Friday, December 31, 2010

Pic Today 12/31/10







KODACHROME - R.I.P.
1935-2010

Farewell old friend!

Today marks the final day (and a sad day)
for Kodachrome film processing.

The last remaining photo lab
to offer processing for this popular slide film
has shut down its Kodachrome developing line.

When Kodak announced it was no longer
manufacturing it's famous (and fabulous) Kodachrome film,
thousands of photographers stockpiled rolls
of their favorite color slide film
(storing it in the freezer.)
But now, there's no way to get exposed rolls processed . . .
no lab, not anywhere, worldwide!

The last lab to close is Dwayne's Photo
in Parsons, Kansas (near the Oklahoma border.)

(DWAYNE'S LAB PHOTO: COURTESY, NEW YORK TIMES.)

One gentleman flew last week from London
to Kansas City, and drove to Dwayne's
with 3 rolls of Kodachrome, just to get his film processed.
(Now that's some expensive processing!)

"Makes you think all the world's a sunny day.
Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away."

-- Paul Simon



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pic Today 12/30/10




WHY PHOTOGRAPHERS LOVE FOG

. . . well, at least the ones I know
love when the fog rolls in,
especially at night.

The snow started to melt today.
The ground stayed cold while the air got warm.
And that's the recipe for fog!

So I grabbed my camera
and viewed the world through a softer lens.

No hard edges. No sharp light.
Like Monet is his final years,
the scenery looks diffused and blurry
and takes on a heavenly feel.
All the lights are on dim
and easy on the eyes.

Hand me my camera!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pic Today 12/29/10




WINTER IN THE WOODS

Hiking through the woods,
after a fresh December snow,
is a magical experience.

The world changes to soft and quiet.
The thick woods turn black and white.
There is no east or south or north,
but there's no getting lost,
because your tracks are left deep
to show your way home.

Colors have no home here,
only quiet snow.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pic Today 12/28/10




SLEDDING ON ART HILL

After every big snow fall,
St. Louisans gather on Art Hill,
directly beneath the famous St. Louis Art Museum,
for the best sledding in Forest Park.

From this vantage point, back in 1904,
you could view most of the World's Fair exhibits
at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
The Art Museum building is the only remaining
structure from the massive World's Fair exposition,
which took 3 years to construct.
The Fair's lagoons and lakes still remain,
and are prominent features in today's Forest Park.

The long snow-packed slope of Art Hill is ideal for
sledders of every age, with fire pits ablaze at the top
to warm frozen feet and fingers.





Monday, December 27, 2010

Pic Today 12/27/10



TIME TO MAKE A SNOWMAN

A snowy Christmas was the perfect time
to build a snowman.
A really big snowman!

"In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he's a circus clown.
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down."

-- "Winter Wonderland"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pic Today 12/26/10



THE BEST PART
OF CHRISTMAS

. . . was the giving and the sharing,
to those less fortunate than us.
It didn't just 'feel good' to give . . .
it was fun!

Here's the crowd Christmas morning
at New Life Evangelistic Center downtown.
It's an annual tradition each year to celebrate Christmas.
The poor and homeless know they've got a home
where they can receive shoes, clothing, food and
wrapped presents for their children.

There was a steady stream of donors
bringing bags and boxes through the doors.

The center gets 14,000 visits each year,
and receives donations year round.
Reverend Larry Rice has been helping the homeless
for the past 35 years.

(Put them on your list next year.
It's a great way to keep Christmas going, and going, and going....)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Pic Today 12/25/10






MERRY CHRISTMAS
TO ALL

Where ever you are this day,
however you celebrate this holiday season,
here's wishing you the warmest and happiest
Christmas day of all!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Pic Today 12/24/10





"DON'T FORGET ME."

Pets are an important part of our families,
so don't forget to include them on
your Christmas gift list.

Whether it's your dog, or cat, or bird, or goldfish . . .
get 'em a special treat, or chew-toy, or tennis ball.
Then they'll know you love them!

Or if you don't have a pet,
you can always get some seed and feed the wild birds.

Your pet gives you unconditional love.
(We could learn from them.)

One more day to go.
Woof!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pic Today 12/23/10



WHO PUT THE "X"
IN CHRISTMAS?

In recent years, many retailers have come under fire
for using the word "Xmas" as a substitute for Christmas.

Some businesses in the past routinely used Xmas
in their advertising and signage, shortening the word Christmas.
"We simply ran out of room in the ad," some would say.

But increased criticism from the public
for "taking the Christ out of Christmas"
has greatly curtailed this shorthand expression.
"Xmas" is rarely seen these days.

Interestingly, substituting the letter "X"
in Christmas dates back centuries (as late as the 1900s)
and we find the term "Xmas" had no negative connotations.
Theologians and historians acknowledge
there's nothing nefarious about the "X" in Xmas.

Its origins involve the first letter of the Greek name for Christ.
(Christos is the New Testament Greek word for Christ.)
The first letter of the Greek word Christos
is transliterated into our alphabet as an "X."
And that "X" has come through church history
to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ.

So whether you see Xmas or Christmas,
have a merry one, OK?

(Images photographed at Steeleville Antiques, Steeleville, Missouri.)




Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pic Today 12/22/10



THE MOON TURNS RED
AND WINTER BEGINS

Late last night, a remarkable coincidence occurred:
for the first time in 372 years,
there was a rare total lunar eclipse
at the exact moment of the winter solstice,
which marked the beginning of winter!

If you were in North or Central America,
you were able to watch the earth
pass directly between the sun and the moon.
The total eclipse lasted one hour,
which gave the moon a deep red glow.

(The above photographs: courtesy of NASA.)

Astrologists worldwide agree such eclipses
are intensified predictors of "major turning points"
for the world at large.

Let's pray it signifies a "turn for the better."
Amen.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pic Today 12/21/10






CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS
IN MISSOURI'S MOST FAMOUS CABIN

On May 14, 1804
Lewis and Clark began their epic journey
near St. Louis, on the Missouri River,
as they explored the vast American wilderness
opening the "northwest passage" to the Pacific coast.

By May 25, they reached Washington, Missouri,
and the Fort Charrette trading post.
French fur traders had established La Charrette ("little wagon")
for trappers headed up the "wide Missouri."
In their diaries, Meriwether Lewis recalled this stop as
"the last white settlement we encountered."

The cabin, adjoining the trading post, has been
preserved and carefully restored, complete with
authentic artifacts (including one of the original
Lewis & Clark peace medals and peace pipe.)
Today, historian Crosby Brown resides in the original cabin
and conducts tours of his "home" and historic post.

This 200+ year old cabin is a sacred site to celebrate Christmas
and the earliest days of the American frontier.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Pic Today 12/20/10



BLINDED BY THE LIGHT?

Too much?

Holiday lights are everywhere,
helping us celebrate this festive season.

As we string our lights for the holiday season,
we surround our homes and lives with
colored lights and sparkles
to celebrate Chanuka, Christmas, Kwanzaa
and the New Year.

Let's not forget the beauty and simplicity of
a single candle burning, whose flame proclaims

PEACE ON EARTH and
GOOD WILL TO ALL MEN.

May your lights burn bright this holiday.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pic Today 12/19/10





SWINGIN' BACK INTO
THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

(Nothing like music to do the trick.)

. . . especially if it's the incomparable
jazz recording artist, Jane Monheit,
who visited The Jazz Bistro in St. Louis,
before returning to hometown New York City today.

Jane and her jazz trio performed Christmas song classics
to a "sold out" audience at The Bistro,
getting everyone in the spirit and a little "teary eyed"
as we start the final week countdown to Christmas.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pic Today 12/18/10



STAYIN' IN THE CARIBBEAN

Not ready to return to the
hustle and bustle of Christmas just yet.
Another moment or two
to view those brilliant Caribbean blues.

The beautiful northern Colombian coast.
The isolation and island tranquility of
tiny Johnny Cay in the distance.

The only sounds you hear
are the gentle waves lapping on the beach,
and the rustling palm fronds above.

Peace on earth!







Friday, December 17, 2010

Pic Today 12/17/10




SOME NON-CHRISTMAS COLORS
FOR A CHANGE

We're surrounded by
the sounds and scents and colors of Christmas
everywhere we go these days . . .

so I thought it would be nice
for a change of pace and temperature
with Caribbean Blue.


These recent aerial photos were taken
off the northern coast of Colombia . . .
crystal clear warm waters,
dotted patches of white clouds,
and the unmistakable shades of Caribbean blue.
Quite a canvas!

Close your eyes.
Feel the warm currents.
Hear the gentle surf.
You're there.

(Nice break, huh?)





Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pic Today 12/16/10






CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
GONE WILD

The city has gone crazy for Christmas,
hanging lights and decorations everywhere:
on houses, storefronts, windows, trees, inside, outside.

It's a great time to stroll or drive through town,
especially at night time,
to see how neighbors show off their Christmas spirit.

The lights are bright, and spirits high.
From house to house, the neighbors try
To make the Christmas season shine
This year with sparkles extra fine.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pic Today 12/15/10






HOT MULLED SPICE
FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Hot mulled drinks (wine or cider)
are popular the world over
at Christmas time.

Each country has its own name and recipe
for hot, spiced holiday drinks:

England/America -- Hot mulled wine
Germany -- Glühwein
Poland -- Grzane wino
France -- Vin chaud
Nordic Countries -- Glögg
Italy -- Vin brulé
Serbia/Croatia -- Kuvano vino
Romania -- Vin fiert
South America -- Candola
Bulgaria -- Greyano vino
Latvia -- Karstvins
(I'm sure I'm missing a few.)

Variations on the recipe are fairly similar.
They more or less include familiar aromatic spices,
including cinnamon, cloves, allspice and
especially nutmeg and mace (the dried outer-covering
around nutmeg) which are subtle flavorings
for breads, cakes and pies, especially this time of year.

Simply add these spices to red wine or apple cider,
along with sugar (to taste) and orange slices.
Heat gently on the stove for 15-20 minutes and serve.

And raise your mugs as you toast the holidays.

Now off to the spice store with you!!!