights of Mt. Whitney California. At  14,505 feet above sea level, and the great Motorcycle Rally and Races at Sturgis, South Dakota, which lies a far distance from any body o’ water. It has flown on waters in Minnesota and Wisconsin, USA and across the International border in Ontario, Canada. 

Well worn, but still able to put the fear of the Good Lord Almighty into the hearts of all that believe in make believe.
The ship still sails in the minds of children and childlike adults. The stories of the sea reenacted with swords and a ships wheel that turns about the craft on a dime that happens to be in the pocket of a Commander of a French Man-O-War loaded with diamonds, rubies, gold, silver, tobacco and rum.
Still havin’ fun lads and lasses, that’s what she be all about. And still dreamin’ the dreams of a great Cap’n rich in blood, guts, rapin', pillagin', booze and gold.
The well worn Jolly Roger of The Quivering Thigh

Peace be alive me hearties, she’ll be right mate, a keg o’ rum a time or two. Look out across the land and water as far as ye can see. Now, look a little farther and you’ll be seein’ the Quivering Thigh!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sacred Fire

Haiku My Heart
March 25, 2011

Haiku My Heart Fridays was started by my friend Rebecca at recuera mi corazon blog. I see where most that participate don’t designate the Friday part any longer. I won’t either. To see more and participate, check out recuerda mi corazon. By the way, translated from the original Hispanic tongue, it means simply to remember my heart.
I love this sentiment. We use our hearts to remember all of life as all that happens becomes part of us. Remember strongly all people with your own heart. Today, I remember.
Gold tips licking air
Soothing embers peaceful thoughts 
Gazing feeling warmth
So many times, in periods of struggle or grief, a fire is lit, and held burning, never allowing the flame to expire. Day and night. The keeper of the fire will tend the embers and sacrifice slumber, and others will help, but it is kept burning to provide light, hope, warmth and remembrance.
I’ve seen this many times. A fire for four days when an Elder passes. A fire for the time of fasting while preparing for ceremony. A fire for the community in times of strife or tragedy. That last one. That’s what is needed now. For those that lost loved ones in Japan. For those that are searching for water and food. For those that cry out for help. For any soul needing light, warmth, comfort, peace or understanding.
The fire will be a sign of someone caring. A beacon of hope and prayer. For the well being, the health and happiness, of the people, all people.
It is said that the wood is an embodiment of the spirit of mankind, as all wood grows in soil, and all the bones, hair, blood and skin of all that walked the earth or is natural of the earth, makes the soil. The spirit of people are in each tree and branch. By burning them, we release these spirits to help us with our thoughts and walk beside us as we live through the hours and days.
A candle might do the job. I believe this to be symbolic as an offering if the protective spirits of the trees. The flame is the focus. My mother used to light candles at the church where she prayed. She’d hear of someone who might have a family member with a sickness and she would light a candle and give it prayers and ask God, as she understood him, to use the prayers for that person or that person’s family.
The Native Elders taught me to offer tobacco to the trees when they appear in any form. That would be the forest, or a fire. When we eat, a spirit plate is offered to the fire, or to the base of a tree when no fire is evident. A small portion of every item brought for consumption, along with a pinch of tobacco, is placed in a bowl or plate and given to the spirits, feeding them, and thanking them for the sustenance.
So be it. Some fire burns somewhere. Here, there is a candle, and more candles will be brought and lit. One will burn for all of mankind, and especially for those affected by the earthquake, tsunami and the man-made disaster aftermath from the nuclear power plants. For the health and happiness of the people, all people. For those blessed and those that feel unblessed or can’t find their blessings, can’t see them through the pain and suffering.
More bombs are dropping, war never ceases as we send help to one land we decimate another, all blamed on the acts of nature and man. I ask for peace to all with the light from the fire. All who might accept it will have peace somewhere in their lives. Maybe it’s right here, right now, peace may exist where they dwell, where their mind might dwell. I pray for this peace with the fire for all of mankind.
Mitake Oyasin

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Spring Contest Winner

Well, that was a dumb idea. I got all of five comments, six if you count the one I posted before anyone else came to my blog and deleted, and only three ventured a guess about the photo. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the post below this one)

I have to give a lot of credit to Mel who posts Mel's Dream. She pegged it right off. I think she was just showing off her creativity by suggesting it could be anything else besides a cup of coffee. Then again, I truly believe she spends hours every day of her life looking down the throat of a coffee mug, so how could I have even thought I'd fool her?

Then again, the English Inukshuk drinks a lot of coffee too. But being from across the pond, maybe she just has a different view because of the size and style of cup she uses. You know, like driving on the wrong side of the road? They have some weird stuff over there, or so I've heard.

I'm not totally sure about how much coffee Noelle Clearwater ingests, but her posts, like her, are all very beautiful most every day. Fantastic photographs and poetic words from near and far.

The other two commenters, Sarcastic Bastard and ColdH20 are actually both very sarcastic. The SB is very humorous most days and ColdH20's "Billy Creek Blog" blasts politics, local and National, with an enthusiastic balance of sarcasm and wit.

Anyway, I was in the coffee shop the other day and had my camera in my jacket pocket. This, by itself, is a rather new habit as you never know when you'll see something worth while to photograph like a quilt barn or a shadow shot. That's right, a quilt barn. Maybe someone put one up since yesterday.

So, I fiddled and took a few shots of my Double Americano. I have been going into the Dish and the Spoon Cafe in River Falls, for two full years now. I moved here two years ago on March 20, 2009. The great baristas have my drink for me every morning that I decide to walk through the door, and each time it is perfect, no matter who makes it. Except, of course, when we have to break in a newbie. But that hasn't happened but once in two years. This is a fine stable extablishment in my home town. I use a small shot of half and half is all. Here are the photos:

And of course, here is the original image I used in the contest. By the way, I didn't touch it up to disguise it. I was way too close, even with the close-up feature that my camera has, that's why it's all a blur. I did crop out the round edges is all.
It does kinda sorta look like someone drew a cactus in spilt milk or orange juice on a lovely brown table.

Good job and congratulations Mel. You win the big prize!

Peace to all

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Spring

A Spring storm is upon us

 I woke up this morning to a white landscape. Yesterday, it rained on and off all day and the night before I had heard the Thunderbeings pay us a visit. The snow is suppose to continue throughout the day and ease off by tonight. Then the sun will reappear, but cold temperature are expected to remain until after the weekend.

The Anishanabe Elders tell us that many things are happening around the first time we hear thunder in Spring. Usually, the bear awakes from its Winter slumber. A Sweat Lodge ceremony will be held and a feast will follow, welcoming the bear out of its den. It is the time of maple trees dripping sap and sugaring is taking place. The freeze up might allow another week or so of flow and more maple sugar when the warmer temperatures return. Pow Wow season is near and dancers are creating their outfits for the celebrations.

By cold, the NOAA weather service is predicting highs in the low 30's. Let's see, celsius, around zero. Out of all the choices to get weather, I like NOAA the best. They seem to have it pretty close most of the time. I kinda wish they were off this week, but that is not to be the case.

This swingset, which saw a lot of boisterous activity as recent as last Sunday, looks like it is settled into a long winter's nap. The toys scattered around will be picked up and used again very soon, I'm sure. That's a small plastic kids Adirondack chair leaning on its front end in the foreground, and looks like a batting helmet on the top step that was left there after some whiffle ball batting practice.

It may seem strange, but with a little observation I can clearly see these signs of Spring. They will take a break this week, then return soon. A few years ago, we had a heavy storm in April. Over 20 inches of snow. I left town and headed Southwest to New Mexico. This year, I just returned, maybe a bit early if I was really trying to escape Winter.

But I'll keep with my new found attitude about weather. That is, it is what it is and what it will be and sooner or later it will change. It is neither good nor bad for everybody. I mean, this snow might slow down the melt and allow the swollen rivers to settle a while and avoid a massive flood.

In the meantime, today's coffee shop time will be stretched out a little longer and the old men will have much to say, all knowing about the weather. There will be the humorous quips and the disgruntled quips and even the "good for the farmers" quips.

You know how I know? I'm one of the old men.

So, to pass the time, please go and take a look at the Aquatic Angels link on the top right of my sidebar. Make a small donation towards relief efforts in Japan. After that, I have a little game to play with you.

Below there is a photo. A little blurry, I know. I made it that way on purpose. Tell me what it is. The first one with a correct answer will be declared the winner. The winner will receive nothing of value, but hopefully some interaction and movement of your brain cells gazing at this object. I think this type of compensation is called "Bragging Rights". You can pretty much click any image on my posts to enlarge it.

The answer will be posted here tomorrow morning, and you yourself can declare the victory.

So, be nice to each other and practice Peace today. I'll slip and slide on down to the Dish and the Spoon cafe and join the banter.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Mystery Tour, March 21, 2011

Before I start my Monday Magical Mystery Tour, I want to mention there is a new series posted on my Ashland Peace Blog. Please have a look.

These things are alive!

We had the pleasure of visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California last month while on our Southwestern trip. I'd like to share some photos with you and tell you about this fabulous place.

First of all, our hosts were some really good friends of ours that live in Redondo Beach. Mrs. Spadoman's friendship goes back to seven years old and a Catholic elementary school in suburban Chicago. We paid them a visit over a long weekend. After listening to a number of renditions of various Beatles hits, we needed wanted to get out and enjoy the day. One of the activities was to be taking the boat out, but the weather did not cooperate. It was suggested that we go see the aquarium. We were all in agreement.
Queen Mary harbored in Long Beach

The aquarium lies in Long Beach in the shadow of the original Queen Mary. It is docked in Long Beach and used as a Hotel these days. One of the last of the old Steamships that sailed the seas in its era.

I've visited aquariums before, but none like this one. Exhibit after exhibit and an array of tanks with views from the top and bottom. One large tank even had three divers down, all with full dive gear, handling the fish. One would speak and the other would point out the characteristic being explained. It was fascination to say the least.
200 pound Sea Bass says "Hello"

The Sea Bass in the photo above weighed in at over 200 pounds. The photo doesn't seem to show its massive size, but believe me, that head shot was over a foot wide! Go ahead, click on any of these photos to enlarge them and get a close-up view.

There were numerous tanks of jellyfish, and they were in all kinds of positions. In fact, I'm not sure which way is up. They were all beautiful in their form and movement.
I call these Jellyfish, but they have many varieties and names for identification
The Jellyfish are found in every ocean and can thrive in very cold arctic water as well as warmer tropical seas. There are many varieties and most are translucent. The colors here are created by the lighting of the tanks. Their movements mesmerized me and I found myself standing there watching them for quite some time.
This Starfish was hanging out on the glass. The reflection is as bright as the photo!

The large tanks, which had access for viewing from the surface, or from underwater pedestrian walkways, had sharks of all kinds swimming amongst stingrays and other fish. The Stingray tanks had people milling around so we went and took a closer look.

Seems the Stingray loves contact with people. They come to you and ask you to pet them and touch them. This one was swimming along the side then abruptly stopped as I photographed. A blur beneath the surface, then his head popped out of the water and I'm sure I saw a smile. I never realized how friendly they could be. I'm sure if I saw one in the wild I'd be terrified.

This friendly fellow was ready to surface

He smiled at me after I petted his head and stuck around for the photo

We ventured through the aquarium and watched entertainment and street vendors along with a great lunch at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Company. As they go, corporate restaurants don't thrill me, but Bubba Gump's had a great feel to it and a great selection of fish and shrimp. The service was very good as all waitrons serviced all patrons. Refills of my iced tea were coming from all directions.

It was a bright sunny day and that helped the colors radiate from this one tank in particular. This very short YouTube video captures some of the more colorful varieties as they dart back and forth.

Hoped you liked this short journey. We spent hours there. It is a great place to visit and seemed to be very child friendly. We didn't have the Grandkids on this trip, but I know they would have enjoyed seeing this place.

Just a reminder to check out the Aquatic Angels link on the top right of my side bar to donate to those struggling in Japan.  Thank you.


Sunday, March 20, 2011


Shadow Shot Sunday
March 20, 2011

Please take note of the link for Aquatic Angels on the top right of my side bar. Please donate to help the people devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.------->

Sorry I'm late in posting. I've been away and frankly, haven't been in the mood to write a damn word lately. In the case of todays Shadow Shot submission, I didn't take the photo. It was sent to me by friends that attended the rallies for workers rights in the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison.

You can see more fantastic shadow shots and find out the guidelines for participation at the Hey Harriet Blog, and I strongly urge you to do so.

Sign held aloft at a political rally in Madison, Wisconsin

I'm not going to explain much more about the why and wherefore of the above photograph. Leave it to say that there are people that need to protest what government is doing. I will tell you that my way of thinking and living supports the protestors.

As for the photograph itself, I'm sure it was staged in the early morning shadows at the Capitol Building for our State. People have been there with signs for an extended period of time and many have not left to go home at night but choose to 'live in' on the Capitol grounds. As there have been thousands there, and one Saturday rally the crowd was counted as over 100,000 people, there have been no arrests.

I do have the idea of Shadow Shot Sunday in my head and have gotten into the habit of carrying my camera with me or usung the cell phone camera when I see an interesting shadow. I'll leave you with a couple from the past month that I like.

Hard to see where the stingray is and the shadow begins

Purple coral from one of the displays at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA

I'll report about a fantastic visit to a marvelous place in Long Beach, California called the Aquarium of the Pacific in the days ahead. I hope you enjoy these two photos. I'm planning a Monday Mystery Tour post, that will feature this visit, in the very near future.

Peace to all

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Mystery Tour, 03/14/2011

Saints and Churches On Parade
Beautiful church on the edge of town, Cuchillo, NM
Last December, I got involved with a blog exercise that had participants doing twelve days of Saintly stories and photographs which culminated with the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th. This project was the brainstorm of my good friend Rebecca of the recuerda mi corazon blog.

Before I jumped into that project, I had never realized how many photographs I had taken of religious statues, churches and objects. On my last trip down to New Mexico and through Arizona to California, I took some photos as well.
When I got home and transferred all my stuff to iPhoto on my Mac, I found more Saint Shots and Chuches I had seen and photographed from our travels. I’d like to share them with you, mostly from a standpoint of art, but take whatever you might find interesting, if anything, and do with it what you need to.
This ramshackle dwelling sits immediately to the left of the beautiful church above in Cuchillo, NM

Personally, I don’t know what I find so interesting and why I am drawn to them, but I am. And when I see a photo op, I stop and snap away. I did no editing on any of these. All are right out of the camera, my Nikon Coolpix S8000.
I was in El Paso and visited a friend that I have shared blog adventures with for years. Her name is Border Explorer and she and her husband do good works for so many people in the border villages near El Paso, TX in Winter and back home in Iowa in Summer. We attended a Peace Vigil, held every Friday at Noon in downtown El Paso, TX.
Peace Vigil in downtown El Paso, TX
Border Explorer and Mrs. Spadoman 3rd & 4th from the left
It was quite an honor to meet old friends I’ve never met before. Above is a photo from the Peace Vigil of Mrs. Spadoman with Border Explorer and others gathering for peace. On the walk from our parking place to the Peace Vigil site, I spotted this in town church and snapped a couple of shots.
Immaculate Conception Church, El Paso, TX
I find it a shame that a church has to put wrought iron gates on it's windows

Statue of Our Lady above the doorway of the Rectory
Immaculate Conception Church, El Paso, TX

I’d spend some of my time wandering the desert areas near and around Truth Or Consequences. North of town is a series of roads that travel to some small old, mining towns. Cuchillo, not far from T or C, was somewhat run down overall, but the church stood clean and white, pure, along the road near the South end of town as you can see in the first two photographs of this post..
Then the shot of Jesus on the Crucifix affixed to the power pole in the middle of town. Probably a reminder of someone who had died there in some sort of accident.
Shrine posted high up on a telephone pole, T or C, NM
While traveling towards Arizona, we stopped in Silver City, NM. On our way was Santa Rita, a small suburb, if you will, where a huge open pit copper mine sits. On a rural highway crossroads was this Grotto and Veterans Memorial that used Our Lady of Santa Rita, adorned with red roses, as their guiding light.
Santa Rita Veterans Memorial, Santa Rita, NM
Santa Rita amidst bright red roses
In Arizona, we traveled Southwest from Prescott, where we had met other blog friends, Rebecca of recuerda mi corazon and Magical Mystery Teacher of the blog by the same name, and used a two lane highway through the small town of Yarnell. There was a sign for a Saint Joseph Shrine. That’s my namesake, I couldn’t avoid taking a look. There were a few statues there. The white alabaster St. Joseph, holding the Christ Child, and the Last Supper Table with only one guest. Maybe Mrs. Spadoman was just early showing up for dinner that day.
Saint Joseph at Shrine in Yarnell, AZ
Mrs. Spadoman had his ear when she arrived early for supper
So you see, for some reason I seem to like these images. To me, they make good photography subjects. I do snap photos of other things like Shadow Shots for a meme I’m involved in and the occasional train. I like trains, but one special blogger friend and her mate really like 'em. They make me think I really should stop and take some pictures.

So, I’ll leave you with this short one minute YouTube of a long straight flat stretch of US Highway 60 through the plains, East of Amarillo, TX.
This was on our way home. We stayed on the two lane and this particular train and I switched places, one ahead of the other, for a couple of hours. I’d go through a small town and come out behind the train. Then, I’d catch it and pass, only to fall behind again at the next town.
What I marveled at was the fact that this monster had eight locomotives pulling strong. It was traveling at 70 miles per hour. Try to listen past the wind noise for the crossing warning whistle near the end of the short video.

I was away from home for over six weeks. I have more photos to share and stories to tell, including some restaurant and coffee shop reviews. Stay Tuned.
Peace to all, and prayers sent to those suffering in Japan and surrounding areas from the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. Our hearts go out to those struggling with grief and loss.