Saturday, December 27, 2008

Winter Nights Art

Jan Steinbright, a friend of mine's mom and a good supporter of Bird TLC, has started a blog on her artwork and her books. It's called Winter Nights Art.

I became a fan of Jan's a few years ago when I purchased her books at the Bird TLC auction. Since then she published another one called Raven House Mouse. It's a childrens book about Tlingit culture and a mouse that did live behind a dryer at the clan house called Raven House. She wrote it for Austin Hammond, a great Tlingit leader who operated a culture camp in Haines on the Chilkoot River for youth so they could learn about Tlingit ways of doing things and values. The book is beautifully illustrated by Robert Davis, a very fine Tlingit artist using Northwest Coast formline drawings.

Jan stories catch your attention and it tells you about a part of Alaska few people get to know about. Yes I did say it was a childrens book, but I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Read it yourself and you'll see exactly what I mean.

The blog is also about her art work that she creates at her home in Sitka, Alaska overlooking Mt. Edgecumbe. As she says, her artwork is immersed in this imagery from the kelp baskets, pendants and pins she makes from locally-gathered macrosystis and bull kelp to raku sculpture and paintings of marine mammals.

I hope you find her work as interesting as I do and check out her blog. I'm sure you're going to want to also read her books, especially Raven House Mouse no matter what age you are.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Is it really winter yet?

Does it look like winter to you? Well, it's just started and it looks like we will have a real winter this year. Sorry I haven't posted much this week, but I've been a little busy. I'll try to get out and get more pic's this weekend if I can ignore all the shoppers. Stay warm.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille.

Today started off like most days have the past week or so. The temperature has risen up +19°f, but it had been in the single digits the past few days. We've had a lot of fog and it made some really nice frosting on anything not heated.

I got my white chocolate mocha and blueberry muffin at my favorite espresso stand and headed up to Remembrance Lane to watch the sun rise and make a few calls. The sunrise was a little boring compared to yesterday, but I didn't get any pictures of it yesterday to share.

From there I visited one account downtown and then took the long way to the next account. You don't get good photo's taking short cuts. The fog was still thick, even though the sun was trying to come out. They predicted a bright sunny day, but we weren't going see it just yet.

I stopped at the dam on Ship Creek. The tide was going out and you could hear the loud cracking of the ice as the tide lowered below it. It was all quiet except for a passing truck every now and again and the ice cracking. It was neat.

But it was time to move to the next account. I don't make any money taking pictures and I sure don't make any watching the world go by.

As I rounded the corner, a white pickup was pulling up to the road and it couldn't stop because of the slick ice on his driveway. Lucille couldn't stop in time either and we collided at a rather slow speed but fast enough to do major damage to both vehicles. Fortunately no one was hurt.

Oddly enough, Lucille was towed to the account I was headed to. I expect to be without her until after the first of the year. This is body shop season in Alaska and they stay busy until spring.

In the mean time I go around in a rented Excursion and I can't find anything on the dash. I drove around for at least an hour before I could figure out how to turn the rear wiper off. Hurry back Lucille. I'm miss you already.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Greatest Game there ever was

I just finished doing something my dad wished he had done but never did. I just watched the 1958 NFL Championship Game and it was in color. Sports people all over call it the greatest football game ever played.

When I was growing up you like steamed crabs, the Baltimore Colts, the Baltimore Orioles and Johnny Unitas better known as Johnny U or The Golden Arm.. He had a flat top hair cut, I had a flat top hair cut. His uniform number was 19, mine was 19. He was my idol.

Remember, back in 1958 there was no over time. There had to be in this game so there could be a winner. There was no instant replay. The top salary was $10K and there were no guarantees. The Colts won in overtime 23 - 17.

As I got older I went to many games. Johnny U was the master. He was a record-setting quarterback and the National Football League's most valuable player in 1959, 1964 and 1967. His record of throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games (between 1956-1960) remains unsurpassed as of today. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest.

But like most childhood hero's, time is their enemy. Following the 1972 season, the Colts would see an end of an era when Johnny Unitas is traded to the San Diego Chargers. However, Unitas would not leave without one final great moment, as he came off the bench his final game at Memorial Stadium to replace Marty Domres leading the Colts hitting Eddie Hinton on a 55-yard Touchdown pass late in the 4th Quarter to help beat the Buffalo Bills 35-7, as Memorial Stadium gave the legendary a standing ovation as a small plane carried a banner reading "Unitas We Stand". I was there.

As you know, the Baltimore Colts no longer exist. The Indy Colts do thanks to the former owner, Robert Irsay, sneaking them out of Baltimore in the middle of the night so the fans wouldn't know in 1984. A move reviled to this day in Baltimore as "Bob Irsay's Midnight Ride," Unitas was so outraged that he cut all ties to the relocated team (though his #19 jersey is still retired by the Colts). Other prominent old-time Colts followed his lead. He asked the Pro Football Hall of Fame on numerous occasions (including on Roy Firestone's Up Close) to remove his display unless it was listed as belonging to the Baltimore Colts. The Hall of Fame has never complied with the request. That's when I stopped watching football until tonight one more time.

Later on, Sports Illustrated voted Johnny U the greatest athlete in the NFL's first 50 years. Johnny U passed away on September 11, 2002 never acknowledging the Indy franchise.

For the game following his death, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning requested to wear a pair of black cleats as a tribute to Johnny's signature black boots. The league denied his request and threatened Manning with a $25,000 fine. Manning decided not to wear them. Ravens QB Chris Redman wore the cleats without asking permission and was fined only $5000.

I watched this game tonight and thought of my father often. The game was narrated by Johnny U's fellow players, the NY Giants players, the radio and TV commentators of the time and some of today's more famous players. If you want to see what football was, watch "The Greatest Game Ever" on ESPN.

Photo's borrowed from the Baltimore Sun and Sports Illustrated.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

and we got it

Over the weekend we got over a foot of snow. +10°F is the warmest it got today and they are talking about it getting down to -5°F tonight. We found winter and it's supposed to stay this way for a few days.

These pictures were taken about 2:30 today while I took a late lunch break. The daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter. But I must say we had a sunny day for the time we had sun.