Entries from blogs tagged with “Behind the Lens”
I used to post photos of out of the way places in this blog. Today I ran across something that was unexpected. Since it is a little out of the way, even though it is probably pretty obvious, I thought I'd post it.
I've been experimenting with a new camera which let me takes series of photos so that I can create timelapse movies. This is the first of my efforts.
After what seems like months of discontented grumblings about the proposed Rec Center project, it appears someone is finally doing something about it.
LJWorld user "just another bozo on this bus" posted a link this morning to a petition to hold a public vote on the issue, and I've been trying to bring more exposure to it since then, posting on reddit and facebook.
The petition asks for the City Commission and the current crop of commissioner candidates to hold a public vote on using tax funds for the proposed recreation center project at the corner of 6th St. and K-10.
As noted in the article this morning about the candidates' views on the project, current Commissioner Mike Amyx had this to say:
"On the issue of whether the project should be put to a citywide vote, Amyx recently voted with his other four city commissioners against the idea. But Amyx voted with the caveat that if the public were to present a sizable petition asking for a vote, he would support placing the issue on the ballot."
Candidate Scott Criqui echoed Amyx's sentiments, saying,
"On the issue of a citywide vote, Criqui said he’s not yet ready to call for one. He said he would support a vote if citizens started a significant petition drive calling for a vote.
'If a group gathered 3,000 signatures or something like that, it would tell me that there is some concern out there,' Criqui said. 'But I haven’t heard of anyone who has done that yet.'"
Well, there you have it, folks-- the Commissioners might be willing to listen to the public's views on the matter, but only if we can show that enough people have concerns about the project. From spending the money at all on the project to the manner in which bidding will be done, I know that many people out there don't agree with the way this project is moving forward.
If you're one of those people who wants to have a voice in this matter, sign the petition here:
The World Bank isn't known historically as an environmentally friendly institution in terms of the sorts of development projects it has funded. So when the World Bank gets concerned about the possible affects of global warming perhaps even the skeptics ought to pay attention.
Check out the World Bank's climate change site here: http://climatechange.worldbank.org/content/climate-change-report-warns-dramatically-warmer-world-century
The wind picks up leaves
swirls them around
teens commit pranks
while adults act like clowns
You make chicken chili
heat up spiced cider
put beer in the fridge
stock up on candy
Carve pumpkins to
look like a fright
bring in the cat
turn on the porch light
Get in your car
Dirt roads wind you around
Take you far out of town
Where haystacks seem bleak
Until scarecrows peek
from around them!
Witches on horned owls
screech high overhead
Demons pop up from
under the hood
Clouds cover the moon
You hear a loud thud
You have a flat tire
in three feet of mud
You arrive back at home
It's time to disrobe
You sneeze once or twice
You've caught a damn cold!
Have one last beer
with your favorite candy
Pull on warm socks
Put your feet up.
Oops, turn out the light
Blow out the candle
Put out the cat
Spirits creep in, see you're asleep
Let themselves out with
hardly a peep.
Your snoring is loud
you're all tuckered out
Your dog jumps into bed
howling in fright!
Realization sinks in
it's gonna ba a long frekin night
On Halloween night in your neighborhood
(10-28-2007 - Ronda Miller)
Friends of mine seem surprised, and certainly questioning, when they learn I'm pro life. The questions my stance, which is a life style choice not a political siding, garner include the standard ones. I'm asked why I feel it's okay to tell someone else what they have to do with their body - my response is that I'm not telling anyone what they should do with their own body, just what they shouldn't do to a body too small and defenseless to stand up for itself.
Hasn't that been the American way since the beginning of the American dream? Don't Americans put themselves into harms way and travel across the sea to protect those who don't have the physical abilities to defend themselves against cutting swords or toxic poisons another entity uses on them?
It's easy for me to answer the 'when life begins' question. My response is that as a human development major I was taught that life begins with the zygote. I believe that.
I appreciate people come from different belief systems, lifestyle choices, opinions, cultures and religions.
In a perfect world the smallest form of human life would be cherished, protected, coddled, nourished. Once that perfect world of respect for the most fragile of human life begins, then our climate of a world at war begins to change.
Our focus shifts and we begin to look inward towards the smallest movement, the slightest sound of a beating heart.
I don't want or expect the reverse of our present culture where women for the most part retain secondary rights in respect to equal pay, sexual bias, and exploitation. They don't need to be put on a pedestal.
But our culture would be vastly improved if our focus was placed on the family - the smallest of life's form was cherished to the ultimate end of giving it the optimal in physical, emotional and educational care. Women wouldn't be subjected to the fear of rape or incest because they would be cherished as the sacred houses where honored life begins.
In a perfect world no one would need to defend their reasons NOT to kill an unprotected life.
I know we don't live in a perfect world, but let us begin doing what we can. It starts at home - it begins within.
Writers throughout the state of Kansas converged in Salina this past weekend for the yearly Kansas Authors Club convention and presentation of awards.
The convention was hosted by District Four under the leadership of President William Karnowski.
Key note speaker was Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. Goldberg is state of Kansas Poet Laureate.
Winners for the state poetry contest (open to the general public and members), are as follows:
Haiku: Judge Irma Hudson First - Box Turtle- Yvonne Green, D1 Second - Snow Drifts from the Sky - Barbara Brady, D1 Third - Moonlit Cottonwoods , Roy Beckemeyer, D5 First honorable mention- Flurry of Feathers - Diane Palka, D2 Second honorable mention - Coolness in the Fall -Annabelle Corrick Beach, D1
Theme: Judge Timothy Pettet First - Brushing Away my Fears - Judy Hatteberg, D5 Second, Such Power, Yvonne Green, D1 Third - It Takes Two To Tango, Jane Bandy, D7 First honorable, Hope, Roy Beckemeyer, D5 Second honorable, Encouraging Words, Barbara Brady, D1 Tied for second honorable mention, As a River Runs, Laura Patterson,
Lyrics: Judge Barry Barnes First - Shipwrecked Love - Roy Beckemeyer, D5 Second - Saturday Night Dreams - Audrey Collins, D6 Third - Editor's Lament, Annabelle Corrick Beach, D1 First Honorable Mention - Courtin' Country - Kay Towle, D6 Second honorable mention, Tall-grass Spring, Theodore Farmer, D5 Classic Forms : Judge Timothy Pettet First - Roy Beckemeyer - Winter's Weft, D5 Second - Prairie Fire Pantoum - Roy Beckemeyer, D5 Third - Half Joy Wing, Kristine Polansky, D4 First honorable - Molds - Dennis Etzel Second Honorable He Drinks Again - Pat Bonine, D1
Poets Choice: Judge Timothy Pettet TORNADO WARNINGS - Roy Beckemeyer, D5 Second Place, Wedding Picture, Diane Wahto, D5 Third place - May Morning - Diane Wahto, D5 First Honorable Mention - Sharing a Drink - Sarah Langley Second honorable mention - Grease - Dennis Etzel
Free Verse: Judge Paul Goldman First - East off Highway 77, Dusk - Kevin Rabas, D2 Second - Somewhere in the Water - Duane Johnson, D1 Third - City People - Judy Hatteberg, D5 First honorable mention - The Yellow Cat Naps - Roy Beckemeyer, D5 Second honorable - Curry's " Prelude to Tragedy": John Brown - Marilyn Page
Narrative: Judge Carolyn Hall First - Sweat For Sale - Diane Palka, D2 Second - Second Year Blues - Ronda Miller, D2 Third - Where the High Plains Meet Heaven - Ronda Miller, D2 First honorable mention - If Not for Tears - Ronda Miller, D2 Second honorable mention - That Time Again - Jean Jackson, D2
Whimsy: Judge Carolyn Hall First - For Women Only - Audrey Collins, D6 Second - DFTT - Kristine Polansky, D4 Third - The Handyman - Paulette Mattingly, D5 First honorable mention - Evaporating Issues - Annabelle Corrick Beach, D1 Second honorable mention - The Awful Truth - Yvonne Green, D1
Additional information about the club and how to become a Kansas Authors Ckub member may be found on-line. Kansasauthorsclub.com. (D stands for one of the seven districts that the club is divided in throughout the state)
I haven't seen this reported in the mainstream media yet, so I wanted to share this positive story with all of you.
Today, hundreds Libyans of all ages came together near the site of the burned-out US consulate in Benghazi to honor Chris Stevens and the others killed in yesterday's attack, chanting and holding signs with red and blue lettering, reading slogans like:
"Sorry America, this is not the Pehavior [sic] of our Islam and Profit [sic]"
"Benghazi is against terrorism"
"RIP Christopher Stevens"
"Thugs and Killers don't represent Benghazi nor Islam"
"Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans"
Many others held signs written in Arabic. Posters at the popular news aggregator site Reddit have translated them as follows (probably not a complete list):
"No, no, no to Al Qaida"
"No to Al Qaida, no to terrorism; this is a young people's revolution"
"Arrest the killers [lit. armed men] today"
"No place for Al-Qaida here"
"The flavor of terrorism is not for Libya"
"Enough retaliation, we want [cut off, probably "peaceful"] reactions"
"Islam is innocent, the traitors are spoiling our [cut off]"
"Do you reward for good [deeds] with anything other than good [deeds]?"
"Whoever has no conscience, remember that Allah is patient with you but does not forgive the sins of unrepentant wrongdoers."
I'd like to point out that the actions these people took by protesting the terrorism is not the same as a picketing line in Chicago-- these folks put themselves in real danger by speaking out against violent factions that would be just as happy to kill THEM as us. As we move forward from this tragedy, I think many of us can agree that actions like the Libyans took today are beneficial to the healing process. My favorite sign is perhaps this one:
Following the spirit of my blog post about prejudice yesterday, I think "This does not represent us" is a sentiment we can all agree with.
Thank you to the Libyans who took part in this demonstration today, condemning the actions of killers and showing compassion for those who were slain.
I originally posted this comment as a reply to a family member on facebook today, to no response (not surprisingly). I figured "Screw it, might as well post it on the LJW-- where I'd at least get some feedback, and maybe make some people think."
9/11 Never Forget
How many times have you seen ^THAT^ sentiment today? Of course, we want to remember the victims of the tragedy that occurred 11 years ago today. We want to remember how that day affected us, both personally and as a nation. However, I vehemently object to the "Never Forget" sentiment when it is accompanied by a statement and/or implication that what we should never forget that "The Muslim Terrorists are still out there and want to kill us." (<< actual quote from facebook.) This is a sentiment I've seen repeated several places today.
Learn from our past?....Nah.
For some perspective on that statement, replace 9/11 with Pearl Harbor and this is what you get: "Never Forget Pearl Harbor..... The Japanese terrorists are still out there and want to kill us." Ridiculous to think about in this day and age, right? But that is the exact sentiment that was prevalent during the last Great War, so much so that we imprisoned thousands of innocent people in internment camps, simply because of their nationality.
Or how about we take it back even further, to the Revolutionary War? "Never Forget Bunker Hill..... The British terrorists are still out there and want to kill us." Now that one just sounds silly, I'll admit. But it's a great example of impermanence with regards to the "enemy" of the hour. An empire that once was our most mortal enemy during the birth of this country, is now one of our greatest allies in the world. My, the times, they are a'changin. I'd like to think that as a country, we can learn from our mistakes, but there are many people out there that I think would jump up and down at the thought of locking up all the Muslims in America.
This should be common sense, but sadly, it's not
What we should "Never Forget" is this: 9/11 should serve as a reminder as to what happens when intolerance (such as the intolerance Osama & Co. held for America) gets to a level where it turns into murder. It's a reminder to us all that we shouldn't paint a group of people with the same brush (as Al Qaeda did to the US). Prejudice leads to resentment, which leads to hate, which leads to killing. Look at what just happened in Wisconsin, where a white extremist committed an act of terror against a group of Sikhs, because he thought they were Muslims. Or the Joplin mosque that has been burned down TWICE this summer.
Not all asians are horrible drivers, not all blacks are criminals, not all catholic priests are child molesters, not all gays have AIDS, not all republicans are corporate shills, not all democrats are communists in disguise, and not all muslims are terrorists. Judge the individual, not the demographic.
I just can't stand this vitriolic culture that has evolved since 9/11 where nobody trusts anybody else. 9/11 should have brought us TOGETHER as a nation, made us a group of individuals reminded that black, white, jew, muslim, christian, gay, straight -- we all bleed and die the same on the battlefield or when targeted by those who kill for their hate. In the immediate aftermath, it did bring us together-- for a short while. But now, we're back to our old ways-- more anger-filled and distrustful than ever before.
We're a nation deeply divided and focused on emphasizing differences instead of similarities. We're a nation where many of our leaders fuel the flames of these divides, especially politically-motivated ones. We're a nation where people are discriminated against and even murdered by their own co-citizens for their politics, their race, their religion, their age, their gender, their disability, or their sexual orientation. And it makes me want to cry.
Previous: IPS 6/24/2012
It is amazing I have the nerve to show my face around here, but I saw something worth a post, so it is below.
If you've seen it, and can identify it, you're welcome to do so in the comments. Otherwise I'll do so in a day or so. I was headed back from an auction this weekend and this subject caught my eye.
After listening to the catch phrase "Are you better off?" over and over during the last few weeks, I started to wonder what the answer to that was for Lawrence residents. I know that I personally can answer "Yes" to that question, but what about the average Lawrencian?
So I hit the books, studying the budgets from the City of Lawrence for the last several years, which have lots of great information-- not just on the spending of the city, but also on demographic and employment numbers of it's residents. The results are telling. I plan to break down several major categories, including taxation, housing, unemployment, crime and income. I will compare numbers from 2009 (when the economy crisis hit rock bottom for most of America) to the most recent numbers that are available from these budgetary reports.
Taxation - Mill Levies 2009
Taxation - Mill Levies 2012
So, mill levies have increased 5.2% in the last several years. This is from all sources combined, including the State of Kansas, Douglas County, USD 497 and the City of Lawrence. The schools and the City in particular have raised their rates over the last three years, and the city of Lawrence is asking for another increase for the 2013 Budget, for Police equipment and a pavement marking project. In a promising change, USD 497 has decreased their mills for 2013 by two-tenths of a mill to 59.263. Many of the City's increases over these last three years appear to have been for projects and improvements that the commission has approved, and not as much to cover budgetary shortfalls.
Taxation - Sales Tax 2009
State of Kansas 6.30%
City of Lawrence 1.55%
Douglas County 1.00%
Taxation - Sales Tax 2012
State of Kansas 6.30%
City of Lawrence 1.55%
Douglas County 1.00%
So, while these numbers are completely unchanged in that time, change is on the horizon. The state will drop sales tax rates by six-tenths of a cent in July 2013, and Mayor Schumm has proposed a half-cent increase to take effect also in July 2013, to fund the police facility improvements, among other things.
Taxation - Verdict: No, we are not better off in regards to taxation. With cuts to education from the state, USD 497 has had to compensate by increasing its levy in the last three years. The adopted reduction for 2013 from the school district is a good sign that finances are changing for the better in our local education system. The city has consistently raised mill levies every year since 2009, and has earmarked much of that money for improvement projects. It's my opinion that some of this tax burden could be lessened if not so many of these pet projects had been approved by the Commissioners.
Housing - New Residential Permits 2009
In 2009, 141 new residential (single, duplex and multi-family) building permits were issued by the City.
Housing - New Residential Permits 2012
The most recent report for 2012 is from June. As of the end of June 2012, the city had issued 87 new residential (single, duplex and multi-family) building permits. Based on the pattern of 2011 building permits, 57% of the residential permits for the year were issued Jan-Jun. If that pattern holds true, then 43% of the residential building permits for the year will be issued Jul-Dec. Based on this assumption, I project that the city will issue an additional 65.6 residential permits this year, for a total of 152.6 permits.
Housing - Property Valuation 2009
The assessed value of all of the property in the city was $853,676,870.
Housing - Property Valuation 2011
Valuation numbers for 2012 are not yet available, but in 2011, the assessed value was $856,611,007.
Housing - Verdict: Yes, we are better off in terms of housing. New building permits for 2012 are being issued at a rate I project to be an 8.2% increase compared to 2009. Valuation of the property in the city has increased $2.9 million dollars when 2011 is compared to 2009, or a growth of $1.46 million per year. If that rate holds steady, Lawrence will be worth $4.4 million more by the end of 2012 than it was in 2009. This may be a drop in the bucket, but it IS an increase in value.
Unemployment - 2009
City of Lawrence: 5.4%
State of Kansas: 6.7%
(2010 was actually the peak of unemployment rates in the city and our state, at 6.2% and 7.0% respectively.)
Unemployment - 2012
City of Lawrence: 5.2%
State of Kansas: 6.1%
Number of Jobs at Major Local Employers - 2009
The Top 10 largest employers in Lawrence provided at least 18,875 jobs. (I did not include the duplicate count for DCCCA that is on the budget. I counted the remaining 10 on the list, however.)
Number of Jobs at Major Local Employers - 2012
The Top 10 largest employers in Lawrence provided at least 18,148 jobs.
Employment - Verdict: Yes, we are better off. While the number of jobs provided by the top 10 Lawrence employers has not changed significantly (mostly due to the downsizing of the World Company), the unemployment rate for Lawrence overall has gone from 5.4% in 2009 to 5.2% in 2012. Again, that is a small difference, but it is a hopeful sign that more recovery is on the horizon. Another good sign is the new call center opening in the former Affinitas location at Riverfront Mall. This company will provide an additional 300 new jobs to the Lawrence economy, which alone will account for another future three-tenths of a percent reduction in Lawrence unemployment (based on 2010 census numbers).
Crime - 2009
Violent Crime Index 4.6
Property Crime Index 57.6
Total Crime Index 62.2 (the 2009 budget incorrectly lists the total as 72.2)
Crime - 2012
Violent Crime Index 4.2
Property Crime Index 38.4
Total Crime Index 42.6
Crime - Verdict: Yes, we are better off in terms of criminal activity in Lawrence. Despite little to no change in the size of our police force (142 patrol officers in 2009, 144 in 2012), both violent and property crimes have dropped, with overall crime decreasing by 29.6%. The real telling number is the number of property crimes (theft, etc) has decreased by a third in the last three years.
Income - 2009
The average income per capita in Lawrence was $23,070.
The average household income in Lawrence was $40,547.
The average family income in Lawrence was $61,776.
Income - 2012
The average income per capita in Lawrence is $34,305.
The average household income in Lawrence is $41,290.
The average family income in Lawrence is $65,673.
Income - Verdict: Yes, we are better off in terms of income. Personal income has increased by 48.6%. Household income has increased by 1.8%. Family income has increased by 6.3%.
On the whole, the average Lawrencian is better off than they were in 2009. While taxation has increased, housing is being built at a higher rate, property values are higher, unemployment is lower, crime is lower, and average incomes are higher. Growth in these areas is a positive sign that life is coming back into our economy, albeit slowly. While you still might need to answer the question of whether YOU are better off, and if that should affect your decision when you go to the polls in November-- you should be aware that on average, your friends and neighbors are doing better than they were 4 years ago.
Oprah earned $222,000,000 last year. She likely paid a lower percentage in taxes than you or I did. Do you hate her for being intelligent enough to become wealthy and give mega money to the charities of her choice (many of them are outside the United States) rather than the government?
Do you despise Romney or Brad Pitt for being wealthy and giving their money to the charities of their choice?
Do you feel people lose their common sense during the months prior to Presidential elections in political debate?
If you are up, one of the most important space exploration events is happening now through early Monday morning (August 6), the landing of Curiosity. Media coverage is pretty spotty. Fortunately there is NASA TV for us night owls. http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html
CNN is covering this at least on line but they are getting their feed from NASA, so go right to the source.
Update! Curiosity has landed..first photos.
You may not realize it but we are getting a good lesson about the way science works, or at least should work. The lesson involves an independent study of planetary temperature data designed to examine some of the global warming skeptic's concerns about the nature of the data used in previous studies on climate change. The new study was conducted by a group of scientists involved in a project called BEST- the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study.
Some of the study's conclusions include the following:
- The heat island effect in urban areas is not biasing the estimates of land surface temperature.
- Poor quality weather stations are also not biasing the global estimates of land surface temperature.
- Adding more temperature data gives results that are consistent with those in previous studies.
- The best fit to to the data-(BEST did not use traditional climate models but a correlational approach) are a model that combines volcanic activity (the effect by the way is to cool climate) and carbon dioxide concentration. Variation in solar input is NOT an explanatory factor in current climate trends.
The BEST group has submitted their analysis and results for publication and what is really admirable have opened up their data sets and analytical methods to public scrutiny. The study by the way was funded in part by the Charles Koch foundation.
Now it easy to say well we knew a lot of this stuff from current work-but an important aspect of science is the confirmatory aspect of science- it's what should enable us to gain confidence in our ideas-while others fall by the way side as not tenable. I don't expect these results to convince every one and they may also be flawed in ways that aren't immediately obvious. But maybe they will nudge the scientific and political debate to where we can have a serious talk about how to deal with global warming.
The BEST Website is at http://berkeleyearth.org/
There is also an interesting commentary from the study's principle investigator who has changed his mind and global warming and it's causes based on the results of the study.
Several people have reported seeing these wonderful insects over the last couple of days. These are sometimes called velvet ants. They are not ants but mutillid wasps. The females are wingless and usually brightly colored-orange or orange and black, though a few are grey. The males are winged. The females are enter the burrows of ground nesting bees and wasps and lay their eggs on or near the larvae of their host. The eggs hatch and the Mutlillid larvae feed on the host's larvae.
Mutillids can pack a powerful sting-especially the one pictured here. That probably is the origin of the other common name as a figure of speech- "Cow Killer." The females are extremely active and never seem to stop moving so it is difficult to get a decent picture of them. Fortunately I had a plastic lid to a lens filter handy and was able to trap this one long enough to get a good shot.
Poet Timothy Pettet, Kansas City, Missouri, is drawn to the prairie, small towns (think Cottonwood Falls and Linwood, Ks), their cemeteries and their history.
Pettet, who is in the process of finalizing an Opera entitled Mona and Zero, made his way to a cemetery outside Linwood today to research the Chance family. By a differing means of chance, Pettet met Stuart Sweeney (Union Pacific car inspector), who has information about the approximately 30 members of the Chance family Pettet is interested in.
Pettet, who made his way into Linwood with the intent to research the lone cemetery, that sits atop a cottonwood treed shaded hilltop, at The Linwood Library, was directed to one of the town's yearly fund raising events hosted by The Lion's Club when he asked a member from the Sheriff's department to direct him to a restaurant.
Wes Knight (stonemason) invited Pettet towards a cooker of pulled pork, homemade potato salad and a selection of desserts even though the fundraiser doesn't start for several hours (it is open from 3 -7 pm Saturday evening - donations accepted).
Knight, Sweeney (sons Jacob and Andrew) and fellow BBQer Phil Rosewicz (Civil Engineer Amy Core), all of Linwood, spoke about a shelter, prescription eye wear and other uses the money from the Lion's Club fundraiser has provided the Linwood community since the mid 1950's when now deceased charter member Casey Jones helped set up tents along the road in which chickens were smoked..
These days, the smokers are filled with pork and chicken and club members remain downtown with their specialty smokers.
Pettet left Linwood with an affirmation of why he is attracted to the prairie and small town comraderie.
Pettet will be reading poem 'Switching Way Back' and discussing additional projects on KLWN live from The Runaway Pony Sunday, July 29th, between 8:30 and 9:30 am.
With all the attention Google is getting with the fiber plans in Kansas City, I thought it was a good idea to share some things I've heard, and see if anyone knows more.
A few years ago, I was sitting in the barbershop. The gentleman next to me was telling us that he'd received a letter from Sunflower/Knology (don't recall which who it was. or exactly how long ago it was) announcing that they would be deploying fiber based internet in his area. He lived southwest of town, somewhere near the Wakarusa school.
A call to Sunflower (or whoever) at the time, and a few inquiries since, have not elicited any more information.
However, there is one more interesting item. About a year ago, I was googling trying to find information about fiber deployments. Somewhere, and I can't find it again now, I saw a map of the Dougas county area that showed fiber deployed in a narrow band north and south of Clinton Lake.
Is there anyone out there with a fiber connection from Knology? Does anyone know anything more?
Yes, I know I haven't posted an IPS photo in a while. Don't give up hope. I haven't.
Locally Westar has introduced Smart Grid technologies that are billed as helping individuals track and manage their power usage and also help the power company manage its load. Does this technology, though pose a threat to civil liberties in ways we haven't thought about yet? I don't know... but a cousin in Canada sent this link to me from a Canadian Libertarian think tank...not a site I would normally visit...but it does provide an interesting take on the new smart grid technologies.
For the record, neither my cousin or I use old style incandescent bulbs and personally I like my smart meter. So check the article out. What do you think? Are these fears real or vastly overblown?
If you've lived in Lawrence for any length of time, you've heard the stuff legends are made from. Amazing keyboardist, song writer and vocalist Mike Finnigan (he originally landed in Lawrence to attend KU on a basketball scholarship) makes it big. Ok, make that huge!
Back in the day, we danced to Finnigan and Wood and held our breath. We knew he was bound to leave us. And we wanted him to. He had music to share with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Etta James, Taj Mahol, Cher, Ringo and Leonard Cohen (yes, I picked a few at random).
Finnigan and Woods hit, Crazed Hipsters, is a frekin classic.
I was thrilled to hear Finnagin and his band were playing at The Bottleneck last night and again tonight. I hadn't heard him play for years.
He may be the old kid on the block, but he brought a new kid with a newbie old sound along His son, Kelly Finnigan, and band Monophonics (mono phonics.com/).
The pride with which father introduced his son last night was obvious - and for good reason. Kelly has stage presence, voice, soul and talent to die for. He may not resemble his dad physically, but he inherited the music gene and then some.
In a society where offspring of famous talents (think Julian Lennon and Presley), often disappoint, Kelly surprises and just keeps bringing it. And bringing it. His performance of My Baby Shot Me Down was my favorite of the night, but each performance was brilliant.
Monophonics isn't 'just' Kelly Finnigan - here then are the rest of the band, each one a stand out in their own right: guitarist, Ian McDonald, Myler O'Mahony, bassist Alex Baly, saxophonist Ryan Scott, trumpeter drummer Austin Bohlman.
With voice and soul reminiscent of Joe Cocker, Kelly oozes stardom.
The Monophonics music is described as psychedelic soul - known these days as black rock.
Students, if you've completed summer finals, treat yourself to this two in one concert for $16. If you have a final tomorrow, you know you either know it by now or you don't!
Music lovers of any generation really do not want to miss this concert.
There has been a lot in the news about the great drought of 2012 and what the high temperatures might be telling us about what is happening to climate. So rather that rely on "some people say" as a source, I decided to check climate data from NOAA to get some perspective on the situation. NOAA has a great time series of statewide data for important weather parameters including average temperatures, precipitation and several measures of drought severity.
First of all how does 2012 stack up so far temperature wise for Kansas?
My firs NOAA data plot shows June's historical temperature data just by itself:
Notice that June just by itself really isn't so extreme historically. But my impression as a biologist who spends a lot of time doors, is that this year HAS been abnormally warm so lets look at year to date historical data shown in my next plot:
This shows a quite different story. As you can see the year to date temperature through June is very extreme. The year to data average temperature for the state is 55 degrees F. The next closest year to date average for Kansas appears to be 1986 at 54 degrees F. Going back to the 1930's, 1934 is the dust bowl year that comes closest at 53 degrees F. So temperature wise- so far this year is historically abnormal. However many of the record highs of the 1930's still stand.
Another concern is of course the several drought and NOAA provides several drought indices. Not being familiar with how these indices relate to each other I chose just to plot the basic Palmer Drought Severity index which uses local temperature and precipitation data to provide an index of drought severity that can be used to examine historical data: Negative values of the index represent more severe local drought conditions.
Notice that 2012 does not even come close in severity to the earlier droughts, including some relatively recent droughts of the 1980's. What is interesting is that the Palmer index suggests that the drought of the mid 1950's was in some respects more intense than the drought of the 1930's.
So the data suggest that yes it has been really abnormally warm so far in 2012. On the other hand the Palmer data suggest that the current drought is not (At least through June) as severe as a number of other droughts we have had.
One problem we have of course looking at historical data is that agricultural practices have changed since the 1930's. Much of the marginal land that was farmed then is not farmed now or is farmed using large scale irrigation. Farmers today tend to use tillage and other conservation practices that that probably are moderating local temperature and precipitation to some degree compared to earlier years. This might explain the greater number of extreme highs during the 1930's when conservation practices were not as widespread.
If you want to have your own fun looking at climate data, check out the NOAA site at:
There is a pull menu where you can select your state or region. You can also filter the data in various ways. This is a good way to check one's perceptions of climate change against historical data so you won't have to rely on what "some people say" or the infamous "they say" as a data source!
A link the drought indices is here: http://www.drought.noaa.gov/palmer.html
If you are into looking at extremes in terms of temperature and precipitation weather underground has a link to climate data. Go to www.wunderground.com and select the climate tab. Have fun!