Thoughts

FOTD: Grape Hyacinth

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I had intended to post my museum pictures but, I’ve been too busy. So, it will be a Flower of the Day post for Cee Neuner’s Challenge. I thought this might be a Bluebell but, it isn’t. I’m still trying to identify it. ~Vic

Update: It’s a Grape Hyacinth!

Blue Flower Image
The buds look like tiny Chinese lanterns.
03-06-2020

Vernal Equinox 2020

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Well, Spring has finally sprung and not a moment too soon. I’m sitting in my Adirondack chair, with my bare feet on the ground, watching the sunset through the limbs of my Hackberry tree. Yes, I have short feet. Shut up. (All photos are my personal collection. ©)

Grounding Image One
Grounding with Mother Earth on the Vernal Equinox

According to the Farmers’ Almanac 1818, this is the earliest First Day of Spring in 124 years. Yahoo! Maybe some warm, beautiful weather will offset the corona beer virus and this needless, manufactured hysteria that has appeared with it.

Japanese Maple Image Two
Japanese Maple waking up.
Hackberry in the background.

I did a Vernal Equinox post last year when it coincided with the Full Worm Moon. In our area, it was as high as 80° and I was out in it. My buddy Ray had some errands to run so, off we went to the county north of us. Once the errands were completed, we headed to downtown Roxboro for lunch & a minor visit to their museum (pictures coming tomorrow).

Museum Flagpole Image Three
Lunch at the museum with a view of the flag.

From Farmers’ Almanac 1818:

[Spring] will occur at 11:50 p.m. EDT for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere […]. Traditionally, we celebrate the first day of spring on March 21 but, astronomers and calendar manufacturers, alike, now say that the spring season starts on March 20th, in all time zones in North America. And, in 2020, it’s even a day earlier than that…something that hasn’t happened since 1896.

Narcissus Image Four
Happy Narcissus in my side yard.

There are a few reasons why seasonal dates can vary from year to year. The first is that a year is not an even number of days and neither are the seasons. Another reason is that the earth’s elliptical orbit is changing its orientation (skew), which causes the earth’s axis to constantly point in a different direction, called precession. Since the seasons are defined as beginning at strict 90-degree intervals, these positional changes affect the time the earth reaches each 90-degree location in its orbit around the sun. The pull of gravity from the other planets also affects the location of the earth in its orbit.

Cheers! ~Vic

Additional Interesting Reading:
First Day of Spring (The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792)

POTD: Colorful Mailbox

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Out on a neighborhood walk, I couldn’t help but admire the mosaic handywork, along with the bird and flower. It’s definitely an original. ~Vic

Mosaic Mailbox
02-13-2020

Shutterbug Sunday: Buddy 2.0

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Buddy came to me (and an ex) as a little thing. He had been born under a home 75 miles east and his mother had to leave him behind. The guy living there heard the crying mews and went to investigate. He found tiny Buddy in an upright cinder block, pulled him out and realized he was a newborn with his eyes still closed. He sought help from a veterinarian and began to feed him. Fast forward five weeks and the guy contacts my ex. “You want a kitten? I can’t handle him, anymore.” He shows up with this gi-normous litter box with a cover, that little Buddy could barely jump in and out of, a box of various toys and a gallon container of kitten food. The guy lived alone and traveled a lot so, he felt Buddy would be better off with us. I had lost my very first cat six months prior so, Buddy’s arrival was cause for celebration. He was my baby for nine years. (1997-2006). All photos are my personal collection. ~Vic

See also: Love Your Pet Day and Buddy

Buddy Image One
He loved to be held.
09-06-2004
Buddy Image Two
I found him napping in my sewing basket.
09-06-2004
Buddy Image Three
Kitty in his box.
05-17-2005
Buddy Image Four
I gave him my basket.
I had no choice.
09-13-2004
Buddy Image Five
These are my gifts.
This was his last Christmas.
12-18-2005.

Flashback Friday: Uranus & Pluto

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It’s Friday the 13th! Eek! Everybody…RUN! Hide! Yeah, well, enough of the hysteria. We have plenty of that going on with the corona beer virus. Sugar, rice, pasta, Clorox & Lysol hand wipes, bleach, hand sanitizer and toilet paper doesn’t stand a chance. Now, we have to deal with the dreaded number 13. E-gads! The humanity!

March 13 has been a rather busy day in history. Curiously, Uranus and Pluto are involved.

Uranus Image One
Uranus and its rings.
Image Credit: mirror.co.uk

Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun. The name of Uranus references the ancient Greek deity of the sky Uranus, the father of Cronus (Saturn) and grandfather of Zeus (Jupiter) […]. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in [our] solar system and, […] is the only planet whose name is derived directly from a figure of Greek mythology. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune and, both have bulk chemical compositions which differ from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. Uranus’ atmosphere is similar to Jupiter’s and Saturn’s in its primary composition of hydrogen and helium but, it contains more “ices” such as water, ammonia and methane […]. It has the coldest planetary atmosphere in the solar system […]. Like the other giant planets, Uranus has a ring system, a magnetosphere and numerous moons. The Uranian system has a unique configuration because its axis of rotation is tilted sideways, nearly into the plane of its solar orbit. Its north and south poles, therefore, lie where most other planets have their equators. Voyager 2 remains the only spacecraft to visit the planet.

Like the classical planets, Uranus is visible to the naked eye but, it was never recognised as a planet by ancient observers because of its dimness and slow orbit. [Two hundred, thirty-nine years ago, today], Sir William Herschel first observed Uranus on March 13, 1781 (from the garden of his house at 19 New King Street in Bath, Somerset, England, now the Herschel Museum of Astronomy), leading to its discovery as a planet, expanding the known boundaries of the solar system for the first time in history and making Uranus the first planet classified as such with the aid of a telescope.

Pluto Image Two
Dwarf Planet Pluto
Photo Credit: forbes.com

Pluto is an icy dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, a ring of bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune. It was the first Kuiper belt object to be discovered and is the largest known dwarf planet. Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 as the ninth planet from the Sun. After 1992, its status as a planet was questioned following the discovery of several objects of similar size in the Kuiper belt. In 2005, Eris, a dwarf planet in the scattered disc which is 27% more massive than Pluto, was discovered. This led the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to define the term “planet”, formally, in 2006, during their 26th General Assembly. That definition excluded Pluto and reclassified it as a dwarf planet.

It is the ninth-largest and tenth-most-massive known object directly orbiting the Sun. It is the largest known trans-Neptunian object by volume but, is less massive than Eris. Like other Kuiper belt objects, Pluto is primarily made of ice and rock and, is relatively small…about one-sixth the mass of the Moon and one-third its volume. It has a moderately eccentric and inclined orbit […]. This means that Pluto periodically comes closer to the Sun than Neptune but, a stable orbital resonance with Neptune prevents them from colliding.

[Observations] of Neptune in the late 19th century led astronomers to speculate that Uranus’s orbit was being disturbed by another planet besides Neptune. In 1906, Percival Lowell, a wealthy Bostonian who had founded [the] Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, in 1894, started an extensive project in search of a possible ninth planet, which he termed “Planet X“. Lowell and his observatory conducted his search until his death in 1916 but, to no avail. Unknown to Lowell, his surveys had captured two faint images of Pluto on March 19 and April 7, 1915 but, they were not recognized for what they were.

Percival’s widow, Constance Lowell, entered into a ten-year legal battle with the Lowell Observatory over her husband’s legacy and the search for Planet X did not resume until 1929. [23-year-old] Clyde Tombaugh, who had just arrived at the observatory, discovered a possible moving object on photographic plates on February 18, 1930. After the observatory obtained further confirmatory photographs, news of the discovery was telegraphed to the Harvard College Observatory ninety years ago, today, on March 13, 1930. Pluto has yet to complete a full orbit of the Sun since its discovery, as one Plutonian year is 247.68 years long.

The discovery made headlines around the globe. Lowell Observatory, which had the right to name the new object, received more than 1,000 suggestions from all over the world, ranging from Atlas to Zymal. Constance Lowell proposed Zeus, then Percival and finally Constance. These suggestions were disregarded. The name Pluto, after the god of the underworld, was proposed by Venetia Burney (1918–2009), an eleven-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford, England, who was interested in classical mythology.

Additional Reading:
Voyager 2 in the Uranium System (Zenodo site)
Uranus (NASA site)
Uranus (MIRA site)
Bath Preservation Trust
Eleven Awesome Facts About Pluto (geek.com)

Worm Moon 2020

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Worm Moon Image
Image Credit: moongiant.com

Last year, the Full Worm Moon coincided with the Vernal Equinox. This year, the Worm Moon will be at full illumination at 1:47pm, today. I got some shots of it, earlier (actually, wee hours of the morning).

I did a complete write-up on the Worm Moon on my 2019 post with all of the interesting and varied Native American names. This year, our Worm Moon is a Supermoon, though that isn’t really a true and official ‘astronomical’ term. It’s more of an astrological description and, apparently, was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle. The technical term is perigee syzygy, with perigee referring to the closeness of the Moon to the Earth and syzygy referring to a straight-line astronomical configuration of three celestial bodies. Depending upon that configuration, there might be a solar eclipse or a lunar eclipse. Supermoons also bring higher tides. This Moon is the last full moon of Winter. Howl for me! ~Vic

Worm Moon Image One
Big & bright.
From my driveway.
Worm Moon Image Two
Peaking thru the trees.
Worm Moon Image Three
Reaching out to touch it.
Worm Moon Image Four
I see you.

Shutterbug Saturday: Rogue Artistes 5.0

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It’s been nearly a year since I made my first post on our local artwork. Here are parts two, three and four. I’ve gathered up some more, below. All photos are my personal collection. © ~Vic

Slayer Image One
Somebody is a Slayer fan.
06-23-2019
Pipe Support Image Two
Drainage pipe support.
What the critter is, I don’t know.
07-25-2019
Strange Manhole Image Three
Houie?
Howie?
Wowie?
10-04-2019
Uh Oh Image Four
I don’t even remember where I found this one.
10-10-2019
Footy Prints Image Five
This one was curious.
Captured well after Halloween.
It appears to be prints of a one-legged man?
There’s a foot print and a dot.
What do you think?
11-26-2019
Toast Image Six
Toast?
With a “V”?
This one was hard to get.
02-22-2020

Flick Friday: The Death Train 1915

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The Death Train Image
Photo Credit: anthonybalducci.blogspot.com
A Silent Film Rule:
Pies Go Splat But Damsels Never Do

Oh, it has been work looking for a film for today’s date. IMDB had plenty to choose from but, I couldn’t seem to get any further information from the others…Wikipedia, American Film Institute, Turner Classic Movies… Even the Silent Era site and Silent Hollywood were slim pickings and, Silentology had nothing.

Anyway, one hundred, five years ago, today, Episode #17 of The Hazards of Helen, The Death Train, was released. Similar to The Perils of Pauline, The Hazards of Helen was a film serial or series that ran from November 7, 1914 to February 24, 1917.

There were 119 episodes that were 12 minutes long, most of which have been lost. Based upon a novel written by John Russell Corvell and a play written by Denman Thompson, W. Scott Darling adapted the material for the silent screen and Edward T. Matlack wrote The Death Train, specifically. Directors were J. P. McGowan (1-48) and J. Gunnis Davis for the rest. The original actress was Helen Holmes (1-48), followed by Helen Gibson for the remainder of the series, with Anna Nilsson filling in for Holmes for Episode #18.

This episode also starred Rex Downs, M. J. Murchison, Edmund ‘Hoot’ Gibson, Leo D. Maloney and George A. Williams. Helen Holmes did most of her own stunts.

IMDB Summary:

The discovery that detectives are on their trail causes Doyle, Broden and Etzer, counterfeiters, to pack their paraphernalia into a trunk and express it to Lone Point. Upon its arrival at that station, a corner of the trunk is smashed. Helen thus learns of its contents. The telegrapher immediately wires to Savage, a railroad detective. The latter, accompanied by Duncan, a Secret Service detective, hastens to the scene. At their suggestion, Helen arranges a trap for the counterfeiters. When the latter appear, they are set upon by the officers. Etzer is captured but, his pals get away. Doyle eludes pursuit but, Broden later falls into Savage’s hands. Helen, watching the pursuit, ventures on the high trestle which crosses the dry bed of the Loro River. Doyle, who is hiding, sees Helen. Overpowered by a desire for revenge, the man attacks the telegrapher and makes her a prisoner. A rope lies nearby. Binding Helen, Doyle suspends his victim from the trestle and fastens the end of the line around the rails. Duncan sees this from afar. Although he rushes forward, he knows that the Keene local, due any moment, will cut the rope as it crosses the trestle. Meanwhile, Helen, after a tremendous effort, frees her hands. There is one chance for life. The girl commences swinging her body. Each time, she [manages] a wider arc. The train is crossing the trestle when Helen swings toward a beam. The engine wheels sever the rope. Helen flies through the air and reaches the beam. Doyle is captured. Savage and Duncan raise Helen to the tracks and find her uninjured.

Moving Picture World

This is one of the lost pieces so, there isn’t a YouTube clip and I could only find one picture. ~Vic

Additional Reading
Lost Films (European Union/German site)
Silent Era
Silent Hollywood (More on Helen Holmes)

POTD: Old Hydrant

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This comes under the heading of “things you don’t see everyday.” I was out on a walk around our old cotton mill complex and stumbled across it. I have no idea how old this thing is but, it appears to have been manufactured in Tennessee. ~Vic

Tennessee Hydrant Image
01-25-2020

Music Monday: My Lady Carey’s Dompe 1520s

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My Lady Carey's Dompe Image
Image Credit: youtube.com

Coming forward in time, I was reading around in the 1400s & 1500s (noticing some of the composers that died in the plague) and discovered another interesting little piece: My Lady Carey’s Dompe (a lament or dirge), a traditional English dance tune. Written for a harpsichord and, possibly, a lute, the composer remains unknown, though suggested attribution is Hugh Aston and, the specific date is questionable. It could be 1525 or, 1528 if the song was, indeed, composed for the death of William Carey, a courtier in the service of Henry VIII. Lady Carey could refer to his wife Mary Boleyn, a mistress to Henry and sister to Anne Boleyn but, could also refer to his mother, sisters or his sister-in-law.

In any case, the song is lovely and, catchy. Enjoy.

Sources
My Lady Carey’s Dompe
1520s in Music
Allmusic Write-Up
The Anne Boleyn Files
Sheet Music
British Library (Record of the Composition)
Internet Archive (History of Keyboard Composition)

“One of the earliest surviving keyboard pieces we have…”

POTD: First Snow 2020

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As I was posting last weekend of no snow this year, I spoke too soon. We got about three inches, yesterday. It started rolling in around 4:30 or 5:00pm. There is a little bit left but, the higher accumulations were east of here. ~Vic

First Snow Image
Looking West
02-20-2020

Shutterbug Saturday: Snow Pix

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We’ve had cold temps here and plenty of rain but, the two haven’t combined to give us any frozen precipitation. Don’t me wrong. I’m not complaining. I like a good snow storm, here and there but, I don’t like the mess. That being said, since we haven’t had any of the white stuff, I submit…for your approval…some pix I harvested from a FakeBook group back in 2018, when we had two snow bombs. I posted my own photos on December 9, 2018 and added some of my stuff to the same group. These are really good and photographer credit is listed. I will post the rest, tomorrow. ~Vic

Snowman Pooping Image One
Photo Credit: Mike Oechsle
Snow Tree Image Two
Photo Credit: Alex Webb
What Is This Image Three
Photo Credit: Laura Smith
Icicles Image Four
Photo Credit: Becky Johnson
Cold Cardinal Image Five
Photo Credit: Dora Hammond

Snow Moon 2020

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Snow Moon 2020 Image Two
From my front yard.

I did a Snow Moon post last year on February 18. I covered all the unique names and the history. I won’t repeat the information here.

100% illumination occurred at 02:33am EST. Howl for me!

All photos are my personal collection. © ~Vic

Snow Moon 2020 Image Three
It’s spooky looking between the branches.
Snow Moon 2020 Image Four
I see you.
Moon Giant Snow Moon Image One
Image Credit: moongiant.com

Shutterbug Sunday: Alamance Battleground 2.0

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Two months ago, on December 7, 2019, I visited Alamance Battleground with my buddy Ray. I posted the first batch of pictures on December 8, intending to post the rest on December 14. For obvious reasons, that didn’t happen so, here are the rest.

All photos are my personal collection. © ~Vic

James Hunter Monument Image One
The Colonial Column Monument
Originally located at Guilford Courthouse Military Park
Moved in 1962, “on indefinite loan.”
Colonial Column Marker Image Two
Colonial Column Marker
Monument Plaque Image Three
Front Plaque
It is claimed that the battle was the first of the Revolutionary War.
It was actually the last battle of the War of Regulation,
which lead to the Revolutionary War.
James Hunter Plaque Image Four
Right Side
James Hunter
General of the Regulators
North Carolina Timeline Image Five
Back Side
North Carolina Timeline
1774 North Carolina Provincial Congress
The Mecklenburg Declaration 1775
Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge 1776
North Carolina is the first to call for independence
with the Halifax Resolves 1776
Regulators Hanged Image Six
Twelve Regulators Condemned At Hillsboro
Six were executed.
“Our blood will be as good seed in good ground,
that will soon produce one hundred fold.”
James Pugh June 19, 1771
Bridge Image Seven
Bridge over the creek.
Highway View Image Eight
View across the highway.
Flag of North Carolina Image Nine
Image Credit: wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org
Dates reflect the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (disputed but,
possibly Mecklenburg Resolves) and
the Halifax Resolves.

FOTD: Narcissus

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I haven’t gotten a shot of our now-blooming Narcissus. They started coming up last month. They seem to enjoy the cold weather. I’ve seen them bloom with ice on the ground. ~Vic

Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge

Narcissus Image
02-22-2018

Music Monday: Ancient Music & Thoughts

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I’ve been digging around, looking for something interesting. Back in September 2019, I posted about Billboard locking down/wiping out their online charts behind a paywall. I don’t know if this is a fluke or if they got a lot of blow-back for what they did but, the charts have reappeared (their Hot 100 era). Ok. Good. Time will tell if they stay. And, I hope they did get some blow-back. Assholes.

Seikilos Column Wiki Image One
Seikilos Column (marble stele/tombstone)
Photo Credit: National Museum of Denmark
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Now that I got that off my chest, on to other stuff.

Wikipedia has a timeline of musical events (Yeah. I know. Wikipedia is hardly a bastion of truth but, seems to be a bit less haphazard with music, plants, animals, cars and finding a U.S. town.) I stumbled across the Seikilos Epitaph, a short, little marble tombstone with poetry/lyrics/text, with musical notation, written in Greek. It is unusual and unique because it is the oldest, intact musical composition in the world. It was found in Tralles, Turkey, an ancient, Hellenistic town where Aydin exists, now. The lyrics:

Ὅσον ζῇς φαίνου
μηδὲν ὅλως σὺ λυποῦ
πρὸς ὀλίγον ἔστι[2] τὸ ζῆν
τὸ τέλος ὁ χρόνος ἀπαιτεῖ.

hóson zêis, phaínou
mēdèn hólōs sù lupoû
pròs olígon ésti tò zên
tò télos ho khrónos apaiteî.

While you live, shine
have no grief at all
life exists only for a short while
and time demands his due.

Wikipedia Inscription Image Two
Photo Credit: National Museum of Denmark
Lennart Larsen
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

The dedication was partially destroyed and could read:

Σεικίλος Εὐτέρ[πῃ]
Seikílos Eutér[pēi]
“Seikilos to Euterpe”, possibly his wife (also the name of the Muse of Music)

OR

Σεικίλος Εὐτέρ[που]
Seikílos Eutér[pou]
“Seikilos, son of Euterpes”

The inscription reads:

Εἰκὼν ἤ λίθος εἰμί. τίθησί με Σεικίλος ἔνθα μνήμης ἀθανάτου σῆμα πολυχρόνιον.
eikṑn ḗ líthos eimí. títhēsí me Seikílos éntha mnḗmēs athanátou sêma polukhrónion.
“I am a tombstone, an image. Seikilos placed me here as a long-lasting sign of deathless remembrance.”

The dating of the tombstone has proven elusive. The range is from the first century B.C to the first or second century A.D. based upon paleography.

Take a listen:

Here is another version, based upon the inscription being dedicated to a wife:
Song of Seikilos (Classic FM website)

A Toothache Can Kill You

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Unsplash Shark Teeth
Photo Credit: Karim Manjra on Unsplash

Yes. I’m still alive. I wasn’t sure I would be after battling septicemia. That is not something to be trifled with. I had an abscessed tooth rupture on me the night of December 14/15. The details of my desperate attempt to get it pulled is boring but, suffice to say that, with a 103 fever and delirium, I did manage to post here, scribble some instructions for a friend and write out a will. The pain was unimaginable and the dead bacteria my body shed while I was recovering was disgusting. I never could get pain medication and I had a bad reaction to an antibiotic. I have no kind words for the dental industry. It’s taken me six weeks to get my energy levels back to normal. It wasn’t until after my ordeal that I did some reading on toothaches. They can, indeed, kill you. I was scared and I got lucky.

Thank you for all the kind words.

(It was a…) Static Blog

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I am battling something that I am not totally sure I will survive. I don’t mean to come across as dramatic but, I need to let readers of this blog know why I won’t be posting. I may return…I may not. I don’t honestly know.

This is, now, effectively, a static blog. I encourage you to read all of my Chris Thomas posts. I have sporadically posted years ago, so, I do have some older posts going back to 2013, I think. Peruse if you wish.

Thank you to all of my readers. You are so appreciated.

~Vic

[Addendum: I’m not taking this post down as I put it up for a reason. That being said, I am alive and well…and doing the best I can. ~Vic]

Shutterbug Sunday: Alamance Battleground

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Battle of Alamance Marker Image One
12-07-2019

Back in May, I did a post on the Battle of Alamance so, I won’t revisit the historical details. Yesterday, I visited the actual battleground with my buddy, Ray. They were having German Heritage Day with authentic German food for visitors. I was so glad we had a beautiful day. It was chilly but, there was a really good turnout. I hadn’t been to this site in nearly 45 years.

All photos are my personal collection. © ~Vic

State Archives Monument Image Two
Battle map behind the Visitor Center Museum, facing the battleground.
Map Image Three
3-D Map of NC Militia troops and the Regulators.
Creek & Rock Image Five
The rock in the 3-D battle map and
the small creek/tributary of Beaver Creek/Big Alamance Creek/Lake Mackintosh.
Field Cannon Image Four
Field cannon.
First Monument Image Six
Facing Inscription:
“HERE WAS FOUGHT THE BATTLE OF ALAMANCE
MAY 18, 1771
BETWEEN THE BRITISH AND
THE REGULATORS
First Monument Image Seven
Left Inscription:
Crossed Cannons & LIBERTY
Right Inscription:
FIRST BATTLE OF THE REVOLUTION
Battleground Sun Image Eight
Battleground Sun

More to come…

Flashback Friday: Altamont Concert 1969

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Grace Slick Image Three
Grace Slick
Photo Credit: Bill Owens

[Note: I originally posted this, yesterday, just before midnight. In researching the data, I stumbled across Bill Owens, a photographer that was at Altamont. He was hired by the Associated Press to cover the concert. I emailed him, reference the two photos of his I posted. I hit ‘publish’ before I found his contact page and statement about photos for sale. In my haste to get this up while it was still Friday, I jumped the gun and quickly made the post private. I asked Bill what the price would be to use two of his pictures. As a photographer myself, I understand copyright issues but, I also recognize the gray area that many a blogger operate in, in the blogosphere….Fair Use (link on that, below). Anyway, this very kind gentleman has allowed my one-time use for this 50th anniversary post. He also provided me with a copy of an interview, conducted by Tony D’Souza in April 2019, covering his Altamont experience and other questions regarding his career. I will post an excerpt and attach the full interview, below. ~Vic]

Fifty years, ago, today, a free rock concert was held at the Altamont Speedway in Tracy, California. Described as “rock and roll’s all-time worst day, […], a day when everything went perfectly wrong“, the event saw violence and four deaths, the most notable being the stabbing of Meredith Hunter.

The concert featured (in order of appearance): Santana, Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with the Rolling Stones taking the stage as the final act. The Grateful Dead were also scheduled to perform following CSNY but, declined to play shortly before their scheduled appearance due to the increasing violence at the venue.

Approximately 300,000 attended the concert, and some anticipated that it would be a “Woodstock [West Coast verson]”. Woodstock was held in Bethel, New York, in mid-August, less than four months earlier. Filmmakers Albert and David Maysles shot footage of the event and incorporated it into the 1970 documentary film titled Gimme Shelter.

[Source]

Naked Guy Image Two
The naked guy.
Photo Credit: Bill Owens

[It’s] not every day that a rock and roll band’s performance, let alone the Rolling Stones’, is accompanied by a knifing, stomping murder within a scream of the stage.

“The violence,” Keith Richard told the London Evening Standard, “just in front of the stage was incredible. Looking back, I don’t think it was a good idea to have [Hells] Angels there. But, we had them at the suggestion of the Grateful Dead. The trouble is, it’s a problem for us either way. If you don’t have them to work for you as stewards, they come, anyway and cause trouble. But, to be fair, out of the whole 300 Angels working as stewards, the vast majority did what they were supposed to do, which was to regulate the crowds as much as possible without causing any trouble. But, there were about ten or twenty who were completely out of their minds…trying to drive their motorcycles through the middle of the crowds.”

The Maysles Brothers, the film company which had shot the whole Stones’ tour, complete with its violent climax at Altamont, had gotten some remarkable footage of Hunter’s killing.

[Source]

Robert Hiatt, a medical resident at the Public Health Hospital in San Francisco, was the first doctor to reach 18-year-old Meredith Hunter after the fatal wounds. He was behind the stage and responded to Jagger’s call from the stage for a doctor. When Hiatt got to the scene, people were trying to get Hunter up on the stage, apparently in the hope that the Stones would stop playing and help could get through quicker.

The Stones & The Hells Angels Image
Stones on stage with Hells Angels.
Photo Credit: allthatsinteresting.com

Three others […] died (two in a hit-and-run accident, another by drowning) and, countless more were injured and wounded during the course of this daylong “free” concert. It was such a bad trip that it was almost perfect. All it lacked was mass rioting and the murder of one or more musicians.

All these things happened, and worse. Altamont was the product of diabolical egotism, hype, ineptitude, money manipulation and, at base, a fundamental lack of concern for humanity.

[Source]

Interview with Bill Owens:
bill@billowens.com
Bill Owens: Altamont 1969 (Amazon)
50 Years After Altamont: The End of the 60s (The New York Times April 15, 2019)

Bill Owens took iconic photos of the Hells Angels beating concertgoers with pool cue sticks at the Rolling Stones’ performance during the Altamont Speedway Free Festival four months after Woodstock on December 6, 1969. Altamont, which included violence almost all day and one stabbing death, is considered by historians as the end of the Summer of Love and the overall 1960’s youth ethos. This series of photos include panoramas of the massive, unruly crowd, Grace Slick and Carlos Santana on stage with the press of humanity so close in, they’re clearly performing under duress.

Of that day, Owens has written: “I got a call from a friend, she said the Associated Press wanted to hire me for a day to cover a rock and roll concert. I road my motorcycle to the event. I had two Nikons, three lenses, thirteen rolls of film, a sandwich, and a jar of water.”

Owens was so fearful of retribution by the Hells Angels that he published the photos under pseudonyms. Some of the negatives were later stolen…Owens believes by the Angels. He continues to have conflicted feelings about Altamont. He had no interest in violence and took no pride in photographing it.

In 1972, Owens released a book of black and white photography called Suburbia, also, now, an American icon. Irascible, stubborn, funny, grouchy, ornery and deeply rooted in small town life, Owens is built like a middleweight puncher and wears his hair as though he was a Marine. Indeed, Owens was never a hippie but, a clean-cut newspaper photographer, husband and father, who joined the Peace Corps to serve his country and “do good.” Turning 80 this September, Owens has also had noted careers as a craft beer brewer and pub owner, a magazine publisher many times over and, is now a distiller. His books include Suburbia, Working, Leisure and many others. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim and two NEAs. His work is collected in leading museums the world over, including the Smithsonian. Recent coverage of Owens includes an April retrospective in the New York Times (link above) of his Altamont photos for the event’s impending 50th anniversary. The photos are available for viewing at Owens’ website (link above and below).

I first met Owens at the defunct Rostel Gallery in remote and far northern Dunsmuir, CA, in late August or early September of 2008 (I remember because my daughter had just been born and the event was the first outing of her life), where they were showing images from Suburbia. These are images of people embarking on a new, modern way of life that they look excited by, but also confused, as though technology and the modish styles of the time were costumes they were still getting comfortable in. Owens’ photograph of a young suburban boy wearing cowboy boots, carrying a toy rifle and riding a Big Wheel, “Ritchie,” has always haunted me, though I couldn’t say precisely why.

Continue reading the interview HERE (PDF)

Set List
Death of Meredith Hunter
Reactions
Let It Bleed (Rolling Stone Magazine January 21, 1970)
Rock & Roll’s Worst Day (Rolling Stone Magazine February 7, 1970)
Altamont Rock Festival: ’60s Abruptly End (Livermore History March/April 2010)
Altamont Rock Festival of 1969: The Aftermath (Livermore History January/February 2011)
Biggest Rock Concert Ends (The Bulletin December 8, 1969)
Bill Owens Site (Associated Press Photographer at Altamont)
Ruling On Fair Use (American Photography May 3, 2019)


 

Wayback Wednesday: Mary Celeste 1872

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Mary Celeste Image One
Image Credit: wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org
1861 Painting – Unknown Artist
Names: Amazon (1861-1868) Canadian
Mary Celeste (1869-1885) American

[Note: The finding of the abandoned Mary Celeste is sometimes listed as December 5, 1872. This is due to time differences between “Civil Time” (land time) and “Sea Time”.]

A merchant brigantine, the Mary Celeste was built at Spencer’s Island, Nova Scotia and launched under British registration as Amazon in 1861. She was transferred to American ownership and registration in 1868 when she acquired her new name. Thereafter, she sailed, uneventfully, until her 1872 voyage.

[She was] discovered adrift and deserted in the Atlantic Ocean off the Azores Islands on December 4, 1872. The Canadian brigantine Dei Gratia found her in a disheveled but seaworthy condition under partial sail and with her lifeboat missing. The last entry in her log was dated ten days earlier.

She left New York City for Genoa on November 7 and [the] Dei Gratia departed for Gibraltar on November 15, following the same general route eight days [later]. [She] was still amply provisioned when found. Her cargo of denatured alcohol was intact and, the captain’s and crew’s personal belongings were undisturbed. None of those who had been on board were ever heard from again.

Ghost Ship Image Two
Image Credit: gutenberg.org

At the salvage hearings in Gibraltar following her recovery, the court’s officers considered various possibilities of foul play, including mutiny by Mary Celeste’s crew, piracy by the Dei Gratia crew or others and conspiracy to carry out insurance or salvage fraud. No convincing evidence supported these theories but, unresolved suspicions led to a relatively low salvage award.

The inconclusive nature of the hearings fostered continued speculation as to the nature of the mystery and, the story has repeatedly been complicated by false detail and fantasy. Hypotheses that have been advanced include the effects on the crew of alcohol fumes rising from the cargo, submarine earthquakes (seaquakes), waterspouts, attack by a giant squid and paranormal intervention. The story of her 1872 abandonment has been recounted and dramatized many times in documentaries, novels, plays and films and, the name of the ship has become a byword for unexplained desertion.

In 1885, her captain deliberately wrecked her off the coast of Haiti as part of an attempted insurance fraud.

[Source]

[Were] it not for Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle, struggling to establish himself as a writer prior to creating Sherlock Holmes, perhaps the world would not have ever known or cared [about the ship]. Conan Doyle’s short story about the ‘Marie Celeste‘ (he changed the name from Mary) turned a minor puzzle into one of the most famous legends of the sea. Nevertheless, we should recognise it was fiction, for which his editor paid 30 Pounds, […] a respectable sum in 1884.

[Source]

Speculations of Cause
Myths
Pop Culture & Legacy
The Mary Celeste Site (Fact, not Fiction)
Smithsonian Article (November 2007)

Smithsonian Documentary Clip

 

Interesting Documentary

Shutterbug Saturday: Wildlife 2.0

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More of our local cutie pies. All photos are my personal collection © ~Vic

Part I

Doe Image One
On an evening walk.
07-03-2019
Buck Image Two
I see you.
Cute Pair Image Three
Cute pair.
Buck & Doe Image Four
On our way…

Flashback Friday: Schrödinger’s Cat 1935

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Schrodingers Cat Image
Image Credit: chillingcompetition.com

Eight-four years ago, today, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger published his first of three essays on a Thought Experiment regarding a hypothetical cat:

[A] cat, a flask of poison and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (e.g. Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that, after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when, exactly, quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.

[Schrödinger] intended the example [above] to illustrate the absurdity of the existing view of quantum mechanics:

One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter, there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small, that perhaps in the course of the hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none. [If] it happens, the counter tube discharges and, through a relay, releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if, meanwhile, no atom has decayed. The first atomic decay would have poisoned it. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.

It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a “blurred model” for representing reality. In itself, it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.

Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment poses the question, “when does a quantum system stop existing as a superposition of states and become one or the other?”

Schrodinger's Cat Image Two
Image Credit: andrewlawrenceking.com

The EPR Paradox was a thought experiment proposed by physicists Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen (EPR) that they interpreted as indicating that the explanation of physical reality provided by quantum mechanics was incomplete (PDF).

Biography
Interpretations of the Experiment
Schrödinger’s Foray into Quantum Mechanics
Legacy
Honors & Awards
All About Science Article
References from Einstein: His Life and Universe