Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Voting is a right

I have noted with a sad resignation the number of bloggers that have a seeming hatred for the McCain-Palin part of the election. Not merely an affection for Obama. I find it a tad upsetting, as it is of such vitriol and venom that I’ll just avoid that post and check in a couple of days later.

I may as well cut to the chase. I am not going to be voting for Obama-Biden, for reasons that are valid to me. That’s the entire statement I’ll make on the election. I’m not about to litigate as to why I will vote the way I will. I have a modicum of intelligence and rational thought. Certainly I have the capacity to make my own mind up.

This has NOTHING to do with race. I am disabled with muscular dystrophy, technically a quadriplegic. As such, I deal with discrimination and human devaluation on a daily basis. So race is not part of this, so no one should ever view it that way.

Even more interestingly, I am dealing with many social service workers and there is a visceral hatred of (in no particular order): Republicans, W, Palin. They have a serious point of view that differs from mine. Last week in a meeting, a group of 20 or so were joking about W to such a degree I was truly uncomfortable. IMO, they were wrong to do so with such hatred in my presence. Yet, I was certainly so outnumbered that the safer course was to say nothing. I can’t imagine how this group would view a guy in a wheelchair who wasn’t voting for Obama. As if I don’t have the intellect to make a rational choice. On my own. My sense of reason is far stronger than my legs...

But why hate? Can there ever be respectful disagreements? Polarization is the norm these days, and I don’t care for it. But I have never advised people to vote one way or the other. We have always taught our children to have their own views…that are theirs and nobody else’s

My hope here is twofold:

  1. I encourage all who have the franchise to exercise it and VOTE.
  2. That I can still visit the sites I enjoy

That's all for tonight. Thanks for listening.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Ruby Warning

Ruby Tuesday is here. RED seems to be a color that is used to make us pay attention, like the bright red octagon of a STOP sign. Red is a big part of the ‘DO NOT ENTER’ road sign. Red buoys in channels help ships steer sharply by shallow shoals.

Okay, these labels are seen on the arm of my Braun wheelchair lift on the Club Wagon. Until yesterday, I hadn’t even read the placards which were presumably placed there for my safety. And this lift was installed in July 2001. (Don’t be too judgmental here…have you ever actually read every safety label on a ladder? I didn’t think so!).

Not that I would do something dumb like touching mechanical parts while in motion. That would go beyond uncouth, straight into the realm of stupid. Although I clearly violate the label with wheelchair guy on it...I ride the lift up facing inward. Yet I have survived even that!

Thanks as always to Mary for the hosting. Red abounds all around every Tuesday, and check the entries out...you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday, thy name is Ruby

This week, Mary (aka: The Teach) has her Ruby Tuesday extravaganza in place this week. She has what may be a challenge to the participatory faithful: "Hi, everyone, today we're going to try to post Just A LITTLE RED in our Ruby Tuesday post".

Okay, I'm game. Much like last week, I am lost in film prints from the 90's, more specifically 1996. This is the first day of third (Allegra) and first (Cameron) grades. The red is subtle here:

  • The #1 on my coffee mug
  • The flower on Minnie Mouse’s hat on A’s jumper
  • The ‘Press’ label on my seat belt
  • The floral print on Patti’s dress (really subtle…)
  • Cam’s socks
  • Cam’s backpack straps
  • Allegra’s pink socks
  • The neighbor’s car and house

That’s all I can see. This is a fine art, keeping the red to a minimum. Thanks Mary for the challenge!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Retrospectively Ralph

I threatened the blog world that I would be scanning views of my past, and I am! Some of these views have been posted before, but we purchased a new printer, and am rescanning. I posted a great one of Grandpa last week, and I continue to live in the past...Some like the one on the left are from tiny prints, and don't scan well. This is my Grandfather (Ralph I) and Father (RV II) in I guess 1939, when my father was 12, in (of course to regular readers) Steubenville. To the right is the three of us in Brigantine in 1956, aged probably 16-18 months.

Ralphs I and II at the Pittsburgh airport, 1957. 'Casual Dress' to Grandpa meant a suit with no tie. Airplane etiquette meant a jacket and tie when traveling, so my dad donned the uniform . The TWA plane was a Martin 4-0-4, a slow propeller turning turbulence magnet no doubt!

To the right is Easter 1961 at our apartment at 203-11 42nd Avenue in Bayside, Queens NYC. I have vague memories of riding between Grandpa and Grandma going shopping (Alexanders?) for my Easter outfit but they were buying...Color prints from then seem to wash out, B&W hold up better
To the left, 1964, in Brigantine.

I am looking for other shots of the three of us, but this is when I graduated college in 1977. Grandpa was a highly intelligent man, but growing up in West Virginia, he was probably considered 'educated' there at through only eighth grade. But I was the first of the thirteen grandchildren to graduate, and he was happy.

In 1979, at my first apartment.

This is the last picture of the three of us. Sadly, this was the day of the wake for my grandmother Agnes, in January 1981. However, he always smiled for the camera. He passed away that August. Grandpa was one of a kind. I was named for Grandpa, but when our son was born, we named him Cameron. He never knew the patriarch, and the name wouldn't meant as much to Cam. For me, I am very happy to be named after him...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cleared to land

This is my entry for this week for Roger's Creative Photo. Looking at old prints again, and found this one somewhere in the 1908s. It is a US Air Firce C5-A cargo/transport, about the largest aircraft to grace the skies. Here it is on the final to Runway 24 at Bradley Field near Hartford, seemingly just above the tree line. I had purchased a 205mm lens for the K1000, and true to my name, I was looking for planes on approach to BDL.

I got a few, but this one is interesting because the actual size and speed seems to be masked. Something smaller would appear to be moving much faster, but that feeling can be deceiving due to the size. Even though at this point prior to touchdown it is traveling at about 165 MPH (265 kpH), and a landing weight of a svelte 300,000 + lbs. It was a cloudy day, so the gray plane almost blended into the dank sky. So I tried a negative of the original on Paint.net, and am pleased with the royal blue 'negative' .

Check out this week's outstanding other entries.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ruby Tuesday - can you spot the red?

Ruby Tuesday has arrived again, and Mary has prompted another view of the past, at least for me. I started using my wheelchair in late 1995, and had no vehicle that would give me a sense of independence. My 1989 Dodge wheelchair van was a godsend, as I could go places and do things. The van was not RED, but read on... After getting into an accident due to an electrical glitch, I was forced to cede my independence as the RED tow truck with the AAA markings took my freedom away for nine days. A sad Ruby Tuesday in 1996.

But fixed
and returned, the non-red Dodge is the happy backdrop to another Ruby Tuesday. And five year old Cameron who wanted so bad to be a garbage man when he grew up. As he brought the cans back on garbage day, he was pretending he was the BFI guy. What is red here besides the red can and lid? The red seat on the Little Tikes tricycle, the side light on the van and Patti's car, a 1993 Sentra draped in what Nissan thoughtfully called RUBY PEARL. Really! Thanks to the Teach for allowing me a sentimental search for red.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grandpa style

Isn't this great or what?! Grandpa (I am his namesake) looks excellent, stylish and like he was going to attack the back nine at the Steubenville Golf Club.

He didn't golf, but is resplendent in his relaxing duds circa 1955. A polo shirt with dress slacks pressed and pleated. Looks like a million. The picture was taken from the front of 1645 Oregon Ave in Dean Martin's hometown, the steel and coal city of Steubenville, Ohio.

He is standing in front of his work vehicle, I believe a 1955 Plymouth Plaza station wagon. I never saw his name applied to any of his other work vehicle, the last one purchased in 1975. He loved Chrysler products since 1937, and purchased from the same dealer, Pietro Di Novo & Sons on Third St. One of these dealers in a multi-story building with the cars coming up and down on a giant elevator (they are in the same place today selling Chrysler-Dodge). Imagine being a steady customer for 38 years in an era where a handshake meant everything in a relationship.

What a guy! I have blogged about him in the past, and am in the process of sifting through many old and faded prints, and will scan all of them eventually. Like the photo, he was much larger than life...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's too darn hot

Hot peppers, that is, from our garden pots. Colorful they may appear, the fire resides inside. I tried a tiny piece of pretty orange pepper. Water, of course, is not the antidote for the heat, starchy things like bread are better at quenching the heat.

That said, I need a use for these. I could seed them and let them dry in the sun and grind them up for use in pasta.

Or cook them all down an add tomatoes and honey to make a fiery pepper relish to add sparingly to hot dogs or a pot of chili.

Maybe a salsa with cider vinegar, tomatoes, lime juice.

I can't say that I am for fiery heat, but just want a kick with great taste. There are many more on the vine, and I want to make the best concoction I can. But they are great looking, ripe and ready for some culinary magic...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tunnel Vision

This picture is my submittal for Creative Photography Contest #13. We are in the subterranean passageway underneath the tracks at Union Station in New Haven.

This is a slightly strange spatial view that the numerous weekday commuters do not notice on the way to their daily travails. Too many people, too little time to pay attention to the portal itself. But on a Saturday, when the place is devoid of the daily grind, it offers a differing sense. The ovoid shape is clearer, and the horizontal silver trim slivers seem to expand endlessly toward the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

The particulars are attention grabbing, even though the picture wasn’t staged. Just the Canon digital point and shoot with the flash on and no other finesse. The shot is slightly tilted as I propped the camera on the ‘chair arm, and the soft chartreuse glow from the stainless steel planks is slightly eerie. Yet oddly eye-catching. You feel compelled to keep moving until you make your escape into the natural white light with the conductor inviting you onto the train.

Thanks Roger and judges for this week’s invite!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ruby, thy name is plaid

Ruby Tuesday’s here again, the sky above is clear again…Okay, that’s old. As old as the 1970’s, the era of long hair, fat ties, wide lapels and the ubiquitous and quite loud PLAID.

The year is around 1975-1976. It is I, at college age with the person for whom I’m named, of course Grandpa Ralph from Steubenville.

But…what is with this dynamic duo of the Ohio River Valley? Those of a certain age remember that plaid was the style of a man in this decade. Grandpa liked to wear snappy plaid sport jackets purchased at the men’s shop at the corner of Market and Fourth Streets downtown. One day he surprised me with the RED plaid jacket. I tried it on, and it fit nicely. Even in college, sometimes it was nice to dress up in plaid. It was the style of the decade!

I have written about this bigger-than-life man and this nearly mythical steel-and-coal town here, here, and here. I am proud to wear his name. And the plaid he enjoyed!

Thanks Mary!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Kick Arse

I recently received with pleasure the Kick Ass Blogger award from the always creative Dianne.

Dianne notes that “Ralph gives good comment! He always has something funny or useful or helpful to say. He is thoughtful and knowledgeable. Ralph also comes up with great lines which I then steal and claim as my own”.
That can be humbling in that I like to explain things. Every post, picture, Ruby Tuesday and Creative Photography has a story behind it. Nothing remains in a vacuum and every post can be explained. It’s nice that Dianne mentions ‘comment’ as that is what I enjoy about blogging. What is happening, why does it matter? I am happy she notices!
There is always the Jersey angle, as she lives there now, and my earliest two years and many kid vacations were also in the Garden State (before anyone else asks, Exit 40, Garden State Parkway, White Horse Pike). I am pleased, and thank Dianne!
In the interest of full disclosure, I had been awarded this by The Teach earlier. To receive the recognition is great, but the blogging process could be its own reward…nah, I’m keeping this one!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Empty Nesting

It is going on a week since our progeny arrived at the U of H. We can be counted as 'Temporary Empty Nesters'. The cats, although soft and furry may not count here ("Hey!" said Linus and Rigby in unison).

Miss them we do, but we aren't as desperate as the hapless Mr. and Mrs Farmer here. We are adapting as best as we can, but aren't just
rattling around our abode. There's blogging, of course, a perfect outlet...

We do offer a cute view of
kids that were home every day at the time. It's October, 1993 and Allegra had begun Kindergarten, Cameron still at home all day. Aged almost five and almost three, they still had much to learn in the nest fifteen years prior to their current studies. We are confident in their futures, and we parents will do just fine. In a while...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Creative Photo No. 12

I am happy to be back again to Roger's Creative photo contest. I am always happy to try to find a memory to share. This week, I offer a sunset view of Hyannis Harbor on Cape Cod. The sky is beautiful, the slight moisture rolling in from Nantucket Sound offers pastel ribbons unfurling against the azure early evening sky.

In itself, it is a nice shot. The 25 degree slope is often a function of my taking a photo in a wheelchair sans tripod or monopod. I have to balance the camera in that position where I am safely positioned in the wheelchair yet trying to steady the device and using the viewfinder and pushing the shutter. It isn't always easy to use the LCD display, but I always used the viewfinder in my K1000 and walking days.

Often this is what I end up with. But if anything, the odd shot can be intriguing, perhaps offer a more unusual perspective. At the moment, I see the view of a really hot takeoff from the port side of a Boeing 757. Or whatever. I'll keep taking images without thought beforehand and figure it all out later. Just don't let the shot get away...

Thanks Roger and judges!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

It is time again for Mary's phenomenal weekly activity, Ruby Tuesday. As always, this is fun and we have enough red shots to play along again.

This week is our late feline friend Sir Humphrey. And he is sitting on what we referred to as 'His Magic Pink Rug'. This is a pink bathroom rug sit
uated at the bottom of the ramp in the garage. We don't have a clue as to what drove him to the pink rug...but he seemed to enjoy just sitting / lounging / sleeping on it.

Was he in dreamland here? Is he in an introspective trance? Is he imagining riding on the mythical flying rug? This was a favorite place for him to hang. He never said why, but he appeared to be happy here as nowhere else.
He was a good guy. Linus and Rig
by aren't attached to the rug, and Linus is even afraid to enter the garage. So the rug is not their forte. But Sir Humphrey enjoyed his magic carpet...