Sunday, November 30, 2014

Is Another Canal Necessary?

I have always contended I never know where my inspiration will come for my next post. This is another classic example! I saw an article on about building a new canal connecting the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea across Nicaragua, and it struck my interest. 

I started reading about the pluses and minuses of building a canal that is a 173-mile artificial waterway — which is three and one-half times the length of the Panama Canal. There are many advantages and disadvantages on both sides of building such an enormous project through dense rain forests, wetlands and Lake Nicaragua.

Without going into a lot of the details, suffice it to say, it is a very controversial project that is scheduled to start next month!

Here is a map of the proposed canal:

Click on the image to make it larger: has another great article on the Panama Canal, its rich history and the expansion that was started in 2007 and will bring it to a point where it will handle most of the large ships going through the proposed Nicaraguan Canal. That project will be finished in 2015. The new Panama Canal will have more locks, deeper and wider navigational channels.

The thing that struck me about building an all-new canal through Nicaragua, besides the environmental effect, is the area is a large hurricane area, which is prone to dramatic hurricanes, which could cause significant damage at any time! 

Like every project of any size it all boils down to money! When the United States turned over complete control of the Panama Canal to Panama in 1999, all of the tolls went with it. It is a significant amount of money each ship must pay to travel through the canal. Tolls for the largest ships can run $450,000! One can only imagine what the cargo on that ship must be worth.

I am positive that kind of money could help Nicaragua, which is one of the, if not the poorest country in Central America. It is an interesting dilemma.

Personally, I believe we should stay with the current Panama Canal with its new updates that will allow most mega ships through.

One last interesting fact I got from the article: "Some 52,000,000 gallons of fresh water are used each time I ship makes a trip through the Panama Canal. The water comes from Gatun Lake, which was formed during the canals construction by damning the Charges River. Within area of more than 163 square miles, Gatun Lake was once the world's largest man-made lake."

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to post this tonight before my annual dosage of tryptophan kicks in sometime during the Eagles-Cowboys game. I did a little research on the origin of our Thanksgiving holiday and found a video on the History Channel which revealed some interesting facts:

Starting in 1621 when the pilgrims shared their successful harvest with their Indian "hosts" it was not celebrated as a single feast but rather a three-day festival complete with contests, entertainment and other activities of the day.

The Indians brought five deer, so venison was definitely on the menu. Turkey was not. They also did not have pumpkin pie or potatoes, which had not been introduced to New England yet.

The pilgrims did not plan on creating an annual tradition and so it was not held for many years. In 1789, President George Washington declared it a national holiday for Thursday, November 26, 1789.

It did not become a national holiday until the 19th century when Sara Josefha Hale, more famous for writing, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" decided to re-create the menu from the first celebration back in the 17th century. She made her own substitutions with certain items and waged an almost thirty-year campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.

In 1863, during the heart of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday a national holiday. It stayed that way until 1939 when President Franklin Roosevelt moved the holiday up one week to give depression era retailers an extra week for Christmas shopping.

The bill was widely criticized and in 1941 FDR moved the holiday back one week to its present location of the fourth Thursday of November.

As always, click on the image to make it larger:

It was not until 1989 when President George H.W. Bush gave the first presidential pardon of a turkey. That tradition remains today and every president since then has pardoned one or two turkeys on every Thanksgiving.

This year President Obama pardoned two turkeys. The video also stated the pardoned turkeys are given to a farm near Washington where they live out their remaining days in Turkey Heaven.

There, probably more information about our beloved Thanksgiving holiday than you ever wanted to know.

Now, I am off to Walmart to wait for their 6 PM opening on Black Friday! If you believe that, I have some land I will sell you in Canada that is full of black gold or better known as tar sand oil!

I look forward to your comments.



P.S. If you are one of those Black Friday shoppers who just cannot wait for the giant retailers to open up, be patient, courteous and think about what you are doing when you could be home buying all those important commodities online?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Enjoy Watching A Skilled Craftsman At Work

Many of you know my cousin, Michael Patrick Bailey. He has a lifetime of picture framing and hanging experience. He came over last night and hung seventeen photographs, my 1955 calendar and one small poster! They had been in storage since I moved out of my house in 2011!

He did a yeoman's job in only two hours time! He hung photographs in several different places and I only had to supervise on a few occasions!

Mike hung a collage centered on a photograph that is one of Tom Wallace's favorite photographs of a high school basketball game between Luverne and Jasper in the District 8 tournament in 1973 in Worthington! Tom as been shooting since high school and has shot me on many occasions. He is now on staff at the Minneapolis StarTribune newspaper. The fun thing about Tom is he was the first person I met when I started school in Worthington partway through my eighth grade year. We have remained friends ever sense, and he has recently told me he wants to upgrade my profile photograph.

Jim Brandenburg mentored Tom when they worked for the Worthington Daily Globe. Yes, that Jim Brandenburg! It does not get any better than Jim for a photography mentor!

The irony in this picture is it features one of my favorite people and Mike Bailey's brother-in-law, Tom Brakke, boxing out his opponent and waiting to grab one of his many rebounds! His photograph is surrounded by smaller photographs of me as a baby on my first New Year's Eve and my second birthday photograph. The next photograph up the left side is a unique photograph my aunt, Dorothy Fish took of a picture of George Washington's profile on Mount Rushmore! Moving around is a photograph I took of a woman many years ago after she had been at a professional modeling studio that day, so she was all made up and it remains one of my favorite photographs.

Along the top are pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was taken by a friend of mine from way back in the dorm when I attended the University of California at Berkeley, Mike Ross. Next to that is a time-lapse shot I took of downtown Chicago that is rather unique. Moving down the right side are pictures of two little boys that had some inquisitive looks on their face when I shot them one day many years ago out at Valley Fair. Moving down the right side of the collage are two pictures of my favorite building to shoot, the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis. I must confess, Mike Ross took one of those as well.

Mike also put three concept photos on the other wall I took of the IDS Center.

In my bedroom, he hung three photographs from when I went downhill skiing in Winter Park, Colorado in 1980. He also hung my calendar from April 1955! It was a rather racy photograph at the time as the seductress on the calendar has a quote that reads, "Tell me more!"

It is often said, "The time to buy an antique is when you see it." That was the case with my calendar girl. When I saw it in an antique mall and it had January, February and March torn off, showing April. I had to buy it!

Mike was operating a framing shop at the time and I asked him to put my calendar in a period frame. He hit it perfectly!

There was one more sign Mike put up for me last night. He hung it by my front door where I will read it once again like I did in my house for many years. It reads, "HELP WANTED" on the first line and underneath it in slightly smaller letters it reads, "NO IRISH NEED APPLY"!

The irony in that simple sign is it was made by the Boston Sign Company on September 11, 1915! I had that hanging in my house by my door and have not been able to get most of these pieces hanging on the walls because there just was no room in an eight hundred square foot apartment!

I hang it by my door to remind me how my Irish immigrants were treated in the late 19th century and the early 20th century! It seems timelier today when we are discussing the immigrants and the situation about letting them continue to build our workforce! There was a time when Boston did not embrace the Celtics like they do today! It seems every minority group has taken its fair share of lack of being welcome in this country that is built on immigrants! I believe everyone should read the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty!

I still have more pieces I want to hang and Mike will be back to do that after the Thanksgiving holiday trip to be with his extended family. He has assured me he will not wait as long to hang the next batch of photographs as he did in this one!

I apologize for not getting any of the pictures up on this post. However, if you were ever at my house and saw photographs by my friends listed above and me, you know what his photographs I am talking about.

I promise I will post another photograph once Mike gets some of my other pieces up and show you what my apartment is starting to look like! We simply did not have a phone or camera to take photographs of Mike's work.

I look forward to your comments.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More About My Dreams

Once again my dreams have led me to write about them. I have written other posts about my dreams and how I intersect between my life before my accident and after. I have also written about my relationships with relatives who have passed on and how I dream about them.

I have done some research in the past on dreams, and as I understand it, the average dream is only about twenty seconds in length. It is difficult for me to imagine how much information can get in roughly twenty seconds!

I also listen to Jim Wand, a master hypnotist who helps me with my short-term memory issues. I have written about him in the past as well. Jim says we will dream about the last thing we think about before we go to sleep at night. I find that to be somewhat true because I do that on occasion, and other times I will dream about something that happened during the day.

Lately, I have been having issues with my sleep apnea and a new breathing machine. It seems I am not getting into the deepest REM sleep stage all the time and for the maximum length of time.

I understood there was only one REM stage. I recently found out there are several stages of REM sleep. If you are not aware of all the stages of sleep, REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. That is the stage when sleep is at its deepest and when we dream. I would suggest doing your own research on REM sleep to get a better understanding if you wish to know more.

I remember in my early twenties watching a news story on how many Americans suffered from sleep issues the older they got. I could not imagine what it must be like to not be able to get a good night sleep. Now, I know what that story was all about!

The reason I wanted to make this post was to discuss recent dreams and not necessarily what they mean, although I am sure a dream analyst would have opinions, that is not why I want to share with you what has been happening and see if you can relate.

I have been having dreams where I find myself in a terrible situation that could end in a life or death dilemma. Some of them have been pre-accident mixed with post-accident scenarios mixed with people who often are faceless. Fortunately, in these dreams, just before I am going to meet with my impending death or tragedy, I wake up only to be relieved it was just a dream!

Needless to say, I am always relieved at waking up! Sometimes, I will go back into my REM sleep and find myself back in the same situation. However, most of the time I will go into a completely different situation where my life is not threatened.

Recently, I had another sleep study done and they gave me a new machine with different settings for my inhalation and exhalation patterns. I do not know if that new machine has anything to do with my dreams, but I do find it rather coincidental they started when I got this new machine.

I did learn there are several new types of sleeping disorders machines besides CPAP and BiPAP. I do not have all of the names now, but my new machine has the acronym ADAP. I cannot tell you what it stands for now as I cannot find my information on the new machine.

I know everyone has had bad dreams, and I am not saying I have them every night. I wanted to ask you, my readers, and your thoughts on what is going on and if you ever have the same run of bad dreams. If you do, is there anything you can advise me on what to do to get out of that cycle? I would appreciate any advice you might have.

Maybe this episode of bad dreams will cycle out and stop on its own? Or, maybe it will continue and possibly get worse? I do not want to think that way; however, that is something I think about.

As always, I look forward to your comments and suggestions.



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mo'ne Davis Throws Like A Girl

That's correct, Mo'ne Davis throws like a girl! That is because she is a 13-year-old girl from Philadelphia who can bring the heat! In the Boy's Little League World Series on August 15th she pitched a complete game shutout for the Pennsylvania team to throw her second shutout in the first round of the Little League World Series in the game against a team from Nashville, Tennessee.

She also pitched a no-hit shut out in the game that qualified her team to go to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to play in the World Series! She did not have far to travel staying in her home state.

She throws 70 miles an hour, which is equivalent of a 90 mile an hour fastball the big boys can throw!

She looks and acts completely calm and relaxed as she strikes out one boy after another. She is doing only seventeen other girls have done, and that is playing in the Little League World Series! The amazing thing about her is how she is taking her celebrity status in stride. She is very calm for a 13-year-old.

Her mother, LaKeisha McLean, is "very proud" to see the success her daughter is having and how well she is handling it. She says Mo'ne has a great relationship with her teammates and they protect her when they go out.

Nobody messes with Mo'ne when the Taney Youth Baseball Association team in Philadelphia is around, which is making history as the first time the Taney Youth Baseball Association has made it to the Little League World Series! Her teammates protect her like a little sister.

Here is a photograph of Mo'ne pitching in her first game of the Little League World Series:

Click on the image to make it larger:

ESPN did a great story on her I had seen a couple of times. She has also been on all the news shows and featured interviews with several talk shows. She is very composed for young lady of only thirteen!

She also loves to play soccer and basketball. From interviews I have seen, it looks like she is even better at basketball and soccer then baseball! The good thing for her is there may very well be a college scholarship waiting for her to play college  basketball after she finishes high school.

The WNBA and NCAA scouts are supposedly already looking at her. The problem with a star at such a young age is they develop early and often the other children catch up to her physically.

That remains to be seen with this young phenom. It will be exciting to follow her career and see how well she does with one or more of the three sports.

The young lady has been on quite a ride since her Little League World Series success. She had the privilege of throwing out the first pitch of Game 4 of the World Series in Kansas City and spent some face time with Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron. In my book, that would have been a huge highlight!

Here she has walking off the field after throwing out the first pitch in Game 4:

Again, click on the image to make it larger:

I know this is old news to some of you, but if you are not a big sports fan, this may be new news to you. I have been holding it for an appropriate time to do it; and since the Vikings had a bye week today seemed like a good time to post this.

I look forward to your comments.