Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cataract Surgery and Salty Dog!

The good wife had her second cataract surgery on Wednesday. She is doing super. Judy had her first cataract removal in 2009. Dr. Fung of Clarksburg is a fine "eye guy." We arrived at the new United Hospital Center around 7 A.M. We were home early. The actual operation takes around 10 minutes. This is certainly a change from the past when recovery was an extended period with many physical limitations.

On Thursday, Judy had a followup at Dr. Fung's office on South Chestnut Street in downtown Clarksburg. Eye looked good. It was pouring down the rain as we left the office. We heard music coming from across the street beside the local GoMart. What! A group of wet musicians were playing "Salty Dog!" I took a photo of these guys with the ole iPhone. If you know anything about these musicians, let us know.

This closeup is grainy due to the resolution of the iPhone. Notice that the group is playing a banjo, a washboard around the neck and the guy in the black t-shirt had some type of percussion stick! My friend, Buddy Griffin, said that rain is NOT good for a banjo! Neither is the cold rain a good thing for the musicians!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Tree Switch

We were examining the tree and noticed the electrical switch. You will notice that the wires are very cleverly concealed.

The switch is obviously controlling the chandelier suspended from the tree.

Well, as we stood there switching the light off and on, we soon learned why we could not see the electrical wiring. The switch was just a dummy as was the chandelier. Guess we were also the dummies!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Spruce Forest

Here are a few pics that were taken in the Spruce Forest area.

It is always great to see the wonderful stone bridge which is build over the Casselman River. Casselman Bridge was completed in 1811 and opened for traffic in 1813 . The bridge was built to aid in the westward movement through the wilderness west of Cumberland. The 354 feet (108 m) long stone arch bridge spans 48 feet (15 m) with a 30-foot (9.1 m) high arch.

Wish we lived closer to these girls. They are really growing fast into young ladies.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Penn Alps in 2011

On Sunday we met our Shepherdstown family along with John's Mom and Dad at Penn Alps in Grantsville, MD. This is about 1/2 way distance for both families. It is always super to see Jim and Jane Meeker, who now make their home in Arizona.

We enjoyed our visit and the meal was very good. It is so super to see our granddaughters. Man, they grow up fast.

Penn Alps has a neat craft shop.

I love the hand made rolling pins. This fellow does amazing and beautiful work. I bought two - a guy always needs three rolling pins. (Yes, bought first one in the Amish country!)

The wooden bowls are beautiful.

After our meal, the gals were ready to walk through the Spruce Forest Crafts Area. Shops were not open, but this did not stop our enthusiastic grand-daughters.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Dozen Fingers and 14 Toes

A mother in Myanmar says her baby girl's 12 fingers and 14 toes have been no disadvantage — her grip may even be stronger than normal — and now she's grasping for a Guinness record.

Phyo Min Min Soe, 26, knew her girl Le Yati Min had a little something extra since nearly the moment she was born.

"I asked the nurses whether my kid was born complete with hands and legs," says her mother. "They replied that the baby even has more than she needs."

Born with 12 fingers and 14 toes, Le may be the most "digitally enhanced" person in the world. Now, the 16-month-old girl's family in impoverished Myanmar is seeking a Guinness World Record to prove it.

A neighbor is helping her mother apply to claim the record hearing that a boy from India currently holds bragging rights for the most digits, with 12 fingers and 13 toes.

Polydactylism — being born with an extra finger or toe — is fairly unusual, but it is even more rare for someone to have spare functional digits on both hands and feet, as Le does.

'She doesn't drop things much'
Le lives with her family in a small wooden house on the outskirts of the Southeast Asian country's former capital of Yangon, where she runs around with seven toes on each foot.

Proud mom Phyo Min Min Soe, 26, said Tuesday that she'd be happy to see Le gain a world record, but even without that, her daughter already has a happy life, and even some natural advantages.

"She seems to have a stronger grip on things — so she doesn't drop things much," she says, as Le plays nearby with a mobile phone.

According to the Guinness World Records website, the record for most fingers and toes for a living person is currently held by two people in India, who have 12 fingers and 13 toes each.

Dr. Craig Camasta, a surgeon in Atlanta, Georgia, said many parents of babies with polydactylism choose to have an operation to get rid of the extra fingers or toes to avoid social stigma, but that "It's not necessary that the extra digits be removed."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Two West Virginia cousins are in the Somerset County Prison awaiting a hearing on charges they were caught with a car full of stolen beef jerky Wednesday evening.

Channel 4 Action News' Jennifer Miele reported Chief Randy Cox said the men were pulled over in the 100 block of Plank Road in Somerset because their license plate appeared to be falling off. That is when an officer noticed the jerky.

Police say in an affidavit they saw "a large amount of boxed and packaged beef jerky" and socket sets on the car's rear seat.

Police told Miele the men planned to sell the stolen jerky to finance a trip from West Virginia through Somerset to New Stanton, where one of the suspect’s relatives was having car trouble.

Police said the men acknowledged stealing the items from auto parts stores and gas stations. Detectives are now trying to track down gas stations missing hundreds of dollars worth of jerky and even the display accessories, including giant mugs filled with packaged jerky and Slim Jims.

Michael Allen Graham, 37, and John Edward Barry, 35, both of Milton, W.Va., are charged with receiving stolen property. Their bond is set at $20,000.

Graham and Barry face a preliminary hearing Feb. 22.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


January of this year, 2011, the weather stayed so cold in St. Louis, Missouri, and Alton, Illinois, that the bald eagles were cruising over houses in hopes of a quick meal. They could not access fish at the bottom of the river and had gathered together. Several kind souls decided to feed the eagles so they would survive the cold spell. They gathered fish and they started to feed the eagles huddled on the shore.

A retired teacher took these photos from his home.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The snow drops above are just getting ready to open. Today I also discovered the first aconite of the season. What a joy to see these critters once again!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Another Bit From The Past

I am continuing the adventure of sorting old papers. In 1950, my good wife had a kidney procedure at the age of five. By clicking on the photo, it can be enlarged. You will notice that the total cost for several days in the hospital, the procedure, operating room, labs, anesthetic, and antibiotics was $79.50. Love the little scribble at the upper right that indicates the doctor's office visit was fifty cents!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Red Tides

Red tides are also known as algal blooms - sudden influxes of massive amounts of colored single-cell algae that can convert entire areas of an ocean or beach into a blood 20 red color.

While some of these can be relatively harmless, others can be harbingers of deadly toxins that cause the deaths of fish, birds and marine mammals.

In some cases, even humans have been harmed by red tides though no human exposure are known to have been fatal.

While they can be fatal, the constituent phytoplankton in ride tides are not harmful in small numbers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fire Rainbows

A circumhorizontal fire rainbow arc occurs at a rare confluence of right time and right place for the sun and certain clouds.

Crystals within the clouds refract light into the various visible waves of the spectrum but only if they are arrayed correctly relative to the ground below.

Due to the rarity with which all of these events happen in conjunction with one another, there are relatively few remarkable photos of this phenomena.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blue Holes

Blue holes are giant and sudden drops in underwater elevation that get their name from the dark and foreboding blue tone they exhibit when viewed from above in relationship to surrounding waters.

They can be hundreds of feet deep and while divers are able to explore some of them they are largely devoid of oxygen that would support sea life due to poor water circulation - leaving them eerily empty.

Some blue holes, however, contain ancient fossil remains that have been discovered, preserved in their depths.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Columnar Basalt

When a thick lava flow cools, it contracts vertically but cracks perpendicular to its directional flow with remarkable geometric regularity- in most cases forming a regular grid of remarkable hexagonal extrusions that almost appear to be made by man.

One of the most famous such examples is the Giants Causeway on the coast of Ireland (shown above),though the largest and most widely recognized would be Tower in Wyoming.

Basalt also forms different but equally fascinating ways when eruptions are exposed to air or water.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sailing Stones

The mysterious moving stones of the packed-mud desert of Death Valley have been a center of scientific controversy for decades.

Rocks weighing up to hundreds of pounds have been known to move up to hundreds of yards at a time.

Some scientists have proposed that a combination of strong winds and surface ice account for these movements.

However, this theory does not explain evidence of different rocks starting side by side and moving at different rates and in disparate directions.

Moreover, the physics calculations do not fully support this theory as wind speeds of hundreds of miles per hour would be needed to move some of the stones.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Dodson Men!

Judy and I wanted to present the latest photos of our grandsons. Wish we had updates from our granddaughters to share
with you guys! Judy's favorite is the pic above. It captures the personalities of each in a most wonderful way.

Oh, Sam! What a cool hat! Looks as if Sam is ready to see The Grit! (OK- most of you guys probably do not remember The Grit being sold door to door.

Man, the photo below certainly shows Nate's personality!

Wow- they can actually play games with out the wii or the iPad!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Almond Raspberry Linzer Cookies

My Judy started cooking yesterday. She made desserts for the church luncheon today. After she made the Texas Sheet Cake, it was time to make Linzer cookies.

Linz is the third largest city in Austria. Beautifully bifurcated by the Danube River, Linz was originally founded by the Romans. Later it served as a provincial city of the Holy Roman Emperor. With a current population of nearly 200,000, Linz is diametrically known for its steel and chemical industry as well as its endorsement of music and art. It is also the home of the beloved PEZ candy. Originally marketed in Vienna in 1927, PEZ candy and the even more famous PEZ dispensers are popular worldwide. Indeed, the dispensers have become a notable collector’s item.

On a more tasteful note, Linz is the reputed home of the renowned Linzertorte. A Linzertorte is a tart made of a rich buttery dough accentuated by almonds, lemon zest, and cinnamon. The tart is traditionally filled with black currant preserves and topped with a lattice crust. In America, raspberry has replaced black currant as the jam of choice.

The Linzertorte is one of the oldest known tarts with a recipe discovered in an Austrian abbey from 1653. Johann Konrad Vogel (1796-1883) is credited with first mass producing it while Franz Holzlhuber, an Austrian émigré who worked as a baker, is recognized for introducing it to America around 1856.

Linzer cookies employ the same recipe as the Linzertorte but instead the dough is cut into cookies and two of them form a sandwich around the preserves. Moreover, the top cookie has a small cutout in its center (known as Linzer eyes), thus exposing the underlying jam and adding to the visual appeal. While the traditional cutout is circular, all sorts of shapes, such as hearts, are also popular.

Judy did an excellent job in making these unique and historic cookies. They are yummy!!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Uncontacted Amazon Indian Tribe

An undated handout picture released January 31, 2011 by Survival International of what they say are uncontacted Indians seen from a Brazilian government observation aircraft in the Brazilian Amazon forest, near the border with Peru. The Indians appear be to healthy and could be running from Peru due to a invasion of their lands by loggers.

The pictures were taken by the Brazilian government's Indian Affairs Department and released by the NGO Survival International as part of an effort to protect the tribe. They say that the tribe's survival is in serious jeopardy due to an influx of illegal loggers that may have pushed them across the border from neighboring Peru.


The photos show large vegetable gardens where the tribe grow fruit and vegetables; manioc, maize, sweet potato, pumpkin, peanuts, papaya, and bananas can all be identified. They also plant cotton which is spun and woven for skirts. The men have cotton waist bands and some have small head dresses. The men carry bows and arrows for hunting.

Survival's Director Stephen Corry said 'The illegal loggers will destroy this tribe. It's vital that the Peruvian government stop them before time runs out.

The people in these photos are self-evidently healthy and thriving. What they need from us is their territory protected, so that they can make their own choices about their future.'

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

French Creek Freddie

Happy Groundhog Day! Since 1978, French Creek Freddie, the state’s official weather prognosticating groundhog, has been the star of the show at the West Virginia State Wildlife Center at French Creek in Upshur County. On Wednesday, February 2, Freddie is poised to continue his annual ritual at 10 a.m. Each Groundhog Day, Wildlife Center staff awakens the grumpy rodent and bring him out of his winter hibernation hole to allow him to look for his shadow and predict the severity of the remaining six weeks of winter. He’s usually right, but after making his forecast before an audience of hundreds of groundhog fans, including news media from around the state, he is more than happy to return to the warmth of his bed.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Time Has Made A Change In Me!!

You may not know this traditional song, but it is one that touches my heart. Ginny Hawker would sing the song at festivals and it would be a special moment.
1. Time has made a change since my childhood days;
Many of my friends have gone away,
Some I never more in this life will see
Time has made a change in me.

Time has made a change in the old home place;
Time has made a change in each smiling face,
And I know my friends can plainly see
Time has made a change in me.

2. In my childhood days, I was well and strong
I could climb the hillside all day long,
I am not today what I used to be
Time has made a change in me.

3. When I reach my home in that land somewhere,
With my friends who wait to meet me over there,
Free from pain and care I'll forever be,
Time has made a change in me.
I found this old copy of the GSC newspaper, The Mercury. My friends placed this ad in the October, 1986 edition. Actually I feel better now than I did back then..... and, of course, I am more handsome now according to my wife. God love her!!

Happy February 1st!!