Category Archives: Discuss!

My pal Deb Johnson

The Gifting

I send you roses.  And warm fuzzies.  And Cinderella’s horseshoe I have on my mantle.

I send you sunshine, and blue skies, and white puffy clouds that come in funny animal shapes.

I send you rainbows, and dewdrops, and the soft scent of rain;

the smell of freshly mown grass in the farmer’s field;

meadows of wild flowers; sheep, content.

I send you healing thoughts; your mother’s hands to hold you in warm embrace;

fresh loaves of homemade bread; sunflowers; and a night sky filled with stars.

I send you wind through pine trees whispering; the song of your sisters singing.

I send you your child’s first word; a purring kitten on your lap; fireflies dancing the dark;

and a garden, filled to overflowing, waiting for canning.

I send you a basket, woven of marsh grasses, lined in velvet,

full of wonder and love.

I send you butterflies and the 4th of July; rubies, and Christmas;

a circle of friends to hold you; and a seat by a warm fire.

For you, I light a candle.

I send you peace.

© June 1995 by D.W. Johnson


On a Thought Of Leaving Home and Coming Here

The next time I come (here)

I will go (this way)

I am always coming or going–

Coming to stillness; going out of chaos.

Coming from work; going home.

Coming from home; going to a friend’s house.

Coming from the grocery; going to the book shop.

It is the pattern of my life–

I am coming in; I am going out.

Breathing in; breathing out.

What is left from the wake of the wave.

So if I say, “I don’t know if I am coming or going”, what does it matter?

I am in step with what I am…

A part of it.

©  August 26, 2005 by D.W. Johnson

Sisters of Mercy

A wonderful plaint. Posting inspired by my friend George Seaton.

Burn bright George. Burn bright.

Sisters of Mercy

Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can’t go on.
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me their song.
Oh I hope you run into them, you who’ve been travelling so long.

Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control.
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.
Well I’ve been where you’re hanging, I think I can see how you’re pinned:
When you’re not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you’ve sinned.

They lay down beside me, I made my confession to them.
They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem.
If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn
they will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem.

When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon.
Don’t turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon.
And you won’t make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night:
We weren’t lovers like that and besides it would still be all right,
We weren’t lovers like that and besides it would still be all right.

-Leonard Cohen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJQuwLZrusU

Bramble and the Rose

Thinking about all the loves I’ve had, how our lives twined around each other and how we changed each others path through life.

Here’s to all the wonderful and terrible moments, summed up in a traditional folk song by the Black Family (my favorite rendition) – go to the link and give it a listen.

Bramble and the Rose

Traditional. Arrangement The Black Family

We have been so close together
Each a candle and each a flame
All the dangers were outside us
And we knew them all by name

Chorus

See how the bramble and the rose intertwine
Love grows like the bramble and the rose
Often cruel and often kind

Now I’ve hurt you and it hurts me
Just to see what we can do
Give ourselves unto each other
Without ever meaning to

Chorus

Throw your loving arms around me
And sing for me a true love song
And the words sung together
I could sing them all night long

Chorus

See how the bramble and the rose intertwine
Love grows like the bramble and the rose
‘Round each other they will twine

Can be found on the album The Black Family.

Masterpiece

I’ve always believed that humor is where you find it – and you don’t have to look too hard.

Most of the advertising and packaging I’ve seen is so blissfully self-unaware that it self-lampoons with little or no help.

Case in point. Walking through the kitchen at work recently I saw this empty carton sitting on the counter waiting for its trip to the recycling bin:

Innocent enough

but on a whim I picked it up and saw this on the side:

Hm... what's this?

Here’s my thought process as my eyes homed in on the top:

"Morning Masterpiece" ? Oh, I think NOT.

“Morning Masterpiece”? What’s that brown stuff? Doesn’t look a thing like my ‘morning masterpiece’… and mine sure don’t come in pints… but it is kinda creamy… don’t think folks would want it in their coffee…

So to my coworker who was mystified as to my inexplicable laughter… now you know. Yes, it’s scatlogical, yes it’s puerile but it WAS a funny moment to me.

10 Simple Words

10 Simple Words Students (And Everyone) Screw Up

from EDUdemic

OMG U Guyz, Grammar among kidz the$e days be terribllle! So does speeling! There is a big problem unfolding around the world right now. Lucky for you, The Oatmeal has spelled it out, literally. The guy behind the hit comic strip has laid out the top 10 words everyone probably misspells. Hilarious stuff. Enjoy!

1 MeV

JEOL-1000 High Voltage Electron Microscope

One of my favorite places at the University of Colorado was the High Voltage Electron Microscope lab in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology building.

I spent a lot of time there helping my father and the techinical team while in high school, then later when I worked at CU as a lab technician I ran a project that used the HVEM – full circle!

Sitting at its console, looking into the vacuum behind the viewport at the phosphor screen, my hands on the controls for the sample stage and the magnification I literally could see the unseen on the glowing surface. Being fully aware that there were million-volt x-rays bashing around just inches from my treasured brain, held back by inches-thick leaded glass and metal added to the thrill. The click of relays and the faint chugging of vacuum pumps mixed with the curls of vapor from the liquid-nitrogen oil trap completed the atmosphere of super-super-high-tech. And I was driving!! Hard to forget being at the controls of a building-size microscope.

Heady stuff for a young man very taken with science fiction – this was science fact! I’ll never forget the faint, high-pitched whistle the high-voltage system generated. I’m sure it still echoes in the walls even though the massive machine itself has been disassembled and gone for years now.

Neighbor Sarah

Sarah A. Medina
August 20, 1942 – October 15, 2010

Sarah A. Medina, 68, of Longmont, died October 15, 2010 at Life Care Center of Longmont.

She was born on August 20, 1942 in Center, Colorado to Paul and Miquilita (Chavez) Maez.

Sarah married Andy Medina in Leadville, Colorado on October 27, 1961. They lived in Leadville until moving to Boulder in 1987, and to Longmont in 1990.

She was a nurse at St. Vincent General Hospital for 20 years. She then worked at Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Boulder and later at Frasier Meadows in Boulder. She retired in 2003.

Sarah was a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, where she was a Stephen Minister. She was also a member of Catholic Daughters and Women of the Moose. Sarah enjoyed crossword puzzles, reading, watching Westerns on TV, sewing, cooking for her family on holidays, dancing and oldies.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her daughter, Monica Rae and her siblings, Tony, Pauline, Leo, Jake, Bernie and Joe.

Sarah is survived by her husband, Andy Medina of Longmont; her son, Tony Medina (Roxann) of Leadville, Colorado; three daughters, Tina Lovato (Harvey) of Northglenn, Maria Medina and Andrea Medina, both of Longmont; four brothers, Robert Maez (Eloyda), Paul Maez (Nancy), Juan Maez (Sharon) and Richard Maez (Rosemary); a sister, Charlotte Padilla (Tony); sisters-in-law Burdell Maez and Sally Maez; five grandchildren, Paul (Jenny), Brandon, Jason, Christopher and Marissa; two great-grandchildren, Alana and Olivia and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation will be 5-8 PM with Vigil Service 7PM on Monday, October 18, 2010 at Ahlberg Funeral Chapel. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 AM Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 323 Collyer Street. Cremation to follow services at Ahlberg Funeral Chapel and Crematory.

A second Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10 AM on Wednesday October 20, 2010 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Leadville, Colorado. Inurnment will be at St. Joseph Cemetery in Leadville.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Liver Foundation, 2100 S. Corona St. Denver, CO 80210.


Sarah Medina has been my neighbor on Bowen St. since I moved to Longmont. She and her husband Andy, as well as their daughters Maria and Andrea are like family to me. They were incredibly supportive when my wife Marilyn died and overjoyed when they met my new fiance Tammi.

Sarah’s struggle with liver issues was a long one – and her family stood with her staunchly. Andy showed me what a real husband was. He and his daughters did everything they could for Sarah to make her way easier.

God Bless them all. I know the pain you’re enduring and I know it’s only somewhat tempered by the realization that she’s walking without pain at our Savior’s side.

Rayode

I regularly see posts from a local here in Longmont touting the idea that we could all have nuclear reactors (yes, reactors) in our front yards – among other whacked-out concepts. Aside from this being an astoundingly bad idea just on general terms it begs the question of what sort of other stupidity Americans would attempt if we didn’t have careful regulation of radioactives.

This advertisement should tell you pretty graphically just how stupid we as a nation can be.

Courtesy of spuzzlightyear at LiveJournal

Read more scary stuff here – these were ‘doctors’ of the time .

Old dogs are the best dogs

From The Week (hat tip to Dave Trowbridge for posting it on Facebook)

Essay –  The last word: Why old dogs are the best dogs

They can be eccentric, slow afoot, even grouchy. But dogs live out their final days, says The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten, with a humility and grace we all could learn from.
posted on October 17, 2008, at 4:47 AM

It’s a great article – here’s a few of the paragraphs that jumped out at me:

They can be eccentric, slow afoot, even grouchy. But dogs live out their final days, says The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten, with a humility and grace we all could learn from.

Not long before his death, Harry and I headed out for a walk that proved eventful. He was nearly 13, old for a big dog. Walks were no longer the slap-happy Iditarods of his youth, frenzies of purposeless pulling in which we would cast madly off in all directions, fighting for command. Nor were they the exuberant archaeological expeditions of his middle years, when every other tree or hydrant or blade of grass held tantalizing secrets about his neighbors. In his old age, Harry had transformed his walk into a simple process of elimination—a dutiful, utilitarian, head-down trudge. When finished, he would shuffle home to his ratty old bed, which graced our living room because Harry could no longer ascend the stairs. On these walks, Harry seemed oblivious to his surroundings, absorbed in the arduous responsibility of placing foot before foot before foot before foot. But this time, on the edge of a small urban park, he stopped to watch something. A man was throwing a Frisbee to his dog. The dog, about Harry’s size, was tracking the flight expertly, as Harry had once done, anticipating hooks and slices by watching the pitch and roll and yaw of the disc, as Harry had done, then catching it with a joyful, punctuating leap, as Harry had once done, too.

Harry sat. For 10 minutes, he watched the fling and catch, fling and catch, his face contented, his eyes alight, his tail a-twitch. Our walk
home was almost … jaunty.

Now that is some fine writing.

What dogs do not have is an abstract sense of fear, or a feeling of injustice or entitlement. They do not see themselves, as we do, as tragic heroes, battling ceaselessly against the merciless onslaught of time. Unlike us, old dogs lack the audacity to mythologize their lives. You’ve got to love them for that.

The product of a Kansas puppy mill, Harry was sold to us as a yellow Labrador retriever. I suppose it was technically true, but only in the sense that Tic Tacs are technically “food.” Harry’s lineage was suspect. He wasn’t the square-headed, elegant type of Labrador you can envision in the wilds of Canada hunting for ducks. He was the shape of a baked potato, with the color and luster of an interoffice envelope. You could envision him in the wilds of suburban Toledo, hunting for nuggets of dried food in a carpet.

I just love the imagery and the humor.

In our dogs, we see ourselves. Dogs exhibit almost all of our emotions; if you think a dog cannot register envy or pity or pride or melancholia, you have never lived with one for any length of time. What dogs lack is our ability to dissimulate. They wear their emotions nakedly, and so, in watching them, we see ourselves as we would be if we were stripped of posture and pretense. Their innocence is enormously appealing. When we watch a dog progress from puppy­hood to old age, we are watching our own lives in microcosm. Our dogs become old, frail, crotchety, and vulnerable, just as Grandma did, just as we surely will, come the day. When we grieve for them, we grieve for ourselves.

A great read. Go read the whole thing, it’s worth every second.

Photo Rights

The following is from Petapixel and is the text of a reference on photographers rights.

  1. You can make a photograph of anything and anyone on any public property, except where a specific law prohibits it. i.e. streets, sidewalks, town squares, parks, government buildings open to the public, and public libraries.
  2. You may shoot on private property if it is open to the public, but you are obligated to stop if the owner requests it. i.e. malls, retail stores, restaurants, banks, and office building lobbies.
  3. Private property owners can prevent photography ON their property, but not photography OF their property from a public location.
  4. Anyone can be photographed without consent when they are in a public place unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. i.e. private homes, restrooms, dressing rooms, medical facilities, and phone booths.
  5. Despite common misconceptions, the following subjects are almost always permissible:
    • accidents, fire scenes, criminal activities
    • children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
    • bridges, infrastructure, transportation facilities
    • residential, commercial, and industrial buildings
  6. Security is rarely an acceptable reason for restricting photography. Photographing from a public place cannot infringe on trade secrets, nor is it terrorist activity.
  7. Private parties cannot detain you against your will unless a serious crime was committed in their presence. Those that do so may be subject to criminal and civil charges.
  8. It is a crime for someone to threaten injury, detention, confiscation, or arrest because you are making photographs.
  9. You are not obligated to provide your identity or reason for photographing unless questioned by a law enforcement officer and state law requires it.
  10. Private parties have no right to confiscate your equipment without a court order. Even law enforcement officers must obtain one unless making an arrest. No one can force you to delete photos you have made.

These are general guidelines regarding the right to make photos and should not be interpreted as legal advice. If you need legal help, please contact a lawyer.


To all concerned – I will continue to take photos of whomever I like in public. Your insinuations will not stop me from exercising my rights. Far from it.

Vanadium nitrogenase

From Slashdot: Gasoline from thin air

An enzyme found in the roots of soybeans could be the key to cars that run on air. If perfected, the tech could lead to cars partially powered on their own fumes. Even further into the future, vehicles could draw fuel from the air itself. Quoting: ‘The new enzyme can only make two and three carbon chains, not the longer strands that make up liquid gasoline. However, Ribbe thinks he can modify the enzyme so it could produce gasoline. … [Perfecting this process] won’t happen anytime soon… “It’s very, very difficult,” to extract the vanadium nitrogenase, said Ribbe.’

Gaming no fun anymore

From those wonderful folks at Slashdot (News for Nerds. Stuff That Matters):

Frustration and Unhappiness In the Games Industry

Gamasutra’s Leigh Alexander recently wrote an editorial about the atmosphere of irritation and dissatisfaction that pervades all aspects of the video game industry. Developers are often overworked and unfulfilled, gamers have no qualms about voicing their disapproval (sometimes quite warranted, sometimes not), and the media, in trying to please both groups, often fails to satisfy either. Why is there so much strife in an industry ostensibly focused on having fun? From the article:

“More and more developer sources I talked to suggested that fatigue, hostility, being at odds with one’s employer and questioning one’s career course is frighteningly common in the game industry. That being the case, it seems natural that elements like emotional detachment, anxiety and a lack of fulfillment make their way, even subtly, into the products the industry creates and into the ecosystem around the industry and its audience. ‘Because of the secrecy and competition, a lot of development teams end up having a siege mentality — batten down the hatches and refuse to come up for air until the game’s done,’ says [an] anonymous developer. ‘Game development has a way of taking over your life, because there’s always more that can be done to improve perceived quality. I’ve seen a lot of divorces in my time in the game industry. I feel like it’s much greater than average, but I have no statistical evidence.'”

I think the problem is this simple: greed. The people running the companies aren’t in it to have fun – they’re in it to make money and live out their vicariously violent fantasies. Fun, craftsmanship and contribution to society are a far-distant second. It’s one of the reasons I don’t play video games – I don’t want to support a morally-bankrupt industry that causes people so much pain.

Thirst

In this vineyard
I have waited
parched of throat
despairing of kinship
hiding in the shadow

Comes a vintner now
eager and joyous
blessed by the light
unafraid of the dark
to lead me forth

Working as one
we prune away the dead
shore up the weak
and harvest together
the sweet fruit of life

When the wine is ready
bloody red and warm
fill the cups
brimming full
and raise them high

Let us toast this day
and vow between us
to always drink deep
until the cups are empty
or stricken from our lips

MDW 6/98
to Marilyn on our wedding day

Piece of the Sky

I often hear it said that parents ‘…would give their child the moon and the stars…’

My father did.

Piece of the Sky

I will never forget
late on a summer evening
deep in the humming heart of science
my father, master of machines
said “Come here,
I want to show you something.”

With careful hands
he took a small wooden box
from a locked cabinet
and opened it, carefully
so carefully,
like a priest.

Inside the box,
inside a glass jar,
perched on a wire,
was a stone
more a cinder, really.

Removing the glass
he plucked it free
and told me to hold out my hand.
“Be careful, don’t drop it” he ordered
as he placed it in my palm.

As I inspected this nondescript clinker
he said
matter of factly,
“That’s a piece of the moon.”
Just able to realize what it was
I goggled in awe
at the wonder of it.

Now, in the night
looking up at that gleaming coin
sliding through the clouds,
I realize what he gave me that night,
most precious of all,
respect.

MDW 7/98

Raise me up

You Raise Me Up

by Josh Groban

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

There is no life – no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

To all of you who have come to ‘sit awhile with me’ when it was the darkest, bless you. Your names are written in my deepest heart, not to be forgotten.

Stolen Car

Please help Charlie Fellenbaum find his car!

Craigslist posting with photos

STOLEN – Green 1998 Acura Integra GS-R 4-door

Last night (Wednesday June 9) someone stole from my driveway in Central East Longmont my great car.

If you have any information about this car, phone the Longmont Police Department, 303-651-8501, or write me directly.

Body was almost perfect except for a small scrape on left rear quarter panel near tail light.

Factory green-blue paint.

  • Konig Helium wheels, silver (photo below is old, shows factory Blades, no Thule rack yet)
  • Thule roof rack with Yellow RockyMounts bicycle carrier and Thule wind deflector.
  • BF Goodrich g-Force Super Sport tires, nearly new.
  • KYB shocks.
  • Reese trailer hitch, no ball.
  • A little over 85,000 miles on the odometer.
  • VIN # JH4DB8587WS000467

Location: Longmont

Carbon

By DJ Cline

I am the thing you thought you had destroyed.
My hammered chains and broken rings
Smoke up the chimney
Riding the wind and falling from the sky
The soul from a coal.
The ash from the flash
The grit that grinds
The dust in the very air you breathe
I am everywhere now and cannot go away.
I am part of you.
You could not exist without me.
I am the balance.
Without my comedy
There is only your tragedy.
Be careful what you burn.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Carbon

Young brain again

Seen at Slashdot:

German neuroscientists made a breakthrough in ‘age-related cognitive decline’, a common condition that often begins in one’s late 40s (especially declarative memory — the ability to recall facts and experiences). Their new study identifies a genetic ‘switch’ for the cluster of learning and memory genes that cause memory impairment in aging mice. By injecting an enzyme, the team ‘flipped’ the switch to its on position for older mice, giving them the memory and learning performance they’d enjoyed when they were young. Now the team ultimately hopes to recover seemingly lost long-term memory in human patients.” The video, which explains the gene flipping mechanism, is worth a watch (2:18).