Tuesday, March 31, 2015

365 Project - Day 90 - "Lazy Dog"

March 31, 2015 - "Lazy Dog"

My dog Leica is absolutely refusing to get out of bed this morning.

(Life is Good!)

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Monday, March 30, 2015

365 Project - Day 89 - "Snow Drop (Galanthus)"

March 30, 2015 - "Snow Drop (Galanthus)"

The first Snow Drop emerges from the still cold earth.

(Life is Good!)

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

365 Project - Day 88 - "Abstract (Early Morning Sunlight)"

March 29, 2015 - "Abstract (Early Morning Sunlight)"

Early morning Sunlight peeks through the mini-blinds and falls upon the door of my antique wooden nightstand.

Time to wake up...

Time for some coffee...

(Life is Good!)

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

365 Project - Day 87 - "Self Portrait (Dilated Eye)"

March 28, 2015 - "Self Portrait (Dilated Eye)"

I had a visit to the Optometrist this morning. Now my pupils are dilated and everything is a blur.

But my eyes are healthy and my prescription has actually improved since last year... so both the Doctor and I are happy!

(Life is Good!)

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Friday, March 27, 2015

When the Music's Over (A note for "One Direction" fans)

I was young, but I remember 1982, when Lionel Richie left "The Commodores" and "Blondie" broke up...

I remember 1985, when Bobby Brown left "New Edition" and David Lee Roth left "Van Halen"...

I remember when both "The Clash" and "The Police" broke up in 1986...

I remember being absolutely devastated and thinking the world would end when Bruce Dickinson left "Iron Maiden" in August of 1993...

I remember feeling the same when I learned of the death of Kurt Cobain and the end of "Nirvana" in April of 1994...

I remember watching "Guns N' Roses" self-destruct in the mid-1990s...

I remember when "The Ramones" decided to call it quits in 1996, and a whole era... a whole movement, seemed to come to an end...

I remember having a tear in my eye when I attended the very last show of one of my favorite bands - "LCD Soundsystem" - in April of 2011...

Though not a fan of any of them, I remember the rise and fall of "New Kids on the Block"... "Boyz II Men"... "Backstreet Boys"... "'N Sync"... "The Spice Girls" and quite a few others... some good... some, well, not-so-good...

And these are just the ones I know and remember from my own lifetime! Think about all of the major breakups and band endings of the past: "The Beatles"... "Led Zeppelin"... and the deaths of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley and countless others.

So, to the young fans of "One Direction" who are absolutely devastated by the news of Zayn Malik's exit - while I'm personally not a fan of the band, I do know what you're feeling... and I know it sounds corny-as-hell to say it, but I promise you that it WILL pass... it WILL get better... and the music WILL go on.

*   *   *

Photo is one I took at that final "LCD Soundsystem" concert at Madison Square Garden on April 02, 2011

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365 Project - Day 86 - "Memories of The East Village"

March 27, 2015 - "Memories of The East Village"

I'm still in a bit of shock over yesterday's events in Manhattan's East Village. I've been in those very buildings hundreds of times over the past 20+ years. Pommes Frites was one of my favorite snack stops in all of Manhattan... and in an instant it was gone.

Today the New York Times is reporting that there were 19 people injured in the blast, four of them are currently listed as being in critical condition. Two people who are confirmed to have been in the Sushi restaurant when it exploded are still missing: One, a busboy for the restaurant. The other, a young man who was there with his girlfriend. The girlfriend was injured and is in the hospital... her boyfriend has yet to be found.

This just breaks my heart! My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected by this tragedy.

All it takes is one brief moment for lives to be changed forever... for places to become an addition to your list of memories... for all that you know to become unknown.

Life changes in the blink of an eye... Cherish every moment of it!

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

365 Project - Day 85 - "Migraine"

March 26, 2015 - "Migraine"

Yesterday's "headache" has turned into today's "really bad migraine". My day will be spent curled up in a ball trying to fight this thing.

At least I know I'm alive!

(Life is Good!)

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

365 Project - Day 84 - "Abstract (Bottom of the Bottle)"

March 25, 2015 - "Abstract (Bottom of the Bottle)"

It's a rather black and white sort-of-a-day today.

(Life is Good!)

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

365 Project - Day 83 - "Abstract (Meat Tenderizer)"

March 24, 2015 - "Abstract (Meat Tenderizer)"

I'm playing around with various kitchen utensils, tools and gadgets... making them pose for me today.

(Life is Good!)

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Monday, March 23, 2015

365 Project - Day 82 - "Leica"

March 23, 2015 - "Leica"

Leica posing for the camera.

(Life is Good!)

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

365 Project - Day 81 - "Abstract (Water Bottle Swirl)"

March 22, 2015 - "Abstract (Water Bottle Swirl)"

Just me... And a half-filled water bottle... And a brightly colored background... And my camera.

That's all.

(Life is Good!)

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

365 Project - Day 80 - "Abstract (Hangers)"

March 21, 2015 - "Abstract (Hangers)"

The first full day of Spring. Time for some "Spring Cleaning".

Well... at least it would be time for some Spring Cleaning... if it wasn't snowing outside and if I wasn't feeling so exhausted.

So I guess it's time for some coffee instead!

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Friday, March 20, 2015

365 Project - Day 79 - "Abstract (Freshly Washed Dishes)"

March 20, 2015 - "Abstract (Freshly Washed Dishes)"

Starting off Spring with a load of freshly washed dishes.

(Life is Good!)

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

365 Project - Day 78 - "Abstract (Chucks)"

March 19, 2015 - "Abstract (Chucks)"

Another quiet day... just me and my dog and one of my many pairs of Chucks.

(Life is Good!)

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

365 Project - Day 77 - "Abstract (Pokemon Cards)"

March 18, 2015 - "Abstract (Pokemon Cards)"

Just a quick shot today: My son's deck of Pokemon Cards.

(Life is Good!)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

365 Project - Day 76 - "Abstract (Guinness)"

March 17, 2015 - "Abstract (Guinness)"

I'm not Irish. That's OK though... St. Patrick wasn't Irish either. Still, today is St. Patrick's Day and a day to celebrate Irish Pride. So, to all of my Irish friends, I raise my Guinness in your honor!


(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Katharine Hepburn - Never giving up!

Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003)
As a result of a string of unsuccessful films, and despite the fact that she had already won an Academy Award for Best Actress for 1934’s “Morning Glory” - Katharine Hepburn could not get a job with any of Hollywood’s studios in the late-1930s. She was labeled as “box office poison”.
Did she accept this fate? Far from it!
In 1939 she was cast in the role of Tracy Lord in the Philip Barry play “The Philadelphia Story”. In fact, Barry specifically wrote the play just for Hepburn. She not only starred in the play… she also financed it’s production and refused to take a salary for the role.
The play was a major success on Broadway.
Howard Hughes purchased the film rights to the play and presented them to Hepburn as a gift. This would lead to a major turning point in her career! Just about every studio wanted to make the film. In the end, Hepburn decided to sell the film rights to MGM Studio’s Louis B. Mayer for a mere $250,000.00… but there was a catch: MGM would make the film, but Hepburn would retain the right to choose - along with Mayer - the film’s producer, director, screenwriter and cast. This was virtually unheard of in Hollywood at the time!
Together, Hepburn and Mayer chose an incredible cast, including Cary Grant and James Stewart as the films two leading men… Ruth Hussey in a supporting role and, of course, Hepburn in the lead role of Tracy Lord.
“The Philadelphia Story” was released on December 26, 1940. It was an instant success! The film went on to earn six Academy Award nominations (Outstanding Production… Best Director… Best Actor… Best Actress… Best Screenplay… and Best Supporting Actress). It won two Academy Awards: “Best Actor” for James Stewart and “Best Supporting Actress” for Ruth Hussey. 
No… despite receiving the nomination, the film did not result in another Best Actress Academy Award win for Hepburn… but that’s not important. What IS important is that the film completely jumpstarted her career.
Hepburn would go on to earn NINE more Academy Award nominations in the category of Best Actress between 1943 and 1982. Of those nine nominations, three would result in wins for her roles in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1968), “The Lion in Winter” (1969) and “On Golden Pond” (1982). Four of Hepburn’s films (“Bringing Up Baby”, “The Philadelphia Story”, “The African Queen” and “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner”) are included in the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest American Films of all time.
Katharine Hepburn is the perfect example of “not giving up when others are knocking you down”. For that I find her to be a true inspiration!
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Monday, March 16, 2015

365 Project - Day 75 - "Abstract (Ice)"

March 16, 2015 - "Abstract (Ice)"

A thick layer of ice covers one of our large flower pots in the front yard.

(Life is Good!)

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Edward T. Welburn, Jr. - Achieving Your Dreams

This is Edward T. Welburn, Jr.
He is the Global Head of Design for General Motors. He is only the 6th person to hold the position of “Head of Design” in GM’s history… and is the first person ever to be given the position of “Global Head of Design”, making him a Vice President of GM… and the person in charge of all GM design across the globe (which includes ten design centers in seven countries)
Why is this important? Maybe it isn’t. Maybe you happen to be a Ford or Mopar fanatic… Maybe you prefer Toyotas… Maybe you don’t really give a damn about cars or the automotive industry whatsoever. That’s OK with me. The fact that he works for General Motors isn’t important. The fact that he works in the Automotive Industry isn’t import. Heck, even the fact that he holds the highest-ranking position of any African American in the automotive industry isn’t important. (OK, that last one kind of IS important… but it’s not my point here.)
What is important is his story…
Edward T. Welburn, Jr. was born in 1950 and grew up in Philadelphia, PA. His father owned an automotive body shop and instilled a love of cars in Edward and his siblings. As a result, around the age of three Edward fell in love with cars and started to draw them regularly. Around the age of eight his family took him to the Philadelphia International Auto Show, at which he saw the (now famous) Cadillac Cyclone concept car which was designed by the legendary GM Head of Design, Harley Earl. Upon seeing that car the young Ed Welburn instantly told his parents that he wanted to grow up to design cars at General Motors.
So what did he do? Well, for starters, he wrote to General Motors asking them what it would take - what he needed to do - to one day become a designer with the company. Surprisingly, General Motors responded. They sent the then 11-year-old a list of what he should do and what directions he should take to get to that position…
And over the years Ed Welburn did every one of those things. He went on to graduate from Howard University’s College of Fine Arts with a bachelor’s degree in sculpture and product design. Upon graduation he achieved his dream, being hired as a designer in the Advanced Design Studios at General Motors. He worked hard on designs for the Buick Riviera and Park Avenue models. Then he became the chief designer for Oldsmobile. In the mid-90s he became the designer for Saturn. 
He moved up the ranks becoming the director of Advanced Design for all of GM. His team created concept cars for GM brands and was also instrumental in creating the hydrogen fuel cell concepts.
Finally, in 2003, he was appointed the position of “Head of Design” for General Motors - considered by many to be the most prestigious position in the American Automotive Industry. He moved in to the big, historic office formerly used by legendary GM designers Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell. Upon his famous desk he placed several of his father’s auto-body shop tools.
In his position he has been instrumental in the design of many of the cars we are seeing today, including the new Camaro and Corvette models… the current generation of Cadillacs… the reinvented Buick line… and, of course, the Chevy Volt electric car. 
Every so often he receives a letter from some young dreamer asking “What do I need to do to get to where you are?”. He answers every one of them, filling them with advice and suggestions of what direction to take.
In my opinion Edward T. Welburn, Jr. is the perfect example of “going after what you want in life”. To me his story is incredibly inspirational.
* * *

Heavy Metal and the birth of the "Metal Horns" gesture

Ah, the “Metal Horns”… The beloved hand-gesture of Heavy Metal fans everywhere! 
The gesture itself is quite ancient. The earliest known usage of it comes from India, where it was known as the Karana Mudra… a gesture used to ward off negativity and evil. In Italy it was (and still is) used to ward off negativity in the form of “Malocchio”, the “Evil Eye”. The same gesture is used in other cultures around the world for similar purposes.
But do you know how this simple hand-gesture came to be associated with Heavy Metal?
Good guess… but “no”.
First, a little Heavy Metal History…
It is generally accepted that the first Heavy Metal band was Black Sabbath (consisting of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and, of course, Ozzy Osbourne). Their debut album “Black Sabbath” which opened with the song “Black Sabbath” was recorded in late-1969 and released on Friday, February 13, 1970. It’s considered a Heavy Metal classic!
BUT Black Sabbath wasn’t originally a “Heavy Metal Band”. In fact, they formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 as the blues-rock “Polka Tulk Blues Band”. (Yeah… I agree… it’s a pretty crappy name!) They performed for a bit under that moniker before switching their name to “Earth” - the name under-which they recorded their first demo. In 1969 they learned that there was another English band already using that name, and they had to change their name yet again. They settled on “Black Sabbath” - in honor of the 1963 Boris Karloff film… and decided to switch to using horror themes in their music.
But still no Metal Horns. Where do THEY come in?
Well, believe it or not we have to go back a little bit before Black Sabbath… and we have to leave England and head to the American midwest. It was there that a singer named Jinx Dawson (yes, that’s her real name) formed a band with her friends Chris Neilsen, Rick Durrett, John Hobbs, Steve Ross and Oz Osborne (Yes… that’s right… I said “Oz Osborne”. And “No” it’s not the same Ozzy Osbourne from “Black Sabbath”).
The band these friends formed was called “Coven”. It was HEAVILY based on horror and Satanic themes. At the time they were considered to be “underground rock” or “psychedelic rock”.
Now remember - “Coven” was formed and was performing their music in America before “Black Sabbath” even existed!
Coven’s shows were quite unique for the time… and Jinx Dawson would open and close every performance by giving the audience - that’s right, you guessed it - the Sign of the Horns. (Meanwhile - over in England - the “Polka Tulk Blues Band” was happily performing their blues-rock songs).
Coven got a recording contract with Mercury Records and, in 1969, they released their debut album “Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls”. The album opened with a song called - that’s right, you guessed it - “Black Sabbath”. The entire album consists of songs with diabolical themes… in fact, the album ends with a 13-minute-long recording of a Satanic Black Mass. The album’s interior artwork included a photo of the band giving the “Devil Horns” salute around a Satanic altar consisting of a nude Jinx Dawson. Skulls and inverted crosses are, of course, also present. 
So here’s a band - “Coven” - making “diabolical music” and using the “Metal Horns” hand gesture in the United States BEFORE “Black Sabbath” even existed! 
To be fair, the music of "Coven" was not what we would consider to be "Heavy Metal" - far from it. Yet in a sense they laid the foundation for bands like Black Sabbath and the symbolism and style of what would become Heavy Metal. 
One year after “Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls” was released, “Black Sabbath” released their debut album. How do the two albums compare? Well… they don’t. In fact it’s not even close… “Black Sabbath” wins the war - and goes on to spark and lead the Heavy Metal genre.
And what about Ronnie James Dio? Was he your guess as to the origin of the “Metal Horns”? Most people credit him with “inventing” the gesture. (Most people that is, except for Gene Simmons of the band “KISS” - who claims that HE invented the gesture… even though he didn’t start using it until much, much later). Well, it definitely IS true that Ronnie James Dio is the person who single-handedly (no pun intended) made the “Metal Horns” synonymous with Heavy Metal. When he replaced Ozzy Osbourne as Black Sabbath’s singer in 1979 he used the hand-gesture as his trademark… and the fans noticed. It wasn’t long before fans started using the “Metal Horns” at Heavy Metal concerts everywhere.
But Ronnie James Dio never claimed to have invented the gesture. In fact in a 2001 interview with Metal-Rules.com he had the following to say about the gesture:
"I doubt very much if I would be the first one who ever did that. That's like saying I invented the wheel, I'm sure someone did that at some other point. I think you'd have to say that I made it fashionable. I used it so much and all the time and it had become my trademark until the Britney Spears audience decided to do it as well. So it kind of lost its meaning with that. But it was.... I was in Sabbath at the time. It was a symbol that I thought was reflective of what that band was supposed to be all about. It's NOT the devil's sign like we're here with the devil. It's an Italian thing I got from my Grandmother called the "Malocchio". It's to ward off the Evil Eye or to give the Evil Eye, depending on which way you do it. It's just a symbol but it had magical incantations and attitudes to it and I felt it worked very well with Sabbath. So I became very noted for it and then everybody else started to pick up on it and away it went. But I would never say I take credit for being the first to do it. I say because I did it so much that it became the symbol of rock and roll of some kind."
So there you have it. The history of Heavy Metal, the Metal Horns and how the two met. 
Up the Irons! \m/
* * *

365 Project - Day 74 - "Abstract (Beer Bottles)"

March 15, 2015 - "Abstract (Beer Bottles)"

Empty bottles of Yuengling Lager waiting to be recycled.

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Saturday, March 14, 2015

365 Project - Day 73 - "Abstract (Rain On Ice)"

March 14, 2015 - "Abstract (Rain On Ice)"

It's a rainy day on the edge of Winter and Spring in New England.

Warm rain meets cold ice and snow.

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Friday, March 13, 2015

365 Project - Day 72 - "Abstract (Dog Toy)"

March 13, 2015 - "Abstract (Dog Toy)"

Making a dog toy pose for my camera while my dog looks on with anticipation.

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Thursday, March 12, 2015

365 Project - Day 71 - "Abstract (Vitamix)"

March 12, 2015 - "Abstract (Vitamix)"

I abso-freakin'-lutely LOVE my Vitamix!

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

365 Project - Day 70 - "Abstract (Cheese Grater)"

March 11, 2015 - "Abstract (Cheese Grater)"

Cheese Grater + Soft Focus + Colorful Background = Fun

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

365 Project - Day 69 - "Abstract (Coasters)"

March 10, 2015 - "Abstract (Coasters)"

Feeling a bit out-of-alignment today...

A bit out-of-whack.

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Monday, March 9, 2015

365 Project - Day 68 - "Abstract (Prescriptions)"

March 09, 2015 - "Abstract (Prescriptions)"

I'm tired.

Tired of prescriptions.

Tired of depression.

Tired of anxiety.

Tired of Parkinson's.

Tired of feeling tired.

It's time to start feeling something different.

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Sunday, March 8, 2015

365 Project - Day 67 - "Abstract (Wine Glass Storm)"

March 08, 2015 - "Abstract (Wine Glass Storm)"

An internal storm is brewing.

Change must occur.

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Saturday, March 7, 2015

365 Project - Day 66 - "Abstract (Blue)"

March 07, 2015 - "Abstract (Blue)"

Another day of feeling blue and blurry.

Depression sucks.

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Friday, March 6, 2015

365 Project - Day 65 - "Abstract (Files)"

March 06, 2015 - "Abstract (Files)"

Feeling kinda blue today...

Not feeling well at all.

Trying to get things prioritized and organized in my life...

Trying to...

But so far it doesn't seem to be working.

That's OK though...

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Thursday, March 5, 2015

365 Project - Day 64 - "Abstract (Pickle Jar)"

March 05, 2015 - "Abstract (Pickle Jar)"

Playing with an empty pickle jar on another snowy Thursday.

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

365 Project - Day 63 - "Abstract (Front Porch Roof)"

March 04, 2015 - "Abstract (Front Porch Roof)"

Snow... Snow... Snow...

Lots-and-lots of Snow.

I really hope the front porch roof holds up!

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

365 Project - Day 62 - "Abstract (Old News)"

March 03, 2015 - "Abstract (Old News)"

I've grown tired of "old news".

I've grown tired of negative headlines...

... of hatred...

... of bias...

... of unnecessary walls being put up.

I'm placing all of this in the bin...

in hopes that it can become something "new"...

... something useful...

... something positive.

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Monday, March 2, 2015

365 Project - Day 61 - "Abstract (Lawn Chairs with Snow)"

March 02, 2015 - "Abstract (Lawn Chairs with Snow)"

Another Monday...

More snow...

Very cold...

When will it end?

(Life is Good!)

*   *   *

Sunday, March 1, 2015

365 Project - Day 60 - "Abstract (Wine Decanter)"

March 01, 2015 - "Abstract (Wine Decanter)"

Antique glass and a bit of wine...

(Life is Good!)

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