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Archive for January, 2008

Tree People

I’m now a card-carrying member of the Mason-Dixon Trail system.

The Mason-Dixon trail is 193 miles long and connects the Appalachian Trail to the Brandywine Trail.  It starts at Whiskey Springs, Cumberland County, PA, and follows the west bank of the Susquehanna to Havre de Grace, MD. Across the Susquehanna it continues through Elk Neck State Forest to the Christina River in Delaware, then White Clay Creek in Chester County, PA. It terminates at the Brandywine River in Chadds Ford, PA.

It’s not well-known — I grew up in Chadds Ford and never heard of it until two weeks ago!

For $15 you can become a member, too, and receive a very detailed set of 10 maps with specific instructions by the mile — plus a cool patch for your hat or jacket. Visit www.masondixontrail.org for more details.

The trail seems to follow a lot of back roads but there are sections along old logging roads, through fields and woods, too. I’m looking forward to hiking Map 3: “Wago Junction at the Susquehanna River to Trinity Church Road south of Wrightsville.”  Looks like unparalleled views of the Susquehanna River and the surrounding landscape. 

I’m imagining a foggy morning in June… 

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And Ye Shall Know the Truth

I’m a radio junkie.  I learned the habit from my parents, who always had a radio on in the house or car, and my older brothers who had transistors stuck to their heads as they listened to the big hits of the 60s.  By the time I had my own radio, Top 40 was on FM, but I graduated to prog-rock at the ripe age of 11.  

I love listening to AM, FM, even shortwave.  I have a huge Grundig Satellit 800 on my desk!  One of the reasons I enjoy roadtrips so much is because I get to find new stuff on the “dial” as I travel through different towns.

While driving through New York state last weekend, I heard an AM radio ad for an anti-aging facial cream which was clearly being promoted to women.  An actor posing as a husband said, “It’s like looking at a photo of my wife from twenty years ago!”

If a company uses actors in “testimonials” for their products, aren’t they lying about the product?  (Yes.) Why would anyone believe a paid actor? (I don’t think consumers stop to think they’re listening to actors, especially if they’re inclined to buy the product anyway.)  Why can’t the company use real testimonials? (The product isn’t that good and/or it costs too much to find “real” people.)

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Through the Viewfinder 

If you haven’t tired of the film vs. digital debate, I’m in awe of your forbearance.

As long as we have artists, new mediums will replace old mediums because of technological advances, safety reasons, costs, material availability and whims.   The old mediums don’t die; they simply fall out of mainstream favor.  But they remain revered by some, occasionally to the detriment of the spirit of art itself.

If you learn anything from art history, it’s that great artists transcend their mediums and make any debate about their materials or processes completely senseless.

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Nockamixon Cliffs

I’m on a waterfall kick.  Since doing some research on the health benefits of negative ions, and visiting the falls at nearby Ringing Rocks Park last week, I’m off to find more.

This weekend I’m heading to Taughannock Falls State Park in Ulysses, New York.  It boasts a waterfall with a 215 foot drop, slightly higher than Niagara on the American side but with much smaller volume. It’s the highest drop east of the Rockies. The park’s Gorge Trail, open all year, puts you next to the spray of the falls. According to the Park Ranger I spoke with today, the falls are only partially frozen and water’s still coming over the top.

The falls and gorge create a natural amphitheater and the dense spray rising from the bottom of the falls creates a heavy mist — full of negative ions!

Negative ions are air molecules that have lost an electrical charge because they’ve been broken apart by things such as sunlight, moving air or moving water. They’re in abundance in places like waterfalls, the mountains and the beach. When we breath in large quantities of negative ions, it increases the flow of oxygen to the brain and reduces the amount of the mood chemical serotonin in the bloodstream, creating a feeling of mild euphoria.

At the base of Yosemite Falls in California, there are about 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. (A cubic centimeter is the size of a sugar cube.)  In fresh country air, there are about 4,000 and on an L.A. freeway at rush hour, there are 100 negative ions per cubic centimeter.

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Elk Neck State Park, Maryland

One of my favorite places to take photos is Turkey Point at Elk Neck State Park in Maryland.  Check out its location you’ll begin to see why. 

The tip of the park has a photogenic series of trails that run along a 100-200 foot bluff above the Chesapeake Bay and the Elk River.  There are no guard rails or fences to keep people away from the edge so you can get pretty daring if you have a mind for it.  On Saturday, 60mph winds and temperatures below 20F kept me from a long hike, but I managed a few shots before my face froze solid.  

The negative ions made the trip worthwhile!

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Canada Goose

For Pete’s sake, they’re called Canada Geese, not Canadian Geese.  Branta canadensis Birds don’t have a nationality!

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 Cow Noses

I feel a mixture of amusement, horror and curiosity everytime I read the local Penny Power classified ads newspaper that serves Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley.  A sampling from this week’s edition: 

PETS R KIDS TOO!  Has quality puppies, kittens, fish, small animals.  Feeders.  All animals guaranteed.  New!  Clearance bin.  New inventory arriving weekly.  Stop in and see our specials.

NOW THAT WE ARE on our way into this New Year, what better way to get the year off to a good start than by having some new flooring installed!

FREE REMOVAL of sawed logs, vintage stereo equipment or let’s barter for any power equipment items for firewood. 

PET HOLSTEIN COW, $400.

THUMBS DOWN to the person who stole two baby cars seats out of my son’s and daughter-in-law’s yard on December 30th.  You should be ashamed of yourself, to steal something that a child depends on for safety is a disgrace.  To go into someone’s yard and just walk off with things that don’t belong to you is just so wrong.  You left my grandshildren without car seats and they were unable to go visiting for the holidays.  If you don’t have a clear conscience and want to return them, please do.  If you choose not to, you are the one that has to live with yourself.  Every time you use them, just think of the children who have no car seats.  Upset Grandmother

MOVIE NIGHT Sunday, January 27, 6pm.  “The Last Sin Eater.”  Cornerstone Community Church.

If you want phone numbers for the ads let me know. 🙂

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