Archive for May 2013

The Wacky Cactus   6 comments

Can you identify this cactus???

The flower stalk is a spectacular 20′ tall!

Posted May 31, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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The Yucca Fades   Leave a comment

Yucca Flower FadingMore


Posted May 30, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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Portraits: Thomas Jefferson   1 comment

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, portrait by Mather Brown. London,1786. Painted with a statue of Liberty over his shoulder, and commissioned by Jefferson for $25. Now in the National Portrait Gallery.

The 3rd President of the United States, 1801 – 1809

AKA: The Sage of Monticello, The Man of the People, The Apostle of Democracy, The Negro President

From: Virginia

College: The College of William & Mary

Married to: Martha Wayles

Children: Martha, Jane, Mary, Lucy, Lucy Elizabeth

Party: Democratic-Republican

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, Delegate to the First and Second Continental Congress, Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Governor of Virginia, Delegate to the Congress of the Confederation, US Minister to France, Secretary of State, Vice President

In His Words: “We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

“The most fortunate of us, in our journey through life, frequently meet with calamities and misfortunes which may greatly afflict us; and, to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and misfortunes, should be one of the principal studies and endeavours of our lives.”

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.”

“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”

“Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. — We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“It is an axiom in my mind, that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This it is the business of the State to effect, and on a general plan.”

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.”

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

“No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.”

“The greatest good we can do our country is to heal it’s party divisions & make them one people. I do not speak of their leaders who are incurable, but of the honest and well-intentioned body of the people.”

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”

“No government can be maintained without the principle of fear as well as of duty. Good men will obey the last, but bad ones the former only.”

“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

“That one hundred and fifty lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected.”

“Good wine is a necessity of life for me.”

Not true: Jefferson was the greatest writer from America’s Founding Fathers, and it’s inevitable that modern society has created many phrases that support their beliefs, and attributed them to Jefferson. It’s just not true. Don’t believe all of those graphics you read on Facebook. Jefferson did NOT SAY THESE THINGS:

NO – Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

NO – Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.

NO – My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

NO – The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

NO – The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

True: Jefferson was appointed to write the first draft of what became the Declaration of Independence. Others at the Continental Congress contributed to the effort.  For example, Jefferson had written, “We hold these truths to be sacred and un-deniable…” Franklin changed it to, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

Months before Jefferson actually assumed the role as Minister to France he arrived in Paris on August 6, 1784 and four days later rode to greet his old friend Benjamin Franklin. When the French foreign minister, the Count de Vergennes, commented to Jefferson, “You replace Monsieur Franklin, I hear,” Jefferson replied, “I succeed him. No man can replace him.”

Thomas Jefferson was the first to be inaugurated in Washington DC. Jefferson also was the only one to walk to and from his inauguration.

Jefferson was vehemently against the corrupting influence of banks and monied interests. He joined with Madison, and actively worked against Hamilton. Washington nearly dismissed Jefferson from his cabinet over this, and Jefferson did leave the cabinet voluntarily.  Washington, however, never forgave and never spoke to him again.

Jefferson sought to purge from government the Federalists appointed to government jobs during the previous administration … a practice common today, but greeted with howls of protest in the early 1800s.

Ohio became a state during Jefferson’s Presidency.

The Louisiana Purchase was completed during Jefferson’s Presidency. Historians disagree with how that happened, exactly. Did Napoleon Bonaparte initiate the transaction? Does Jefferson deserve credit?  Madison? Monroe? The price was $15 million, and it was a bargain. Jefferson gets credit for completing the deal, in spite of the lack of constitutional authority to do so (which Federalists criticized him for).

Historians have long disagreed about Jefferson’s commitment to the anti-slavery cause. Many believe he was the father of one or more children by Sally Hemings, a slave that he owned. It is true that in 1807, he signed a law that banned the importation of slaves into the United States.

Jefferson believed that all (white, landowning) men were created equal and should be treated the same.  His home was open to all citizens.  In 1803, England’s foreign minister came to call on him at the Presidential Mansion … wearing full diplomatic regalia.  Secretary of State Madison couldn’t find Jefferson … but when he finally was found, Jefferson came to the meeting wearing slippers.

Lewis & Clark gave him two grizzly bears, which he kept on the White House lawn for some time.

Jefferson’s original tombstone is on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia, my alma mater. His epitaph, which Jefferson wrote, does not mention that he was the 3rd President of the United States!


The Official Portrait: Rembrandt Peale painted the Official White House Portrait of Thomas Jefferson in 1800.

Thomas Jefferson, Official White House Portrait

Thomas Jefferson Signature


Big Mo – Bad Quotes

Portraits: George H. W. Bush   Leave a comment

Bush sat for this portrait at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine. The picture's backdrop, however, is the East Room of the White House. Among artist Ron Sherr's aims was to balance the formality of the composition with a warmth capable of drawing the viewer into the picture.

Bush sat for this portrait at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine. The picture’s backdrop, however, is the East Room of the White House. Among artist Ron Sherr’s aims was to balance the formality of the composition with a warmth capable of drawing the viewer into the picture. National Portrait Gallery.

George Herbert Walker Bush (1924 – )

The 41st President of the United States, 1989 – 1993

AKA: 41, Poppy, Papa Bush

From: Massachusetts, Texas

College: Yale University

Married to: Barbara Pierce

Children: George Walker, Pauline Robinson, John Ellis “Jeb,” Neil Mallon, Marvin Pierce, Dorothy

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: US Navy Lieutenant, sales clerk, oil industry entrepreneur, company President, US Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, Envoy to China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Bank Chairman, Vice President

In His Words:”I’m the one who will not raise taxes. My opponent now says he’ll raise them as a last resort, or a third resort. But when a politician talks like that, you know that’s one resort he’ll be checking into. My opponent, my opponent won’t rule out raising taxes. But I will. And The Congress will push me to raise taxes and I’ll say no. And they’ll push, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push again, and I’ll say, to them, ‘Read my lips: no new taxes.'”

“I have just repeated word for word the oath taken by George Washington 200 years ago, and the Bible on which I placed my hand is the Bible on which he placed his. It is right that the memory of Washington be with us today, not only because this is our Bicentennial Inauguration, but because Washington remains the Father of our Country. And he would, I think, be gladdened by this day; for today is the concrete expression of a stunning fact: our continuity these 200 years since our government began. We meet on democracy’s front porch, a good place to talk as neighbors and as friends. For this is a day when our nation is made whole, when our differences, for a moment, are suspended.”

Official White House Portrait Photo, 1989

Official White House Portrait Photo, 1989

“I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved. The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.”

“I do not like broccoli and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli. Now look, this is the last statement I’m going to have on broccoli. There are truckloads of broccoli at this very minute descending on Washington. My family is divided. For the broccoli vote out there: Barbara loves broccoli. She has tried to make me eat it. She eats it all the time herself. So she can go out and meet the caravan of broccoli that’s coming in.”

“Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education.”

“We’re going to keep trying to strengthen the American family. To make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons.”

“It is possible to tell things by a handshake. I like the “looking in the eye” syndrome. It conveys interest. I like the firm, though not bone crushing shake. The bone crusher is trying too hard to “macho it.: The clammy or diffident handshake — fairly or unfairly — get me off to a bad start with a person.”

Not true: A 1992 New York Times article famously portrayed Bush as being amazed by a common supermarket scanner, which helped to paint him as an elitist who was out of touch with everyday American life. In reality, the scanner that Bush was so impressed with was an advanced prototype that could weigh groceries and decipher mangled and torn bar codes. Further, it was later discovered that the writer of the infamous article wasn’t even present at the convention where Bush was shown the scanner in question.

True: While serving as the Chairman of the Republican Party, he asked Nixon to resign the Presidency for the good of the Party.

After Ford became President, Bush was considered – and rejected – as his Vice President.

After serving as the Director of Central Intelligence, Bush decided to leave the government during Carter’s administration. He served as a part-time professor at Rice University.

When Reagan needed surgery on his colon, Bush became the Acting President for 8 hours until Reagan recovered from anesthesia.

When Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and then threatened to move into Saudi Arabia, Bush rallied the United Nations, the U. S. people, and Congress and sent 425,000 American troops. They were joined by 118,000 troops from allied nations. After weeks of air and missile bombardment, the 100-hour land battle dubbed Desert Storm routed Iraq’s million-man army.

George and Barbara had two sons that became governors: George, of Texas, and Jeb, of Florida.

When son George ran for president in 2000, his father told voters, “This boy — this son of ours — is not going to let you down.” George W. Bush’s election made his father the second president in history, after John Adams, to witness a son elected president. Years later, when the latter President Bush was criticized, family members noted that the proud patriarch took the barbs more emotionally than he ever had those once directed at himself.

George and Barbara Bush were married in 1945; they are celebrating the longest marriage ever between a President and his First Lady.

The Official Portrait: The Official White House Portrait of George Herbert Walker Bush by was painted by Herbert E. Abrams in 1994. Abrams, who also painted the Official White House Portrait of Jimmy Carter, died in 2003.

The painting in the background is The Peacemakers by George P. A. Healy.

The painting in the background is The Peacemakers by George P. A. Healy.

George H W Bush Signature

Boy’s Life, July 1936   Leave a comment

Boys Life, July 1936

Posted May 27, 2013 by henrymowry in Scouting

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words   Leave a comment

35 is a tetrahedral number - the fifth one, in fact.

35 is the fifth tetrahedral number – and I can pronounce that word correctly, without help from the word’s creator.

The above graphic is an animated .gif. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, and they can be either static or animated.

The inventor of this handy file format, Steve Wilhite, finally settled a controversy in the graphics community by declaring his preference for the pronunciation of the universally accepted short-hand name of this file, “gif.” He created this format 26 years ago, in 1987.

It’s “jif,” with a soft “g” sound. Not the hard G, as in graphic.

So, I’ve pronounced it wrong for all of these years, as have most (but not all) of the graphic artists I’ve worked with. My apologies to Mr. Wilhite and to the creative community for the mistake!



Wikipedia on .gif

New York Times

Daily Mail

Posted May 26, 2013 by henrymowry in Living Life

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A Shameful Secret and a Silly Hat   Leave a comment

I share Sarah’s shame … but it’s worse for me. I did not even attend kindergarten, you see, so my academic career is doubly shamed.

Posted May 25, 2013 by henrymowry in Living Life

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Pink Hibiscus   Leave a comment

The hibiscus really doesn’t belong in Santa Clarita … it does freeze here for one night about once every 3 years. Last winter (and I know I use the word loosely for those of you suffering in where weather consists of more than hot winds and sunshine) we got our freeze, which almost killed the 2 hibiscus that we have planted.

I didn’t expect any flowers from this pink hibiscus this year … but it’s good to be surprised, isn’t it?

The flowers often only last a day or two … so I had to shoot this bloom quickly. Who knows if the green bud underneath this bloom will be as pretty!

Hibiscus 01

Posted May 24, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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Portraits: Richard Nixon   2 comments

Artist Norman Rockwell admitted that he had intentionally flattered Nixon in this portrait. Nixon's appearance was troublesomely elusive, Rockwell noted, and if he was going to err in his portrayal, he wanted it to be in a direction that would please Nixon. National Portrait Gallery

Artist Norman Rockwell admitted that he had intentionally flattered Nixon in this portrait. Nixon’s appearance was troublesomely elusive, Rockwell noted, and if he was going to err in his portrayal, he wanted it to be in a direction that would please Nixon. National Portrait Gallery

Richard Milhous Nixon (1913 – 1994)

The 37th President of the United States, 1969 – 1974

AKA: Tricky Dick, Richard the Chicken-Hearted, Gloomy Gus, The Boss

From: California

College: Whittier College, Duke University School of Law

Married to: Pat Ryan

Children: Tricia, Julie

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, Navy Lieutenant Commander, US Representative, US Senator, Vice President

In His Words: “We were poor, but the glory of it was, we didn’t know it.”

“I always remember that whatever I have done in the past or may do in the future, Duke University is responsible in one way or another.”

“What are our schools for if not for indoctrination against communism?”

“I leave you gentleman now. You will now write it; you will interpret it; that’s your right. But as I leave you I want you to know…. just think how much you’re going to be missing. You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference, and I hope that what I have said today will at least make television, radio, the press recognize that they have a right and a responsibility, if they’re against a candidate give him the shaft, but also recognize if they give him the shaft, put one lonely reporter on the campaign who’ll report what the candidate says now and then. Thank you, gentlemen, and good day.”

“The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.”

“The American dream does not come to those who fall asleep.”

“I should say this—that Pat doesn’t have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat. And I always tell her that she’d look good in anything.”

“North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.”

“The Jews are irreligious, atheistic, immoral bunch of bastards.”

“The Jewish cabal is out to get me.”

“When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.”

“We are faced this year with the choice between the “work ethic” that built this Nation’s character and the new “welfare ethic” that could cause that American character to weaken.”

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white. Or a rape.”

“In any organization, the man at the top must bear the responsibility. That responsibility, therefore, belongs here, in this office. I accept it. And I pledge to you tonight, from this office, that I will do everything in my power to ensure that the guilty are brought to justice and that such abuses are purged from our political processes in the years to come, long after I have left this office.”

“I have never been a quitter.”

“Any nation that decides the only way to achieve peace is through peaceful means is a nation that will soon be a piece of another nation.”

“I’m not for women, frankly, in any job. I don’t want any of them around. Thank God we don’t have any in the Cabinet.”

“As long as I’m sitting in the chair, there’s not going to be any Jew appointed to that court. [No Jew] can be right on the criminal-law issue.”

Not true: Nixon did not tell the truth to the American people. Here’s how the Watergate scandal is described by

President Richard Nixon’s involvement in the infamous Watergate scandal is a controversial issue, even today. Nixon’s role in Watergate has been under discussion and clouded in suspicious for years. In a nutshell, here’s what happened in the greatest presidential scandal in U.S. history:

  • On June 17, 1972, McCord and four other men working for the Committee to Re-Elect the President (or CREEP — really) broke into the Democratic Party’s headquarters in the Watergate, a hotel-office building in Washington, D.C. They got caught going through files and trying to plant listening devices. Five days later, Nixon denied any knowledge of it or that his administration played any role in it.
  • The burglars went to trial in 1973 and either pled guilty or were convicted. Before sentencing, McCord wrote a letter to Judge John Sirica, contending that high Republican and White House officials knew about the break-in and had paid the defendants to keep quiet or lie during the trial.
  • Investigation of McCord’s charges spread to a special Senate committee. John Dean, a White House lawyer, told the committee McCord was telling the truth and that Nixon had known of the effort to cover up White House involvement.
  • Eventually, all sorts of damaging stuff began to surface, including evidence that key documents linking Nixon to the cover-up of the break-in had been destroyed, that the Nixon reelection committee had run a “dirty tricks” campaign against the Democrats, and that the administration had illegally wiretapped the phones of “enemies,” such as journalists who had been critical of Nixon.
  • In March 1974, former Attorney. General John Mitchell and six top Nixon aides were indicted by a federal grand jury for trying to block the investigation. They were eventually convicted.
  • While Nixon continued to deny any involvement, it was revealed he routinely made secret tapes of conversations in his office. Nixon refused to turn over the tapes at first, and when he did agree (after firing a special prosecutor he had appointed to look into the mess and seeing his new attorney general resign in protest), it turned out some of them were missing or had been destroyed. (They were also full of profanity, which greatly surprised people who had an entirely different perception of Nixon.)
  • In the summer of 1974, the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against the president for obstructing justice.

The tapes clearly showed Nixon had been part of the cover-up. On August 8, 1974, he submitted a one-sentence letter of resignation, and then went on television and said, “I have always tried to do what is best for the nation.” He was the first and, so far, only U.S. president to quit the job.

The Watergate scandal rocked the nation, which was already reeling from the Vietnam disaster, economic troubles, assassinations, and all the social unrest of the preceding 15 years. It fell to Nixon’s successor, Vice President Gerald R. Ford, to try to bring back a sense of order and stability to the nation. And no one had voted for him to do it.

True: Richard Nixon was 5′ 11′ and weighed about 175 pounds.

Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover were our two Quaker Presidents.

Nixon lost the first televised Presidential debate. Kennedy lost that same debate, according to radio listeners. Nixon refused to use make-up, and his 5 o’clock shadow made him look unkempt to TV viewers.

Nixon had the cottage cheese flown in every week from Knudsen’s dairy in Los Angeles.

He was the first president in 120 years to have both the Senate and the House of Representatives controlled by the opposing party.

President Nixon confesses his role in Watergate cover-up, 5/22/73

Faced with what seemed almost certain impeachment, Nixon announced on August 8, 1974, that he would resign the next day to begin “that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

Nixon was the first candidate to carry 49 states (1972), a feat later matched by Reagan.

The Official Portrait: James Anthony Wills’ 1984 portrait of Nixon is the official White House Portrait.

Richard Nixon, Official White House Portrait

Richard Nixon Signature

Daylilies   3 comments

Daylily is the general non-scientific name of the genus Hemerocallis … and there’s a wide variety of cultivars that have been developed. It’s a perennial, and the name refers to the flowers that typically last no more than 24 hours. Most of the species open in the early morning and wither that night … often with another flower opening the next day on the same scape, or flower stalk. There are some night bloomers, but we’ve got day bloomers.

I really don’t know why Velda hates daylilies. It’s unfortunate, since when we had our landscaping done several years ago, we had a bunch planted. Tons of ’em.

Two dozen by the driveway alone. They must have been on sale.

So perhaps it’s just because we’re awash in the things. And, maybe, it’s because they have long gangly green stalks that produce some very showy flowers … that sometimes only last a day or two. Hardly worth the effort. Especially when they are everywhere.

But will she let me take them out? No, she likes to suffer.

Good enough for me.  Here you go: suffer.


Posted May 22, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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