Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Library Lets Loose

Thomas Jefferson said that a well educated populous was essential to a functioning democracy. Ben Franklin established the first US lending library in Philadelphia and the first library supported by tax payers was in New Hampshire in 1833.

Recent research has shown what most of us already knew. That a person with a wide knowledge on a variety of subjects, who is well read, is more creative and makes better decisions and has demonstrably better brain functions than someone with only specific knowledge on one subject or a person with more limited experiences. Obviously, reading improves your brain.

I was fortunate to fall in love with public libraries at an early age and have been a supporter of libraries all of my life. I became a regular patron of the Johnson County Library when I moved here in 1974. More recently the Johnson County Library has become a client.

Last Saturday, October 14, was the annual fundraiser for the Johnson County Library Foundation and Friends of the Library - "The Library Lets Loose."

There was great food supplied by area restaurants, music, art, and even a poetry stage. My good friend, Dave Cedillo, was there as a performance artist. My friends "Betse & Clark" played, as did another great band, "My Brothers and Sisters."

I posted a number of photos on my gallery site:

Here is the direct link to the "Library Lets Loose" photos.

Please take a look and support your public library. And more importantly, read every thing you can.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Vinyl LP Records

I have a few thousand LP's. For you younger folks that would be "vinyl." For you older folks, "records." The correct term is LP for Long Playing records. Vinyl LP records came out in the mid 1950's and were replaced with CD's in the mid 1980's. That means that all of the music recorded in the classical era of rock and country was originally released on vinyl records.

The advantage of CD's was that they were cheaper to make and could be sold at a premium price, so the profit was much higher. A side benefit was that the manufacturing process was more consistent, so on the average, the sound quality was better. They were also easier to handle and store than LP's and CD players could be made smaller and shake resistant so they could be installed in automobiles. The down side for us visual artist types was that the cover art of a 5 inch CD was less than a fourth the size of a 12 inch LP.
So now I have thousands of vinyl records, all of which I have owned for over 30 years, that I am trying to decide if I should digitize. When people call for a quote to digitize all of their old slides or negatives, I ask them why they want to do that. If it is to preserve them, I usually talk them out of it because they already have a permanent original. If it is for easy access, great. Digital is much easier to share, print, or use in a publication.

It is the same decision I need to make with my old records. The original vinyl records are valuable artifacts, but if I want an easier way to access, share, or listen to music, having the whole collection cataloged on a hard drive would be amazing. Having all that music on a USB drive to play in my car would also be very cool.

Just need a few hundred spare hours to get this completed. Wonder when that will be?

Monday, October 09, 2017

My Birthday

As I celebrate living on this planet another year and life's odometer ticks over another digit, it is good to glance in the rearview mirror to see where I've been and maybe look out the windshield to see what is ahead.

For one thing, I have been blessed to share the road with an amazing woman for 47 years. Together we have seen a lot of places, met a lot of wonderful people, and heard some really cool music. I have read hundreds of books and have written a handful as well. I have also written a few half-way decent songs.
I have spent my life making photographs and have tens of thousands of them in my files, which mean several hundred of them are pretty good.

I now realize that I have clothes in my closet older than some of my friends. I remember when gasoline was a quarter a gallon, but two hours of work still would barely get you a hundred miles down the road. But what matters is that I have worked hard and traveled a lot of miles. The people I have met along the way have made life worth living.

For the majority of my life I have been a follower of Jesus. I take His life and teaching seriously - love God, love one another, seek joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.

I now know that there are more miles in the rearview mirror than through the windshield. The Bible doesn't say anything about retiring, but it does say for the older people to teach the younger. As we get a few miles on us, teaching what we have learned to those behind us becomes our most important job.

The road ahead looks bright. Storms, roadblocks and detours are sure to come, but we press on toward the final destination. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Khan Academy

Our education normally starts when we are about 3 or 4 years old with our parents reading to us. If they do this regularly, we develop a love of books and a love of learning which gives us a running start for school. Elementary age through high school we develop basic skills in reading, writing, math, science, and an introduction to things like history and geography. A college degree demonstrates that we are willing and able to learn.  
The real indicator of success in life is a desire for continued education and life-long learning. The government appreciates this fact to the point that we can take a tax deduction for tuition, get cash back credit for college expenses, and are allowed legitimate business deductions for continued education costs.
 Followers of Jesus know that his full-time occupation was as a teacher. He taught in synagogues, small groups, and spoke at large seminars and conferences. Any place there were people willing to hear, he was willing to teach.   
Through much of history, education was elusive and a mark of class distinction. Now educational opportunities are available to everyone. Every community of any size has a library and most of the world's knowledge is available at our fingertips. All we need is an internet connection and a device to connect.
The internet age has proven that access to knowledge is not enough though, we have to have a conscientious plan, a desire to learn, and wise discernment. 
One outstanding resource is Khan Academy. Salmon Khan started tutoring his cousin in math and ended up developing an online college with thousands of classes on a huge variety of subjects available free of charge. I am currently taking a class on World History and have Art History and Macroeconomics coming up. I am really enjoying it.    
Proverbs 2:10-12 says, "You will become wise, and your knowledge will give you pleasure. Your insight and understanding will protect you and prevent you from doing the wrong thing." Can't get any plainer than that.