Thursday, October 27, 2005


A long long time ago, when I was young- remember how special it was when you were young, to get a piece of mail; something in the mail box with your name on it; remember how special that was? Especially when it was not Christmas or your birthday, cause those didn't really count cause they had to then...

One of the things that I did occasionally receive was a postcard from some friend or relative who was away to some exotic or not so exotic location. This led to the beginnings of the amassing of quite a postcard collection, from a time when good photography was not easily within the reach of the average person, and postcards were often the best shots you could get of a particular location. Many of the cards in my collection are of historical interest, showing things that no longer exist or have been changed beyond recognition. One that comes to mind is a downtown Quincy, Massachusetts scene of an area that has been completely modernized, but it also shows the cars and buses of the time! Fascinating stuff! Anyone remember Raymond's? Where ‘U’ bought the hat?

On one of the internet groups I belong to, a theme park fan group, there is a program in which many of the 10,000+ members participate in, in which we send postcards to the children of members who will soon be coming to the park, from that park when we are there. We sign them from one character or another, often get the actual signature of that character, and make them personal to the individual child. Imagine getting something like that in the mailbox!

While I have sent out my share of these "Pixie Postcards", I have also been happily on the receiving end of a couple myself, and yesterday, completely unexpected, I opened my mailbox, (which is now out at the end of the driveway at the edge of the road), to find what well might be the most marvelous postcard I have ever received! It is one of three here.

The first came from Paris via England. Last year, one of the group members, the very wonderful "Wendy of the UK", was thoughtful enough to send me a postcard from Euro-Disney, and in particular, the very different "Space Mountain" they have there.

Then, about two weeks ago, the son of a member to whom I had sent a surprise postcard which delighted him, on his family’s journey out to California to visit Disneyland, at their stop at the Grand Canyon, sent me a marvelous postcard from there, much to my surprise and delight! One of the more beautiful views of the canyon, and of particular interest is that I have actually hiked across some of the buttes shown in the picture!

But, as I said, yesterday was *the* postcard! Completely unexpected, found at the end of two long days of frustrating and fruitless work, I opened my mailbox to be visually stunned by a shining gold postcard, of the simplest, most elegant design, and turned it over to see that it was indeed a remembrance from my young friend!

The scan would not pick up the gold, showing it as black, but boy is this a beauty! And very nice to be on the receiving end of! Thanks, Tucker! (Yeah, I know your Mom and Dad signed it too, but I think I know who made it happen!)

:) -Jud

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Last week I received one of those e-mails with amazing photos that tend to get forwarded about the net from person to person. Amazing in its own right, it also provided a photographic representation of one of my stories from the road that I had never had any pictures to illustrate. So, here I present that story, now with photos to illustrate it, and though not shots of my particular experience, good enough to make the point.

This is an excerpt from my book, Me & Tange…, part of the material excerpted directly from my road journal I kept at the time… we pick up at the point where I and the driver who had answered the call of my upraised thumb at the side of US 1 in California, had arrived at Yosemite National Park and had found a suitable site for making camp for the night…

"We crossed the Merced River, I, dipping my walking stick into the racing waters. (This is a 6-foot hickory staff, two sections, into which I carve a symbol representing the places I visit. It is topped with a four-sided head in Birdseye Maple, the design for the head from our beloved vice-president [of the National Wood Carvers Association], Tange. I also dip it ceremoniously into various rivers, thus…)

A third member, Mike, had joined our party, and we found a suitable space, ate supper, talked and prepared for sleep. This included tying our packs up in a tree. This is to prevent the bears from not so neatly opening the packs and eating what's inside.

We slept the sleep of the weary, to coin a phrase (here's your change). There's nothing quite like Mother Nature's bedroom- the mattress, firm rolling ground, would you like your feet up?; the walls, beautiful tall trees swaying in the refreshing breeze off the river; the ceiling, a black sky alive with shimmering diamonds of light… and the Moon! The rush of the river soon lulled us to sleep.

Klang! Bang! Kling! Rattle, rattle… what's going on? I awoke to find my partners up and banging away on the pots and pans.

“Are you guys nuts? It's 3 a.m.”

Then I followed their eyes… Directly over us, hanging in the tree, playing badminton with our packs, was a huge black mass of fur, otherwise known as a bear! Quickly I pulled out my flashlight and threateningly aimed it at the creature and turned it on. Unfortunately, it didn't appear as threatening to him as I thought it would.

But it had become bored with the packs and backed down the tree. On the ground the visitor began circling us, possibly trying to decide which of us was fit to eat. Apparently we didn't look or smell too good and the bear turned and moseyed off.

The rest of the night was uneventful.
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Sunday, October 16, 2005


The exceptionally gifted artist, possibly the preeminent female artist living today, Rosemary Cove, is having an exhibition this coming November 30- December 28, 2005; "Stalking the Wild Pendulum"-sculpture & Drawings, at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Be there, or be quadrilaterally challenged!
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I just received notice of a new website for another artist of extraordinary ability that I knew when I was in NYC.

Rosemary Cove is a lively, vivacious, highly productive artist, whose fun spirit, as well as other emotions at times, are laid bare in her bold unique work.

I am lucky enough to own one of her early pieces, one of the first of her "clay slab" sculptures called Flowers. I don't have a picture handy, and the piece is carefully packed away with all my other valuables, but here are a couple of her current pieces that particularly move me: more can be seen at her website.
6" x 5"; fired clay
6.5" x 5"; terra cotta

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Homosassa Fine Art and True Craft Show
This morning I headed over to the Homosassa Springs Wild Life Park where the annual Fine Art and True Craft Show was taking place. I am not sure, but I am of the thought that this marks the unofficial return of the Snowbirds? In any case, it is an invite only show, and there are no beer can boats or re-selling of Hong Kong made trinkets, only, as the name says, fine art and true crafts.

The highway near the entrance was jammed and the parking lot full with vehicles making new spaces along the edges on the lawn and other places nearby. Out on the lawn, the allure of the white canopies promised the possibility of new creations to delight the viewer.

I made my way over, and being particular to wood and woodcarving, I spent most of my visit at the displays that held these things. The overall quality of all the work, including the non-wood creations, was excellent, and even where I saw things I had seen before, they were done with new interpretations that showed vitality.

New and delightful variations on the drawer in the solid block of wood concept by Images of Nature, Crystal River.
Creations of colorful glass by Whitney’s Glass Works were a bit subdued by the overcast day.

Larry Whidden Originals of Spring Hill showed some fun imagery with beaten and formed copper.
Nature painter, Peter R Gerbert displayed originals and prints capturing his vision of the abundant Florida wildlife.
Ellen Phaff of the Miranda Gallery in Clearwater added color and fun with her wild images.

One exhibitor particularly grabbed my attention. DH Dufore displayed three walls of exceptionally well executed work fusing a great skill with painting and a sharp eye for fitting subject to his material, in this case, odd slabs of wood. I discussed his process with him a bit and he explained the utter importance of fitting the subject to the piece of wood rather than trying to force a pre-selected subject to a board. His insistence paid off for in each case the fusion of subject and support greatly enhanced each.
Though I was a mere two feet from this piece, and I am myself a specialist in the field, I mistook this frog for a relief carving instead of simply paint applied with such skill in handling depth and detail that the darn frog is just sticking right out of the slab!
DH beautifully used the existing grain, augmented by a few strokes of white paint to capture a beach on this slab.
Note how the subject so beautifully fits the natural visuals of this particular slab of wood. The wood comes first and a subject is then sought to fit the “environment” that the wood suggests. Note also the addition of the small elk image on the lower right adds to the overall effect. The piece could have been called complete without it, but its addition shows that little extra that elevates certain creators.

Again, note how the subject has been selected to fit the wood. The natural patterns and stains in the wood almost seem to suggest elephant hide. Note in all of these the wonderful detail and depth that DH has created with his masterly use of paint. I assure you- they are all perfectly flat!

Monday, October 03, 2005


News story from recent telephone interview!



Sunday, October 02, 2005


Over the last few days, as mentioned earlier, I have been looking at making some sort of modification to the seat of my ECV, my scooter, as the existing seat gets pretty uncomfortable after an hour or so. I had a couple of options in design, the main thing being how a new seat would attach to the existing structure of the ECV, by having a stub that would sit in the existing post; or a new post that would sit in the post holder of the existing structure; or adding a support arm across the back that would hold the back legs of a folding lawn chair while the front legs rested in the main platform, or a few other options.

I searched Home Depot, the local Ace Hardware store, and Lowes for various existing hardware, found a few pieces that could fulfill part of the requirements for one or more of the possible designs, but also found that the cost of hardware has gone very high! For instance, a one inch lag head bolt would serve in the first case mentioned above, but cost $10! And I would have to have a plate welded to it to make it work, and then build from there. I don’t weld, so this would be an added challenge, either in finding a welder or buying a welding rig!

As for adding the lawn chair, I did find a location that I could securely attach something to, but it would again get very complicated and involve more expense and finagling than I was ready to get into, so at about this point, I decided I would give up the idea and just get a really thick seat cushion.

The seat cushions I had checked so far were so wimpy, no matter how thick they looked, that they were of no use. Then I had the idea to check out one of those boat cushions that serve also as floatation devices and are thick and firm. Pleased with this solution, I headed out this morning to the Super Wal-Mart over in Inverness and headed to the outdoor activity section. As I spotted the right aisle and turned down it, I immediately spotted a shelf of folding boat seats of considerable substance! One in particular looked good, and was priced quite reasonably, so I stopped, opened it up and set it on my seat and sat in it.

My bum went, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!”

This was exquisite!

I tried the other two styles they had, and both showed that they would not contribute to any long term comfort. I tried the first one again and yes, this was it!

Then I looked up and noticed that beside its location on the display was a mounting plate, and the stub looked suspiciously close in diameter to that which would fit my existing post. But alas, a bit too big, and I contemplated what it would take to reduce its diameter and realized that it would be too much. I then thought to see if I could think of any alternatives that would allow me to replace the post with something that would receive it, but then I noticed once again up on the display, a post made specifically for the mounting plate. And that almost fit the support for my post: missed by a tiny enough amount that I imagined I could file the diameter a bit and make it fit.

So I bought the whole kit and caboodle!

At home, I spent about a half hour filing the diameter and got it to a near perfect fit…

…only to then discover that the mounting plate was not made to fit the mounting points on this seat, and that I would have to drill new holes in the thick stainless steel. Using increasingly larger bits, this took about another half hour, but resulted in success!

So I put the whole thing together and now have a wonderful new comfortable seat for my ECV!

Excited, after a bit of a rest, I headed over to the supermarket to pick up a couple of items, but mainly to give the new seat a test run. I pulled the ECV body out of the van only to discover that I had left the battery at home!

I came home and transferred my banner to the new seat.


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