Monday, March 31, 2008

Li River, China

The karst topography of the Li River Valley in the Guilin area of China is one of the most scenic areas of the world. This watercolor is a mythical painting from my mind.

The mountains of this area remind me of French bread standing on end.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Walla Walla Branch of the Oregon Trail

Back in the days when covered wagons rolled to the West a portion of them took a little route north passing through the present Walla Walla area. Here are two paintings of two landmarks along that trail.
Yes, someone keeps pink or red paint on the nipple!

Chinese Brush Painting

Having lived in Japan for more than four years and having visited several other Asian countries I have become enamored with Asian art. I am a member of the Sumi-e Society of America. Here are some recent sumi-e paintings.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Great Experience

Some years ago while I was in my work area in the Division of Invertebrate Paleontology in the Natural History Building of the United States National Museum, Smithsonian Institution I was working with some fossil echinoids when a stranger came into my room. He intrduced himself as Louis Leakey and asked if he could visit with me for awhile. I offered him a chair and said I would be happy to visit with him.

I must say I was very startled to realize I was to have a one-on-one visit with this renowned anthropologist. After exchanging small talk for a few minutes I learned why Dr. Leakey had come to the Division of Invertibrate Paleontology instead of going to the Department of Anthropology. Dr. Leakey was not looking for someone to discuss fossil hominids, but rather to show a very unusual invertebrate fossil he found.

Reaching into his pocket and slowly withdrawing his closed fist he reached toward me and slowly opened his hand. I was amazed at the sight of a fossil rare indeed. It was a silicon dioxide perfect caterpillar without hair. A caterpillar is an animal composed of entirely soft parts. It is vary rare for such animals to be preserved as fossils especilly as three dimensional specimens. The Cambrian Burgess Shale contains soft body fossils but they are just a thin film on the rock.

I speculate this caterpillar must have been trapped in a mud deposit that turned to rock. As ground water slowly removed the organic material silicon dioxide gradually filled the cavity left by the caterpillar. After the erosion of the rock the caterpillar lay on the ground and Dr. Leakey found it. Even the little ambulatory appendages were visible on the abdominal surface.

Dr. Leakey and I sat for about an hour discussing fossils before he decided he had to leave.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Meteor: 5:30 AM 2/19/08

At 5:30 AM 2/19/08 there was a loud sonic boom and a bright flash over Walla Walla, Washington, USA. A meteor had passed over town and exploded. I painted this little watercolor for a memory

Sumi-e painting

I've lived in Japan for a little over four years. I've also visited India, Thailand (several times), the Philippians and Korea. I like Asian painting styles. especially sumi-e. This painting is a fifteen minute memory of Asia.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Internal Respiration and Antioxidants

We inhale air but it is the oxygen in the air that the body requires for internal respiration of the body cells. Where does the oxygen in the air come from? It comes from the photosynthesis activity of chlorophyll in plants. How does the oxygen in the air we inhale get to the cells in our body? From our lungs it passes into the circulatory system and attaches to the hemoglobin molecules in the red blood cells. Capillaries, very narrow blood vessels, pass close to the cells and and allow the oxygen to be released from the hemoglobin and pass through tissue and into the body cells.

There has been a very widespread effort in the past several years to encourage people to eat and drink foods containing antioxidants for the health benefit they provide. An example is the drive encouraging people to drink green tea. Supposedly this is to prevent the oxidation of the electrolytes in the blood.

Something to think about: If we ingest a high number of antioxidants do we inhibit internal respiration by reducing the oxidation of carbon in our cells? It is this oxidation of carbon that provides energy for our body. It is a flameless process similar to burning coal or oil to get heat energy. Within the cells the oxidation of carbon forms carbondioxide creating energy. The carbondioxide is carried by the blood to our lungs to be exhaled.

How much is too much antioxidant? Could a person ingest enough antioxidants to interfere with internal respiration and experience suffocation?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Profoundness of Now


This point in time is not the same as now. This point in time is fleeting and is locked to a specific time which passes very rapidly into the past.
Time, events, thoughts, and actions are impermanent. They flow from the present into the past.
Now is assumed to be fleeting, but it is not; it is continuous.
Now appears to flow in the opposite direction of time, events, thoughts, and actions.
Now never advances into the future or lags into the past. You are always in now.
Now is permanent and eternal. Everything that is real only exists now. The future is a fantasy. The past is a memory.


Understanding that everything is subject to change and therefore impermanent one wonders why start a blog. How long will it last?

I'm an old man of 86 years, have had a full life of happiness, sorrow, fear, and joy. I'm retired from the USAF and a veteran of WWII and the Korean war. After retiring from the Air Force I was employed by the Smithsonian Institution as an echinoderm specialist.

In my dwindling days of existence I enjoy watercolor painting and writing short articles. I'll be posting some thoughts and watercolors on this blog.