Monday, March 31, 2008

On the fence

It looks like this snow couldn’t make up its mind whose yard to fall into.

I have a degree in Fine Art. I earned it back in 1978. Before desktop computers. Before digital cameras. Back when the internet was still a twinkle in Al Gore’s mind.

We did things by hand and the best hands I had ever seen at creating a watercolor landscape belonged to Harry Worst. Tall, distinguished with long silver hair and a ghotee, Harry looked the part of an artist. He could also sit down at one of his student’s desks, grab a watercolor brush and throw paint on paper in such a way that a stunning landscape would appear as if by magic.

“Be decisive,” Harry would intone as beautiful worlds took shape before his fingers. “Don’t be timid with your brush strokes. Be bold.”

“But what if we make a mistake?” a student asked.

“Then make it look like you meant to do it.”

The underlying message of Harry’s response was, fix it later or learn from it if it couldn’t be fixed. You'll make mistakes, but don't let that stop you from trying boldly. While I became sufficiently adept at the technique to have a watercolor landscape selected for a juried student art show my senior year, that pretty much sums up the extent of my painting career. Life took a different path after college. But I always tried to apply Harry’s lessons to whatever I tackled. Be decisive. Be bold. Yeah, I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve always tried to make them work for me.

How about you?

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Monday photo browsing Now that I own a digital camera, I hope to be able to capture some photos of lightning this spring and summer. I have some photos of storms, but haven't yet captured that dramatic bolt from the blue like these people have. Photographing lightning is a hit and miss proposition (the goal is to have it hits the lens and miss you). It takes dozens of attempts to get the one winning image. Pretty prohibitive with a film camera. We'll see how it goes this year.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Guiding light

Weekend's here. Follow your beacon.

Photo: Sturgeon Bay Canal pier light, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


A chrysanthemum releases its grip and gives itself to the world.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Unbearable lightness

According to Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, one's existence and the occurrences within that existence happened by chance and are therefore insignificant in the overall scheme of things. We're not tied down by the consequences of our decisions, so they are considered "light."

But at the same time, according to Kundera, that insignificance (lightness) makes living unbearable.

That's sort of like a postmodern version of this old joke:

"Doctor, it hurts when I do this."

"Well, then, don't do that!"

Want to make life bearable? Then do something significant with your life.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

'Mallow yellow

Just a few of my peeps. Another one of those sure fire signs of spring, along with the swallows at San Juan Capistrano or the buzzards in Hinckley, Ohio or robins returning to the northern states and Canada.

Everything you could ever want to know about the cultural significance of these chewy chicks (and bunnies and whatever) has been thoroughly researched by ABC news and presented in this video.


Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection morning

"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen ..."
Luke 24:5-6

Saturday, March 22, 2008

So, how's that Spring thing workin' out for you?

Day three - six inches of new snow on the ground. More expected tonight. Par for the course, I guess.

Click on pictures to enlarge. Photographs © 2008 James Jordan.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Between the earth and heaven

All cultures and belief systems have a concept of the Axis Mundi - a connecting point, a bridge, if you will, between this world and the next. They have assigned this connecting ability to various plants, animals and places.

Christianity recognizes Jesus Christ as the one and only Axis Mundi - the one who came from heaven, dwelled among us, then died, rose and returned to heaven, allowing those who trust in that work to follow. This is the day we commemorate the raising of that bridge.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Finding balance on the vernal equinox

Yes, friends ... what they say about being able to stand an egg on its end on the day of the vernal equinox is true. Only thing is, you can actually stand an egg on its end any day of the year. There's really nothing special about this day that affects an egg any differently than any other day of the year.

It takes quite a bit of patience and just the right egg - the yolk needs to sit low on the inside and having an egg with some bumps on the outside sure helps. A slightly irregular balancing surface helps also. The eggs in these pictures were all raw.

These photos were also made without the benefit of PhotoShop or any added substances to keep the eggs upright. They actually were balancing. You have to fiddle with the egg quite a bit, adjusting it little by little, turning it until the magic moment. You will actually feel the egg hit its balancing point when it happens. You then just pull back slowly and admire your work.

This balance of racial harmony was inspired by Barack Obama.

This one shows the ultimate in vernal equinox egg balancing. Use the force to make it float.

Photographs © 2008 James Jordan.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pearls on velvet

Happy almost Spring!

Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Almost here

The vernal equinox arrives at 12:04 a.m. tomorrow here in the Central time zone. It's about time.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Evil grin

Smug 'gator, isn't he?

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

There were none of these creatures in Ireland after Saint Patrick finished his work there in the fifth century. Of course, there weren’t any snakes in Ireland before the evangelist brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle, either. Credit the ice age for making sure that slithering reptiles are absent there to this day.

Patrick was taken captive to Ireland at the age of 16 and served his master as a shepherd for six years before escaping. During those years of servitude, Patrick’s faith in God grew; he learned the Celtic language and became familiar with the way of the Druids. Those experiences would come to serve him when he returned later to bring the Christian faith to Ireland.

The snake photograph was made at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Taken at the butterfly garden at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. Spring is getting closer. Just six more days.

Lacewings are native to Southeast Asia.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mirror image

A Caiman sits and reflects at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sunset Rock

There's more to Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga Tennessee than Rock City and Ruby Falls. If you stay away from those tourist traps, you can view some wonderful vistas for a whole lot less money. Sunset Rock was a Confederate outpost that overlooked the valley below. From this vantage point, General Braxton Bragg watched Union troops advancing on Chattanooga in November of 1863. A Confederate assault on the advancing army failed and the city eventually fell to the north.

Photograph © 2008 James Jordan

Today is January 13, 1998

I knew that the U.S. National Park Service is seriously underfunded and undermanned. I just didn't know it was this bad. My wife and I visited Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee today, steering clear of the two major tourist traps - Ruby Falls and Rock City - yeah, there is more to Lookout Mountain than just those two attractions - there are also some good Civil War historical monuments.

At the point that overlooks Chattanooga is a National Military Park. There is a fee, and it is collected by a machine at the park entrance. Like a good responsible citizen, I fed a bill into the machine and waited for the change. The machine spit out what looked like Chuck E. Cheese tokens. It took a minute to figure out that they were dollar coins.

Then the machine gave me my ticket - dated January 13, 1998. It gave me the privilege of staying at the park until closing ten years and two months ago. The ticket and the pizza tokens are pictured above.
Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


The Forbes list of the world’s billionaires came out yesterday, and once again, I didn’t quite make it onto the list. Missed it by just $999.99 million or so. Maybe next year.

Bill Gates is no longer number 1. After 13 years at the top, he was bumped by Warren Buffet (no relation to Jimmy), who had a better year than I did, apparently.

The youngest billionaire? The 23-year-old who founded Facebook in his college dorm room in 2004. Now why couldn't one of my kids do something like that? And after all those video games I bought them, too.

There are some things more important than money. There has to be because I don’t have any. But I will be taking a few days to hit the road for both business and pleasure. Hopefully the pleasure part will involve some picture taking – one of the things that beats money for me.

Sure, Warren, Bill, Jimmy and the Facebook dude are cruisin.' But hey, so am I, just at a slower speed and in a smaller vehicle.

Stay tuned and take care.

Photo: Classic car show, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Click on picture to go back in time. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Fog is nature’s minimalistic filter, eliminating the clutter and reducing the landscape to its simplest forms.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photo © 2008 James Jordan.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sisters in the snow

Besides the fog, the thing that attracted me to take this shot was the two trees in close proximity to each other. They merged together to form a complete whole. Standing together amid the uncertainty of a foggy world.

Kind of nice when people do that, too.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Monday moanin'

A cold winter morning in Door County. Taken in December. Winter has now officially entered its ugly phase. Only 17 days until spring.

I spent the last three days with Mr. Influenza. I'm finally beginning to tolerate long stretches of being vertical.

Pic of the week. The folks at Moody Monday figured a photograph of a white flower on a white background fit the bill for their theme, "Colorless." Third time chosen by the folks there.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.