Wednesday, June 28, 2017

So Happy Together




Sitting atop a money-marked turtle's back, this sculpture reminds me of The Turtle's famous song "So Happy Together". "Imagine how the world could be so very fine, so happy together." "No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be, the only one for me is you and you for me, so happy together!"

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hunter Museum of American Art




This beautiful building is a museum in the northern quadrant of Chattanooga, TN. Overlooking the river, it boasts beautiful architecture, stunning views, and windy paths that lead down to the water's edge. A spectacular sight to see, this building was built for you and me.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Avengers in Tennessee




A photo of the Avengers, Earth's mightiest heroes, at Ripley's Believe It or Not in Gatlinburg, TN. The iconic heroes draw in massive amounts of tourists each year.

The Avengers are a fictional team of superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team made its debut in The Avengers #1 (cover-dated Sept. 1963), created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, inspired by the success of DC Comics' Justice League of America.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Optimus Prime




Standing tall, outside the Ripley's Believe It or Not themed museum in downtown Gatlinburg, TN, Optimus Prime draws in crowds of children and Transformers fans from around the world. Some say he's just a replica, but I think I saw him move...

Transformers, robots in disguise, is a childhood classic. Transformers is a series of American science fiction action films based on the toys created by Hasbro and Tomy. Michael Bay has directed Transformers (2007), Revenge of the Fallen (2009), Dark of the Moon (2011), and Age of Extinction (2014).

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Head Over Heels




This inverted bust is located in a downtown section of Amsterdam, Netherland's capitol city. Sitting upside down amidst a plethora of other interesting statues and sculptures, this one definitely takes the cake for most unique and visually appealing.

Friday, June 23, 2017

World's Largest Pedestrian Bridge




Erected in 1891, the Walnut St. Bridge is the world's longest pedestrian bridge. It connects downtown Chattanooga to the north shore. It is a favorite of residents and visitors alike.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sun King Kaleidoscope




They say if you stand under this kaleidoscope structure, when the sun hits the apex of its frame, you'll be endowed with all the powers of the Sun King (for a whopping .47 seconds), and you will know your true name. Alas, after the sun passes this specific point, all is forgotten, and you go on wandering the world in search of meaning not to be found.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Corinthian Columns




Cool columns of alabaster white hold up this marvel of modern architecture in Chattanooga, TN. While the pillars are a symbol of the past, they present a dazzling display for the present. Their ingenuity helped spark an entirely new era of architecture across the ancient world.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Doe and Fawn Nuzzle




Hiking up the mountain to Rainbow Falls, Tennessee, we stopped abruptly to watch as a family of deer crossed over the path right in front of us. We became motionless, emitting waves of peace and calm. The deer were seemingly unfazed by our presence. They grazed nearby, slowly getting closer as the minutes passed. At their nearest, they were probably five feet away from us. The fawn was the bravest, with mother carefully eyeing us from behind. The baby just watched us, as we watched it, fascinated by each other's form and expression of life. After about ten minutes, they moved on, deeper into the forest, and out of our sights for the rest of the hike. Seeing them was an expansive experience. It was as if they brought with them a sense of tranquility that lasted with us the rest of the day.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Barkin' Up the Wrong Tree



You'll need a rake to clean up this pup's mess. Hope the owner didn't have too ruff of a time. I'll leaf you with this, canine left a good restaurant review on yelp.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Diatelle: My Dad

Prompt: Write a diatelle poem.  The syllable count is 1-2-3-4-6-8-10-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1. The rhyme pattern is abbcbccaccbcbba.

--------

"My Dad"

Dad.
Strong man
with the plan.
Pays the big bill.
Head of family clan.
Sees his life as an upward hill.
Indestructible body, mind, and will.
He has provided for me all that I have had.
He gave me everything so I could chill.
I took from him to get my fill.
He gave me all he can.
Never stays still.
Biggest fan.
Began
lad.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

One False Step




Slowly inching my way to the edge of this incredible lookout just outside Chattanooga, TN, my heart began to race and blood pulsed through my veins. Knowing that one false step would send me plummeting hundreds of feet below was enough to instill primitive fears throughout my senses. I got down on my belly and slithered the rest of the way to the edge. The other side was the sheer face of the mountain, a steep cliff with no remorse. I inched my way back toward a safe distance from the edge. I marveled at the beauty of the lookout, gazing across cities, valleys, rivers, and more mountains. They say that on a clear day you can see six states from this vantage point. It was a hazy morning, but breathtakingly beautiful nonetheless.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Possessed Pool Player




Shot lined up, posture perfect, this billiards babe's eyes glow with fierce focus and deadly accuracy. Did she make the shot? You better believe it.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Femininity's Freedom




This beauty was caught bathing in the afternoon sun; Chattanooga, TN. This seductive sculpture captures the sexuality of the female form in all its elegant curves, feminine freedom, and alluring appeal. While seemingly too sexual for show, this statue sits in the middle of a park on the north side of the city. She is an excellent symbol of femininity and freedom that all should feel free to express.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Gatlinburg River




After carefully stepping across stones, I found myself in meditation amidst the rushing current of the Gatlinburg river, Tennessee. The constant surge of water churning and washing over rocks drowns out all other sounds. This space is a perfect place for a mindful moment; a sanctuary of solitude from the outside world.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cutaway IPA




They say the tongue is the sharpest sword, for each word is a vibration that reverberates throughout eternity.

Cutaway IPA, 6% ABV, is a rye India Pale Ale brewed in Nashville, Tennessee; Tennessee Brew Works. It is best paired with sharp cheeses and smoked salmon.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Heaven is Made of Cotton




Bouncing upon cotton fluffs, stuff we call clouds, angels dance above their earth in eternal mirth and praise of Heaven's haven of freedom and light.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Baseball Planets




A random sculpture near the desert and salt flats of Salt Lake City, Utah. I couldn't tell if the broken piece (lying on the ground) was part of the "art" or not. My guess was that it was broken and it was too big to fix immediately. Regardless, a beautiful (and mysterious) monument of art in the middle of nowhere. Always cool.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Enjoy Savoy




Does anyone know what savoy might be in reference to or mean? All I've found is a term for cabbage and a territory in the Western Alps.

I took the picture of this sculpture in Chattanooga, TN. I hope you enjoy "Savoy".

Friday, June 9, 2017

Fragrant Flowers




They said, "Stop and smell the flowers," but I took a picture instead.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Flying to Tennessee




Flying in to Tennessee as the sun sets behind the west wing of American Air. Soaring above clouds and over tiny crowds, the sounds are still. Still, the thrill isn't lost to me. See what I see.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Catnap Yawn




Woken from a catnap, Max sits back and yawns with paws outstretched. He's fetched his fair share of mice for the day, so, to no one's dismay, he lounges lazily in the sun, soaking up warm rays and waiting until nighttime comes so he can play once again. Beware those of rodential sight, Max stalks the night and without remorse he'll bite.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Gargoyle Guardian




Gargoyle's gaze is a blazing threat to those whose intent is to stir up trouble. Protecting homes from ghastly ghosts, evil spirits, and the hosts of hell is how it prevents the perchance wayward wisps of night from piercing our loving bubble. Do not cross its threshold lightly, for only the knightly, those chivalrous enough to show truth, not bluff, are welcome here. To be clear, this beast is a guardian to say the least.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Roadtrip: Vanny




In 2010, Brittany and I spray painted and converted a van (named Vanny) into a mobile home that ran on peace, love, and good vibrations. We took the van on a 3 week road trip across the United States, headed toward the Golden State and Pacific Ocean.



In the back, we built a raised floor so we could store our stuff out of the way. We set up the back with lots of pillows and blankets. We cut out a section of the roof and installed a



Driving though the cross country with my wife was one of the best experiences of my life. We traveled West from Chicago into Wisconsin, up through S. Dakota, across the country to N. California, down the coast, and then back east through Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, and then back to Illinois.



The entire trip took about 3 weeks. We took our time, stopping wherever and whenever we wanted. If we wanted, just pulled over on the side of the road and slept in the back of the van.



It was on this trip that we fell in love. We went on the trip after only dating for 2 months. Now, nearly 8 years later, we are married and back in the Golden State. This trip brought us together in unimaginable ways. I will never forget this amazing adventure.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Barn Burn




A few summers ago, we ripped down an old barn and used the rotted wood for huge bonfire. The flames were so intensely hot that we couldn't stand within twenty yards of the fire for a long time.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Chicken Scratch




Pecking for insects, these ladies come when you call their names. Born in Southern Illinois, they enjoy a fine life of luxury. In return, they provide my family with eggs. They are never killed, only buried after they die from old age.

Friday, June 2, 2017

"Hey mon, whatchu eatin?"




A protruding Jamaican pirate sporting a pineapple and parrot topper gave us a proper welcome at Lost Coast burger in Eureka, CA. Not too sure where his crazy eyes lie. He watched over us as we ate, another friendly face to join in our feast.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rest in Purple




"Rest in Purple" is a spray paint Prince tribute by Mel Waters, painted in 2016. This graffiti mural can be found in San Francisco, CA's Clarion Alley. Photo shot in 2017 means that the artist upkeeps the work on the free to use platform of the building walls. Once an artist abandons the work, it is free for the next artist to use and create at their disposal.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tiger Prince




This amazing mural was painted with spray paint in a back alley, downtown San Francisco, CA. Here, Mike Ritch adds to the surreal graffiti found throughout the city. Once the artists have painted their picture, they have the spot so long as the upkeep the space. Once the picture is abandoned, any new artist is free to adopt the spot and make something new.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Fireworks Fly




Fireworks burst in rehearsed fashionable order.
Fireworks fly high in the sky, trying to impress.
Fireworks set ablaze leave a haze hanging in the heavens.
Fireworks scream and boom, shaking the room; dog's doom.
Fireworks spike sparkling sights, fractal lights fading.
Fireworks, 4th of July, couples sigh, feeling alive.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Soil Soaked Red

An eerie silence
settles upon crimson earth--
soil soaked with dead men
who fought against their brothers

in wars they never wanted.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wonka's Coffee Falls




Coffee waterfalls wash over thick bars of Wonka dark chocolate. The sweet surf is a foamy froth that many baristas work hard to top off their steaming morning brews with. This mix of java joy is how coffee is actually made. Don't be fooled by the steam kettle con-artists and high-tech machines spewing sacred joe. When all is said and done, the stream flows into a sewer designed to spread the wealth all over the world. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Apso




This loving, little guy's name is Apso. Never camera shy, his smiles are meant for all of humanity. Here, he is about 10 years old. While Lhasa Apsos are typically show dogs, sporting long fur, we kept Apso's hair cut short so he could be the free spirit he was meant to be.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sun Sets Over Big Sur




Taken from atop the Nacimiento Mountains, just outside of Big Sur, CA. The scene overlooks a setting sun descending over the Pacific Ocean. The sun is divided by cloud coverage, creating a unique dual-star quality. Soon after this picture was taken, I was overcome by mist, fog, and then a night of rain. Truly, this was the calm before the storm.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stone Wire Sculpture




I came across this art piece while driving through Northern California. The artist uses metal, wire, and stone, to create these unique creations. I wish I remembered the artist's name, but unfortunately I took this photo many years ago. If you know the artist, please let me know. If you were the artist, what would you name this piece?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Last Supper

The Last Supper mural at Sally Long's Pub in Galway, Ireland. Several notables are David Bowe, Prince, Elvis, Jim Morrison, Axl Rose, and Bob Marley.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cave Troll Caught on Film




They said he lurked behind a cold curtain of crashing water in a cavernous canyon deep in the heart of Jackson Falls, Shawnee National Forest. So, I climbed down into the beast's lair, careful not to slip on the perilous stones outside his home.

As I descended into the cold climate, I saw a sign that said "Beware!" Like a fool, I decided it wasn't for me. As day began to dawn, I crossed his lawn and decided to see if he could be coaxed into view. I knew he was dangerous, but it would be just be us, and I was harmless.

Suddenly, he swooped down like a great ape. I gaped at the sight and shivered with fright. He was dressed in red. Blood, I assumed, from the dead photographers who dared cross this boss of a beast.

I sensed he would feast on my soul if I didn't flee, but something within me told me to snap a picture quickly (for niume, of course). Which I did. Consider yourself fortunate, for you do not have to look upon his gruesome face. His hair was a mangled nest for pests to thrive in. His features, hunched like Quasimodo of Notre Dame.

I fled as fast as I could. He didn't chase me. Good, I though, better to get as far as possible from this sulking servant of the night. Out of sight, I looked at the picture, pleasantly surprised at its ability to outline the ugly troll. I thought that soon I would be rich, and proceeded to upload the photo onto my blog.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Acting Corny at the Corn Palace

Located in South Dakota, the Corn Palace, oftentimes referred to as the "Worlds Only Corn Palace" or the "Mitchell Corn Palace", was completed in 1921. It offers free guided-tours full of "a-maize-ing" facts about the corn palace itself. The tour also features an outstanding video explaining the Corn Palace story. After the tour, you can view displays of "corny" artwork, murals, paintings, and further information about the construction of the building. In the off season, the Corn Palace becomes a venue for concerts, sports events, exhibits and other community events. Each year, the Corn Palace is celebrated with a citywide festival, the Corn Palace Festival.



(The above picture taken of a picture within the corn palace. Below is an example of a mural made out of a corncobs and corn kernels.)



The exterior corn murals are replaced and redesigned each year with a new theme. The designs are created by local artists. After the murals have been used up, or after Corn Palace week, the corn is used to feed the various species of birds the flock in the wake of the festivities. During its over 100 years of existence, it has become known worldwide and now attracts more than a half a million visitors annually.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Pros and Cons of Drinking Milk

Milk. It’s on billboards; it’s in commercials; celebrities drink it; athletes drink it, and doctors recommend it. It was given to us with our lunches, hospitals give it after a surgery, and you are constantly told that milk is how you get your calcium and vitamin D. We were told to follow these milk-mustached experts, but what we were really doing was falling prey to the milk industry’s lobbying and luring techniques.

Milk is not what it used to be. Fifty years ago the average cow produced 2,000 pounds of milk per year. Today, the average top producers of milk produce 50,000 pounds of milk per cow per year.

How is this accomplished? rBGH is a growth hormone that increases the milk production in cows up to 20%. This growth hormone can lead to udder inflammation which can lead to contaminated milk along with secretion of pus that is common in an inflamed udder.

How does a farmer cure an inflamed udder? Farmers put antibiotics into cows to treat the sickness. These antibiotics show up in the milk you drink and, along with the pus and antibiotics, the rBGH milk produces higher concentrations of insulin in the milk. While insulin is a necessary tool for medical practice, it is not the best additive for the human body. According to the Harvard school of public health, access insulin in the human body can lead to a potentially greater risk of human prostate cancer.



Consider, for a moment, what the human population is doing with milk these days. Would you or anyone you know drink rat’s milk? How about dog’s milk?

Why is it so socially acceptable and socially desired to drink cow’s milk? Human beings are the only mammals that drink milk after the milking stage with a mother during infancy. Pups drink dog’s milk, calves drink cow’s milk, and humans drink human milk; as the way nature intended. So, it seems a bit odd that the human being is the only mammal that doesn’t have enough sense to stop drinking milk after they are young.

If you must drink milk. The number one thing not to do with milk is drink it raw or straight from a cow. The bovine leukemia virus is found in more than three out of five dairy cows in the United States. This involves about 80% of dairy herds that can potentially give a human being leukemia just from drinking their milk. So, when the milk is pooled together to be combined with other milks, about 90-95% of the milk pooled is contaminated. Of course this virus or cancer is killed in pasteurization, if the pasteurization is done correctly; but we all know what happens to technology at some point. It fails.

Technological Fails. Think about when your computer freezes up or a power outage at your home happens. Technology fails to work properly. Can this happen in factories, and, if so, what is the outcome?

When pasteurization fails. This happened in Chicago, 1985. The process failure killed four people, and resulted in 150,000 people becoming ill. This death toll doesn’t seem too bad if you compare it to the upshot of milk’s history. However, the real problem arises when we realize what was in the raw milk people drank.

All of the people who drank the unpasteurized milk potentially ingested harmful bacteria or the leukemia infection. Researchers were not 100% sure what will happen to the people who drank the milk in Chicago that fateful day, but they were sure that in about three generations of their offspring, that their grandchildren would most likely develop leukemia.

Benefits? Are there any benefits from drinking cow’s milk or eating the dairy products being produced on a massive scale? The obvious answer is that milk is a good source of calcium, but even more, a good source of amino acids. However, it turns out milk is a terrible source of calcium due to the fact that it has too many proteins. Some studies suggest that this overabundance of proteins actually depletes calcium deposits, rather than absorbing them.

Furthermore, it is said that milk can help prevent osteoporosis, which is a degenerative disease of bone mass due to the extreme levels of calcium milk supplies. This fact, however, is misleading. Humans need more than just calcium for your bones to become stronger. In order for your bones to absorb calcium, the body needs a comparable amount of magnesium. Milk and dairy products only contain small amounts of magnesium. Without magnesium, calcium can become dangerous to bones, and, combined with a large amount of proteins, calcium can become even more dangerous.

According to Robert Cohen of the Dairy Education Board, “The massive amounts of proteins in milk result in 50% loss of original bone calcium through urine, making your bones even weaker than when they started.”



A potential pro was found in a study published in Lancet during 1992. The study pointed out that drinking milk (albeit human breast milk) could increase a person’s IQ. The study declared that a child drinking its mother’s breast milk would add 10 points to its adult IQ. But this just goes to ask the question if mother’s breast milk is pure. Unfortunately, counter-studies showed a presence of pesticides in mother’s milk due to things the mother had recently eaten, such as meat and dairy products.

Still milk seems to be a decent source of calcium and aside from the fact that it lacks of magnesium (which helps absorb the proteins) and the pus secreted growth hormones, milk seems to do it’s part. But still adverse side effects may make you wonder what other ways there are to get calcium?

Milk is relatively calcium-poor when it is compared to most other sources of calcium, especially when compared to green leafy vegetables and grains and according to the FDA, the recommended daily allowance of calcium is approximately 800-1000 mg, although 1200 mg is ideal.

What else compares to milk? Milk has 302 milligrams of calcium per cup. Mother Nature gave a woman’s breast milk 33 milligrams of calcium per cup. And, just to compare it to another liquid most of you ingest, Tropicana’s Premium Orange Juice contains 350 milligrams of calcium per cup.

While these different products may be a good source for calcium, (as stated before) calcum is not all that is needed to develop strong bones.

Some alternative sources of calcium that also have high levels of magnesium include, sesame seeds, almonds, tofu, soy and basically any dark green leafy vegetable.

A final note. Over the course of four years there were 2,700 medical articles dealing with milk. According to Robert M. Kradjian, MD, these articles contained things such as bed-wetting, intestinal colic, intestinal irritation, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergic reactions in infants and children, as well as infections such as salmonella.

In grown ups the problems seemed centered around heart diseases, arthritis, allergy, sinusitis, and the more serious questions of leukemia, lymphoma and cancer.

According to Ted Weiss, chairman of the house of Government Operations Subcommittee on Human Resources, “The FDA still cannot honestly assure the public that milk is safe.” Hopefully this makes you think twice between a simple glass of milk, or a simple trip to the hospital.

In conclusion, it is a proven fact that milk isn’t what many “experts” make it out to be. Perhaps this was the first time you have ever been told that milk was bad for you. If this is the case, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. It seems the lobbyists for milk tycoons have done their job well. They have successfully hidden the negative spin on their product.




Work Cited

Cohen, Robert. "Calcium and Bone Disease." Not Milk. Dairy Education Board. <http://www.notmilk.com/deb/092098.html>.

Kloberdanz, Kristin. "Lactose Intolerance FAQ." Healthy Me. 2007. Blue Cross Blue Shield. <http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/topic13938>.

Kradjian, Md, Robert M. "THE MILK LETTER : a MESSAGE TO MY PATIENTS." Not Milk. Breast Surgery Chief Division of General Surgery. <http://www.notmilk.com/kradjian.html>.

Lee, Jean, and Randy Wei. "Milk, Doing Your Body Good?" Journal of Young Investigators. Sept. 2002. Integrative Biology, Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California At Berkeley <http://www.jyi.org/volumes/volume6/issue3/features/lee_and_wei.html>.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Capturing Cumulonimbus Clouds




I took this picture while on a road trip across the United States. The amazing bloom of cumulonimbus clouds was breathtaking. The sight was such a perfect moment that we pulled the van over and took a couple of pictures. The clouds were moving fast and eventually transformed into an incredible storm. The magnitude and magnificence of nature never ceases to astound.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tree Tunnel

Tree tunnel funnels light in scattered display.
The array of crepuscular rays stream through the leaves,
giving the breeze a breath that says,
"Whether the weather be find
or whether the weather be not,
come journey together in this magnificent spot."
Follow the tunnel and the path if you dare
until the end and all will become clear.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sand Sculpture




Forget sand castles. This sand sculpture stands about eight feet high. In the Summer of 2010, I was in Amsterdam to see a friend. We went out on the town to see the sights and stumbled upon this European Sand Sculpture competition. While I didn't see the beginning stages of the project, the final product was absolutely amazing!

Sculptors use a special kind of sand that is also used on building sites and was most likely used in the foundations of your home. It is called heavy sand and is different to the sand you see on the beach because each grain is square, which means it sticks together better, like building blocks.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

17-Year Cicada Emerging




While meditating in the early morning before work, I noticed a strange protrusion from a tree. I stood up to look at it more closely and realized it was a cicada emerging from its shell.

Cicadas begin life as a rice-shaped egg, which the female deposits in a groove she makes in a tree limb, using her ovipositor. Once the egg hatches the cicada begins to feed on the tree fluids. At this point it looks like a termite or small white ant. Eventually, it falls to the ground where it will dig into the earth to feed on the roots of the tree. From there, the cicada tunnel underground from anywhere between 2-17 years. After the long 2 to 17 years, cicadas emerge from the ground as nymphs. Nymphs climb the nearest available tree, and begin to shed their nymph exoskeleton.

In this image, you can see the cicada about halfway out of its exuviae, the remaining nymphal exoskeleton husk. Soon, it will dry is wings in the sun and fly off to find a mate and create more cicada larvae.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Diamond in the Rough




While hiking around in the Shawnee National Forest, I stumbled upon a homeless encampment. I didn't see anyone, but the place looked heavily lived in. The ground smelled like urine and there was debris scattered everywhere. Beer bottles, single shoes, dirty rags, and ripped newspapers were the remnants of the tenants at large. Even though the place was poorly kept, the travesty of our planet, the entrance was guarded by this string spiderweb. I found the artwork creation beautiful and decided to take a picture. I hope you can enjoy this diamond in the rough.