Archive for August, 2012

Mount Edgecumbe’s French garden.

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

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An 1830, description of the French Garden at Mount Edgecumbe, Cornwall.

The French Garden is laid out in a tasteful and ingenious manner. A hedge of oak, bay, and myrtle includes a square area, arranged as parterre, ornamented in the centre by a jet d’ eau, and surrounded by trellis work, forming arches festooned with numerous species of fragrant plants. One side of the garden is occupied by an elegant octagonal room, prettily furnished, and opened into conservatories. On the removal at the back of the apartment, a beautiful antique statue of Meleager is discovered, backed by a mirror, which reflects every part of the garden, creating the pleasing illusion of a cameraobscura.  The garden also contains a statue of Mercury which has a very attractive appearance when beheld through the opening of the leafy arches. Here is also a remarkably fine magnolia, opposite to which is a votive urn, erected in memory of the late Countess of Mount Edgecumbe who died in 1806.

Near the French garden, on a point of land which commands a diversified view of Devonport, Stonehouse, the Dock-Yard and Harbour, is a small alcove, denominated “Thomson’s Seat, in homer of the poet of the “Sessons.” guest house near mount edgecumbe


Graphic Novels- Ten of the Best for Christmas 2008

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Thanks to the surge in interest for comics and graphic novels, due to films such as The Dark Knight, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and next year’s WATCHMEN film adaptation, many people are turning to the pointed page in search of the perfect Christmas gift for 2008. Getting into graphic novels can be extremely daunting due to the sheer number of available titles, so here’s a run-down of ten of the greatest graphic novels of all time. These are title which fans new and old should have in their collections. These are amongst the finest examples of the genre and the comics industry as a whole. They are presented here for your delectation in no particular order.


Widely acknowledged as the greatest graphic novel of all time, and certainly the bestselling book to hit comics shelves. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created something so monumental that it has been a bestseller for almost two decades, not to mention spawning the most anticipated film of 2009.


Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s original graphic novel that inspired the ht movie. A moving and gripping masterpiece that is considered one of the genre’s landmarks.


The beautifully painted artwork of Alex Ross was the perfect accompaniment to Kurt Busiek’s flawless script in this superb book. A unique and near perfect exploration of the Marvel Universe’s early years.


Alex Ross also supplied the artwork for DC’s incredible alternate future story. Complex and engrossing, Kingdom Come, written by Mark Waid, cemented Ross as one of the true stars of the comics medium.


The biggest event to rock the Marvel Universe in years. Hero faced off against hero as the debate over the superhero registration act spilled over into violence. A truly monumental thriller, which saw writer Mark Millar take the core Marvel characters to a new level of drama.


Frank Miller transformed the comics industry, and more specifically the character of Batman, with this seminal graphic novel. Batman has been retired for ten years, and Bruce Wayne once more takes on the mantle of the Bat in order to take on a new breed of villains.


This is a unique memoir by Art Spiegelman, presented as a graphic novel, which thirteen years to complete. It recounts the struggle of Spiegelman’s father to survive the Holocaust as a Polish Jew told in a stark black and white story featuring stylized cats and mice.


The nine volume DC Vertigo series PREACHER is one of contemporary comics’ greatest works. Wriiten by Garth Ennis and featuring gorgeous art by Steve Dillon with covers by Glen Fabry, it is a harrowing and gripping tale of redemption, religion and vampire hicks.


A fascinatng, multi-part epic following the misadventures of Yorick, the last man on Earth, and his monkey. A deeply moving examination of a very dark future indeed.


Currently the most sought-after Batman title published. This stunning one-shot provided some of the source material for the mega hit movie The Dark Knight, and features a typically sparkling script by Alan Moore and sleek art from 2000ad star Brian Bolland.

These are just some of the groundbreaking trade paperback graphic novels that have enthralled comics fans all over the world, and have cemented the comics industry as a force to be reckoned with. The impact of these works is huge, and has seen the genre move from being a niche interest to an entertainment and literature phenomenon in recent years. There are countless others to enjoy, but these are the cream of the crop and would make a good starting point for your Christmas gift list. Happy reading!

Andrew Hawnt

A Christmas Story – Ralphie Beats Up Bully

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Ralphie, from A Christmas Story, Beats Up Farkus, the neighborhood bully, in a tirade of obscenities. Watch more here:

Duration : 0:2:12


Jean Shepherd – “The Phantom of the Open Hearth” – Leg Lamp

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

The Old Man unpacks his highly anticipated “major award” in this clip from the very first film adaptation of writer/narrator Jean Shepherd’s short stories, “The Phantom of the Open Hearth”, first telecast in late 1976 on PBS-TV. Jean Shepherd is best remembered for the first big-screen adaptation of his short stories in the cult 1983 film “A Christmas Story”, which he also narrated. Both films include slightly different interpretations of the “leg lamp” short story which first appeared in Shepherd’s 1966 novel “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash”.

Duration : 0:6:31


Letter from Santa/Pillow pet song

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Was suppose to be a video of the letter from Santa but became more of the pillow pet song by Abby.

Duration : 0:1:23


Kids Night Time Stories – Christmas (Xmas) Witch

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Kids Night Time Stories – Christmas (Xmas) Witch

Duration : 0:9:52


A Christmas Carol

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Kelsey Grammer (‘Frasier’) brings Ebenezer Scrooge to life in this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. During a Christmas Eve dream that evolves into nightmarish proportions, embittered and miserable Scrooge is visited by three Christmas ghosts: Past, Present and Future, who show him the life he has lived and the future consequences of that life.

Duration : 1:27:28


The Pros and Cons of Blogging: – Your Career Direction and Path

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Blogging has become an impulsive contemporary art for careerists. Should you develop your own blog or shouldn’t you. Will it help or hurt your career? Let me present this canvas to you as a primer of sorts to think about this issue.
Much of my career practice and coaching involves an organizing thought: It’s your worklife mission, your vision. For years I coached and, some would say, admonished my clients to take ownership of their career paths as they work for someone else. When you do not own the business, one of the greatest ways you can help or hurt your career centers around your own online and offline reputation. With so many choices and so much information at the click of a computer key we may feel information overload no matter what our career field might be. We may also feel empowered to create or destroy.
What’s easy can be fun or dangerous. In a matter of minutes you can set up your Blogger, WordPress, Typepad or related blog site. And the minute you post? Your words can be accessed by billions of people around the world. No Web designer needs to be hired. No technical guru at x dollars an hour has to listen to and potentially kill your ideas. You own this medium. You have freedom. You can say or site anything. There’s no waste of time and no need to white-board everyone else’s ideas.
It’s so easy but don’t let the impulsive ease of blogging let you forget about the eyes that watch your art, your views, your passions, protests, observations and objections.
How might this medium help – or hurt – your career direction and path?
How it can help:
1. You have an audience. Keep it positive.
Blogging may add to the company’s brand and your position as an authority or subject matter expert within your company or your field. Jane S. worked at a powerful, regional advertising company. She cleared her personal blog through her boss, her boss’ boss and her company human resources department. They said she didn’t have to but with my advice she did. During a recession she has received two promotions and her blog has since been incorporated into the main site of the corporation because of its powerful, business development prowess. She says, Now 40 percent of my time is incorporating my personal brand or blog into the company’s brand with the complete blessing of the executive team.
2. Paint the right picture. Drive customer confidence.
As you cite critical sources and make intelligent, important observations your personal blog augments your position within your company and promotes your company. You never bash your company. You can be yourself and be authentic. James P., a salesman, asked for permission from his company to comment on his business travels and business adventures as a technology sales consultant Customers love the funny, idiosyncratic stories. James says, My blog has been a business generator for the company and earned me four speaking engagements on behalf of the company and four speaking engagements locally that were sponsored by local sales networking organizations. I can’t believe it. It’s made me kind of recession-proof in my career. His first book is being self-published and his company uses him to teach and train all new sales personnel.
3. Get a raise and a promotion. Defend the faith.
Blogging helps you document and publish your ideas while associating with great people. Again, Alice P. published her blog under a pseudonym two years ago. Today she has kept the quirky observations about life, travel, art and kids quite eclectic. Her blogging has incorporated funny observations about office life without offending anyone at work. It’s been serialized by the company and referred to. The CEO thought her site should be commented on, featured and linked to by the company to help with esprit de corps. Alice states, “Now I have an in-house company editor who helps me promote and publish my blog. We’ve added videos and more fun stuff. The company pays me monthly. She keeps her comments happy, funny and still personal.
How blogs can hurt:
1. One small step. Negative posts can be fatal.
Blogging can open you up for many legal, liability and employment questions, problems or crises. Last year, Jim C. came to me after he had posted a rather nasty post on his Top Ten Worst Retailers in the World blog. His company did business with two of those retailers and as nosy or highly sensitive corporate personnel found out about his lambaste it caused a rift at the company. According to Jim, This year for other reasons I was let go. It was not the economy. I crossed the line.
2. Pictures tell a thousand stories.
Larry seemed to pipe up at work a lot about things that bothered him. So he decided to publish a seemingly anonymous blog. As a techy he posted hundreds of comments on political ideas, people he thought should be impeached and railed against what he considered bad taste and fashion. He did this anonymously under a lot of different names. But when he decided to take pictures at the year end Christmas party and publish captions that offended nearly everyone, he was, well, suspended without pay forever (fired).
3. Beautiful art can be destroyed.
Craig became disillusioned after an 18-year career. Nearing retirement, his company had promoted three people younger than him to the technology director level. Years ago he had engineered their Web presence. Knowing that having no blog presence left his company vulnerable, he found it increasingly interesting and titillating when he created a blog presence, added negative comments to company products and dumped a list of customer complaints onto the proverbial, anonymous, the site a former employee developed to stick it to the man. Under pressure, the author faced legal entanglements and gave up Craig’s name as a blogger. Now Craig is in litigation. It’s not looking good.
Imagine you’re an artist like Michelangelo dipping brush to paint; a seemingly limitless creative well. You’re halfway done with your masterpiece, the signature of your worklife and rather spiritual mission. As you take your impossible position on the scaffold to paint more of the Sistine Chapel you have a thought. Imagine you could destroy your Sistine Chapel with one strike of the match. Like the great artist, blogging can help you take ownership of your career and worklife vision. Of course, it can also be just for fun too. But let’s also realize you, like the great artist, have the power to create or destroy your career future with just a few strokes or decisions.
Make sure you know your audience and you understand the potential impact of your newly minted blog posts. It could make a lasting impression and a permanently positive or negative impact on your career picture. Paint yours. Paint it well.


Aluminum Christmas Trees and a Stroll Down Memory Lane!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Now that I’m officially a senior citizen, I find myself strolling down memory lane more than ever before.  I’m also more aware of just how much our world has changed since we were kids dashing to the first McDonalds in our town.  You could buy a hamburger for just 15 cents!  Like those burgers, many of the things we enjoyed years ago are no longer with us.

In high school, my friends and I would anxiously await Friday nights. Four of us boys, with our crew cuts and Jimmy Smith’s duck tail, would pile into Jimmy’s 1957 Chevrolet and go to the local drive-in movie. 
We would park 3 rows to the right and 4 to the back of the concession stand so we could see any unattached girls as they went to get popcorn and a Coke.  We thought we were slick back then as we would race to the concession stand to try and meet girls that we thought were worthy of our attention.
Sometimes during my late teen years, Aluminum Christmas Trees became a trend that my parents thought would solve the problem of dry evergreen needles on the floor.  Until that time we had always cut our Christmas tree from the woods that was only a mile from our house. 

My first year in college, I remember returning home for the Christmas holiday, horrified to see a glistening gigantic shredded roll of aluminum foil shaped into a tree, standing in a corner of the living room.  I was shocked when I saw it occupying the space that had been dedicated to a freshly cut aromatic cedar trees.
 Thankfully that fad came and went in just a couple of years, then we moved on to fake green trees with little bottles of aerosol spray that was guaranteed to smell like a fresh cut cedar or spruce tree.
Whatever happened to television test patterns that would suddenly appear on the screen at the stroke of midnight?  As strange as it seems, there was something comforting to us insomniacs about staring at that immovable page emanating from the picture tube as if it held the secret to the universe!  It’s quite possible it did, but whatever its message, it went over my head.

There were some things that were so far ahead of their time, that it seems incomprehensible that they’re gone.  In an era in which people really loved their cars, the Studebaker was in a class of its own.
While my friends proclaimed the delight of owning their ’57 Chevys and Fords, my 1953 Studebaker Starliner was my pride and joy!  That car looked like it was going fast even when it was standing still!  Besides being a great automobile, it set you apart from the rest of the crowd.  Not everyone owned a Studebaker!

Do you remember the 5 cent Coca-Cola?  When I was a kid in the summertime, I’d walk to the small grocery store about a mile from the house, pulling my red Radio Flyer behind me.  I would buy a case of Cokes and a half block of ice. 

I had extended the sides of the wagon 6 inches taller so I could chip up the ice and pour it in the wagon; then I would lay the bottles of Coke on the bed of ice.  I walked another mile to a housing development being built close to town.  There, in the Alabama heat I would sell that case of Coca-Colas to weary carpenters, masons and painters for 15 cents each, or two for a quarter.  I sold out every day.

Many of us thought that 25 cents a gallon gasoline was far too much to spend for fuel. There’s a country song somewhere which was written by someone who was obviously a philosophical genius.  The line that I’ll always remember is “When gas was 25 cents a gallon, love was only 50 cents away.”

Whatever happened to flashbulbs, Timmy and Lassie, Bryllcreme, The Ozzie and Harriet Show and metal ice cube trays that either made the ice break free or cause the lever to bend.  Everyone remembers the Burma Shave signs on the side of a two-lane road.  Where have all these things gone?  Where ever they are, I miss them!

Bob Alexander