To The Manor

September 7, 2009

Vacation time for Rick and Sandy! We had an overnight stay at the Rose Hill Manor, near Stonewall.

Our room was called the Carriage House.

Dinner was a four-course formal affair featuring quail stuffed with rice and cous-cous, canneloni, a chocolate box drenched in cherry syrup with strawberries and blueberries inside…that’s all I can remember, anyway!

Wildseed farm in Fredericksburg:


Of course Sandy takes a little time for shopping in Fredericksburg.


Then, a visit to Fort Martin Scott, a relic of  pre-Civil War Texas.


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V.’s Friend

September 2, 2009

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Veronica is proving to be an adept and creative photographer!

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In the long and storied history of the Texas dance hall, Gruene Hall holds a unique place. And it’s not just because it’s the oldest continually operating dance hall in the state of Texas, but also because it has served as both a launching pad and a continuing venue for some of the most influential musicians in American music. Gruene Hall has been pivotal in the careers of such musicians as George StraitLyle Lovett and Hal Ketchum, and has nurtured blues, rockabilly, folk, and singer/songwriter artists. This famous stage has also welcomed the likes of Bo Diddley, The Dixie Chicks, Jerry Lee Lewis, Garth BrooksWillie NelsonMerle Haggard, Junior Brown, Robert Earl KeenStevie Ray Vaughn, and many more.

Gruene Hall

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John Cage tells this story:

“A crowded bus on the point of leaving Manchester for Stockport was found by its conductress to have one too many standees. She therefore asked, “Who was the last person to get on the bus?” No one said a word. Declaring that the bus would not leave until the extra passenger was put off, she went and fetched the driver, who also asked, “All right, who was the last person to get on the bus?” Again there was a public silence. So the two went to find an inspector. He asked, “Who was the last person to get on the bus?” No one spoke. He then announced that he would fetch a policeman. While the conductress, driver, and inspector were away looking for a policeman, a little man came up to the bus stop and asked, “Is this the bus to Stockport?” Hearing that it was, he got on. A few minutes later the three returned accompanied by a policeman. He asked, “What seems to be the trouble? Who was the last person to get on the bus?” The little man said, “I was.” The policeman said, “All right, get off.” All the people on the bus burst into laughter. The conductress, thinking they were laughing at her, burst into tears and said she refused to make the trip to Stockport. The inspector then arranged for another conductress to take over. She, seeing the little man standing at the bus stop, said, “What are you doing there?” He said, “I’m waiting to go to Stockport.” She said, “Well, this is the bus to Stockport. Are you getting on or not?”

John Cage, Indeterminacy, 175 John Cage . Indeterminacy
Take a look at:
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July 31, 2009

Microsoft has announced its pricing structure for Windows 7, and here’s how it will stack up:

Upgrade retail products

Windows Vista
as of 1/2007

Windows Vista
as of 2/2008

Windows 7
as of 10/2009

Home Premium $159.99 Home Premium $129.99 Home Premium $119.99
Business $199.99 Business $199.99 Professional $199.99
Ultimate $259.99 Ultimate $219.99 Ultimate $219.99

Full retail products

Windows Vista
as of 1/2007

Windows Vista
as of 2/2008

Windows 7
as of 10/2009

Home Premium $239.99 Home Premium $239.99 Home Premium $199.99
Business $299.99 Business $299.99 Professional $299.99
Ultimate $399.99 Ultimate $319.99 Ultimate $319.99
If you Plan on purchasing the new Windows 7 OS, it will run you a cool $ 319.99 for the Ultimate Edition. Okay, you can probably wait a few months to buy a new PC with Windows 7 pre-installed, or even upgrade from Vista or Windows XP on your current computer – but, in all reality, that Microsoft licensing fee is built in to the cost of your new PC, so you’re still paying one way or the other. (Incidentally, if you intend to upgrade to Windows 7 from XP, it will require a new “clean” install: you won’t be able to download it and go.)
And that still leaves you with no productivity applications. Microsoft Office Home and Student will set you back around $150, while Standard, Professional, and Ultimate Editions start around $400 and range up to the $670 mark. Throw in additional software apps and it could easily end up costing more than the hardware itself.

You can’t fight city hall, and you can’t fight Microsoft, right? Why complain about the price, since you can’t do any thing about it?

Here’s a little secret. You can do something about it. There are alternatives to Microsoft (and not just Mac, either).

What would you give for a modern, secure, and well-designed computer operating system with a complete office suite (including spreadsheet) and hundreds of professional-level applications available for download at the click of a button?

There is such a system, and it will cost you absolutely zero. The system I’m talking about is called Linux Mint.

First, a little history. In 1991, about a decade after Bill Gates was awarded a contract by IBM to develop a DOS (Disc Operating System), Linus Torvalds decided to develop a version of the mainframe operating system (UNIX) suitable for use in small computers. 

Linux, as it became to be known, was from the start fundamentally different from Microsoft. It was part of a growing movement of dedicated professionals who passionately believed in free and open-source software, and who were dedicated to work together as a community to make that come about.

After more than 25 years of intensive development, Linux has graduated from a being toy for developers and programmers into a mature system suitable for use in the home desktop. Over the decades, Linux has become available in many different varieties, suitable for countless specialty applications, often of a scientific or highly technical nature. 

These Linux “distributions,” commonly known as “distros,” serve every conceivable niche, but the ones we are concerned with are targeted to non-technical users for use on their desktops or laptops.

The most famous of these distros, Ubuntu, was the first to bring Linux to the masses, but my favorite is Linux Mint. Mint sets the standard for ease of installation, ease of use, and ease of installing new software.

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Brilliant Noise

July 15, 2009


L’instant décisif

July 13, 2009

The famous “instant décisif“. Taken on the Okhotsk sea, Hokkaïdo, Japan.
Al Magnus

A bouquet for you

July 12, 2009


Sub rosa

July 11, 2009


Back next to the shadow

July 10, 2009

© Vedran Rihtaric


July 9, 2009

Clear cut

July 8, 2009

Lift up your eyes

July 7, 2009

The Unstable Constable

July 4, 2009

(June 10) — A police officer used a Taser on a 72-year-old woman during a traffic stop last month in Travis County, Texas — and authorities said the move was justified.

The incident, which was videotaped by a dashboard camera, began when Kathryn Winkfein got pulled over for speeding on May 11. Deputy Constable Christopher Beize stopped the woman, according to The Austin American-Statesman, for going 60 mph in a 45 mph in a construction zone.

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