Walking, losing weight and taking photos of life in Virginia.

Posts from the ‘History’ category

Blue Moon August 20 Not Two Full Moons In A Month


I was hiking downtown last evening and admiring the full moon. It’s called a Blue Moon and not because there are two full moons in August. There will be only one full moon this month. But there will be four full moons this summer, an unusual occurence. And the third is called a Blue Moon so that the last can still be called the Late Moon.

NPR and StarDate led us down the wrong celestial path in 1980 according to the article I just read by suggesting that the term meant there were two full moons in a month.

In any case, it was a beautiful moon with wispy clouds framing it and a cool breeze to make watching it more enjoyable.

Walking with the Central Virginia Trailblazers is always fun and I look forward to being with them and sometimes meeting new people. Last night I walked with a lady who has recently joined our group. Her name is Chris and she and I share several things in common. We both have degrees in English Literature and we both have worked in the field of social work.

Last night we also spend time viewing a painting on a rock adjoining Belle Isle of a skull about 8 or 10 feet in circumference that commemorates the Grateful Dead band. Apparently they used to party here after concerts back in the 1980’s. Here is a FB page about it.

Thanks to Jim Dimmette for this photo of me and the gang.
So it was a fun evening and thanks to Jim Dimmette, our group leader, for organizing the 4 mile hike and sharing some local lore with us.

Central VA Trailblazers / Bear’s Den Hostel & Harper’s Ferry Trip

We went up north this past weekend to Harper’s Ferry for some sightseeing and hiking. The weather was very accommodating and we took lots of photos.

Here’s a look at the hike to Raven Rock and back. It is described as strenuous due to the 1500 ft. vertical gain and the very rocky trail on the AT. I was happy to discover that wicking materials really do work in the cool weather. Listening to the wind in the trees I often hiked alone, at my own pace, happy to be among the trees on a trail that has seen many amazing hikers on their way to Georgia or Maine.

Earlier we all went to the town of Harper’s Ferry and had some food and drink. There’s lots to see here and they do reenactments of the John Brown drama that precipitated the American Civil War. There are many old, stone buildings that were painstakingly built with materials from the surrounding mountains. I was drawn to the foundation of an old church on the side of a steep hill overlooking the river and mountains. It has been nearly destroyed during the Civil War, later rebuilt and then left for another location closer to the town.

It was a fun trip. I enjoyed the company and the many opportunities for photo captures. Here are some pics!



A really good, antiwar song by Bob Dylan entitled, appropriately, John Brown. Mr Brown, of course, was trying to precipitate conflict over the institution of slavery. It’s a tragic flaw in the human character that it cannot give up the absurd without a lot of bloodshed. And war.

New Construction Projects Dot The Washington DC Skyline/ Stop The Spending!

When we were up in Washington DC earlier this year we went to Arlington National Cemetery. It’s a solemn and very spiritual place to visit and we spent a good deal of time there walking around the rows and rows of grave sites. We toured the house that used to belong to Robert E. Lee and I wrote at the time how surprised I was to see a photo of our current president in the bookcase with the historical books about our nation’s past and all the terrible things that have happened to it. It’s really a miracle we survived the tearing apart of The Civil War.

And as we walked through the beautiful trees and lawns I looked down over the city and was surprised once again to see all the construction projects dotting the horizon. I had never seen so many huge cranes in just one place. And it reminded me that our government continues to grow and provide great jobs to many in this area while throughout the country unemployment remains stuck over eight percent and 23 million Americans are unemployed or trying to survive on part-time jobs.

America is suffering just as it has so many times in the past. And our people are suffering and dying while the government continues to rake in money we do not have to spend in so many ways. The government cannot employ those 23 million Americans but it can make it easier for jobs to be created. It can stifle its appetite for our money and let us use it for the things we need. Raising taxes on the rich is not going to solve the problem we have in this country. It will simply lead to more spending.

And more cranes pointed towards the sky in places like DC. I’m tired of all the silliness. I’m tired of government picking winners and losers. Let us live our lives, create new things and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Millions of Americans can and will do all that is necessary if the government will just get out of the way.



In a way we are still fighting The Civil War. It’s still all about racial equality, state’s rights, and violent disagreements over everything! But it’s far more complicated now. We have come a long way towards establishing a level playing field for all. But instead of rejoicing in this there always seems to be another reason to continue the war and spend more money.

We can’t continue like this. The country will come apart this time. Or some foreign adversity will take advantage of our disunion and end life as we know it for all of us. We need to get it together and be strong. We need to start working together. And I don’t see the current president encouraging this at all. I don’t know that the other side will do any better. But, at least there’s a chance it will happen.  And, I know we need to stop using the tired, old dialogues of the past and think of some new things to say to each other.  It’s all just so, boring.

The political life of the nation rolls on. And silent ghosts look down from the hills, waiting, and wondering, no doubt, what we are doing to the nation they served and, many times, died to preserve.

Paul Ryan And Friends At Deep Run HS / Photos Of The Pols / Virginia In The News

So Virginia is a battleground state this time around and Paul Ryan was nearby this morning at a local high school. I decided to head up that way to get some photos knowing that I would not hear anything new but wondering about the vibe and hoping I wouldn’t have to stand in one spot for more than two hours.

Well, I was disappointed in that last hope because I stood in one spot for 2 hours and 30 minutes. It was about thirty feet from the podium in the gymnasium surrounded by media types and uplifted basketball nets. Early entrees got to sit in the bleachers but they also were confined to viewing the butt-end of various politicians (for the most part). I did see the full frontal versions and managed to take some good shots of the Republican crew.

First of all let me say that I am not a Republican or a Democrat. Or, even a Libertarian, for that matter. I have views that would find homes in each of these parties but do not have the will to fashion myself into an apparatchik. I am socially liberal but definitely worried about a 16 trillion dollar debt (and no budget plans for the past three years) and eventual (or not so eventual) hyperinflation and anarchy of various sorts.

I like order and am fond of our founding fathers, especially George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who lived in these parts and left us with a love for liberty and all the problems freedom can engender. I love Virginia. And I hope we can get our house in order so we remain free and all our savings are not wiped out. I have a sneaking suspicion that there are people out there who don’t really care about this and are just hoping and praying the whole house of cards comes tumbling down so we can start over again. It may even be the case that the current resident of the White House who has a distinctly anti-colonial upbringing harbors some unconscious wishes in this direction. I must admit that if my ancestors were subjected to slavery I might have similar thoughts. But they weren’t (either were Obama’s). They were undoubtedly persecuted by some king from wherever and so I’m not in favor of European sovereignty! Even in its present incarnation (socialism!). I want to be free, dammit! And the past is gone. Let’s live in the present and prepare for the future.

So here are some photos. The first one is of The Honorable William T. “Bill” Bolling, Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia.



This is Bill Bolling’s compassionate expression (from what I can tell). It’s slightly scary and I wouldn’t want to be subjected to it at close range.


Bill spoke for awhile and then we had a speech from the Congressman from the 1st district in Virginia, Rob Wittman. He’s a reliably conservative guy but not as handsome as the following speaker, our governor, Robert F. McDonnell or “Bob” as he is known to the general population.

Here’s another photo of Bob. I really think he has some good looks. I’m not attracted to him because I don’t swing that way but I was surprised because he doesn’t look quite as good on the tube. Hopefully this photo demonstrates his attractiveness. He speaks well too. He’s a little short. But nobody is perfect. And there’s nothing wrong with being a little person either.

At this point I had been standing in the same spot for a long time (hours) and was doing little exercises while trying not to touch the people around me. I was also thanking the Baby Jesus that I had somehow found the willpower to lose fifty pounds and wondering (I must admit with a little shame) if a tax of the general population based on weight instead of wealth might do something to whip the country into shape and feed the insatiable desire of government to spend money it has not earned.

Surprisingly, at this moment we had a little break when I would have predicted Bob ending his speech with a rousing introduction of Paul (Ryan). But he just left and there was this space (in time) when the audience (perhaps) wondered if Bob didn’t want to introduce Paul because he (Bob) had not been chosen to be VP and Paul had been chosen. I was wondering about this anyway (while doing a little exercise to loosen my lower back muscles that I hoped would not be misinterpreted by the lovely lass standing next to me). But Paul Ryan did appear after a few minutes and he gave a thoughtful talk about our current situation. He didn’t really whip people up but, maybe, that’s a good thing. We need thought at this juncture, not emotion, and one can only remember certain characters in history who were good at stirring things up but lacked the wisdom to do anything productive with the end result.

Here are some photos of Mr. Paul Ryan in action.



This is Paul looking into the future in sort of a dreamy way. Maybe he is imagining his new life as VP up there in the Observatory. I like folks who can dream.



Here is the standard Paul Ryan “look”. He’s definitely a fit guy. His hairline is almost too good (are we in Munster territory here?) and he likes to talk about fishing and hunting. I’m thinking an encounter with a bear in the woods would be awesome and probably lead to Daniel Boone references in the history books.


Here’s a closeup of Paul demonstrating how tough he can be when coming face to face with a bear or dealing with the difficult problems we face and will solve (he promises) in the coming years. Let’s face it. We face very difficult problems. Bear size problems. But it’s clear Paul is in shape and ready to go. I’m not so sure about our present VP who may be in the early stages of dementia. What happens if he is called upon to be the President! I may have to go out into the woods and live with the bears.



And here’s my last photo of Mr. Ryan vividly depicting his blue (gray?) eyes and the matching blue shirt along with an “OMG!” expression. Eyes wide open often depict surprise. This could be the moment when he first sees the bear. Or, it could be one of those moments after the election when he suddenly arrives at an understanding of the depths of the trouble we are in. The bottomless morass. I have watched a parade of candidates talking, talking, talking since 1960 and no matter what they say, or how good they appear to be, the path has continued to go from pillar to post and greater debt, greater depravity and more hopelessness in regards to the state of our great nation.
I wish you well, young man. I pray for you. And I am happy to say that I some point I will, as will we all, leave this place for a spiritual realm of greater freedom and love. If you get this job it will break your heart. Read some Shakespeare when you have a moment. And remember to go out in the woods and listen to the sounds of creatures who will be here long after we all have departed.

National No Bra Day / July 9, 2012

The bra was invented around 1888 by Herminie Cadolle, a French woman, who built a thriving business around the female anatomy. So, back when the America was being settled and women were traveling in covered wagons westward through the mountains and over the prairies they didn’t wear bras!

And through most of human history they didn’t wear them either. So are they really a good idea? Maybe they’re just an aberration. I can remember reading The World Book Encyclopedia as a young person and admiring the clothing styles of Egyptian woman back when they were building the pyramids. Some of you know what I’m talking about because their notion about dressing the female torso was 180 degrees from ours!

They had it right and we have only gone downhill from there these many centuries. But all was not lost even in the pioneer days of this country and it was only before the dawn of the 20th century when France (who would have suspected them?!) completed the subjugation of the female form.

Well, some people need support and that’s fine. If you need a cane, eye glasses, back brace or special shoes you should wear them. But if you are young and in shape and don’t need an item why should you be forced to wear it?

Because there are crazy people out there! That’s why. There’s no other reason. Unfortunately we have to gear up with our pepper spray and ninja shoes when we go out. But today the brave ones may be out there celebrating and I’m thinking maybe it’s a good time to go out and take some photos. Except, it’s hot and the students are on holiday from their campus activities.

So my only suggestion would be to move the date! Next year let’s have National No Bra Day in October when there will be much happening at the U and the air will be cool next to the skin and the evenings full of excitement!



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