What I See ~

Beautiful – Skill and Composure

Flight 1549

Miracle on the Hudson

Remember on this day, January 15, 2009, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger put an Airbus 320 “gently” into the Hudson. Sully turned a potential disaster into an incredible display of composure and skill after a flock of geese turned off his engines.2082945_miracle-landing-on-the-hudson2_u4otpkuoohegc34cxym6cgqbeyoxpy7q62c4u66siw3t6qwph3oq_757x567

Air traffic controllers instructed him to head for nearby Teterboro Airport. Captain Sullenberger calmy told them he was unable to reach the runway. “We’re gonna be in the Hudson” was his reply.


After he incredibly and expertly brought the plane down, the flight attendants ushered passengers into life jackets, through the emergency exits and onto the wings of the bobbing jet. In moments sightseeing boats, commuter ferries and rescue vessels were on the scene to pick-up shaken passengers and crew.



All 150 passengers and 5 crew members survived with one survivor suffering two broken legs. Others suffered only minor injuries or hypothermia. Captain Sullenberger was the last to leave the sinking plane after walking up and down the aisle twice.


Hudson Flight 1549 HD Animation with audio:

Con Edison Security Camera Captures Miracle On The Hudson:

For more on the Miracle on the Hudson, check out National Geographic’s site:




Plastic’s Finest Form

pluto-platter1January 13, 1957: Wham-O Produces First Frisbee

In 1871 William Frisbie opend the Frisbie Pie Company. Not long after that students from nearby universities began throwing the empty pie tins to each other yelling “Frisbie” as they let it fly.




Walter Morrison

Enter Walter Morrison a Los Angeles building inspector. Morrison’s father was an inventor (he invented the auto sealed beam headlight) and the pedigree rubbed off on young Walter. As a boy in Utah he would sail paint-can lids, pie tins and the like. Remembering those pleasurable moments he thought he could turn the idea into a marketable toy. He tried different versions of saucers but not until plastic entered the mainstream did he find the ideal material. [top picture above, Morrison promoting his saucers]

In 1948 he invented a plastic version of the Frisbie that could fly further and with better accuracy than the tin pie plates collage students were using. It seemed the Frisbie just might be plastic’s finest form.


The original “Vane” model of Morrison’s Flying Saucer’s was named for the six topside curved spoilers (vanes). They were designed to improve lift by facilitating the Bernoulli principle. Oddly, the spoilers were on backwards, they would only work with a counterclockwise spin. In 1951 Morrison vastly improved his model and the design which served as Wham-O’s legendary Pluto Platter. The Pluto Platter is the basic design for all succeeding Frisbees.


At that time in the 50’s, flying saucers from outer space were the craze and beginning to capture people’s imagination. He thought why not capitalize on the craze. The Pluto Platter saw the UFO influence in its design with cabin portholes and planet rings hinting at an extraterrestrial origin.

Enter Wham-O

Kerr rt and Melin

Melin right and Knerr

Rich Knerr and A.K.”Spud” Melin fresh from the University of Southern California were making slingshots (and eventually Hula-Hoops and Super Balls) in their fledgling toy company (Wham-O) when they first saw Morrison’s flying saucers whizzing around southern California beaches. In late 1955, they cornered Morrison while he was hawking his wares and tying up traffic on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Just before he was asked to break it up by the local cops, the duo invited him to their San Gabriel factory and made him a proposition.

Thus, flying saucers landed on the West Coast in San Gabriel, and on January 13, 1957, they began to fly out from a production line that has since sent over one hundred million sailing all over the globe.



At first the saucers had trouble catching on,” Rich Knerr reminisces, “but we were confident they were good, so we sprinkled them in different parts of the country to prime the market.” On a trip to the campuses of the Ivy League, Knerr first heard the term “Frisbee.” Sure enough, the term from the Frisbie Baking Company of Bridgeport CT was still hanging around. Harvard students said they’d been tossing the pie plates around for years. They called it Frisbie-ing. Knerr liked the term and not knowing the historical origins spelled it Frisbee. Thus Frisbee1 was born.


1Frisbee is a registered trademark of Mattel.







It was just after I graduated from high school that some of my more “radical” friends introduced me to Frank Zappa, I thought, damn this guy is different. He sang of plastic people and the brain police, had several rhythms going on at the same time and used saxophones, vibes, violins and who knows what else to create music. Frank Zappa died of prostrate cancer on this day, January 4, in 1993.

zappaZappa was a harsh critic of our mainstream educational system and organized religion. An outspoken advocate of the freedom of speech, frank_zappaFrank was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1997. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 71 on the list of the “100 Greatest Artists of all Time” and at No. 22 on the list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention had their first breakout album with Freak Out in 1966. After Dylan’s Blond on Blond it was only the second double rock album ever released. Freak Out praised non-conformity, bashed the consumer culture of America and put down authority.
After Freak Out, Frank met Adelaide Gail Sloatman. He’s said that he fell in love within “a couple of minutes”. It was Zappa’s second marriage. They had four kids and stayed together until his death.
https://youtu.be/Ql_3LS_B4q0 Zappa on the Steve Allen Show [click to view]
Zappa was so prolific it would be impossible to highlight even half of his work in this short tribute. But there are a few albums that stood out with my circle of friends (right Mike H?).
Like Cruising with Rubin and the Jets. Believe it or not the inspiration came from Stravinsky’s neo-classical period. Stravinsky was one of Zappa’s heroes. He said, “If he could take the forms and clichés of the classical era and pervert them, why not do the same … to doo-wop in the fifties?”


The Grand Wazoo was Zappa’s foray into Big Band fusion and guided me deeper into jazz.


In describing his philosophical views, Zappa stated, “I believe that people have a right to decide their own destinies; people own themselves. I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because (and only so long as) individual citizens give it a ‘temporary license to exist’—in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself. In a democracy, you own the government—it doesn’t own you.”

Quintessential Zappa, Peaches En Regalia





Rudyard Kipling Born…

…December 30 1865. He was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist. In 1907 he was the first English-language writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Kipling was a prolific writer including works such as, The Jungle Book, Kim, Mandalay, The Man Who Would Be King, Gunga Din, Wee Willie Winkie, Just So Stories, Captains Courageous, and a ton of other stories and poems.

But there was one poem that especially left it’s mark on me:


http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175772 [click for poem text]


Rudyard Kipling

Clouds Inside A Cave?


December 27, 1966: Cave of Swallows Discovered

At least the first documented exploration of the cave by T.R Evans, Charles Borland and Randy Sterns.  The Cave of Swallows is the largest known cave shaft in the world. It is so deep that clouds form inside it.


The Cave, also called Cave of the Swallows, is an open air pit cave in the Municipality of Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The mouth is 49 m by 62 m (161 ft x 203 ft) wide.  The floor widens to a room approximately 303 by 135 meters (994 ft by 442 ft).


The floor of the cave is a 333 meter (1092 ft) free fall drop from the lowest side of the open4-501px-golondrinaprofing, with a 370 meter (1,214 ft) drop from the highest side, making it the largest known cave shaft in the world, a skyscraper such as New York’s whole Chrysler Building could easily fit within it.

5 -apus1Despite its name, this natural refuge doesn’t host swallows, but rather white-collared swifts (apus apus) and the parrots Aratinga holochlora, known as green conures.6-aratinga_leucophthalmus_white-eyed_parakeeti_jsa138


These birds do a morning ritual. At dawn, thousands fly in an orderly fashion to the coasts of Veracruz, more than a hundred kilometers away, in search of food. To exit the cave, the birds fly in circles, gradually flying upwards until they reach the surface. This exodus has become part of the tourist attraction.


The cave is a popular vertical caving destination. The high side of the mouth is covered with heavy foliage, so cavers most often fix their ropes on the low side, where bolts have been fixed into the rock and the area is clear of obstructions. Rappelling to the floor takes about twenty minutes, in which time abseil (descending) equipment and rope can heat up to hazardous levels. Cavers use water spray to cool their equipment.




Climbing back out may take from forty minutes to more than two hours. A person without a parachute would take almost ten seconds to freefall from the mouth to the floor. An average-sized hot air balloon has been navigated through the wide opening and landed on the floor below. Base jumping, or being extracted by rope is no longer allowed. Local villagers are focused on protecting the birds.



A Christmas Gift

First Full Moon 2015 over Manila

Enjoy the Christmas Full Moon…

…first one in almost 40 years. We won’t see another till sometime in 2034. Of course it’s the last of the year and sometimes called the Full Cold Moon because it occurs during the beginning of winter.

When we look to the moon, realize our planet would be a totally different place without it.

full_moon_over_water_mouse_pad-r838a9c5b7f744f69977d21aa7ff165c5_x7ef8_1024 (2)

The tides would be tiny, and the darkness of night would be extreme… the earth would wobble all over the place mucking up our seasons, our clocks and causing extreme climate changes. The Moon is a stabilizing factor for our Earth and ultimately for us.


Dickerson  Click to read poem

This year consider the bright full moon an added Christmas gift for us all.


Career Start at 78


Grandma Moses…

(Anna Mary Robertson Moses was her full name) started her painting career in earnest at age 78.

grandma-moses-paintingInitially she charged $3.00 to $5.00 for a painting. As her fame increased her paintings sold for $8,000.00 to $10,000.00. The highest paid for one of her paintings was Sugaring Off, which sold for $1.2 million in 2006.



Sugaring Off

In 1938 an art collector, Louis Caldor, noticed Moses’ paintings in a drug eba483ed-1db2-42d0-994f-9e6675bec0e7.jpg!Portraitstore window. He bought them all for $3 or $5 dollars each. The next year, three of her paintings were displayed at the New York Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition, Contemporary Unknown American Artists. Her fame blossomed after that.

Frankly, though I appreciate her art, I’m not a big fan of her work… but I’m a fan of Grandma Moses and her pursuing an art career at 78 years old. She died on this date, December 13, in 1961. She was 101. You go Grandma, one of my champions.

Norman Rockwell012

Norman Rockwell painting, Christmas Homecoming. As a tribute, Rockwell included Grandma Moses in the painting. She is on the left, the one that looks like Grandma Moses

Some of Grandma Moses work:


July Fourth

GRANDMA MOSES The Old Checkered House in Cambridge Valley

The Old Checkered House in Cambridge Valley


Beautiful World

Oaken Bucket

Oaken Bucket


Happy 100th

He ain’t heavy he’s my brother…


There Are No Bad Boys…


Father Flanagan

Dec 12, 1917, Boys Town was founded by Father Edward J. Flanagan. Flanagan saw the harshness and cruelty that was happening in orphanages of the day. More like a prison or reform school than a place to guide and raise children. These were kids who often were abandoned and outcast.  Youths no one else wanted.

Flanagan was a visionary for his time. He had a dream that every child could be productive, successful and happy in life if given a home, education and love. He took in boys of every race, color and creed. He firmly believed, “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.”



On December 12, 1917, Father Flanagan opened his first Boys Town in a run-down old Victorian mansion in downtown Omaha. Boys Town quickly outgrew the mansion and with grit and persistence Flanagan secured Overlook Farm at its present day location, Boys Town Village in Douglas County, Nebraska.



The story is well depicted in the 1938 movie Boys Town staring Spencer Tracy with a young Mickey Rooney as Whitey Marsh. Based on the life of Father Flanagan, Tracy won a Best Actor Oscar for his role as Father Flanagan. His acceptance speech was spent talking of Father Flanagan, “If you have seen him through me, then I thank you.”

The academy created a duplicate Oscar statuette for Boys Town, it read: “To Father Flanagan, whose great humanity, kindly simplicity, and inspiring courage were strong enough to shine through my humble effort. Spencer Tracy.”



Boys Town adopted its image and logo in 1943; a picture of a boy carrying a younger boy on his back, the caption, “He ain’t heavy, Father … he’s brother!” The saying inspired the song by the Hollies in 1969 that featured Elton John on piano (Gram Nash was an original member of the Hollies).

Farther Flanagan, an acknowledged expert in the field of child care and juvenile delinquency, toured the United States sharing his views on the subject . After World War II, President Truman asked Father Flanagan to help children internationally. He traveled through Asia and Europe to aid children orphaned and displaced by the war. Flanagan died of a heart attack during a tour of Europe on May 15, 1948.

Today Boys Town has program locations in 10 states and Washington D.C. Director Monsignor Robert Hupp replaced dormitory living and girls began coming to Boys Town for help in 1973. Boys Town provides help to 1.4 million youth and families.






John Lennon Assassinated

Lennon is assassinated December 8, 1980. [above image – Yoko Ono tweets a picture of John Lennon’s blood stained glasses on their 44th wedding anniversary March 21 2013]

hqdefaultThe first media report of Lennon’s death to a US national audience was announced by Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football.

After getting the news, Cosell, who interviewed Lennon during a 1974 broadcast, was apprehensive about telling viewers of his murder. With 30 seconds left in the game Cosell and Frank Gifford had the following exchange:

Cosell: … but (the game)’s suddenly been placed in total perspective for us; I’ll finish this, they’re in the hurry-up offense.

Gifford: Third down, four. (Chuck) Foreman … it’ll be fourth down. (Matt) Cavanaugh will let it run down for one final attempt, he’ll let the seconds tick off to give Miami no opportunity whatsoever. (Whistle blows.) Timeout is called with three seconds remaining, John Smith is on the line. And I don’t care what’s on the line, Howard, you have got to say what we know in the booth.

Cosell: Yes, we have to say it. Remember this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps, of all of the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that news flash, which, in duty bound, we have to take. Frank?

Gifford: (after a pause) Indeed, it is.


What John might look like today

The surgeon working on Lennon trying to resuscitate him noted  along with other witnesses that at the moment Lennon was pronounced dead the Beatles song All My Loving was playing over the hospital’s sound system.


Link to Time Magazine’s article written my Jay Cocks published just 2 weeks after Lennon’s death. Link can take a moment to load, a page is missing but most is there.



Annie Leibovitz took this last picture of John and Yoko Dec 8 in their apartment leaving the Lennon’s at 3:30pm


What’s Up Is Down


Le Bateau – Upside-Down

On December 4 of 1961 the Museum of Modern Art in New York realized that it had hung Henri Matisse’s, Le Bateau, upside down for 47 days. They figure an estimated 116,000 people visited the exhibition and no one noticed… except Genevieve Habert, a Wall Street stockbroker checking out the exhibit. It was her third visit to the show.

She notified a museum guard who couldn’t believe his colleagues would have made a mistake like that. The guard responded, “You don’t know what’s up and you don’t know what’s down and neither do we.” Even the artist’s son and art dealer, Pierre Matisse, hadn’t noticed the error.

Without getting anyone to listen, Genevieve notified the New York Times who then notified the Director of Exhibitions, Monroe Wheeler.


The gouache was rehung properly the next day. Habert said that she felt the artist, “would never put the main, more complex motif on the bottom and the lesser motif on the top.” Don’t tell anyone but I wouldn’t have noticed either.

Le Bateau (The Boat) is a paper cut, composed from pieces of paper painted with gouache created during the later years of Matisse’s life.

[Gouache is one type of watermedia, paint consisting of pigment, water, a binding agent (usually gum arabic), and sometimes additional inert material. Gouache is designed to be used with opaque methods of painting. The term, derived from the Italian guazzo, also refers to paintings using this opaque method. ~ Wikipedia]

In researching this story I found two other instances where the work of a couple of my favorite artists were hung upside-down.


The Lawrence Tree

The Lawrence Tree, by Georgia O’Keeffe, was hung upside-down from 1979 to 1989 at the Wadsworth Anthneum in Hartford Connecticut. National Gallery of Art officials discovered letters from O’Keeffe complaining that the work had been hung the wrong way in a 1931 exhibition. The manner she describes it hanging was the same way it was hung at Wadsworth.

When viewed on the internet we find it is presented the wrong way 95% of the time, upside-down.


The Lawrence Tree – upside-down

The Lawrence Tree was inspired by a tree on the ranch of author D.H. Lawrence. The ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, was visited often by O’Keeffe. In her own words:

“…There was a long weathered carpenter’s bench under the tall tree in front of the little old house that Lawrence had lived in there. I often lay on that bench looking up into the tree…past the trunk and up into the branches. It was particularly fine at night with the stars above the tree.”


Long Grass with Butterflies

One other painting I came across is Long Grass with Butterflies by Vincent van Gogh, hung upside-down at the National Gallery in London.


Long Grass… upside-down

Enjoy some of  Matisse’s art:


Sorrow of the King




Polynesia the Sea

Large Reclining Nude

Large Reclining Nude

The Parakeet and the Mermaid. 1952.

The Parakeet and the Mermaid

Blue Nude (I)

Blue Nude

The Clown (Le Clown)

The Clown

La danse (second version)

La Danse (second version)

Still Life with Purro I

Still Life with Purro

                                            Self portrait

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