ROMEO & JULIETTE COMING OVER FOR A VISIT

Beautiful photographs of regal eagles…because they’re awesome!
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Welcome to Tofino Photography

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This sequence shows Juliette landing first with Romeo following. If Romeo had been there by himself,he would of started singing to greet Juliette.

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LEGO Cars: Artist Recreates Classic Vehicles in Everyones Favourite Bricks

LOL – I love these! You can’t go wrong with classic cars and LEGOs…
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ALK3R

1“Ghostbusters”

In the hours 41-year-old Ralph Savelsberg is not working as a physicist for the Dutch Ministry of Defence, he is recreating classic vehicles in everyones favourite bricks.

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Konstruktor: For Those Uninterested in Instagram

I love this! I’m seriously considering investing in one…it’s perfect!

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ALK3R

The photography company Lomography is known for making obscure, hyper-specific cameras, the complete opposite of most cameras or smartphones that perform about fifteen different operations.

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Rocky Relationships~

I’m always awestruck by rock-climbers…they’re phenomenal! Cindy captures these daredevils in all their glory.
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are particularly hard,
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subject to extreme ups and downs,
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making you feel perpetually unsafe,
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like you might, at any minute,
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fall off a cliff.
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People often wonder,
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why be in such a relationship?
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They may not share the love of the challenge, the discipline, the risk.

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Cheers to you from beautiful Utah and the remarkable rock-hounds who choose to defy gravity & win~

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Stunning Street Photography of Chicago

Beautiful photographs of the “Windy City” – fantastic!
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ALK3R

Karl Jason Solano is a talented photographer and filmmaker with a penchant for philosophy, travel, people, basketball and art, based in Chicago, Illinois. Karl shoots a lot of street, architecture and portrait photography.

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Ah, Sharon…

Sharon Lafaye Jones: 4 May 1956 – 18 November 2016

I had a couple of posts ready to publish, including a blogging award nomination…but then, I saw this headline. So, in lieu of what I was planning on posting, here’s my little tribute to the late, great Sharon Jones, lead singer of the soul and funk band which had her name at the head of its title: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. She battled pancreatic cancer for a number of years, finally succumbing to the disease today at the age of 60. From the New York Times:

Sharon Jones, the soul singer and powerful voice of the band the Dap-Kings, died on Friday of pancreatic cancer that had been in remission but returned last year. She was 60.

Ms. Jones’s death was confirmed by Judy Miller Silverman, her publicist. She said Ms. Jones was surrounded by members of the Dap-Kings and other loved ones when she died.

She continued performing throughout the summer, even while undergoing chemotherapy that she said caused neuropathy in her feet and legs and restricted her movements onstage. But Ms. Jones remained undeterred.

“Getting out on that stage, that’s my therapy,” Ms. Jones said in a New York Times interview published in July. “You have to look at life the way it is. No one knows how long I have. But I have the strength now, and I want to continue.”

The summer tour promoted “I’m Still Here,” a single with the Dap-Kings that detailed Ms. Jones’s birth in a brutally segregated South, a childhood in the burned-out Bronx, and a career hampered by record executives who considered her “too short, too fat, too black and too old.”

Ms. Jones was that rare music star who found fame in middle age, when she was in her 40s.

In addition to working as a correction officer at Rikers Island and an armed guard for Wells Fargo, Ms. Jones, who had grown up singing gospel in church choirs, initially dabbled in professional music as a session singer and the vocalist in a wedding band, Good N Plenty.

After meeting Gabriel Roth, the producer and songwriter also known as Bosco Mann, Ms. Jones made the leap from backup singer to main attraction. Desco Records released her debut 7-inch vinyl single, “Damn It’s Hot,” in 1996. She was 40.

With the encouragement and songwriting of Mr. Roth, who co-founded the Brooklyn soul and funk revival label Daptone Records and serves as the bandleader of the Dap-Kings, Ms. Jones’s full-length debut, “Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings,” came out in 2002. She would go on to release four more studio albums and two compilations on the small label, a point of pride for the fiercely independent Ms. Jones.

“A major label’s going to do what?” she said to Billboard last year. “I sing one or two songs, they give me a few million dollars, which they’re going to want back, and then the next thing you know, the next record don’t sell, and then they’re kicking me to the curb. With us, this is our label, this is our project.”

Sharon Lafaye Jones was born on May 4, 1956, in Augusta, Ga., though her family lived just across the border in North Augusta, S.C. In “Miss Sharon Jones!” the singer recalled that her mother had needed a cesarean section, but because of segregation in the Jim Crow south, she was not allowed in the hospital’s main unit and was instead relegated to a storage room.

After her parents separated, Ms. Jones, the youngest of six children, moved with her mother to New York and was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. “But New York in 1960, no peace to be found,” she sang on “I’m Still Here.” “Segregation, drugs and violence was all around.”

She went on to attend Brooklyn College and acted in “Sister Salvation,” an Off-Broadway play, before turning her focus to music.

With her late start, Ms. Jones recorded and performed at an unrelenting pace, and in the last year and a half of her life she made two albums, opened two national tours for Hall & Oates, was featured in a television commercial for Lincoln (performing the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider”) and starred in “Miss Sharon Jones!,” a documentary about her life.

The film traced her life from the diagnosis of Stage 2 pancreatic cancer in 2013 through her triumphant return to the stage in 2015. Ms. Jones is survived by four siblings, seven nieces and three nephews.

I saw her on The Colbert Report when she was promoting her album titled “I Learned the Hard Way,” and immediately bought it on CD. I absolutely loved her old-school style of recording and the sound evoked on her album, and the energy that she poured into her songs and on-stage performance were infectious. She idolized James Brown, and was called the female version of him due to her “roaring voice, frenetic energy, and gregarious personality.” She used music as a form of therapy for her cancer diagnosis, which was eventually classified as Stage 4 and metastasized to her lungs, liver, and lymph nodes – the pancreas is one of the lymphatic organs, from what I recall of med school and related biology and physiology courses.

Rest easy now, Sharon…you shall be missed. You join the pantheon of the greats – you deserve to be in their company, as you certainly earned it. Jimi, David, Prince, and many others await your presence…and give James a big-ass hug!

I’ll close with the three songs that I enjoyed the most, from the first album of hers that I bought. I’m definitely going to purchase the others before the month is over.

The Versatile Blogger Award – 31 October 2016 Edition!

The Versatile Blogger Award: ***Halloween Special***

I was nominated for this award by The Shamrock Show Mage, co-author over at The Well-Red Mage’s blog, on 31 October 2016. It was a very pleasant Samhain surprise! I’m honoured and humbled by this nomination, and extend my thanks. If you haven’t done so, please check out their very awesome blog! It is one that has been added to my list of ‘dailies,’ which are the blogs I follow that I read on a daily basis.

First, the rules…

Rules:

1. Display Award.
2. Thank the person who gave this award, and include a link to their blog.
3. Share seven things about yourself.
4. Nominate ten bloggers.

Seven things about me:

1. I’m a coffee fiend and drink 4 – 5 cups per day, but never after 3 p.m. I prefer buying whole-bean coffee and grinding it at home, and have a nice storage container for keeping the grounds fresh. I even use one of those ‘gold’ filters – paper filters absorb the oils of the coffee, diluting the flavor. No, I don’t consider myself a ‘coffee snob,’ LOL

2. I’m participating in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge for the first time – but I’ve been blogging for a decade.

3. I haven’t attended a Hallowe’en party for over 10 years.

4. I don’t dress up for Hallowe’en every year, but when I do, I pull out all of the stops…and I never wear the same costume twice.

5. My favourite Hallowe’en candies are: Kit-Kat Bars, Twix bars, Whoppers, Gobstoppers, Lemon-heads, Atomic Fireballs, Swedish fish, and Twizzlers.

6. I’ve never TP’ed a house, but I have covered cars in shaving-cream and silly-string. I’ve thrown eggs at people, but only after they threw them at me!

7. I don’t decorate my house for the holidays – I have my own means of celebrating things.

(I mixed in some Hallowe’en-related stuff in there, just because!)

My 10 nominees:

1. Jacqueline at A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales
2. Tony Single at Crumble Cult
3. Brian Lageose at Bonnywood Manor
4. Sheldon Kleeman – Art Works
5. Kat Myrman at Like Mercury Colliding
6. Paul at Windblown Words
7. T. Ibara Photo
8. Tofino Photography
9. Cindy Knoke
10. ALK3R

(I’m aware that many blogs I follow are ‘award-free,’ so they are under no obligation to acknowledge this award or participate – I simply wanted to pay my respects to those blogs and their authors!)

Breathtaking Starry Skies of New Zealand

Breath-taking, eye-opening, amazing and awesome…I love these!
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ALK3R

New Zealand can be the scene of absolutely fantastic situations on an astronomic plan. The astrophotographers Jake and Jo Scott-Gardner indeed wander their mother country and especially the region of Queenstown in order to capture aurora borealis, shooting stars, meteors or the Milky Way with their cameras and satisfy their curiosity.

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Congratulations, Cubbies!!!

Way to go, Chicago…you did it! What a World Series this turned out to be: history-making plays on both sides; amazing comebacks and phenomenal athleticism made these seven games complete nail-biters, from start to finish. Amazing! If you don’t like baseball, then you won’t understand. Those who do, well…you know what I’m talking about!

Final score: Chicago 8, Cleveland 7. There was a short rain delay, and the game went into “extra frames” – 10 innings total were played.

What a game, what a game…and Cleveland took it to the wire. They didn’t give up – it just didn’t go their way. They should still feel proud, no matter what. They’re champions in my book, too!

The whole series was fantastic – now, the season is over. Looking forward to next year…spring training in April will be here before we know it!

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Thursday Thoughts…27 October 2016

I was doing a bit of reading today, and found out that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a re-mastered version coming out tomorrow, being released on Steam for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. From The Telegraph:

In 2011 the Game Director of Bethesda Game Studios, Todd Howard, finished up work on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This Norse fantasy, sandbox role-playing game was one of the most anticipated releases of the last console generation, and the hype was palpable. It shot to unprecedented success, earning countless Game of the Year awards, smashing sales targets and capturing the hearts and minds of millions. As we approach the game’s fifth anniversary, Bethesda is about to commemorate its original release with a remaster. It’s no surprise –– the game still has an enormous fan base, reams of cosplayers flock to dress up as its characters at every convention, and there’s even an upcoming concert to celebrate the game’s incredible orchestral score. Its five-year birthday is certainly a milestone to be celebrated, but the game’s remarkable success –– how the melting pot of chance, luck and sheer artistic achievement brought us here –– remains a bit of a mystery.”

Will I buy it? Most likely. Will I have much time to play it? Not immediately, LOL! Stay tuned and I’ll let you know…I still have to get my main rig back in my hot little hands!

The second story that caught my eye has to do with the dress that First Lady Michelle Obama wore at her final state dinner as first lady. She wore an absolutely breath-taking gown designed by Donatella Versace, but the story behind it is awesome! From the New York Times:

On Tuesday night, at her final state dinner as first lady, Michelle Obama solidified her legacy as perhaps the most adept and successful practitioner of the art of political dressing that any administration has seen.

Her choice of an Atelier Versace gown for the Italy state dinner was not only a nice bit of sartorial diplomacy — Versace being an Italian success story, a company often touted as a candidate for a public offering — but, coming less than a week after her magnetic speech in New Hampshire on women and respect, it went far beyond being simply an ambassadorial nod to a guest country’s talent and made a powerful subliminal statement.

The dress, after all, was made of rose gold … chain mail. As much as it was gracefully cut and draped, it also spoke of armor and female strength, of the need to gird yourself to fight for what you believe in. And it was designed by Donatella Versace, a woman who was famously thrust into one of the most difficult situations of all: having to take over and preserve the company founded by her brother after his murder in Miami. And who, despite a fair number of doubts, has ultimately triumphed — in part by transforming the aesthetic of her company from one built on the power of sex to one built on the power of self.

After all, Ms. Versace did describe her most recent women’s wear collection, shown in Milan last month, as, “all about a woman’s freedom: freedom of movement, freedom of activity, freedom to fight for their ideas, freedom to be whomever you want to be.” And she set it to a soundtrack by the trance duo Violet + Photonz that featured the statement that it was time for women to “take the leap.”

I love that dress. May I say it again? I absolutely LOVE THAT DRESS! I love the craftsmanship that was involved, because making a dress out of chain mail, especially of that fine of a gauge, takes much time and skill…this, I know! I have some jewelry and clothing made out of chain mail, including a dress – but my dress is nowhere near as fine as the one worn by the First Lady. It is well-made, but extremely heavy; definitely more utilitarian than fashionable, and the links are much larger. I’d love to see how it was made, from start to finish…truly a masterpiece! Warrior women certainly need our armour – wherever we go!

Finally, the most recent take on the election from John Oliver – his perspective, along with those of Trevor Noah, Conan O’Brien, and Stephen Colbert, make these last two weeks far more palatable. I cast my vote already, and my conscience is clear. My duty is done…there’s nothing left to do but wait until the final vote is counted and the official decision is handed down.

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