The Texas Hill Country, Nature Photography, and Hillingdon Ranch

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On my kitchen table sits the book Hillingdon Ranch: Four Seasons, Six Generations by David K. Langford & Lorie Woodward Cantu.  It’s a book featuring astounding photography that deals with one family’s ranch in the Texas Hill Country, but also with the larger themes of nature and conservation.  At some point I want to write a comprehensive piece on this book, but I’ve been slow to, as the visual arts, and photography especially, are not ones that I am as intellectually prepared to comment on.  Although I have some understanding of the machinations of film and television, with the other visual arts I often know what I like, but I don’t know as often how to describe it.  I am not as well versed in the technical language and the processes that go into painting or photography.

I do know that the photography in this book is absolutely stunning in the way that it hits you on an emotional level.  Langford has captured the Hill Country and the different seasons in all of their natural glory.  Anyone that has spent time in the Hill Country knows its allure.  There are many places in nature that are beautiful.  However, many places are filled with a lonesome kind of beauty, whereas the Texas Hill Country has a warm and friendly beauty to it.  There is something often comforting about it.  If you are interested in this region or photographs of Texas in particular, then I think this book is definitely one you should check out.

I think even if you are not familiar with the Texas Hill Country there are things that this book has to offer.  If you like nature photography in particular, there are many photos that look painterly in their composition.  The Hill Country has a wide ranging color palate from season to season.

I also think the book’s message of conservation and stewardship of the land are important ones to understand.  Not only is this aspect something that needs to be part of the larger environmental picture, but it is also a way to possibly reach people that might otherwise not be as inclined to act.

This book makes you see how nature is worth preserving if for nothing else than the aesthetic beauty that would be hard to imagine living without.

Koch Brother’s Advocacy Groups Projected to Spend Nearly $1 Billion in Next Election

Koch Back Network Aims to Spend Nearly $1 Billion in 2016

The above article is a Huffington Post about how political advocacy groups connected to the Koch brothers are projected to spend nearly a billion dollars on the 2016 election.  If you wonder how we can have a Senate where almost 50% of Senators believe that human behavior does not contribute to climate change, among other senseless beliefs, look no further.  It is fucking troubling…

Over at Rolling Stone – Divesting in Big Carbon and Roy Bittan Interview

Read two interesting articles this morning over at Rolling Stone Magazine

Why We Have to Kiss Off Big Carbon

Above  is an article over at Rolling Stone that is about why it makes environmental and economic sense to divest in companies that contributing to climate change.

Here below is an article that is an interview with E Street band keyboardist Roy Bittan.  For all of the years that I have listened to the E Street Band, I don’t think I have read more than thee or four Roy Bittan interviews.  I’ve always loved the way he played piano.  Interview:

Roy Bittan Looks Back On 40 Years in the E Street Band

Anti-Science Know Nothing America Helping Doom World

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Senators Don’t Believe Human Caused Climate Change

Fourteen of the fifteen hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000, yet we now have a Senate in which 49 of its members are unwilling to tie climate change to human behavior, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.  If this were a movie no one would believe it, unless it was a comedy.  We are a laughing stock to most of the intelligent world, yet so many of our citizens bury their heads in the sand.  (This bunch was just elected and reelected.)  Anyone that has young children or is thinking of having them should be weeping openly in public. If we don’t act soon, we are willingly bequeathing future generations a world that will resemble a flaming ball of shit.  If I sound angry, I am.  This idiocracy is the result of greed and laziness and people that can’t be bothered with anything that isn’t in their narrow little field of view.  We let the 1% buy so many of our elections.  We sit idly by as the rich destroy education and turn our people into a nation of retarded couch potatoes.  These powerful few are making monkeys out of us and no one cares.  If no one was going to procreate again, I could say we had it coming.  However, people that are babies now, or those that have not been born, are innocent of these ridiculous crimes.  And yes, what we are doing is a crime.  We are harming other people and future generations just so we can drive big cars around town while fueling destruction and our own egos.  In a democracy the many have power over the few, but in order for that to be so the many need to pay attention and actually try to figure out what is really going on.  If they don’t soon it is game over…

Pope Francis Vs. The Theocons

Francis Vs. the Theocons Round III

Andrew Sullivan has an interesting article about Pope Francis, the Pope’s encyclical on climate change, and the far right’s anger over the Pope’s stance on climate change.  It should be mentioned that Sullivan is a Catholic.  A sample:

The theocons created an abstract fusion of GOP policy and an unrecognizable form of Christianity that saw money as a virtue, the earth as disposable, and the poor as invisible. It couldn’t last, given the weight of Christian theology and tradition marshaled against it. And it hasn’t. Francis is, moreover, indistinguishable on this issue from Benedict XVI and even John Paul II. As in so many areas, it’s the American far right whose bluff is finally being called.

Pope Francis to Ask World to Act On Climate Change

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The Pope Edict On Climate Change

There is some good news on the climate change front this week.  Apparently Pope Francis is taking this threat to our civilization seriously.  He plans on making a strong statement on this issue in 2015.  The article above contains a a quote by Pope Francis that also concerns this issue:

“An economic system centred on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it.

“The system continues unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash commands.

“The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness,” he said.

What is especially great is that he really seems to get it.  This issue, and one of the reasons large corporations are trying to stall us dong anything about it, is tied up with economics.  The Pope also sees this issue as a moral one, which it is.  I can’t help but like this guy…