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Archive for February, 2008

Baltimore Aquarium Fish

For the last 20+ years, my favorite tongue-twister has been:

Fresh fish, crisp chips.

(Go on,  say it five times fast.)

Today it was replaced by:

Any noise annoys an oyster but a noisy noise annoys an oyster most.

(Funny how they’re both about sea creatures.  Hmmm.)

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Outside the Ice Cream Shop

Science says happiness leads to a long life, good health, resilience and good performance. On average, people who consider themselves happy live nine years longer than people who consider themselves unhappy. 
 
Psychologist and Professor Ed Diener from the University of Illinois says there are three vital ingredients to happiness:
 
♦  Family and friends – the wider and deeper, the better.  Friendship has a protective effect on our health. 
♦  Finding meaning –a belief in something bigger, a sense of spirituality or a philosophy of life.
♦  Working toward and making progress on goals we find interesting, and which use our strengths and abilities.
 
Why doesn’t money make us happy? Because we adapt to pleasure. When we’re attracted to things that give us short bursts of pleasure – from a candy bar to a Corvette – the effect quickly wears off.  We adapt less quickly to more meaningful things such as friendship and goals.

(I bet you have 10 unanswered emails from friends and family sitting in your inbox.   Answer one everyday – even “I’m thinking of you!” will suffice – for ten days and see what happens.  Let me know.)
 

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Apples

I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV) but here’s a prescription that might add 14 quality years to your life:

Three to five times per week, take a 20-minute walk to your favorite non-smoking restaurant, order a big glass of red wine and a large garden salad with extra veggies.

How hard is that?!

A recent study of 20,000 people in the UK determined that if you don’t smoke, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly and drink alcohol in moderation, you’ll gain an additional 14 years of life. The study appears in the Public Library of Science Medicine Journal – a site well worth checking out for other reasons, too.

Kay-Tee Khaw, one of the people who conducted the study at the University of Cambridge said, “We measured normal behaviors that were entirely feasible within people’s normal, everyday lives.” She thinks the findings might help people understand that improving their health doesn’t necessarily require an extreme change in lifestyle.

Tim Armstrong, a physical activity expert at the World Health Organization said, “This research is an important piece of work which emphasizes how modifying just a few risk factors can add years to your life.”

I’ll follow up on these findings in 2077!

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Falling Snow

I found this interesting chart about snowfall totals in the Philadelphia area. It seems the earlier we have our first snowfall, the higher the season snowfall total. 

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be working out this year.  Our first snowfall was in early December but we’ve barely seen an inch of snow since then. Today will help – we’re expecting five inches of snow in Upper Bucks County.  Schools are closed, roads are a mess – but it’s a sight for the sore eyes of this photographer!

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Moon Over Lake Nockamixon

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Palisades Gallery for my show opening last night – what a great time!  I didn’t get a chance to talk with everyone because it was so well-attended, so if I missed you, please forgive me.   Send me a note and let’s catch up!

Special thanks to those who came from quite a distance – especially the Hofmann boys! – and to my good friend, Moe Telsichs, for the flowers.  

Hope you caught the full lunar eclipse on the way home – it was gorgeous.

Here’s the statement that accompanies the 24 images in my show:

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Between 1982 and 1997, America converted over 25 million acres of rural land — primarily farmland, pastures and ranches — into subdivisions, malls, workplaces, roads, parking lots, et al. That’s about equal to the combined land mass of Maine and New Hampshire.

We’ve been developing 2 million acres of rural land per year for the last 20 years.

If the trend continues, America will develop an additional 85 million acres of countryside by 2050. That’s about equal to the combined land mass of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Virginia.

WHAT DO WE GAIN AND WHAT DO WE LOSE?

We gain infrastructure, homes, roads, shops, schools, parking spaces, hotels, resorts and jobs.

We lose wetlands, woodlands, hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, clean water, the ability to grow our own food, and as recent studies have shown, our mental & physical health, and our sense of well-being.

I want my photographs to help Americans question the worth of our land above & beyond its monetary value.

How much is an open horizon worth to us?

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Show Postcard

Two weeks!  Yikes!  I can’t believe I’ve been away that long.

I took a break from writing to prepare for a show of my prints that opens Wednesday, February 20th (tomorrow!) from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Palisades High School Gallery.   I’m very honored to participate in the ongoing “Community Art Series” organized by Cathy Beck and Kim DeNato, the school’s art teachers.

The show features 24 images all taken within the last 18 months. Most appear on my photoblog at www.durhamtownship.com.  Even if you’ve seen the images on the web, it’s quite a different experience to view them in print — the level of detail really brings them to life!

Hope you’ll stop by and say hello!  

Palisades High School Gallery

Route 412 & Church Hill Road

Kintnersville, Pennsylvania 18930

February 20 – April 2, 2008

Opening reception:  Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. 

(Gathering afterwards at the Ferndale Inn, Route 611 & Church Hill Road, Ferndale, PA)

Closing party: Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

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Graduation

Jasper Johns is one of my favorite artists – quintessentially American, absolutely provocative and yet unusually quiet about his work.  He has a reputation for saying very little about what he does, which leaves interpretation to the viewer.  As much as I love his work, I love his persona.

Jasper Johns has a new show at the Met (called “Gray”, through May 4th) and a new exhibition of drawings at Matthew Marks Gallery (“Drawings 1997-2007” through April 12th) in Chelsea. There’s a lovely piece about him by Carol Vogel in yesterday’s New York Times. Some highlights (that tickled my tummy!) from Carol Vogel’s article:

♦  “Mr. Johns seems to have perfected the art of talking about his work without ever revealing too much. Always courtly, he answers questions in a measured, seemingly straightforward manner that leaves a listener wanting to know far more. It’s as if he is aware that a myth surrounds him that he must be careful not to dispel.”

♦   “For decades now his interpretation of flags and targets, numbers and letters — things, as he has often said, ‘the mind already knows,’ ‘things that were seen and not looked at, not examined’ — have become as embedded in the contemporary American art psyche.”

♦  “Predecessor Mark Rothko impatiently dismissed Mr. Johns’s targets and flags, saying, ‘We worked for years to get rid of all that.'”

♦  “He often executes drawings after he finishes a canvas, rather than before. ‘To do a drawing for a painting most often means doing something very sketchy and schematic and then later making it polished,’ he said. ‘It’s done out of a different kind of energy. I love drawings, so I’ve always enjoyed making drawings that exist on their own.'”

♦ “Born in 1930 in Augusta, Ga., and raised in Allendale, S.C., he received his early education in a one-room schoolhouse in rural South Carolina.”

♦ “About 60 years after he first arrived in New York, Mr. Johns is still very much the Southern gentleman. He retains his accent and his soft-spokenness. Yet his quiet demeanor and his six-foot frame make him intimidating at first; he chooses his words with such care that a questioner is tempted to do likewise.”

♦ “Each year, as soon as the temperature begins to plummet in Connecticut, he decamps to his house [in Saint Martin], joining his two resident dogs, Pepper and Pumpkin — both were found abandoned on the island — to work, garden, read, cook and do crossword puzzles.”

♦ “Asked what influence he feels he may have had on young artists, Mr. Johns paused. ‘To me,’ he said, ‘self-description is a calamity.'”

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