Sunday, February 28, 2016

From the air and from the ground

I thought I would share some pics from 30000 feet above the Dolomites,

Approaching Fassa from the North to South at 30000 feet

Fassa Ski Chalets, some excellent X-Country skiing here!

More Fassa


Flying over Lake Bracciano on final to FCO

The beautiful shoreline of Lake Bracciano

Rastkogel-vorderanersback Ski Resort from the ground

Rastkogel-vorderanersbach from 30000 feet

Vandoies from 30000 feet

Vandoies from the ground

Weerberg, Austria from 30000 feet

Weerberg from the ground

Hope you liked the pics.  This part of the world is so very beautiful!  I've flown this segment many times and thought it would be interesting to juxtapose the experience from the air with the villages below. 


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The squares of Savannah

Rare is the opportunity to photo document colonial, Civil War and industrial age city squares in a single city in the US.  Most cities that had such green spaces have experienced great growth of population and of course the sprawl of buildings and the concomitant  infra structure often encroached or eventually eliminated the open spaces as property values soared and buildings translated into tax revinue.  Savannah, Georgia has grown thoughtfully and carefully around most of its original 24 public squares.  Only 3 have been lost to urban growth, one of which was reclaimed in 2010 - congratulations Savannah.  This city plat is known as the Oglethorpe Plan.  If you are fortunate enough to walk this city, you will be impressed by its beauty and history as related in the unique squares.  I wish more urban areas in the US had developed this way.  This environmental detail, in my opinion, raises the quality of life in any urban space. Unlike a park bench or a clump of trees, the Savannah green spaces connect us to our history.  Thank you Mr Oglethorpe the bricks and mortar of buildings and parking garages of most cities create such a sterile world.  The Oglethorpe model encourages Savannah's citizens to walk, gather and socialize in a very pleasant way.  Savannah is to be experienced, not simply visited.

So for your enjoyment...  here are a few of the squares of Savannah.

Remember this from Forest Gump?

The only ding I would give Savannah is parking is tough!  Go for one of the many parking decks, and just be prepared to do a few laps...  but you will eventually get parked.  Then let the wander begin!


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Some of the best adventures are just things you do on the spur of the moment

Such a day was today.  I learned a lot about owls today!

Stuff found on the beaches around this part of South Carolina

The lower jaw bone is from a Barracuda...

The Great Horned Owl was a rescue... a very handsome owl indeed!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentines Day...

What an interesting day.  In the US on 14 February we recognize "Valentine's Day."  So how did this happen, and who was Valentine anyway?  Well I have answers!  Sort of...

It seems that many civilizations throughout time have celebrated some sort of fertility custom... The Romans had Lupercalia and raised a glass to Faunus their god of fertility.  Somehow Romulus and Remus get involved too, but I digress...  this was eclipsed by a Saints commemoration.  The story goes that this martyr healed his jailers daughter before his sentenced death.  An expression of compassion, empathy and kindness in the face of evil.  So in this story love and dedication to doing the right thing initiate feast day on a church calendar...

Apparently, Faunus had crazy hair... and hooves

The Christian spin is built upon many years after St. Valentine of Rome was commemorated, read: made a St. on 14 February 496.   There seems to be at least one other St Valentines which some Eastern Christian churches recognize - and they ascribe 23 July as the big day.  Some say the St was martyred around 270 AD... sketchy huh?  But I digress.  So how did we get to the hearts and candy?

Chaucer did it.  Around 1367, Geoffrey Chaucer a poet of great import along with others of his time decided to formalize expressions of love such as gifts of flowers or sweet treats as a "humanist" reaction to the puritanical views of the Catholic Church at that time. 

The date is special for a few other reasons: Capt James Cook expired on this day,  as did General Tecumseh Sherman.  On a brighter note, Oregon and Arizona became states on this date. 

I say it's a pretty darned good day and I hope you are fortunate enough to share it with someone special to you!

There's many stories out there on the good St.(s) 

 Wishing you all a pleasant Valentine's Day, and I hope you have some one special to share the day with.


AML NLO, JRO and my Valentine SEO AML

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Winter Carnival at Michigan Technological University

I used to pull my children around on a sled the night before the statues were judged and - it was always cold!

I'll try to put up a video shortly!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Hunley

We visited the civil war submarine known as the Hunley today.  This 1860's era human powered submarine actually sank the Union Housatonic during the Civil War.  The Hunley as it turns out, was one of number of early prototypes.  On February 17th of 1864 the Hunley made history and then disappeared.  That is until the 3rd of May in 1995...

The sunken submarine was relocated to this facility in North Charleston.

A mock up of an earlier prototype.  This vessel allowed the early engineers to prove out ballast tanks, pumps and snorkels

The Hunley sits in a vat of hydrogen peroxide as a means to stabilize corrosion

Clemson University is leading the research and restoration.
Pieces have been removed as restoration slowly progresses

A photo of the inside of the Hunley.  The bench the soldiers sat on in neutral buoyancy is at a strange angle... the weight of the soldiers would cause the sub to rock downward on this side.  To achieve true neutral trim, pig iron was stacked on the opposite side of the sub. 

A visual depiction of the two contestants

The Captain of the Hunley on its last voyage was carrying these effects.  The gold 20 dollar piece is bent from deflecting a bullet in a previous battle.

 Hope you liked the pics,


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A traditional plantation with a history that reaches back to the very founding of America

The Magnolia Plantation is rich in history and a part of South Carolina's storied past.

Just off of Rt 61, and just past Drayton Hall is the entrance to this fine historical farm

Gardens and beautiful landscaping surround the house

This is a very interesting garden.  I have more photos and history on this concept if anybody is interested.


A network of trails connect the old plantations rice fields

Well cared for and very beautiful

Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family...

A little distance to get a prospective on the wooded surrounds.

There are Revolutionary War battles, and Civil War scars that this farm lived through

A rebuilt plantation home after the original was destroyed.
I hope you enjoyed the pics,


and the rodent says....

Just in case, you don't have groundhog day in your country...

Have a wonderful day everybody!