Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Scrap Metal Sculpture

Crazy Dreams

I had two crazy dreams this morning.  In the first, I was given something very special and told I was "to protect it with your life" while I was traveling with it to a specific destination.  In the dream I had several adventures in which different people were trying to steal this wrapped six-inch cube from me.  Somehow, I always managed to escape and save the package.  When I finally reached my destination, I asked what was in the package.  I was told to open it and look.  It was a small fine porcelain sugar pot, that would hold, at most, 3/4 cup of sugar.  It was white with yellow and orange roses painted around the bowl.  There were small highlights of gold on the petals and a few of the stems and leaves.  The top was almost flat, and had a round "button" handle.  I awoke very puzzled, and I'm still wondering why that sugar bowl was so very special....
   The other dream seemed to last a life-time.  I awoke in a place unknown to me.  I was dressed in clothes that I didn't recognize as mine.  I was lying in a bed in a small room, and there were several children looking at me.  I must have made a sound, because a woman appeared behind the children and said, "Ah, good. You're awake.  It's time for you to leave, then."  I started asking questions - Where am I?  Why am I here? What is this place?  Who are you?  Who are all these children? The woman wouldn't answer and just made brushing away signs with her hands.  One of the girls said to another, "She doesn't know.  She doesn't understand that she is no longer who she was."  And all the children giggled at that thought.
   The woman pulled me up and walked me to the door, pushed me through it, and closed the door behind me.  I was in a rural area, heavily forested, with a few ramshackle old mobile homes tucked here and there under the trees.  There was a pathway to walk upon, but nothing wide enough to have accommodated getting mobile homes into the area.  People were peeking at me from behind curtains.  I turned in circles, calling out, "Hello?"  Finally, a few children came crawling out from under tree roots, and gathered around me.  A few could speak, and they told me they were "throw aways," youngsters that were no longer wanted by anyone.  And they said they guessed that I was a "throw away" too, since I was being kicked out of the mobile home and into the forest.
  That made me angry.  So I started organizing the children into groups, and we set up our own society.  I taught them how to find edible roots and berries, how to make traps, how to cook, what plants made good clothing, how to sew and make clothes....  Somehow I became the leader of several groups of "feral" children.  And then the people who lived in the mobile homes decided we were the enemies, and they drove us away, burning and looting and stealing what we had built for our own comfort, with our own hands.
  We finally decided we had to move.  I don't know in which direction we traveled, but in a few days, we came to places where there had been great destruction. There were craters in the earth, and rubble from large stone buildings all around us.  We took shelter one night in the ruins of a building - two walls were partially standing, and we were using them as shelter from the wind.  We fell asleep, and were awakened by bright blue and white lights that were shedding sparks all around them.  We were all very frightened - and then these gigantic shadows started to appear on the edges of the building...  And then I woke up with a start.  (I can't imagine why....)
    What was weird, to me, was that during the dream, as I gathered more and more "throw aways" and taught them to take care of themselves, I felt like the Pied Piper of Hamelin - but in reverse.  Crazy.

Monday, January 30, 2017

"Bright" Birds - Photos





Gouldian finch


Fiery-throated hummingbird

I Applauded My Bus Driver This Evening...

Since I had the use of Donn's vehicle for a month, I haven't been riding the bus recently.  The day after I returned the car I had a couple of jobs that required I ride the 208 bus, to travel efficiently. I am still working at one of those houses, the other owners having returned.  In the late afternoon, I catch the bus at Glenwood and 29th, disembark at Broadway and Elder; then get back on at Broadway and Cedar after caring for the hens and cats.  I ride the bus back to Glenwood and 29th, and walk two blocks home.  A thin, tall older woman usually drives the bus I use - and today was no different.  She greeted me with a grin, and wished me a "Good evening," when I left.
   I caught her on the way back, and we laughed, and said, "Long time - no see."  I took a seat four rows back and settled in.  Most of the people on the bus were under 25, and I'd guess that several were teenagers.  The stop before I get off the bus is a major one, and several people disembarked.  There were three people waiting at the stop, who might, or might not be, possible riders.  One man got on, used his pass and sat down.  The other two people did not move at all.  The bus driver closed the doors, and started to ease the bus away from the stop.
  A man, who had been engrossed with a cell phone, immediately banged his fist on the closed front door and began to curse.  The bus driver stopped and opened the door.  The man turned back to his cell phone and turned his back to the door.  The driver started to close the door, again, and the man turned around and started yelling again.  The driver re-opened the door, and said, "Well, then, get on."  The man then bent over and grabbed a bike that had been lying on the ground.  He very slowly and deliberately moved to the front bumper of the bus, rolling his bike beside him.  When he arrived at the front, he kicked the bicycle carrier, which was folded up (since it wasn't in use).  Then he pulled it loose and let the rack fall into place, after which, he kicked it again.  Then he picked his bike up and dropped it into place.  He moved it back and forth several times, and finally dropped the tire loop into position.  Then he walked back to the door of the bus, and said, "Just a minute."  He then sauntered over to the covered waiting area and grabbed a cardboard case of 24 Dr Pepper sodas.  The handle broke as he was boarding the bus, and he just managed to get his hand and arm under the bottom, preventing a bursting box of 24 cans flying everywhere.  The man was cursing the entire time.
   The driver called out, "Come on in, or get your bike and go!"   The man continued cussing at the top of his voice.  He came up the steps and dropped the cardboard container on the seat, and then he sat down.  The driver said, "I need to see your pass, or you need to pay the fare."  - Everyone else on the bus was turning their heads back and forth, as if we were viewing a tennis match. -  The man yelled, "I had to put my drinks down, first, you bitch!"  The driver turned in her seat, and said, "You owe me an apology, mister."  He didn't say anything.  "You pay, or show me a pass, and apologize; or you get off the bus."  I stood up and started clapping.  Peoples eyes were dancing back and forth between the two. Finally, the man showed his pass, and started complaining that he was having troubles with his girlfriend.  She said she didn't care, it didn't pertain to her, and she still needed an apology.  I applauded again.  He stood there and finally said, "I guess....  I apologize."  She nodded, said, "I accept that," and started to pull the bus out into traffic.
   Then the man exploded again - "It's not my fault!  It's that bitch of a girl-friend! I...."  She stopped the bus again.  She said, "You're a nasty trouble-maker. You did the same things this morning, and you did them this past Friday.  I can refuse to drive with you on my bus.  Do you know I have that right?"  He said, very quietly, "I'm sorry."  She put the bus back into gear and we started to move again.  As she pulled out into traffic, he suddenly yelled again, "It's all that bitch's fault! She-" and the driver cut him off.  "That's none of my concern," she said.  She looked ahead, and he turned scarlet and screamed, "I've got fucking AIDS!"  She glanced at him, and said, "That's not my fault, either.  Be quiet."
    We finally traveled one block and made the turn onto Glenwood.  I stepped up to the front door to leave, and I patted her shoulder, and said, "I support you. If you need a witness, I'm here."  Then I looked at the man as I was going down the stairs.  I said, "Mister, you are a menace to normal society.  You should be locked up, evaluated, and placed on medication, or locked away."  Then I walked home.  I think the other riders got more than they expected on the 208 this evening...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dressage - Horse Ballet

First, you need a mount (any equine) with good conformation for ease of movement.
Second, you need an excellent instructor.
Third, you need to practice, practice, practice.
Fourth, any mistake is the rider's, not the horse.

Thank yous are always welcome.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Pegasus World Cup Horses - Photos

Arrogate winning today's Pegasus World Cup by 4 3/4 lengths

Arrogate and jockey Mike Smith after winning the Travers Stakes

Shaman Ghost, 2nd in the Pegasus

Neolithic, 3rd in the Pegasus

Keen Ice, 4th in the Pegasus

War Story, 5th in the Pegasus

California Chrome, under Victor Espinoza.  Chrome will be retired to stud duty
following today's race.

Pegasus World Cup Invitational Race

Frank Stronach probably envisioned his dream race, today's Pegasus World Cup Invitational, as a hard-fought, nose-to-nose, eyeball-to-eyeball, stride-for-stride fight down the stretch - this year, between California Chrome and Arrogate.  This year, the inaugural running, was to be "something really special" - and it was, but I don't think it happened the way Stronach played it out in his vision.
  The race was 1 1/8 miles on the main dirt track; the half-mile was run in :46 flat, according to the announcer.  The final time was 1:47.61.
   Twelve horses started the race, and twelve horses finished.  It turned out that the race was a showcase for Arrogate, the roan son of Unbridled's Song - he won by 4 3/4 lengths, under jockey Mike Smith.  Shaman Ghost ran second, 3 1/2 lengths in front of Neolithic, who was 2 3/4 lengths in front of fourth-placed Keen Ice.  Arrogate's hare of the $12 million purse was $7 million.  Ghostzapper's son, Shaman Ghost picked up $1.75 million for placing, and Neolithic, the son of Harlan's Holiday, increased his bankroll by $1 million.  Every other horse who ran received a payment of $250,000.
   California Chrome looked good before the race, and he broke well from his outside post position,  He was wide on the first turn, some six lanes out from the rail.  He seemed to gallop steadily and smoothly down the backstretch, but when Victor Espinoza asked him to run, as Mike Smith made his move with Arrogate, it didn't seem he responded...  In fact, he started losing ground coming into the stretch, and finished ninth of twelve.  It looked, to me, that he was gazing at the stands, even with his blinkers on...  After the race, it was determined that he had a build-up of fluid in his right knee.  He will be carefully watched and checked, and if the inflammation abates quickly, he will be shipped to his new home to began his duties as a stallion at Taylor Made.
   As usual, I was rooting for the South American-bred horse, Eragon, a four-year-old, who was running for the first time in the United States, and the only horse running without lasix.  He was given a 5 pound allowance for not being medicated.  He wasn't the last horse out of the gate, but he was last at the first turn, and he stayed last...    Silly me.

Friday, January 27, 2017

International Holocaust Remembrance Day - Photos

Sunrise at Auschwitz    27 Jan 2017

 Survivors and families at the Auschwitz Memorial Wall

Dead Jews left in bunks at Auschwitz

Auschwitz barracks for prisoners

A gas chamber at Auschwitz

Auschwitz survivors point at themselves in a liberation photo:  (from left)
Miriam Ziegler, Paula Lebovics. Gabor Hirsh and Eva Kor

International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the spot of the
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Seventy-two years ago, Allied troops arrived at Auschwitz and began to liberate those who had survived imprisonment, torture, starvation, and medical experiments at the hands of the Nazi followers of Adolph Hitler.  During the second World War millions of people were killed by the Nazi party, who believed that the Aryan race was the ultimate race of humanity, and that all others were to be hated, killed, and experimented upon.
    During the reign of Hitler's Nazi Germany in the early 1940s millions of people were killed.  More than six million Jews, two million Roma (gypsies), and hundreds of thousands of  gay, lesbian, and disabled people were killed because of their beliefs, their heritage, their disabilities, and their sexual orientation.  It was an outrageous event.  I hope and pray with all of my being that such a thing never happens again - anywhere on this earth, or within our knowledge of our universe.
    This is what the Circus Peanut's statement was for today - the International Holocaust Remembrance Day - all of three extremely short paragraphs or one hundred seventeen words:
    "It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victors, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust.  It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.
     "Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.  As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.
     "In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good.  Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world."
     Nowhere in this short statement is there a mention of the Jewish people, who lost the most lives of anyone, any where.  The Anti-Defamation League president finds this troubling, as do I.
     Before and during World War II Jewish immigrants and refugees were refused the right to immigrate to other countries where they would not be persecuted.  Today, the Circus Peanut also signed an Executive Order regarding refugees to our United States.  The executive order halts all refugee settlements for four months, reduces the total refugee quota substantially, and imposes travel restrictions on some foreign nationals.
    The executive action does not explicitly single out members of a single faith, but the countries impacted are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, according to a White House official.  It also gives priority status to refugees "provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality."
     Somehow, I find this unsettling...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

11th & 12th Century Castles - Photos

Cardiff Castle, Wales; Norman castle on top of Roman fort

St Mary Magdalene round Chapel at Ludlow Castle, Shropshire, England

Hochburg Castle in Germany

Castel de Requesens, Catalonia, Spain

Corfe Castle, Dorset, England

Cesis Castle, Latvia

Castello di Duino, Italy

I'm Still Speechless...

During an hour-long interview with ABC News last night, the Circus Peanut said that people who follow the rules of the Geneva Conventions are  "fools" .......    I am still speechless.