Monday, July 30, 2012

Ugly Olympic Design

Perhaps it's returning from the beautiful forested hills and lakes, or maybe it's because summer is going by too quickly for my liking, or maybe I'm just hitting middle age, but I'm finding more slight annoyances in life.  I returned from our camping trip looking forward to watching a little of the olympics, but I think I'm already annoyed.

London 2012: Winning the gold for worst logo ever

There are of course plenty of things to annoy me.  Firstly, the logo is atrocious!  It reminds me of some kind of bargain brand soda logo from the 80s.  Then there's the font!  You'd think that they could have adopted some kind of updated neoclassical design, but the font continually assaults my eyes.

I feel like Max Headroom should be trying to sell me New Coke with this font.  And I don't care if the Olympic rings are round, it doesn't make the round O in this font any more hip.  As one columnist said, it's what the Brits call "dad dancing."  That is something akin to a middle aged man trying way too hard to still be cool.

But it's not just the Brits that mangled the Olympics.  What was with our outfits at the opening ceremony?

I suppose it matched the 80s throwback theme, but really berets?  Yeech!  Kind of like some kind of odd flight attendant uniforms from yesteryear.

And while I'm on my rant, here are a few other things that irk me...

I don't like watching our goofy American network television hosts and now they've got them over in the UK being equally ignorant of British history, culture, and sports in general.  Perhaps it's just a TV thing, but it seems as though television keeps shooting for an ever lower mental age.  Another thing that bothers me is how the television broadcasts cut between events as though they were live or talk in a giddy excited fashion when the events have been posted half a day earlier on the Internet.  Just show the event in realtime and allow people to watch if they'd like.

Maybe my discontent is just my noticing our degraded popular culture.  I still find tattoos rather trashy and it seems as though more and more of society is getting them.  That bothers me a little too and I've seen more during the olympics than I seem to remember.

Maybe it's time for me to just stop watching the olympics.  It certainly seems as though people have stopped attending them.  I do find it funny that Britain has enlisted the military to serve as seat fillers at the games.

Someone should tell them though that camouflage only works if you look like your surroundings – they should have probably told them to come in civilian clothes as it would have looked more realistic.  I can only imagine what our press would have said if the Chinese had filled their stadiums with uniformed soldiers instead of the general public.

Well, thanks.  I think I have that off my chest.  I'll still watch the games, but thank goodness I have a DVR and can fast forward through much of the nonsense.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gone Camping

Sorry, folks!  A few days ago, on the drop of a hat, Kristine and I decided to attempt one last family camping trip for the summer.  So, we're up in the hills enjoying God's creation.  Sadly, that means no Person-of-Mystery Contest this weekend, but don't worry, we'll be back soon and things should return to normal.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy Liberation Day!

Today we celebrate Guam Liberation Day!  It was on this day in 1944 that American soldiers retook the island from the occupying Japanese forces.

Today we celebrate the heroes of that day and the long-suffering Guamanian people.

US Flag flying over the old Marine Barracks
for the first time since the Japanese occupation

Japanese POWs hearing their Emperor surrender while on Guam

Enjoy all the Liberation Day festivities today!  No contest this week.  I've been busy organizing things for our Boy Scout Summer Camp trip – more postings soon.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Welcome to the Person-of-Mystery Contest!  You've found the home of everyone's favorite weekend pastime, where a stylized photo of a somewhat famous person from history is provided here for you to identify.

So, who could I be?  That's the mystery!  Go ahead and take a guess and then go enjoy your day.  Check back tomorrow and I'll reveal the answer.  The first correct post will be declared the winner.

If you'd like to make sure that your guess is correct, enter his name into Google Images and this photo will be found on the first pages of the image results.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Colorado Springs of Loneliness

Come near losin' my hide in Color. S. of loneliness
Postmarked Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 21, 1907, 4 AM
Miss Jessie Burrows
Cherokee, Okla.
Dear Laughingeyes,
   How is it with you?  I am afraid if I should see you that I could not address you as above.  Remember that there is one other in like condition.
   Your friend T.
Printers Home Col Springs
   Real soon please.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Hello in Leather

Hello!  I hope you are well and happy

Postmarked Udall, Kansas, Dec -, 1907, 9 AM; Wichita, Kans, Dec 1, 1907, 2 PM; Wichita, Kans, Sta. A., Dec 2, 1907, 2:30 PM

Miss Jessie Burrows
1153 University Ave.

This is Wed. morning.  I hope you are having a good time.
By By XX Mina.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Niagara Falls

Following my earlier post on Burney Falls (and my designation as the prettiest waterfall I'd seen), Rob from Amersfoort questioned whether I had seen Niagara Falls and if I did if I liked them.  Well, yes, I have seen Niagara Falls.  I visited them without the family during the summer of 2005.  I was attending a historical conference in Pennsylvania and my wife was staying with the boys at her parents in Wisconsin.  Following the conference I rented a car and drove with a slight detour to meet up with them.

The American Falls at Niagara in 2005

The Niagara Falls are certainly magnificent.  It's a matter of personal opinion certainly, but I found Burney Falls to be more intricate and beautiful to behold.  It's in a much more natural setting and isn't as commercialized.  I saw both in peak season, but Burney Falls was certainly less visited.  Though we passed a few other people, we pretty much had the place to ourselves and you could watch the falls in solitude.  My experience at Niagara was that it there were more distractions around the falls.

The viewing angles of Burney Falls were also a bit better.  Owing to the large amount of water coming over Niagara, the mist, while fun, prevented you from seeing the falls well up close.

I did not take the time to see the falls by boat, which did seem like it would be interesting, but I thought the most fun (and free) viewing angle was from the top of the falls watching the water tumble over the precipice.

So, Niagara Falls still gets 9.7 stars on the Nate's Nonsense Waterfall Rating Scale, which is remarkably high, but slightly lower than the 9.9 rating for Burney Falls.

And I know you are all having a difficult time putting the height of the falls in perspective, so I've added Niagara Falls to the handy info graphic below:

Saturday, July 07, 2012


Welcome to Cipher Saturday!  You've found the home of everyone's favorite weekend pastime, where a stylized photo of a somewhat famous person from history is provided here for you to identify.

Additional clues may be found in the cipher below:

Dzh R gsv hrcgvvmgs li dzh R gsv hrcgs?
R tfvhh rg wvkvmwh lm nb mrugb szg girxp.
Lmob z xzkgzrm R dzh xzoovw tvmvizo yb xslrxv
Zmw gslfts R’n olmt tlmv blf xzm hgroo svzi nb elrxv.
Urhsrmt lu xlfihv dzh nb uzelirgv tznv,
yfg R’n z ovtvmw rm zmlgsvi hklig qfhg gsv hznv.

So, who could I be?  That's the mystery!  Go ahead and take a guess and then go enjoy your day.  Check back tomorrow and I'll reveal the answer.  The first correct post will be declared the winner.

If you'd like to make sure that your guess is correct, enter his name into Google Images and this photo will be found on the first pages of the image results.

Friday, July 06, 2012


Today is the anniversary of one of the most selfish days I ever had.  You see, it was today, a number of years ago, I married the prettiest girl in the world leaving the rest of mankind to content themselves with the second prettiest or less.

The photo today is from our honeymoon.  Don't worry, back in those days it was legal to marry that young.

Would anyone care to take a guess where we were when this photo was taken?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Retrospective Finale

Today will be the final day of our rafting trip retrospective.
So before we left on our vacation, Kristine mentioned that if we were going to be up in Northern California, would it be okay to visit a waterfall she saw on a bank calendar?  I was a little skeptical that the waterfall would be worth the extra trip, but I was up for more time outdoors, so I arranged for a final night after rafting at McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.  I am so glad we made the trip.  I know my photo won't do it justice, but it was perhaps the prettiest waterfall I've ever seen.
Burney Falls
If you went up stream from the falls you wouldn't think it was possible.
Andrew fishing in Burney Creek a few hundred yards above the falls
The photo above shows the creek just before the falls!  So where does the water come from?  It actually flows underground through the volcanic basalt rock and then comes pouring out of the side of the rocky cliff wall at the same spot that the creek flows over the top – 100,000,000 gallons a day!

Everything about the park was great!  Great natural features, beautiful flora, and it was kept up very nice for a state park with new facilities designed in the same beautiful rustic architecture of the 1920s to 1940s.
Jonathan took this one.  I think he has a natural eye for composition.
One of the best things about our time was just hanging out together as a family.
Toasting mellows around the fire.
Jonathan with flaming marshmallow posing as the Statue of Liberty
To maintain consistency with earlier posts,
Jonathan is shown here next to the Confusion Hill Redwood Carving
and also the New York Statue of Liberty
Of course there were too many other great things to post in a blog, but here are my final few...
Starry sky at night
Lava tube tour at Subway Cave north of Lassen Volcanic National Park
Exploring as a family
Oh, and last but not least, there was the obligatory welcome to the state freeway sign photo in Oregon.  How can you not, when you're only a 15 minute drive away?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Birthday, America!  Today we feature a photo from a Fourth of July Parade in my hometown when our country was only 107 years young.

Hope you all enjoy the celebrations!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Rafting the Klamath

So the highlight of our trip was a rafting excursion down the Klamath River at the northern boundary of California.

The Klamath River

The Klamath originates in Oregon, but travels across Northern California before emptying into the Pacific Ocean.

Some Scouts posing with Bigfoot

We met up with our river guides in the town of Happy Camp, California.  This part of the world has more Bigfoot sightings than anywhere else and Happy Camp is famous for its life-size statue to the creature.

Our group departing on the river

We chartered an outfit called Orange Torpedo to take the 30 of us about 36 miles down the Class I to IV rapids of Klamath over three days!

In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful rivers in the state and apart from our group we rarely saw another soul.  The weather was pretty good apart from some initial rain, but the river was a balmy 65° (18 °C).

I had gone down the Klamath back in high school, but at that time, they only had giant several person sized inflatable rafts.  This trip, they had individual inflatable kayaks, which were even more fun.

Andrew on a calm stretch

Kristine taking on a more challenging section

The whole family had a swell time.  Probably one of the more fun trips we've had as a family.

The Family

The rafting made for some fun days and the camp life at night hanging out with the others in the group was fun too.

Improvised camp golf course on a Klamath sandbar

Great fun, great company, great scenery, and great nature.  We saw at least five or six bald eagles, multiple osprey, river otters, turtles, birds, and fish.  But the thing I think I enjoyed the most was no work, no shaving, no worries, and the extreme relaxation.

Self-portrait, vacation day five

Everything was beautiful, including my wife – who would be appalled if she knew I was posting this photo, but I think she looks great all the time...

Next up, our final days away...

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Glass Beach (Fort Bragg, California)

First, congratulations to Rob, who correctly identified Kit Carson as yesterday's Person-of-Mystery!  Not only did he solve the person, but he used good deductive reasoning to narrow his list of likely choices.  Nicely done, Rob!

So today, I'm going to continue our last trip retrospective, by focusing on another of our stops, Sea Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, California.

Back in the early twentieth century, people didn't think as much about ecology as they did today – even here in California.  So when the early residents of the remote coastal town of Fort Bragg, California, were looking for a place to toss their trash, it only made sense to them not to dump it in some landfill somewhere, but rather off the picturesque cliffs (near their pristine beaches north of the town) into the vast Pacific Ocean.  I know, today that sounds horrific, but in the years since 1967 (when the city prohibited dumping in the ocean), the sea tumbled the glass and spit the smoothed pebbles back up on the shores.

Jonathan making sea glass angels

As you approach the beach, you first notice the odd colored sand – perhaps a little more white than normal, but as you get closer to the shore you start noticing that it is not sand at all, but smooth pieces of opaque glass.  Then as you get nearer the shoreline, suddenly you notice the brilliant sparkle as the light glistens off of the multitude of jewel-like baubles all over the seashore.

What a nice reminder that God can take the junk in our life, work it over awhile, and and spit it back out as something beautiful.

As usual, boys will be boys, they tired of the pretty beaches and soon found ledges from which to jump into the water.

Next up, Happy Camp...