Saturday, April 28, 2007

"You Raise Me Up" By Reaching Out

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
Isaac Newton, Letter to Robert Hooke, February 5, 1675

Most of us have seen this more than 300-year old quotation attributed to one of the scientific greats. It is premised on the truism that no man is an island, even in the realm of scientific inquiry and discovery that has its fair share of mavericks through the years. While a scientific breakthrough can be a quantum leap, its maturation is built on myriads of prior incremental strides made by predecessors and contemporaries.

To the extent that the scientific community is but a microcosm of the society at large, the same support system exists in the human sphere. We need a ear to pour our problems into, we need a hand to tide over rough patches in life, and we certainly need somebody to share our glory.

This is especially imperative in an uneven world, both in terms of opportunities and enabling environments. There is the life of excesses in developed countries where amenities are taken for granted. Then there is the antithesis: the life of destitude, of despair, of constant struggle from hand to mouth, of benign neglect by our collective conscience.

Against this backdrop, the episode of the American Idol aired earlier in the week featured a give back to the society's poor where all six finalists were left standing at the end of the show, and Ellen Degeneres challenged her rich friends to donate to a good cause, the HIV devastation unfolding in Africa.

The images, while jarring and poignant as forewarned by Ryan Seacrest, depict a life that we find out-of-this-world, forlorn, and crying out for help: The eyes of the HIV children that show no lustre, the listless bodies of the HIV mothers waiting for the inevitable.

Many artistes also contributed to the show by lending their musical talents, through uplifting lyrics that motivate, that reassure us that all is not lost, that there are those who care, who would like to make a difference, who put others before self.

I'm particularly moved by the performance by Josh Groban, singing "You Raise Me Up" to the chorus accompaniment of the African Children Choir, innocent angels calling attention to the blight and plight of their brethrens.

We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for squabbling over the occasional inconveniences in life that we encounter, for feeling depressed at the slightest rejection, and for feeling betrayed when things do not go our way.

How we have grown so obsessed with our own little lives, when what we take for granted are god-sends on the other side of the world. Let's be grateful for what we already have, and reach out, for once, to others less fortunate than us in more ways than one.

I'm heartened to learned that the donation reached $60 million. But this is just one of the many step required to bring back human decency, to restore the sanctity of life, regardless of where they are on this piece of land we all share, and upon which we depend for our collective destiny.

Here then, once again, is ""You Raise me Up" by Josh Groban, in spirit:

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.
There is no life – no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be
(Lyrics taken from

Friday, April 27, 2007

An Out-of-The Blue Pyrotechnic Display

Bom! Bom! Bom! Three heart-pounding sounds rang through our home, awakening me from my half-sleep stance on the couch, the TV showing a rerun of SVU of Law & Order, and sending my wife to the window to investigate.

Then there was another burst of staccato sound waves, seemingly reverberating through our bodies. “Fireworks! Fireworks!” my wife shrieked in excitement from the up-stair window. By the time I joined her at the up-stair patio, she was already ensconced on a chair, camera in hand, but not clicking away at the pyrotechnic display lighting up the nightscape outside the window. Instead, she complained that the camera, the Nikon Coolpix L6, which has churned out many vivid images that grace these pages, was taking ages to shoot. It’s only when I took over the camera that the problem became apparent: the scene selection was set to indoor. But her efforts were not totally in vain as evidenced by this dream-like shot that resembles the universe with different constellations luminous at different corners, the wire-screen separating the patio from the outside lending a wave-like effect like a warped space or something. There is even a comet or shooting star look-alike streaking across, all made possible by the instant of shooting when the firework was just about to spray the sky with a tapestry of effervescent but evanescent hues.

However, I did have the good sense to venture outdoor and took the following great shots, courtesy of the “fireworks show” scene setting of our camera, a fabulous example of being at the right place at the right time, and armed with the right tool.

We speculated that the fireworks must have originated from Busch Gardens as our new home is practically within minutes from it. But this is the first time we are seeing it since we moved here late last month. Or maybe the fireworks show is on every last Friday of the month, which is today. Anyway, the night has turned out to be a pleasant surprise, adding considerably to my photographic collection as far as brilliance, literally, is concerned. Enjoy!

I have a feeling this was shot with the "night landscape" setting as it
does not look as stunning as the following ones that I'm sure were
taken using the "Fireworks show" scene setting.

The tentacles-like outreach seems so surreal!

Like a candy cane with an array of green filaments that radiate out. But where's the hook of the cane?

An infusion of needle-like crytal growth.

A space hydra?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Going GREEN is the way to go

As always, we can count on the folks at Google to come out with an original design of their logo in line with the significance of the day in question. Not long ago there was the green logo on St. Patrick’s Day, which I forgot to download. Then today, on Earth Day, is the icy logo (see left), symbolic perhaps of the consequential aftermath of a warming world.

That was when I was googling the documentary, Green: the new red, white and blue, hosted by none other than Thomas L. Friedman of the World is Flat fame, for the Discovery Channel, and aired at 9.00pm last night (April 21, 2007).

Since our monthly HOA dues include basic cable, I kind of chanced upon the documentary while channel surfing just when it was about to begin. Traveling in search of carbon-free electricity, Friedman found himself in the bowel, literally, of the Dulles hydroelectric dam built across the mighty Columbia River where over-sized turbines deliver green energy to Google’s server center located several miles downstream at a former site of a smelting plant where a perpetual low cloud hovers above the complex, water vapor released from the cooling of the servers embedded in the complex.

We might never think of water cooling a bundle of computers, conditioned by the sight and sound of cooling fans in our CPUs, an air-cooling alternative. But the tremendous heat generated by clusters of servers delivering our search results to our screens with hardly any time delay is in a different realm altogether, one which we are oblivious to. So that scene and the scenario presented are an eye-opener to the fact that number crunching begets energy guzzling.

The scene then switched to Fluorescent Lights (CFLs), which I happened to blog earlier on here about its compact genre, being used by Wal-Mart stores to save their energy bill. This is part of the go-green shift evident in this retail monolith, embracing the sale of “earth-friendly products at budget-friendly prices, one prime example of which is CFL, which is at the center of their advertisement taken from the April 22, 2007 issue of the Parade Magazine distributed with St. Pete Times. Headlined in the form of a rhetorical question, Can a funny looking light bulb change the world? the advertisement states that “if every Wal-Mart shopper bought just one compact fluorescent light bulb (and at these prices, why not buy a 3-pack?) it would be the oil-burning equivalent of taking over a million cars of the road.” [A good sales pitch no doubt, but I went one step further by buying a 8-pack from Sam's Club some time ago, see image below.]

Then it was on to another form of green energy, wind energy. The documentary credited the then Governor of Texas in approving the plan for a large-scale wind farm in 1996, multi-story high wind mills with giant wind blades weighing 3-tons each and installed by towering cranes. At the moment, wind energy contributes less than 1% of the energy requirement in US but the wind farm project in a state long known for its oil-rich heritage could prove to be a viable component of the renewable energy mix that would inexorably become imperative when the oil reserves dry out. To refresh your memory, the then Governor of Texas has since ascended the political ladder to assume the helm of the whole country today.

Nuclear energy, which suffered a low ebb in confidence in the aftermath of the 1976 Chernobyl and 1979 Three-Mile Island meltdown, has since grown in stature as a viable alternative, a fact no doubt boosted by the success stories being bandied about in Europe. For example, it was stated that France derives about 80% of her energy requirement from nuclear power generating plants while Belgium meets hers from a similar source at about the 70% level. The paramount apprehension remains the disposal of nuclear waste, the spent fuel. However, the documentary also pointed out that while the waste streams from fossil-based energy generation, chiefly CO2, is world-wide, the nuclear waste issue is local.

It is claimed that about 20% of the CO2 production emanates from individual homes, both from the home and from the ubiquitous automobile that represents mobility at the individual level. While GM and Ford are just now coming out with their hybrid versions, Toyota is enjoying a brisk sale of its Prius model, a perfect example of the success of the first-to-market strategy. Other versions in the horizon are automobiles powered by fuel cells.

In addition to another segment devoted to the sun energy, the documentary also conducted an energy audit for a typical American family, a software engineer with a stay-home mom and three young kids. However, I did not stay awake long enough to find out the outcome and instead succumbed to sleep before the show ended. This is in no way a reflection of the appeal, or the lack thereof, of the documentary which seemingly failed to sustain my interest. It was more of an indication of my poor time management, having spent too much time watching the other TV programs, a smattering of movies, drama series, sports telecasts, and even commercials, prior to the documentary.

From what I managed to see as well as the play on the documentary title, it’s clear that it has to be a concerted effort from all to go green, despite the underlying differences in political ideologies of pro-Republican, pro-Democrat, or neither.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

On Terra Firma, Everyone Matters

Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day. And last night I happened to chance upon the ABC special program on Planet Earth 2007 hosted by Diane Sawyer, co-host of the Good Morning America (GMA) that I used to watch every morning before I left for work, but before we moved. Now I have to leave my premises before GMA goes to air in order to get my D to school in time. Yet another change in my old routine.

Coming back to Planet Earth 2007, there was a symbolic “Lights Out” moment, from Eiffel Tower in Paris, to a bridge in Sydney, Australia, and the ABC Studio in New York. The “black out” is a clarion call to all of us to save energy, the generation of which consumes a disproportionately large chunk of our non-renewable resource base, in addition to spewing out global warming inducing greenhouse gases in the process.

Some of us may not realize the profound reach of the message of “Think Globally, Act Locally”, resigned to the position that a person’s act of energy conservation would not “even cause a dent” in the grand scheme of things. But that’s where we are wrong. The mighty ocean is replenished by every single drop of rainfall. All of us matter, and what we do does contribute to the collective good of the Earth, the one we know dearly as the Blue Planet, as seen below [thanks to Peng Leong who emailed me the pps file from which this image appearing on the first slide is taken. The only source I could find is on the last slide, Translation to English and edited MSW 2007. Thanks, guys, whoever and wherever you are, for the beautiful message].

Diane mentioned in the show that if divided equally, each of us gets about 4 acres of land on earth. So what we do to upkeep this land, to preserve this land, and to enhance this land, matters to our posterity.

So incorporate the lights out into your daily routine, both in your own home and in the office. Off the light when you’re the last one to leave the office at the end of the day. Switch to non-incandescent light bulbs (hint: fluorescent light or even Light Emitting Diodes (LED), but the latter would be some time in the making). They may cost a bit more initially, but over their lifetime, the energy (and cost) saving is beyond doubt.

If you want some hard figures on the superiority of fluorescent over the incandescent variety that dated back to Edison’s days, it so happened that in between this blog my wife called me to lunch. After lunch, it was my wife’s turn to check for the latest on the Internet and I had to settle for the printed, but one-day-late news of the St. Petersburg Time (yet another change occasioned by my moving. We used to read the Tampa Tribune).

And under the HOMES section, the St. Pete Times featured an article entitled ‘go for a swirl” by Mary Beth Breckenridge of the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal where she laid bare “the whole twisted tale”. The protagonist is none other than the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) [and I have just the one in my home as shown to the right], outshining (pardon the pun!) its incandescent counterpart as backed by the following facts excerpted from her article, those italicized being verbatim quotes:
  • CFLs typically use ¼ to 1/3 the electricity and last 6 to 10 times as long (about 5 years).
  • CFLs are more expensive: e.g., $3.00 versus $0.25 a piece, typically for a 60-watt light bulb. [But the increased initial capital outlay is offset by the replacement incandescent bulbs required over the lifetime of a CFL. So the energy saving is about $6 a year, per CFL. Imagine that a typical house has 50 or more light bulbs, multiply by the number of households, you do the math].
  • The federal government says that if every U.S. household changed one incandescent light bulb to an Energy Star CFL, enough electricity would be saved to light 2.5 million homes, and the reduction in greenhouse gas emission would equal the amount produced by almost 800,000 cars.
  • Because CFLs last longer, fewer (CFL) bulbs need to be manufactured. That saves additional resources.
  • Because CFLs burn cooler than incandescents, the risk of fire or scorched lampshades is reduced.
  • Compact fluorescents also let you put brighter bulbs into your fixtures because CFLs produce more light per watt than incandescent bulbs.
So make the switch today, and do your part for a green earth.

The other resource the show dwelt on is water where it pointed out that the greatest water consumption occurs during bathing, flushing toilet, and even brushing our teeth in the morning, under running water. In this respect, Singapore has set a very good example. I remember years past that country has implemented the partial flush system (a short pull as opposed to a long pull that leads to a full flush of the toilet facility). Since then the country has added recycled water for non-potable use (car wash, lawn watering, etc.), even reclaimed water for potable use. The country also boasts one of the lowest, if not the lowest (this distinction may belong to Israel), rate of non-revenue water where leakages through the reticulation system account for the majority.

So, refrain from using running water to wash, to bath, and go for a double flush cistern system.

The show also spotlighted the wanton use of plastic, for packaging, during grocery shopping, and just about anything that needs to be wrapped. It was stated that only 3% of the plastic that we use is recycled, and it’s common knowledge that plastic would last more (or much more) than a human lifetime under natural decomposition.

Remedies? Use cloth bags for grocery shopping. And for other instances, recycle plastic. In a nutshell, follow the 3Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Right Speech

I have been brought up to not to swear and use foul languages, in any language/dialect. Period. And I have largely stayed true to that aspect of oral/verbal “hygience”, until I came to the US that is. Lest you think I’ve since become profanity prone, I would hasten to add that I’ve only picked up the tendency to speak the “s” word, but in self cursing only, and not within the earshot of my family.

While the Internet has been touted as the level playing field, it has also proved to be a fertile ground for verbal excesses: expletive-laden blogs and commentaries. The cloak of anonymity has emboldened many an unprintable utterances that would not have seen the light of the day under normal circumstances. Even those whose identities are public knowledge fail to sanitize their rantings, justifying them on the misguided notion that they are being true to themselves.

From an individual perspective, this may seem perfectly legit, to borrow a cliché. But we surely do not live alone. And monologues are no fun, except during the first few minutes of nightly talk shows. But even those are made in front of a live audience and beamed worldwide.

Especially for those who regularly make the Internet as their platform for all things personal, a moment of indignation, indiscretion, youthful exuberance, of self expression is forever public knowledge once the “published” key is pressed.

Episodes of past transgressions, which may seem perfectly innocuous, or in vogue, at the time, coming back to haunt the later careers of the “perpetrators”, be it in the political arena, in the show business, in the beauty pageant, or even in the haloed ground of the academia, abound.

While that may seem as a notable deterrent to bad-mouthing in all its form, it’s nothing more than self-preservation. Nor is clinging to the notion of freedom of expression and its corollary that “if you don’t like what you see/hear, exercise your freedom to turn it off,” as aptly opined below, proves extenuating:

Because I’m a journalist, who is dedicated to freedom of speech. And because I am a former college professor, who is dedicated to academic freedom, I have no serious problem with Imus’ epithet. … If you detested the I-man’s cranky quips, you could grab the remote. Those of us who love freedom of speech grab the remote for one reason or another all the time. … Let’s keep it real: Black people have a double standard regarding who can and who cannot insult us. Blacks can. Whites and others cannot. … Until we, black people, stop insulting and abusing ourselves, we are fair game for others to insult and abuse us. We have only ourselves to blame for the mainstreaming of “nappy-headed hos.”
-- “Black critics of Imus are hypocrites”, Bill Maxwell, Opinion, St. Petersburg Times, April 15, 2007.

I would like to go one step further, to totally refrain from such oral/verbal indulgences, which are really what they are, because they are intrinsically bad, they are hurtful, both to the beloved and to the begrudged. And that should include all our sphere of activity in blogosphere and more so in our daily lives.

It has no downside: one sends the message of displeasure, backed by rational arguments with manifest decorum; the reader receives the message with clarity, not detracted by verbosity including vulgarities that add nothing to the message other than perhaps a false sense of being in control, and one is remembered for upholding social etiquette. Respect, which is becoming a rare trait these days, begets mutual respect. But it starts from everyone of us, and radiates out. So watch your decorum, both in public and in the private moments.

For my part, the "s" word is now permanently banished from my vocabulary. What about you?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sense and Sensibility in Blogosphere

There have been several recent reported attempts to curtail the freedom of expression in the Malaysian blogosphere by the powers-that-be. First, the law suits against Jeff Ooi and Rocky, two notable local blog gurus based on the veracity, or the lack thereof, of their blog articles. More recently, there has been a call to register bloggers with the government before they can post their blogs in the Internet.

Putting the merits of the law suits aside, at least the law suits, though committed in the unbounded, but obviously not unmonitored, realm of the cyberspace, are similar in action to libel suits occasioned by words in the conventional printed media. And the aggrieved parties and those charged with rendering grief would get to argue their cases in the ensuing due process.

On the other hand, registering bloggers is at best requiring a permit for publishing. But there’s where the similarity ends. A publishing house has a physical location, a mortar and brick operation, which can be shut down. Even so, the best a government could do is to ban the entry of any offensive publication at its border where it has jurisdiction, but is powerless to act against the publishing house located in foreign soils.

Granted the individual blogger does have a domain name, but his/her blog has no physical location. It stays in the virtual space of the byte world, which in turn resides in the server that is well beyond the reach of a local law enforcement agency.

A blogger can remain anonymous if he/she so chooses, at least to officialdom. So the sheer triviality, the utter frivolity, the total numb-skulled proportion of it all, and the complete impossibility of conducting the registration process just boggle the mind. What useful purpose could possibly come of it, assuming that it can be done, other than a wanton waste of public fund?

Do these people live in a cocoon, oblivious to the change of time that has blitzed them by? Do they realize that worldwide three blogs would surface in a matter of 2 seconds? That in the same space of time, 320 blog articles would be posted?

I’m not saying that deliberate lies are not being propagated through blogosphere. And that bloggers and spin doctors are mutually exclusive avocations. But I believe peer censorship will be more effective in weeding out the untruths, if that’s the primary concern to begin with.

The sheer size of the blogosphere acts as a double-edged sword. On one hand, it seems easy to hide behind the cloak of anonymity and that in itself could be misconstrued as a virtual license, if not an invitation, to commit profanity, innuendoes, unsubstantiated claims, and the like.

On the other hand, the same enormous range of diversity of the blogosphere would also ensure that any falsification will be caught and debunked, if only the powers-that-be would allow this self-cleansing, self-regulating modus operandi to work its magic.

We bloggers and net surfers alike do warrant more than a modicum of intelligence that a close-minded powers-that-be would grudgingly acknowledge.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Lessons Learned from A Crazy US Moving Experience

Fresh from my own home buying and moving experience in the US, I could relate to the personal tribulations of the author of the online Chinese article loosely translated as My Insane US Moving Experience.

And I’m happy to note that I have had the wherewithal to short circuit the author’s linear track of house ownership. Like me, the author and his family had their first liberated taste of being among the rank of house owners when they bought a 50 some years old 2-room single dwelling unit

Being young and frugal by nature (I guess perhaps hampered by limited financial resources too), they attended to every household repair by themselves: leaking roof, choked plumbing, damaged lighting, cracked floor. The good thing is then their earthly possessions could best be described as meager and the trilogy of moving was effected by driving a small truck at the end of which their new home still appeared spacious despite its small size

In the article, the author laid out, much less than fondly, the house upkeep experience that attends to owning, in the true sense of the word, a single unattached house (what one would call a bungalow in Malaysia). Everything is DIY, exposing oneself to the physical injury that lurks at every corner of the house: electric shock, burst water mains, scaling up the rickety roof structure and working in the tight space of the roof attic, both during the frigid and torrid temperatures that alternate with the seasons, and getting impaled, though skin deep, by the tiny heat insulating fabric that lines the roof. On the last ordeal, the author recounted his being immersed for long hours in warm water for the needle-like fabric to drop off gradually, a painful remedy as advised by his friend.

One of our friends who has owned a similar house for more than a decade opined that one would have to master the eighteen types of martial arts, a Chinese euphemism for DIY, in order to live affordably in the capitalist and consumeristic society that is US.

For the author, the last straw that broke the camel’s back, a term he used in reverse translation, was the accumulating snow on the roof that seemed prone to crash through the ceiling. That prompted their second house hunt, but this time armed with the bitter experience of having owned a much older one and undergone the dread of maintenance. So he set a few criteria. It had to be a new house. And it had to be a condo, one where the external maintenance is handled through the House Owners’ Association (HOA) with the levy of a sometimes steep HOA monthly fees, dictated by their advancing years where DIY is increasingly seen as a remote proposition, as we have realized

But then the author committed another cardinal sin of house moving: underestimating the stuff that he and his family have accumulated in the intervening years. He turned down friends’ offer for paper boxes, quite content with the twenty or so that he had managed to source from grocery stores, just like we did.

Five days before they were due to vacate, more than half of their belongings remained unpacked, the house strewn with boxes that curtailed movement. A frantic call out for help was made, and his church group responded. The chief marshal of the help group acted by the motto shaped by life’s bitter lessons that anything you have not touched for more than two years, you don’t need it. So it’s either the dustbin or the donation centers. That proved to be the decisive move that saved the day.

His parting words and the message gleaned from his personal journey through the rocky road of house ownership and moving: lead a simple life, only acquire the needed, and realize that we can only eat and use that much. Why spend a lifetime in amassing possessions, only to become burdens that shackle us?

That’s a wise philosophy of life. What do you think?

And speaking of our new home, this is the reason why my wife likes it: an airy kitchen with a command view of the world beyond the kitchen.

Note that the windows sills (three of them) are the prime locations
for decorative placements such as flower in a vase
to further add to the tranquil ambience.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's No April Fooling. That's Indeed my Blogging Central

Today’s is April 1. That means April Fool’s Day. I’ve known the significance or triviality depending on your point of view, of April 1 since elementary school. And there were always some enterprising pranksters who would pull a stunt on two on unsuspecting souls. Even the newspapers were guilty, coming up with some make-believe headlines to beguile the gullible or the unwitting among us.

However, I’ve never known the origin of the “festival” of sort. So what better day to look it up than today, and to Wikipedia I turned. Believing that it’s not a April Fool’s day rendition, I learned that one source puts it as “in some way or other a relic of those once universal festivities held at the vernal equinox, which, beginning on old New Year's Day, the 25th of March, ended on the 2nd of April.” That it is a European “invention” seems beyond doubt as I note further that “French and Dutch references from 1508 and 1539 respectively describe April Fools' Day jokes and the custom of making them on the first of April.”

I for one do not subscribe to April fooling, typifying it as an act of indulgence that only serves to derive some laughter from the reaction of embarrassment at best from others upon realization that they have been had, no matter how benign or innocuous the hoax, which is exactly what it is, turns out to be. However, I do put myself on higher alert lest I fall victim to these practical jokes as they are called, on April 1.

After last night’s excitement over the semi-final mismatch between the Gators and the Bruins, I hope today will be a day of serenity free of April fooling so that I could prepare myself for the grand finale that will play out tomorrow night, not that I have any doubt who will repeat as champion as the Buckeyes obviously does not fit the bill.

The first thing I noticed when I looked out of our bedroom window this morning was an ascending air balloon, just over the tree canopy. By the time I grabbed my Nikon L6 and went up to the 3rd floor, the air balloons already numbered six. And the scene was just like right out of the sky in New Mexico as seen in many postcards.

The soaring air balloons from my top room window.
The grid-like outline is the wire netting encasing the outside of
the window through which the shot was taken.

Our friend, Yu Huei, treated us to a breakfast at Einstein Bros Bagel, which is within walking distance from our new home. This is our second visit to an Einstein Bros outlet (the first one being in St. Pete). As is at the first one, this one has many tastefully rendered pictures hung on its walls. Here are some fine examples. Now I know it is Melvyn (top) and Elmo (bottom) Einstein's house.

This is the coffee corner with the array of
different flavored brews for the connoisseurs.

As is evident, Elmo is bald headed while Melvyn is full-bearded.
What a fabulous tag team in bageldom.

Being along Fowler Avenue, the outlet also offers a great view of the scenes of life going on outside from the vantage point of behind the glass partition, cut off from the cacophony of the hustle and bustle. The top image juxtaposes the overhead lamp with its wide-angled conic lamp shape in the outlet over a fluttering American flag by the roadside.

On second thought, perhaps I should've trimmed the edges
so that the shot would look like a heavenly hanging lamp
shining upon the land of the free, their axes
(the centerline of the lamp and the erect flag pole) in perfect alignment.
The white blob in the sky is possibly a reflection
of the lamp on the glass window.

Then I caught sight of this moving advertisement, one of Busch Gardens with its trademark monster ride, a sheer vertical drop dictated by gravity called the Sheikra.

This is consumerism at its best,
repeated assault on our senses (in this case, sight)
to make sure the mental image stays.

Back to our home after watching life going by us in a bit, it's blogging time. And for that I have set up my own blogging command center tucked at a corner of the kitchen (there are two such corners each complete with a corner table top with drawers and an eye-level fluoresecnt light that emits a smooth light) so that both my wife and I can engage at our respective activities together, she doing the cooking at close proximity. And that's one reason why we bought this house.

This is the basic setup minus the sound system and the printer
that would complete the blogging command post, which reminds
me that some time in the near future we should get ourselves a LCD monitor.
Then again maybe NOT. Why spend money just because it's there?
And yes, there is a message here somewhere.