Archive for November 2012

Mistletoe: Kissing Allowed   4 comments

Sycamore Mistletoe, Phoradendron tomentsoum, is the most common mistletoe used in Southern California by high school fundraising groups to make a buck and inspire more kissing.

High school students need inspiration, apparently.

As George Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young.”

Sycamore Mistletoe is revealed in the fall, as its host loses the leaves that shield it in the spring and summer.

This mistletoe does generate its own chlorophyll, but it does suck nutrients and water from the host tree.

South Fork Trail: Fall   Leave a comment

This running trail is the best in Santa Clarita.  It’s about 2 miles long, with most of that length offering both asphalt and dirt trails.  With the Santa Clara River on one side, and a power company right of way on the other, this seemingly secluded, shaded trail offers a wonderful opportunity to clear your head, enjoy the scenery and stretch your legs.

Kumquats   Leave a comment


Posted November 23, 2012 by henrymowry in Photography

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Freedom from Want   1 comment

I’ve seen two parodies of this illustration this week; I thought you might enjoy hearing the story of how the original came to be.  This is from the National Archives.

It started with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Message to Congress on January 6, 1941, in what became known as the “Four Freedoms” speech :

“We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is the freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world. The second is the freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants–everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.”

In 1941, basic human freedoms were under world-wide attack. Europe was under Nazi domination.  Japan was expanding its war from China to an advance into Indochina and the Dutch East Indies. Roosevelt anticipated the necessity of war, and sought to inspire the American people with a vision of the world accepting the American ideals of individual liberties.

Norman Rockwell was so inspired by this speech that he created a set of paintings on the “Four Freedoms” theme.  He translated Roosevelt’s vision of freedom into scenes of everyday American life.  He offered these painting to the US government for its use, but that offer was initially rebuffed.  The Saturday Evening Post, one of the nation’s most popular magazines of the time, purchased the rights to the paintings and published them.  They proved wildly popular, and eventually served as the centerpiece of a massive US war bond drive that helped explain the goals of the war.

Angel’s Trumpet   5 comments

This is a lonely Angel’s Trumpet, genus Brugmansia. This prolific grower was devastated in its first year by a grasshopper attack that lasted all summer. New leaves continue to sprout, and the plague is gone.  This shot was taken today, November 18, so the plant is benefiting from LA’s long growing season.  Here’s to a better year to come!

Through the giant 10″ blossom, all you can see is the shadow of the new leaves struggling to feed the plant.

Posted November 21, 2012 by henrymowry in Photography

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Portraits: Dwight Eisenhower   2 comments

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)

The 34th President of the United States, 1953 – 1961

Normal Rockwell’s Dwight Eisenhower

AKA: Ike

From: Born in Texas, raised in Kansas

College: United States Military Academy

Married to: Mamie Geneva Doud

Children: Doud Dwight and John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Night supervisor at a creamery, US Army, US Chief of Staff of the Army, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Chief of Staff of the Army, University President, NATO Supreme Commander

In His Words:  “Neither a wise man or a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.”

“There is one thing about being President — nobody can tell you when to sit down.”

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.”

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

“The one quality that can be developed by studious reflection and practice is the leadership of men.”

“Un-American activity cannot be prevented or routed out by employing un-American methods; to preserve freedom we must use the tools that freedom provides.”

Not true: There’s a viral email that makes the rounds stating that “Operation Wetback,” which ran during Eisenhower’s administration, deported 13,000,000 illegal immigrants.  It’s stated this program also swept up and deported large numbers of legal residents and citizens.  Though the program did exist, it resulted in less than 100,000 deportations, and perhaps an additional 500,000 illegal immigrants leaving the country before they were apprehended.  The program was controversial and there were reports of abuse, but not nearly on the scale alleged by the viral emails.

True: Eisenhower was responsible for the lives of millions during WWII, as he was in charge of war planning, and later implementing those plans, in Europe.  He oversaw the invasion of Italy and the liberation of western Europe from Nazi control.  He was the first General elected President since Ulysses S Grant, and is one of only 5 Presidents that did not hold an elected office before becoming President.

The Official Portrait:

This painting is the official portrait of the President. The artist,  J. Anthony Wills from Houston, Texas painted 5 copies of the portrait. One of them hangs in the White House and one is at his Presidential Library in Abilene, KS. The location of the other three copies is unknown.


Autumn Colors in Santa Clarita   1 comment

Unlike my last post about other California cities, Santa Clarita is a peaceful city in California. We haven’t had any disagreements on public displays, I’m happy to say.

Posted November 20, 2012 by henrymowry in California, Photography

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Nudity, Jesus and Public Displays   3 comments

What’s a city?

It’s a place where people gather.  By living closely to each other, we derive benefits such as better education for our children, easier access to healthcare and a  broader array of food sources.  We get 24/7 grocery stores, movie multi-plexes and a Starbucks on every corner.

A city provides public spaces for the public good, such as parks.  And now we get to the problem of the day.

The Santa Monica nativity spaces were next to a sidewalk, but kept inside a chain link enclosure.

Yesterday, a judge in Santa Monica ruled that the city of Santa Monica has the right to not allow nativity scenes in public parks.  This really blew up last year, when a group of determined atheists decided it was time to end the domination of Christian displays in Santa Monica’s Pallisades Park during the Christmas season.  The atheists were apparently tired of the tradition that began in 1953: nativity scenes were faithfully put up by a group of Santa Monica churches every year.

The atheists banded together and pressured the town council to give them a chance to display their alternate message in that same public park … and eventually the city decided to hold a lottery to see who would get the 21 spaces in 2011.  The final lottery score:  Christians 2, Jews 1 and atheists 18.

This year, the city decided that they didn’t want to play any more, so they passed an ordinance that the public spaces would not be used for any displays.  The Santa Monica churches sued, the court held for the city, and in 2012 there will apparently be no Santa Monica parks with static Christian, atheistic or Jewish displays.

I’m actually OK with this.  I am a Christian, and I deplore the tactics of the atheists that decided that their philosophy should hold sway over a long-standing, international tradition.  However, I agree that the Christians in this case should not be given undue benefit or advantage by the city.  But couldn’t the atheists have done their public displays in January?  Why did they need to destroy the status quo in order to be satisfied?

They won the votes, however, the city got the judge to agree, and that’s where we stand.  No public park space to be appropriated for religious, or un-religious displays.  Well, OK, then.

Now we go to San Francisco, where the city lawmakers are voting today about whether they should allow unrestricted public nudity.  The law in question does allow special event nudity, mind you. There’s apparently some traditional clothing-optional events in the Bay Area … and the city leaders wouldn’t want to lose those, apparently.  The proposed law even allows some semi-public nudity, where people have to erect (sorry) visual barriers between their bodies and the general public.  Well, OK, then.

However, some residents want the right to, uh, strut their stuff any day, every way.  They don’t want their desire to expose their flesh to be limited, “like in the Dark Ages.”

The city lawmakers seem to disagree, however, and think there should be some limits to the pubic displays (sorry again).  We’ll see how the vote turns out.

Who controls the city?  The people, through their elected government.  We are a nation of laws, and your elected officials actually make decisions about what laws to create, and what laws to end.  Sometimes your votes really do matter.

In Santa Monica, a very vocal minority derailed a 58-year old tradition of placing nativity scenes in a public park because they simply didn’t want them there.  They got the votes, and that’s the way it will be in 2012.

In San Francisco, a very vocal minority wants to increase their public exposure, but in this case it appears they do not have the votes.  We’ll see later today.

Or, hopefully, we won’t.

UPDATE November 20:  As expected, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted today to ban public nudity in most circumstances.  Special event nudity is still allowed.  Here’s the LA Times story.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Green   Leave a comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

Posted November 19, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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Portraits: Rutherford B Hayes   5 comments

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822 – 1893)

The 19th President of the United States, 1877 – 1881

AKA: Rutherfraud or His Fraudulency

From: Ohio

College: Kenyon College, class of 1842 and Harvard Law, class of 1845

Married to: Lucy Ware Webb (the first wife of a President to graduate from college)

Children: Birchard, Webb, Rutherford, Joseph, George, Fanny, Scott and Manning

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: businessman, lawyer, soldier, congressman, governor

In His Words: “He serves his party best who serves his country best.”

“Fighting battles is like courting girls: those who make the most pretensions and are boldest usually win.”

“In avoiding the appearance of evil, I am not sure but I have sometimes unnecessarily deprived myself and others of innocent enjoyments.”

“Lemonade Lucy” Hayes was the first Presidential wife called “First Lady” in the national press.

Not true: President Obama invoked Hayes in the 2012 Presidential campaign, saying,

“One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, ‘It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?’ That’s why he’s not on Mount Rushmore because he’s looking backwards.  he’s not looking forwards.”

There is no proof that this ever happened.  Indeed, Hayes installed the first telephone in the White House, given the number of 1, when there were only 190 telephones in all of Washington, DC.

True: Hayes was the first President to travel to the west coast while in office.

Hayes is the only President whose election was decided by a congressional commission.  The 1876 election was rife with fraud by both parties.  Eventually both sides agreed to have a non-partisan congressional commission appointed, with 5 from the House, 5 from the Senate, and 5 from Supreme Court Justices.  Affiliations were to be 7 Republicans, 7 Democrats, and a well-respected independent Supreme Court Justice, David Davis.  The Democrats attempted to influence even this process, with the Illinois legislature electing Davis to the Senate.  Davis then declined the nomination to the congressional commission due to the conflict, further muddling the process.  Eventually, a compromise was worked out, with Hayes agreeing to end Reconstruction, withdrawing the Army from the South, and the Democrats agreeing to support his Presidency.

Hayes was the first President to have a typewriter in the White House.

Banned alcohol from the White House, perhaps in support of his wife who was a staunch supporter of the temperance movement.

The Official Portrait:

Daniel Huntington was one of the most fashionable portraitists of his generation.  He accepted Lucy Hayes’ invitation  to paint her portrait after the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union offered to fund this memorial for her.  After her husband retired from the Presidency, Huntington was selected by the President to paint a companion piece, which was to be his official portrait.  It was completed in 1884, three years after Hayes left office.

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