Wednesday, April 30, 2008


No, not the kind you keep in your browser. The kind you use in real, honest-to-goodness books. You know, to "mark" your spot in a "book." Do you use them? I do. I have several (because sometimes I'm reading different books at the same time) and my favorite right now is one my daughter sent me that has my grandson's picture on it smiling out at me.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Autism receives as little as 5% of the research funding as other less common diseases.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

Today I was composing my "Farewell" e-mail to send out to all my co-workers here in Louisiana on Thursday and I seriously thought about making the subject line read: "So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish" (as both an inside joke about the fact that I haven't eaten any fish while here and to note my imminent departure), but I was afraid there wouldn't be a lot of Douglas Adams fans who would understand the reference and mass confusion would follow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Writer's Block? More Like Memory Block

When I'm reading a writing or photography magazine, I typically highlight passages or "star" pages and articles and then write the page number on the front cover so that later when I need to go back over the information, I can turn directly to the page without having to scan through the entire magazine. I also write myself notes on the pages to remind me of certain things that I want to remember, either about the article itself or thoughts I had when reading.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading the April issue of The Writer magazine while I was eating lunch. There was a good article entitled, "How To Get Past Writer's Block" that I enjoyed reading. At some point while reading the article I took out my pen and wrote two words on the first page, "Hogan" and "Walker."

And now, even though I always write these notes to remind me of something, I have no idea what those two words were supposed to remind me of in the article. I've read through it several times, trying to recapture what my thoughts were the first time I read it and jog my memory of what those words meant in the context of the article, but I keep coming up blank.

I can't worry about writer's block until I overcome my memory block.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Just One?"

I have a little rant. Not even a rant, really, just voicing an aggravation about a kind of behavior that has seemed even more prevalent during my visit to Louisiana. Not that it's limited to Cajun Country, by any means, but circumstances here have increased my experience with it.

Typically, I end up eating out 3-4 meals each week, usually the nights that the hotel does not offer a free meal (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) or the meal is something I don't care to eat, and a lunch on Saturday or Sunday. Sometimes I make myself a sandwich or heat up leftovers from a meal out, but that still leaves those 3 or 4 meals eaten out at nearby restaurants. And eating out that much each week has caused me to have more and more encounters with this behavior.

Right behind the hotel is a Romano's Macaroni Grill and a On The Border Mexican restaurant. I have a favorite dish at each of these restaurants; the Chicken Rigatoni at Romano's and the Double Grilled Quesadilla at On The Border. Each is delicious and each is large enough that I can eat half there and get the other half to go for a lunch or dinner later. But that is not the issue.

Since I'm here working, when I do eat out it's alone. Obviously, a meal out with Cindy or family or friends is preferable when I'm home, but I also don't mind dining alone; in fact I am very comfortable eating by myself and always have been. I bring a book or magazine and read while enjoying a good meal. And as long as the server keeps my glass of unsweetened ice tea filled, they're guaranteed to get a minimum 20 percent tip. Obviously, my standards are not outrageously high.

But here's the aggravation; I walk into the restaurant and approach the host/hostess station, just me and my book or magazine in my hand and no one else around me and every time I'm asked, "Just one?" Sometimes they'll glance around me as if I'm trying to sneak someone in by hiding them in my back pocket or I have them tied to my back somehow and they're just out of view. Although my smart-ass self has been tempted to spit out an equally smart-ass reply ("No, don't you see the other three people with me?" or "Oh my god! Where did everyone go??" They were just here!), I beat that little devil down and either nod in agreement or answer "Yes" and watch while they look over the dining room and decide where they're going to seat this schmuck who they imagine can't even find a dinner date.

The other night, I had finally had enough. Once I finished my meal I asked the server to please send the manager over to my table, assuring her it had nothing to do with her service or the food. I honestly don't think my conversation had any effect because the 20-something manager, while trying to follow the "diner has a problem" script of problem solving ("We'll comp your meal" and "I'd like to give you a free coupon for your next visit"), just didn't really seem to get the basis of my complaint.

In a nutshell, here's what I said; when your host or hostess asks me, "Just one?" the implication is that I am causing them untold amount of work for one person. The intimation is that as one person, I'm just a notch above a roach scurrying through the door. The unspoken message in the question is that as one person, I'm really not worthy of dining in your restaurant or that there must surely be something wrong with me if I'm eating alone. I'd like to suggest that a better greeting might be "Party of one?" with a smile, both on the face and in the voice, or even "Will you be dining alone sir?" without looking past me or around me to see if I'm hiding someone. I can't ever recall, when I was dining with people, being asked, "Just two?" or "Just four?" etc, etc., etc.

As I said, I don't think he understood what I was saying and after declining his repeated offers of a free meal, I simply asked him to think about it, paid my bill and walked back across the parking lot to my hotel.

Well, that "little rant" went on for quite a bit, didn't it? Didn't mean for it to be so long. But what do you think? Am I being overly sensitive about this or is it a valid complaint? Have you had this kind of experience often enough that you've lost your cool, so to speak, about it?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jenna Bush Inherits Dad's Inability to Speak Coherently

Appearing on CNN's Larry King show Wednesday night, Jenna had this to say about her upcoming nuptials:

(NOTE:I didn't watch the show, this is from a transcript)

"[It will be] outdoors, very small wedding, you 'know, very small, all relatives, our families, really, kind of big," Jenna Bush said. "So it's half-family and then half very close friends."

Hmmmmm...Ok the wedding will be "very small" yet "kind of big", plus guests will be "all relatives" yet "half very close friends."

Yep, she's got all the makings to be the next President Bush.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Processed, And I Mean Processed, Ice Cream

There is a local dairy here in Baton Rouge known as Kleinpeter Farms Dairy. I know nothing about their products from a personal standpoint, but their marketing department might want to re-examine the radio ad campaign they have been running for their new line of ice cream products.

A voice purporting to be from the dairy farm states they made their first batch of ice cream and it was SO good that the cows ate every bit of it up! So now they've finished their second batch and it's on the way to local stores.

Which really means, when you think about it, that their customers are eating the first batch, it's just recycled.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Autism is more common than multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis or childhood cancer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Top Ten Science Fiction Authors

Although I love writing, I have never really thought that I have a book in me waiting to come out (sorry babe, I know you were looking forward to that bestseller and the hefty advance), but IF I ever did write a book or short story, I think it would most likely be a science fiction story (either that or a fantasy story or a mystery involving computers) as that has always been one of my favorite genres to read.

So, I thought I'd list my Top Ten Science Fiction Authors and, if you have an interest in such writings, you can see how it compares to your own list of favorites. Remember, my list is purely subjective.

10. Ben Bova - The first work of his I stumbled across as a child was "The Star Conquerors" and the last one I read was "Orion Among The Stars."

9. Isaac Asimov
- One just has to mention "The Foundation Trilogy" or "I, Robot" or his Three Laws of Robotics to know we're talking about one of the most well-known science fiction authors.

8. Arthur C. Clarke
- Just listing his name is enough for anyone to understand the place of this recently deceased writer. He was also one of my favorite Humanists.

7. Poul Anderson
- As a kid, I loved "Time Patrol" and "Tomorrow's Children", which led me to all the other great stories by this prolific author.

6. Frederik Pohl - Among my favorites by this author; "The Starchild Trilogy" and "Beyond the Blue Event Horizon."

5. Ray Bradbury - "The Martian Chronicles" and "Fahrenheit 451" would be more than enough, but we also get "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and a plethora of other novels, short stories, screenplays and poetry from this gifted writer.

4. Piers Anthony - While mostly known for his "Xanth" series, it was his "Bio of a Space Tyrant" and "Incarnations of Immortality" series which enthralled me.

3. Robert A. Heinlein
- Generally acknowledged as "The Dean of Science Fiction Writers." From the mid-60's to late 70's I read everything of Heinlein's I could lay my hands on. Obviously, his seminal work, "Stranger In a Strange Land" has always been a favorite and I recently re-read it just for fun. True fans will remember the "I Grok Spock" bumper stickers and signs in the late 60's.

2. Jules Verne - Fondly referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction", Verne was a man incredibly ahead of his time. Though probably best known for "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea", it was his "From the Earth to the Moon" that has always been my favorite of his writings.

1. H. G. Wells - With apologies to Doc Brown and Clara Clayton (if you've seen Back to the Future III then you know what I'm referring to), the legendary H. G. Wells takes the top spot on my list, mostly because his immortal "The Time Machine" encompasses my favorite sub-genre of science fiction writing; time travel. (Which, considering the subject matter, SHOULD have been their favorite author...except that he was only 9 years old in 1875, the year in which BTTF III was set) I read this book in elementary school and later saw the 1960 movie based on the bestseller starring Rod Taylor. Other great works of Mr. Wells include "The War of the Worlds", "The Invisible Man", "The Island of Doctor Moreau" and another one of my all-time favorites, "The First Men in the Moon." Like Verne, Wells was a man far ahead of his time in what his imagination could conjure up.

So, there's my totally subjective list of my favorite Top Ten Science Fiction Authors. Now it's your turn. Share yours in the comment section. Maybe you'll name some I'm not familiar with and it will give me recommendations for new authors to read.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm Right And You're Not!

Do you ever wonder how some people come to have an idea in their mind that they translate into fact, even though it may not be?

I was reviewing a document submitted by a worker who was responding to a complaint about a driver. The complaint stated the driver was speeding. The worker wrote that the driver was speeding and driving erratically. When I asked him to show me in the complaint where it stated the driver was driving erratically, he declared, "Speeding is driving erratically!" and became progressively more upset as I asked him to explain why he would equate the two.

I pointed out several examples where someone could be driving erratically, but not speeding (drunk drivers get pulled over all the time for driving under the speed limit but erratically), or speeding but not driving erratically (in full control of the vehicle), yet he simply could not see that the two were not synonymous. I finally had to just give him one of my looks and gently explain that, regardless of how he may interpret what was written (speeding) in the complaint, he could not add to the wording and to leave it as cited in the original complaint.

What was saddest to me, though, was that he was completely unwilling to even entertain the possibility that he might be wrong or, more importantly, be willing to change his perspective to look at something from a new direction or in a new and different light. Such close-mindedness is why some people never grow, never change and never expand their minds. All because they have an idea or thought and, no matter how wrong it may be, hold onto it as fact.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

It's the only Earth we have, so let's handle it carefully.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Are You A Writer?"

Such a simple question, really. Nothing nearly as earthshaking as, "Did you murder your wife, Mr. Wetherington?" or "Honey, why are you wearing my lingerie?" So, why did it seem to give me such pause that time felt as if it had slowed while I considered all the possible answers?

The occasion for the question arose during a visit to a local bookstore this past Saturday afternoon. I had a coupon and it was burning a hole on my pocket. I already had three possible books in mind when I entered the store and two, it turned out, were not available. The third, Stephen King's "On Writing" was not where I expected it to be under Writer's Resources so I asked the clerk if he could check his inventory computer. He did and the last copy in the store was located in the fiction section, of all places. As I was presenting my coupon and payment for the book, he asked me that simple, almost sublime question...

"Are you a writer?"

I felt as if I were a deer, caught in the headlights of that probing, surgically incising question.

Indeed, am I a writer?

Other than a few software reviews I wrote 6 or 7 years back for a local Computer Club publication, none of my work has been in the realm of print and while I fully embrace the new technologies which make it possible for all of us to be "writers" on the Internet, part of me is still "old school" in defining a writer as someone who has written work that has been published in print. A book, magazine, or newsletter even.

And that's not me...yet.

On the other hand, over the last few years I have written for several personal blogs, two hyperlocal blogs (one where my ability was sought out by a huge newspaper publishing conglomerate), a couple of personal travel blogs and I write articles and reviews about one of my childhood (ok, and adulthood) hobbies for another media site.

And all of that is writing.

Yet I still imagine that if I answer "Yes" to the question of "Are you a writer?" the next question will be, "What have you written?" and for most people that question really means, "Show me your book or magazine article" and, alas, I have none. Yet.

So I finally answered, "Yes, but all of my work is online, nothing in print" and he proceeded to tell me about a local writer's group, if I was interested, that met at the store each month. I might have been if I weren't just visiting his fair city.

It occurred to me later that, more and more lately, I HAVE been thinking of myself as a writer. A neophyte, without doubt and with a great deal to learn about this craft, but still, a writer in thought and deed.

I have a long way to go and not much time to get there, but yes, I AM a writer!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saturday In Baton Rouge

Saturday morning I had a class I had to attend for work. I could do an entire post on how useless it was, but no one would care except those of us who had to suffer through it, and to the best of my knowledge no one who attended the class reads this blog, so let's move on to the fun stuff.

After leaving the class I went downtown to visit the LSU Museum of Art and walk around the banks of the Mississippi River, which is still rising. The first photo below was taken on February 9th and I've included an arrow to show how much the river has risen to where it is in the second photo taken yesterday, where you can see people using the steps of the levee to walk into the river and how the steps and rails disappear into the still rising water.

The LSU MOA is a rather small museum (at least for what I would expect in a state capitol) but does contain some very nice pieces, ranging from work by Childe Hassam, an American Impressionistic painter, to Jackson Pollock's abstract work to one of Andy Warhol's most well-known piece of art.

I have several other photos up on my Flickr page, which you can view by clicking on the Flickr badge over on the right column.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What Ever Happened To...?

For some reason I suddenly started wondering what ever happened to the guy, about a decade ago, who moved into an empty house and planned to get everything he needed to live (furniture, food, etc.) off the Internet without leaving the house for a year. Does anyone remember him or what happened to him? I seem to remember that he ended up leaving the house before the year, but I'm not sure. I tried several word combinations on Google and trying to look up information on him, but came up empty.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Windows XP Users Petition Microsoft

Microsoft plans to stop selling its XP Operating System in June and users are up in arms. It seems that quite a few who have upgraded to Windows' latest OS, Vista, have been so unhappy with Vista's performance that they have "downgraded" by returning to XP for a better computing experience. And of course, everyone knows that when Microsoft stops selling XP, it will also do away with any support for that OS leaving users with no choice but to move to Vista at some point. As a result, XP users are petitioning Microsoft not to discontinue offering XP to Windows users.

I bought my Toshiba laptop just before Vista debuted, so I had the opportunity to "upgrade" from XP to vista when it came out, but I passed on that offer. That's because, historically, Microsoft releases an OS that is buggy and unreliable and then attempts to fix it with patches and "Service Packs." Since XP was working fine for me I saw no need to introduce additional stress into my computing life by switching to Vista. My thought was, if they stabilized it in later releases I would think about upgrading at that time. But hearing and reading about users' difficulties kept me from ever even wanting to change to Vista

Cindy bought her Toshiba after Vista was out (but before its first Service Pack came out) so it was already on her laptop and she had a lot of problems with it recognizing our printer and other hardware, plus a lot of buggy issues that popped up several times a week. So much for the argument that a factory-installed Vista would perform better. As I recall, when she installed Service Pack 1, it introduced a whole new set of problems and issues.

My friend Denise e-mailed me the other day about how she had to suddenly install a generic driver on her laptop to get the video card to work. Every time she installed the driver identified by Microsoft as the appropriate one to use, her screen went blank. She could plug the laptop into her desktop monitor and see everything fine, but trying to view it on the laptop screen was fruitless until she installed a generic driver. The most likely culprit; a conflicting piece of software or hardware that Windows won't play nice with.

All of which has further solidified in my mind the determination that my next laptop will be an Apple MacBook Pro. Things work without being babied. Things work right out of the box. Things work together. And the Apple software package centers on the things that a creative person like myself finds useful; writing, photography, music and video creation.

Maybe Cindy will get one for me for Christmas...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ringtone Response

Last Saturday I was standing in the post office with about 400 (it seemed like) other people waiting for one of the two clerks to work their way through the mass of humanity in front of me. Normally I take care of almost all my postal needs online, but for this particular situation I needed to complete a transaction at the counter.

About halfway up the winding line was a distinguished looking man (he reminded me of James Pickens, Jr. from Grey's Anatomy, which I don't watch anymore so I hope he's still on the show) with, I assume, his son; a young man who looked to be about 13 or 14. The father was talking on his cell phone for a few minutes and then a couple of minutes after he finished his call we all heard one of those ringtones that are portions of a song come from his direction.

Everyone in front of and behind the duo turned to look in the direction of ring and watched as the son struggled to quickly pull his cellphone out of his pocket and it soon became evident why he was trying to answer it so quickly because the lyrics of what sounded like a rap song suddenly sang out for all to hear, "I want to see those pretty motherf***ers" (or something like that...I have a difficult time understanding most words in rap songs, but the last two words were very clear) and everyone's eyes moved from the son to the father and then turned away, most likely in an effort to spare him any embarrassment.

But I kept watching and saw the father's eyes narrow as his son conversed on the phone. His eyes then flicked over to me and we exchanged what I like to think was a knowing look between two fathers. When his son finished his conversation, I watched him place his hand on his son's shoulder and gently pull him in close to him so he could whisper in his ear. After speaking, he pulled back, looked his son in the face and said, "You understand?" and his son nodded that he did. No fireworks, no yelling, no making a scene, just a father dealing with a situation in a calm, controlling manner. Although the father may have been embarrassed by his son's ringtone, he didn't try to embarrass his son. I admired that.

Nothing really important about this and I don't have a point to make. Just thought it was an interesting little slice of my otherwise boring day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dying Bloggers

A week and a half ago the New York Times ran an article about bloggers dying at their workstations. It seems that, at least with the ones who blog for money, these bloggers cannot bring themselves to get up to eat healthy, exercise or relieve the stress they are experiencing trying to pump out enough SEO articles to keep the bucks rolling in. I'm not entirely sure it's completely right, but it's not completely wrong either.

Of course, the tiniest ripple in "the force" is felt throughout the blogosphere and now someone has designed some blog labels and graphics to complement the premise of the article.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


When I first arrived in Western Louisiana back in November of last year, some folks from the local office were driving me around the area so I could become familiar with the local geography.

One day a young woman was taking me out into the more rural areas and I kept seeing what looked like rice fields. I assumed they were rice fields since I had already seen several rice processing plants during our travels...but I was only half-right.

The fields were vast. low-lying lands that were covered in water and had strange looking contraptions placed throughout them. When I asked what they were I was told they were traps. "Traps?" I asked, "Traps for what?" I was thinking there must have been some sort of predators out there eating up all the rice. Thus you can imagine my surprise when she said the traps were there to catch crawfish.

Because, you see, that was my second misconception. I had always thought crawfish only lived in rivers, lakes or other bodies of fresh water. I had no idea that there were crawfish farmers raising them on land by creating those bodies of water.

Here's where I was half-right. Those WERE rice fields. But come September or so, after the rice has been harvested, crawfish farmers flood the land, dump crawfish in to eat the rice stumps that are now in mud (good for making crawfish grow and it clears the rice stump from the land) and have lots of baby crawfish, then trap them, sell them and have their land ready for the next rice crop. It's really a very efficient system. And it's how crawfish got the nickname "mudbugs."

But that's about as far as my admiration for the system and crawfish extends. I haven't eaten any of them or dishes with them in it while here in Louisiana. They remind me of lobster in their looks and of shrimp in the way they are eaten and I've never cared for either of those crustaceans so I have serious doubts I'll find these appetizing. What was it someone called them...the cockroaches of water life?

Or, just as appetizing, mudbugs.

April is Autism Awareness Month. The optimal treatment of autism involves an educational program that is suited to the child’s developmental level.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Friday Afternoon In Baton Rouge

Driving back to the hotel after work Friday afternoon, I came upon a scene I have seen on multiple afternoons and finally decided to snap a picture with my cellphone camera.

Since I HAVE seen it many times on my drive to the hotel, I know he's not dead.

But he's obviously a very tired man.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bumper Sticker

"The Shortest Distance Between Two People Is A Story"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Book Review At Athena

If you enjoy comic books and the talent behind them, I have a new book review up over at Athena Comics Guide.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My Workout Music List

So, after much pressure from my lovely wife, I finally broke down and went to have my blood tests this past Saturday. You know, the one my physician requested I do in February? One test I was able to get the results of right there in the clinic and...well it wasn't good.

I'm not sure how much more I can do diet-wise, especially on the road. I DO try to watch what and how much I'm eating. Unfortunately, it seems that it comes back to what my doctor told me from the beginning; exercise.

The results of the test were sobering enough that I immediately went to the hotel "fitness room" (two variable-speed/incline treadmills, a Stairmaster, stationary bike and assorted free weights) and worked out for 45 minutes. I did it again on Sunday, then skipped Monday night and worked out again Tuesday and Wednesday night and last night. I've been increasing the incline/speed on the treadmill each day and using heavier weights, though I've reached the weight I should be using now for the number of sets/repetitions I'm doing of each exercise. I'm trying to make myself get in the habit of doing this and I think I'm succeeding on that front. Now I just have to worry about what I'll do when I get home and don't have the ease of running downstairs to the fitness room to exercise.

Anyway, I loaded some workout music on my mp3 player and thought I would share with you My Workout Music List.

Radar Love by Golden Earring (Concert Version 9:03)
Love Shack by The B-52's (Techno Remix Version 6:30)
Eye of the Tiger by Survivor (Gotta have that "Rocky" music in there)
Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant (Remix Version)
Talking in your Sleep by The Romantics (Mastermix version)
Rock Me, Amadeus by Falco (Ultimix Version)
Venus by Bananarama (Hellfire Mix version 9:30)
Push It by Salt n Pepa (Killer remix Version)
You've Got Another Thing Comin' by Judas Priest (This was my entrance music during my short-lived wrestling career, lol)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Complete and Utter Shock

Have you ever had something happen or get some piece of news that just made your head spin for a few seconds? Something that absolutely knocked you to the floor, not physically but figuratively?

That's what happened to me today.

I can't go into what it was, but I can say it wasn't bad or terrible just... shocking and unexpected.

Totally unexpected.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Randy Pausch, My Hero

Former Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch has been one of my heroes since I first viewed his famous "Last Lecture" on the Internet last year, and I'm sure I'm not alone. That video, if you've been off-planet for the past 6 months, is available for viewing on YouTube or on a DVD you can order from CMU (which I have).

After finding out that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given 3 to 6 months of good health before the disease would begin its fatal finish to his life, Professor Pausch was given the chance to perform a CMU tradition, The Last Lecture, so named because it was typically the departing teacher's opportunity to say whatever they wish as last words to the student body and faculty.

And boy, what powerful last words they were.

"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"
was a talk that Professor Pausch actually prepared as a way to leave his 3 young children, Chloe, Dylan, and Logan, his advice for life since he would not be here to give it to them as they grew older. It's advice that is packed with common sense, philosophy and, what seems to be the foundation of his advice, a sense of humor ("I have had a deathbed conversion...I bought a Macintosh."). Yet even though his target audience was his children, some 6 million people all over the world watched that original online video and many of them took his words to heart, attempting to put them into action within their own lives

I also watched him in his appearance on "Oprah" several months ago, will watch him on "Primetime" tonight and will buy his newly published (yesterday) book, "The Last Lecture", which expands upon his original stage presentation and still is directed toward his children. Professor Pausch has been trying to spend as much time as possible with his children (who still do not know he is dying, only that he is sick) and so he collaborated with fellow CMU alum and Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow by cellphone headset while he bicycled around his neighborhood for exercise.

It's not often that I admire anyone that I do not personally know; Professor Pausch is one of those few. I hope, if I ever find myself in a similar situation, that I can emulate his poise, courage and humor.

The Italian Job

As regular readers know, I enjoy photography. One of the few benefits of traveling for my job has been the chance to take photos of the various places I've been to around the country. I then take the shots that I feel are the best and post them on my Flickr page.

Although I have toyed with the idea of submitting some to stock photo dealers to see if I could sell any of them, I have so far been content to receive occasional requests from regional organizations or city guides asking for permission to use certain shots with attribution. My basic feeling has always been that if I'm putting them up on Flickr for the world to see, that they are also there for the world to use. Over the course of the past 18 months I've probably received 5 requests and I have no doubt that many have been used without requesting permission. Again, that doesn't bother me, they are there for people to see and use, even without attribution.

But I have to admit, a recent request was a pretty big kick.

Last September I was in Rochester, Minnesota, home of the world-famous Mayo Clinic. I took several photos of the clinic, the park outside the clinic and statues in the park of the Mayo brothers, their father and the Franciscan Mother who partnered with them to create the clinic.

On March 19th, I received the following e-mail from Italy:

I'm an italian "philosopher" and I'm interested in the history of medicine and others health-related subjects.

I'd like to insert some of your interesting Flickr pictures about Mayo Clinic (particularly, those about monuments to Mayo brothers and father) into a non-commercial site I've created on this subject.

Expecting your answer, I send you many thanks in advance,

Luca Borghi

I replied the same date:

Hi Luca,

Thank you for asking. You are more than welcome to use any of the photos and I hope they are useful.

Jeff Wetherington

Sunday I received this e-mail:

Many thanks again, Jeff.

If you want to give a glance to the preliminary result, please go to

Best wishes from Italy and have a nice Sunday,


Receiving a request all the way from Italy (I SO want to visit there someday and tour the art museums and visit the great works of architecture) was a real charge and especially from someone as nice as Luca which made it twice as enjoyable.

If you have the time, go take a look. Contact and cooperation like this with people from all over the world are part of what make the Internet so fantastic.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

There's Either A Love Story, Crime Story Or Ghost Story In Here

Man with suicide victim's heart takes own life
He even married the donor's widow after the transplant 12 years ago

Which do you think?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Charlton "Chuck" Heston

"It's been quite a ride. I loved every minute of it." Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston passed away over the weekend and though no cause of death was given, the most likely reason will be complications from the Alzheimer's he suffered from over the past 6 - 7 years. Although I never cared for his "politics" in his later years, I always did enjoy watching movies he starred in, especially the first "Planet of the Apes" ("Take your stinking paws off of me you damn dirty ape!"), "Soylent Green" ("It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people.") and "The Omega Man" ("Build coffins. That's all you'll need.") Also, he always seemed to be a genuine gentleman in any interviews I ever saw of him.

And I'm sure it's going to be on blogging posts all over the Internet, but I'll say it anyway;

Someone go pry the gun out of his cold dead hand.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pablo Picasso's Thoughts On Photography

"I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn."

Saturday, April 5, 2008

An IM Chat With Mikey

Tonight my daughter called me and said my grandson, Mikey, had just gotten a Yahoo Messenger nick and wanted to chat with me. So I fired up Messenger, requested him as a friend and I could hear him on his end say, "Look what popped up!" and his mom said, "Yeah, that's granddad. Click 'OK'."

Mikey is almost 7 and has been a computer whiz for the past 3 years. Before Ann hung up, and already knowing the answer, I asked her if his computer was still out in the family room where he could be monitored so some weirdo couldn't make contact with him. As I said, I already knew she would watch out for that, but the old man had to ask for his own peace of mind.

In a few seconds we were chatting and after a few lines of "I love you's" and "I miss you's" the following exchange took place. Now remember, Mikey is extremely intelligent, but his Asperger's means that sometimes he has difficulties with the accepted norms in social behavior and interaction and will respond quite literally to questions that are posed:

j_m_wetherington: Hi Mikey!
mikey: hi
j_m_wetherington: How are you?
mikey: fine
j_m_wetherington: I miss you
mikey: yes i miss you too
j_m_wetherington: Have you been good in school this last week?
mikey: well its spring break
j_m_wetherington: Oh, ok
mikey: you still need to buy phantoka pohatu for me (NOTE: A kind of Bionocle toy)
j_m_wetherington: are you telling me or asking me?
mikey: telling you
j_m_wetherington: lol
j_m_wetherington: ok. It would be nice if you asked granddad instead of telling him :)

Long pause here and I'm imagining Mommy or Daddy are having some input on that end.

mikey: well actually im asking
j_m_wetherington: Thank you, I love you
mikey: i love you too

We went on and chatted for another 15 minutes or so and it was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to spending time with him when I finally get to go home.

April is Autism Awareness Month.
The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders to be about one in every 150 children.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Two New Sites Of Interest:: Lil' Dabster and Metro I-4 News

I want to take moment to recommend two NEW sites on the Internet that may be of interest to you.

First up, from an old friend of mine comes a site she specifically designed for her family and friends who have basic questions about using their computers, Lil' Dabster. From components to operating systems to peripherals and more, she'll explain it all with clear, concise and graphically detailed examples and instructions. As a bonus, she not only shares her computer and software knowledge, but also her artistic ability with scans of drawings, paintings and photography she's created.

I found out about the next site when it's creator, Chuck Welch of Lakeland Local, contacted me because my name was associated with Orlando MetBlogs in days gone by and he was looking for more local blogs to feed into the site. Metro I-4 News is a site that "is dedicated to the news pertinent to the citizens of the I-4 corridor. It is primarily written by hyperlocal bloggers, but includes a daily look at the main stream media." MI4, as it's fans have come to call it, is a one-stop site containing Central Florida-specific bloggers' posts. If you live in the Central Florida area or just want an easy way to stay up to date on local news, events and politics, this is the place to visit. I wish this had been around back when I was the "Man About Town" writing a hyperlocal blog for Tribune Media Services.

Take a few minutes and visit each site. I think you'll like what you see.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Autism is four times more common in males than females.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I've been Baxterized

One of the local TV stations here in Baton Rouge has a news anchor that makes me feel like I'm watching the fictional WJM-TV's Ted Baxter.

Aside from the silver hair, this anchor doesn't physically resemble good old Ted, but his manner of speech, cadence, tone and some of his mannerisms will have you expecting to see Mary Tyler Moore walk into the scene.

The other day, he had me mesmerized as I watched the screen, noting all the strange pauses, inflections and the eerie way his eyes stare straight ahead as he reads the teleprompter. When he's teamed with his female co-host, he gets all goofy, both in voice pitch and physical action.

I've tried switching the channel to another station for local news, but somehow he's got me hooked. I watch just to see what strangeness will emanate from the screen.

I've been Baxterized.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

World Autism Awareness Day

Back in November of 2007, the United Nations passed a resolution declaring April 2nd of each year beginning in 2008 to be observed as World Autism Awareness Day. The resolution seeks to promote early diagnosis, early intervention and necessary services for individuals affected by Autism Spectrum.

That day is today. The very FIRST World Autism Awareness Day to be observed around the globe.

Last night, as I was sitting down to write this, some parts of the world where it was already April 2nd had begun the observation and celebration. In Saudi Arabia they've recognized some autistic people who have changed the world in positive and beautiful ways. In the Philippines they'll be having a concert to celebrate the observance. In London, Baroness Uddin, a leading campaigner for autism awareness in the Palace of Westminster, welcomed the release of the first song dedicated to autism in the UK, "Open Every Door." I have no doubt that in a few years there will be many, many more from all over the world. This morning, representatives from Autism Speaks will ring the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange. CNN will dedicate an entire day of programming to various aspects of autism, and in the days leading up to this observance have already posted a multitude of informative videos and articles about the subject on their website.


The more awareness of autism, the better chance there is of understanding and developing even more educational breakthroughs to assist those who are affected by it and their loved ones.

So observe World Autism Awareness Day in your own way. Educate yourself further, make a donation to an autism charity, or if you see someone wearing an autism pin, stop a moment and talk to them. I'm sure they'll be happy to share their story or knowledge they have.

All Autism Art on this post courtesy of Design by Cher

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Anne McCaffrey

World-renowned science fiction writer Anne McCaffrey, best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series which she created and now continues with her son Todd, turns 82 today.

And she resides where my wife would love to live; County Wicklow, Ireland.

April is Autism Awareness Month

For readers who do not know, my beloved grandson, Mikey, is autistic and currently placed on the high end of the functioning spectrum, identified as Asperger Syndrome.

Today kicks off Autism Awareness Month. Take a moment to increase your awareness of "this pervasive developmental disorder which affects social and communication skills and, to a greater or lesser degree, motor and language skills."

Throughout the month of April, I'll be dropping in reminders of the observance into posts here.
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