BenTha'er-Horizons

Andrew Breitbart Quote

I always enjoyed and admired the person and spirit of Andrew Breibart. He tackled life and people head on, fearlessly. He challenged the norm and yet with good spirits. He certainly gathered friends and foe alike. He wanted people to be warriors to the truth on their own. I believe we still miss his presence in this stressed out world, semi-nightmare world we live in currently.
I bring this up because it was a good news day yesterday. I re-certified for ABVP feline for another 10 years. The hard work to pursue it instead of letting it lapse paid off. I got my new 60mm macro Nikon lens for my Nikon camera so I can film closeups better. How exciting to pursue! Here is a great quote from Breitbart to stick on my wall and remember.

“Walk towards the fire, don’t worry about what they call you. All of those things are said because they want to stop you in your tracks. But if you keep going, you’re sending a message to people who are rooting for you, who are agreeing with you. The message is that they can do it.”

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Super Heroes to Rescue

We went to watch the newest Godzilla march across the movie screen, the world and our cities while attacking the Motas (new version of Mothra). I learned a few things from watching the film: it is a good thing we moved from the San Francisco Bay Area, some families have trouble follow them everywhere, when mega monsters fight they create a mess, you still need a good story with the special effects to make a good movie. Considering the number of Godzilla movies we watched while David and Scott were kids and big Godzilla lovers, this one was better than many.
This is why we need little super heroes who can attack the big bad monsters in this world before they destroy our backyard swing set.
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Tolkien and Beowulf

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings stories have captured the book world for many years and the movie world in the last 10 plus years. Have you ever wondered where some of the Middle Earth language came from? Thought about what were some of the underpinnings of characters and threats found in the stories?
Read this article to learn more about how Tolkien translated the early Old English story from the eighth century time period of Beowulf. Tolkien’s son has released the translated version for publication. Tolkien was a professor of language and Old English in his day. The article is quite interesting in how this came about and a description/comparison with other translations of Beowulf. What do some of those unique words mean?
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Proposal 4 Years In Making

Some people are very clever about how to go about important events in their life. They take a chance and try something unique. It is heart warming to read a few days ago about a young man who wrote in his journal right after the first date with a young lady that he planned to marry her someday in the future. It took 4 years of going through college and finishing while traveling the world to reach the proposal date. During those travels, he video taped his planned proposal in each location he visited while lip synching to The Proclaimers’ song, 500 miles. Enjoy this lovely story and video here.
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MiniMe Pirates

The Dread Pirate Robert has a Mini-Me version. The Mini-Me version has a truly great curl of the lip and way of saying that pirate, ARRRGH! Check it out.
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Memorial Day 2014

To remember a great place to be on Memorial Day, here is Arlington Cemetery with Arlington House at the top of the hill. So many sad, yet wonderful memories and sacrifices recognized in this hallowed area. I have seen big, rough looking men weep at ceremonies of at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is humbling.
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Dread Pirate Robert

The Dread Pirate Robert made a trip from The Princess Bride to come and terrorize the Super Hero gathering for Nicolas the Bold. Ryan the Hostage to the Dread Pirate Robert was not excited to be approached by strange pirates and he was not sure he wanted to be held by the man with the eye patch. The sword of fury got past around among the Super Heroes to test for its ability to intimidate but few could match the Dread Pirate Robert and his eye patch.
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Super Hero Birthday

The super heroes were out in force today. It was Nicolas the Bold’s “super hero tea party” birthday. Most of the super heroes seemed to have superman costumes or logos. The bad guys were chased away or sprayed with silly string. The birthday boy had plenty of cool presents to open and play with. Here is one view of a happy boy in the middle of goodies.
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Nicolas the Bold

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Super Hero Tea Cakes
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Quien Es Mas Macho?

It is always good to laugh. Good humor is hard to beat and so much a life saver at the same time. The earlier days of Saturday Night Live was gold. A lot of good comedians came from that time period. I came across this video skit from SNL that included the great Bill Murray, the wonderful Gilda Radner (Bless her soul), and heart throb Ricky Nelson. It is a hoot and displayed the superb talents of Murray and Radner in timing and sense of humor. Ricky Nelson is along for the ride, the straight guy. Enjoy the show!
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150 years and on

This year is the sesquicentennial of one of the biggest year of battles during the Civil War. Much of the Virginia Overland Campaign that Grant led was during this time. The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor all occurred during this time frame. Other than celebrations at Gettysburg last year, there has not been a lot of memorializing of this anniversary period of the Civil War. A well written and interesting description of this time period and the campaigns in 1864 can be found in the National Review. The author is a retired military officer and has been involved in military history. The article can be found here.

“Following his successes in the West at Vicksburg and Chattanooga, Major General Ulysses S. Grant was appointed by Abraham Lincoln as general in chief of the armies of the United States, and the Senate confirmed him as the first lieutenant general since George Washington. Grant believed that, up to that point, Union armies in different theaters had “acted independently and without concert, like a balky team, no two ever pulling together.”
Accordingly, his strategic plan for 1864 called for putting five Union armies into motion simultaneously against the Confederacy.”
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Cats and Voices

Do cats recognize the voices of their owners? Cats have an almost 10,000 year history of cohabiting with humans. Have they learned the ability to pick up on communication from the people they know? See the abstract here.

“Of the 20 cats, 15 demonstrated a lower response magnitude to the third voice than to the first voice. These habituated cats showed a significant rebound in response to the subsequent presentation of their owners’ voices. This result indicates that cats are able to use vocal cues alone to distinguish between humans.”
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9-11 Memorial

The 9-11 Memorial Museum below Ground Zero is set to open about now. It is said to already be considered a big tourist attraction for people going to New York City. There has been some controversy surrounding the opening though overall it has been touted positively in the way the museum has handled the displays. An interesting description and mapping of how the museum is laid out is found here.
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IPhoto on the IPad

I decided to play around with the IPhoto app on my IPad. It can do some photo editing so I figured it was worth a try and some manipulation. I took a recent photo of Ryan when he was here last. I cropped it down and adjusted the color a little. Here is is standing on his own doing his own, “What’s in the Bag?”
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For Sale, Dracula's Castle

Bran Castle, the setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, is up for sale. The castle is a 13th century fortress owned by the Hapsburg royal line and is considered for purchase by the Romanian government. Bram Stoker never visited the castle and relied upon a description of Bran Castle as the setting for Dracula. Stoker also drew inspiration for the vampire character from Vlad lll, the Impaler, born in Transylvania in 1431. Read about it all here.

“And in the novel, Stoker describes the Transylvanian Count's fortress as sitting high above a valley, perched on a rock above a flowing river. As the Bran Castle website notes, this castle is the only such fortress in Transylvania that fits the bill.”
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Bran Castle
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Forgotten New York City Island

I came across a fascinating article about an island that is part of New York City yet it is abandoned and overgrown. It had been used in the past by the city as a way station/hospital for certain situations. Now it is tucked away and forgotten. Forgotten except by a photographer who spent a number of hours and days chronicling what the island is like now. The photos are haunting and buildings seem to sit wanting to speak out about their story, the tales they could tell of days gone by and people who came through. Composition is great in these photos and one can read about it all here.

“North Brother Island is a secret hiding in plain sight. Located in New York’s East River, it was once an important part of the city’s infrastructure. In the last 50 years, however, it’s descended into ruin: Buildings have crumbled, vegetation has grown wild, and its primary visitors are now migratory birds. But as photographer Christopher Payne found out in the course of creating his book, North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City, the island still has stories to tell.”
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Technology and World War l

Most would consider World War l as the war that ended dreams of young people. A destroyer of the old order. A war to end all wars. It actually oversaw the birth of modern technology of warfare. Not necessarily a good thing though the technology was developed with the idea to save lives and end the war sooner. Yet, it didn’t work that way in the end. Take a look into this world and see photos from the era. This is the third part of a 10-part series on World War l in The Atlantic.

“Industrialization brought massive changes to warfare during the Great War. Newly-invented killing machines begat novel defense mechanisms, which, in turn spurred the development of even deadlier technologies. Nearly every aspect of what we would consider modern warfare debuted on World War I battlefields.”
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A World Digital Library?

Will a world digital library come true? What would accelerate that possibility? Some of it is the cost to provide subscriptions to scientific periodicals for libraries. They are being priced out of the market. Groups are digitizing books to include in libraries. People are concerned that information is becoming less free and shared with those of fewer resources. Read about it here.

“All over the country research libraries are canceling subscriptions to academic journals, because they are caught between decreasing budgets and increasing costs. The logic of the bottom line is inescapable, but there is a higher logic that deserves consideration—namely, that the public should have access to knowledge produced with public funds.”
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Poll of Top 10 Favorite Books

A Harris-Nielsen poll this past March listed the top 10 favorite books of people. They also polled as per ethnicity and also political persuasion. The Bible is the top favorite. Coming in second for men is The Lord of the Rings series and for women it is Gone With the Wind. Read about the breakdown of popularity here.
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50 Books That Make You Enjoy Reading

Real Simple send out daily recipes and tips. They included one today about “books that will make you want to read”. The fifty books are primarily children’s to young adult’s books though there are some adult type reading in the mix. I have read a good portion of them and would agree with the ones presented overall. To go through the list, you can check it out here.
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Babies, dogs and balls

Our dog, Dervish, loves his ball. He loves chasing his ball, especially if thrown by a family member. Dogs also seem to think that if someone has the ball, it is meant to be shared, to be thrown. Ryan thinks the ball is for chewing with his new teeth. Both believe the ball then is meant for their use though sharing can occur. One can see from the following picture how this can be done.
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Nicolas the Bold

In shooting photos of the family, the light was fading due to approaching rain clouds. We went out along the retaining wall as a good backdrop for the family and to use better light there. Nicolas did not want to pose for photos very much and if he needed to, it was more to make grimace faces. I do think I got a good one here with him standing on the retaining wall with the sky as a backdrop. He had the look of being the boss or Nicolas the Bold, overseeing his domain.
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First Birthday Party

Ryan had his first birthday party today. The gang or is it gaggle of family gathered around to eat BBQ and dump truck “dirt cake and gummy worms” for the afternoon. I could put a birthday type photo here though I think one of a happy boy who enjoyed the attention on his birthday is best. The birthday types can be used on later dates. Here he is in all his smiling glory.
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Birthday Boy is One

Ryan is one year old today. The family group went out to eat dinner at Pizza Hut to celebrate his birthday. He seemed to sense it was a big day for him and he was in a good mood with plenty of shouting and jabbering. He even did his longest stretch of walking, the side-stepping sort, while he was there. Everyone had plenty of food and a good time. Here is the Birthday Boy, Ryan, getting a birthday kiss from Great Uncle Rod.
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Dr. Strangelove is True

The New Yorker came out with an article stating that the movie, Dr. Strangelove, is mostly true. This particular movie is made by Stanley Kubrick and is a black comedy about nuclear weapons. I have not seen it yet it is a cult classic among movie buffs. Check out their discussion here regarding this unusual movie.
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Photos from the Past Decade

As they start in this piece, “Welcome to the New Millennium”. There are many iconic photos here and some less known. It does give a taste of the history and feel of the 2000s. Thanks for the memories in photos.
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Two of a Kind

I think David realizes that he is more likely to have his picture show up if he mugs holding Ryan. Here is two of a kind, father and son, while waiting for Grandpa Bob to round the 5K track back to the finish line.
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Face Painting

My fun while waiting for the weary runners to cross the finish line and the pirates to get their eye patch burnished is to take photos of what intrigues me. I enjoy catching children enjoying what life presents them. Some very cute young girls were getting their faces painted or waiting to do so while Nicolas was pirating. Here is a young lady being transformed into a very sweet bunny.
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Nicolas the Pirate

While Bob was off running his race yesterday, kids were getting their faces painted. Nicolas was no different. He went with the pirate look and had a black eye patch painted on. Here he is looking tough, or at least tougher than usual.
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Lebanon Race Day

Bob was signed up for the past month to run in the Cheadle Lake “Build Lebanon Trails Fun Run”. It was a mix of a kid’s dash, 5K, 10K, and walk to the Finish. He registered for the 5K and has been training on the treadmill to do run 5Ks. David, the boys, and I went out to cheer him on from start to finish. It was a bit windy and cool with the threat of rain. He started well and was dragging a bit at the end. Here is the Bobble headed off with the rest of the 5K pack.
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Better Writing

What a nice day out today! In errand running today, we bought a number of our garden and herb plants for the year. Bob got them planted in the raised beds next to the parterre garden. Spring is here!
Well, on to the subject of the day......writing. I find writing is a struggle for me. I have lost the underlying rules of grammar, punctuation, and some spelling due to lack of use and age. As I go along though, I find I need better writing skills even more. The demand is higher on what I need to provide others. I have been trying to read some of the books I bought in the past about how to write better and with more of a punch. A lot of it is just doing it with the “practice makes perfect” concept behind it. I came across this article that i saved to blog about. It covers why everyone who teaches should teach writing. It has a number of good points to back up what I am saying here about myself. Please read on.
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The Most Deadly Animal in the World

What is considered the most deadly animal in the world? I am sure there would be a lot of different choices picked by people. The anarchists in the world would vote for the human race. Well, the Gates Foundation has pointed to the “lowly” mosquito. The reason is that the mosquito is a vector or carrier for so many deadly diseases--malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis. I guess that explains why I don’t like them and any mosquito bite on me creates a “big reaction”. Big swollen lump and itching. Read more here about the deadly “little fly’s” effect on the world’s population.
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