Not Quite the Post I Intended




Well I was finally doing it. My first blog post in two months. I can’t say that it was a really significant post. It was just one of those images where people write stupid or humorous stuff on maps. Nevertheless it was in fact time-intensive. And it was turning out nicely.

Well after about four hours work I was almost finished with it. All that remained to do were a few additions to southeast Asia. Unfortunately at that point I didn’t have the time to complete it. I had to make a trip to Idaho, and so I figured I would put the work away and come back to it the next day and finish it up and post it. I did a quick Merge Layers and then did a Save. Or at least I thought I did a Save. Yeah I was totally convinced that I had done that important and necessary step. 

But no. Something screwed up. When I came back today to finish the job, all I found was the blank map I had started with. Nothing of my work remained.

One of the differences between the Pixlr editor that I have been using on my Chromebook and Adobe Photoshop is that kind of thing would never have happened in Photoshop. If you forget to hit Save in Photoshop it assumes you are going to come back to the work later and saves the work anyway as an executable PSD document. Then you just go from there.

Not so with Pixlr, alas. You know I really do like Pixlr. It has most of the bells and whistles that I was used to on Photoshop. In fact the only thing I didn’t much care for in Pixlr was the Text function, which is needlessly complicated and kind of a pain in the ass. And of course you can’t beat the price of Pixlr — it is free, compared to Photoshop which you have to sell a kidney to buy and which won’t work on Chromebook anyway.

So all that work, lost. But I was bound and determined to get something out of it. Thus, this post. And a new Batman bitch-slapping Robin meme which never existed in the entire history of the world. So there.  

Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)



Count Dracula (Christopher Lee) once again gets crux-flashed in 1973s Satanic Rites of Dracula. This was the last vampire movie the Lord of Horror made, with Lee saying he thought the movie “fatuous.” Actually it’s not much different than most of his Hammer Film series; and in fact the whole deadly plague thing thrown into this one adds something new. The movie has an itty bit of titty, so Not Suitable For Work. Just in case you would watch a movie called Satanic Rites of Dracula at work anyway.

Nightmare Theater




Long before Svengoolie, and even long before Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, there was Sammy Terry and Nightmare Theater. I was just a young kid then. My parents didn’t like horror movies (although my dad did develop a liking for sci-fi movies). Nevertheless they would let us stay up and watch them late at night on weekends. Which is to their credit, as some parents back in the 60s didn’t let their kids watch them.

This of course was long before you could rent movies to supplement regular network television. WTTV (Channel 4 back in those days) was an Indianapolis alternative station. They would program movies, local professional wrestling, reruns of series that had wandered off of the regular networks, as well as a local news program.

There was a strange lure to Nightmare Theater. It was dark, viewed in black and white those days. But anything really frightening about the program was pretty much negated by the camp attitude of Sammy Terry himself — played by and the creation of Robert Carter. He was certainly one of the pioneers in this genre.

And there were certainly a few movies across the years that scared the hell out of me. 


12 oz. Jean Valjean Mocha



“I saw you at Starbucks. You are Jean Valjean, are you not?”

“No. I am not.”

“But you look very much like him. And Jean Valjean was a heavy expresso drinker.”

“Regardless, I am not the man of whom you speak.”

“You really do resemble him. And Jean Valjean always ordered the double shot mocha, like you did.”

“Sir, I am not Jean Valjean.”

“I have a feeling that you are.”

“And I have a feeling…that I am not.”


Goodbye, Linda



I learned a few days ago that our Opera friend Linda Muckleroy passed away. I don’t know the details, but over the past few years she had a bout with cancer. I guess she finally lost the battle.

We visited each others blogs and left comments over a period of years. Her posts ranged from nature and birds; language and the origins of euphemisms; her city of Tyler, Texas; her family and her personal life. She was feisty and she could be very stubborn. Also very funny.

At one point, due to an interchange we had (I can no longer remember the details), she sent me two ceramic cows that she had. Just totally out of the blue, she asked for my address and I gave it to her, and a matter of days later I get this big box with two wonderful ceramic cows and also a nice decorative plate with a cow on it. They are still sitting on my shelf. And in fact it was just last week that I looked at them and thought of her. Thanks once again, Linda. I love them.


Besides the cancer she had gone through some tough times of late. Her trailer caught fire, and she lost many of her things. And because of her sickness she lost her beloved bird.

Linda I came across this bird the other day on the Audubon Society page. Thought you would like it. It’s a Bohemian Waxwing. But of course you knew that. 


She hadn’t been posting very much lately. As far as is known to me, her blog was not ported to another site; as a consequence, all she did on Opera will be lost as of March 2014. Which just doesn’t seem right. It should stay behind in memory of her. In any case I have decided to do a repost of one of her own below, in the attempt to save just a little something. I don’t think she would mind. And I think this post is appropriate, in a very real way her own elegy.

Linda, thank you for the good times and the friendship. And God’s speed to you out there in the universe.



by Linda Muckleroy, on Opera

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 8:05:30 PM

Hope, Faith, Life, Winter

I’ve had a lot of time to think over the past year. Considering all the health problems I’ve had, it has led me to think about how much future I have left and what will it be like for me henceforward. I’ve gone through depressions, near death episodes, weight loss and weight gain, fear and hope, and faith in my God. So many things have happened to me this past year. The depression at times has immobilized me. Despair has overcome me. Fear has made me shake and cry and quiver inside.

My whole life was centered, all through 2011, on battling cancer, undergoing surgeries, fighting to survive sometimes fatal infections, eye problems, the list goes on and on. Seems like my life is totally and only about health issues now in this winter of my life. 

But through it all, I have managed to hang onto my faith and to hang on to hope, and my friends on OC have, in large part, helped me through this whole, unhappy period of my life. But it hasn’t been ALL unhappy. I have discovered who and what friends truly are; how much I depend on prayer — by myself and for others for me; how precious life truly is and that I still have a life, restricted though it may be. I’ve learned to “not sweat the small stuff.” Some things, mundane things, just do not matter when you have looked death in the face –and survived. 

I want people to think well of me after I leave this mortal plane. I want people to remember me with a smile when they DO remember me. IF they do remember me, and I hope some will. I don’t want people to feel relief, or indifference, or any of those negative things about me. Hopefully people won’t think long on my faults and bad habits. I’d hate that.

I want you younger friends to live every day as fully as you can. If you want to accomplish something–get busy because time flies and before you know it, you will have waited too long. Patch up quarrels. Don’t hate ANYONE. Forgive everyone. Go on those trips you always wanted (sell stuff to get the money to go if you have to). You can sit at home after you get too old to travel–one of my biggest regrets. Have fun, and above all, have faith.

Elvis On Mars



Came across a term the other day that was new to me — pareidolia. As you can read on the link, pareidolia is the word for the psychological phenomenon that makes us see bunnies in the clouds or the face of Jesus on a piece of toast.

However, I would say that the phenomena of pareidolia could be applied to other things as well, besides toast, things that we normally take at face value — such as economics. Or democracy.

Thank god for science and the empirical method. Which is not to say that is going to help us much when it comes to politics.

The Bells of Notre Dame




“Time is a devourer; man, more so” quotes Victor Hugo in his novel Notre Dame de Paris. Hugo’s concern about the deteriorated state of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral at the time his book was published in 1831 was justified. Time had taken its toll, as had human events such as the Reformation and the French Revolution. By the time of Hugo’s writing the eleven ascending steps to the medieval cathedral had become buried, statues had been removed, stain glass windows destroyed.

And then there were the bells. Today it is almost impossible not to think of the bells apart from Hugo’s great character of Quasimodo, the rather pitiful servant of the archdeacon of the cathedral, whose only real joy came from the ringing of the bells. But in fact the bells have their own history, their own story. All but one of the bells were removed from the cathedral and smelted down during the French Revolution. The remaining bell, called “Emannuel”, cast in 1681, by some miracle survived — perhaps only due to its prodigious weight of 13 tons. In the late 19th century four of the missing bells were replaced. But the casting was inferior, the bells were never really tuned properly and became worse over time.

As a result, in 2012, it was decided to replace the old bells except for Emannuel. Nine new bells were cast, including a new great bourdon bell called “Marie”, which functions as a slightly smaller sister to Emannuel.

Here is a list of the current bells according to Wikipedia:


The tuning of the bells brings up an interesting feature of music history. As you can see on the list the bells are tuned (from lowest to highest)

F# – G# – A# – B – C# – D# – E# – F# – G# – A#

It seems odd today that the bells are tuned in what we today would consider sharps instead of the more natural “white key” notes found on the piano. But when these bells were originally cast, during medieval times or for Emannuel the middle of the Baroque era, the tuning of instruments did not follow the A=440 tuning that we normally follow today. Back then, the value was more like A=415. As a result according to our ears and our modern way of tuning the note historical of A would equal a current G#. Thus the tuning of the bells to us seems a half step downward. Adjusting for today’s tuning, the bells would actually reflect the following

G – A – B – C – D – E – F – G – A – B

And so one could say that the bells of Notre Dame were originally meant to reflect the key of C major.

But here, once again, history comes into play. The same set of notes might well produce the key of G major with a flattened 7th. In fact, given that in medieval times the leading tone to the tonic was most often flattened, one might say that looking at the tunings in an “old school” type of way that the bells are actually tuned for G major. This might also explain why the deepest sounding bell, Emannuel, sounds a G. It would make sense to have the lowest bell sound the tonic.  

On March 23, 2013 old Emmanuel rang with the other 9 new bells in the city of Paris for the first time. A wonderful moment. You can listen to them here.

Hopefully, time and man will be kinder to them this time.