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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Guilford County NC Photos

Hi Everyone,

In order to facilitate making pictures of our fair city and county available for all to see, and to perhaps even for bloggers or web hosts to include on their web sites as a link, I have set up a Flickr site called Guilford County NC Pictures, URL http://www.flickr.com/photos/guilfordcountypictures/. I uploaded two pictures I took today just to get it going.

If you would be interested in sharing photographs for this site, I have a good scanner with Digital Ice technology for prints as well as slides, and a very good color restoration tool for older pictures, and I can scan them in, upload them, and give them back to you. Or, if you would be keen about this and you take lots of shots of the local scenery - people, buildings, farms and fields, critters, old pictures, businesses, etc. - then I can share the passwords with you and you can upload the pictures yourself.

It is easy to give attribution to the person who took the pictures in the title, description, or comments. It would even be easy to provide a link for people back to your site.

If certain file size standards are upheld, then it would be easy as well for folks to order pictures. I have tested the process of ordering prints from Flickr and can say that it is simple and inexpensive and the quality is excellent. On my own site for example I have enabled friends to order pictures from college years, one dear friend to order photos of a deceased husband, and my own family to order pictures of us all when we were little.

You can go to my URL - http://www.flickr.com/photos/joelgillespie/ - and see how it works.

If you want to e-mail me pictures for uploading, maybe a coupel of megs would be max via e-mail. I can then resize if I need to. I generally upload jpegs in the 100-200kb range, just to assure that that are suitable for making prints. Flickr can take bigger files as well if you want to make available a picture than someone can print into an 8 by 10.

If there seems to be interest I'll spring for the extra $25 and upgrade the account to allow for more options.

So, I know a lot of you out there like to keep the camera's out. Take some shots and send them my way!

Joel

Hickory on Elm

This rather remarkable yellow hickory can be found on North Elm just south of Bessemer, west side. Catch it before the leaves fall.

I think it is a "pig-nut" hickory, pretty much the same kind that grew all over the place in Columbia where I grew up.

When we were kids we would go out and collect bags of nuts, then sit in circles in somebody's carport, or on somebody's driveway, and crack them with bricks. The trick was to crack them just so - not too hard so as to mash the nut, and not too soft so as to barely open the hard shell. We had these little metal nut picks to help get the hickory nut proper out. We got pretty good at breaking them open,
and would feast on Hickory nuts for half an afternoon. There is a distinctive taste to hickory nuts found nowhere else. I've taught my daughter how to crack them, to continue the tradition.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Anna Gillespie - OK, So I'm a Little Proud

This picture of and inerview with Anna Gillespie (my fourth, a junior at Northwest High) came out in the Friday News and Record.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Gay Republicans

There has been much discussion of late about all the outings and subsequent resignations of gay Republicans. It seems that some folks are doing everything they can to peek into the private sex life of these men in order to call them on their “hypocrisy.” I confess this sounds like the kind of tabloid sexual snooping that liberal minded folk have long objected to, but I have other questions and concerns.

These men have varied backgrounds. Many are married and thus cheating on their wives. I think that it an issue of some significance, but what are we doing to “out” cheating heterosexuals, Republican or Democrat. But some are not in this situation.

It seems that to many that it is just about impossible to be a gay Republican with any integrity. I do not agree, and I am neither gay nor a Republican.

There is a principle that many gay men and women themselves are anxious to establish – and that is that gay people are people too. OK, obvious point. But there is nothing inherent to being gay that would lean one away from a conservative political philosophy. Or is there a liberal gene that goes with the gay gene? Thinking of classic conservative principles I see no reason why a gay person could not be persuaded of these as much as a non gay person. Granted, the Republican party is mushy on those principles these days, but why could a gay person not lean toward less government, more state’s rights, protection of unborn chldren, a stronger military, educational vouchers, etc.

So, what if a gay person finds himself to be for the most part in keeping with a party that is politically conservative. So what? I would think some gay people like Italian food and some like Mexican food.

But what if the Republican Party is anti the “gay agenda.” What is a gay man to do? I would think that he has several options.

First, he may just take the bad with the good in his mind, and not support those agenda items. He would be open about being gay, work toward the other issues consistent with his conservative values, but not support anti gay rights initiatives.

Second, he may, despite his private predilections, actually oppose gay marriage. It is quite possible that a person would see as not in the public interest things that are true about himself. Rather than being a sign of some deep troubling psychological pathology, this might simply be good sense. I am sure that there are a lot of straight men (let’s say they are not married) who do not think cohabitation laws are in the public interest, yet they may be promiscuous rascals. It does not go without saying that one’s private predilections should form the basis of one’s public policy. I wonder what JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. would have to say about that.

Third, he may, like many other people on a thousand issues, merely be a hypocrite. Well, if we’re outing hypocrites, let’s get busy and clean out the majority of the people who are in office. We could start with environmentalists, who seldom live daily lives consistent with their own public policy positions. We might start with Al Gore and go from there. Hypocrisy stinks, but it is an equal opportunity employer. I would imagine that many avid supporters of gay marriage and the value of gay monogamy are themselves promiscuous. We can throw them out too.

I don’t like hypocrisy, in myself, or in others, but let’s apply the hypocrisy ruler equally across the board. I don’t see that happening.

Fourth, a gay Republican may feel that he has no future in the system if he is outed, so he leads a double life. That is, he may be a true conservative, yet may otherwise wish for more liberal marriage laws, but he knows that it won’t get him far in the party and there are so many other things that he is passionate about he just keeps his mouth shut. He is not really allowed by the system to vote his conscience. Well, welcome to politics. is this not why both parties have whips, to keep their folk in line? Is this not the case time and time again for so many people regarding so many issues. I dislike it, but let’s root out the problem across the board and not pick on these men.

Fifth and finally, the man may be cheating on a wife, advocating anti gay marriage in public meetings, and holding himself up as a standard bearer of traditional values, yet practice a gay lifestyle. This is a higher level of hypocrisy, because it both involves cheating on a vow and making oneself out to be what one certainly is not.

But I ask, do we really care about cheating and high level hypocrisy or is this just about winning an election and regaining the house? Do gay rights advocates care about these same issues as perhaps may involve themselves in other respects, or many involve other more liberal politicians on other issues? I think not.

It all smells of the same ole same ole election year scandalizing that both parties have become so good at, and which gives politics such a stench in my nose.

My Three Current Addictions

Armed with an Epson Perfection 4990 photo scanner that has Digital Ice Technology for prints, plus a pretty decent slide scanner attachment, I am now a scanning, photo organizing, Flickr junkie (http://www.flickr.com/photos/joelgillespie/). I think I need serious help. I must have strength! I have thousands of old family pictures and documents from several lines that have all ended up in boxes in my office. The temptation is there, everyday, calling…

And then, may God help me, there is Sudoku. So far this has not impacted my work life, but it has become hard for me NOT to do the daily Sudoku in the News and Record when I get home in the evenings. It so brings out the geeky closet perfectionist in me such that I can hardly make myself go to bed if I have not mastered the daily puzzle. I can carry on a conversation and do Sudoku at the same time, but my dear wife actually likes me to look at her while I talk. That’s pretty demanding of her, don't you think? So what’s a guy to do? Maybe I need to learn more Sudoku tricks so I can finish the puzzles more quickly.

And as this last one really only impacts me while driving, I must confess to all that I have been driving under the influence. Not of alcohol, or my cell phone, but of the Beatles. Indeed, for the last month I have hardly been able to take Abbey Road out of my CD player. I mean, I try. I put something else in. Usually Layla would do the trick, or maybe Bustin’ Out, or Live at Filmore East. But I keep ejecting everythign else and putting Abbey Road back in. Why, after all these years, am I hearing it in such a new way. Why does that side B medley sound like the most awesome music ever written? It didn’t used to. Why can I not stop singing “Because the World Is Round” and “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Golden Slumbers” and “Here Comes the Sun” and “I Want You” and so on. I need help.

Cara Michele Has it Right

As far as Bible believing Christians and the political parties, particularly the GOP, Cara Michele has nailed it

Bloggered

Excuse my French, but Blogger is getting to be a total pain in the ass. Half the time it won’t upload, and then it uploads in triplicate, and then the system is down, and there’s still no good way to do categories. Apparently there was some discussion at Converge South about the advantages of Word Press as a tool and as a blog host. Would anyone be interested in sharing with me the gist of that conversation? I have a Word Press blog, and like it. I wonder what is behind the movement away from Blogger?

A Local Christian Environmental Organization?

A few weeks back I posted a piece entitled My Passion. It was about my sense of calling as a person and as a Christian to the protection, preservation, and wise-use of God’s green earth. I’ll admit I felt sorry for myself a little in that I poured out my guts and hardly anyone said “boo,” which I guess tells me my place in the scheme of things here.

But over time private feedback has been coming in, mainly as people find my site and read the piece as a result of my being mentioned in an interview by Bill Moyers. He didn’t really quote me correctly, but I appreciate the attention.

There are many people who otherwise are more conservative in terms of political philosophy, or who are in the stream known as “social conservatives,” who for the most part are either conservative disenchanted Democrats, independents like myself (non aligned), or Republicans, who do indeed have a passionate concern for environmental issues such as species protection, habitat preservation, protection of air and water quality, simpler lifestyles, less consumption and more reuse of resources, etc.

There are many conservative Christian folk like myself who find that neither party represents their public policy concerns that arise out of a desire to see policy reflect love of neighbor, protection of the weak and poor, empowerment of local government, protection of the citizenry through strong police and military, etc.

Life contains contradictions and no political philosophy at least as embodied by the major players quite does it for all of us, and certainly not for me.

And as one who in generally conservative I understand how my environmental sensitivities may seem inconsistent, since environmental protection depends on strong proactive legislative action.

So be it.

Many Christian people with whom I otherwise agree on a range of issues do not see the significance of a stronger environmental policy and how that contributes to the well being both of the earth which we believe was created by God, mankind who suffers the ravages and injustices of environmental degradation, and the glory of the Creator Himself, whose honor is diminished as His world is defaced.

I am a member of several environmental organizations, but I think there is a need and a place for a local (Triad? NC? Carolina? I am not sure how local) organization of conservative Christian, Catholic, and Orthodox men and women who share as a common passion the care of this great planet we have been commissioned to oversee for the glory of God.

I see a need for an articulate voice aimed toward conservative evangelicals, Catholics, and Orthodox, men and women, in churches, in schools, and in public office.

I see a need for an educational movement aimed at, and presented as a service to, political and social conservatives - perhaps evangelical Christians in particular since they are the weakest on this issue. I am unwilling to see the care for God’s good earth totally co-opted by political liberals and mother earth pagans and Gaia theorists, etc. I am grateful for the way their work contributes to the care of the planet I believe was created by the God of Genesis 1, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I am willing to work with them, but…they are generally NOT going to make much headway with social and political conservatives or get into evangelical churches.

Because of the lack of Evangelical and Christian voice, and because conservatives have given this issue over to more left leanign folk, in the end, the environment suffers, mankind suffers, and God’s glory suffers.

So, I wonder, would anybody care to comment on the idea of a conservative Christian environmental organization and its potential value to the environmental good of our world? I’d like to hear other opinions.

Bond Referendums

I was interested in, and found myself agreeing with Sue's post regarding the upcoming bond referendum, History Doesn't Matter which itself referenced the News and Record's Greensboro Bond Endorsements. Maybe this reveals the hidden liberal in me (you know, government spending and all), but I am for investment in all the bonds, well, except one, and a little iffy on one other. The the one I am most unsure about makes me look terrible, but I'll say it anyway. I think we need a Civil Right's Museum here. The current site is ideal. But I have lost confidence in the ability of the people managing the project to appropriate and use funds wisely and perhaps honestly. The News and Record blurn did not convince me. How can I really know that these folks have their financial accountabilty act together? Can anyone help me with that little problem that I have so I can vote "yes" to that bond as well? The second one I have some concern about is the renovation of the War Memorial Auditorium. I think that much money could be used to fund a first rate performing arts center in a place not as congested. It just seems like a lot of money for a renovation. Plus, I'd to see more money go to Parks and Rec. But in the vague hope that it will draw better shows and performances to our city I think I'm for it.

Summary Please

I have been out of the loop for a couple of weeks and came back to the bruh ha ha about the publishing of the RMA report. Wow, people sure have fun when you're away.

I have tried to keep up with the Bledsoe account, Joe's insights, and the rest, but this old boy is just having a hard time keeping things straight.

I was wondering...could someone write a one or two page up-to-date summary of the whole deal to help slower people like me understand the issues and the ramifications. I suppose the nature of the summary might depend on who is writing it, so maybe a couple of summaries would be good.

Joel