Monday, February 27, 2012

On a Clear Day....

ship and new jersey by mmahaffie
ship and new jersey, a photo by mmahaffie on Flickr.
This view shocks me a little bit. It's a freighter exiting the Delaware Bay with New Jersey in the background.

I took this photo from the top of the coastal defense tower at Fort Miles in Cape Henlopen State Park. On a clear day, you can often see New Jersey from Cape Henlopen; and the view is always clearest from on high.

But I think the presence of this ship somehow pulls the Jersey shore closer and all of the sudden the Delaware Bay seems smaller - no less grand, but more understandable.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Bench Full of Cats

Bench full of cats by mmahaffie
Bench full of cats, a photo by mmahaffie on Flickr.
This is how part of my family spent the afternoon last February 26. That was a saturday and the sun shone down on the bench in our new room. This seems like it might be a good plan for today as well.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Arbitrary Milestone Number 7,800

hall of records by mmahaffie
hall of records, a photo by mmahaffie on Flickr.
I didn't realize it at the time, but the picture of the Hall of Records I took on Wednesday was the 7,800th thing I've posted to flickr.

So. That's done.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Video: At the Compass Rose

On Friday, at lunchtime, I took my video camera out to Legislative Mall to the Compass Rose, which shows the direction and distance to the other capitals where the US Constitution was ratified. I took a few seconds of video in the several directions around the compass and have strung them together into a short film.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Who Was Norman Greenbaum Anyway?

Driving along this evening I found myself listening to the song Spirit in the Sky on the Satellite Radio. It's a song I've always loved and one that I always crank the volume up for.

This is simply a great rock song and fun to listen to. But I've always wondered about it. It came out in 1969 and was a big hit for Norman Greenbaum, an artist who didn't quite disappear but who didn't become a huge star.

When you listen to this song, you think it is a great example of the sort of rock music that came from that era's "Jesus Freaks" movement (Christian Hippies, it was cool enough in its time). But "Norman Greenbaum" isn't really a traditional "Christian" name. So?

So, I finally looked him up and learned that Mr. Greenbaum was (and I think still is) a practicing Jew. According to a 2011 interview quoted in Wikipedia, he was trying to write a simple song with a spiritual theme:
The song itself was simple, when you’re writing a song you keep it simple of course. It wasn’t like a Christian song of praise it was just a simple song. I had to use Christianity because I had to use something. But more important it wasn’t the Jesus part, it was the spirit in the sky.
His explanation reminds me of what I once heard songwriter Eric Bazilian say about his song What if God Was One of Us, which was a hit for Joan Osborne in the 1990s. I remember an interview in which Bazilian explained that he had written the song in one sitting, partly to impress his then-girlfriend (now his wife0 and partly to demonstrate how songs start as simple musical ideas. As far as I know, he plucked the phrase "what if God was one of us?" from the air and built around it.

Whether these are songs of praise, in the religious sense, or simply fine song-writing, makes little difference to me as a listener. When Spirit in the Sky comes on my radio, the only thing that matters to me is how loud I can turn it up.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Video: A Drive Through the Great Swamp

My wanderings on Saturday took me down the coast to Fenwick Island and across the very bottom of the state to Delmar. I took much of Route 54, which separates Fenwick from Ocean City, in Maryland, and runs along -- in places directly on -- the state line. Between Selbyville and Gumboro, Route 54 winds through the remnants of the Great Cypress Swamp.

For What It's Worth, Here's What Winter Used to Look Like

This is in the city of Lewes, on February 6, 2010.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Video: A Ride Over The New Indian River Bridge

I had an errand in Fenwick Island yesterday, so I took advantage of the ride down to film my first crossing of the new bridge over the Indian River Inlet. I had made a similar video about a month ago, before the new span was completed.

It's only partly finished. At this point, traffic north and south shares what will eventually be the two lanes of the southbound side. Still, it's pretty cool.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thank You, Barbara Vaughn

Lewes City Councilwoman Barbara Vaughn has announced that she will not seek reelection this spring, ending her council career after four terms. I want to take a moment to say "thank you."

I've worked with Barbara on a variety of issues over the years. She's lately been the ex-officio member of the Lewes Planning Commission for the Council, providing us with regular updates and the council's perspective on issues that we discuss.

Barbara Vaughn is a very bright, kind, and dedicated woman. I've always been impressed by her willingness to give her time and energy to my City. This woman is in her 80s, and still going strong.

I will also note that Barbara Vaughn bears an uncanny resemblance to my Mom, Judy Mahaffie, another strong, kind, dedicated and bright 80-something. So working with Barbara has always felt somewhat... home-y.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Just by Way of Comparison...

... here's what it looked like in Dover on this date one year ago. It was cold and grey and there was snow on the ground.

Today? It was sunny and 60-some degrees. Trees are starting to bud. Daffodils are starting to push up through the non-frosty ground.

It ain't right, I tell ya.