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.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Cow's Square Meal

While driving through the country with my wife, we kept passing these cylindrical hay bales on the side of the road. There were hundreds of them.

My wife casually turned to me and said, "Did you know that it's soon going to be illegal for farmers to make these round hay bales?"

I said, "No, why?"

She responded, "Because, the cows aren't getting a square meal..."

It was dumb, but we laughed. This spurred further pastoral puns and farm jokes, which was how we pleasantly passed the next half hour.




On a serious note, the truth behind the round vs. square hay bale battle is that the equipment required to make round hay bales is typically cheaper than the equipment needed to make square hay bales. Furthermore, when it comes to baling hay on comparable acreage, round hay bale producers need only about 2/3 the manpower as compared to square hay bale producers.

While square hay bales require more time for drying between cutting and baling, there are still some advantages to producing square hay bales. Square hay bales stack easily and tend not to spoil as much as round hay bales.

If hay bale producers are selling their product to large cattle farms, round hay bays are the economic way to go. However, if hay bale producers are selling their product to small feed farms, it would be more economical to produce square hay bales. When it comes to producing hay bales, it all depends on the desired fate of the product.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Scraping Cerulean Skies




Skyscraper scraping cerulean skies
or sprouting forth from sapphire seas,
is a pleasing perspective for me.

Whether underneath or looking down,
I drown in a dizzying display of this town's
renowned array of architectural play, it's crown.

A building built to connect heaven and earth,
begotten by calculus and the birth
of a species looking to prove its worth for what it's worth

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pastoral Pastures




I drew this 4'x3' pastoral scene on my whiteboard with dry erase markers, for my 8th grade ELA students. We were beginning to read literature with pastoral settings, so I thought this would be a nice visual for them to reflect on. I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this. It took me about 3 hours and has at least five different colored dry erase markers in it. When the unit was over and the lesson were learned, I erased it in a few seconds. My students were shocked, but this just leant to an even greater lesson that nothing lasts forever...little did they know, I took a picture of it. Hehe. Thanks for checking it out!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Stealthy Stalker

Whilest hiking down a trail at Ano Nuevo State Park in Pescadero, CA, my wife and I paused for a sip of water. Looking around at the beautiful scenery, we eventually turned around to find a bobcat following not twenty yards behind us, on the trail. We slowly walked toward it and it didn't move. Finally, we got about ten yards away and started taking pictures. The cat was a bit larger than a normal-sized cat. We stayed for as long as we dared, emboldened by the idea that we were too big for it to attack. This thought, however, begged the question, where was its mother? We decided to leave before finding out first hand.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

King Arthur's Round Table

Originally built as a table between 1250-80, the Round Table is inscribed 'This is the round table of Arthur with 24 of his named knights.' It is 18 feet in diameter, weighs one ton and four hundredweight, and is made from 121 pieces of oak.

Cornwall, England

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

CA Coast, HWY 1

Cruisin' up the coast of California on HW 1,
the fun is seeing the water splash land
with sand and spray in glittering display.
Hundreds of coves call for you to explore
their core secrets, Nature's achievements.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fire on the Mountain

Fire! fire on the mountain!
Almost ablaze still you don't feel the heat
It takes all you got just to stay on the beat.
You say it's a livin', we all gotta eat
But you're here alone, there's no one to compete.
If mercy's a business, i wish it for you
More than just ashes when your dreams come true. (Grateful Dead)



(Taken at sunset in the Naciemento Mountains, outside Big Sur, CA.)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Lucky Leprechaun

There is a lucky leprechaun living down the street
he dances on a golden pond with tiny little feet.
His vest is green, his shorts are old, but he doesn't care.
For he he's a fiend for solid gold; he loves it more than air.
Catch him if you dare.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

AT&T Park

A sight to behold and clasp, this amazing view is seen from the upper stands of AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.



Originally named Pacific Bell Park, then SBC Park in 2003 after SBC Communications acquired Pacific Bell, the stadium was ultimately christened AT&T Park in 2006 following SBC's buyout of AT&T.

Overlooking the beautiful bay, AT&T Park is the home of the San Francisco Giants. In 2016, the Giants got 87 wins and 75 losses, putting them second in the National League West. If you ever get a chance to go to San Francisco, be sure to buy a ticket for the Giants and visit AT&T Park.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Giving Gifts to Strangers


It's simple, fun, and gratifying.


Every now and then, I like to walk the city streets and give out gifts, money, and trinkets to random people. I try to focus on people who look like they need something uplifting. I avoid having conversations with these people. Rather, I usually include a small note that tells them how special they are. The purpose is just to show them recognition and love. I'm not sure how it affects them, but I hope it makes them feel as good as it makes me feel.

This letter says, "Hello to you! I hope you know that you have a beautiful soul. Thank you for being alive and sharing in this life with me. Love yourself, because you are amazing. May this crystal help you speak your truth, this token bring you good luck, and this money bring you abundance. I love you! God loves you! and these star fish love you!"

If you've read this far, I challenge you to do something similar. Put together something simple and sweet, and give it to someone who looks like they are in need or feeling down.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Thrill the World



Thrill the World is an annual event where people dress up as zombies and perform a flash mob throughout the town. The event was inspired by Michael Jackson, and the zombies dance to Jackson's "Thriller". Usually taking place around Halloween, the event always draws crowds and joins people together for a thrilling night of spooky fun. Each year, the participants dance twice. Once around town, dancing between bars and restaurants. The second time is to beat the world record for the most people dancing to Thriller in the world at the same time, which is just over 1700 people. Last year, my wife and I performed near our home town; San Jose, Ca. If you're interested, Google a city near you that is performing the Thrill the World dance this upcoming October! It's sure to be a thrilling night.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Moon Doomed by Gloom





Far away, deep in the night, the sight of
an eerie gloom dooms the moon's reflected light
above grey waves lapping up their eternal right
an apexing reflex to grab the shore with all its might,
sucking sand, erasing man's struggle to overcome and fight
to stand on soil that was never his birth right.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tree House Canopy



Way up high, amidst tree canopy, in the Amazon Jungle.
30 ft. above the ground in Iquitos, Peru. Don't stumble!
Tree House Lodge, dodging the monotony of civilization,
this is the greatest place on earth--my deepest realization.
Honeymoon, Luna de Miel, 2016.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Duality





Angel beams of light vanquish the night on the right.
What's left is love, sunflowers, and precious metals.
Violence, big brother, corruption, and demons are all right.
The middle is a mix of yin and yang, light and dark.
Brought together, they express the duality of our reality.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Pink Pillars




What do we find when we look deep in our mind?
Reality is a vibrational and energetic relationship
that allows us to slip into subconscious dreamscapes
so that we can play out the lives of teens and tots,
moms and lots of cool cats that know this and that.
Let go your focus, and see the pink pillars permeating space.