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Photography, The Universal Language


Blue Moon #3It appears that since my retirement, I have picked up the ability to speak a language.

A language that I’m quickly finding is universally spoken and displayed.

A language that seems to unite and bind the world.

A language which needs only a camera, or cell phone, and the want to display the world as seen through one’s own eyes.

Granted it is one that I do not have a great fluency but one that I am practicing and perfecting.

One that has brought me in contact with others around the world who speak and display their own unique dialogue of the language that is photography.

Without knowing how to speak their native tongue I am able, with the help of the world-wide web, Instagram and Facebook, communicate my thoughts, dreams and the world about me by posting a simple photo.

From Milan, Paris or Cape Town, from Bangkok, Sydney or London, with a simple click on a heart or a like, people are in touch and “voice” their opinion of your craft, art or vision.DSC_0032

On Instagram I have watched with great anticipation the number of my followers, as well as those I follow, go from a dozen to nearly 200 and growing.

From all over the planet, their life and my life shared through the lens of a camera.

The language of a photo.

Truly, a photo is “worth a thousand words.”

Stranger At The Feeder


Ringed Turtle Dove #1It’s early Saturday morning as I sit in our sun-room/den and I write this post.

Outside the windows, a feeding station is being attacked by Sparrows; Chipmunks; Grackles; Red Winged Black Birds; Blue Jays; several Silver Squirrels; a large Red Squirrel and a Pine Squirrel all nudging and jousting for feed.

Among these unruly critters is one lonely, timid and very beautiful figure, a Ringed Turtle Dove.

For the last six days, like clock work, this peaceful bird has shown up and tried to fit in with the clamor around it and each day I have anticipated its arrival like a child on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa.

Since the first day at the feeding station of this non-native Ohio bird, I have been a person in awe of its simple beauty, and worried for its welfare.

Among the 30 some variety of birds on the property, we do have a few Mourning Doves that have survived the Hawk that has nested nearby, so I could see the similarity yet this larger bird was far more striking in color and appearance.

I went to my guide-book and there it was, a Ringed Turtle Dove but the description left me concerned:

“Origin unknown; domesticated widely. Established locally in several Florida cities. Habitat is City parks..”

“Domesticated” meant that this beauty was now vulnerable to its new environment and the Ohio weather.

My Mom had always joked as I was growing up that I was the re-incarnation of Saint Francis and she kept that comment right into my adult life, so that part of my personality came rushing forth – how do I help this stranger to the wild adapt and survive?

My first day was spent calling the local naturalist, nature reserves and even the Akron Zoo but to no avail. I also spent the first day taking photos of our new “guest” and posted them on Facebook and Instagram, hoping that someone with more knowledge than myself might give me guidance on what to do.Ringed Turtle Dove #2

Many thought the dove was beautiful, but like myself somewhat stumped on a solution.

After several days I received a phone call from a local naturalist asking if I could send him photos of the “bird”?

He went on to explain that Ohio has had new sightings of a breed of doves coming into the area called Eurasian Doves. I told him I was glad to do so, then hung up and off to the computer I went hoping that finally we could rest in the fact that this  creature might survive.

After several days of waiting, and each day this beauty showing up, I received a much-anticipated email from the Summit Parks Naturalist.

The bird that has been coming to your feeder is a Ringed Turtle Dove as you suspected. It must be an escapee or one someone released. Unfortunately, since it is a non-native bird no rehabilitator will take it in.  It is highly doubtful that the zoo or pet shops would have any interest in the bird either. Unless you are able to find someone who wants the bird, the best thing would be to feed it and let nature takes it course. I wish I had a better suggestion, but I don’t.  It is a beautiful bird, so I would just continue to feed it and enjoy it while it comes to your yard. 

I read the email and felt my breath shorten,

“…let nature take its course.”

That is going to be hard for me to do since I know that winter will soon be upon us and it can not survive.

Meanwhile, Bob and I have named our visitor simply, “Pretty Bird.”

Ringed Turtle Dove #3Every time we go out the door we speak softly and gently as it watches us from the bushes that line our property just across from the feeding station by the house.

Every day for the last five days this Ringed Turtle Dove has become a big part of our daily life.

Arriving early morning and disappearing at sunset.

As I write this post, I look out the window and there in the bushes peering back at me is this beautiful winged creature of nature that has brightened our daily life for the last week.

A creature that is a symbol of “peace and love” and now may I add for us, joy.

Trump Channels Traficant



Guest Post: Steve Oravecz

Most political writers seem to expect GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to self destruct. If he didn’t do himself in by claiming Sen. John McCain is no war hero, it is only a matter of time before he says something even more outrageous and plummets in the polls. Ruth Marcus in The Washington Post wrote on Thursday:

 In the end, my confidence that Trump will fizzle comes from Trump himself. “You can’t con people, at least not for long,” he wrote in “Trump: The Art of the Deal.” “You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

I’m not so sure about that. Right down to the bad hair, Trump sounds a lot like the late James A. Traficant of Youngstown, who was elected to Congress WASHINGTON, DC - Rep. James Traficant (D-OH) testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2002 before the House Ethics Committee. Earlier this year Traficant was found guilty on counts of fraud, bribery and tax evasion. (PHOTOGRAPH BY CHUCK KENNEDY/KRT)eight times before kicked out for taking a bribe. At the beginning, Traficant had some real populist credence. As sheriff, he refused to foreclose on steelworkers who had lost their jobs when the Youngstown mills closed. But as his career wore on, Traficant kept his seat by playing to the anger and frustrations of blue collar workers who saw their jobs move overseas as their way of life slipped away. His bombast gave him a reputation of telling it like it is, of standing up for the little guy and telling the fat cats to go to hell. Thanks to his billions of dollars and his celebrity status, Trump is Traficant on steroids.

Here is what Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said of Trump:

“He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.”

Chris Cillizza of the Post wrote:

‘ “This guy isn’t afraid of anyone!,” you can imagine a Trump supporter saying. “He says whatever he damn well pleases!” ‘

People said the same thing about Traficant. So for all those waiting for Trump to flame out, recall that Traficant NEVER LOST until he tried to make a comeback after his prison sentence. Traficant’s career is littered with promises he never fulfilled. A Democrat, Traficant once voted for a Republican to become speaker of the house, ending any prayer he had of being an effective advocate for his constituents. But for the true believers, it didn’t matter. He still won. He was on their side. He was one of them. So don’t be surprised if Trump survives the attack on McCain just as Traficant weathered the vote for Dennis Hastert. As Cuban said,

“I don’t care what his actual positions are. … I don’t care if he says the wrong thing.” As long as Trump can keep people thinking he is the only guy telling it like it is, he will be a force in the GOP race for the White House.

Confederate Battle Flag Not My Idea Of Pride



The Confederate Battle Flag, or Flag of Northern Virginia, has drawn a lot of attention lately.

It even greeted the first black President on Wednesday with defiant people waving it on his Oklahoma trip to visit a prison.

People who have stated it’s a sign of pride, heritage and history are angry at the flag’s removal from the South Carolina Statehouse and other attempts across the South to remove its presence.

Many have stated that it honors those fallen family members who served the Confederacy.

It would appear that they overlook the inter-twining of slavery and treason in the history of that flag and the history of that rebellion.

I admit to having a different view and different perspective than they do — a view and perspective cultivated out of an immigrant Irish family that served its adopted Country in time of revolution and rebellion in the person of Edward Hand.

General Hand was Adjutant General at Yorktown, once Commander of Fort Pitt, Member of the Continental Congress, Doctor and Patriot.

He fought against tyranny and for freedom.

He fought against oppression and for liberty.

He fought to make a new Nation.

That’s pride, that’s heritage.

I have a different view and perspective on the Confederate battle flag that is cultivate by my Great-Great-Great Uncle who was an immigrant and settled in Pennsylvania with his English parents, married at 19 and fathered 4 children by the age of 26.

In the Civil War, he fought against tyranny and for freedom.

He fought against oppression and for liberty.

And he died at the age of 28 to preserve a nation.

David Greggs simple headstone marker states his name and the number 5735.

The life of Pvt David Greggs, Pennsylvania 142 A Infantry, Union Army, ended on 15 August 1864 in the notorious Andersonville Prison Camp, Sumter, Georgia as that Confederate Flag flew over his head.

Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Joe McCarthy and Senator Fred Van Ackerman


Originally posted on Dare To Dream:

Yesterday, Senator Rafael “Ted” Cruz announced that he is a candidate for President of the United States.

In September of 2013, I posted this article on my views about the junior Texas Senator.

I believe that this is a good time to re-post:

One of my favorite authors is Allen Drury.AAAACzB_CRUAAAAAATnZpg

In fact, he was the first “modern” author I had read outside of the classics.

That’s what happens when you grow up in a household where your Mother is an English teacher and Chaucer was her main field.

Drury wrote four fictional books that were based on Washington DC and politics.

I came from a family that was semi-active in politics, but very strong on opinion, and it was Drury’s books that gave me the “bug” for politics.


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Christmas Makes The Rest Of The Year Worthwhile


1497978_10203763485860883_9199028929818018437_oAs I sit here writing, and waiting for the tea kettle to boil, outside it is snowing the first major snowfall of the season.

Thanksgiving Day is a mere 10 days away and Christmas but 38, so the snow trumpets that Winter is neigh and the Holidays begin.

Today I awoke early, knowing that snow was predicted and I wanted to watch the morning arise with the glistening white mantle adorning trees, lawn and all man-made features that seem almost a work of art when snow clings to every untouched nook and cranny it can find.

Years past I would have put on some Christmas records, or years later Christmas cassettes or then CD’s, but now I just turn on my tablet, pick Pandora One and the room is filled with choruses proclaiming the joy of Advent.

So many wonders, changes and marvels have happened since my first Christmas of 1946.

I’ve never really understood my fascination with Christmas. Never quite understood why out of my parents and I, out of my Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts, it is I who feels a kindred spirit to all things Christmas.

When I was a young man, and no longer living at home, every Christmas Eve I would call my American Grandparents, all my Uncles and Aunts to wish them a Merry Christmas, then I’d call my Grandparents, Aunt and Uncle in England to wish them a Happy Holiday.

Needless to say, you could hear the surprise in most of my relatives voices when they heard me on the other end of the phone.

My greatest joy was the first Christmas I spent In England. I was 21 and I remember that Christmas Eve as I walked to the Church and it started to snow just like watching the snow fall this morning.

What a wonder for this Dickens’ personality. This “Irish rough.” This “Medieval Spirit.” To look out across the rolling fields and see the moon shining off the falling snow, as it landed on country lanes and hedgerows.

Several years, after I returned from the service, my parents found out that I was “Gay” and I was asked not to come home and it was Christmas time.

So over the many years that followed, no matter where I was, I would put up a tree, listen to Christmas music and cook my self a turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and corn.

After doing the dishes I would sit, eat a piece of fruit cake, drink a glass of sherry and smoke my pipe while I watched TV.

Oh yes, and I still called all the relatives on Christmas Eve, but now, I added my parents to that list.

When I was 28, my Father died shortly after that Christmas we spent a part. I do remember my phone call to wish my parents a Happy Holiday and Dad’s voice, weak and throaty from the cancer saying that he “loved me.” It was one of the very few times my Dad used the word love and even in that sad time, it was a wonderful Christmas gift.

Mom and I still were distant until my early 40’s. So many more Christmases a part.

Even the calls to the relatives became fewer as they passed away but no matter where I was I still put up the tree, cooked the turkey and made the trimmings for Christmas.

In 1989 I met Bob. His family didn’t celebrate the Holiday. So our first Christmas was spent together at a restaurant we found that was open.

In 1990 my Mom asked me what I was doing for Christmas? By then Bob and I had a small apartment and were planning to celebrate together. I explained that to Mom and she invited me to her house and she invited Bob to join us, knowing he had no place to go for Christmas. We took Mom up on the offer.

Mom treated Bob like family. Tho she never inquired or asked about our relationship, tho still was obviously not happy about me being gay.

Every Christmas after that, Mom made sure that she asked me to come “home” for Christmas and to “bring Bob.”

A couple of weeks after Christmas of 1993, Mom passed away in her sleep. She had heart problems.

The night she passed, it was bitterly cold. I had stopped by to run and pick up some items for her. After having a cup of tea I got ready to leave. She said, “Hey lad, give us a hug,” and then added as she reached her arms around me, “I love you and tell Bob I love him too.”

So many Christmas missed, but with one hug, one “I love you,” they all were forgotten and I was a child again.

Guess I can’t end this post without saying that for the last 26 Christmases I have not been alone. Both Bob and I have been together and celebrate the “magical season” of Christmas.

Dad, I miss and love you.

Mom, I miss and love you.

Bob, Merry Christmas!

Liberal Mike Barnicle States Record Stock Market Because Of GOP Win


One of the few “Conservative” TV Shows I’ll watch all the way through, on MSNBC, is Morning Joe.

I find myself agreeing about 75% of the time with Joe Scarborough and siding with Mika, Barnicle and Roberts more times than not.

As I was watching the other morning, going in and out of boredom on the topic of GOP “landslide” that happened on Tuesday, November 4th, I heard Mike Barnicle make a comment that just didn’t ring true and one being perpetuated on Fox News.

He stated that the stock market reacted in a “record-setting fashion on Wednesday and Thursday” because of the “Republican victories.”

Whoa now!

Let us take a layman’s look at the Market and Obama’s Presidency.

1) When President Obama took office the Market was at 7,949.

2) Four years later after his first term, and obstructionist Congress, the Market closed at 12,730, which is a 60% increase.

3) Friday, October 30th, 2014, the Market closed at a record level and a +195 point increase and ending the week before the so called Republican “whooping” of the President.

4) On Monday, November 3rd, 2014, the Market closed 17390 which was a +1.2% increase and this was the day before the election.

5) Now, granted on Wednesday November 5th the Market was up +101 points and on Thursday November 6th it was up +130 points. But this is only consistent with the general trend of the Market under this President. Both those increases fall shorter than the previous Friday’s 195 point increase.

6) Under President Obama, the Stock Market has gone from 7949.09 at the start of his Presidency, to a closing on Monday, November 10th of 17,573.93 and all this with a Congress determined to obstruct, hate monger and belittle.

So Mike Barnicle, and Fox News in general, cherry pick your figures for slanted arguments but even the layman can see the total picture that Business Economy is surviving and flourishing.


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