Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Last Days On Earth

Tonight ABC brought us a two-hour "20/20" special, "Last Days On Earth". For most of it I enjoyed the graphics and the speculation. Some of it was overwrought, as is usual with the broadcast media, and had the typical feel of the media 'Fear Fests' we've all gotten used to. Over the two hours we were treated to short discussions of such possible catastrophes as a large Asteroid strike (seems we no longer call the objects meteors, meteoroids, or meteorites. Now they're all 'asteroids' according to ABC.), the eruption of a Super Volcano, and Nuclear War (it will probably be caused by accident, says the ABC experts.).

When it came to the Number One threat to Earth, they saved their favorite for last. And for the longest segment of the show. Can you guess what it was? I'll give you a hint: Al Gore was a featured expert!

Yes, that's right! The Number One Threat to Planet Earth is Global Climate Change, known to you and I as 'Global Warming'.

Among the insights offered by the experts was one fellow who said, "We have Holocaust Deniers and we have Global Warming Deniers." And he said he didn't see much difference between them. "The debate is over," said a few others. Scratchy video of a few pundits calling global warming a fraud, were offered. Gore states that we must provide Moral Authority to make such polluting nations as China join us in fighting global warming.

Hmmm ... we can shame them into stopping the kind of polluting that the Eastern Bloc engaged in for decades? Why didn't we think of that before? Is it because we cannot shame a Communist nation into doing a damned thing? Gore was, as always, condescending in his tone. And he still doesn't explain why rich Leftists like himself, with their SUVs and private jets, are exempted from the scorn heaped on polluters like you and I who are struggling to make a living.

Again the experts reminded us that the highest annual tempersatures recorded have come in the last fifteen years. What they neglected to explain is that those temperatures are taken in or near cities. And what are cities if not huge heat sinks? Want to lower the temperatures in cities? Plant trees. Lots of them. Put foliage on the tops of buildings. Green up those ugly, barren, wastelands we call cities.

Of course when you do that, guess what? Carbon dioxide levels will rise! We don't want that, do we? After all we know that rising levels of CO2 are the cause of Global Warming. And we humans are causing that rise. So the answer is to kill all the trees? Hmmm ... that doesn't sound right, now does it?

The experts also neglected to explain why, if rising CO2 levels cause Global Warming, the Ice Age levels of CO2 were far higher than now. High CO2 levels coinciding with Ice Ages doesn't quite mesh with the claim that high CO2 levels cause Global Warming, does it?

Well, obviously there are still too many Chloroflourocarbons in use. CFCs destroy the Ozone layer and that raises temperatures. The experts say so. They tell us that CFCs cannot be destroyed by nature. They tell us that CFCs rise in the air, all the way up to the upper atmosphere where they interact with the Ozone and destroy it. Right?

Well, they lie. CFCs sink, folks. They enter the soil and are broken down within hours by the bacteria in the soil. How odd that the experts missed that. Wonder why? Because that would mean that the entire Ozone Hole scare was a fraud (it was). Can't have that! By the way, did you know that the Ozone layer, which doesn't get 'holes' in it, thins every year? And has since it was first discovered? Did you know that it thins most when the temperaures are at their coldest? Ozone thinning, from all the evidence available, is cyclical and normal.

CO2 levels are variable, and are more dependant on the oceans of the world than any other factor.

Global Warming, when it is understood as a natural part of the earth's climatic cycles, is normal. It is poorly understood. And it happens whether we pollute or not. Just how many factories were in production when the Vikings could colonize Greenland, and when they found grapes growing wild in Massachusetts (Vinland, remember?)? How much human pollution was in play when Mark Twain could refer to Citrus groves growing along the Mississippi river? At the height of the modern American pollution period, the 1950s and 1960s, that time when we should have seen some kind of warming in the US, the Frost line moved south.

What does that mean? It means our world cooled a bit in the 20th Century. Growers had to move farther and farther south to be able to grow oranges, because killing freezes moved farther and farther south. Make sense? More pollution in the air and we were seeing the earth cooling a bit. Now, with our pollution levels falling - yes they are! - we're seeing a slight rise in temperatures. Seems to go against the received wisdom of the Global Warming Priests.

I posted - "It's Gonna Get Cold" - a short time ago about the possibility that we are moving into a new Ice Age - gonna take centuries if it does happen, so don't rush out and buy mukluks - brought on by tectonic activity in the world's oceans. Check it out and follow the links. You'll read a few things that fly in the face of the Al Gores of the world.

Then go to the library and look for a few books by Dixy Lee Ray - the late Ray was Governor of Washington, chairman of the AEC, and a wonderful thinker and writer, among her many accomplishments - such as "Environmental Overkill: Whatever Happened to Common Sense?" or "Trashing the Planet: How Science Can Help Us Deal With Acid Rain, Depletion of the Ozone, and Nuclear Waste (Among Other Things)". I think you will be very surprised at just how much the experts, media, and politicians have lied and hidden in their rush to Socialize the world.

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I just read, "Modern anti war activists seem to think that spitting on soldiers is for wimps", at Leaning Straight Up. Shocking! This should be a wake up call! Bastards! I'm so freakin' angry! Go read it! Take your blood pressure pills first!

Meanwhile The Anchoress shows us how adults disagree with each other. Big difference, don't you think?

Jeanette at Oh How I Love Jesus presents a new look at the Rapture. The “Great Escape” Misunderstanding is a way of looking at the Rapture I'd never considered. Food for thought, Christians!

Anna at A Rose By Any Other Name celebrates her first Blogiversary!Happy First Blogiversary, Anna!

Always On Watch posts about the education scene. As an SAT 'by-the-skin-of-my-teeth' test taker, I can understand the desire to skip the hard work it takes to pass. SAT's, Genius, And Smart Pills shows us what may be on the horizon (and you thought using calculators in class was abig deal, huh?). Not sure how to take this, but I wonder if this is the next great shortcut for lazy students. Check it out!

Angel lets us in on the latest Harvard stupidity. It would seem that inviting bloody-handed, murderous Muslims to speak is just fine and dandy to the Elite Leftists that hide in the Ivory Towers of Academe.

Getting burned out with the Katrina Waltz played by the Media? Me, too! And Gayle reminds us that the problems of the 9th Ward are not new. "The 9th Ward was not caused by Hurricane Katrina. It was a mess back in 1990 when we accidently wound up there, and I suspect for far longer than that."

Sister Toldjah has the transcript of Don Rumsfeld's speech that is a must-read. As ST says, "This is a speech that should have been given long ago, by the President himself. It’s time to take the gloves off and clearly distinguish who is part of the problem and who is part of the solution. It looks like the GOP now is doing just that. Better late than never."

Two Blogs You Should Visit

TRUTH-Pain Emporium (A CONSERVATIVE / LIBERTARIAN UNHOLY ALLIANCE ...."Truth is incontrovertible. Ignorance may attack it and malice may deride it, but in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill~) has a different view of things, a view I find refreshing and informative. Like my other blogging friends, T-P writes about his own view of the happenings of the world, large and small, and is a fresh voice in the blogosphere. Two recent posts are evidence that T-P isn't 'small potatoes' on the Net.

TRUTH-PAIN EMPORIUM: The New Fourth Estate, Us ...
Here's a different view of the Media and the Blogging world that requires reading. A fine post, indeed!

TRUTH-PAIN EMPORIUM: I love you Samantha ...
Doing what is best for your child isn't always painless. But it is the best thing for you, too. And T-P gives us a good example of that.

When you finish these two posts, go on and surf through the rest, too. Time well spent, Folks!

Pocket Full of Mumbles
(Collecting all those scraps I find in my pocket at the end of the day...) is one of those recent finds that make catching up on my blog reading enjoyable. (A few more of these and I will need a few extra hours each day just to stay current!) Two recent posts are evidence of his worthiness as a blogger. Trust me, Pocket Full Of Mumbles makes some good reading.

In Is he, or isn't he?, ELAshley takes a different look at the FOXNews reporters recently freed by their Muslim kidnappers. A Christian perspective. Take a look.

Then, in And one more before I go..., he wonders about the ADL which has taken Dr. James Kennedy to task for the documentary "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" which looks at the confluence of Evolutionary Theory and the Holocaust. Reportedly without ever watching this documentary, the ADL, under the leadership of A. Foxman, has once again sullied its reputation with an attack on Kennedy and the Coral Ridge Ministries.

Read 'em, Folks. See whatcha think.

Monday, August 28, 2006

North Pole Sunset

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From email forwarded to me by my Folks:

A scene you will probably never get to see, so take a moment and enjoy God at work at the North Pole. This is the sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point. And, you also see the sun below the moon. An amazing photo and not one easily duplicated. You may want to save this and pass on to others.

I like it!

Well, shoot~! Seems this is not a real picture: "not real. It is a art student's photo project, from what I understand."



Things To Ponder

When Presidents of the United States leave office they have traditionally gone on to become statesmen – some of greater stature than others – padding a legacy for history. Sometimes they have been vocal in opposition to their successors’ policies, sometimes critical though generally supportive.

John Quincy Adams, an unpopular president, despite solid accomplishments on behalf of the people, was elected to the House of Representatives (running at the request of his Massachusetts neighbors) where he served his country for years afterward. Adams died, in 1848, in the Capital Building while still hard at work.

Theodore Roosevelt, though vehemently opposed to the policies of Woodrow Wilson and loathing the man as a weakling and a liar (“He Kept Us Out Of War”), volunteered to raise a regiment to fight in Europe during World War One, but his efforts were rebuffed by President Wilson. In response, TR returned to his editorial duties and engaged in tireless efforts to raise money and supplies for the war effort. Trying to serve his country.

Herbert Hoover was called upon to assist in feeding the people of Europe, following World War Two, based on his ability to gather and distribute humanitarian aid, as he showed following the First World War.

Harry Truman, combative from start to finish, was a sought-after commentator for the Democrats based on his reputation for ‘telling it like it is’. “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry” had no compunction about speaking out when he thought a president was going the wrong way.

Bill Clinton … well … nobody ever expected him to comport himself as a statesman, and he certainly hasn’t. But there have been times when his post-presidential actions have been seen by both major parties as a positive thing for the US.

But James Earl Carter seems to have wandered far from the ‘reservation’. So far that he is now camping in the land of Jihad. Whatever goodwill he had attained from Republicans during his tenure with Habitat For Humanity has evaporated. Carter has managed to side with some of the most loathsome individuals in the world while castigating his own country for defending itself, defending freedom, fighting terrorism and chaos. Poorly chosen words spoken in inappropriate venues seems to have become his hallmark.

Acting in violation of US law, Carter has ‘negotiated’ with foreign governments (ala Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson) and NGOs to further his bizarre aims. So bad is he thought of among many of us that even the strangest rumors regarding Carter have gained traction.

Carter – the Dixie Chicks of Democratic politics – has once again sounded off. This time against a staunch US ally, Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Telegraph reports: “’Tony Blair’s lack of leadership and timid subservience to George W Bush lie behind the ongoing crisis in Iraq and the worldwide threat of terrorism, according to the former American president Jimmy Carter.’” Yes, Jimmy Carter, loyal American, is disappointed because Blair has not bitch-slapped George Bush. Because Bush is wrong, as Jimmy Carter knows. Sister Toldjah has the best post on the latest from the Carter Land of Jihad. I won’t fisk Carter’s nonsense. What’s the point?

Carter is evidence of how far, how utterly insane and unreasonable, a Pacifist can be or become. In Carter’s world Palestinian Terrorists are exactly the same as Israeli soldiers. Slaughtering Israeli civilians as a matter of policy and intent is exactly the same as killing civilians while fighting back.

Equivalence is what Carter is all about and he sees no problem cozying up to a murderer like Castro, a tin-pot dictator like Hugo Chavez, or the Hermit King of North Korea. But every person who would act against these beasts is wrong. In Carter’s world. In his mind.

What a sad legacy James Earl Carter has earned for himself. And earn it he has.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Readings Worth Your Time

Surfing through the blogosphere, there're some good posts out there that some of you may have missed. There's never enough time to stay up-to-date with all the posts out there - I sometimes have to catch up with favorite blogs days after the fact - but these are some that you will probably find thought-provoking at the very least.

Angel starts us off with "Semper Fidelis", which ought to make you cheer! Then brings us "Inspiration" and the most famous WWII photograph of all.

Anna reported on the doings of the Stow City Council and now has an update with, "Sometimes It Works". We'll see how long it works, eh? She sobers us all up with "No Mercy".

Sister Toldjah has "linkie winkie" which rounds up some of her favorite blogs for you. That's what I need: more blogs! LOL She also wants to know "Do you think John Mark Karr killed JonBenet?" What do you think?

"Trusting New Media over Big Media?" is the Anchoress' look at "The issue of where the professional press is headed..." and she does her usual thoughtful job.

The Right Place shows us "The Terrorism Bounce" and also brings us the results of the latest caption contest. Hey, I made Honorable Mention! Whoo-Hoo! ;)

Patrick at Born Again Redneck would like to live a bit longer, as he tells us in "World’s oldest person turns 115" and also takes a look at the Amaryllis with "Naked ladies and hippie ass trims". Beautiful photos! While reading Patrick's "Human-cockroach Hybrids" I followed his link to an earlier post for insightful history of his native land. For a History lover, "The first inhabitants of South Africa" is a fascinating, all-too-short read.

By the way, if you use blogger, and you would like to do trackbacks, even though blogger doesn't support trackbacks, here's a solution: Go to the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger and give it a spin. It seems to have a hard time working with Haloscan, but seems to work well with other platforms like WordPress. I keep an image link for the Wizbang Pinger on my sidebar.

Sues of Sues Views, and her Marine brother, Jarhead John, are making t-shirts for you to purchase, so you can join us in the "Red Shirt Fridays" movement. This is a non-political thing, folks. Pro-, Anti-, it doesn't matter. If you do support American troops, and the sacrifice they are making to protect us all, why not show it? Wear a red shirt every Friday. Sues and Jarhead John offer you an easy way to get a red shirt.

Along with other solid posts, Bloviating Zeppelin presents "Victory?" Short, well-written, to-the-point. Very good!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Maxfield Parrish: Part One - benning's Favorite!

Parrish signatureMaxfield Parrish was among the most popular artists of the early 20th Century in America. His career began as an illustrator for books and commercial products and moved into paintings featuring a style of colors unparalleled by any other painter. His technique for painting became famous: A "Parrish sky" was understood by everybody as vivid, vibrant, spectacular.

A student of the famous Howard Pyle, Parrish was also influenced by such luminaries of American Illustration as Edwin Austin Abbey and N.C. Wyeth. His artwork was sought after by businesses large and small. Among them: Edison Mazda, Jell-o, Fisk Tires, and Colgate. His cover illustrations graced many magazines and predated the amazing magazine covers of Norman Rockwell.

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Djer-Kiss Cosmetics

"Girl With Elves" - 1918

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Jello Ad - 1921

Parrish used a 'glazing' technique to mix his colors, not the pallette. By applying color on a white background, thinly varnishing that layer, then applying another color layer and thinly varnishing that, and so on, Parrish's colors were not a blend, but the mixing of color by light. Or, as Jim at puts it, "Letting the light do the mixing results in brilliant, luminous colors that actually intensify with the application of a stronger light source."

His technique was not original with him, but Parrish made it work, and created an entire body of art that exemplifies what this glazing technique can do.

If you'd like to read a bit of Parrish's own explanation of the technique, read this article at Take a look at the image below. This is an unfinished work that reveals the Parrish technique. It always makes me wonder how he managed to be patient enough to bring it off.
Image Hosted by Free image hostingA larger image can be seen: Dreaming October - 1942

But his career began with less exhalted works. Yet, they are revealing in thier choices of subjects. Fantasy was always uppermost, it seems to me. The more mundane subjects would be magnified in his paintings, but his illustrations for books and magazines were magnificent in thier own right.

"Blacksheep" is on the left; The 'Reluctant Dragon" is on the right.

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Parrish's illustrations were sought after by Calendar manufacturers, as well as candy manufacturers, so popular were they with the American public. The calendar below, "Venetian Lamplighters", is one example. It is a painting in all but name.

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There is more to come. This is barely a scratch on the surface. And, again, I recommend the websites "The Art Renewal Center" and "CGFA" as wonderful sources of art. You can also get an understanding of the great tradition and richness of American Illustration by visiting "The American Art Archives" and "Been Publishing, I'm Back", among many others.

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"Florentine Fete" - 1916

Stay tuned! I think you will love the next installment. Y'all come back, hear?

Friday, August 18, 2006

"Benning's War": An Autographed Copy?

A few folks have inquired about getting an autographed copy of my novel. That kinda floors me! After all I would love, some day, to be asked to do a book signing. But That won't be anytime soon. Unless a big publisher buys the rights, or some bored producer seeks to buy the rights to film the story (Ahhh, I can dream, can't I?) If you really would like one, then here's what you can do:

Send a check for $19.95 to me at:
Jeffrey M. Keenan
13333 Ridge Rd. #2403
Largo, FL 33778

Let me know how you'd like it inscribed - "For Blogger profile:" "For My Actual Name:" "For Crazy Aunt Myrtle:" and so on. Don't forget to include your mailing address! Jeepers, if you forget, why I won't be able to send it to you!

Product Details:
Printed: 272 pages, 6.00" x 9.00", perfect binding, black and white interior ink
Publisher: epress online
Copyright: © 2006 by Jeffrey Keenan Standard Copyright License
Language: English
Country: United States
Edition: First Edition
Lulu Sales Rank: 2,842

Last Tuesday my Folks met me at a restaurant in downtown Clearwater. Mom brought three books for me to sign for thier friends. That was nice, y'know? A very nice feeling. Now that little signature won't be worth anything, but it's an honor to be asked. Like a kiss to go along with the hug! LOL

Let me know. You can email me, too. Give me some idea what you want. It takes about a week for the book to get here, then another week to get to you. is very good at getting the orders out. I do recommend them if you're shopping for books. These are mostly unknown authors, or authors with small publishers, both of which apply to me.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Red Shirt Fridays: Something New!

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.comSues and Jarhead John have opened a new blog/website called "Wear Red On Fridays". As you should know by now, since I have posted a few times now, a movement is afoot to get everybody to wear a red shirt, blouse, sweater, whatever on Fridays as a way to show our support of the American Men and Women who are defending us around the world. I've had a text link at the top of the sidebar, which I will change to a graphic link.

Sues and her brother, Jarhead John, are going beyond simple posts, or even a special blog dedicated to the Cause. They are designing and printing up t-shirts - so far two patterns (I suggested a third!) - that you can order. Why? Because some folks would rather buy something online than go shopping. It's true! If I had the money I would shop more online, too.

Anyway, the idea is simple. Much like 2,996 (if you haven't signed up yet, do so! Time's running out!), we are pushing folks to show that they support these American defenders. Democrat or Republican, Conservative, Libertarian, or Liberal, pro-Iraq War or anti-Iraq War, if you love these men and women, and think they deserve some visible display of that love and support, wear red on Fridays! And tell folks about it! Look, I've gotten only one questionable response to my posts, and that one came from an anti-Iraq War Vietnam Vet. Hey! If she wears red on Fridays, then it's all good!

This isn't about you or I, it's about the people putting their lives in harm's Way for the sake of America. Let's not just shuffle through our days, letting the media spin the news negatively, and shrug our shoulders. "Well, what can I do?" Simple! Every Friday wear a red shirt. Tell your family, friends, and coworkers why you wear red every single Friday. Show your feelings. This Nation is more than the Media, more than the political parties, more than any one of us. But sometimes we need to show the world, including that media, what we think, without allowing them to frame the question.

If you really believe in the people serving in the US Armed Forces, then don your red shirts, and get out there and say so!

Now git on over to "Wear Red On Fridays", say hello, look at the shirts, and maybe, just maybe, buy one of them. Or two! Clothe the entire family, if you like! Go on! And tell 'em benning sent you! LOL

GOD Bless America!

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Sues Views: My New Blog...

My brother, Jarhead John, and I have started a new blog: Wear Red on Fridays. I encourage you to go on over and take a look.

Royalties: Great Timing!

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My book came out in May of this year. That's in the middle of the Second Quarter. I got this letter in the mail Tuesday. Now, isn't that a nice thing to find among the bills and junk mail? You betcha!

No, it isn't a huge amount, but then I don't have a bestseller, a Stephen King hit. But for a new author and a small publisher, I think it's respectable. Some of the first copies were purchased by my fellow writers at Writers Village University, folks who helped critique the early drafts, encouraged me along the way.

And, of course, my family has bought a few, too! In fact my Mother has pushed the book wherever she goes. So right now, "Benning's War" is in the Church Library, in Tarpon Springs, where my parents worship.

I appreciate all of you who have already purchased the book! If you enjoy it, please spread the word! Ask your local library to order a few copies, why don'cha? Recommend it to friends and family. Who knows? Perhaps in time it will capture the notice of the NYTimes Bestseller list! Heheheee!

So now I have $48 in royalties which means I can pay my water/sewage/trash bill. And survive until the next paycheck, right? Yes, I'm going to cash that check! Yes, I scanned it and saved the image to my computer. One of these days, when I can afford to buy an ink cartridge, I'll print that thing and tack it up on the wall - my first royalty check! - and remember when.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Daniel Ridgway-Knight: An American in Rolleboise

Among my favorite artists is the American Naturalist painter Daniel Ridgway-Knight. Something about his paintings just makes me want to look, and look again. You won't find turmoil in them, nor will you find pain or sadness. He painted beautiful French landscapes peopled with peasants of the time.

As pretty as the landscapes are, it is the human figures that are the most striking. It takes little imagination to surmise that they lead difficult lives. Yet what Ridgway-Knight presents are quiet moments, peaceful vignettes out of their lives.
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Daniel Ridgway-Knight, circa 1908

Daniel Ridgway-Knight was born in Pennsylvania in 1839. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1858 - 1861 and then traveled to Paris and studied at the Atelier Gleyre and with Cabanel at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1861 - 1863. Knight returned to America to serve in the Army; he met and married Rebecca Webster and in 1871 he and his bride returned to France -where they remained for the rest of their lives.

By 1873 Knight moved to Poissy - a rural area just outside of Paris. It was there that he found the subject matter that would occupy him for the rest of his life - the French farm laborer.

A writer in the May, 1876 edition of the Art Journal writes about Knight's Salon painting entitled The French Washerwomen: "...the figures are drawn with remarkable spirit, and in their delineation much grace of form is show. It is without that artificial feeling which belongs to work where the conventional model is called into requisition." It was this ability to portray the human figure so naturally that made Knight so popular not only in his own lifetime, but even today.

Click on the images below for larger versions.

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"Returning Home"
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"Far Away Thoughts"

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"A Moment Of Rest"
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"A Conversation"

Ridgway-Knight's son, Louis Aston Knight became a reknowned landscape painter in his own right. It is said that they made a bargain, owing to the similarity in their styles, that the son would never paint human figures. Past a certain date, it seems, L.A.Knight painted no human figures. Having seen a few of his paintings I can attest to the fact that the son was a chip off the old pallete!

Daniel Ridgway-Knight's most memorable images come from the time he spent in Rolleboise - after 1896. Here he coupled his beautiful models with the lush landscapes and gardens around his home - creating many of his most highly sought after works.

It is only in his later years that his work seems to begin changing from the naturalist style to a near-impressionist style used by his mentors and friends, such as Pierre August Renoir.

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"Picking Flowers"

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"Shepherdess and her Flock"
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"The Shepherdess of Rolleboise"

From the Art Renewal Center:
Knight’s works during the 1870’s and 1880’s focused on the peasant at work in the field’s or doing the day’s chores - collecting water or washing clothes at the riverside. His painting Hailing the Ferry, painted in 1888 and currently in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, depicts two peasant girls calling for the ferryman on the other side of the river. This work, considered one of the artist’s masterpieces, captures all the elements of his pre-Rolleboise period - the subdued light and color, the finely detailed figures and the artist’s acute attention to detail.

By the late 1890’s, Knight established a home in Rolleboise, some forty miles west of Paris. Here he began to paint the scenes that were to make his work so sought after by contemporary collectors - views of his garden. His home had a beautiful garden terrace that overlooked the Seine - a view he often used in his paintings. Collectors from across the globe vied for these works, which featured pretty local girls in his garden. Works from this period include The Roses currently in the collection of the J.B. Speed Museum and The Letter in the Joslyn Art Museum - both of which feature pretty young women surrounded by lush flora.

Knight received a third class medal at the Salon in 1888 for Hailing the Ferry and a Gold Medal at the Munich Exhibition that same year. In 1889 he was awarded a Silver Medal at the Paris Exposition and was knighted in the Legion of Honor, becoming an officer in 1914. In 1896 he received the Grand Medal of Honor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Daniel R. Knight died in Paris on March 9, 1924.

He is not my absolute favorite painter, but Daniel Ridgway-Knight is right there, near the top. What do you think?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Rude! Rude! Rude!

A few of us are leaving the store, exiting through the Exit (I emphasize that as a few folks seem to get all upset when the Entrance door won't open for them as they attempt to exit through it.) and find ourselves halted as two older gentlemen are ensconced, smack dab in the middle of the doorway, unloading their shopping cart, arranging thier loads, and oblivious to the fact that other people are being inconvenienced. In short, nobody can get through the doorway while these two clowns block the exit. And they are clueless.

My co-worker and I roll our eyes, but nobody says a thing. This is nothing new, just a variety of boorish behavior. And we've seen it before. Far too often.

Not too long ago, I actually had one fellow give me a hard time because he was standing in the Entrance, craning his neck to see the registers, blocking the way, while I was trying to move a line of shopping carts into the store. Trust me, folks, a line of shopping carts is heavy. It has quite a bit of mass. It's taxing to stop dead, while trying to avoid some nimrod who wants to sight-see in front of you. When he finally sidled out of the way I shoved the line of carts in and wrestled them into place, then went out for more. Rounding up shopping carts is one of my duties during busy times at the store. It is sweaty, tiring work, made more difficult by people who think you can stop a line with a thought, and have no compunction against dancing in front of a moving line.

Well, the same fellow was in the same place, craning his neck again, blocking the way. I stopped the line and leaned on the carts, waiting for him to move (I have since learned to call, loudly, "Out of the way! Coming through! Out of the way!" Most people will move the heck outa the way!). When he did, I pulled the string of carts in and circled out, heading for the lot again. But I glanced back and he was back in the doorway, again!

So I went in and asked him, "Is there something you're looking for? You can go on in, you know."

He looked me up and down - you've seen that look. Like you have gobs of shit hanging on you - and said, in reply, "Have you got a problem?"

Ahhhh, a toughie! One of those clowns that think you are there for their amusement, to be fired if you object to their rude behavior. They just wait for a reason to complain to management about some employee, hoping to show how important and tough they are. Cowards, actually. I loathe people like that, and I don't give them ammunition.

"Oh, no sir," I said. "If you are looking for somebody, why don't you go right in?"

"I'm not bothering anybody."

"Well, you're kind of in the way, here, sir. I don't want to hit you with a line of shopping carts." I don't, but not because it wouldn't be justified. I don't want to get fired!

"I'm not in your way. Just go around."

"Sir, if you just step in, you can see the registers better."

"Maybe you just need to be more careful, pal."

I love that. So I grin, widely, a sort of Uriah Heep grin, and I say, in my most ingratiating manner, "Maybe I should!"

And he caught on that he was being mocked, but without anything to point to for ammunition. "Yeah! Maybe you should!"

My grin became painfully large! "Oh, yes, sir! I should be much more careful! You are absolutely right!" At which point I wandered out and went for more carts to bring in.

And I had to think that Robert A. Heinlein was right. That an armed society is a polite society. Can you imagine some asshat mouthing off, when he was at fault, if the object of his rudeness was armed?

When did rudeness become some sort of badge of pride? Why do we allow the perpetually rude to continue their reign of terror? When did we abdicate our responsibility to others by ignoring loud people, ignore line-cutters, slobs, and vandals?

Used to be that a public restrooms was a fairly clean place. People would strive to leave it cleaner than when they entered. Good lord, I wipe fixtures after using the restroom, knowing that water leaves marks. I pick up paper towels from the floor. And I'm not talking about the store where I work. I'm talking about restaurants, and movie theaters, and stores that I visit. I can't imagine not doing such things. Why? Because it's the polite thing to do. The right thing.

If I need to use my cell phone to make a call - mine is on silent when I am out in public so the ring does not bother others - I find some place where I won't bother anybody with my one-sided conversation. I fear I am in the minority there. Anyone?

Why are children, increasingly, allowed to run riot in public places? Why do parents allow them to have full-blown tantrums in public? Daily I hear the shrieks of children denied some trinket, or tidbit, or permission to play some game. Bravo! parents, for saying, "No!" But why do you stop there?

As soon as Junior launches into a tirade, why do you remain silent? Why are we, the public, subjected to your brat's screams of rage? Where is the spanking? Where is the sharp rebuke?

One lad was pulling just such a stunt at the store some months ago. No employee is going to say anything - we have jobs to protect! But others saw and heard. Shoppers frowned, mumbled, moved along quickly to get away from the turmoil. Until one old lady stopped, frowning, and watched this tantrum. Then she leaned down, shook her finger in the brat's face, and snapped, "Quiet! Nobody came here to listen to you scream! Be quiet!"

Then she straightened up and strolled away. The brat was silent in her wake, and didn't open his mouth again.

I wish that old lady was in my store every day as the self-appointed brat cop.

Every day, one of my responsibilities is to clean the restrooms. I won't linger on the debris, messes, and barbaric leavings I find there. But what cheeses me off even more than the slobs that use the restrooms, are the thieves. For every day, a few times a day, I will find CD wrappers, clothing labels, empty product boxes, etc, hidden in the trash, and other places. I hate thieves. I wonder what the parents think when their darling daughters or sons come home with merchandise they cannot have bought. Do they know the stuff was stolen? Do they suspect? Do they even care? They have raised rude children, with no moral base, who think the world is there for thier use. No matter what it costs the rest of us.

Rude! Unmannered! Gad! I have so much more about this that I'd scribble down, but it would take all night to make a dent in my anger at this phenomenom of modern American society.

Maybe a few public floggings would help, eh? Just a few? To see if it deters? Hmmm?


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"Benning's War" Have You Read It Yet?

Fictionwise, one of the online book sellers that my publisher contracts with, show my Historical Novel selling well! Wow! I have no idea how many have actually sold, but it's a nice feeling to make any kind of best-seller list, don't you think?

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Now Fictionwise sells ebooks, something I can't use myself. I haven't got an ebook reader. But if you are interested in a good adventure novel, and would like the 'hold-it-in-your-hands' version - a hard-back sized paperback, you can go to and order the paperback version.

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.comHey, I want my book to sell! I do! I spent a lot of time and tears writing it, and I think it's a good book. It has enough history to ground it in reality, and plenty of intersting characters to make the reading worthwhile. If you follow the links at Fictionwise you can read the first chapter. I hope that's hook enough to getcha to buy it. LOL

To give you an idea of what the book is about, here's the description I wrote for it to use at sellers' websites.

Isaac Benning sees action in the disaster of The Waxhaws. Horrified at the outcome of that battle, Isaac goes home. Enlistment over, he feels he can no longer face the horrors of war. But the War won't let him remain at home. Indian incursions into White areas, and a call to arms from the Virginia Militia, lead him to rethink his feelings. In his heart he knows he must 'do his duty' and return. Along the way he will befriend a small band of Indians, hunt raiders near his home, lead men into battle once more at Kings Mountain.

There's a review at, well two! But my Mother's I will discount, although she's been a tough critic while this was being written and edited.

Benning's War 3 Jun 2006
by Felecia R. Ellis
Benning's War
A Novel of the American Revolution
by Jeffrey Keenan

Jeffrey Keenan skillfully transports his readers to a time when American was young and still struggling for independence. Keenan's novel depicts the struggles and adventures of the Benning family during the American Revolutionary War. Isaac Benning is portrayed as a strong man of few words, scarred by the evils of war. Abraham Benning is the patriarch. Benjamin, Joseph and Anne round out this loving
Frontier family that takes in three orphans as there own.

This story begins during the summer of 1870 and culminates later that fall after the battle of Kings Mountain. This book is much more than a war story. It is about friendships, family and faith. It exposes the ugliness of prejudice and the ignorance of those that indulge in it. This novel explores the depths of friendships; that transcend language and race. Keenan beautifully weaves a tale that shows the strength in family unity. He touches on the struggles of the faithful, when faced with the aftermath of battle. There is so much to this novel that I cannot say in just a few paragraphs. What I can say it that the writer moved me. This book made me laugh, made me cry, made me angry and then gave me a smile. The author takes you on an emotional ride and gives you a history lesson in the process. Well done Jeffrey Keenan. I read this book in two sittings.

Felecia R. Ellis

If you decide to buy this, please let me know what you think of it. I am interested in how it affects the reader, and what you think of it as a story, much less as Historical Fiction. Buy it! You won't regret it!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Light Unto ...

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Psalms 119: 105: Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

For me, as a Christian, and as an American, this is the beginning of Wisdom. I am fortunate to have the Word of GOD for my spiritual life. But I am also fortunate to have the words of intrepid, courageous Patriots to guide me in my life as an American. Folks in other nations do not understand this, nor do far too many of my fellow Americans.

Here in America our Nation is the product of Faith: Faith in GOD; Faith in Liberty. Our history is formed from this Faith, imperfect as it often is. Those who came here from the Old World did so to escape tyranny. They sought a place where the Word of GOD could be read, spoken, taught in a spirit of freedom. Though not always faithful to their own ideals, for men are weak and fallible, ever susceptible to the vagaries of popular opinion, personal failings, and self-interest, these men strained for a goal that was only a dream when first envisioned. Relying on the support of GOD, these men, and women, also, betook to throw off the capricious governing of the Rule of Man. They sought instead to create a new nation founded on Law.

Every step of the way they sought guidance from the Author of Laws: GOD Himself. Knowing their own weaknesses so well, they pushed to rise above themselves, to discover a better nature. Together, these varied men, gathered together in Rebellion against their King, created a document that explained in words of amazing clarity, why they were no longer the subjects of an Earthly king.

Micah 7: 8: Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD [shall be] a light unto me.

They fought a savage war against their erstwhile brethren and King, suffered tremendously in a Cause which was greater than any Human cause theretofore. The Cause of Freedom; of Liberty. A feeling of uniqueness was the common view of most American Colonials in those days. They had known for nearly a Hundred Years that they were different from the English who ruled them. They had left the British Isles, and elsewhere, to find better lives. They had died seeking a better life, had lost families in the search and struggle, had fought disease, starvation, privation, and savage attacks. They were not Englishmen, and they knew it.

But they had sought accommodation with their King, and had found only a Tyrant, unwilling to compromise. And they prayed for Guidance from the Creator of Nations, and decided, at last, to go their own way. And War came to the Americas.

Americans fought, and lost. They stumbled blindly for years, seeking a way to win. And every so often, when things looked desperate, lost, beyond their grasp, those Patriots would win. Small winnings at first, then later the winnings were greater. And still they prayed to the GOD they had depended upon from the beginning.

When at last they cornered the British Southern Armies of Cornwallis in Yorktown, in Virginia, the end was in sight, and Victory was assured. And they prayed in Thanksgiving for their Victory and their Freedom.

Matthew 5: 15: Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Those men now came together and fashioned a government, weak, decentralized, and ultimately a failure. And they prayed to the GOD of Abraham and Isaac for guidance. And they gathered once more to do the hard work they had failed to do before. What they wrote has never been bettered as a form of Government. Were it followed as written, and amended, there is no doubt that this Nation would be better of than it is now. Yet … no Nation on Earth has the Freedom we enjoy here. No Nation has the kind of Liberty that we experience here, despite the small dictators which inhabit our government at every level. No Nation has the ability to change its government whenever it displeases enough of its people, in a peaceful fashion, every four years. No matter whether we are at War, or at Peace, we have always held elections. We have been a model for those seeking true Freedom throughout the World.

And we strive to improve. For we see our weaknesses and errors. We tinker, often ad nauseum, to fix and fine-tune our government. All too often we have allowed this tinkering to constrict our Freedom, something we should have fought tooth-and-nail. Sometimes that tinkering has resulted in our Light shining even brighter. We fought our own relatives in our own savage, bloody Civil War. And the Slaves were freed, and Slavery forbidden forever.

We fought a great Colonial Power to free enslaved peoples in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Though slow to recognize the rights of those for whom we fought to be sovereign, we learned our errors, and gave them their freedom, too. We went to the aid of our former Brethren and Cousins across the Atlantic when their fate was threatened by forces of Darkness and Tyranny. And our families prayed to God for success and for the lives of our Sons. We sought HIS guidance and went to War. We won. And we withdrew, dispirited and sick of the European madness.

And we prayed again to GOD for guidance, and went about our business of commerce and industry. And we grew, unbeknownst to our selves or the rest of the World, into a Great World Power. And again we crossed the Atlantic to fight encroaching Darkness. We crossed the Pacific to avenge the blood spilled without warning, by another Imperial Power. That one from Asia. And we prayed and we died, and we sacrificed, and we wept.

And we were once again victorious. But we were still trusting. Like Children. And we let the Darkness take power across much of the World and we feared to fight against it. Forty years would pass before most of that Darkness would fall. But may of us prayed to GOD for the release of the enslaved of Europe and Asia.

Isaiah 60: 19: The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

Now we fight against the forces of Darkness again. This time the forces hold no political philosophy, but a Death Cult philosophy. And again, as against the Communists, many here fear to fight against it. They have no trust in GOD, yet fear the false god of the Death Cultists. They counsel compromise, and reason. Yet the Hordes of the Death Cult have no interest in compromise: they demand surrender or death. The Hordes of the Death Cult have no acquaintance with Reason: killing is celebrated by them. The more deaths the better.

And many of us continue to pray to the GOD of Peace. We pray to HIM to bring us through this time of Evil and Darkness. We pray for victory over the Deatheaters. And we pray for our neighbors to awaken and recognize the danger, before it is too late. We pray for the Cultist to see the Truth and convert. We pray for the Light of GOD to shine on them and change them.

1 John 1: 5: This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

We here in America can be a Light to the World. We can stop the Darkness, with GOD’s blessings, that is burning across much of the World. But we must continue to pray to GOD if this is to happen. Pray for the American and Coalition troops who toil in Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting the Deatheaters. Pray for the Israelis who are under constant attack form the Deatheaters, and have been for fifty-eight years. And pray for your neighbors who refuse to see, that they have their ‘sight’ restored and can finally see the Truth. Then pray for the Deatheaters, too. That GOD may change them, soften their hearts, open their eyes, and turn them from the path of Darkness they have taken.

Isaiah 5: 20: Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Let us be a Light Unto The World. Pray!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mom's Birthday: Happy 29th, Mom!

Stuck to the top with Icing for the day!

Big Wine - 1977
Mom & Step-Dad - 1977
August 3rd is an odd time in my family. Growing up, that was the time, we learned, when we celebrated our Mother’s birthday. Now that may not sound at all odd to you, but bear with me.

My Father was born on the 10th of October – some years back – and that seemed to us to be just fine. Why? Well, my Sister was born on the 21rst of October. My Little Brother on the 5th of October. Me? Why I was the bestest of all of them! I was born on the 10th of October! I was my Daddy’s Birthday present! (It seems that my arrival interrupted a Pork Roast Birthday Supper my Folks were having. I have always been quite partial to a good Pork Roast!)

Heck, even my Mother’s Mother was born on the 17th of October! Do you see the pattern here? All of us kids were the Children of Autumn, and we liked that! Along with a coinciding taste for German Chocolate Cake that we each pleaded for as our Birthday cake. (Imagine just how enjoyable that was to my Mother! Three German Chocolate Cakes in the space of just over two weeks!)

Now, once we were a tad older, and could do the higher mathematics called for in the equation, we three siblings realized that we were also the products, most likely, of Valentine’s Day! Romantic, no? (“Chuckle, chuckle, very funny!” to quote Dad)1980 - Mom's about 3 years old here!
Mom & Step-Dad Visiting benning - 1980

The Strange Hair Summer - 1982

The Strange Hair Summer - 1982
Look what Mom had to put up with! That's benning in the center, Step-Dad to the left, and Little Bro on the right.

Those grins denote something is up, or something naughty has happened, but the Adults have no idea what. This was me attempting to bestow upon Little Bro some of my Smart Ass wisdom on one of my visits home from California. Beyond that, I can claim to credit!

So what the heck was Mom doing with a birthday in the depths of Summer?

Ye Gods! We even have cousins with October Birthdays. So an August Birthday just seemed to be very strange.

But, that’s how it is. Mom was born on August 3rd, a few decades ago. Today marks her 29th Birthday! How she managed to get through the three of us, I cannot say. She confesses that she was much like me growing up. Which is to say a pain in the toches!Worn Out Folks
The Boys Have Worn Out The Folks
- 1977

Neither of us cared for school and the regimented boredom of the classroom. But both of us enjoy learning. And we read - as do my sibs and I and my Step-Father ( a fine man, but his Birthday is even more out of whack!) – everything we can lay a hand on. Mom and I were/are also Clowns. Class Clowns during our school years. Silly-at-times people in our adult years.

No wonder Mom and I had such a contentious time during my childhood (which may end in the future, but Mom ain’t taking any bets on that!) – we were alike! Mom knew most every dodge I’d try, knew what I was thinking (well, sometimes), and knew I was goofing off when I should have been studying.

Mom is a crackerjack cook, though she claims to hate cooking. She makes a Chicken Ala King to die for! She bakes heavenly things for desserts, and has dips that make a supper pointless, they’re so good. Mom has style and grace, dignity and humor.

Big Sis' Wedding - 1978 - The Sibs Clean Up Nice, Don't They?

Best of all, Mom didn’t strangle her eldest Son when he learned to talk (that would be me, the Smart Ass), though some would argue the wisdom of that decision! I love my Mom and I’m grateful to her for her Love and Guidance. If I am anything positive, it is the doing of my Mom and Dad, and my Step-Father. Mostly it’s because of Mom.

Thanks, Mom! I Love You! Happy 29th Birthday!

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And where was Dad? Well, here he is with benning at Christmastime in 1956. He has no idea what a handful I was going to become! Don't they both look awfully young? Dad passed on in 1973.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Unconditional Surrender: The Only Way

I surfed a few blogs this evening, following blogs comments to see new blogs and read some different views. I found some very interesting posts around the blogosphere. But I was stunned by a link at "Pocket Full Of Mumbles" which I followed to treppenwitz, and a well-trackbacked post titled, "A difficult lesson".

treppenwitz said, among other things,
"When I was in the Navy, I once witnessed a bar fight in downtown Olongapo (Philippines) that still haunts my dreams. The fight was between a big oafish Marine and a rather soft-spoken, medium sized Latino sailor from my ship.

All evening the Marine had been trying to pick a fight with one of us and had finally set his sights on this diminutive shipmate of mine... figuring him for a safe target. When my friend refused to be goaded into a fight the Marine sucker punched him from behind on the side of the head so hard that blood instantly started to pour from this poor man's mutilated ear.

Everyone present was horrified and was prepared to absolutely murder this Marine, but my shipmate quickly turned on him and began to single-handedly back him towards a corner with a series of stinging jabs and upper cuts that gave more than a hint to a youth spent boxing in a small gym in the Bronx.

treppenwitz related this sorry spectacle, which he says still haunts him, and draws a very cogent lesson from it, to wit:
"I'm not particularly proud to have been witness to such a bloody spectacle, and the sound of that Marine's woman-like shrieks will haunt me to my grave. But I learned something that evening that Israel had better learn for itself if it is to finally be rid of at least one of its tormentors:

This is one time an Arab aggressor must be allowed to be beaten so badly that every civilized nation will stand in horror, wanting desperately to step in and stop the carnage... but knowing that the fight will only truly be over when one side gives up and finally admits defeat.

Just as every person who had ever rescued that bully from admitting defeat helped create the cowardly brute I saw that evening in the bar, every well-intentioned power that has ever stepped in and negotiated a ceasefire for an Arab aggressor has helped create the monsters we see around us today."

Among the wise words treppenwitz writes is this:
"Ever since Nasser accidentally discovered the trick in '56, every subsequent Arab leader has stuck to his tried and true formula for military success:

Instigate a war.
Once the war is well underway and you are in the process of having your ass handed to you... get a few world powers to force your western opponent into a cease fire.
Whatever you do, don't surrender or submit to any terms dictated by your enemy. That would ruin everything! All you have to do is wait it out and eventually the world will become sickened at what is being done to your soldiers and civilian population... and will force a truce.
Once a truce has been called you can resume your intransigence (which probably caused the conflict in the first place), and even declare victory as your opponent leaves the field of battle.
This tactic has never failed. Not once.

Correct! This is exactly the tactic being attempted today. And the U.N. and MSM is falling for it all over again! I could write a lot more on this, but why bother? treppenwitz did it for me! Go immediately to "A difficult lesson", and read! Hell, memorize the thing! This is one damned tremendous post!

Struggling With Template Neverland

If anybody surfed through here this morning, between 9:00am and 11:00am, they may have seen a very odd looking blog! My top image was there, but it was over-run by the text - quotations - that had graced the blog before. Not to mention the patriot bars that had rested atop and below those quotes. The flag image had squished up, too, and covered a part of the new header image.

I was fighting with the template while attempting to change the look. Again. And while I was very comfortable going into this - how many times have I changed this thing? - I found out that I still have a very weak grasp of what I am looking at when I work with the template. Two hours to finally figure out that I was in the wrong section! Two hours! My neighbor, if he was home, may have heard some very nasty language coming from my apartment!

Trust me, when I get frustrated enough (common enough when I am working on the computer), my language gets quite vile. Not Rap Music vile, but it gets close! I struggled. And why? Because I am addicted to changing the looks of this blog.

When I was young, I used to change the furniture layout in my bedroom all the time. Ask my mother! She'll tell you! She'd hear a ruckus upstairs and she knew benning was moving the furniture around. Heck, I get bored with the look of the place.

So what is that up top? That's a painting by Daniel Ridgway-Knight, "Peasants Lunching In A Field" from 1875. I like the painting, and the layout - wider than it is tall - made it workable for a topper. Then all I needed to do was mess with it using my Paint Shop Pro 6. Whatcha think?

Daniel Ridgway-Knight, an American painter who did most of his work while living in France, is a Naturalist painter, so he meshes nicely with my art tastes. Yes, I intend to post on him in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, I hope the new look suits you. It suits me. For now! Who knows what I'll do come Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas? I have got graphics galore, and already my head is awhirl with ideas. So beware! You may visit again and not recognize the place!

But, as always, I'm glad you stopped by.

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Always On Watch posted a link to this little gem! It should make you giggle!