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Thursday, March 31, 2011

NASA's Messenger...

...spacecraft has released its first image of Mercury -- the first ever glimpse of the innermost planet's dusty craters taken by a craft in orbit just over 120 miles from the planet's surface.  Mercury has the greatest range of surface temperatures of any planet in the solar system.  This ranges from -300°F on the dark side of the planet to 800°F in the late afternoon.  A single day is represented by slightly less than 60 earth days.

I've always been fascinated with Astronomy and in fact I sometimes enjoy breaking out the family telescope.  On a clear night when company has come over and joined me on the back patio I will sometimes set up that telescope, occasionally allowing guests to see their first view of the moon through the lens, shadowed craters and debris fields visible.

There's something about a dead planet or our own moon that makes the creation of this earth come alive for me.  Earth is a living planet for many reasons.  Water, atmosphere, the perfect rotation balanced by the perfect moon the exact distance from a perfectly energized sun.  While there are many coincidences in this world- our world is not one.

As Messenger and other satellites like it continue on their journeys, taking amazing pictures of lifeless planets, let's celebrate our own vibrant and living planet- always thankful of the perfect one who created her. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cotillion... one of those words rarely used and not easily spelled.  The traditional meaning is simply, "A ball used for society to introduce young ladies".  In my house, it has become synonymous with "manners class" or that "embarrassing dance class" that occurs every few weeks.  In any case, both of my daughters have participated and, I think, enjoyed it to a degree though they would never admit it.

Last night, I was proud to accompany my youngest daughter, Jenna, to a Cotillion Ball.  She was lovely and so grown up looking.  After the dance, we enjoyed dinner together and it was a special evening.  She is growing up fast.  And she's a great dancer to boot.  Looks like those lessons are paying off.
Grant, George's son, was also there.  Here he tells Melba to, "... put a little something in the punch to kick it up a notch, and be quick about it.  I've got to get back out there and win a dance contest."  Grant walked away with 2 dance contest recognitions that night.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Few Weeks Back...

...I attended a funeral with my Father.  It was the funeral of an old friend of my dad and his brother Warren.  In health, Phil had been an energetic man with a keen wit, who could play a guitar like nobody's business. Long ago he married my Dad's first cousin Wanda, a talented singer and musician in her own right, and for many years they performed together as a duo or with a band. The last four months of his life Phil was frail and weak, battling small cell lung cancer with little hope of recovery; the music silent. 

Wanda asked my Dad to give a eulogy and he was very honored to do so.  As a part of the eulogy Dad read a letter that my Uncle Warren had written about Phil.  Warren and Phil had been inseparable friends in the early years of life and part of the letter relayed a story from their childhood which I will attempt to paraphrase:

It seems that Warren and Phil were always getting into some sort of trouble back then and even at the age of 9 or 10 they tried to find ways to make a little extra money.  While some boys that age might consider raking a yard or doing some light manual labor for a couple of dollars, Phil's ideas always seemed more centered around business to business propositions.  The idea of selling something just seemed more appealing and from his perspective there was an endless supply of resources to fulfill the needs of the locals.  For example, his grandfather had a beautiful garden overflowing with beans, cucumbers, tomatoes- perfectly free for the taking...should you not get caught.  And they never did, creating a relatively lucrative business in the neighborhood.  Demand was high- cost of goods low (free)- profits high and all parties happy.  That is, with the exception of Grandpa who scratched his head in dismay at what must have been the worst infestation of rabbits and green bean eating deer he had seen in 50 years.

On one occasion, Phil and Warren were walking along the railroad tracks and from the corner of his eye, Phil spotted an old, discarded commode laying along the wood-line.  Hearing a train approaching in the distance, the boys decided to see what would happen should pieces of the commode be run over by a speeding freight train.  Using large rocks, they began breaking the discarded crapper into hand sized pieces and eagerly piled it on the tracks.  Soon enough the powerful train ran over the pieces of white porcelain creating a puff of dust, crushing them into a fine white powder. 

This, of course, stirred in Phil an idea.  His sister had a couple of lovely powder boxes sitting in the bathroom.  Having "borrowed" the boxes, Phil and Warren filled them with the newly created white dust now piled on the railroad tracks.  And you guessed it, a new door to door sales product was introduced to the unsuspecting public.  Phil and Warren's Toilet Powder was born.

And both boxes sold by mid afternoon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

So I Get This Call...

...the other day from my friend Rickwell who says that he'd like to write about the Greenbeans Blog.  Rick's opinion of my musings in this forum are particularly interesting to me because he, along with another longtime pal- George, got me involved in blogging in the first place.

Thanks, Rickwell, for the plug and for the encouragement.  You have brought some added joy to my life with the introduction of posting my thoughts and for that I am grateful. 

To see what Rick penned, click here:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm Feeling Sorry For Charlie Sheen...

...these days.  He's gained far more notoriety as a nut-case than he ever did as a serious actor.  Watching him slowly dismantle, while entertaining millions I suppose, serves as a stark reminder of how fleeting fame and the power that comes with it can be.  And for that matter, how little a distinction there can be between being famous and infamous.  While the world likes a "success" story, they absolutely love a "fall from grace" story.  And when you are the sole author of your own demise, well that's just the makings of the best kind of tale.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"What Do You Mean It's March Already",...

...I heard myself exclaim.  1/6th of 2011 has been dedicated to annals of history and I haven't accomplished a dad-blamed thing!  I'm doing more with less at work, which translates into the fact that it's sloooowly killing me.  I haven't done the exceptional things I want to do as a husband, a father, a brother or a son.  I'm getting fatter and lazier by the day and don't care as much as I should.  To be honest with you, I don't even feel that good these days.

And to top it all off, I really don't even have a topic that goes with this picture.  In a self-deprecating way I just thought it was funny.

Any takers for a caption for the above picture???