Mission Of This Blog

The overall mission statement of this blog is to share many unique topics of this blogger's interest. Topics include (but are not limited to): Travel & Photojournalism, Nature & Wildlife Preservation, Americana, Local Places Of Interest, Southern Cultural Heritage, Local History of the South Carolina Upstate, Confederate Heritage Preservation & Awareness, Science & Science Fiction, Astronomy & Night Sky Photography, Literacy & Writing, Southern Cuisine, Popular Culture & Philosophy, Fandom, Local Folklore ....as well as various other topics explained from the blogger's point of view. The following website contains the UNCENSORED thoughts and opinions of a Southern-born country writer from upstate South Carolina - the living, beating heart of the great American Southland!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

RIP Miss Christine Cavanaugh (1963 - 2014)

Christine Josephine Cavanaugh (nee Sandberg)
August 16, 1963 - December 22, 2014

Legendary voice actress Christine Cavanaugh died on, Monday, December 22, 2014 in her home in Cedar City, Utah at the age of 51 years young. 

For anyone who grew up in the 90s - like I did - chances are you're familiar with her work. From her 23 career between 1988 - 2001, Miss Cavanaugh played the voices of dozens of animated characters on some really good cartoon series.

She is probably best remembered for being the voices talent of:

Chuckie Finster from Nicktoon's Rugrats and Rugrats All Grown Up

 Gosalyn Mallard from Disney's Darkwing Duck.

Dexter from Cartoon Network's Dexter's Laboratory (Season's 1 & 2) - a role which won her the 2000 Annie Award for her portrayal of Dexter in the hour-long TV Special Dexter's Laboratory: Ego Trip.

Bobby Hill from Fox's King of the Hill.

Cavanaugh also guest starred on several TV shows including Cheers, Empty Nest, Wings, The X-Files, Everybody Loves Raymond and ER, and had supporting roles in the feature films Soulmates and Jerry Maguire.

As a fan of all these shows, and one who appreciated her talents as a voice actress, I will always remember the good times I had - and still do - watching these great animated shows, and listening to her wonderful voice bringing these characters and others to life.

RIP! You will be missed, ma'am.
God rest your beautiful soul.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blue Sunset On Mars

The following link is a small 50 second film created by NASA showing panoramic camera images from the Mars rover Opportunity of the sunset on Mars on November 4th and 5th, 2010:

Truly an awe inspiring sight. The same sun we wake up to every clear day here on good ole Terra (Earth) as seen on the surface of our closest neighboring planet. A sight that perhaps only God has ever witnessed now possible through the use of modern human technology. We truly do live in an age of wonder.

Martian sunset photo taken by the Mars rover Spirit at Gusev Crater, May 19, 2005.
I do wonder though, someday will human beings actually stand on the surface of the Red Planet and see this gorgeous blue sunset with their own eyes? I believe we -meaning humanity- will, both as explorers, and as future Martians ourselves.

Of course, I'm a huge science fiction fan and I must confess a bit of a romantic when it comes to the ideas of space exploration and colonization beyond Earth. Just another of the long line of wild dreamers who look up at the night sky at the distant planets and stars the way our own ancient ancestors must once have looked at the distant horizon and wondered what lay beyond. 

I believe that someday there will be generations of humans born and living on Mars, perhaps in vast domed biospheres the size of major cities on Earth. Or maybe - with the help of future technologies yet to be invented - a way to transforming that lifeless world's surface and atmosphere into a place habitable for human life. Today's science fiction could well be tomorrow's science fact. After all look at what progress humanity has made in just one century. Imagine two or three centuries hence.

At the very least I hope to live to see the day the first human explorers touch their boots to the surface of Mars and take that first step into the next great frontier.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lowrys Christmas Parade 2014 -- And An Unexpected Honor

Greetings and Salutations everyone!

On Saturday, December 20, 2014, I attended the 33rd Annual Lowrys Christmas Parade in the small farming community of Lowrys in Chester County, South Carolina. It is among the largest Christmas parades in South Carolina annually drawing anywhere between 12,000 to 20,000 people each year. Not that impressive if you live in a major city, but for a rural community its a big number.

The huge appeal for the Lowrys Christmas Parade is the country Christmas theme. Unlike the city parades with high school marching bands and cars with politicians and beauty pageant winners, the Lowrys parade is mostly made up of floats pulled by horses and tractors. Indeed horse riders - often dressed up along with their horses - make up a good portion of the parade's participants. This along with the country road route gives the parade a special homey-type of feel for spectators.

Weather and health permitting I have attended this parade almost every year for the past eight years. This year I had the unexpected honor of actually taking part in the parade itself - and helping to promote Southern heritage and identity in a positive way.

I arrived at the parade roughly an hour before its scheduled 1 PM start time. The traffic getting to the parade and later leaving the parade - not to mention actually finding good places to stand - necessitates getting there somewhat early.

Unfortunately, I woke late this morning and - following a hastily eaten breakfast of fried Spam and buttered biscuits with grape jelly - I drove the ten miles from my home near Chester to Lowrys. I was lucky to find a parking space for my vehicle near the parade lineup rather than farther away. The forecasts called for cool temperatures in the lower 40s F and rainy conditions, which probably accounted for the slow arrival for many of the parade watchers. Hardcore parade veterans numbering in the several thousand were already there in groups bundled up in coats and huddled around makeshift tent villages, warming themselves over portable fire pits and grills.

I decided to check out the floats and get a few pictures before the parade began.

Yep, That's The First National CSA (The actual Stars & Bars, not the battle flag CS Army of Northern Virginia).
Here's Another One! Southern Confederate Heritage Proudly On Display In This Parade.

Among the remains of a recently plowed up cotton field, among the hastily prepared floats, trotting horses, slow moving tractors, and general mayhem, I found a group of familiar faces: members of the Brigadier General Micah Jenkins Camp #1569 Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) out of nearby Rock Hill, SC. I greeted them and was warmly welcomed.

I was chatting with one of them about my new blog when one of them invited me to join them in the parade itself. Needless to say I felt honored and accepted. My only regret being that had I know beforehand, I might have packed the Confederate gray uniform I usually only wear for Confederate Memorial Day (May 10th in SC) and US Veterans Day parades. Still I was dressed warmly - though I found I had to retreat to my car briefly to collect my scarf.

At a little after 1 PM the parade started. I was given a bag of candy and a handful of small battle flags to hand out. The flags - given a request - were all handed out well before the parade ended about 80 minutes later. The SCV and its float - flags and all - were well received. Kids especially loved the generous amounts of candy we tossed out.

A Little Fella Gets A Battle Flag.
Even Dogs Love A Good Country Parade.
 LOL Someone Was Handing Out Hugs. 

After the parade ended, I helped the members of the Micah Jenkins Camp take down their flags and disassemble their float and thanked them sincerely for asking me to join them. The parade was definitely a great example of Christmas spirit in a small country town, where Southern heritage and identity was more than welcome. I was both blessed and honored to be an active part of it.

Again my thanks to the members of the Brigadier General Micah Jenkins Camp #1569 SCV from Rock Hill, SC and to the organizers of the 33rd Annual Lowrys Christmas Parade for all their efforts in making another year a success. 

Can't wait for next year!