Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ruby Tuesday - Red Lincoln

How about a big fat Maroon Lincoln with white sidewalls even?  This doesn't even need to be pimped.  Imagine taking your sweetie to the drive-in movie in this.  Something spooky so she will be scared and sit on your lap.  Oh yes, those were the days.  Except that all I had was a bicycle.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Challenge: Symmetry - St. Francis Cathedral Basilica

The St. Francis Cathedral Basilica in Santa Fe, New Mexico celebrated 400 years as a community in 2009.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Midtown Doors

Here and there are handsome stucco homes with a Spanish flavor dating from the 1920 - 1930 era.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ruby Tuesday - Some Like it Hot

Most of the US is experiencing record high temperatures and Tulsa is right in the middle of it.  While many flowers fade and wilt in this weather the Crepe Myrtle seems to like it.  No rain?  105 degrees?  No problem.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Black & White Weekend - River Trail

Tulsa Riverpark on the east bank of the Arkansas River.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Weekend Reflections - Great White Egret

This Great White Egret is looking for lunch.  They are fairly common here in ponds and lakes.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Skywatch Friday - Thunderheads

Big cumulus clouds preceded a flash rainstorm.  My mother always called these "Thunderheads".

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday Challenge: Supreme - Run Smokey Run

Faster than a speeding bullet!  The fastest Pit Bull in Oklahoma.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Hickory Nut Tree

200 year old hickory tree at The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Macro Monday - Easy Does It 2

I know that I've posted a closeup of this rose before but Easy Does It has become my new favorite rose.  It blooms constantly, shows a range of color from pink to orance to yellow, and has a sweet spicy fragrance.  The blooms last longer than most too.  Another interesting thing about this photo is that it was taken with my iPhone 4 then cropped to about a third its original size.  Have a nice Monday.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tour of Oklahoma Forge

I have been curious to see where my son Mike works.  Saturday is fairly quiet so I followed him out so he could gave me a quick tour.  Oklahoma Forge, Inc is an open die forge shop specializing in rolled rectangular rings.

The main shop area is lit by skylights and has a dirt floor with a wonderful smell of damp earth and oil.  My grandfather had a garage that smelled that way.

They heat blocks of steel in big forges then press them into a rough shape with these presses. The big one on the left will press 30 tons. The great big one on the right will press 3000 tons.                          

The products are heavy steel rings used in oilfield operations. The rings on the left are alloy steel, those on the right are stainless steel. The steel rings had not been long out of the forge and were still very hot. They did not glow, but I could feel heat radiating from them standing 8 feet away.

Mike was busy moving finished rings to an outside storage area. For this he used a big forklift (on left) and a great big forklift (on right).

The final step is to run the red hot steel blocks through this ring mill to shape them into the rings. This is hot heavy work but Mike likes it. He is the kind of guy that likes to make "stuff".

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Road Trip Day 9 . Fantastic caverns

We came back home on I-44 through St. Louis to Tulsa. When Sue's daughter lived in St Louis we drove this route many times. Around Springfield, Missouri there are billboards advertising Fantastic Caverns. Every time we pass this way we agree that we should stop and see the caves some time. Well, this was the time. Here is the entrance from the parking lot.

When the tour begins we are ushered to a pair of vehicles consisting of a Jeep pulling a long trailer with bench seats down the sides. You see, the nice thing about this cave is that you drive through it - no walking. Sue and I got to sit in the Jeep because we are old and I am gimpy..

The cave was quite large and tall enough so that we could ride without bumping our heads. Lights have been placed so the formations are bathed in light. Stalactites drip down from the ceiling while stalagmites build up from the floor. As I remember from my scouting days it is like ants in the pants; the mites go up and the tights go down.  Yuk, yuk.

We enjoyed the large columns.  When the mites and the tites grow together it is called a column.

This area might have been my favorite.  The drapery formations around the large column were really nice.

And of course the gift shop.  These little wind chimes are made with colorful slices of geodes drilled and strung with nylon fishing line.  They had lots of souvenirs made from rocks.  We bought a geode wind chime, a pair of candle holders and of course, a coffee cup.  Everywhere we go I get a coffee cup.

From here we drove on to Tulsa and home. We had a nice road trip - 1929 miles. We made no plans therefore we avoided the stress of trying to adhere to a schedule. We enjoyed the drive, stopping here and there so I could take pictures. We went to one thing each day and took our time looking and reading the labels. Generally the motels had a little breakfast buffet of some sort. Sometimes just cereal, rolls and coffee, sometimes scrambled eggs, and the do it yourself waffle machines. After breakfast we drove to the attraction of the day. In the afternoon we stopped and had a nice sit down lunch, then in the evening Sue fixed sandwiches from provisions in our ice chest. We relaxed, watched TV, and in the morning slept until we woke up. It was about the most enjoyable holiday we ever had. It was good to take a long road trip, and even better to get home.
Thank you for coming along!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Road Trip Day 8 - Louisville Slugger

No trip to Louisville would be complete without seeing where the Louisville Slugger baseball bats are made. The Louisville Slugger is the official bat of major league baseball and accounts for 60% of the bats used by major league players. Our visit started with a film on the history of the baseball and how bats are made from the tree to the finished product. Next we got a really nice tour of the factory and saw bats being made. They make bats for sale to the general public in a variety of sizes and finishes. Bats for major league players are custom made to exact specifications for that player with his name burned into the barrel.

Unfortunately we were asked not to take pictures but there is a display showing the various steps in the process. Most bats are made either from ash or more recently maple. There is a controversy that maple bats are dangerous because they sometimes shatter on impact with the ball. I have heard baseball announcers pontificate on this when play is slow so I asked our tour guide. He said that bats made of ash or maple break in about the same number. The difference is that ash bats tend to split and maple bats tend to break into several pieces. There you have it from an expert.

They have a great museum and a wonderful gift shop. I am a sucker for museum gift shops and this one has some cool stuff. Not surprisingly this place was full of kids, especially lots of father son combinations. It is a great place for male bonding.

If by chance you would like to have a professional Louisville slugger bat with your name burned into it just like the pros, this is the only place to get it. There was quite a line. If you can't get to Louisville you can order one over the internet. They have a very nice web site. 
Look HERE.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Road Trip Day 7 - Churchill Downs

Louisville, Kentucky is the home of Churchill Downs, the host of America's most famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby. Horse racing takes place in many cities in America, even Tulsa has a race track. Since I have never attended a horse race I don't have much bases for comparison of race tracks. But I can tell you that one look at Churchill Downs tells you that this is big business.

In addition to the track and stable facilities there is a really nice museum. You can pet a real thoroughbred or one made of resin complete with jockey and garland of roses.

On display are trophys from the 3 races which make up the "triple crown" of American horse racing. From left to right they are the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.

These are just a few of the racing silks worn by jockeys to represent the stable of the owner.  Youngsters can ride a realistic horse that competes in a race with others on an oversized TV screen.    Based on the noise the kids were making it looked like a lot of fun.

Here is the track itself.  Four levels of seats and boxes.  Very impressive.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Road Trip Day 6 - Oak Ridge, TN

Oak Ridge Tennessee is one of three major locations where the World War II Manhattan Project took place. This amazingly complex project resulted in the development of the atomic weapons which arguably ended the war on the pacific. As usual an excellent article can be found in Wikipedia. The American Museum of Science and Energy provides the story of the development of atomic energy which led to the advent of what we now call the Atomic Age.

The project to develop and produce atomic weapons took place at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. The largest of these sites was at Oak Ridge. When permission to proceed was obtained from the highest levels work commenced almost immediately. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army Corps of Engineers. In September, 1943 a 56,000 acre site was selected was on the Black Oak Ridge in rural Tennessee, from which the name Oak Ridge was derived. Soon after an additional 3,000 acres were added. The land was currently occupied by about 1000 families many of whom were 3rd and 4th generation families. Nevertheless the land was to be developed very quickly and people were forced to sell and were evicted with very little explanation. A city was to be built to house the 15,000 initial workers to be brought in, a number that swelled to 85,000 by May 1945.

The quiet rural setting was quickly built up to accomodate a secret city with electricity, running water, refrigerators and indoor plumbing. Many of the near by farm homes had few of these amenities. Since this city was to be built up in secret there were many challenges. How could 15,000 flush toilets be shipped to a location having fewer than 1000 residences without raising suspicion? In addition to the residences stores were needed as well as schools, medical facilities and houses of worship. It was a very challenging project but was completed on time. Not to mention the research and development facilities which would become some of the largest in the world, and intended to be invisible to the rest of the world. A test device called Trinity was constructed and detonated as proof of concept on 16 July, 1945. It is astounding that the research and development to include manufacturing the end product was completed by late 1945, a span of only 2 years.

On July 26, 1945 A meeting was held at Potsdam by the Allied leaders that laid out the terms of surrender for Japan to be accepted immediately or face prompt and utter destruction. The Japanese rejected the Potsdam Declaration. As a result President Truman authorized the use of the first nuclear device to be dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 with enormous destruction. When Japan again rejected the idea of unconditional surrender the second device was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The US planned to have another atomic bomb ready for August 19, with 3 more in September, and another 3 in October. However on August 11, word was received that Japan wished to discuss the terms of surrender and bomb construction was put on hold. The final surrender ceremony was held aboard the Battleship Missouri on September 2, 1945.

While the more interesting part of the museum to me was the Creation of the "Secret City" and development of the first atomic weapons, there was also information about the use of coal and petroleum. One of the displays is a very large "lump" of coal, another is a detailed model of an off shore drill rig.

On handing over control to the Atomic Energy Commission, Major-General Groves bid farewell to the people who had worked on the Manhattan Project:
Five years ago, the idea of Atomic Power was only a dream. You have made that dream a reality. You have seized upon the most nebulous of ideas and translated them into actualities. You have built cities where none were known before. You have constructed industrial plants of a magnitude and to a precision heretofore deemed impossible. You built the weapon which ended the War and thereby saved countless American lives. With regard to peacetime applications, you have raised the curtain on vistas of a new world.