Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Here There Be Dragons

Imagine, if you will, that myths are often based on some form of reality. Imagine more, if you will, that a myth that has appeared in all corners of the world with little difference between the different details told by isolated civilizations millennia apart. With that imagination at work, you have the start of a thriller of a book, The Great Zoo of China, by Matthew Reilly.

Reilly has brought to life a myth that does span many civilizations and human era. Dragons. The Chinese have found real dragons and have decided the way to finally surpass the United States is to out-do Disneyland/Disney World. Hence the great zoo centered on real, live, fierce looking but "trained" but not tamed, dragons. Reilly acknowledges his debt to Jurassic Park, so don't think of it as a rip-off of that novel. Think of it as another attempt to bring myth to life.

So what could go wrong?

Everything of course. I will not spoil any of it for you. It is a true sci-fi thriller as one of the pre-grand opening press junkets is there when things fall apart and an American woman reptile expert gets caught in the middle. As does the US Ambassador to China, his aide and the scientist's brother. It starts early in the book and doesn't let up until the end. A roller coaster of fun and edge-of-your-seat writing.

In the interview at the back of the book Reilly says he wants to write books that you can speed through. Amen to that. He succeeds.

Sure it is fiction. We all know that, but he did get me thinking-

where did all those similar stories about dragons really come from?

Lent Picture A Day (15): Poor


Live in harmony with each other. Don't try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!
- Romans 12:16

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Following the 10th Armored (20): Capture of Trier

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.


From HyperWar
26 Feb - 2 Mar 1945: Trier

As described in The Last Offensive, the capture of Trier was quick and effective. (My Dad's company was probably assigned to Combat Command B (CCB) during this period.)
The morning of 1 March General Morris sent the main body of the combat command northwest to the juncture of the Saar and the Moselle to prevent any Germans remaining in West Wall pillboxes along the Saar from falling back on Trier. ... In late afternoon, as both CCA's task force and CCB continued to run into trouble on the fringes of the city from pillboxes and 88-mm. antiaircraft pieces, Colonel Roberts, CCB's commander, ordered the commander of the 20th Armored Infantry Battalion, Lt. Col. Jack J. Richardson, to enter Trier along a secondary road between the other two attacking forces. Richardson was to head straight for the city's two Moselle bridges.

The night was clear, the moon full, and visibility excellent as Task Force Richardson in early evening started toward Trier. Entering the city before midnight, the task force encountered a German company with four antitank guns, but the surprised Germans surrendered without firing. One of the prisoners revealed that he had been detailed as a runner to notify a demolition team at one of the bridges when the Americans arrived.

Splitting his force, Richardson sent half toward each of the bridges. The northern team found its bridge blown, but the team moving to the ancient Kaiserbruecke, which had stood since the Roman occupation of Trier in the earliest days of the Christian era, reported its bridge intact. Rushing to the bridge himself in a tank, Colonel Richardson found his men under small arms fire from the far bank. Directing .50-caliber machine gun fire from his tank onto the far end of the bridge, Richardson ordered a platoon of infantry and a platoon of tanks to dash across. As the infantrymen complied, a German major and five men ran toward the bridge from the far side with detonating caps and an exploder.

They were too late.

It mattered not whether the delay in blowing the bridge was attributable to concern for the historic monument or to the fact that the German officer was drunk. What mattered was that the 10th Armored Division had a bridge across the Moselle.

By morning contingents of Combat Commands A and B had swept into all parts of the city, and the prisoner bag increased as sleepy-eyed Germans awoke to find American tanks all about them. Task Force Richardson alone took 800 prisoners. A day later, early on 3 March, troops of the 76th Division arrived to establish contact with the armor on the north bank of the Moselle.

The Orscholz Switch, the Saar-Moselle triangle, Trier, and the heavily fortified section of the West Wall around Trier--all were taken. With the success of the operation, the Third Army had torn a gaping hole in the West Wall from Pruem to a point below Saarburg.

Studying the operations map, General Patton could see two new inviting prospects before him. Either he could turn to the southeast and envelop the Saar industrial area, or he could head through the Eifel and up the valley of the Moselle to the Rhine at Koblenz.

In either case, the Germans appeared powerless to stop him.
Two press notices:
March 1 (INS) by Larry Newman- Rampaging tank and infantry fighters of the U. S. Third Army's 10th Armored Division crashed into the historic German city of Trier from three directions and swept ahead to cut off hundreds of Wehrmacht soldiers northeast of Saarburg.
1 March 1945- Official communique
The Tenth Armored "Tiger" Division entered Trier today at 1250 when task forces fought their way into the southern section of this important communications and supply center, which is the oldest city in Germany. Meanwhile, the Tenth Armored also cut the main highway...a mile northeast of Trier. This the main avenue of escape for the enemy to the north and northeast has been cut off. ...Over 800 prisoners were captured today... Total numbers of towns now taken by the Tenth Armored is 54, and the total of prisoners has swelled to 3900. --Nichols
Trier was historic and contains more important Roman ruins than any other place in Northern Europe. Some date to the bridge over the Mosel that dates to around 28 B.C. Nichols in Impact reports that the 10th's combat performance was "eminently successful." He goes on:
Few of us realized at the time that the Tenth Armored had a leading role in one of the three most important phases of the entire war.
In these few days, the 80th Medical Battalion companies saw over 900 admissions, average of over 180 per day. This high level would continue for another week before things quieted down, at least for the most part, for the rest of the month.

The end of the war in Europe is less than 10 weeks away- a "mere" 66 days. They didn't, of course know that. All they knew was that there was still more war ahead.

Lent Picture A Day (14): Near


Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
- Jeremiah 29:12

Monday, March 02, 2015

Following the 10h Armored (19): Ending February

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.


In the chaos of the Battle of the Bulge, no end-of-month After Action Reports were filed for either December 1944 or January 1945. They resumed with February.

After Action Report
80th Medical Battalion
10th Armored Division
1 Feb – 28 Feb 1945

There were 32 officers and 363 enlisted men. During the month none of the battalion was killed and three were wounded. Nineteen reinforcements were assigned.

At all three clearing stations of the battalion in February 1945 there were:

1734 admissions
326 were returned to duty
11 died in the stations
1342 were transferred and
59 remained in station on 28 Feb

It should be noted as we have said in previous posts that most of February was quiet as the 10th Armored was waiting for the attack on the Saar-Moselle Triangle to resume. Of the admissions listed above 1020 of them (59%) were between 23 Feb and 28 Feb after the action resumed. 90% of the admissions were transferred. The deaths all occurred after 20 Feb.

The report stated that the medical evacuation channels functioned effectively during the month of February.

A couple recommendation notes were added:

1) The recommendation is repeated that closer planning between the Operations Section and the medical Department should be effected so that adequate medical support can be given the division during an operation rather than “in the dark" or "on the spot" medical support.

2) That wheel ambulances be either replaced by properly equipped half-track ambulances in medical detachments; or that such armored ambulances be added to all infantry and tank medical detachments. The operation of wheel ambulances is both dangerous and expensive.

Fredrick D. Loomis
Captain, MAC.,
Battalion S-3


Fighting FOR The Tigers
Here, from The Last Offensive, is what also was happening at the end of the month behind the scenes.
While the events were taking place beyond the Saar, General Patton had been fighting a rear guard action against return of the 10th Armored Division to the SHAEF reserve. Eisenhower, seeking to prevent another Bulge-type problem due to lack of coordination had been insisting on more control. On 23 February all Patton could achieve was a 48-hour respite. When that period expired, he pleaded with the 12th Army Group commander, General Bradley, for help. Bradley himself took responsibility for letting Patton use the armor until nightfall of 27 February for the express purpose of taking Trier.

[By nightfall on the 27th] Trier still lay some six miles away and the appointed hour for release of the 10th Armored Division had come, General Patton again had to appeal to General Bradley for continued use of the armor until Trier fell. Having had no word from SHAEF on keeping the division, Bradley told him to keep going until higher authority ordered a halt. And, the 12th Army Group commander added, he would make it a point to stay away from the telephone.
All would continue as they were.

Lent Picture A Day (13): Bless


Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
--Matthew 5:6

Sunday, March 01, 2015

In Memoriam: Fr. Malcolm Boyd

Fr. Malcolm Boyd
1923 - 2015

An Episcopal priest of deep faith and just as deep social commitment. In 1965 his simple yet moving book of prayers, Are You Running With Me, Jesus? was radical and certainly outside the box of traditional Christian spirituality. His publisher, when issuing a 40th anniversary edition said:

In the middle of the turbulent 1960s Malcolm Boyd's Are You Running With Me, Jesus? appeared on the scene and broke the mold from which devotional texts had previously been made. Boyd's prayers engaged traditional Christian themes with a decidedly contemporary voice honest, direct, insightful while at the same time taking on issues of everyday concern: personal freedom, racial justice, sexuality. Billed by its original publisher as a collection of prayers for all of us today who are finding it harder and harder to pray, this landmark book has influenced generations of Christians and seekers.
On his web site he is noted as:
  • Bestseller author
  • Gay Elder
  • Episcopal Priest for 57 Years
  • Civil Rights and Antiwar Activist; a “Freedom Rider” in 196l
In 1998 as he was entering the "golden years" at age 75, he did not rail against the night or urge people to fight against it. He wrote a book called Go Gentle Into That Good Night." In short, from one era to another he was calling people to pay attention to their world, their lives, and Jesus. An amazing man who has left quite a legacy.

Here are some quotes from Malcolm Boyd.
  • By my definition, prayer is consciously hanging out with God. Being with God in a deliberate way.
  • Entrenched scriptural literalism is, in my opinion, completely out of touch with reality.
  • I find Jesus my confidant and companion, brother and savior; our relationship is intimate, vulnerable, demanding yet comfortable and reassuring.

Here's the title prayer of the book that changed many people's prayers:
It’s morning, Jesus.
 It's
 morning, 
and
 here's 
that
 light 
and 
sound
 all 
over 
again.


Where
 am
 I
 running?
You 
know 
these
 things
 I
 can't
 understand.
 It's 
not
 that 
I
 need 
to
 have
 you
 tell 
me.


What
 counts 
most 
is
 just
 that
 somebody
 knows,
 and
 it's
 you.
 That
 helps
 a
lot.


So
 I'll
 follow
 along,
 okay?
 But
 lead,
 Lord.
 Now
 I've
 got 
to
 run.


Are 
you
 running
 with 
me,
 Jesus?

And finally, from the same book:
PRAYER
 OF
 REPENTANCE

God:

Take
 fire
 and 
burn 
away
 our guilt
 and
 our
 lying
 hypocrisies.


Take 
water 
and
 wash
 away
 our
 brothers' 
blood
 which
 we
 have
 caused
 to
 be
 shed.


Take 
hot 
sunlight
 and
 dry
 the
 tears 
of
 those
 we
 have 
hurt,
 and
 heal
 their
 wounded
 souls, 
minds,
 and
 bodies.


Take
 love
 and
 root 
it
 in 
our
 hearts,
 so
 that 
brotherhood 
may
 grow, 
transforming
 the
 dry 
desert of
 our 
prejudices
 and
 hatreds.

Amen
Rest in peace, Brother Malcolm. Rest in peace.

Lent Picture A Day (12): Second Sunday: Celebrate


Video of the Month

Lion... or Lamb? Only the month will tell.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

When the Religion Ruled the Land

Sitting and pondering ideas the other day I came across one of those intriguing trivial items. On on HistoryOrb's This date page for February 28, I saw this:

1646 - Roger Scott was tried in Mass for sleeping in church
Needless to say that piqued my imagination so I went digging and found an article, Colonial Crimes and Punishment at History.org that looks at some of the colonial era laws. To think of this as early democracy is an interesting exercise in stretching ones imagination.
The English-American colonies were autocratic and theocratic, with a patriarchal system of justice: magistrates and religious leaders, sometimes one and the same, made the laws, and the burden of obeying them fell on the less exalted—the tradesmen, soldiers, farmers, servants, slaves, and the young. That burden could be weighty.
Sometimes, as we look at our American history through the rose-colored glasses of the ideals of the revolutionary era leaders, we forget that democracy is not as we think it was. The early settlers for the most part were not looking to set up freedom for all. They just wanted THEIR freedom and limiting other people who disagreed with them. Many of the laws were theologically based- and often discriminatory and harsh, especially on those of the lower classes.
In the Puritan north a religious message leaps out from almost every page of the early criminal codes. Sin, of course, existed in the eyes of the beholders, and the eyes were everywhere—as you might expect in small, inbred communities. Consider the scrutiny given to observance of the Sabbath. The law usually required churchgoing, and someone was always checking attendance. In early Virginia, every minister was entitled to appoint four men in his fort or settlement to inform on religious scofflaws.
I caught that little phrase above about "small, inbred communities." We forget that these early colonial towns and villages were closed. What we call the great American ideals were not even part of the picture. This was a primitive civilization living on the frontier. That's where the following can happen:
In the early seventeenth century, Boston's Roger Scott was picked up for "repeated sleeping on the Lord's Day" and sentenced to be severely whipped for "striking the person who waked him from his godless slumber."

Colonial strictures on deportment in the pews long applied, even to children, such as in 1758 when young Abiel Wood of Plymouth was hauled before the court for "irreverently behaving himself by chalking the back of one Hezekiah Purrington, Jr., with Chalk, playing and recreating himself in the time of publick worship."

In l668 in Salem, Massachusetts, John Smith and the wife of John Kitchin were fined "for frequent absenting themselves from the public worship of God on the Lord's days." In l682 in Maine it cost Andrew Searle five shillings merely for "wandering from place to place" instead of "frequenting the publique worship of god."
Oh, for the good old days.

Not.

The churches would be filled on Sunday, but I'm not sure we would be any more faithful to the ways of God. We would just learn how to put on the masks more completely.

Lent Picture A Day (11): Powers


Friday, February 27, 2015

A Half-Day View

I started the time-lapse a little after noon. Here's an edited version of the clouds, sand and surf for a half day on the Gulf of Mexico. There is always something mystical about the surf and movement of water.


Lent Picture A Day (10): Wait




Thursday, February 26, 2015

Following the 10th Armored (18): Crashing Through the Saar-Moselle Triangle

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.

The Switch Line was an outgrowth of the fortification of the Siegfried Line. It was about two Km wide and consisted of 75 bunkers and over 10 Km of tank barriers like "dragon's teeth. It's purpose was to deny access to the high ground above Trier at the northern end of the Switch.





19-20 February 1945-
The Tenth was marshalled at Perl, about 6 miles south of Nennig on this afternoon. A plan was selected from the three prepared and a sudden directive came down that they were to depart at 0700 the next morning.

The Tenth was not prepared for the suddenness. Large numbers of the Division were on R & R in Paris. But they were located and the Tigers moved out by 1800. They raced 75 miles that night and began the attack at 0700 as scheduled.

21-25 February 1945-
In the course of these few days the 10th Armored would overrun the Saar-Moselle Triangle even through some of the most heavy fortifications in the world. Praise came from many, including General George Patton who termed this battle "one of the war's most audacious operations."

As can be seen in the maps on the left and below, different task forces and Combat Commands carried out the greater plans. In a mere 48 hours, the 10th Armored had blitzed 85 square miles of Germany and working with the 94th Infantry, captured 1200 prisoners and 23 towns. In those 48 hours the stage was set to capture Trier.

The next three days were utilized for that goal.

The successful completion needed a crossing of the Saar. Obstacles were encountered, a new bridgehead had to be established after an earlier one had to be abandoned, apparently due to human error. At 0900 on February 24 the armored infantry battalions assembled at Ayl (lower center of map at left). At 1600 the soldiers, aided by a smokescreen generated by the 81st Chemical Co., began an assault under heavy and continuous fire.

By noon on February 25 all the armored infantry battalions of the Tenth Armored were across the Saar.

Lent Picture A Day (9): Place


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hearing the Changes


I heard the surf shift the other afternoon. I was sitting on the balcony overlooking the beach. I was meditating, practicing some mindfulness, with the surf as the background mantra. The surf had been loud and heavy for the past 24 hours. Even now it was loud, still a roar, the water constantly flowing like a perpetual motion machine. The wind had been a little calmer most of the afternoon. I was thinking how complete silence is not necessary for meditation when the power of moving water is behind us.

Suddenly I became aware that it was quieter; the breakers weren’t sounding as loud or as constant; the roar was more distant, a murmur. My first thought was that I had just gotten used to the sound and I’m focusing elsewhere, though still mindful. Or maybe I was heading into the near sleep neverland.

My wife sneezed and it was at it’s normal sound level. I pondered for a brief second and I realized what was happening. I had just heard the surf calm down. I had heard a transition from one state to another. I had heard the color of the sound of the surf change.

I opened my eyes and looked out at the water. The waves had gotten smaller, the breakers hardly making any noise. It had happened within minutes. As I wrote my thoughts down ten or so minutes later the sound continued to decrease. I checked the beach warning flag and it remained calm. I thought maybe I heard a wind shift but that isn’t what occurred. Or was it?

Over the past few weeks I have been paying a little more attention to the water, wind and weather. I have been seeing how winds from one direction can turn the Gulf into a sheet of glass as it pushes the waves back out to deeper water. Or, like the previous 48 hours, a strong south to southeast wind picks up water and moves it for miles, if not hundreds of miles before crashing ashore. It opened me up to being more aware when today I could hear the changes.

That kind of mindfulness is important to life, I realize. It can mean being aware of a friend’s feelings, the emotion in a situation, the right time to keep quiet. It can help us know when and where we may be getting a direction from a Higher Power. Jazz musicians train to hear chord and key changes so they can be better improvisers.

On the balcony the other day I experienced the wonder of being aware- mindful- of changes. By the time I went inside, it was still calm. There is a slight breeze and it is still from the south. A front will be moving in overnight and that no doubt played into the change I heard. The waves remained but were not as commanding as they had been with the flag barely moving and the palms just rustling silently.

An amazing world we live in.

Lent Picture A Day (8): Remembrance


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Following the 10th Armored (17): Elsewhere in the War

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.


I stopped and wondered what else was happening in the war while the Tenth was involved in the Saar-Moselle Triangle, which I will update the beginning of March. So, here's some of the information from February 1945. (From World War II Timeline.)

February 1: The USAAF launches a series of bombing raids on Iwo Jima, softening the island's Japanese defenses in preparation for a U.S. Marine ground assault.

February 4: Allied military leaders announce that they have cleared Belgium of all Axis forces. (The end of the Bulge)

February 4-11: Allied leaders Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta (on the Crimean Peninsula) to plan the final phase of the war and decide fate of Nazi Germany and Eastern Europe. Although Franklin Delano Roosevelt was exhausted, Joseph Stalin refused to travel any farther west than Yalta. In negotiations for the fate of Nazi Germany and Eastern Europe, Joseph Stalin had the advantage since most of that area was already in Soviet Union hands. He was, therefore, able to violate the promises he made about free elections in Poland and democratic governments in the liberated states of Central and Southeastern Europe. The Soviet Union leader confirmed his prior promise to enter the war against Japan. Joseph Stalin also reduced his demand for all 16 Soviet Union republics to be represented in the United Nations to two: the Ukraine and Belorussia.

February 13-15: Allies firebomb Dresden and kill approximately 30,000 people: The beautiful German city of Dresden was known as the "Florence of the Elbe" before it suffered a series of bombings in 1945. The heaviest of these were conducted by British and American aircraft from February 13 to February 15. These bombings caused firestorms that destroyed much of the city and killed approximately 30,000 people. Outdoor temperatures reached as high as 2,700 °F, making it impossible for people to escape from their doomed homes. The military efficacy of the bombings has been questioned. Dresden was poorly defended from air attack at times, and its industries were mainly on its outskirts.

February 19: One of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific war ensues when 30,000 U.S. Marines storm the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima.

February 20: Red Army troops advance on Berlin, Nazi Germany's capital and the heart of the Third Reich.

February 21: The Americans recapture the Philippine province of Bataan, site of the infamous Bataan death march three years earlier.

February 23: The U.S. Marines capture Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi and raise a foreign flag on Japanese soil.

February 26: In a daytime air raid, the USAAF drops 500,000 incendiary bombs on Berlin. British RAF units take over the attack after darkness falls.

U.S. forces capture Corregidor, leaving 5,000 Japanese troops dead and suffering 1,000 casualties.

Lent Picture a Day (7): Path


Monday, February 23, 2015

Ramblin' Bikin'

Yesterday was a great day on the Gulf Coast to do some biking. Didn't plan on a video so didn't have the handlebar connector but I held the iPhone camera for awhile and ended up editing it to 4 minutes. Al Hirt music and You Tube post-processing the wiggling and bouncing helps e keep the day.

Enjoy.


Lent Picture a Day (6): Covenant


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A 50-Year Memory: The Death of Malcolm X

May 19, 1925 - February 21, 1965

He had quite a journey and was reaching some important new insights at his assassination. Perhaps that is why he died; perhaps not. He was a person of growth, never willing to stay where he was.

Lent Picture a Day (4): Joy


Friday, February 20, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Following the 10th Armored (16): Replenished, Refreshed and Ready

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.


9-10 Feb 1945-
Nichols reports that the 10th received sudden orders to move north to again unite with the XX Corps of the Third Army at Metz. By dusk on he 10th they were there. There was a secretiveness to the move as they removed all identification from vehicles and put away their shoulder patches. Even with that, Nichols says
a French boy of seven bravely approached a Tiger staff officer and in perfect English said, "Welcome back to Metz, Tenth Armored Tigers.
It hadn't been two months since the 10th had been diverted from breaking through defensive Siegfried Line near Saarbrucken. They were now returning to the Saar-Moselle triangle with new strength and refreshed for the job ahead. They were the only division remaining which had participated in the November-December assault. Nichols comments that this time they were
to set a model for tank-infantry teamwork, as the Tigers were to race through an infantry bridgehead to seize important objectives deep in the enemy's rear area.
The Triangle-
The Saar-Moselle Triangle is defined by the Moselle River on the west, the Saar on the east and, across the southern end, a part of the Siegfried Line. From Wikipedia: The whole
Line stretched more than 630 km (390 mi) and featured more than 18,000 bunkers, tunnels and tank traps. It went from Kleve on the border with the Netherlands along the western border of the old German Empire as far as the town of Weil am Rhein on the border to Switzerland. It was planned starting in 1936 and built between 1938 and 1940.
The portion of the Line the Tigers were responsible for was a small section, but important to the overall goals to capture the Triangle. For that to be successful they had to capture Metz and then, with that accomplished they could capture Trier. The Germans had fortified the two rivers, the Line as well as a nineteen mile long ridge line that bisected the triangle north and south.

10-18 Feb 1945-
The Tenth began an intensive training program. The Divisions battalions, which had been impacted by the Bulge, were strengthened with experienced replacements. Plans were prepared at headquarters and then translated into field orders, A, B, and C. The Division could then be put into motion at a moment's notice.

In short, the 10th was ready to go. Their movements were mocked by Axis Sally, the radio propagandist, by calling the Tenth- the "Ghost Division." They were not the only division to be so named, but they took it as a mark of honor.

Lent Picture a Day (2): Look


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Picture A Day for Lent (1): Ash Wednesday: Announce

Ash Wednesday- Lent Begins

As can be seen from the picture above, I will be doing a daily picture for Lent. The themes come from the United Methodist Church, ReThink Church. Enjoy them, let them spur your spiritual journey this season as we all prepare for new life. May they open new insights as well as rejuvenate older ones.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fastnacht Still Life (AKA Mardi Gras Still Life)


Or perhaps, multi-ethnic Mardi Gras Still Life.

And yes, I know these aren't the real, true Fastnachts. But they accomplish the same thing. FAT Tuesday.

Mardi Gras

Let's bring the season to its end. The good times have been rolling. It will be time to reflect and spend some time in meditation and mindfulness. It doesn't mean the fun is all done. One does not have to be totally somber for the next 40 days. So let's do one last trip along the Mardi Gras (or Fastnacht or Fasching) trail.



(Note: All pictures from Orange Beach, AL, parades.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Irresistable

Here's Mardi Frog:


Outside the Public Library in Gulf Shores, AL.

Lundi Gras

Fat Monday: Lundi Gras in Alabama. The end of the season is almost upon us. Lent is almost here. But a last couple of days before settling into the days of contemplation, reflection and meditation.

Here's a video I just finished from my first Mardi Gras parade in Fairhope, AL, a week or so ago. Each parade has its own group that puts it on and this one was the Knights of Ecor Rouge. Their theme was A Knight to Marvel- Superheroes. It was simply taken with my iPhone (video) and dSLR (stills.) All the sound is ambient from the crowds and the bands.

Enjoy!



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mardi Gras Mood

As they say in New Orleans (and southern Alabama)- Laissez les bons temps rouler. (Let the good times roll.) Here we are on the last Sunday of Epiphany (The Transfiguration.) What does that have to do with Mardi Gras? Well, I'm a preacher and I have learned over the years the fine art of the shoe horn. That means I can find a way to make most things fit into what I want to say. So here goes.

  • Seven weeks from today is Easter- the Day of Resurrection.
  • That is the ultimate in transfiguration- or change.
  • It is transformation.
  • It is about Jesus.
  • But it is also about us.
  • Just as Jesus is transformed, so are we.
  • We have these next seven weeks to get ready.
  • We stand on the mountain with Jesus today.
  • We are assured that we will be transformed as well.
  • Before we head into the soulful days of Lent, we party.
  • We party because we know the end of the story.
  • We party to feed the body before we feed the soul.
  • Call it Fastnacht.
  • Call it Mardi Gras.
  • Let the good times roll, they will not be forgotten.
So here's the video I put together last year for Mardi Gras after our visit to New Orleans.

Let the good times roll.



Heron Walk

Just your average Great Blue Heron moving deliberately toward the shore catching fish (didn't get that picture) and trying to get out of the camera's view. No music, just the heron. Taken with a digital SLR and a zoom lens.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine from the Beach

Out for a walk and I came across this heart on the beach. I knew it had to be there for Valentine's Day. So I took the picture, did some manipulating with GIMP and I get a Valentine's Day greeting.

May this be a day of love for all of you!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Oh, No- There's Two in a Row

How unlucky can one get- there is a Friday the 13th in February. Arrrrgh! That means, since there are only 28 days in February this year, we will get another one in just four weeks. And for good or bad measure, there will be yet another in November. Fortunately I'm not superstitious. I have my own way of staying safe.





My guard cat won't let anything happen.