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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holding Up Well for 137 Years Old

     Rose Hill Cemetery was founded in 1840 on 65 acres of land nestled next to the Ocmulgee River on the north side of Macon, GA. The cemetery serves as the final resting place for thousands of people. There are over a thousand confederate soldier graves located in the cemetery; there are also graves for three GA governors, 31 mayors, and several senators/congressmen. Several notable entertainers are buried in the cemetery as well. (taken from the cemetery website)

     I was assigned Rose Hill Cemetery, in Macon Georgia to give an informative speech on out of a list of twelve local historic sites. I must accompany myself with a slideshow. I need seven minutes.
I got out there yesterday afternoon after giving the neighbor's prodigal grandson a ride. (grandma has thrown him out). The Afternoon sunlight, bouncing off of autumn leaves was amazing, but I was pressed for time, trying to beat the darkness. Rather than break out a tripod, and go for one of those Ultra-clear, You-can-go-swimming-in-me pictures, I shot all of my brackets by hand, or propped/wedged against gravestones or whatever. I wanted to get lots of statues, and I would shoot a few brackets before quickly moving deeper into Macon's largest garden and graveyard.
I had forgotten how neat sunbursts, sunbeams and such are and may have overdid it. Moderation isn't my strong suite.

     I just really started loving the whole sunburst thing and probably am lucky I didn't cook my eyeball, trying to outdo myself:

Dazzled by the Late Afternoon Sun, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     I even tried a new thing... the Orton Effect, which as far as I can tell is basically a hallmark flavor :)

Orton ears a ooh., originally uploaded by use2blost.

     You like? I don't know if I like it or not.
     Evidently, musicians are more popular than politicians (This does not surprise me). I'm told the most visited spot in Rose Hill is a little fenced in area that holds the remains of Duane Allman and Barry Oakley. I'll ask you to forgive this picture. I have no speedlites, and almost never am willing to use onboard flash, so these brackets are shot as night photos (It was getting dark) and edited within an inch of their lives, to pull this one HDR out of them. I really wanted to capture the inscription...

Legendary Troubadours, originally uploaded by use2blost.

     And the engraving of the guitar. I never noticed the inscription on my previous visits, in the last millineum. The two graves were not always fenced in. In my youth, you could go sit right next to them and many did. It was something of a tradition to smoke a fattie (blunts weren't invented yet...and 22% hydro was not a mexican mafia industry. The only people in the world back then with that kind of doobage were the botanical savants, those burned out High Times! subscribers who became marijuana rain men,  master breeders driven by their ever increasing tolerance. Yeah. this was a long time ago), and then cast the roach upon the grave of the musical legend... (and I would like to say, I have never done this...I don't know why I never noticed the inscription as a child) and drift in the grooviness for a few respectful moments.
     Is the inscription on the lid of Duane Allman's burial vault. I have no earthly idea who wrote this. The Consensus seems to attribute it to Duane possibly taken from "This year I will be more thoughtful of my fellow man, exert more effort in each of my endeavors professionally as well as personally. Take love where ever I find it, and offer it to everyone who will take it. In this coming year I will seek knowledge from those wiser than me and try to teach those who wish to learn from me. I love being alive and I will be the best man I possibly can." It seems after nearly four decades of my Half-Asian roots plunging ever deeper into redneck soil, I have had a spiritual awakening. As I struggled to make out the faded writing below the engraved guitar, I found my sinuses beginning to sting, and my eyes grew damp. Duane was rated as the Number 2 Greatest Gutarist of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine, between Jimi Hendrix, and B.B. King.
     We all hear the voice of our Creator, though we may never recognize it. Sadly, some never act on the voice of wonder. Some of us address specificities in our destiny to further the Redemptive work of God. Others may simply author works of beauty, throwing offerings on the scales of God's Glory, doing their part to insure that the ugliness and evil is outweighed by beauty and goodness. My guitar professor, at Georgia Southern told me that the pentatonic blues scale is the first one an arising civilization develops, that the blues are indelibly tatooed into humanity. Perhaps that is why visitors stroll past the graves of statesmen and legislators as I did, and pause instead at Duane Allman's grave, to  pay homage to a simpler man, so full of music it spilled out of him. We know when such talent is sealed away by the untimely, early twenties death of virtuosity, that we have suffered a casualty. A blow has been struck by the other side.

BTW...If you're interested in untrained photographers, or bored, or you love me... you can see the other cemetery pics here.  Every picture you click generates traffic stats for me. Hint.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I got a link to some horror shorts off a twitter contact...I'll have to link him later. I am pleasantly surprised. I Didn't know this stuff existed. I have watched several of them...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Stars In His Eyes,

Stars In His Eyes, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     Naivete in his heart.
     History and Political Science have been an embarrassingly rude awakening to me. I knew about slavery, of course, and you would have to have lived on the moon to not realize we took a big dump on the Indians. Somehow, I still thought we were fairly well behaved as a nation. It seems this is not the case. I realized we had migrated away from the vision of government our forefathers held, but I had no idea the level of blatant self interest voter apathy permits in our elected officials. I had never reflected on the truth that a selfish, fearful population is the one most easily manipulated. I find myself alarmed, but try to keep in mind I am like a emotional savant, with childish expectations of virtue, and a petulance born of growing up in what counts for poverty in the one of the most prosperous countries in the world. I find myself considering political issues, and wondering at a lasting solution. It seems to me, probably the best thing we could do to straighten out politics would be to eliminate the middleman. The selfishness of the general population creates more than enough chaos. We want what serves us best, and to hell with the other faction. This makes the American Public easy to manipulate, and the political machine, which to me seems to include business, government, and organized religion, grows in wealth and power by siphoning these off of the American people. Most of us seem to realize that the roofies has worn off...we even know who is screwing us. We just can't seem to reach enough lucidity to do anything about it. A platform of specific reforms would be lengthy, and probably impractical after the editing required to get a huge grass roots movement to all agree on it. Perhaps just a few things at a time, is the ticket. we could chisel away at the problem rather than specific symptoms. I think the election process needs to be more about competency than money, and the name recognition /media exposure the money purchases. So from now on, no reporting on elections. every candidate gets equal time, his voting record on past issues is published, and media coverage is limited to live rhetoric or debate. Please do not analyze the candidates for us. We wanna grow up and learn to do it ourselves (I feel like I've been asleep).
     I also think election campaigns should have a cap on spending. If we remove the need to compete for campaign contributions, the public interest will begin to have the same clout as the corporate interest, and citizens will be as important as lobbyists. And we pay them too much. Pay them less, and make them utilize public health care. They'll come up with a great plan, overnight. I promise. My little pea brain thinks this would completely change the political climate of America.

About the picture... I seldom go to the trouble to take a self portrait, but insomnia can take you out of your comfort zone. The right eye is A star similar to our sun that has exploded, and the left eye is The Orion Nebula, both taken by the Hubble Telescope and gathered from the Hubble website. Airbrushing them into my irises with Photoshop Elements, was the last thing I did after processing my mug. The HDR was done with Mediachance Dynamic Photo. I tried a little bit of burning, on my wrinkles, to add some mileage.

as to lighting, this was taken in the bathroom with me sitting on the counter opposite the mirror, which has a fixture across the top holding 6 bulbs. for this shot, a couple of the bulbs are unscrewed. It definitely qualifies, so I submitted it to the ghetto lighting pool.


04, originally uploaded by An Pu Ruo.
Imitates life? This is expected to break the record when auctioned. It is mildly amazing to me. I must show my lack of culture. It is entitled Benefits Supervisor Sleeping
This is my rebuttal..though, I gotta say, I just haven't hung naked women on my walls in decades. Other Couches, other nude women .
Beware. Merkley is a... umm liberal photographer. .if you find this woman attractive...she looks nothing like these others.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Mirkwoood...., originally uploaded by use2blost.
     Twenty five years ago I was asked to leave high school. I had committed an offense (Not particularly bad, I thought.), and my Father was called to the school. Not for the first time.The closed door was unusual. My father and the principal on one side, and me on the other.
     My father had been abandoned by my mother. He already had a few issues going on, and a wayward 17 year old is difficult to handle in a healthy family environment. (I suspect he may have gone bat for me, but taken the walk, so to speak. I know he was tired.) Afterward, we never discussed the interview. I was relieved. From my seventeen year perspective, I had escaped without consequences.
      I was smart. My career as a slayer of brain cells was picking up speed, but heyWTF? I had plenty. At this time in Georgia a dropout could take the GED exam, period. Classes were offered, but not compulsory like they are for teenagers today. The Friday they threw me out of school as a sophomore, I got my GED and registered for college classes. Or a college class. English 101. My father took it too. He got a B. I got an A. Oorah. This was working out pretty good. I had kicked Dad's ass...and he was happy about it. It seemed the whole issue of me being unable to hold a job had fallen by the wayside, and I was a grown up college student.
This didn't last long... the following semester I flunked out of Macon State. Then West Georgia. Then I rallied at Georgia Southern, and began to learn about Bullshit classes. Mountaineering. White Water Rafting. Scuba. Also, at this point, I could occasionally show up in a real class and perform. I would make like A, A, F. Or A, B, F. Or F, F, B. You could limp along for a while, if your mother paid cash. Mom had a guilty concience, and a new Christian husband.
      I seemed to not get the hang of life, and though some of this is not my fault, I freely admit the larger part of this was simply a lack of character. I've been working on it.
      Today, as a transfer student, I wish to enter the nursing program at Macon State with a GPA of 3.64. Macon State, where I could walk to some of my classes, denies me financial aid, based on academic performance. When I was seventeen. This seems a little hardcore, to me. I coulda cleared a felony off my record by now. It will cost me several thousand dollars more over the course of my education to attend an out-of-town school. I will probably need another vehicle, and I am scared. Plus, this problem comes as a result of being a screwup, so it makes me feel bad. I am puzzled. The money comes from the same place. The school I attend now mails me stuff telling me I have kicked academic booty...and for fifty dollars an organization of greek letters will even put a big stamp on my transcript. I shit you not. (I'm still thinking about that.)
Anyway, that's my gloomy, whiny rant. Waah.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Heresy, Part II

Shrooms by a Pear Tree    Large
Originally uploaded by use2blost

Okay, I am probably not gonna have another 'to be continued...' blogpost. The pressure was horrible. Plus, thinking about Part II made me wonder if Part I sucked. It was totally different from posting and forgetting about it. Not good. And fair warning, BTW. This is a post on theology. It may be boring... and is contrary to what I have been taught in Church.

So, to recap Part I (actually, this will be much easier to follow, with a couple points I forgot to mention.)
  1. Much Church doctrine comes out of the epistles.
  2. I believe this is a bad Idea.
  3. The Apostolic Writer's Alliance (Peter, John, James, The Unknown Author of Hebrews, and of course, Paul) are surely special, and men to be taken seriously, but they should not be confused with Jesus.
  4. The Bible, in many ways idolized by mainstream evangelicals and put on a higher plane than Jesus himself, makes clear that even Church Fathers are capable of grave misjudgment. This is a clear distinction from Jesus, who never botched it.
  5. Jesus was God. They weren't. Why in the hell would somebody view their words with equal authority?
In Acts chapter 15, when Peter and the Boys hold palaver on the Issue of Making Gentiles Cut Off Pieces of Their Penises, they draft a letter for Paul's posse to carry back to the newbies explaining it was a false alarm. Which is all good. Nobody today seriously thinks you have to be circumcised to Go to Heaven.

But there is verse that catches my eye.
For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us 88 not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 89 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols 90 and from blood and from what has been strangled 91 and from sexual immorality. 92 If you keep yourselves from doing these things, 93 you will do well. Farewell.
Now, as they saying goes "Did it ever occur to you, that nothing occurs to God?"

Think about it. You're Peter. This means you are :
  1. Headstrong, and Transparent, and prone to making sure your ass is covered.
  2. A good Jew.
  3. You're also The Pope. Yeah. A Jewish Pope.
You are a Jerusalem Rock Star. A redneck fisherman, you hung with Jesus, and You have healed people miraculously in public. More then once, the bible portrays you as having a defective filter between your brain and your mouth. Now if this man hears audible direction from God, in an environment where such things were known to happen, He says "God told me that was WRONG." he doesn't use the word "seems".

It is from the Epistles that we get much of the doctrine regarding marriage, sexual morality, treatment of divorcees, treatment of homosexuals, and what to tell people about about the Good News That You Go To Hell If You Don't Believe What We Believe. If we rank scripture hierarchically, placing the speech of Jesus at the top, followed by His canon (The Old Testament), then the epistles, we can construct and entirely different set of protocols for how the church should behave about these matters. My point is that getting doctrine from the pulpit, is contrary to Jesus' directive in Matthew:
23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 23:2 “The 1 experts in the law 2 and the Pharisees 3 sit on Moses’ seat. 23:3 Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4 23:4 They 5 tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them. 23:5 They 6 do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries 7 wide and their tassels 8 long. 23:6 They 9 love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues 10 23:7 and elaborate greetings 11 in the marketplaces, and to have people call them ‘Rabbi.’ 23:8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. 23:9 And call no one your ‘father’ on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 23:10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one teacher, the Christ. 12 23:11 The 13 greatest among you will be your servant. 23:12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

23:13 “But woe to you, experts in the law 14 and you Pharisees, hypocrites! 15 You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven! 16 For you neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in.
I think a good argument can be made, that we should read for ourselves, and never think we are in a position to decide people should be denied things we have because their moral performance is lower than ours.
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