Warm Southern Breeze

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How To: Make A Mediocre Picture Better

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Admit it.

You’re not a Professional Photographer.

That is to say, you don’t make your living with a camera. And, probably never have.

That’s okay. It’s not a problem. But by the same token, you probably wouldn’t know The Rule of Thirds, backlighting, high-key, or the difference between an ƒ-stop and ISO/ASA. And, that’s okay too.

But… if you want to make better pictures, you’ll want to learn to a few tips and tricks to improve the images you do make.

The smartphone’s ubiquity has made picture-taking commonplace. And the democratization of photography via the iPhone, and other smartphones, has been a veritable dream come true for George Eastman, Kodak’s late founder, who wanted to put a camera into everyone’s hands. And to give credit where credit is due, Steve Jobs, late founder of Apple Computer, is probably the man who was actually able to do that.

Seen below, we have a snapshot taken indoors of a beloved pet dog named Bug, who is lying on his back on the sofa in a very cute state of repose.

Original image – Bug, the dog

It’s a good image, but could be made better.

Here’s how.

Overall, the image seems Read the rest of this entry »

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POTUS Trump Visits Camp David Father’s Day Weekend 2017

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 17, 2017

Roughly 62 miles away from the Washington D.C. Beltway, hidden away in the northeastern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in north-central Maryland, very near the Pennsylvania border, along the Catoctin Mountain Park ridge in the Monocacy Valley near the town of Thurmont, lies a 4-acre park-like U.S. Navy base called “Naval Support Facility Thurmont.”

Its coordinates are: 39°38′54″N 77°27′54″W

Its construction began in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration, and was completed in 1938. Originally built as a camp for federal government employees and their families, it was converted into a presidential retreat and named “Shangri La” by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1942. Some years later, President Dwight D. Eisenhower renamed it “Camp David” in recognition of his father and grandson, both whom were named David. It has borne that name ever since.

Camp David is operated by the U.S. Navy & Marine Corps, which calls it “Naval Support Facility Thurmont.”

Every President has made use of it since it’s construction. FDR hosted British PM Sir Winston Churchill there. Eisenhower held his first Cabinet Meeting there. JFK allowed White House staff to use it when he wasn’t there. LBJ met with the Australian & Canadian PMs there. Nixon & Ford used it. Carter brokered a peace negotiation with Egypt & Israel known as the Camp David Accords there. Reagan used it more than any president, and hosted British PM Margaret Thatcher there. George H.W. Bush’s daughter Dorothy was married there. Clinton used it extensively and hosted British PM Tony Blair there numerous times. George W. Bush hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin, British PM Gordon Brown, and Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen there, as well. Obama hosted the 38th G8 summit there in 2012, Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev, and the GCC Summit there in 2015.

Trump called Camp David “rustic,” and has avoided it thus far in his first few months in office.

In an interview with The Times of London and the German newspaper Bild in January 2017, Trump said in part that, Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump Appointee Wants To Cut Off Bears Ears

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

In this photo taken April 26, 2017, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks at the Interior Department in Washington. Ryan Zinke is recommending that the new Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be reduced in size and says Congress should step in to designate how selected areas of the 1.3 million-acre site are categorized. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Monday recommended that the new Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be reduced in size and said Congress should step in to designate how selected areas of the 1.3 million-acre site are managed.

Zinke made the recommendation as part of an interim report to President Donald Trump on the scenic swath of southern Utah with red rock plateaus, cliffs and canyons on land considered sacred to tribes.

Trump signed an executive order in April directing Zinke to review the designation of dozens of national monuments on federal lands, calling the protection efforts “a massive federal land grab” by previous administrations.

In this June 22, 2016 file photo, the “House on Fire” ruins in Mule Canyon in Bears Ears National Monument near Blanding, Utah. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that the new Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be reduced in size and says Congress should step in to designate how selected areas of the 1.3 million-acre site are categorized. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Trump and other Republicans have singled out former President Barack Obama’s designation of Bears Ears, calling it an unnecessary layer of federal control that hurts local economies by closing the area to new energy development. They also say it isn’t the best way to protect the land.

Zinke toured Bears Ears last month on foot, horseback and helicopter and met with Read the rest of this entry »

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German Grocer Aldi To Heat Up U.S. Competition

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

German Discount Grocer Aldi Sets U.S. Expansion Plan

Aldi says it will open nearly 900 stores, invest $5 billion over five years

Aldi says it will open 900 stores and invest $5 billion over five years. Photo by Anthony Devlin/Zuma Press

By Heather Haddon
June 11, 2017 9:00 p.m. ET

Competition in the U.S. grocery sector is about to get more fierce.

Discount grocery chain Aldi is expected to unveil on Monday plans to invest $5 billion to open nearly 900 stores and remodel hundreds more in the U.S.

The expansion, over the next five years, puts the German grocer on track to becoming the third-largest food retailer in the U.S. by store count, behind the larger Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co., and a growing threat to traditional food retailers.

Aldi said it is expected to have a total of 2,500 locations across the U.S. by 2022. Its plan comes as another German discounter, Lidl, is set to open its first 10 stores in the U.S. on Thursday as part of a multiyear expansion.

Executives at Wal-Mart and Kroger have been preparing for the growth of the discounters for years. Wal-Mart has been sprucing up its stores and slashing prices on some products in select markets, while Kroger continues to drive down costs to compete.

But the discounters could have a big impact on the U.S. grocery market as they did in Europe. Their market share there has steadily grown while traditional supermarkets have seen theirs fall.

Deep discount chains in the U.S. are expected to grow by up to 10% a year through 2020, five times the rate of traditional grocers, according to a recent report by consulting firm Bain & Co.

“It should absolutely be more than scary to traditional grocers and retailers,” said Mikey Vu, a partner in Bain’s retail practice.

Many shoppers in the U.S. are unfamiliar with Aldi. The chain has been in the U.S. since Read the rest of this entry »

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Beat the Heat with Buttermilk Popsicles?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

A good and longtime friend shared recently about making buttermilk popsicles at home with family, using a recipe presumably which came from Steel City Pops, a trendy nouveau foodery in Birmingham, AL. And giving credit where credit is due, Alabama has some mighty fine eateries, and an amazing wealth in it’s diversity of food. As evidence of that fact, Chef Frank Stitt, owner of Birmingham restaurants Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant, and Chez Fonfon has been on the James Beard Foundation Award‘s radar for quite some time, and most recently, NPR recognized the excellent oysters produced by Murder Point Oysters using farming methods in that Bayou La Batre, Alabama Gulf Coast town, which were also feted by Chef Emeril Lagasse. Alabama food is a literal treasure of gastronomic proportion. And it’s not just limited to the holiest of holies… barbecue.
(👉Get your Alabama Barbecue Trail app here!👈😋)

Now, I confess an aversion to buttermilk except in cooking. And the reason, of course, is that I’ve tried it. And not just once. In fact, I recollect as a youth visiting with relatives in Read the rest of this entry »

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Why I Don’t Work Construction

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 11, 2017

Why I Don’t Work Construction

by Aaron Rudolph

“You’re a big guy. You should be working construction.”

– a woman in line at Kmart

Every time I swung a sledgehammer,
shattered the faces of bricks,
the poems would stammer
like aces from my sleeves, failed tricks.

I’d bend down, pick up debris, Read the rest of this entry »

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How To Have Fun In Alabama? How Far Can You Throw A Dead Fish?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 28, 2017

Mullets in a box ready for the Mullet Toss®

Southerners are quirky. There’s no denying that.

For example, this weekend will mark the 33d anniversary of a fish throwing contest on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Yes, 33 years ago, Jimmy Louis, a local musician at a bar in Orange Beach, Alabama thought it might be oddly entertaining to have people toss a dead fish across the invisible Alabama/Florida state line into Perdido Key, Florida – an adjacent unincorporated community.

Interestingly, some agreed.

And thus began the Annual Interstate Mullet Toss®.

The germ for his idea actually sprang from Read the rest of this entry »

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Voting Participation Rates: A Steady Decline… Or Not?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, March 26, 2017

As of today – Sunday, March 26, 2017 –  we are less than 100 days into President Donald Trump’s term in office, and his approval ratings – so far, a low of 37% –  are practically subterranean. According to Gallup, his highest approval rating thus far has been 46%, which was a three-day average shortly after he was inaugurated, from January 23-25, 2017. An average of all presidents from 1938-2017 at this point in their presidency (first year, first term) is 53%. Two-term Republican Dwight David Eisenhower (previously former Supreme Allied Commander during WWII) was the highest with a 74% approval rating in March 1953. Oft-maligned Democrat President Jimmy Carter had a 72% approval rating March 1977, and JFK had 73% in March 1961. A reminder that JFK was later assassinated November 22, 1963. More recently however, Barack Obama had a 62% approval rating March 2009.

A reminder also that the 2018 Election (aka “Midterm”) is arriving quickly, and for many, it will be one of THE MOST SIGNIFICANT elections in a lifetime, because ALL 435 seats in the House of Representatives and Read the rest of this entry »

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Gardening Tips and Tricks: How To Make Trees Grow Faster

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 20, 2017

“The Man Who Planted Trees,” in Mosaïcultures Internationales Competition at the Montreal Botanical Garden. Image by Flickr user AV Dezign, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“He that plants trees loves others beside himself.”

– Dr. Thomas Fuller, MD (1654 – 1734), British physician, writer, intellectual, preacher, in Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs, 1732

Over the years, I have observed (and learned by experience) that I have quite a knack for making trees grow rapidly.

Even slow-to-moderately growing trees (such as oaks) have responded phenomenally well under my guiding hand.

What and how to accomplish that?

Aside from planting in a well-lighted area, with adequately drained, properly hydrated & fertilized soil, there is but one thing we can do to encourage growth in trees. That one thing is Read the rest of this entry »

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You Voted For Trump Because…

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 6, 2017

Ben Mallicote – Any guy with a god... er, dog must be A-okay.

Ben Mallicote, FaceBook profile image –
Any guy with a god, er… a dog must be A-okay.

Ben Mallicote recently shared the following on his FaceBook page.

You may also be interested in reading his blog.

—/—

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to be in Wall Street’s pocket. Trump wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and eliminate the Fiduciary Rule, letting Wall Street return to its pre-2008 ways.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s emails. The Trump administration is running its own private email server.

You voted for Trump because you thought the Clinton Foundation was “pay for play.” Trump has refused to wall off his businesses from his administration, and personally profits from payments from foreign governments.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s role in Benghazi. Trump ordered the Yemen raid without adequate intel, and tweeted about “FAKE NEWS” while Americans died as a result of his carelessness.

You voted for Trump because Read the rest of this entry »

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Original Russian Tea Recipe

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Holiday season is again upon us, and many folks – particularly Southerners – are familiar with a tasty warm beverage known as “Russian Tea.”

Exactly how and where the recipe developed, and how it came by that name is somewhat unclear, but “the font of all knowledge” – and I sarcastically refer to Wikipedia – cites an article entitled “Russian Tea is Favorite Recipe in the South” by Cecily Brownstone in the November 27, 1976 issue of Kentucky New Era newspaper in Hopkinsville.

Interestingly, the story which is perhaps the newspaper’s most renown is the August 1955 Kelly-Hopkinsville Alien Encounter, which may also be known as “Kelly Green Men Case,” or the “Hopkinsville Goblins Case.” It’s a precursor of sorts to a “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” type story in which five adults and seven children reported to Hopkinsville Police that “little men with big heads and long arms,” presumably alien creatures, were attacking their farm house, and that they’d held them off with gunfire “for nearly four hours.” It all started around 7PM when one of the men went out of the house to get a bucket of water, and lasted until 0330 – that’s 3:30AM.

Who knows? Maybe they’d had too much Russian Tea. Anyway, I don’t think you’ll be doing any hallucinating, or discharging any firearms after drinking this, so it’s pretty tame stuff… unless you start adding Kentucky Bourbon or other liquor to it.

Anyway…

Spiced Tea infusion recipe in Joy of Cooking, p40

Spiced Tea infusion recipe in Joy of Cooking, p40

However, as seen in the image herein, the Read the rest of this entry »

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The Great Unknown… Or Not: Separating #Fact From #Fiction: @realDonaldTrump’s First 100 Days – Realistic, Or Idealistic?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 11, 2016
Day 3: Still thinking

Yesterday, President Obama met with Donald Trump at the White House. It was the first time either of them had met. According to brief remarks made to the Press afterward, their collegial meeting lasted about one and a half hours.

The erudite will recall that “the first 100 days” is taken from a radio address given by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first term in office, in which during his first 100 days , and modeled after his plan to get Americans back to work, protect their savings and create prosperity, provide relief for the sick and elderly, and get industry and agriculture back on their feet.

Having read Trump’s goals for his first 100 days in office, it seems to me that there are some ideas I can support. Yet, there’s some pure bluster and ignorance designed for purely emotional appeal. I’ll separate fact from fiction, and we’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out.
See: donald-trumps-contract-w-american-voter

Trump’s objectives are in bold, my comments follow.

—/—

First: Constitutional Amendment for Congressional Term Limits – I have long supported that idea. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R), however, opposes them – as, presumably, do some others. Whenever their income source or security is potentially challenged, they’ll fight. Which is probably all the more reason it ought to enacted. A Lifetime Limit of Eight terms in the House of Representatives (2 years x 8 terms=16 years), and a Lifetime Limit of Two terms in the Senate (2 terms x 6 years=12 years) for a combined total of 20 years Lifetime Total ought to be enough for anyone.

Second: Federal Hiring Freeze, to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health) – I can understand that, and could go along with that for a period of time. Realize also that whenever any public action is required to be taken – such as “extreme vetting,” it is done by Federal Employees. So if their numbers are reduced, as a natural result, expect slow-downs and delays in any actions undertaken.

Third: Require that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated – That’s unrealistic, and impracticable. It may be nice to think about, but as a blanket statement, it’s simply unrealistic.

Fourth: A 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

Sixth: Lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government – Totally in favor of, and the ban should extend to ALL former Federal Employees.

On the same day, I will begin taking the following 7 actions to protect American workers:

FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205 – I have long advocated for changes to NAFTA, and other Free Trade deals to which the United States is a party.

SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator – Some say “yes,” some say “no,” but there is no disagreement China has bought American currency on the FOREX (Foreign Currency Exchange Market), and has purchased American indebtedness (T-bills, and other bonds). Mr. C. Fred Bergsten, Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, put it this way: “Currency manipulation occurs when Read the rest of this entry »

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How TRUE is “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”? You’d be surprised… or, maybe not.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 3, 2016

Remember how ANGRY some folks got when Michael Weisskopf (b.1946) of the Washington Post wrote on February 1, 1993 (link to original article with the WaPo’s editorial addendum) that the simple-minded evangelical groupies of Jerry Falwell (who himself died in 2007), Pat Robertson (b.1930), et al, that:
The gospel lobby evolved with the explosion of satellite and cable television, hitting its national political peak in the presidential election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

“Unlike other powerful interests, it does not lavish campaign funds on candidates for Congress nor does it entertain them. The strength of fundamentalist leaders lies in their flocks. Corporations pay public relations firms millions of dollars to contrive the kind of grass-roots response that Falwell or Pat Robertson can galvanize in a televised sermon. Their followers are largely poor, uneducated and easy to command.

“”The thing that makes them powerful is they’re mobilizable,” said Seymour Martin Lipset (d.2006), professor of public policy at George Mason University. “You can activate them to vote, and that’s particularly important in congressional primaries where the turnout is usually low.”

“Some studies put the number of evangelical Americans as high as 40 million, with the vast majority considered politically conservative.”

[ed. note: The excerpt, which has frequently been distilled to “largely poor, uneducated and easy to command,” is provided here in full proper context with leading and following sentences, not merely excerpted, in order to thoroughly show proper context.]

It’s true.

Folks don’t get mad because of falsehoods.

They get mad because of truth.

It’s true.

According to the United States Census Bureau (USCB), in 2015 (22 years AFTER that was written), 32.5% of the American public aged 25, or older, have a Bachelor’s Degree (Table 1.), which is CLEARLY a minority. Thus, we see automatically the “largely” part of “uneducated.”

The USCB has also performed research on income, which is similarly delineated and categorized by education. For the year 2011 (18 years AFTER the remarks were made), and those aged 25+ with at least a Bachelor’s Degree, the average income was Read the rest of this entry »

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Terrorism In The South

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 6, 2016

quantrills-raiders-1924-reunion

Reunion of Quantrill’s Raiders, circa 1924, Oak Grove, Missouri. The first official reunion occurred in 1898, more than 30 years after Quantrill’s death and the end of the Civil War. The circled figure is Jesse James. Image from the Jackson County Historical Society and the Truman Library.

quantril-reunion-1901

The 1901 reunion of Quantrill’s Raiders in Blue Springs, MO. Note the tag in the upper LEFT corner of the image. Sim Whitsett was at this reunion and is probably in this picture. Also in the picture is Frank James (center front, named). The first picture of the Quantrill veterans (Sim Whitsett was in attendance) was taken at the 1900 reunion. The picture is of a parade of the attendees on horseback. The 1901 is the first group photo in which the faces of individuals can be (barely) distinguished.

In response to a post expressing justifiable criticism of terrorism at home and abroad, it occurred to me that terrorism itself is nothing new… not even in the United States. So, I thought to share a brief overview of it, which appears as follows.

—/—

You forgot all about the War Between the States.

The Southern rebellion, of course, was often comprised of loosely associated rag-tag bands of incompetents and criminals, which thrived and often deserted formal association with the Confederate Army, and ransacked their way throughout the countryside.

mosby-uniform-night-of-stoughtons-capture

John Singleton Mosby, image from his memoir. His note reads: “This picture is a copy of the one taken in Richmond in January 1863: The uniform is the one I wore on March 8th 1863 on the night of General Staughton’s capture. John S Mosby”

The rebels were known for such terroristic activities as Read the rest of this entry »

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We Need Prayer Back In Schools!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 5, 2016

We need prayer back in schools!,” said someone.

“Okay,” I said. “Whose prayer do you want? The Episcopalians? The Baptists? The Methodists? Church of Christ? What about the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Or the Seventh Day Adventists? Do you want the Primitive Baptists, or the Free Will Baptists? Read the rest of this entry »

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Vote Fraud Explained, and Prevention

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 2, 2016

I write the following as an experienced election official, having participated in various levels and capacities of electioneering, as poll watcher, at polling locations, re-counting ballots in close and contended elections, and counting absentee ballots.

Voter fraud and voting fraud may be two sides of the same vote fraud coin. Allow me to explain.

An Iraqi citizen, turning his head to protect his identity, proudly displays the indelible ink on his finger as proof he has voted in Iraq's first free election in over 50 years on Jan. 30, 2005. Everyone voting in the historic election has to mark their finger with the ink to indicate they have already voted as a means to deter voting fraud. DoD photo by Master Sgt. Dave Ahlschwede, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

An Iraqi citizen, turning his head to protect his identity, proudly displays the indelible ink on his finger as proof he has voted in Iraq’s first free election in over 50 years on Jan. 30, 2005. Everyone voting in the historic election has to mark their finger with the ink to indicate they have already voted as a means to deter voting fraud. DoD photo by Master Sgt. Dave Ahlschwede, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

In some lesser-developed nations, evidence of having voted has been accomplished by having the voter dip their finger in an indelible, semi-permanent ink. The world has seen it used in Read the rest of this entry »

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Reinvigorating Our Workforce

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, February 7, 2016

Youth employment apprenticeshipsI have long advocated some type of national service for ALL – and ALL means ALL – for ALL have something to contribute.

Whether that service is by a paraplegic youth with computer skills, or a high school footballer with a strong back, or an art student with creative skills, every high school graduate can and should be expected to contribute to our nation through service to our local & state communities, and to our nation.Disabled-youth-can work

Were our nation to become serious about infrastructure repair & expansion, were our nation serious about jobs & employment, were our nation serious about economic vitality & personal responsibility, we would put our money where our mouth is by Read the rest of this entry »

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