Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Great Speech by Marco Rubio

This guy, along with Lt. Colonel Alan West, need to be on the ballot. We need more leaders like them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Different Kinds of Canyons

One day in the canyons of Big Bend, the next in the canyons of the Houston Medical Center. Sitting with Grandma today, who is in the hospital with a blood clot in her brain.

Please pray for her, if you don't mind.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The long road home


I saw this plush tarantula and thought I might bring it back for Kristi.

We saw on almost this big on the trail a couple of days ago...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

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"Starlight Theater, Terlingua"

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"Terlingua Ghost Town"

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Relaxing at the end of the day

Sitting here listening to the wind blow through the pines up here in the Chisos Basin.
Big Bend: day 2.

Sunrise at the top of the lost mine trail, part of the Casa Grande trail, Boquillas Canyon, Ernst Tenaja and my desert cemetery (more on that another time).

Met the "singing Mexican", watched Johnny chase a coyote, scared the bejeezus out of Mark and got chased by javalinas. All in all, a good day.

Tomorrow: Terlingua!!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Casa Grande

Hello, Chisos Basin. 85 degrees and all is well.


70 miles to the park entrance. Marathon has a lot more here than we remember.

Lunch in Ozona

Good news. We found a barbecue place in Junction, where we picked up some meat for tomorrow, so no cannibalism will be required. Good thing. None of these guys looked all that tasty.


It's been all desert today. This drought is really bad. And Mark forgot the barbecue. We might resort to cannibalism.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Slow Separation

I have a theory.

I think that Steve Jobs might not be as dire as I, and everyone else, thinks. Sure, I think he's sick, but I doubt if he's on death's door. Hear me out on this:

If news had broken today that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple had died - even while on medical leave - Apple stock would have tanked (and it still might). People don't like abrupt change, especially when it comes to the leader of the largest corporation in the US.

However, by resigning first and staying on as Board Chairman, there's still some Steve Jobs leadership, but Apple now has Tim Cook at the helm. I think that the plan is to let everyone get used to Tim Cook - and to see that the sky in't falling - while Steve Jobs is still around. He's distancing himself, albeit slowly, from Apple's leadership role.

Then in six months if, God forbid, Jobs should die of his illness, then there's six solid months of proven track record under Tim Cook. And then investors might not panic as much. The longer Steve hangs on, the better for Apple's stock price when he does die.

I think Steve is all about gamesmanship, and this is a smart, smart move.

Steve Jobs Resigns

From AppleInsider:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

I've had a nagging suspicion why we haven't seen any photos of Steve in the past several months. Now I guess we know why.

One thing about Steve Jobs: he's not an easy quitter. It has to be really, really bad.

God bless you, Steve. And thanks.

Out with the New at Old Navy

From AdAge:

Old Navy is on the hunt for a new chief marketer.

Amy Curtis-McIntyre, senior VP-marketing, quietly left the retailer earlier this summer after just more than a year in the job, a spokeswoman confirmed. "Given the challenges in driving traffic, Amy and Tom [Wyatt, Old Navy's president] agreed it was time to make a change in the marketing leadership," the spokeswoman said.

Old Navy, which spent $221 million on measured media last year, according to Kantar, introduced a new campaign, "Old Navy Records: Original hits. Original styles," in February. The campaign, introduced by Ms. Curtis-McIntyre, replaced the "Supermodelquins." Old Navy worked with music house Honor Roll on the campaign as well as industry heavyweight Joseph Kahn, who has won several MTV Video Awards and a Grammy. The commercials feature original tracks from various bands.

Wow. Who saw this coming? Oh, yeah. That's right...

I once didn't get hired to a marketing director job when I was asked what changes I would make and I told them, "none." The program was working, so much so that the person whom I would've replaced was hired away based on that success. They couldn't believe that I said I wouldn't make any changes. Every other candidate had come in with a list of changes they would make. I, on the other hand, said I would spend a few months researching the success of the current plan and familiarizing myself with it before making any tweaks. They were stunned and hired someone else based partly on that (and based partly on the fact that I said I didn't want to delegate everything and would still be involved in the creative.)

And you know what? Their next two marketing campaigns have sucked. When new creatives come in, their first instinct is often to dismantle or piss on everything the previous person did before. But many times that's completely unwarranted, especially "if it ain't broke."

I do, however, fully expect the next Old Navy marketing chief to burn Ms. Curtis-McIntyre's legacy to the ground and start over on the ashes. And rightly so.

Tempest Milky Way

Tempest Milky Way from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

Wow. I hope I can capture something half as good this weekend at Big Bend.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Global Warming is a Threat (wait for it...) TO THE GALAXY!

From IBTimes:

Global warming may not remain merely "global" anymore, as a new study suggests its cosmic impact.

Beyond endangering the earthly inhabitants, humans may have posed a serious threat to the entire galaxy, possibly prompting aliens to destroy humanity in order to end global warming and save the rest of the galaxy from being contaminated as well.

By using spectrometry, extraterrestrials could detect changes in Earth's atmosphere and deduce that we're out of control, speculated the researchers, among a number of other scenarios discussed in the 33-page paper.

Some scenarios suggest that human contact with aliens would be beneficial, such as how aliens would help us acquire better knowledge and help us solve problems such as hunger, poverty and enable us to eliminate diseases. Another scenario points toward an alliance between humans and Aliens to help us protect ourselves from an attack by other extra-territorial beings.

Oooooooooooooookay... Wow.

Read the whole article. It's great for a laugh if you're in the mood for batshit crazy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

50 Songs in Your Pocket

From AppleInsider:

New details on Research in Motion's rumored BlackBerry Messenger music service have emerged, with the mini-subscription plan expected to cost $5 a month for 50 songs when it arrives this fall.

Reports first emerged on Thursday that RIM was in "late-stage negotiations" with the major music labels to launch a music streaming service for its BlackBerry devices. Peter Kafka of All Things D offered further details on the service early Saturday, claiming that it will cost $5 a month for 50 songs.

Wow. 50 songs. Sounds amazing... in 1994.

Tip of the day: start selling your RIM stock and start looking into a new phone service.

Friday, August 19, 2011

South Main

If you're seeing this on Facebook, click here:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Everyone Needs a Drummer

From Seth Godin:

Keith Richards tells a great story about Charlie Watts, legendary drummer for the Stones.

After a night of drinking, Mick saw Charlie asleep and yelled, "Is that my drummer? Why don't you get your arse down here?"

Richards continues, "Charlie got dressed in a Savile Row suit, tie, shoes, shaved, came down, grabbed him and went boom! Don't ever call me "your drummer" again. You're my ... singer."

No drums, no Stones.

Who's playing the drums in your shop?


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why Did Rick Perry Support Gore for President in '88?

Because at the time he was a Democrat. But in this story it takes Politico writer Bob King until the eighth paragraph – a full three quarters into the story – before he gets around to that little tidbit, and even then he mentions it almost off-handedly. The rest of the story is focused squarely on Al Gore, who isn't even on the radar right now.

So why?

The answer is because he, and everyone else, knows that Al Gore and global warming are hot-button issues in the Conservative community. And this is just a desperate early attempt to discredit Perry's conservative credentials. It's a trial balloon, but one that I'm sure won't stick. 1988 was a long time ago, and even the best Republicans have had Democrat leanings at one time of another in their lives.

It's going to be a long, interesting, frustrating political campaign season. I can tell because this kind of nonsense is usually saved for much later in the campaign.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Witness to Lincoln's Assassination

Wow. Just... wow.

Owl in Slow Motion


Friday, August 12, 2011

That's Two

From Rueters:

President Barack Obama's healthcare law suffered a setback Friday when a U.S. appeals court ruled that it was unconstitutional to require all Americans to buy insurance or face a penalty.

Again today, the way things oughtta be. Now it's up to the Supreme Court. This is why elections matter, folks.

Bringing Innocence Back to Muppets

From the New York Post:

It's official -- what Bert and Ernie feel for each other is nothing but innocent puppet love.

The producers of "Sesame Street" delivered some bad news yesterday to legions of Muppet fans who've been convinced for years that Bert and Ernie are gay and who've been bombarding the Internet with speculation about a wedding.
But, it turns out, Muppets aren't gay. They aren't straight. They don't do sex. Period.

"Bert and Ernie are best friends," the producers said in a statement.

"Even though they are identified as male charac ters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation."

Finally, the way things oughtta be. Kids shows don't need to be about sex at all.

Thank you, Sesame Street.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vacation Days

From USNews:

At a time when many more cash-strapped Americans are stuck at home instead of vacationing at the beach, President Obama next week will lead an entourage of several dozens to exclusive Martha's Vineyard island at a cost of millions to taxpayers.

While technically he is paying for his estimated $50,000 a week rental of the 28-acre beachfront Blue Heron Farm in woodsy Chilmark, the dozens of U.S. Secret Service agents, communications officials, top aides, drivers, and U.S. Coast Guard personnel with him will be covered by taxpayers as with every other presidential vacation.

And he dismissed the criticism of vacationing presidents. "I think all this 'Why is he taking a vacation?' stuff is ginned up by the media," he said. "I don't think any American will fault him for getting away, especially if he comes back with some fresh ideas on how to create jobs."

Sure - every president needs to take some time off now and then, but how much time?

According to

A four-day holiday weekend in Chicago in February where the president played some basketball and treated First Lady Michelle Obama to a Valentine’s Day dinner date.

An eight-day stay with his family at a rented house on Martha’s Vineyard in August.

A trip out west to the U.S. states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Arizona that combined both business and pleasure. The president held town hall meetings on health care during the trip. And he went fly fishing and took trips to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon with his wife and two daughters.

An 11-day stay in Hawaii where the president and his family celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Some of the president’s recent predecessors, however, have spent more days — either entirely or partially — away from the White House "on vacation" during their first year in office.

President Reagan, in 1981, spent all or part of 42 days away from the White House "on vacation" at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif, according to Knoller. President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, also spent three or four days around New Year’s Day each year in Palm Springs, Calif., at the home of philanthropist Walter Annenberg. (In 1993 the late Mr. Annenberg founded the nonpartisan Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, which is’s parent organization.)

President George W. Bush spent even more time away from the presidential mansion in the nation’s capital than Reagan. Of the 77 total "vacation" trips the former president made to his Texas ranch while in office, nine of them — all or part of 69 days — came during his first year as president in 2001, according to Knoller.

Ah, yes. But there's a major difference: both Reagan and Bush "vacationed" at their homes on property they owned. They didn't spend millions of taxpayer dollars renting properties at which to vacation. And don't forget that trip to India that Obama turned into a "working" family vacation - where he rented out an entire 600+ room luxury hotel. Or the vacations that Michelle Obama has taken, say, to Spain... or to Oregon... or to Vail... South Africa... You get the idea. Luckily, I'm not the only one who's talking about it.

Oh, yeah... I wonder if all those rounds of golf - 75 rounds to date - Obama's been playing lately count as vacation days? Probably not. Those were on weekends, after all.

I guess what's most frustrating is that all this comes in the middle of a recession and economic hardship for the rest of the country. It's also a time when the president is lecturing us about cutting back and doing without things like, oh, vacations. It's his job to not only follow his own advice, but also to set the tone and example for the country. But just like everything else, he'sa master at saying one thing and doing the exact opposite. In fact, just a few months ago, he said ""If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, you might put off a vacation." But this is the same guy who said in the exact same speech that the government, like ordinary Americans, has to live within its means." And any rational-thinking American can see what utter bullcrap that turned out to be during the debt ceiling debate.

So in the past three years he and his family have managed to waste tens of millions of dollars on vacations. But when you compare that to how much money was wasted on "stimulus spending," I guess that's a drop in the bucket.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Free Kitten to a Good Home

A couple of months ago a neighborhood cat had a kitten under our house. When the mother seemed to abandon him, we rescued him and bottle fed him. He was only abut three weeks old then. And he was really, really cute.

It wasn't long until we was litterbox trained and was eating dry cat food. And then, as all kittens do, he learned to play. And play. And play. And play. He does slow down and sleep every now and then. And when he curls up on your lap to snuggle, it's really adorable.

But we've come to a realization over the past couple of months: we're just not cat people anymore. To be honest, I'm not really sure we're pet people anymore, either. We like to just pick up and go - especially for a long weekend, and having a pet doesn't always fit into that. And it's not fair to Otto, either.

Oh, yeah. That's his name - Otto (and the Neverland Pirates.) That was a compromise with Noble, who wanted to name him many things (we have a really cute list around here somewhere). As a family, we all liked "Otto," so that became his name. And then Noble snuck in "and the Neverland Pirates" - and kept insisting that we all call him by his full name - until it stuck. The kitten responds to just "Otto," though. "And the Neverland Pirates" is now just reserved for formal occasions such as when the queen comes to visit. In fact, more often than not, we've taken to calling him "Ottobot."

So, we're looking for a home for Otto. He's a great kitten and has a really loving personality. I've come to enjoy his purring and rubbing against my ankles as I make coffee in the morning. But then he chews on my ankles as I try to work in the morning. He'll grow out of it soon enough, though.

If you're interested in adopting Otto, we'll be happy to deliver him free to Houston, Austin, San Antonio or any point in between.
Just let us know.

Chupacabra Roadkill... in Minnesota???


Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials have been unable to identify a mystery carcass found in Douglas County with certainty, prompting further investigation.

The dead white mammal was spotted this week on a Douglas County road with five claws, dark tufts of hair on its back and head and long toenails.

Noelle Jones sent the pictures to KSAX Monday, and after posting them on the KSAX Facebook page that night, more than 175 comments have been posted about the unusual animal, with guesses ranging from a skunk, badger, wolverine, wolf, or even proof of the mythical chupacabra.

Folks in Alexandria Wednesday had their own ideas.

"First guess was a badger with like, a case of mange. But then, some other people were saying, like a chupacabra. and after looking at some pictures, I was like, 'you know, it's possible," Jones said.

This one's for you, Harris.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Noble's Tarantula

Noble and Daddy caught a tarantula ... then decided to take it inside to show Mommy...

See the video here if you're seeing this on Facebook:

Circling the RIM, er... Drain

From the LA Times:

Research in Motion announced five new BlackBerry smartphones, the first to run its new BlackBerry 7 mobile OS, on Wednesday in a bid to recapture market share and inject some new excitement into the company's products.

The devices will arrive at an important time for the Canadian company, one of the first to popularize email integration on a phone.

FIVE new phones????!!?? I'm sure THAT won't cause any confusion in the marketplace.

Memo to RIM: simplify. Have you learned nothing on the last three years???

I give RIM two years before they declare bankruptcy.

A Consumer Congressman Speaks

The Vacation List


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wow. What A Win!

From CNS News:

The bill to increase the federal debt limit that has been put before Congress today would increase that limit by up to $2.4 trillion, which would be the largest increase in the debt limit in U.S. history by a margin of half a trillion dollars, according to records published by the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Research Service.

Up until now, the largest increase in the debt limit was the $1.9 trillion increase passed by Congress and signed by President Obama on Feb. 12, 2010. That law increased the debt limit from $12.394 trillion to $14.294 trillion.

So not only did we just increase the debt limit, we did it by a whole lot. Boehner not only gave Obama and the Democrats exactly what they wanted, he did it by a record margin. Wow, sounds like a clear victory to me.

Can we please have an election, already? There seem to be more clowns that need to be swept out of office.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why Am I A Terrorist?

Why am I unreasonable - nay, a terrorist - for wanting my government to live within its means? And by "live within its means," I mean don't spend more than it takes in?

This entire debt limit debate is ridiculous. It treats the symptom with a procedural gimmicks but completely ignores the cause - out of control government spending. The government has an obligation and a duty to be diligent with and respectful of the taxpayer money that we send, unwillingly, to Washington. They spend like drunken sailors and then only want more and more and more.

And for all you liberals out there whose favorite refrain in all this is that Congress approved X number of debt limit increases under Bush, let me tell you this: there was a lot of outcry about Bush's spending from conservatives during his term, as well. This isn't a new issue.

We have a problem in that Congress treats all money that comes in as its own and falls all over themselves to spend it, many times multiple times over through accounting gimmicks. What we need is to force Congress to do something they obviously won't do themselves: have some discipline. We need an amendment to the Constitution that requires Congress to balance the budget every year. And we need representatives (and Presidents) who aren't afraid to tell people no. Why must budgets increase every year? Our household budgets certainly haven't, especially in the past few years. So why do government agencies feel entitled to more money than they got the year before and then bitch and moan if they are limited to only a three percent increase?

We need to put a hard stop to all unnecessary government spending, and we need a very narrow definition of what is necessary. The National Parks Service paying to cut down trees in Yosemite isn't necessary - it's a luxury. New post office buildings aren't a necessity - they are a luxury, especially for an agency that is bleeding money. We need to shelve any and all plans on building Biden's bullet train. People are getting around just fine now without it. And we need to put a hard stop on all legislation that will force massive government-imposed overhauls of appliances and light bulbs and fuel economy regulations and such until we as a country can afford to do so. Those kind of projects are not for rainy days, they're for when we're doing well and have expendable incomes in the first place. We must stop government extravagance (read: waste) at every level.

I think it would be good for everyone - difficult, but good - if every single government agency had to trim its budget by 15 percent. Make do without. Sacrifice. Maybe don't get new computers this year or send its members to a conference. Or maybe they make do in that 15-year old building for a few more years before they build a new one. After all, we're in a recession. Why not recede the government budgets, also? When the country is down, it's not the time for new spending - it's time for belt tightening and doing without. The majority of Americans are doing it in their personal budgets, and its time that the government - especially Congress and the White House - do it, too. The example needs to flow from the top down. And by the top, I mean Congress and the President, Vice President, etc. Democrat and Republican.

And while we're at it, let's get a reign on foreign aid while we're struggling. I have no problem with it resuming when we're back on our feet, but now, when we have no money, is not the time to be handing out money. If we were any other country, it would be the other way around - we'd have our collective hand out. But to my knowledge, we haven't done that yet.

If we don't take some hard actions, we're doomed as a country. We need responsibility, accountability and discipline. And we need it now, not in accounting gimmicks and reductions in spending over 10 years.


Last week I was approved as a Veer stock photo contributor. I've been an iStockphoto contributor for several years now and a Fotolia contributor for several months, but this is a big step in the direction I want to go: having my stock photos listed on several stock sites. In fact, I'm planning on transitioning my best and more artistic stuff to Veer in the near future because the royalties seem to be a lot better.

So if you're in the market for stock photos, be sure to give Veer a look.

What's the Deal?


Obama and Boehner struck a debt ceiling deal yesterday.
House and Senate votes are imminent TODAY.


--The "dollar-for-dollar" spending cuts are not real.
Obama gets $900 billion in debt ceiling increase NOW in
exchange for $1 trillion in spending cuts OVER TEN YEARS.
As we know, future "cuts" in government spending are not
cuts at all.

--The real causes of runaway government spending are not
addressed. Entitlements are left untouched. Baseline
budgeting (which guarantees ever-rising government
spending) is intact.

--The risk of a downgrade in our credit rating has not
been addressed because runaway spending has not been

--The Obama Stimulus levels of spending are now permanently
entrenched in future government spending models.

--The debt only rises in a never-ending upward trajectory.
The $900 billion raise in the debt ceiling will not even
last one year. An additional $1.2 trillion in additional
debt will be "triggered" to carry the nation through
the election.

--There are allegedly NO tax increases but that is smoke
and mirrors because the CBO is projecting that the Bush
tax cuts will not be extended. If the Bush cuts are NOT
extended, that amounts to a huge tax increase. If the Bush
tax cuts ARE extended, the CBO projections fall apart and
other tax increases will be mandated by the trigger mechanism
in this bill.

--Finally... the LEFT is coming away from this debate with
one of their key goals accomplished: demonizing the Tea
Party. According to Politico on Friday, the Tea Party has
moved from "hostage takers" to "full-blown terrorists" who
are "craven to inflict massive harm on innocent victims to
achieve their political goals."

How to Walk Like Superman

From JustAddFather:

Stand tall. Take your first step, head erect, eyes open, watchful; your body resilient, fluid, ready. Take another, and another. The breeze unfurls the cape at your back. You can feel it flapping and waving, a banner you carry for the world to see. There are, perhaps, walls in your way. You walk through them without fear or tension, as if they are nothing. Your rhythm is constant, unhurried, even joyful. You are Superman, after all.

One more thing, I almost forgot. Someone is walking behind you. This is very important. A few yards back, a little boy is watching you. He’s seven, or eight, or nine. He wants to be just like you.

He follows in your footsteps, the whole way.

And remember that he's watching every step, every breath, hanging on every word... whether you realize it or not. Superman is larger than life, and to him (and to her), you are, too.