August 21, 2007

She May Have Been A Pet, But ...

diamond copy.jpg
Diamond is her name, for the diamond shaped flash on her forehead. She was "my cat" in a round about way of speaking, for after all, cats own their people, not the other way around. My bride of almost 10 years got Diamond and her litter-mate Emerald in the early part of 1990. Norma loves cats, cat paraphernalia, pins, posters, stuffed toys, socks and vests with cats embroidered on them, et cetera, et cetera and et cetera!

Before we got married, I tried real hard to make friends with Diamond, tried, and failed because I forgot the first lesson of having a cat... the CAT determines the relationship, not the lowly human. Accepting that the cat was in charge, I gave up. One day, while putting food out for the cats, I walked by the refrigerator and noted a small icebox magnet that read "He said it was him or the cats! Gee, I miss him sometimes."

Norma and I got married, went on a glorious honeymoon and came home. We had earlier decided to let my daughter live in my house and I would move to Norma's house. On the first night home, I awoke about 1:30 AM with my feet wet. Diamond had peed on the bottom of the bed, on my side. Changed the bed coverings, put the comforter aside to have it cleaned and determined to ignore the greeting of this infuriating cat. Two nights later she did it again. Norma said as we got dressed for work the next morning - "We'll talk about this this evening." I said "No, now is the time." But the lady demurred and said this evening was soon enough.

All day long I worried about being "kicked out" 'cause I knew how much She liked those cats. That night, Norma looked at me and said "If you want, we can find a new home for Diamond." No way was I going to do that, not me, not no way, not no how! And I said so. And an uneasy truce ensued for the next 18 months. Diamond would meow at my feet or jump up on the couch beside me, I'd reach over to pet her and she'd scoot away. Each time, all the time.

One evening, while watching T.V. with Norma, Diamond jumped up on the couch and I absentmindedly reached over to pet her fully expecting her to scoot and, surprise, surprise she didn't. I petted her till she was done, then she walked away, purring, tail straight up in the air. She had conquered me fair and square.

A month later, I awoke with a start to find Diamond asleep on the bed beside my pillow, I reached over to pet her and she meow'ed loudly but didn't move. Over the next several years the routine became well established. As soon as I was in bed, up came Diamond. Until about a year ago when we got even closer.

Our main computer is in a cabinet in the breakfast room, and I would sit there doing notes, posting things on the blog, as I would sit there, Diamond would sometimes saunter by and give me the once over, but this time, she jumped up in my lap and demanded in that loud, harsh meow of hers to be petted. I complied because I knew who the boss was.

Then, about a month ago things started to change. Diamond didn't come up to the bedroom anymore, prefering to sleep on the arm of the leather couch. Finally, noticing a decrease in weight and energy, I took her to the vet. Renal failure was the diagnosis and he prescribed medications and a special renal diet. Diamond didn't get better though, this morning she was more listless than usual and I knew it was time.

I took her back to the vet, my heart breaking and informed him of what I wanted done what I knew had to be done though I hated doing it. Diamond breathed her last with me beside her, petting her and I know that she knew that I would be with her to the end. Goodbye girl, you will be missed a lot. Time will heal the pain, and I'll treasure every memory of the last 9 years with you.

Posted by GM Roper at 09:11 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

July 28, 2007

More On Scott Thomas - The Intrepid GM Grabs His Magnifying Glass And His Calabash Pipe, Puts On His Deerstalker Cap and Solves The Case.

I've been following the Scott Thomas Beauchamp (or is that Beauchump?) story since the "story" broke in The New Republic. Via the incomparable and magnificent LARWYN, I've been able to keep up with all the key players enjoying the discomfiture of TNR as they backtrack, waffle and crawdad (if you don't know what crawdad means, you haven't been to the South very often have you?). One of the more serious investigators has been Ace, a fellow Munuvian and an all around great blogger. But I digress. Ace has been following the machinations of TNR closely as has Dan Riehl (Faux TNR masthead courtesy of Dan) and as I noted, both have been doing an absolutely outstanding job.

One of the posts I read (I'm too tired to track it down now after slogging through a days worth of progress notes, and billings) noted finding the blog of said Scott Thomas (Beauchamp) that he wrote while in the Army stationed in Germany. And one of Scotts posts had a photograph which I reproduce for you here:

along with the caption:

Train ride to Wurzberg: 11 Euro
Two Steins of Beer: 12 Euro
Having a girlfriend that embodies racial perfection: priceless
Now, I suspect that you, like me, have a whole bunch of blogs that we enjoy, even if we get to them only once in a while. Such are my friends at Misunderestimated Germans, and I recognized that photo. It is a photo of Claudia Heym who, along with Michael Meyn and Jürgen Krafzik write Misunderestimated Germans. At least, I was pretty sure it was so I wrote Michael with whom I've enjoyed exchanging comments and emails from time to time. Sure enough, it was indeed a photo of Claudia (and somewhere I heard taken around 2002) and, from their website here is their banner (reduced in size);

Let me repeat Scott Thomas' caption: "Train ride to Wurzberg: 11 Euro - Two Steins of Beer: 12 Euro - Having a girlfriend that embodies racial perfection: priceless" and you can tell that the implication is that Claudia is Scott Thomas' girlfriend. Nicht wahr? Ahhh, but I know that in 2002 Scott wasn't in Germany when that photo was taken, and that Claudia and Jürgen are very good friends and I suspect, though I cannot know as yet, that Jürgen would be very surprised to know that Scott's girlfriend is an embodiement of "racial perfection."

Not only is that a shameful and crass statement, especially given the country that is hosting Thomas, but he didnt' even know the young lady as far as I can tell. Perhaps Mr. Scott Thomas Beauchamp is not only a fabulist, but a cultural/ethnic bigot as well.

More and more, it's looking like Mr. Scott Thomas Beauchamp has done for The New Republic what typhoid did for Mary, or what Steven Glass did for...... get my drift?

UPDATE: Damn, this is fun. Or, as Sherlock Holmes has said:

when one has eliminated the impossible, whatever is left must be the truth, no matter how unlikely it may seem."
Dan Riehl has MORE on this story... yeppers, damn fun!

UPDATE 2: John Tabin at The American Spectator has more (including a link to this article. (H/T to Michael Meyn at Misunderestimated Germans)

Posted by GM Roper at 07:55 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

June 12, 2007

My Uncle Jimmy

The really elderly handsome gentleman to the left (no, no, the one with the glasses) is one of my heroes. His name is James Melbert and he is my beloved Uncle. Now, one thing you absolutely must know about Uncle Jimmy is that he is a liberal Democrat (hence, his picture is on the left of course) but other than that one serious flaw, he is a really good fellow and the last surviving member of my Mom's family. Fortunately for Uncle Jimmy, he is married to a marvelous woman by the name of LaVerne who is conservative.

Uncle Jimmy is the father of two terrific cousins, Bruce and Kay whom I also love dearly. Kay sent me an e-mail not too long ago letting me know that Uncle Jimmy is about to have a repair to the mitral valve of his heart. Now, Uncle Jimmy is a member of the "Greatest Generation" so you know he is no spring chicken, but despite that, when you talk to him, you'd think he is much closer to my young age (and no, I'm not going to tell you how old that is.) At any rate, some of my fondest memories are of the times I spent with the James Melbert family, first in Lake Jackson, Texas, then Angleton, Texas and most recently in Houston, Texas.

Mom, Jimmy and his family, our family were all tied together by the patriarch of our family N.H. Melbert, D.D. preacher-man extraordinaire and probably the finest man I've ever known. But, I digress.

Jimmy enlisted in the army and was in the european theater in WWII. He was a chemist for Dow Chemical Company until his retirement and has a number of patents under his name when he worked for Dow (now, there is this story that Uncle Jimmy once brewed beer in the basement of the Parsonage and the bottles exploded just as my grandmother was entertaining a bunch of ladies from the church. This was back in the late 20s to mid 30's so you know how well that went over - Uncle Jimmy, now you can come clean... did that really happen?).

One ultra-memorable summer in the late 50's I spent a couple of weeks with my grandparents in New Orleans and was invited to spend the rest of the summer at Uncle Jimmy's and Aunt LaVerns'. Wow, what a summer that was. There was a popcorn machine to make fresh popcorn when we watched T.V. and this really big garden spider that lived under the eaves out in the back yard. I remember Bruce and I making up little plays and acting them out with Jimmy, LaVerne and Kay playing the audience. Glorius, absolutely Glorius.

In 1998, my beloved mother became seriously ill and rapidly declined, both physically and mentally and passed away that November. I miss her quiet love and strong personality to this day, but though I told her many many times how much I loved her towards the end (and, indeed all the years I knew her), I've never been sure that she heard or processed it. I'll not make that mistake again. So, the purpose of this blog entry is simple, Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Laverne

I Love You!

There, got that? I thought so!

Posted by GM Roper at 05:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

May 14, 2007

Nature Shots

Stick me out in the boondocks with a camera and I'll find SOMETHING to shoot! Enjoy!

Who would have thought that a lowly prickly pear cactus could have such lovely flowers.

Continue reading "Nature Shots"
Posted by GM Roper at 05:45 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

November 28, 2006

From Whence Came This Photo Fragment?

OK guys and gals, this bit of photo is from one of my many. This one comes from a rainforrest and it has been enlarged but only slightly. The first to guess this one gets an email from Woody extolling their virtues top and bottom, left and right and all your good qualities in between.


Posted by GM Roper at 07:28 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

November 27, 2006

And The Answer Is

portion.jpgThis is a portion of a photograph that was reproduced on this blog some 17 months or so ago. It can be found overleaf on the February 25, 2005 entry on photobloging. It is part of tree bark found in this photograph:

Faery umbrella.jpg

I guess Woody gets to keep his Richard Simmons Tape

Posted by gmroper at 05:06 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

November 20, 2006

What Is This?

portion.jpgThis is a portion of a photograph that was reproduced on this blog some 17 months or so ago. Can you tell me from whence it came? Woody has selected a prize (most likely a Video of "Sweating to the Oldies" (insert very big grin here) and you can pay NOT to have the prize delivered if you guess correctly.

Have fun.

Posted by gmroper at 06:49 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0)

October 10, 2005

Colorado Blogging

I'm recovering from a week in Colorado, though it took me a full 48 hours to warm up again. We were 9600 feet up in a cabin overlooking a beautiful valley about an hour and a half's drive from Ft. Collins.

The winding highway to the mountains showed vistas not to be believed.

colorado 005.jpg

The cabin we stayed in while we hammered out programs for the drug and alcohol dependent adolescents we work with was absolutely georgeous and thanks to our host, Greg, for putting us up while we worked. His cabin, as stated is stupendous.

colorado 224.jpg

The second morning there, I and a co-worker walked down the road a bit, surely not more than 50 yards and came across a mule deer foraging.

Continue reading "Colorado Blogging"
Posted by GM Roper at 07:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

October 07, 2005


As Woody noted, I'm back from my sojourn to the mountains of Colorado. Beautiful, Cold and High is all I can say. We stayed in a Cabin at 9950 feet above sea level and worked on treatment programs for adolescents with substance abuse problems but some time was left for photographs. Here are a few, more later this afternoon. Woody, you did a great job and I appreciate it. Consider your salary to be quadrupled effective yesterday.

colorado 080.jpg

colorado 209.jpg

colorado snow.jpg

Posted by GM Roper at 07:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 05, 2005

Guess The Location - Photo-blogging For Fun

One of the joys of travel is the ability to bring back photographic memories of places you have been, things you have seen and people you have met. By and large, people all over the world are good people, in spite of the relatively small number of creepoids (Yes Terrorists, I AM referring to you!). Below are four photos taken from various travels. Use your imagination and your knowledge of the world to see if you can guess where these were taken. At the end of the last of the 4 pictures is a link that says "continue reading." Click on that and you will be able to check your answers.

This is the first one:

Number 1.jpg

This is the second one:

Number 2.jpg

This is the third, one more after this: Number 3.jpg

This is the last:

Number 4.jpg

Continue reading "Guess The Location - Photo-blogging For Fun"
Posted by GM Roper at 09:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 23, 2005

Jamaica Blogging

Wow, what a great vacation, seeing part of the world I've only glimpsed through history books and movies. Jamaica was everything it could be, beautiful scenery, gracious and kind people, and some of the most breathtaking flowers I've ever seen. Herewith, a sample. After two days at sea, relaxing, dining with good company, spending quality time with the bride, a few drinks and a little gambling (I won 5 nights out of seven, mostly at blackjack, some at roulette) we had landfall at Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Nearby is Runaway Bay, the place where runaway slaves often fled their oppressive masters and took boat to other shores. We opted for a bamboo raft ride down one of the many rivers rather than attempt climbing Dunn's River Falls with a bad knee. Dunn's River Falls is perhaps the most visited spot by tourists in Jamaica. Our river guide and "Captain," Claude Johnstone built his own raft and rafts down the river eight or nine times a week in a good week. From this and tips, he supports his family of five. Claude is in his mid forties, but looks to be in his early thirties and during the entire trip downriver gave a terrific running commentary on the flora and fauna of the river as well as history of Jamaica. Here is Claude poling down the river:


Music was being played everywhere, reggae, pop, even country and western with a reggae flavor. These gents had a wonderful sound, even though they didn't look like they were enjoying playing. Yet, with the sounds they were making, they obviously put heart and soul into it.
the Band.JPG

Continue reading "Jamaica Blogging"
Posted by GM Roper at 07:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

May 20, 2005

Saddam Hussein: New Model for Abercrombie & Fitch Catalog?

In an effort to penetrate the overseas market, Abercrombie & Fitch is expanding its catalog by featuring pictures of former dictators modeling underwear. (Warning: Graphic Image) Women throughout the Mideast are placing record orders for the upcoming issue. This could be a return to the racy catalogs from a year ago that drew protests from churches and parents across the country. Rev. Sid Burge of Attalla, Alabama said, "Dic-tater is a bad enough word without putting images with it." He is leading a fight to keep A&F from putting a store in the city.

Okay, okay, this is sick...and just another problem that our country doesn't need. After all the problems with abuse and pictures from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, now we have a disgusting picture of Saddam Hussein standing in his skivvies. Give me a break. How did this happen?! I guess that there are going to be more protests against us and more ill will against our country. Maybe we can blame it on Newsweek.

Of course, Aljezerra shows Americans being beheaded but Hussein's picture goes over the line with that group.

Sun managing editor Graham Dudman, whose publication printed the pictures, said, "This is a man who has murdered a minimum of 300,000 people and we're supposed to feel sorry for him because someone's taken his picture? ...This is the modern-day Adolf Hitler. Please don't ask us to feel sorry for him." (Is this the same editor who criticized our invasion?)

Khalil al-Duleimi, Saddam Hussein's defense lawyer "I don't doubt such behavior from the American forces because they don't respect the law. ...They don't respect human rights and I expect them to do anything." (Hey, Khalil al-Duleimi, we didn't murder tens of thousands Iraqi citizens in cold blood like your buddy whom you're defending.)

Since the picture of the former dictator came from inside the prison, the U.S. military is investigating and said the picture violated its guidelines.

Believe me. I have little sympathy for Saddam Hussein, but we need to improve our image in the Mideast. Now, it looks as if we have new problems that we didn't need. Let's hope that it dies and that no more mistakes like this happen again.

Posted by GM Roper at 03:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

April 04, 2005

The Guardian

The Guardian.jpg
One of the folks who is a regular habitue of this Blog (you mean there are more than two? I mean besides you?...ed.)Liked the eagle background and wanted to see the original and wondered if I had ever posted it before. The answer is yes, in my old blog it was my second posting I believe. It, and a number of others are in my "Alaska Blogging" series which you can locate in my archives, especially in February's archives. Go and enjoy, and while you are at it, drop a comment or two when you see something you like. I'll send one 8/10 print to the first 10 people requesting one. Put your request in the comment and be sure to leave your e-mail address and a description of the photo. I'll get in touch with you via e-mail for your mailing address. (What would Alfred Steigleitz say about GIVING AWAY photographs?.....ed.)

Posted by GM Roper at 08:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 12, 2005


House on Log Raft for when the Tides get deep.jpg
This Old House - Wouldn't this be a trip for Norm to remodel? This is, I'm told, a fairly common practice in low lying areas where tides can swoosh in and out regularly. The cabin is constructed on a very large raft of logs so that as the tide comes in, the house will rise and fall with the tide, and yet not go anywhere.

I asked the guide how long this cabin has been there, she remarked that it was there as long as she can remember (The guide was about in her mid 40's). It has the appearance of being abandoned, but I'm told that it is occupied from time to time, perhaps as a "fishing" or "hunting cabin." Regardless, an interesting view on the way to the Valley of the Eagles.

Posted by GM Roper at 08:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

February 25, 2005

Alaska Blogging

There is a certain kind of beauty in the rain forrest.

skunk cabbage old growth forrest a.jpg

"Hey, wait a minute" I hear you say. "I saw the title of this and it said ALASKA, not some rain forrest."
Yep, it is both. This particular rain forrest is on Orca Beach. A rain forrest gets its name, not from being near the equator, but by the number of inches of rain it receives per year and the Tongas qualifies in spades. Beauty, almost un-equaled.

Continue reading "Alaska Blogging"
Posted by GM Roper at 08:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 17, 2005


This is likely to be the final Alaska Blogging for a while, time to start something new. I think the next "issue" will be Baltic Blogging (that has a nice ring to it don't you think?) Baltic Blogging will be a series of photos taken in Kobenhaven (Copenhagen), St. Petersburg, Berlin (on 9-11 no less), Talin Eastonia, Finland, Stockholm and other climes in the Baltic Sea areas as well as Holland and England. In the meanwhile, enjoy Alaska.Glacier-b.jpg

The size of this glacier is unbelievable. And yet, and yet, it's only about 1/4 the size it was before the grand melting. As you can see from the photo, the right side of the mountain shows the depth of the glacier. The melt has exposed much of the side of the mountain and greenery is beginning to grow where before there was only ice, cold and more cold. From the vantage point of taking this photo, you can notice how far this particular glacier has retreated, and yet, it is still huge.

One of the amazing things I discovered on this trip was that Alaska is an exhibit of God's nature that is not to be believed. If you EVER have a chance to go there, take it. Don't hesitate, don't think about it, just go. The rewards will far exceed any effort.

This next photograph was of a small very tiny seed, with it's "feathers" ready to take it in the air, floating with the wind and perhaps landing on the side of a mountain where a glacier is retreating. There, embedded in a tiny bit of soil, nurtured by warmth in the brief growing season, watered and fed, it will spark new life, die and in dying leave a bit of itself for the next season when the cycle starts all over again. In one of the "old" doctor shows many years ago the TV program opened with an aged physician writing on the Blackboard, "Life, Death, Infinity." In Alaska, this is as evident as the brilliant sunrise, or the spectacular, but sobering sunset. Life, Death, Infinity indeed!

seeds of life.jpg

Posted by GM Roper at 07:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 02, 2005

Eagle Blogging

Photo Taken with a Minolta Dimage F-100 with the lens held by hand at the eyepiece of a 4 inch reflector telescope. It was difficult to make sure that the camera and telescope were "in sync" so that the shot would be good. I took several shots just to make sure.

The "close up" is a blown up section of this original. The "close up" was corrected using Adobe's Photoshop Elements-2.0.

The guardian.jpg

Posted by GM Roper at 07:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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