Archive for May 2014

I Forgot   Leave a comment

Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, has signed a binding agreement to purchase the LA Clippers from the Sterling Family Trust for $ 2 Billion.

Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, has signed a binding agreement to purchase the LA Clippers from the Sterling Family Trust for $ 2 Billion. The Washington Post referred to Mr. Balmer as “kooky.”

I thought about writing a post on the LA Clippers. You’ve heard the story, perhaps?

  • The owner, Donald Sterling, was “secretly recorded” by his “girlfriend” making racist comments
  • That so-called “illegal recording” was used by the NBA to ban Sterling for life
  • The owner’s “estranged wife,” Shelly Sterling, was then authorized to sell the team
  • The owner has apparently been declared mentally incompetent by “experts,” clearing the way for an immediate sale

I had the beginnings of a blog post … but then I remembered.

You see, I forgot.

I forgot that I don’t care about professional basketball or the stupid antics of billionaires with more money than sense (perhaps literally, in this case).

(insert rim shot here)

The Lincoln Memorial Is 92   Leave a comment

"In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever." Beneath these words, the 16th President of the United States sits immortalized in marble as an enduring symbol of unity, strength, and wisdom. It was on this date in 1922, that the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated. Photo: Andrew S. Geraci. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/30/14.

“In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” Beneath these words, the 16th President of the United States sits immortalized in marble as an enduring symbol of unity, strength, and wisdom.
It was on this date in 1922, that the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated. Photo: Andrew S. Geraci. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/30/14.

A Bridge To The Sky   Leave a comment

The three majestic natural bridges of Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah invite you to ponder the power of water in a landscape usually defined by its absence. View them from an overlook, or hit the trails and experience their grandeur from below. Declared a National Monument in 1908, the bridges are named “Kachina,” “Owachomo” and “Sipapu” in honor of the Native Americans that once made this area their home. This is also home to some of the darkest night skies in the United States. Photo: Manish Mamtani. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/29/14.

The three majestic natural bridges of Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah invite you to ponder the power of water in a landscape usually defined by its absence. View them from an overlook, or hit the trails and experience their grandeur from below. Declared a National Monument in 1908, the bridges are named “Kachina,” “Owachomo” and “Sipapu” in honor of the Native Americans that once made this area their home. This is also home to some of the darkest night skies in the United States. Photo: Manish Mamtani. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/29/14.

Mount Rainier National Park   3 comments

Mt Rainier NP 00Where Is It: 90 miles south of Seattle.

The Birth: From Wikipedia:

On March 2, 1899, President William McKinley signed a bill passed by Congress authorizing the creation of Mount Rainier National Park, the nation’s fifth national park. It was the first national park created from a national forest. The Pacific Forest Reserve had been created in 1893 and included Mount Rainier. It was enlarged in 1897 and renamed Mount Rainier Forest Reserve. John Muir had visited Mount Rainier in 1888. Muir and nine others … climbed to the summit in what became the fifth recorded ascent. The trip to Mount Rainier had played a role in reinvigorating Muir and convincing him to rededicate his life to the preservation of nature as national parks. At the time national forests, called forest reserves at first, were being created throughout the American West, under the utilitarian “conservation-through-use” view of Gifford Pinchot. Muir was what came to be known as a “preservationist”. He wanted nature preserved under the more protected status of national parks. But during the 1890s there was more public support for creating national forests than national parks. During that decade, Muir and his supporters were only able to protect one national forest as a national park. When the Pacific Forest Reserve was created in 1893, Muir quickly persuaded the newly formed Sierra Club to support a movement to protect Rainier as a national park. Other groups soon joined, such as the National Geographic Society and scientific associations wanting Mount Rainier preserved as a place to study volcanism and glaciology. Commercial leaders in Tacoma and Seattle were also in support, as was the Northern Pacific Railway. The effort lasted over five years and involved six different attempts to push a bill through Congress. Congress eventually agreed, but only after acquiring assurances that none of the new park was suitable for farming or mining and that no federal appropriations would be necessary for its management.

It Happened Here: Read the story of the disappearing airplane, here.

Size: 236,381 acres

# Visitors: 1,145,552 in 2013. Attendance peaked in July/August, and was at its lowest in February.

Plants: From the Park’s website:

Though the park is world-renowned for its elaborate wildflower displays, the vegetation of Mount Rainier National Park is remarkably diverse. Climate and elevation vary greatly in the park, creating a wide range of habitats supporting an extensive number of plant species. There are over 890 vascular species and more than 260 non-vascular plant species and fungi in the park. There are more than 100 exotic plant species, especially along transportation corridors, near trails, and in riparian areas.

Animals: From the Park’s website:

The highly visible Columbian black-tailed deer, Douglas squirrels, noisy Stellar’s jays and common ravens are animals that many people remember. The most diverse and abundant animals in the park, however, are the invertebrates – the insects, worms, crustaceans, spiders- to name a few – that occupy all environments to the top of Columbia Crest itself.

At Mount Rainier you can find 65 mammal species, 14 species of amphibians, 5 species of reptiles, 182 species of birds, and 14 species of native fish. Invertebrates probably represent 85% of the animal biomass in the park.

Fees: $15 for a 7-day vehicle permit.

Staying There: Mount Rainier National Park has six developed campgrounds with almost 600 sites. Campgrounds open June through mid September. Only one campground, Sunshine Point, is open for auto camping all year round.

Contact Info:

Superintendent
Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304
 
Park Headquarters, 360-569-2211

 

More

National Park Service: Mount Rainier National Park

Purple Mountains Majesty

YouTube: Mount Rainier National Park

USAToday.com: Mount Rainier National Park

Terra Galleria: Mount Rainier National Park

Death Valley National Park   4 comments

Death Valley NP 00Where Is It: The Park is 130 miles west of Las Vegas, NV.

The Birth: President Herbert Hoover created a national monument in and around Death Valley when he signed enabling legislation on February 11, 1933. It set aside almost 2,000,000 acres of land in southwestern Nevada and, largely, southeastern California. On October 31, 1994, the Desert Protection Act was signed by President Clinton. That Act expanded the Monument by 1,300,000 acres and changed the Monument into a National Park. It is the largest National Park in the contiguous United States.

It Happened Here: From Wikipedia:

The ores that are most famously associated with the area were also the easiest to collect and the most profitable: evaporite deposits such as salts, borate and talc. William Tell Coleman built the Harmony Borax Works plant and began to process ore in late 1883 or early 1884, continuing until 1888. This mining and smelting company produced borax to make soap and for industrial uses. The end product was shipped out of the valley 165 miles to the Mojave railhead in 10-ton-capacity wagons pulled by “twenty-mule teams” that were actually teams of 18 mules and two horses each. The teams averaged two miles an hour and required about 30 days to complete a round trip. The trade name 20-Mule Team Borax was established by Francis Marion Smith’s Pacific Coast Borax Company after Smith acquired Coleman’s borax holdings in 1890. A memorable advertising campaign used the wagon’s image to promote the Boraxo brand of granular hand soap and the Death Valley Days radio and television programs. In 1914, the Death Valley Railroad was built to serve mining operations on the east side of the valley. Mining continued after the collapse of Coleman’s empire, and by the late 1920s the area was the world’s number one source of borax. Some four to six million years old, the Furnace Creek Formation is the primary source of borate minerals gathered from Death Valley’s playas.

In 1976 Congress passed the Mining in the Parks Act, which closed Death Valley National Monument to the filing of new mining claims, banned open-pit mining and required the National Park Service to examine the validity of tens of thousands of pre-1976 mining claims. Mining was allowed to resume on a limited basis in 1980 with stricter environmental standards. The park’s Resources Management Division monitors mining within park boundaries and continues to review the status of 125 unpatented mining claims and 19 patented claim groups, while ensuring that federal guidelines are followed and the park’s resources are protected. In 2005, the Billie Mine, an underground borax mine located along the road to Dante’s View, closed, ending mining in the park.

Size: 3,373,063 acres

# Visitors: 951,972 visitors in 2013. Attendance peaks in March, and is at its lowest during the heat of the summer months

Plants: From the Park’s website:

Despite its reputation as a lifeless wasteland, Death Valley National Park contains a great diversity of plants. The park covers over 3 million acres of Mojave and Great Basin desert terrain, with elevations ranging from 282 feet below sea level at Badwater Basin to 11,049 feet on the summit of Telescope Peak. Annual precipitation varies from 1.9 inches on the valley floor to over 15 inches in the higher mountains.

Vegetation zones include creosote bush, desert holly, and mesquite at the lower elevations up through shadscale, blackbrush, Joshua tree, pinyon-juniper, to sub-alpine limber pine and bristlecone pine woodlands. The saltpan is devoid of vegetation, and the rest of the valley floor and lower slopes have sparse cover, yet where water is available, an abundance of vegetation is usually present.

Animals: From the Park’s website:

Death Valley’s great range of elevations and habitats support a variety of wildlife species, including 51 species of native mammals, 307 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, three species of amphibians, and five species and one subspecies of native fishes. Small mammals are more numerous than large mammals, such as desert bighorn, coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, and mule deer.

Choices: From National Geographic.com:

The highest mountain in the park, 11,049-foot Telescope Peak, lies only 15 miles from Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the U.S. The vertical drop from the peak to Badwater Basin is twice the depth of the Grand Canyon.

Fees: $20 per vehicle for a 7-day pass.

Staying There: There are 138 campsites in Furnace Creek Campground, open October – April. There are 8 other campgrounds; rates range from $10 – $16 per night. Some take reservations.

Contact Info:

P.O. Box 579
Death Valley, CA 92328
 
Visitor Information, (760) 786-3200

Don’t Miss This: Death Valley was used by director George Lucas as a filming location for Star Wars, providing the setting for the planet Tatooine.

 

More

National Park Service: Death Valley National Park

The Ecosystem of Death Valley: Death Valley National Park

Jason’s Travels: A Las Vegas Trip To Death Valley National Park

YouTube: Death Valley

TerraGalleria.com: Death Valley National Park

The Worst Job In The Shop   3 comments

I hate it.

It’s the worst job in the shop. And when I put it off … it just gets worse.

But I didn’t put it off! Well, not on purpose. I opened the cyclone separator regularly to make sure it wasn’t full. Even emptied it a couple of times.

And I lulled myself into a sense of accomplishment that was built on a foundation of dust.

I was about to start planing several boards down to 1/2″ thick (which means I was taking off 1/4″ from every board and turning it directly to sawdust). I know that means there will be a lot of sawdust, so I did the right thing and checked the dust collector to make sure I had no problem.

Good thing. It was full. Over-full. It was a mess I hadn’t noticed. My life was about to get dirty.

The reality is that adding a dust collection system to my shop resulted in a huge quality of life improvement. I bought a 2-stage dust collection system, and ran 4 hoses to tools in my garage shop, and a 5th hose that moves between the portable tools. When the dust collector is turned on, it sucks almost all of the chips, shavings and sawdust generated by each tool away from the cutting edge … and away from my lungs and eyes.

It’s a wonderful thing.

Inevitably, some dust isn’t collected, and the shop still gets dirty … but almost all sawdust is whisked away, sent through the cyclone collector (which makes sure chips and splinters don’t hit the impeller driven by the motor), and then falls into the bottom, plastic bag of the dust collector. The upper bag is where the exhaust goes, and it filters dust down to 5 microns. The air in my shop is very, very clean, even when I’m running a sander.

Dust collection made life in the shop much more enjoyable.

Unfortunately, all of that dust has to go somewhere … and that somewhere is the 50 gallon bag at the bottom of the dust collector. Today’s problem is that I didn’t notice that bag was full, so the dust was no longer dropping in the bottom of the dust collector. It was piling on top of that, and slowly filling the upper bag. What happens when you remove the bottom bag to empty it? All of that dust in the upper bag drops to the floor – and it’s that really fine dust that’s only 6 microns wide.

So, nothing to do but get to it. My shop is over-filled with tools and wood, so space is not easy. I have to move tools away just to get at the dust collector.

I moved the router table out, only to shove it into the cut-off bin, which banged into the ladder, which dislodged the big box of packing peanuts, which fell to the floor.

Spewing packing peanuts.

Good thing I was in a cleaning mood.

I ended up taking out the 50 gallon bag, of course (I now have 3 of those full in the side yard, waiting on composting or whatever. Want one? Want three?). Then, I scooped up the 12″ pile of dust that had fallen from the upper bag. Between that and the dust in the cyclone, I took another 30 gallons of dust out of the shop (I now have 5 of those in the side yard. Want one? Want five?).

Velda’s first words when I told her I had to do this job today: “Did you track sawdust into my clean house?”

No, m’lady, of course not. Even though I was covered head to toe with 6 micron dust particles, I’m sure that when I stomped my shoes to shake off the dust, I didn’t track a bit.

Posted May 27, 2014 by henrymowry in Woodworking

Tagged with , , ,

Lieutenant William Henry Mowry   3 comments

This is my Great Great Grandfather.

From Past and Present, Nodaway County Missouri, Volume I, 1910, B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, IN, pages 560 & 561:

William Henry and Irena Norman Mowry

William Henry and Irena Norman Mowry

Among the honored veterans of the Civil war, in which he bravely defended the stars and stripes, and one of the successful farmers of Hughes township, Nodaway county, is William H. Mowry, in whose life record there is much that is commendable, for he has been found true to duty in every relation, whether of a public or private character, and while energy and unabating industry have been salient features of his career, he is equally well known for his uprightness and the honorable methods he has always followed and for his loyalty to any public trust reposed in him.

Mr. Mowry was born in Washington county, Maryland, September 28, 1842. He is the son of Abraham and Mary (Burkett) Mowry, both natives of Washington county, Maryland, where Mrs. Mowry died, after which Mr. Mowry in the fall of 1865, moved to Mercer county, Illinois, and lived there until 1879, when he came to Nodaway county, Missouri, and here spent his last days, dying at the home of his son, William H., of this review, when about seventy-nine years of age. He and his wife were the parents of four children, of whom William H. was the fourth in order of birth. He grew up on the home place and received his education in the neighboring schools, and in the fall of 1865 came to Illinois and in 1879 to Nodaway county, Missouri, locating on the farm where he now lives and where he has since resided, his place being one of the best improved in Hughes township. He bought eighty acres upon his arrival here, which has since been the scene of his endeavors, making him a very comfortable living all the while.

Mr. Mowry, in 1862, enlisted in Company G, Seventeenth Regiment Pennsylvania Cavalry, in which he served very faithfully for two years and nine months, participating in some of the great battles of the war, under Phil Sheridan. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Chancellorsville, but was paroled ten days later.

Mr. Mowry was married in Mercer county, Illinois, January 10, 1867, to Irena Norman, who was born in Mercer County, Illinois, September 10, 1848. She is the daughter of Wesley and Mary (Jones) Norman; her father was a native of Indiana and her mother of Virginia. They came from Indiana to Mercer county, Illinois, where they lived until 1881, in which year they came to Nodaway county, Missouri and settled in Hughes township, where they spend the remainder of their lives, Mr. Norman dying at the age of eighty years and his wife at the age of eighty-five. They were the parents of four children, of whom Mrs. Mowry was the oldest.

To Mr. and Mrs. William H. Mowry seven children have been born, namely: John, Oscar (ed note: my Great Grandfather), Stella (wife of John L. Kime, of Polk township), Everett, Mable M. (wife of M. M. Wiles, of Hughes township), Frank and Thomas B.

After editing by this enthusiastic amateur, the tintype became much brighter and clearer. The photo could have been cleaned up more ... but don't the marks and "noise" in the photo add to its authenticity?

Lieutenant William Henry Mowry. This photo, preserved as a tintype, is probably the oldest photograph in our family’s collection.

Star Light, Star Bright   Leave a comment

Great Basin National Park. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, 5/23/14.

Near the 13,063′ Wheeler Peak, 5,000 year old bristlecone pine trees grow on rocky glacial moraines. Great Basin National Park. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, 5/23/14.

Your Time Online   6 comments

The Wall Street Journal reported on a study commissioned by GfK and the Interactive Advertising Bureau on how we spend our time online.

The study was commissioned to help sell advertising, so billions of dollars are riding on the accuracy of the information and how the advertising community uses it.

Online Time

Love that you support my blog … but isn’t it shocking to see that readers spend as much time reading blogs as they do online newspapers and online magazines … combined?

Please read the article from The Wall Street Journal, here.

More

Statista’s Chart Of The Day

Posted May 24, 2014 by henrymowry in Media

Tagged with , , ,

Animals, Part 3   3 comments

More

Animals, Part 2

The Animals

%d bloggers like this: