Kings Canyon is certainly the National Park my family has camped in the most, and I highly recommend the experience! Today is its 75th Anniversary as a National Park … which is being celebrated with free admission. If only I wasn’t 5 hours away!
Nicknamed a Land of Giants, Kings Canyon National Park’s landscape testifies to nature’s size, beauty and diversity — huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns and the world’s largest trees. Kings Canyon was created 75 years ago today, encompassing 454,000 acres of pristine Sierra Nevada wilderness in California. Nearly half the park is above timberline and two dozen peaks extend above 13,000 feet. The Pacific Crest and John Muir trails pass through cathedrals of glaciated valleys and domes, including Evolution Valley and Sixty Lakes Basin. Pictured here is the park’s stunning Bullfrog Lake by David Palefsky. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 3/4/15.
Kings Canyon is most famous, of course, for the Giant Sequoias that soar over the Park. Photo by Ed Cooper. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, 2/20/15.
Kings Canyon National Park
California Black Oak: Quercus kelloggii
Dead Giant Loop
Grant Tree Trail
Bill Clinton portrait by Nelson Shanks, from the National Portrait Gallery
Yesterday, this blog set a record for traffic. One particular page got most of the views: the Bill Clinton page from my Presidential Portraits series.
There was big news yesterday about the Clinton portrait by Nelson Shanks that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
Mr. Shanks revealed an “Easter egg” in the painting … a 10-year old secret that only he knew until yesterday.
The secret? He had put a blue dress on a mannequin to cast a shadow onto the scene he was painting – all while Clinton was not in the room posing for him. This blue dress shadow, which is memorialized below the plant on the mantle to the viewer’s left of Clinton, represents the Monica Lewinsky scandal to Mr. Shanks.
So, yesterday he revealed why there was a shadow in the painting. This announcement did a few things:
- explained the reason for a shadow across the portrait (me, I just thought it was art).
- re-invigorated the Monica Lewinsky scandal for Mr Shanks’ gain
- made his future employment by any prominent person suspect … I mean, who needs this kind of grief when you’re paying a portraitist as much as $200,000 for a full length painting?
I’m sure President Clinton regrets posing for the obviously untrustworthy Shanks. I don’t know who actually paid for this portrait (paintings of Presidents for the National Portrait Gallery or the White House – the two most prominent collections – are often paid for by anonymous donors), but I’m sure they regret that decision as well.
Portraits: Bill Clinton
NBC News: Bill Clinton Portrait Has Hidden Monica Lewinsky Portrait
Time.com: Bill Clinton’s Portrait Includes Symbolic Nod To Lewinsky Affair
Sunset at Cape Royal, Grand Canyon National Park. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, 2/26/15.
Grand Canyon National Park
Bright Angel Trail
Happy 143rd birthday, Yellowstone National Park! On this day in 1872, Yellowstone became the first national park — starting a worldwide movement to protect special places. Today, millions visit Yellowstone to discover the park’s geysers and mud pots, forests and lakes, and historic cabins and prehistoric sites — not to mention it’s stunning waterfalls. Pictured here is a rainbow at Lower Falls on the park’s Uncle Tom trail. Photo by Kallem Phillips. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 3/1/15.
Yellowstone National Park
How Wolves Change Rivers
North Twin Lake
The Animals Of Yellowstone
Uncle Tom’s Trail
Baby owl at Washington’s Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Dennis Davenport. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 2/25/15.
Lightning dances over the Alabama Hills National Recreation Area in California. Photo by David Parry. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, 2/27/15.
This Saturday, the breathtaking ice caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin will open for the first time this season. The ice caves are an always changing phenomenon — the formations change from chamber to chamber and from day to day. The result is a fairyland of needlelike icicles. Visiting the ice caves requires at least a 2 mile hike across Lake Superior, and present conditions might make it a challenging trek. For up-to-date info on the ice caves, visit ww.nps.gov/apis or call the Ice Line at (715) 779-3397 – extension 3. National Park Service photo. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 2/25/15.
A good friend of ours is snake bit. That’s a technical term in sales for a person, that no matter what you try, always has a bad sales experience with a particular company.
Jill is snake bit by Amazon.com. No matter what she buys, no matter what delivery she chooses … it’s wrong. Snake bit.
I, on the other hand, love Amazon.com’s prime shipping. Buy practically anything on their site (which means, buy practically anything) and, with Amazon Prime, you’ll have that item in two days with “free” shipping. You actually pay something like $90 per year for that “free” shipping, but when you buy everything from there, it is worth it. IMHO.
Jill’s mileage may vary, after being snake bit so many times.
However, one item I don’t buy from Amazon – or from a regular brick and mortar store – is my breakfast food of choice. The only place to buy Post Cereal’s Great Grains Crunchy Pecan, uh, cereal, is Walmart.com, where you can buy a box for only $3.28. Amazon.com charges $5.86/box when you buy 7 (or $12.49/box when you buy two, or $8.50/box when you buy one. No, it doesn’t make sense).
So I buy my cereal at Walmart.com … except you can only buy 4 boxes at a time. And, to get free shipping, you have to have a minimum order of $50.
So, last night, Velda and I had to get creative with our purchase from Walmart.com to get a $50 order. We bought cat food, kitty litter and soap. And my maximum order of 4 boxes of cereal. $51 order = free shipping. Done.
Except Walmart.com told us we wouldn’t get the shipment until March 4. OK, no problem, I just won’t have breakfast cereal for a week.
And then they delivered the entire order TODAY, in less than 24 hours. After telling me that delivery would take 8 days, it took less than 1. And they didn’t even tell me that the shipment would be here sooner! They just got it here earlier than promised and expected me to be happy about it.
I’m not. I’m frustrated that they can’t control their inventory. I’m frustrated that they won’t let me buy the quantity of cereal that I want. I am just plain frustrated with Walmart, so I’ve apparently joined a pretty big club.
I also went online shopping this week at HomeDepot.com, because Mrs M’s Handmade needed LED light bulbs for our new booth lighting. I wanted a color temperature of 5000 degrees (“daylight”), so I chose a specific bulb … and I needed 12 of them. I elected to shop at home, pick up in the store so I could get the bulbs when the lights arrived. This is the first time I’ve done this shop online/pick up in-store with Home Depot.
What happened? The merchandise was exactly as ordered, and picked up within 30′ of the front entrance of this big box store (wow, that’s great!). The only negative was the clerk that processed the transaction didn’t see a need to bag the 12 light bulbs … she just handed me the display units with the 12 lights mounted on cards and stuck in slots, and thought she was done.
Well, OK, then. I guess she was.
What’s it all mean? No clue, but as of now, I don’t think anyone is getting online shopping right all of the time. And that’s a big frustration, because I’d really be OK if I never walked into another store again.
The gorgeous Assateague Island National Seashore. Photo by Bob Ferralli. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 2/24/15.
National Park Service: Assateague Island National Seashore
Wikipedia: Assateague Island National Seashore