Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday Morning Rambling

So this rainy morning, I started watching “The Post,” then decided to stop and write this.
I’ll pick it up in a few minutes and brush Khaleesi while watching. It looks like something I can listen to and half watch while doing something productive.

When I was a teenager, I read two newspapers every day. I don't know about you, but I haven't known many teens who even read one paper! But don’t be too impressed; they were small town, local papers that my Gramps subscribed to. What got me started was a sensational story about the death of a local woman and the ensuing trial of her accused murderer.

The woman’s name happened to be the same as mine.
Her husband’s name happened to be the same as my boyfriend’s. 
My boyfriend and I happened to be in the same class.
And it just so happened that this class was taught by this man before he was accused of killing his wife.
Yep, that's what I'm sayin'. The accused murderer was our history teacher. He used to tease us about being a couple with the same name as he and his newlywed wife. He talked about her all the time in class. It was clear he deeply loved her.

I was approached by his attorney and asked to be a character witness. At the age of 16, I had no idea what that would be like and I was too scared to agree. I felt bad about that for years.

That’s how my love of reading the newspaper began. In fact, fast forward, my only request for Mother’s Day every year was that I be allowed to read the Sunday paper front to back with no disruptions.

Back to the movie - the 10 minutes I watched got me to thinking again about the book I recently read, called “The Smear” by Sharyl Attkisson. The dirty tricks and smear campaigns she wrote about were not new to me. It’s something we’ve known of for decades; just maybe not with such contemporary details. Something she wrote stuck with me...

In the days of print, people easily recognized the difference between legitimate news and “fake news.” Junk news was found at the grocery checkout endcaps, like The National Enquirer or The Globe. The headlines were extreme, the artwork was dark and cheap, and the whole look of the paper was cheesy. It had creepy, Godzilla worthy photographs. People bought these rags because they were sensational and entertaining. You knew the information inside was like junk food – full of non-nutritional calories but fun to consume.

In the online world we now inhabit, The Enquirer and its ilk have been replaced by numerous websites that look and read like authentic news pages. BUT THEY’RE NOT. They’re the Enquirer, or the Globe, or some other rag dressed up to look respectable. BUT THEY’RE NOT.  You know the old saying: “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”

As news consumers, we have a harder job and a bigger responsibility now to know the difference.
Half-truth reporting, what used to be called “lying” is now a billion dollar Industry. Yes. Billion. Yes. Industry. There are real, legitimate corporations and non-profits whose sole purpose is to destroy others for the highest bidder. They’re invested in or backed by some of the world’s most nefarious billionaires. People make entire careers out of digging for dirt and selling it.  It’s not just about politics; both the predators and victims include corporations, lobbyists, and the entertainment industry. 

Where do you think the bulk of this information is deployed? Exactly!

There are extreme liberals AND extreme conservatives who want to take control of the information you can access. They don’t think you can discern the truth from a lie. They want to do it for you. For your protection. For the good of the people. Do you buy that?

If we really believe in the First Amendment, if we really want to protect our First Amendment rights, we are going to have to grow up and take responsibility for what we share online.

You have got to start paying attention and educating yourself. All the buzz and energy right now is being directed towards protecting the Second Amendment and yes, that’s important too. Has it occurred to you that it might also be a misdirect? Something to take your attention away from what they’re trying to do with the First A?

Every word of the Constitution is precious. All I’m saying is be well informed, know the source of your information, and be responsible with your knowledge. We’re still going to disagree on many social issues but that’s ok. It’s what keeps us balanced!

EPILOGUE: The history teacher. According to testimony, they had a fight and he grabbed her roughly to try to kiss her.  She supposedly died of strangulation but three experts could not conclude that. I’m not sure but I think he was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and may have served some time. I ran into him in another city, a couple years after graduation. He looked sad, but was professionally dressed and on his way somewhere. We exchanged pleasantries. I asked how he was. He asked about me and boyfriend. I was glad to have had that moment of closure.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Just a Photo

I was tempted to caption this "Oklahoma Classroom."

I saw this spot several months ago while walking Khaleesi and have been wanting to come back and photograph it. I was envisioning an early morning sunrise, maybe with some rising fog. But I had the time this morning, so this is what I got.

It really might be an outdoor classroom of sorts. It's located on school property. A very nice elementary school, I might add. Maybe they use it for science class, like when they have to identify bugs and leaves. Or maybe when they teach state history. Or maybe it's a secret club meeting place. I doubt it has anything to do with religious services, though it looks like what I would imagine as an old prairie church.

Our state's teachers started the 2nd week of their walkout today. They have good reasons, but I really don't condone their method. I think this should have been handled differently.

I don't have any personal experience with our public schools. But from what I've seen or heard about, they run the gamut from shoddy to excellent. Our school problem is a ridiculous mess of ridiculous reasons. Oops, I'm slipping into a rant and really all I wanted to do was present this photo.

On a lighter note...

I did a real estate photo shoot last week and this pretty kitty decided he was the perfect accessory for the master suite. Although I don't blame him for hiding out in the bedroom - his people were dog sitting 2 pooches in addition to their own 3. There were 5 excited pooches of various sizes clamoring at the back door while I did the interior shoot. What a circus when the owner brought them in so I could photograph the back yard!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

St Patrick's Day - San Antonio

Last year on this day, we were in San Antonio. Here it is a year later already!

We visited the River Walk but had forgotten it was St. Patrick's Day. Even if we'd known, I don't think we would have been prepared for the crowds!

It was a beautiful day. Who wouldn't want to be outside?! But it was shoulder to shoulder people! In some of the narrower sections, I thought it was amazing no one had fallen in the green water.

Even the carriage horses were dressed up for the occasion.

Downtown SA is fun place to visit. The River Walk is pretty and the Alamo is within walking distance. There's shopping, restaurants, art stalls, water taxis. It's much bigger than you might imagine from these photos, so wear good walking shoes.

Just thought I'd post a few pix for you to see.

 One piece of advice -- don't visit on St Paddy's Day, unless you're a real people lover!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Leaving Las Vegas

This is my last posting of pix from our Christmas in Vegas trip. The scenery sure changed going west to east as winter made an appearance. These are all "drive-by" shots taken with the phone.

On the outskirts of town heading south. I think that's part of Lake Mead to the left.

I liked the silhouette of road signs.

Sun's popping up!

We stopped at the neatest gas station/mini-museum (but I don't remember the name or where it was). I didn't take my phone or camera inside coz I wasn't expecting to find anything of interest. They had a big ol' room of vintage doo-dads - nearly every object ever made between 1940-70, including cars & motorcycles. Definitely an "All-American" place, complete with Nativity scene placed next to the flagpole and bucking bronco in the background The location of the sign struck me funny.

Then we started seeing signs of winter.

 Farm in the distance.

Entering windmill land!

Not sure where this was, but it was frostier and foggier. Nature's special effects.

I'm probably posting too many of these, but I just loved seeing the windmills rising up thru the fog. It was really eerie.

There was one image I wasn't able to capture - windmills in the background, a row of cotton bales, each covered in a different colored plastic, foggy and heavy frost on the ground. Wish we could've pulled off the road. That one was worth a real camera shot!

Last one. We're about an hour away from home when I took this one.

Got to spend Christmas with my kiddos, take a road trip, see some beautiful sights, and spend a bunch of time with my best guy. This was one of my favorite road trips!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Petrified Forest

One of my good friends & I like to play a game of "virtual vacation." When one of us is on a roadtrip, we text back & forth where we are, pictures, etc. On our way to Nevada, she asked if we were stopping at the Petrified Forest.

To be honest, my only goal was to get to Las Vegas to see my loved ones at Christmas and I didn't research points of interest along the way. I had no idea it was on our route. Well, of course I wanted to see it! I remember my 4th grade teacher, who was quite a traveler, telling stories about it.

I envisioned that we were going to actually drive through some ancient forest of gigantic tall trees frozen in time. However, I fell asleep and when I woke up, I said "oh no, I missed it!"  Hubby said, "I never saw it. We didn't go through any kind of forest."

Duh. It's not part of I-40. Just a short exit off, though. So we planned a detour on the way home and here are some pictures!

(By the way, this is NOT me sleeping. Just some random tourist soaking in some ancient tree vibes.) 

Basically, the petrified forest is acres & acres of strange land with thousands of petrified logs scattered across it.

I mean, they are Every. Where. Hubby joked that he didn't believe this was all petrified wood. He said it's fake logs they painted and then artfully scattered across the landscape.

This girl was either trying hard to get some signal or taking a picture after her hike.

The Visitor Center above, and a dinosaur replication below.

Anything you see in these photos that look like, um, maybe dinosaur droppings, are actually petrified logs and pieces.

I love these particular shots with those interesting formations and the moon above.

This isn't a crow. It would fan out it's neck feathers & make a strange call. It's mate was nearby.

We could see almost the entire train in the distance.

 And then we went over a bridge and I got one of my favorite shots.


Getting near the Painted Desert. It's something that is probably best seen at sunset or in the summer.

The Painted Desert loops north of the forest and is at the edge of the Grand Canyon. But it was back on the road for us and heading home!