Bookface Friday

20 November 2015

Instagram has a #bookfacefriday tag:




Link to the rest at #bookfacefriday

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24 October 2015

Here’s another shot from Canyonlands, post-processed to make it look a little magical, which is what the park felt like to me.

Click on the photo for a larger version.




22 October 2015

Canyonlands is another national park near Moab, Utah. If you’re looking for vistas that go on forever, Canyonlands is your place.

This photo is taken from a place called Grandview. A photo, at least one you can view on a computer, tablet or phone, can’t really communicate how huge this is. An unusual amount of humidity in the air cut down on details in the distance a bit. Click on the photo for a larger version.


Fiery Furnace

21 October 2015

More from Arches National Park.

Fiery Furnace - Small

On the left-hand side, this photo shows a small portion of an area called Fiery Furnace. It is comprised of a huge number of tall stone towers and fins and it’s necessary to slide sideways to get between some of them. There are no trail markings and the stone cuts off cell service and GPS. As with most parts of Arches, there is no water. Additionally, there are many opportunities for falls of 30-40 feet into stone crevasses.

It’s so easy to get lost in Fiery Furnace that the Park Service requires a permit and strongly recommends either a park ranger or experienced private guide to accompany anyone who wants to enter. Presumably a park ranger will come and try to find you if you don’t show up by the end of the day.

Window Arch - Small
This formation is called Window Arch. As mentioned yesterday, there are over 2,000 natural arches in the park.


20 October 2015

Mrs. PG said we needed to get away for a couple of days, so we headed to Moab, Utah.

Moab is an ideal base camp for exploring two National Parks, Arches and Canyonlands.

Arches includes the largest concentration of natural arches in the world – over 2,000. Many are embedded in massive stone mountains, but this arch is in one of the many wide-open spaces in the park.

Arch Clouds - Small

The Oregon Coast

20 September 2015

PG and Mrs. PG spent their short vacation on the Oregon coast, a beautiful place and a great location for relaxation. During this visit, they were mostly in the Seaside and Cannon Beach area.

PG hasn’t had a chance to get through with all his photos (he took a lot), but here are a few early ones.

Seascape 1


Small Rock


Tidal River



Fluffy kitty picture

18 September 2015

I am not PG, but I think this blog could use a completely uncontroversial post. If you hate cats, well, send me a puppy picture and I’ll post that, too. Her name is Meimei.


Posted by guest blogger Meryl Yourish

Desert Solitaire: An Uncommonly Beautiful Love Letter to Solitude and the Spiritual Rewards of Getting Lost

28 June 2015

From Brain Pickings:

“As the desert offers no tangible riches, as there is nothing to see or hear in the desert,” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in his exquisite memoir of what the Sahara Desert taught him about the meaning of life, “one is compelled to acknowledge, since the inner life, far from falling asleep, is fortified, that man is first animated by invisible solicitations.” No one captures this invisible animation of inner life more bewitchingly than Edward Abbey in Desert Solitaire — a miraculously beautiful book, originally published in 1968.

. . . .

In the late 1950s, Abbey took a job as a seasonal park ranger at Arches National Monument in Utah’s Moab desert. “Why I went there no longer matters; what I found there is the subject of this book,” he writes. Between April and September, between the canyons and the pages of his journal, he found a great many of the things we spend our lives looking for — a Thoreau of the desert, mapping the maze of the interior landscape as he wanders the expanse of the exterior.

. . . .

Abbey writes:

The time passed extremely slowly, as time should pass, with the days lingering and long, spacious and free as the summers of childhood. There was time enough for once to do nothing, or next to nothing, and most of the substance of this book is drawn, sometimes direct and unchanged, from the pages of the journals I kept and filled through the undivided, seamless days of those marvelous summers. The remainder of the book consists of digressions and excursions into ideas and places that border in varied ways upon that central season in the canyonlands…

Abbey’s digressions, to be sure, are oases of meaning — he writes about the ideas that animate his spirit with unsentimental sincerity and deep respect for the aliveness of language itself:

In recording my impressions of the natural scene I have striven above all for accuracy, since I believe that there is a kind of poetry, even a kind of truth, in simple fact… Language makes a mighty loose net with which to go fishing for simple facts, when facts are infinite… Since you cannot get the desert into a book any more than a fisherman can haul up the sea with his nets, I have tried to cecate a world of words in which the desert figures more as medium than as material.

He begins with what is possibly the most charming, disarming disclaimer in all of literature:

I quite agree that much of the book will seem coarse, rude, bad-tempered, violently prejudiced, unconstructive — even frankly antisocial in its point of view. Serious critics, serious librarians, serious associate professors of English will if they read this work dislike it intensely;. at least I hope so. To others I can only say that if the book has virtues they cannot be disentangled from the faults; that there is a way of being wrong which is also sometimes necessarily right.

Link to the rest at Brain Pickings

Here’s a link to Desert Solitaire

And here are a couple of photos that PG took a few years ago at Arches, formerly a National Monument, now a National Park.

End of Park Avenue

The Courthouse
And here’s a photo of the Delicate Arch, photo courtesy of The National Park Service:

Old Town

25 June 2015

PG, Mrs. PG and some of the PG offspring recently took a short vacation to San Diego and its environs.

If you haven’t been there, it’s a lovely place. PG checked the weather forecast prior to leaving and all week, the highs were in the low 70’s and the lows in the low 60’s.

Old Town in San Diego is the location of the first European settlement on the West Coast of the United States, begun in 1769. It includes historic adobe houses, huge Eucalyptus trees and some great outdoor Mexican restaurants.

Following is an iPhone photo of one of the restaurants after anointing by Madame Photoshop.


Restaurant - Pallette Knife

Library of Congress Ebooks Allow for Historical Documents on Tablets

17 June 2015

From Education World:

New efforts from the Library of Congress have made sources such as scrapbooks from women suffrage activists, political cartoons, and photos from throughout American history available in ebooks for tablets via Student Discovery Sets.

The Library of Congress have released three new interactive ebooks and “will bring together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents on a wide range of topics, from history and science to literature. Interactive tools let students zoom in for close examination, draw to highlight interesting details and make notes about what they discover,” according to the press release.

The ebooks are currently available for download free of charge through iBooks and are in addition to nine already published ebooks that focus “on the U.S. Constitution, Symbols of the United States, Immigration, the Dust Bowl, the Harlem Renaissance, Understanding the Cosmos, the Industrial Revolution, Jim Crow and Segregation, and Children’s Lives at the Turn of the 20th Century,” the release said.

. . . .

The books are completely interactive, meaning students are immersed in the content through primary sources that come alive with “maps, songs, posters, pieces of sheet music and iconic images.”

Link to the rest at Education World

As PG was posting this, he was reminded that the Library of Congress provides both access to and copies of many portions of its visual arts collections. You can download a copy of an image at no charge or you can have the Library of Congress make a high-quality print of photographs or a high-quality copy of other items for a very reasonable fee.

While the description of each photo provides warnings about potential copyright issues, the photos, including some terrific Depression-era works, that were created by photographers under contracts from various government agencies, are generally in the public domain. For images that were not created under government contract, it is likely that asking for a copy for your personal use would fall under fair use.

The following iconic Depression photo of the wife of a migrant worker in California was taken by Dorothea Lange for the U.S. Farm Security Administration:


Here’s a link to more information about this and other prints and photographs available at The Library of Congress


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