Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Trail Maintenance...and Ultrarunning

This week I have some signage to install in the vicinity of "my" overseer site: the Reese Hollow Trail and Shelter.  This is a feeder trail to the Tuscarora Trail just east of Mercersburg in southern PA.

The Tuscarora is a dry, ridge top trail so the Reese Hollow Trail brings backpackers down about a mile off the ridge to a shelter and spring.

image credit Gary

I did these signs with my Dremel Tool and with practice, I think I've gotten fairly proficient.

The link to Ultrarunning?  I've beaten this drum before, but trails do not magically appear and stay maintained all by themselves, just for our running pleasure.  There's a LOT of sweat involved, so I'd encourage you to take the plunge and volunteer with your local trail organization.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cats in Art: Woman and Cat (Foujita)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I'm using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.  This is the ninth and possibly final post in a series of posts of the cat art of Leonard Foujita.

Image credit WikiArt, here.  Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita,  Woman and Cat, undated, media and size unspecified, held in a private collection.

This post is specifically selected for the occasion and dedicated to my lovely bride, who so loves male orange tabby cats.  Today is our 40th wedding anniversary.  And the photo below is our cat Sammy, who died at age 19 a couple years ago, and who (according to the bride) was very nearly the greatest cat ever:

image credit Gary

Anyway, not much to add to the Foujita comments other than his orange kitty seems young, a juvenile, so hopefully Foujita had him (I assume male because that's my model) for many a year.  The kitty seems fascinated by the painter, while the woman seems aloof and bored...even a tad hostile or angry about something.  All she would have to do is to reach down and pet the tabby and her problems would immediately seem smaller.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Janis Joplin Stamps...and Ultrarunning

A few weeks back I posted about the upcoming Janis Joplin stamp to be issued by the USPS in August.

Well, we like JJ, although the bride and I are certainly not groupies, so I guess it was more the idea of honoring an era in classic rock: since we need stamps anyway, we went ahead and bought $200 worth.

That's about 400 stamps, thusly:

[image credit Gary]

They come in sheets of 16, with a photo of JJ on the back, with the sheet designed to look like an 45 in its sleeve.

The link to Ultrarunning is that probably JJ's most beloved song is Piece of my Heart.  Sometimes when I'm struggling along the trail this tune comes unbidden to my mind...and stays there.  Although it's a song of love gone bad, I focus on the word heart, as in my heart pounding in the effort of the run.

Listen to it here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More VERY EASY Trickle-Down Theory

On the heels of yesterday's post where the pope recognizes and calls out simple economic reality, I dug around in my archives for a post that I knew I did on this same topic, which at length I finally found here (I had labelled it poorly).

Here's what I wrote 3 years ago in a post called Debunking The Myth Of The Wealthy Job Creator: 

The conservatives keep reciting--to me, reminiscent of the mob of zombies chanting "Imhotep" in the first Mummy movie--that tax cuts for the wealthy are the best way to create jobs and stimulate the economy.  In fact, I think they actually believe it.

But it makes no sense.  The cart is not only before the horse, there seems to be no horse.  Let's try this for some logic:

The way jobs are created is through demand for goods and services.  I need my car worked on, so I take it to a garage.  If enough additional people like that particular garage, eventually the owner will need to hire another mechanic to meet the increased demand.  Merely giving more money to the owner via tax cuts--in the absence of increased demand--will not cause him suddenly to say "Aha!  Now I can hire that mechanic!" The new mechanic will be sitting on his hands because the cars are not lining up outside.  Why? People in a fiscal crunch are doing more of their own auto maintenance or deferring it.

Nope, it's D-E-M-A-N-D, in the form of spendable money in people's pockets, that will create jobs.  It's always been a bottom-driven process, never a top-down, trickle-down effect, despite all the lockstep chanting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pope Francis Gets it Right

This quote is from nearly a year ago but I just ran across it recently.  Links here and here.

Despite the fact that this pope is the head of a male-dominated and privileged colossus that has ruled virtually unchanged for centuries, he is slowly but surely making inroads in the right direction.

Read what he says about current economic theory:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” Francis wrote in the papal statement. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacra­lized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
“Meanwhile,” he added, “the excluded are still waiting.” 

Then read this, from the pope's same statement last November.  The bolding is mine:

In his most authoritative writings as pontiff, Francis decried an “idolatry of money” in secular culture and warned that it would lead to “a new tyranny.” But he reserved a large part of his critique for what he sees as an excessively top-down Catholic Church hierarchy, calling for more local governance and greater inclusiveness — including “broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church.” 

Why, it's almost enough to make a Roman Catholic out of me.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Missing Charlie...and Ultrarunning

I posed last week how my father-in-law died suddenly about a week ago.

Each instance of grief and loss is unique, and may run the gamut from constant, distraught weepiness to acceptance and even happiness in celebrating the life of the departed.

At the age I am, I've seen my share of deaths of grandparents, parents, the near death of a child and grandchild, and friends, but I can't say yet whether I'll be motivated to remember Charlie frequently here at Mister Tristan (the blog, not the 6 year old human being) or whether this post might be the last.  Just don't know.

But I will tell a short tale that epitomized Charlie and how he always had a kind word or a funny story to put people at their ease. As they say in Pennsylvania Dutch country, "He liked to devil people."

Charlie was giving his grandson advice once, how since he (Charlie) was such a handsome man in his younger years, he had the problem of dealing with persistent, pesty females.

Charlie's solution: "I had to shit in my pants to keep the girls away."

Guess I'll go take a run.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cats in Art: Cat and Girl (Foujita)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I'm using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.  This is the eighth in a series of posts of the cat art of Leonard Foujita.

Image credit WikiArt, here.  Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita,  Cat and Girl, 1956, media and size unspecified, held in a private collection.

Foujita's cat in this painting, which comes quite late in his painting career, is almost cartoonish in its facial expression.  Not that this is a bad thing; cats (and dogs) undoubtedly have quite an array of distinct facial expressions.  This kitty looks inquisitive and fascinated by something...yet the body language to me seems like it is not ready to bolt.  It's more of a stationary curiosity if there is such a thing in the kitty world, while not yet ready to get too close to whatever it is out there.

And the girl: she, too, is looking intently in the same direction as the cat, off  to the painter's right.  Her expression is the human equivalent of the cat's: total absorption.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Offline Briefly

We'll be dark here at Mister Tristan (the blog, not the 6 year old human being) until my Sunday Cats in Art post.