Thursday, February 26, 2015

Adding to Our Weather Lexicon

There was always a television going on the farm. My brother turned at least one TV on when he got up and it was the last thing off at night. After a while, you learned to tune it out.

To a farmer, retired or not, the weather is important. Especially out there where the slightest hint of a rain shower is hopeful news. While we are now accustomed to instant weather on our phones, one of the attractions for us in the early times we would go to the farm was the lack of a signal. We could get “off the grid” for a weekend.

The TV was tuned to “Channel Ten” and it was time for “The Weather.” For years, the weather had been presented by a gentleman writing on a board with a grease pencil, but this was now hi-tech. And the weatherman, looked to be about twelve years old, had his “blue screen” amped up and showing a unique weather map to demonstrate the anticipated high winds. He said the “isobars were packly tight.” I barely heard it, but Dick and Linda both did a classic double-take and roared with laughter.

They shared that observation every time there was a stiff breeze, “Yep, bet those isobars are packly tight today!” If he were alive today, he would have appreciated Linda’s observation about our storm in Virginia that has, as of this morning, dumped quite a lot of “het weavy” snow.

So glad they are able to continually add to our Weather Lexicon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Moving Van

Ya ever notice? The day you move out of or into a new place the weather is awful? My experience is that it either rains, snows or is so hot your feet melt into the street.

Everything is closed in Virginia Beach today. You have to realize this isn't the Plains, so our few inches of snow and a bunch of sleet isn't going to slow down Omaha or St. Edward. But it brings this city to a halt...except for the Mayflower moving van that just drove into the neighborhood.

Today is the coldest day of the year so far at 18 degrees or so, there is about four inches of snow on the ground capped with a crust of ice. Makes you want to bake a plate of cookies and warm up some hot chocolate and carry them over to those new folks.

Well, maybe I'll just eat the cookies and drink the hot chocolate and think about them. Ah, that feels about right!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Black and White Photos

Observing Ted Kooser's immense talent was an eye-opener for me. Never been exposed to anything like that, and to tell the truth, it was a bit discouraging when I tried to write or take a picture. Since he went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and serve as Poet Laureate of the United States for a few years, my awe and fascination was probably warranted. 
Ted has been showing up in my thoughts every now and then as Linda gave me his latest book, The Wheeling Year, that is like an artist’s sketch pad, only in words. We exchanged emails a few weeks ago, but I hesitate to intrude as he has all kinds of fans who take his time and energy.

When we worked together in the early 1970’s, in the days before personal computers and the internet, both of us independently ordered pictures from the Library of Congress that were reprints of pictures taken as part of Roosevelt’s initiative to document the Great Depression…and employ artists who were photographers. A novel idea. The photos were magnificent. Not pictures on the screen, but actual photos on real photo paper.

The photos shown here are reminiscent of those 1930’s pictures. Black and white and expressive. I found them to be wonderful, hope you enjoy.

If you want to look at some of the ones from the Depression (includes some from WWII), here is a link:

The link gets you to the place, but there are nearly 200,000 pictures and I don’t know where to guide you to get some of the best ones. The ones by Dorothea Lange are among the most famous.

Another observation: the middle of the Great Depression was about 35 years earlier than when Ted and I ordered the photos. Sort of like if we were to order pictures today from 1980.