Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Our Family Vacation In Minden, Ontario (2016)

Rest & Relaxation

We spent last week at a cottage in Minden, Ontario, which is part of the Kawartha Lakes region and county seat of Haliburton County. It is slightly more than a two-hour drive northeast of Toronto, and after about an hour, you no longer feel part of the urban sprawl of shopping malls, high rises and densely packed people. The town of Minden has less than 6,000 full-time residents with the numbers increasing during the summer. We found a lot of that small-town friendliness and charm, characteristics that are commonly found in novels, and which are not so easily apparent in a big city like Toronto. It was good to get away, and we are already looking forward to a longer stay next summer.

The Lake at dusk; the power lines at a distance; there is a 4.0-megawatt hydroelectric station located on the Gull River.

Eli Drinking green glass-bottle Coke while at a ’50s diner for lunch; red is a common color at such diners. We sat at a booth with red leatherette,

Ice Cream at Kawartha Dairy on Hwy 35; like many, we stopped here for an ice-cream cone. Delicious.

Josh & Eli out on the docks looking for frogs (Anura), which my boys would catch and then release.

Lily Pads by the docks. Where there are frogs, there are also lily pads. There is something serene and beautiful about them.

The Walkway on the Gull River in Minden; the river was used by lumberjacks as a waterway to send logs of pine, spruce and hemlock downstream to Trenton. 

Final and Important Note: Our vacation was made possible through Cottage Dreams, a wonderful organization which its website says, “help families touched by cancer reconnect and rejuvenate at a private, donated cottage.” I would like to thank Debbie Farrell of Cottage Dreams for making the arrangements, and Dan and Leslie Boissonneault for donating their lovely cottage. Merci beaucoup. It is people like you who make the world a better, more humane, place.

All photos: ©Perry J. Greenbaum, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

William Eggleston’s Portrait Photography

Photo Of The Week

Untitled, 1974 (Karen Chatham, left, with the artist’s cousin Lesa Aldridge, in Memphis, Tennessee): William Eggleston, one of the pioneers of colour photography, sees beauty in the mundane, where the normalcy of the subjects is often deceptive; there’s more to the narrative. So, the ordinary is, by all accounts, quite extraordinary. Aesthetica writes about the exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London: “The National Portrait Gallery hosts the most comprehensive display of Tennessee-born photographer William Eggleston’s portrait photography to date. An extensive celebration of the pioneer’s image-making, the exhibition sheds light on his entire career, from the 1960s right up until the present day. Renowned for his vivid, poetic and mysterious images, Eggleston’s distinctive use of colour quickly established him as a pivotal player in the development of colour photography: his solo show at MoMA in 1976 was considered a vital moment in the genre’s recognition as a contemporary art form.” William Eggleston: Portraits is at the National Portrait Gallery, London, until October 23rd.
Photo Credit: William Eggleston, © Eggleston Artistic Trust.
Source: Aestherica

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Elvis Presley: In The Ghetto (1969)

Elvis Presley sings “In The Ghetto,”a song written by Mac Davis and recorded in 1969 at American Studios in Memphis, Tenn. The words refer to how lack of opportunity, history and cultural forces can lead to poor choices that help shape the future in a negative way, which includes self-destruction. That this is a sad situation is undeniable. We know that this is true, not only yesterday, but also today. Humans tend to judge easily and harshly from a “safe” distance, a default human condition that ostensibly “makes life easier,” less involved, less messy. Yet, it is important to resist such impulses. A belief in someone’s goodness, an outstretched and helping hand can often make a huge difference in a young person's life. In the grand scheme of things, however you view such things, mercy is more important than justice (knowing that law is not the same as justice). Where there is goodness and goodwill, there is living and life; the opposite is also true. With increasing age and maturity, we become convinced that this simple fact is true.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Middle East Faces Long-Term Extreme Weather Conditions

Global Warming

Unbearable Heat: The sustained heat wave in the Middle East has made it unbearable for both humans and animals, including beasts of burdens. Temperatures in some places have soared above 50°C (122°F). In this photo, a man pours water over himself while washing a horse in order to cool it down as part of measures taken to ease the effect of a heatwave at the Beirut Hippodrome, Lebanon. Such weather will become normalized for the Middle East, Karen Graham writes for The Independent: In coming decades, U.N. officials and climate scientists predict that the region’s mushrooming populations will face extreme water scarcity, temperatures almost too hot for human survival and other consequences of global warming.” While one can argue that predictive models on something as complicated as climate can be less than accurate, one must soon realize that when the majority of the world’s scientists can agree on something as controversial as climate change, one can find assurance that what they and the models are predicting must be undeniably true. Denying a reality does not make it go away.  Yet, in the case of devout diehards. common on social media, they will not be persuaded; they will not be convinced. For more, go to [TheIndependent]
Photo Credit: Mohamed Azakir; Reuters

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Old Coke Machine

Nostalgia & Memories

When I was living on Avenue du Parc in Montreal during the 1960s, my parents had a grocery store (called Frank’s Grocery). It was an arrangement where the store was out front and we lived in the back in a fairly large house. The store had a coke machine, similar to the one in the photo, which kept the bottles cold via circulating chilled water. On a hot Summer day, there was something wonderful , even redemptive and restorative, in grabbing an ice-cold Coke (in green glass bottles) from the water, pulling it out and placing the bottle next to your skin, before putting the bottle to your lips and taking a long, hard swig of “the real thing.” Yes, after this brief moment in time you were refreshed, restored and feeling human, again.

Me & My Mom (circa 1967) in front of the store, Frank’s Grocery, the store my parents owned and operated in the 1960s. It was located at 4597 Avenue du Parc, in the Montreal neighborhood known as Mile End, which is located in the borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal.
Photo Credit & Source: ©Perry J. Greenbaum

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Heart: These Dreams (1985)

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart perform “These Dreams,” which is the fourth track on the American band’s eight studio album, Heart (1985). The song is sung by Nancy Wilson, the first time that she takes lead vocal; she does a phenomenal job, her voice soaring and yet resonating with so many. This song rekindles dreams of another kind, the ones we have when awake: most everyone I know has had dreams, Big Dreams, Secret Dreams, etc. especially when young. In 1985, I was still young enough (27) to have these kind of dreams.

Only a few realize their original dreams, which is the fuel of hope. I don’t know if any other life form has dreams, but these dreams are a necessary and welcome part of our humanity. Dreams of a better life, one that is better than our current situation. when we get older, dreams tend to become smaller, more modest, but they remain, nevertheless, within the realm of genuine dreams. However modest these dreams may be, they are not always easy to achieve, to reach full potential. For all of us, great and small, these dreams are aching to be realized, to come into fruition, to achieve a form of recognition. When they do, they are marked and accompanied by both pent-up tears of frustration and of joy. The latter often cannot come without the former.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Graphene Degrees Of Freedom

Quantum Spin

PseudospinThe list of extraordinary properties of graphene just keep on growing longer, writes: “Combining graphene with other materials, which individually have excellent characteristics complimentary to the extraordinary properties of graphene, has resulted in exciting scientific developments and could produce applications as yet beyond our imagination.”
Photo Credit: University of Manchester

An article in the form of a press release, by the University of Manchester, announces another new possibility, adding to the already-long list of possibilities that graphene holds in its promise as a super-material. This includes one of the most unusual, and also least understood, properties of this material: the additional degree of freedom that the electrons have:
It is called the pseudospin and it determines the probability to find electrons on neighbouring carbon atoms. The possibility to control this degree of freedom would allow for new types of experiments, but potentially also enable to use it for electronic applications.
Now, writing in Science, Manchester physicists demonstrate how electrons with well-controlled pseudospin can be injected into graphene. The scientists used two layers of graphene, rotated by a small angle with respect to each other and separated by a thin layer of boron nitride, another two-dimensional material and an excellent insulator. Applying strong magnetic field parallel to the graphene layers, the pseudospin state of the tunnelling electrons can be chosen.
Graphene, a slippery two-dimensional material—essentially a thin layer of pure carbon—was first discovered at this university, to wide scientific acclaim, in 2004. Having a thickness of one atom, it is the world’s thinnest known material. It is supposed to display great strength, conductivity, flexibility and transparency. If even half of such claims eventually prove true, it will no doubt be beneficial for a number of materiel science and engineering uses. The article notes that its least understood property—to wit, pseudospin—might prove its greatest benefit. We shall see.

For more, go to []